Archive for April, 2008
Ruth Reynard discusses emergent skill sets for teachers, looking at different ways to engage digital native students and make teaching more effective:
“while we do not know enough about long-term affects on thinking and perception, we can make sure of the technical capabilities and work hard to develop in ourselves the instructional skills we need to meet students where they are in terms of expectations and familiarity. We can also become more critical ourselves in how we perceive our own disciplines and more mobile in how we distribute content and intentional in how we stimulate student response. While mobile technology is coming at us via communication demands, we can monopolize these technological advances and think through how we can use them for instructional benefit and effectiveness.”
Author: Ruth Reynard, T.H.E. Journal, 27th April 2008
Full article available here.
‘A Modest Proposal’, IGDA’s Culture Clash column for April 2008, Matt Sakey writes on game-based learning and education from a culture-orientated perspective. He discusses the potential of game-based learning and highlights the need for the education system to be redesigned to focus on experiential learning. However, he also states that games fit into the experiential design and that they could teach all aspects of learning.
“Experts say that games can’t completely replace other forms of pedagogy. Maybe not, if you simply take games and try to stuff them up the current model for education, a model based mostly on rote memorization through lecture, and less on interpretation and application. You’re told that Animal Farm is a commentary on Socialism, told where Bhutan is. Games don’t work that way; they are experiential. Players draw their own conclusions from the context, which is why games couldn’t totally replace the system as it exists today. Redesign the model to focus on experiential learning, though, and games would be a perfect fit. Of course, the games would have to be very well-designed.”
Even if the games were very well-designed I believe there is a need for a teacher figure to guide discussions on the learning content with the class as a whole. Reflection and discussion is an important part of learning and understanding. In ‘A Grand Proposal’, Daniel Livingstone also comments on this article stressing the need for reflection and discussion.
“In fact, numerous reports on game based learning (several I’ve mentioned before on this blog, apologies for not linking to them just now – I may return and add the links later) emphasize the need for teachers to facilitate reflection when games are used in class. Why? Because in most cases playing the game alone is not enough to make students think things through.”
Zaid Ali Alsagoff posted a great list of free learning tools. Zaid has suggestions for almost every learning issue and below are some of them:
- Microblogging tool? Twitter
- Directory of edubloggers from around the world? International Edubloggers Directory
- Wiki tool? PBwiki
- Encyclopedia, which I can add to or edit? Wikipedia
- Audio recording tool? Audacity
- Tool to host my audio recordings? Odeo
- Tool to transform media into collaborative spaces with video, voice and text commenting? VoiceThread
- Tool to tell a story? Here are 50!
- Screencasting (recording) tool? Wink
- Hosted screencasting tool? Jing
- Mindmapping tool? FreeMind
- Tool to make screenshots from different browsers with one click? Browsershots
- Easy-to-learn 3D authoring software tool? Google SketchUp
See the full article here.
FutureLab has posted up another Education & Technology event:
“19 May 2008
Redbridge Teachers Centre, Ilford
TeachMeet NorthEast London is a chance for education stakeholders to share effective, exciting and innovative uses technology in schools in an informal environment. If you come for the evening, then you can either present, or just listen to inspiring presentations on ICT in schools. People attending previous TeachMeets before have found them to be inspirational and a great form of CPD.”
According to the TeachMeet site you can also join the event via Flashmeeting and there is a Facebook page too.
“The students were in a UW classroom laboratory using life-size — and fairly lifelike — computerized simulators, the latest technology trend used by universities to train students about real-world emergencies before setting foot in a hospital room.
The human patient simulators — SimMan, SimBaby and Noelle, a pregnant simulator for labor and delivery — each cost about $30,000. They can talk, breathe and can be programmed to simulate a host of illnesses, disorders or symptoms (or genders, for that matter — Mrs. Jones was actually SimMan), and can change symptoms in real time in reaction to a student’s interaction with them. ”
Author: Cherie Black, Seattlepi.com, 12th April 2008
Full article available here.
Digital dissection software to replace physical dissection in science classes:
“There is also a new technology called “digital dissection”. There are various computer dissection programs such as Drylab Dissections and Catworks that take students through an actual dissection using realistic graphics, as well as a full-motion video. Programs exist for many commonly used dissection specimens, including frogs, rats, earthworms, fetal pigs, and even cats.
Other programs, such as Digital Frog 2 and Visifrog, use high-quality computer animation to simulate an actual animal dissection. Animal rights organizations such as the National Anti-Vivisection Society (NAVS) applaud this new technology and have started free-of-charge loan programs through which schools can try out software.”
Author: Heather Clark, 11th April 2008
Full article available here.