Another Example of the Possibilities of Technology in Education

Here’s another outstanding story. There are several things that this one makes me think about.

  1. There are people of all ages making amazing use of the Web 2.0 technologies on their own. There are folks that are blogging, producing podcasts and vidcasts, creating slideshows and presentations, producing movies, etc. about things about which they are passionate. Unfortunately, I’m not sure that they are often able to bring these tools and skills or their passion into the classroom. I’d really like to see what happens if students were routinely given the chance to do so.
  2. The Web 2.0 technologies potential impact on teaching and learning blows my mind and gets me pumped.
  3. Obviously this specific story occurred outside of the classroom, but couldn’t teachers easily design a project that resulted in this kind of experience?

TV’s Mr. Wizard Passed Away

Don Herbert, better known as Mr. Wizard, passed away today ending his battle with bone cancer. I can remember watching Mr. Wizard on Nickelodeon in the afternoons when I was in junior high. He always did a great job of making science seem fun and interesting. He tried to shatter the notion that science can only be done by people working in laboratories wearing lab coats and using beakers, flasks, and other fancy equipment. He, as much as possible, tried to teach science using stuff you find in your home. I came to realize that science is actually born of inquisitive minds and can be done by anyone (regardless of age or knowledge level) and that the scientific method was actually your guide to pursuing your curiosity. His show greatly influenced the way that I eventually taught science in my own classroom. I don’t know anything at all about Don Herbert as a person, but I’m very appreciative for Mr. Wizard’s dedication to education.

Here’s an article with more information.

13 Yr. Old CEO of Innovative Educational Gaming Company

Anshul Samar is the CEO of Elementeo, a startup company seeking to combine fun and learning. This article provides an overview of the company’s goals, video of Anshul’s CEO speech, and a description of the company’s first game which teaches chemistry through a role-playing board game.

This is interesting to me on many different levels. Watching the video of Anshul’s CEO speech gives me the impression that this may have actually been a class project. Regardless, couldn’t a student activity like this be the jumping-off point for effectively integrating technology with teaching and learning?

  1. How many content areas/topics/objectives/skills would this kind of activity include? I’ve noticed 1) math, business and economics, 2) science/chemistry, 3) art and graphic design, 4) language arts, 5) perhaps copyright and patents, 6) ……???
  2. If this was a class project, do you think that the teacher could have ever imagined that this would be the result?
  3. Elementeo is seeking to put the fun back into learning. Has education taken the fun out of learning? It seems that these students think so. What does that tell those of us that are teachers?
  4. If this is not a class project and Anshul and his friends did this of their own initiative then perhaps we, as teachers, should reconsider what it is that we have our students doing. I suggest that a traditional lesson/unit on entrepreneurship would likely not teach students nearly as much about the world of business (and the other aforementioned content areas) as this activity likely did.
  5. While students weren’t necessarily playing games but rather developing games, this could be an example of effectively bringing gaming into the classroom and integrating it with the curriculum.
    1. Let’s begin to consider all the elements of effective teaching and learning (according to today’s research) that might possibly be identified in a class project like this. Such an activity might include 1) problem solving, 2) discovery learning, 3) legitimate peripheral participation and/or authentic/situated/contextual teaching and learning, 4) communities of practice, 5) collaboration, 6) project management (for those instructional designers among us), 7) ……???

    I think this could be a rich discussion. Please, please chime in.

    iQuiz Maker for iPod

    Neil Hokanson has an interesting post about using iQuiz Maker to create your own quizzes to be used on iPods. The possibilities for use in the classroom are intriguing. What are some of the possible educational uses that you can envision?

    Technology in the Classroom

    I ran across an interesting blog post by Leah at Tech in the Class. She sets out to build a justification for the use of technology in education. I especially found the research findings at the end of the post to be intriguing. See what you think….

    Technology in the Classroom

    There have been several people who have asked me “What does technology in the classroom really offer? Don’t most teachers just use technology in the classroom as a means to entertain and or stay in touch with their audience?!” Ok, so, sure I have my biases (technology in the classroom is not a trend, nor is it simply a good thing to do for efficiency reasons, it’s a must because it provides students tools to problem solve, critical think, learn more in depth, do more effective research, express their creativity, provide them access to a greater spectrum of information and knowledge, get them involved in the international community, etc.), but a recent article in the USA Today outlined the exact reasons why technology is needed in classrooms. The article reported several detrimental issues found in elementary schools that I believe can potentially be solved by integrating a few educational technologies. For example, here are a few quotes from the article, where I feel, had the schools/ teachers been using (or had access to technology) the learning environments and teaching performances would have been more effective: “The typical child in the USA stands only a one-in-14 chance of having a consistently rich, supportive elementary school experience … they found just as many signs that classrooms can be dull, bleak places where kids don’t get a lot of teacher feedback or face time… Fifth-graders spent 91.2% of class time in their seats listening to a teacher or working alone, and only 7% working in small groups, which foster social skills and critical thinking. Findings were similar in first and third grades… In fifth grade, 62% of instructional time was in literacy or math; only 24% was devoted to social studies or science… About one in seven (14%) kids had a consistently high-quality “instructional climate” all three years studied. Most classrooms had a fairly healthy “emotional climate,” but only 7% of students consistently had classrooms high in both. There was no difference between public and private schools.” If you don’t know how, or don’t believe how technology can rectify any of these issues please contact me – I would be more than pleased to talk to you about the detriments of only teaching “Reading, Writing, and basic Math” sans technology.

    Tech in the Class

    Draft of NETS-S

    I read the following on ISTE’s site today. “ISTE has held Town Hall Meetings at many venues across the nation and globally to provide opportunities for public input on refreshing the National Educational Technology Standards for Students (NETS•S).” You can view a PDF of a draft version of the next generation of NETS•S.

    So, what do you think of the revised standards? Let the conversation begin.

    If You Give a Kid an iBook

    I found this exhibit from Apple’s Learning Interchange 2007 to be interesting. Here’s a blurb just to picque your interest.

    We wanted to put technology in the hands of our students, 24 hours a day, seven days a week, and a wireless Apple iBook made the most sense,” shares Rae Niles, Curriculum Director/Technology USD 439.

    Little did this school know how the learning and educational culture would change for their students. This exhibit highlights the many successes experienced when “You Give a Kid an iBook.”

    After nearly five years of a one-to-one laptop computer initiative where every 10th, 11th, and 12th grade student has their own wireless Apple laptop we are still seeing an impact on the teaching and learning.

    Pros and Cons of Wireless in the Classroom

    I found this article from The Chronicle of Higher Education to be provocative.