Thursday, February 15, 2007

24-hour Learning?

First of all, if anyone out there is actually reading this stuff, could someone just drop me a quick comment? I need to find a counter to see how many people are actually listening to my rants, but until then, a nice comment once and awhile would be nice. A girl needs an audience for her soapbox preaching! :) I would love to know if you agree with me - if you are seeing the same things I am. If you aren't, I would love to know that, too. I firmly believe that discussion is the only way to truly learn and learn from this new technology wave.

But anyway, I truly feel the need to rant a bit today. I had a student come to me in tears this morning, because she couldn't finish her assignment online because her mom has gotten rid of their computer. I asked her why she didn't come to me sooner, and she told me that one of her other teachers ONLY does assignments on the internet (cool, btw) and that teacher's comment to her lack of computer was "I'm sorry, there's nothing I can do about it". Wow....

Now, I'm ALL for online learning and using new technologies - trust me, there is NOTHING that I won't try speaking, anyway....but we HAVE to provide opportunities for those who may not have access. This particular student is (I believe) the oldest sibling in a single-parent home. She can't drive, so driving herself to the nearest library is out of the question. We could say that she should access stuff in the media center after school, but she catches a bus, and won't have a ride if she stayed after. Plus, with all of our firewalls, certain things we ask our kids to d/l (like a podcast) is not able to be downloaded. We could say that she should access from a friend's house, but we all know how much work really gets done in those situations.

Even though "all" of our kids have a computer with internet access, there will still be kids that don't. Period. And we as educators have to provide for them. I'm not saying that the girl was right to wait until the last minute, but she has a point. If we don't provide for those who don't fit the norm, isn't that a type of discrimination? We should be teaching ALL kids - not the majority. How do we best do this?

Also - the same teacher that the girl was talking about has her students send in projects and other assignments over the internet. Most of her due dates are weekends, evenings, and even vacations. Now, again, I think this is really cool to a point. But apparently, this is occuring all the time. I love that she is thinking outside of the box, but when does 24-hour learning become too much? In this new technological world, where are the boundaries?

Technorati Tags:
Education, Education of the Future, Future Technology

Thursday, February 8, 2007

mp3 and Audio Books

So I was directed to this article on audio books and mp3 players today. The article begins by referencing a teacher at the college level who is using mp3 players in her foreign language class. Why is it that universities and colleges are jumping on the bandwagon with this and high schools and middle schools are not? What is going on that secondary schools are not seeing the potential this has to impact education? But I digress...

The article goes on to talk about how only 5% of teens (of only 1000 surveyed) listen to audiobooks on their mp3 player. But I ask you, good Devil's Advocate that I am, is that really because they aren't interested? Or is it because no educator in their lives are using these amazing tools in an educational way? I believe that if I were to offer a digital version of a textbook to my students as well as a traditional kind, that my students would choose the digital version every time. It is easier to carry, and easier to access. I even had a student ask me if there was a digital version this year! I believe that if we as educators were to promote these tools, that far more students would take advantage of them.

At any rate, at the end of the article, it talks about how audiobooks will never replace the printed book. I disagree with that statement completely. That is like saying that this new fangled printing press will never replace the type-set variety! Of course the audiobook will replace the printed book - the question is when. I believe that audiobooks will look different than they do today. On my Nano, for instance, I have the first Choose Your Own Adventure. I can read along on my screen as it is read to me. How cool is that? I believe that textbooks and other educational books will be the same way - they will be available as a file that you can both read and hear. Now that is cool, and much easier for ALL students to access. So I guess the biggest question of all, is what are you waiting for?

To access this article, click here.

Technorati Tags:
Audiobooks, Education, Future Technology, iPods

Saturday, February 3, 2007

MSU Tech Day

Well, here I am at another presentation. It is always so cool to be able to share new ideas. I was just talking with a couple of attendees, and they talked about how they think they can use this information in hearing impaired classrooms - to teach sign language to those with hearing or to teach new information to those who cannot hear. How totally cool! I hadn't thought of the ramifications of iPods in that context, but WOW!

Also, though, you could maybe use a tablet PC in the same way, or potentially a portable media device, but the memory of an iPod might make it still the most preferable way to carry the information.

I realized that I don't have my email posted. If you'd like to email me, please do so - anytime. I hope that you all will comment on the blogs I have posted, and email as well. Remember - we need each other to be experts - you can't do it on your own, and neither can I.

Technorati Tags:
Beyond Podcasting, iPods, iTunes, Podcasting, MSU Tech Day