Thursday, January 29, 2009

That's what I'm talking about!

This article demonstrates the drive, innovation, initiative required by teachers to bring technology to students. These people persevered through theft, indifference, lack of compensation, and (from personal experience) an inattentive and insensitive technical staff to impart technical knowledge to their students! Kudos to them!!!!!!

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Innovative teaching methods: performing arts

Would you teach rap to your students for $365,000! The Ron Clark Academy, a school in Atlanta, Georgia, came to Oprah Winfrey's attention doing just that: students uploaded a rap about voting, which caught national fire during the election period, which led to television performances worldwide on CNN & BET, which presumably led to being noticed by someone with the Oprah Winfrey Foundation, which led to the $365,000 donation. What started all this? Students' creativity and educational technology: taping and uploading a video.

Free Books! International Children's Digital Library

Need an activity to keep your quickest learners occupied? How about a book? But instead of keeping a print library in your computer lab that you constantly have to update with new books, why not allow students access to a digital library such as the International Children's Digital Library (ICDL)?

Monday, January 12, 2009

2009 is the Year of Science!

Probably in part to increase students in scientific and research fields, 2009 has been declared "The Year of Science 2009" and a fabulous celebration took place this past weekend. I wish I had heard about it as it would have been a great opportunity for students to experience hands-on science. No matter: stay tuned for activities this year as I'm sure the Bay Area's many science museums and exhibits will provide plenty more opportunities.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Books, journals and other reference materials online and available for your immediate use

Out of print books? Journals that your local library doesn't carry?

Google Book Search has been scanning and making available out of print books for perusal. Apparently they settled a lawsuit where they will be able to offer some copyrighted material also. My earliest introduction to Google Books came after attending the Alice Workshop at Santa Clara University in summer 2008. After I purchased an older edition of the book, then was given a pre-release copy of the latest edition, by the end of the summer the entire book was available on Google Books, meaning as an educator I would have no cost to teach my students computer science using Alice.

As a student myself, another resource that previously required an expensive license is the ERIC articles database, which offers almost every article ever written, which definitely helps post-secondary scholars conduct research.

These technologies phenomenally reduce the amount of time I physically have to spend in a library, the amount of money I have to spend on books or copies of pages of books, allows me to asynchronously pursue research and curiosity questions, and reduces the amount of paper wasted. They also represent quite a paradigm shift between my undergraduate and graduate educations! Isn't that what using technology in education is all about?