Category ArchiveMisc Ed Tech
At school, there’s been a lot of talk about what can be done differently with an online course management system (particularly Moodle, since one new faculty member has extensive experience with it) and to what end. Having heard what some of my colleagues have done with asynchronous discussion online outside of class, Jim Vanides’s experiences with online instruction seemed to fit right in:
In my “spare” time (not related to my work at HP), I teach an online science course designed for elementary teachers. … I have previously taught the same content in the form of face-to-face workshops offered through an NSF-sponsored “local systemic change initiative” grant that funded teacher professional development in the Silicon Valley (California). Converting these workshops into an online (asynchronous) instructor-led 6-week course has been a fascinating experience. The content was identical, but I had to entirely redesign the learning experience. What was more surprising was the difference in discourse – in some ways, the discussions were BETTER than when I taught the same material face-to-face.
If you’re interested, check out the May issue of ISTE’s “Learning and Leading with Technology” magazine. My article, “Online Learning that Works“, is a free PDF download until September.
I originally noticed this on Teachers Using Technology, but Warner Crocker summarized it very well, so here’s GottaBeMobile.com’s post about it:
Over at the Teachers Using Technology site there is a great video of KellyC making a presentation in front of the local school board. Not just any presentation, he’s using a Tablet PC to demonstrate how Tablet PCs can be an effective tool in education.
And so, I have just received this new loaner X60 from lenovo. Over the next several months I will be teaching a graduate class at the UIC and experimenting with the tablet to explore what advantages it may have to offer to the pedagogical process. It is a very interactive class in management for public health professionals. The group will have extensive case discussions and work live problems to gain experience and feedback from both faculty and other group members.
Any ideas? Presentation software, spreadsheets and mapping are typically used in delivering this course.
From a post on Techdirt:
There’s been plenty of talk over the years about how computers will replace textbooks in the classroom and how students will just look stuff up online instead of having to tote around books. A fair number of schools give students laptops, but now, some of those programs are being stopped because they’re not having any positive impact on students’ education. That’s not very hard to believe, since it sounds like many of the programs cited in the original article basically just threw laptops at students, and made very little effort to work them into the curriculum in a meaningful way. [emphasis added] This point has been clear from the outset: simply giving kids computers (or people in developing nations, as with the $100 dollar OLPC) isn’t going to do much. Computers, internet access and other technologies should be seen as useful tools, not silver bullets for education. Making them available is too often seen as a quick fix by politicians and administrators, but not creating some sort of plan around them essentially ensures long-term failure once the shine of being oh-so-high-tech wears off.
From Working in Ed Tech:
One-to-One Institute’s Leslie Wilson did a great job identifying the main pitfalls of a 1:1 and how to avoid them. I heard her speak last week at the Intel Visionary Conference in D.C. She previously organized all the professional development for Michigan’s Freedom to Learn program.
The savvy 1:1 administrator:
- Tells stakeholders why school is pursuing a 1:1
- Provides relevant research (One-to-One offers this)
- Stays well-informed on trends and best practices
- Eats his own dogfood i.e. uses the technology himself
- Stays available and willing to work through issues
- Makes PD a priority each year of the program i.e. budget!!
- Ensures consistent communication with parents
- Chooses relevant assessment metrics and uses rubrics to measure progress each year
I don’t think I’ve ever seen this clear and concise of a list and I’m hoping that people trying to make 1:1 computing happen read this and follow it. The One-to-One Institute looks like it’s got a lot of good resources, too.
Originally, I thought I was going to post about an interesting article. After a careful read-through, I’m actually posting about an obnoxiously uninformed article and picking apart some parts that I find especially irritating. This article, Lansing State Journal: Teachers say tech enhances learning, is all hat and no cattle. I apologize in advance for but this extremely snarky off-topic post.
Kinawa Middle School teacher Josh Coty has a SMART Board.He touches the interactive screen, barely moves a hand along its surface and – voila! – there’s a geometric shape.
“To show this stuff has always been a difficult thing,” the Okemos math teacher said.
Whatever pops up on his computer monitor appears on the SMART Board screen, which makes a visual statement measuring about 3- 1/2 feet tall and 6 feet wide.
I don’t really think showing geometric shapes has always been a difficult thing. In fact, I know of only a small handful of things of that ilk that can be done on a SMART board that can’t be done on an overhead projector. How exactly a large SMART board makes a “visual statement” much less what that statement might be escapes me entirely.
Morell Boone, dean of Eastern Michigan University’s College of Technology, has a fourth-grade grandchild who already did a PowerPoint presentation for the Chelsea school system.
“Whether we agree with it or not, it’s there,” Boone said of technology.
“We owe it to the children to stay up with what the world is expecting.”
Is it too cynically for me to ask “if the world were expecting our kids to jump off a bridge…”? A PowerPoint presentation is not likely to be an appropriate medium for a fourth-grader.
Haslett Middle School teacher Reid McGuire’s classroom has an interactive white board, Tablet PC and a set of small handheld key pads resembling TV remote controls for immediate feedback from students.
It’s not the same ol’ smart kids answering questions.
“Participation has gone up exponentially,” McGuire said.
“I can get 100 percent participation stress free.”
I really hope this teacher isn’t teaching math, since it’s not possible to have participation go up exponentially in a population of fixed size. Perhaps he meant logistically?
While I have mentioned it before, since Jim Vanides and Matt Faulkner posted reminders recently, I thought probably should too. Given that WIPTE 2007 falls on days when I may not be busy and given how close it is (it’s at Purdue), I am still seriously thinking about attending.
From the WIPTE 2007 site:
Save the Date! WIPTE 2007 will be held on June 11-12, 2007.
WIPTE is open to anyone with an interest in instructional technology. A wide variety of disciplines are embracing Tablet PC’s and similar pen-based devices as tools for the radical enhancement of teaching and learning. This conference is intended to leverage this shared passion and to identify best practices in the educational use of pen-based computing so that all educators may benefit from this next generation of technology.
Thanks to a post on GottaBeMobile.com referring to meeting notes posted at Multi-faceted Refractions, I learned that a group of interested educators met in the north suburbs of Chicago this past week to talk about Tablet PCs and other related technologies. In poking around there, I found the Illinois Educator’s Tablet PC Roundtable Google group and the page there about the meeting. Somehow, this all slipped past me and seems to have happened quietly among a group of teachers with no intersection with my own varied professional circles. Hopefully, this group will lead to greater tablet use in the classroom.
In my various technology reading, this jumped out at me because I’ve been increasingly hearing and reading about the use of online course management tools and particularly Moodle and Blackboard (from Vista is here – wow or whoa?)
Colleges offering online classes over the Internet using Blackboard, a widely distributed e-learning software package, have experienced functionality problems with systems running Vista. Although most of the problems have workarounds or temporary fixes, some academic IT departments are recommending that students and administrators delay installing Vista until the Blackboard issues have been resolved. And while Vista alone can be problematic, there are well-known compatibility problems with Blackboard and student systems that use both Vista and IE7. Many academic IT departments are recommending that students and teachers use an alternative browser, such as FireFox or Opera, which are available as free downloads.
I’d have to strongly recommend using FireFox regardless of any other situation. For the one in a few hundred web sites I visit that doesn’t render properly in FireFox, I have the IETab extension installed so that I can have an IE-rendering tab embedded into FireFox.
The Google Teacher Academy is a free, one day professional development program designed to help K-12 educators get the most from innovative technologies. Each Academy is an intensive, one-day event where participants get hands-on experience with Google’s free products and other technologies, learn about innovative instructional strategies, receive resources to share with colleagues, and immerse themselves in an innovative corporate environment.
GTA Southern California
May 23, 2007, 8:30am – 7:30pm