Thursday, August 18, 2011

The 7 Golden Rules of Using Technology in Schools

The 7 Golden Rules of Using Technology in Schools | MindShift
Sometimes teachers and administrators need a kick in the pants to see what they perceive as problems re-framed in a different way. Adam S. Bellow, author of The Tech Commandments, and founder of eduTecher, spoke to a roomful of receptive teachers at the recent ISTE 2011 conference, and demonstrated some of the ironies and contradictions the education system is mired in. And he had some advice.

62 things you can do with Dropbox

62 things you can do with Dropbox | Web | Macworld
The file-synchronizing service has revolutionized the way we use our internet capable devices; we’re always looking for new things it can do.

22 Best Apps for Education

22 Best Apps for Education | Collaboration Ideas
I recently knew that some schools and high-schools are encouraging students to use iPads and iPhones in and out of the classroom. There is no doubt that they are perfect tools to engage students: kids and teenagers find it very easy to use and love gadgets, plus it is much easier to get students doing homework when they feel comfortable with the tool. We already have plenty of tools, platforms and apps that can help students and teachers collaborating and working together, real time even, but when it comes to assignments, most of them find it hard to get related to those activities, and here is where PCs, tablets and mobile phones simplified the job and even make it more attractive to the youngsters. So, if you want your students to get more involved in their learning process, you can suggest them one of these 22 best Apps

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

5 Reasons why every educator should have a Google Voice Account.

5 Reasons why every educator should have a Google Voice Account. « TJ
Google Voice is a service from Google that allows you to have a phone number that you can forward to any and all of your phones. The service is free and it is super easy to get started. Today we will talk about what Google Voice is and how we can use it in the classroom.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Blabberize - make talking pictures | The Whiteboard Blog

Blabberize - make talking pictures | The Whiteboard Blog

Blabberize is a fun site that lets you create talking heads and record your own voice to go with it.

It’s pretty simple to use – and it’s free. Upload a photograph, define the bottom of the mouth and the chin (this is the bit that moves) and then upload or record a sound for it to say.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Textbooks just became cheaper and more social

Textbooks just became cheaper and more social | Tech Report | Marketplace from American Public Media
A company called Kno has been distributing iPad versions of college textbooks since June. The company says it has 100,000 textbooks digitized and available and for sale at a cost of 30-50% less than the physical book. Plus: lighter. Now, Kno is making those same books available on the web and through Facebook. Kno is adding the ability to discuss what you’re reading with friends and take quizzes on what you’ve just been reading by taking the text and blocking out key elements.

Back to School 2011 – Empowering students starts today « Generation YES Blog

Back to School 2011 – Empowering students starts today « Generation YES Blog
Here are a number of “back to school” posts collected in one place!

Monday, August 08, 2011

10 Google Chrome Apps for Increased Productivity

10 Google Chrome Apps for Increased Productivity
We brought you a list of great Chrome apps for small businesses shortly after the store’s opening. Here are ten new ones that are sure to increase your web productivity while at work.

Shift Happens 5

Shift Happens v5 - Iowa, Did You Know? [VIDEO] | Dangerously Irrelevant | Big Think
The Did You Know? (Shift Happens) videos have been seen by at least 40 million people online and perhaps that many again during face-to-face conferences, workshops, etc. This week saw the release of the latest version, this one focused on the state of Iowa. Titled Iowa, Did You Know?, the video is aimed at Iowa policymakers, citizens, and educators and is intended to help them feel a greater sense of urgency when it comes to changing our schools.

Sunday, August 07, 2011

Friday, August 05, 2011

Guest Blog - The Logical Progression Video: An Appealing Option for Educators

The following was submitted by Lindsey Wright

The Logical Progression Video: An Appealing Option for Educators

The creation of a logical progression video is a worthwhile project for any classroom from elementary school to online college classes. These interactive videos are the modern technology-based version of the "choose your own adventure" books, in which readers choose how the story continues from a selection of plot twists and turns. Possible applications to career skills and curriculum abound with this clever and intriguing technology. Logical progression videos uniquely engage students in the creative use of technology, decision-making, and curriculum.

Whitworth University in Spokane, Washington recently proved that logical progression videos can effectively capture the interest of student viewers. As noted in The Chronicle of Higher Education, the university posted an interactive video to its "Whitworth University Class of 2015" Facebook page.

To keep accepted incoming students interested in the university over the summer, Whitworth University posted the first video in "The Quest for the Golden Pine Cone" on June 30. Viewer interest grew as the school's mascot, the Whitworth Pirate, searched the campus for the golden pine cone and made some interesting discoveries along the way. The end of the video revealed that the pirate's next move depended on Facebook viewers' votes.

The interactive film seems to have been successful in drawing in a large number of viewers. The Facebook page's membership has increased 39% in the single month since the video's posting. The interactive video generated more than enough interest to accomplish the school's goal of retaining incoming students.

Logical progression videos have engagement value with viewers because they allow them to make an impact on the storyline. At regular intervals, the film presents the audience with several options on how the plot should continue. The Harvard Learning Objects Lab has found that the logical progression video is an effective tool "to help students interact with the learning material, give feedback, value or get excited about featured content, identify or differentiate between information resources, strategize approaches to research (such as critical evaluation, etc.), among other things."

Interactive films are also genuinely cost-effective. Students may record the short videos with a digital camera and then post them to the internet via YouTube. YouTube provides a free venue for the creation of "choose your own adventure" videos, which are connected by inserting hyperlinks to several other YouTube videos into the first. Richard Byrne walks educators through three simple steps to linking YouTube videos on his website Free Tech For Teachers.

Interactive videos allow for extreme flexibility in curriculum and student participation. Teachers can use the videos to explore any subject matter imaginable. They may create a math problem-solving quest, a twisting literary plot, a hunt for scientific elements or historical artifacts, or a review of ethical situations. They can also use the films to engage students in the dramatic and technical aspects of the films' creation. Students may take on the roles of scriptwriters, actors, cameramen, film editors, and YouTube uploaders, as well as joining the film's eventual audience.

Logical progression videos also have the potential to draw on many useful problem-solving skills. The video's creation requires student creativity and critical thinking. Students must carefully map several paths through the video to each possible outcome. They gain an understanding of the logical paths of cause and effect while they work. The interactive medium allows students to watch their own creation take unexpected paths and then make adjustments to the storyline as needed. As the film's creators, rather than merely its viewers, students become much more closely involved with the project.

Whatever subject the interactive videos are meant to teach, they have the added benefit of integrating the subject matter with important career skills. Students can learn to create and refine a product, employ logical reasoning, and use technology for a creative project. They gain experience in these real-world skills while also reinforcing the subject matter through the repeated viewing and editing of the film.

It's important to stage an interactive video project in a way that allows it to make its full impact on students. Here are some guidelines from The Harvard Learning Objects Lab for creating the most effective "choose-your-own-adventure movie" possible:
  • It is customized to suit the needs and interests of a very specific audience.
  • It will be viewed in a classroom setting with clickers for voting on the next scene.
  • Novelty and active engagement is paramount.
  • Necessary details can be conveyed concisely.
  • People/actors will be featured.
  • The entertainment value of your content will balance nicely with its educational value.
  • Content will be delivered through storytelling or a problem solving scenario.
  • Information presented cannot be clearly or meaningfully conveyed with simple still images and text.
Logical progression videos are an appealing option for getting students engaged in the curriculum and involved in an exciting creative process at the same time. Teachers can adapt the project to virtually any curriculum and allow students to participate in the creative process at a level appropriate for their grade. Involvement in the film's creation provides students with added experience in career skills and critical thinking. Overall, the educational benefits of logical progression videos are well worth the class time and energy put into them.