As cyber-related crimes increase in this technology-savvy generation, Berks-Lehigh Regional Police talked to the Jaindl Elementary School’s Parent Teacher Organization earlier this week on ways to keep children from getting into serious trouble on the Internet.
One by one, the Grade 2 students step up to the board, grasp an inkless marker and underline French vowels and new words. As if by magic, the textbook page is flipped and a new set of challenges appears. If the kids are lucky, the board will shimmer and transform into a number square that will test their math, language and jumping skills. Chalkboards are unknown in this classroom. Even whiteboards are neglected in favour of the Smart Board, a giant touch-sensitive computer screen familiar to children raised on video games and the Internet. “I like using the Smart Board because it’s fun to use and pretty cool,” said McAuley Stuce, 8.
As YME adds new technology to their classrooms, teachers are becoming more and more creative in how they can use it to their advantage and make learning easier and more interesting. Within the past few years, teachers have begun using Smartboards so that instead of using overheads to write notes on, teachers can use a projector to display their computer screen onto the Smartboard, which acts as a giant touchscreen. The Smartboard comes with a lot of applications, such as a graphing calculator that allows teachers to show directly what buttons the students should use; the board also allows students to play a jeopardy tournament hands-on or give a speech with a PowerPoint presentation.
In an age of iPads, Blackberries and iPhones (and other new technology emerging by the second, it seems), teachers need to incorporate today’s technology into their lessons in order for students to connect to those lessons. And in an age when more is expected of the students (and teachers) than ever, the ability to be efficient in the classroom and quickly and accurately assess students on their knowledge is more important than ever. Technology is the tool that allows this to happen. Technology in the classroom isn’t something new at any local school district, including Harbor Beach Community Schools. This year, though, Harbor Beach administrators and teachers are making even more of a concerted effort to incorporate the latest technology into everyday teaching and assessing, with the help of a technology consultant who also is a familiar face. Steve Hill, who taught for 31 years (most of that time at Harbor Beach), retired last school year and has returned to help teachers get familiar with new technology now available to them in their classrooms. He comes in four to five days a week, or as needed.
Backpacks are getting a lot lighter for sixth-graders at Gainesville Middle School as items such as pencil and notebooks are being left at home. “We don’t really need them anymore,” Yitzel Trujillo, 12, explained. Using an iPad computer tablet, Trujillo used her fingers to scrawl out notes on a digital worksheet for earth science Thursday. Sixth-grade students at the school have been piloting iPads for each of their classes over the past two weeks. The devices contain textbooks for subjects such as math, science and language arts, sixth grade teacher Eddie Nemec said.
Since 1998, Delaware County Community College has offered the flexibility, convenience and accessibility of online and hybrid (a blend of classroom and online) courses through its online learning program. Choose from over 100 online and 40 hybrid courses offered within most academic disciplines. Some online courses have an in-person orientation; others may require students take their exams on campus and in person. Online courses offered by Delaware County Community College adhere to the same policies, procedures and rigorous academic standards as campus-based courses and require students to dedicate consistent study times to each course.
Hundreds of middle and high school students had a unique opportunity Thursday to put their technology projects on display. The 10th annual Mohawk Valley Technology Showcase was held at SUNYIT. Students from Oneida, Madison and Herkimer Counties were able to show off the work they’ve been doing in class. The projects ranged from robotics to catapults, computer aided design and even wind turbine design. Organizers are glad to give students a platform to exhibit their projects and their skills. Elizabeth Ross of SUNYIT said, “We’re here to celebrate their efforts.. and just like all county choir says to the music students you’re tremendous..this event says to students who are interested in technology and engineering that you’re tremendous and we value your work.”
Flanked by philanthropist Melinda Gates and Secretary of Education Arne Duncan, the President spoke in the TechBoston Academy (TBA) gym on a warm Tuesday in early March. His remarks focused on to two converging priorities – education and the federal budget. “It used to be that we weren’t sure what worked to help struggling students,” Obama said. Some said it was a matter of money; others thought that kids in low-income neighborhoods like Dorchester, Massachusetts, where TBA has defied the odds, “just can’t learn, or they’ve got too many disadvantages.” But now there’s a growing consensus that “what’s needed is higher standards and higher expectations; more time in the classroom and greater focus on subjects like math and science;” and “outstanding teachers and leaders like Skip. And all of those ingredients are present here at TechBoston.”
In a Huntsville elementary computer lab, Sam Houston State University junior Calvin Laws balanced his 6-foot, 2-inch frame on one of the lab’s child-sized chairs next to his newfound third-grade friend and helped the boy access an online textbook. Laws is a part of the small group of students from SHSU’s computer science department who volunteer their free time to refurbish discarded university equipment to donate to rural school districts. On this day, student volunteers were given the opportunity to deliver 21 Dell desktop computers to the school children of Huntsville Independent School District’s Samuel Houston Elementary campus.
There have been many attempts to incorporate technology in the classroom. Since the early ’80s, schools have been stocking labs with the latest gadgets. Clearly, the world was changing. We’ve seen the rise of personal computers, the internet, mobile devices, streaming video, social networking, and tablets. Our educational system must be able to benefit from these advances.
The man-versus-computer contest played out on Jeopardy last month resulted in a victory of artificial intelligence over human intelligence. IBM is celebrating its centennial year, and the company’s supercomputer, Watson, demonstrated just how far computing technology has come. Its programmers built a machine that stumped the brightest minds, so hooray for technology!
For many years the role of an adjunct professor has been part of my repertoire. I teach one night a week, a bit during the summer, and occasionally I dabble in some online teaching. A few years ago, I wrote an online course for New England College and I revised it when NEC changed formats from Moodle to Billboard to V-Books. As part of that shift, many of us in the Education Department taped new videos to accompany the online written material. The difference this time is that the videos are not simply introductions to the lessons but they are an integral part of the course.
The rise in popularity and adoption of tablet pc’s into mainstream learning environments has been steadily increasing since the launch of the iPad and other tablet devices over the past year. One key inhibiting factor for learning organizations and students however has been Apple’s staunch refusal to enable Flash with their operating system(OS). Many elearning platforms heavily utilise Flash currently as the prefered learning interface for their Learning Management Systems (LMS). Well good news is surfacing with the release of software enabling Flash developers to easily convert their content to HTML 5 code, friendly to Apple devices utilizing their proprietary OS.
Deltak has released a white paper discussing recent research on social presence as it relates to student engagement in online learning programs. “Online education is expanding rapidly,” said Rob Schnieders, Chief Learning Officer at Deltak. “Over 30% of students took at least one online course in 2009, and it’s expected that this number will grow to 50% in 2014. The next chapter of online education will be all about demonstrating efficacy and impact. The real question now should be, ‘How do we make online learning great?’ By leveraging new technologies and instructional techniques we can ensure that online education yields outstanding learning outcomes.”
The ongoing discussion of what constitutes online learning at the district level continues as superintendents try to develop a strategy for their districts. Based on statements from a broad range of school district superintendents attending the recent AASA (American Association of School Administrators) conference in Denver, those interviewed noted they were doing ‘quite a bit in online,’ usually in computer-based training or in self-paced study, sometimes with a teacher and sometimes not. The debate over the definition of an online experience still crops up within the virtual school community, and at the district level there is far more confusion and often only a vague understanding of what online courses can and should be.
It’s tough spending time online these days. Information flows past us so quickly and we can often end up missing the best online content. For many, bookmarking sites like Delicious were always a great way of keeping track of content that you could come back to and read at a later date but the landscape is changing and with reports of Delicious’ sale, there are now a whole host of new sites and even features within large sites that help you keep track of the best content.
If you’ve ever had to handle the editing of a Google Doc via comments, then you know it wasn’t the best system available. A right side column that showed the edits was effective, but certainly not easy to understand or use. The Google Docs team has been hard at work and with the latest revision, we’re getting collaborative discussions that actually make sense. Oh, and they will also load in real-time, right as a commenter presses the button to show that they are finished. The comments will now be tied to the person who made them, allowing ownership of each one. Discussions are able to be treated a bit like a ticket system now, where persons who are involved with them are able to show whether an issue that has been brought to light is still open, or if it has been resolved and the comment section can be considered closed.
There’s division in the news media about iPads this week. Optimism about the tablets in the college classroom abounds in a Financial Times article. But The Chronicle‘s coverage, “iPads Could Hinder Teaching, Professors Say,” pointed to serious pedagogical limits to the finger-touch computers. How could this be? The two articles even reported on some of the same studies. One possible reason for the differing conclusions is that the FT story focused more on students’ reactions—the devices are great for reading, and just plain cool—and less on teaching.
Ever fancy yourself a teacher? Itching to share your expertise with the world? Startup Udemy (Academy of You) offers a simple-to-use online course publishing tool. With Udemy, you can find or create a course on just about anything. Just choose from one of eleven course categories, from academic to hobbies and crafts. Creating a course is free and easy—in less than 5 minutes, you are ready to go. Course publishers have some really cool tools at their disposal.
Campbellsville University recently announced that it has reached record enrollment for the spring 2011 semester. Officials said that total enrollment at the school has reached 3,074 students, which shows an increase from 2,935 in last year’s spring semester. The university now has 2,570 undergraduate and 504 graduate degree seekers. Total enrollment in the school’s online programs increased from 226 students in spring 2010 to 281 who are now attending web-based classes. The nursing program experienced the biggest increase among departments, going from 61 students to 83 for the spring 2011 semester.
About 30 people listened Wednesday evening as four of the metro area’s top education officials talked about transforming Iowa schools through technology, bold leadership and a change in the way schools are financed. The forum at Dallas Center-Grimes High School was the first in a series of monthly discussions sponsored by the Greater Des Moines Partnership, said Lauren Burt, director of media and marketing for the partnership. Caucus & Community forums will be scheduled on different topics and held around the metro area to get residents thinking and talking about important issues leading up to the 2012 presidential caucuses in Iowa.