Archive for July, 2010

Project Ideas

I have been pretty busy this past month training teachers and staff on Microsoft Office 2010 and coaching football.  It has been hard to get many of my ideas ready for the upcoming school year but at least I still have a few weeks before school begins.  Two new projects I want to add this year are Infographics and Light Painting.

The Internet

Both of these projects would be great ways to incorporate new ways of using computers in the classroom.  The infographics would be great for any school subject.  They have endless possibilities and potentional.  Also, I think it would force students to think outside the box to present their information.  They would not just be creating the default boring charts and graphs found in Excel. 

Light Write Batman

Light Painting will prove to be a tricky project.  I have been trying to read up on light painting tutorials as much as I can, but I am still slightly confused about the process.  It would be nice to find a video showing someone creating one of these images. 


Computers Lower test scores?

July 15, 2010 1 comment

As I was checking some articles out on Digg the other night I came across this article from the New York Times, It is an interesting article about the negative effect computers and laptops have had on students. It discusses programs here and in Romania where students were given laptops (or vouchers). It states that after getting the technology their test scores actually went down.

But is that what really happened? This article does not go far enough. Test scores should not be the only evaluation if the program was a success or not. What about their grades, assignments, heck, their creativity! Yes, the technology may have distracted students from their work, but it may have also taught them other ways to think. The real study should be done in 20-30 years to see what the long term affect was on students. But in this age where we think education is always failing our students, the quick unquestioned study is king.

Learning Through Technology

Today I get to rejoin the world of technology!  Recently I was enjoying the 4th with family in a place where no internet was available.  Throughout the week I had many get discussions with family about education and technology.  One that I am still mulling in my head is about students learning through technology.  It seemed ironic that when I checked my RSS Reader that David Warlick posted about having a conversion about this at ISTE. 

I think we are moving to an era when many people think technology can replace teachers and/or many traditional education methods.  At a conference I attended hosted by Infinite Campus, the founder talked about a world where all lessons would be delivered through a “lesson plan warehouse.”  The vision that was stated was that students would pick lessons they were interested in through their smartphones. 

It seems we believe that students have the ability to turn on their iPads and learn through their own methods.  Yes I believe some students could accomplish this, but mostly only if the topic interests them.  What makes school tough for many students is the process of learning something they do not care about.  When a student enjoys something they will try to soak in as much as possible and that is where the technology comes in.  I have seen students search out information on topics that interest them but I do not see them do the reverse.  Lately it seems many people try to keep students in their comfort zones, but does this really prepare them for life outside of school?

Also, many students have not yet had the life experiences to take what they are learning and apply it to the real world.  This is where teachers can go above and beyond a Wikipedia or a blog such as this.  The student has the opportunity to sit face-to-face and have a discussion about how to intergrate their learning into the real world.  Yes, this conversation could be done via a wiki or blog, but by having the converstation within the classroom it also teaches the student to work with peers and leaders.