Tuesday, March 23, 2010

The future is now (or at least this summer)!!!

I don't know about you, but I'm pretty tired of buying a laptop or any technology device only for it to be outdated in matter of.....days. But if you're in the market for something new and functional, then you're going to love what's coming around the corner!!!

The new HTC EVO 4G is Sprint's Android and it's amazing. Gone are the days when a cell phone was just, a cell phone. This one in particular, has an HDMI output, 8megapix camera, oh and not to mention that it also runs on droid technology...so it's fast...really fast.

Now before you go and chuck your plastic paper weight that you call a cell phone, Sprint has not listed what the prices are or when exactly it'll be coming out (for sure this summer). Verizon and AT&T are working on their 4G phones but it won't be coming out that fast.

Imagine what this could mean for school technology? How many schools out there have a digital camera and a digital video camera tucked away somewhere collecting dust? How long now till we are looking at those products as obsolete and antiques? Shall I start the timer now?

Technology is moving at an amazing pace, and we as educators have to move as fast to help our students get ready.

How far away are we till our students will be required to have a 4G cellphone for class work?

Friday, February 19, 2010

Online Classes vrs. Traditional Classes

A study done by the U.S. Dept. of Education has determined that students actually performed higher in on-line classes compared to the traditional classes. Not substantially better...but enough to start a discussion as to where the future of education should go.

On average, students doing some or all of the course online would rank in the 59th percentile in tested performance, compared with the average classroom student scoring in the 50th percentile. That is a modest but statistically meaningful difference.

Online Education allows users to take on their education in a more meaningful way. They are allowed to take part of something fun and unique. To learn something by actually putting it to use.

What this study tells us, is that the students of today need to have their instruction be taught in an engaging and thought provoking way. In order for the learning to occur the students need to be engaged in a community and if the classrooms don't support this now, the online classes will.

How does this study, change the way you design your instruction?

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Say goodbye to Powerpoint!!!

I've never been a fan of powerpoint....in fact I fall in the group that just does not like it. I can't stand how restrictive it is, and I always find myself getting distracted. If you have ever felt like this before, you're going to love this.

Welcome to Prezi!!! This is a very cool presentation site that allows the presenter to choose the direction in where the presentation will go. I love it. I think it's great and easy to use....and if you're an educator you can take part of their educator's free program.

If you like what you see so far, please talk it up to your fellow co-workers and administrators. Let's all get together and move away from power point and move closer to Prezi.
Check out my first product.

Monday, January 11, 2010

An Awesome Physics Game

Crayon Physics Deluxe from Petri Purho on Vimeo.

I teach at the elementary level, but this software has to be the best way to introduce physics in a fun and engaging manner. The concept is rather simple. Move the ball from one side to the star. The trick, is you can turn 2-D objects into real life and as they fall the impact of those objects reacts accordingly to the ball.

It's a very fun, and addicting game...plus for this time only, you can download the software for your own price. Yup that's right. You get to choose how much you would like to pay for it. It's really cool, and if you're not sure, there's a free demo that you can play around with to get the hang of it. Check it out here.

How do you see yourself using this with your students?

Would you (or do you) friend your students on Face Book?

I asked this question amongst my co-workers a few weeks ago, and they all responded with a loud NO!!! The primary reason is that they believe that there should be some space between a teacher's life and the student's life. Also, they were afraid of the unknown. What if the student were to see something....what if the teacher were to see something....or the parent? These were all very valid reasons.

Yet I came across a blog post from The Innovative Educator who asked some very thought provoking questions. "How differently might a student/child's life have turned out if a trusted teacher, mentor, adult been in their life? How might an adult's life been enriched if they knew there were students who were looking to them in their online life?"

To go a bit deeper....the student who has been absent for 4 days might never tell you why or where they were, but you might discover that they had a death in the family on facebook. You might be able to see pictures of their travels and as they grow throughout the years.

The other argument, is being a digital role model. Who is going to teach students how to use the web in an appropriate manner if not for the teachers? It's an unstructured environment where the students feel like they can say or do anything without any consequences. They need to be aware that what they put out there, stays out there, and now many potential job clients are using social media to learn more about their clients.

I do think that teaching students how to utilize social media is very important, however I'm not entirely sold on friending them. I think the best way is for teachers to create a fan page, and have the class sign on there. Create weekly discussion posts, and have the class work together from there.

What has been your experience with facebook and students?