Posts Tagged 'Education'

Using cell phones creatively

SALT Presentation: More that Just Talk – An Experience Using Cell Phones for Education

Presenter: Lin Muilenburg/ St. Mary’s College of Maryland

My Mind Map for the Presentation:

http://www.simpleapps.eu/mindmaps/ASraRQJ1tj2oqxc5eDJ9rD84wwJN/mindmap.pdf

I really enjoyed this presentation. The presenter kept us all engaged despite the fact that it was the last show of the day.

If you have a cellphone with a camera, then you can develop learning activity that engages your students.

These activities can take the form of polls, scavenger hunts, photo logs, fone conferences, etc. The applications are almost limitless. I’m thinking of creating a scavenger hunt using QR codes, various clues, and web games, maybe even geo cache to have a treasure hunt teambuilding at work.

A few days later…..

Back at a ‘real computer,’  I’m still obsessed with QR Codes. In the United States, the codes can be read mainly by cell phones. In Asia, most of the phones are outfitted with a QR Code reader. I was able to visit the QR Code Generator site and create one for my blog.

There are endless possibilities for using QR Codes to empower mobile learning with smart phones. For example, students could create their own “Museum Exhibitions” complete with an interactive media tour. They create their exhibits with labels that include QR codes that provide links to web pages, videos, mp3 files, etc. FUN STUFF!!!!  Students could even design their own ‘educational’ treasure or scavenger hunts for their teachers, parents, and fellow schoolmates.

Here’s a really well put together presentation on using QR Codes for Teaching I found on slideshare. The design process is meant for creating learning experiences for students on the University level, but I can see many of the principles being adapted for younger students as well.

http://www.slideshare.net/andyramsden/qr-codes-mlearn08-presentation

SALT keynote – Think Future

SALT – Speaker- Massood Zarrabian – OutStart

My main takeaways:

  1. DON’T SLOG ALONG OR FOLLOW –>CREATE FOR THE FUTURE. Develop a future concept. Ahead of the curve. Don’t get stuck developing only for older generations. Also it pays to be ahead because you may be rewarded with simply having the reputation for being a visionary or a leader in your field.  I would add that this is more than doubly true for any companies that develop content, media or tools for education/educators.  I’ve been working in education for sometime and it’s my observation that if any field is slow to adapt, it’s just education,schools, and universities. Just because the teachers in the schools aren’t using a tool or technology… doesn’t mean that you want to avoid it with a hot potato. Instead,  look for alternatives, tools or learning experiences that are ‘secure’ but on the cheap. Provide consultation services to school districts and schools that demonstrate or show them the best methods and practices. Engage the teacher and parent community and challenge them to come up with creative uses for the tools and technologies.  For those teachers who are trying to engage in using new methods and tools. I say,  Ignore those people who might chide you because of jealously or incurable skepticism – do in your heart what you feel is right. The results will speak for themselves.
  2. MODULAR IS IN. Develop modular content. Or content in modular fashion so that you can easily repurpose and or repackage it later.  This speaks to the power of integrating CMS’s with LMS’s. (Content management system = Drupal, LMS=Sakai or Moodle).  Don’t develop tools or systems that are hard to take apart or redesign. This can be difficult if you’re working with a vendor to develop your tools.

Think Future…

Mind Map for This Presentation

Big Question: What Should Learning Professionals Know Today?

Here’s the Learning Circuits Question for July:

In a Learning 2.0 world, where learning and performance solutions take on a wider variety of forms and where churn happens at a much more rapid pace, what new skills and knowledge are required for learning professionals?

Here’s my list of four things I think are most important:

  1. Valuing and working with company and organization leaders to build a “Culture of Learning” or “Learning Organization” via Peter Senge’s Model. Forget being able to launch the next best thing in social networking or Learning 2.0. If this is not a huge part of your company or organization’s mission and culture. You may find an uphill battle in introducing change. In my experience companies who work without a “Culture of Learning” often end up making reactionary moves  instead of ones built around a vision, achievable goals and a realistic plan. They hire reactionary managers and staff, and at the very worst the company devolves into an environment where ‘fires’ are contantly fought and nothing new is really developed.  How can any group or individual really inspire real change in learning let alone innovate in these types of environments?
  2. Understanding possible flows of learning using social media. The Internet has made us incredibly social and increasingly connected with each other. The problem with this is that there are so many avenues for learning and it may be difficult to assess learning that comes as a result of social learning.
  3. Applying constructivism & collaboration to learning online/offline as much as possible. I think developing both collaborative and constructivist activies is going to be necessary for higher-level educators, many of whom are still bent on the traditional methods of teaching via lecture, and for people who develop training for higher education.  The Internet, Web 2.0, Learning 2.0 foster constructivist (websearches, social tagging, forums) and collaborative learning activities (wikis, online discussion) through the media available online. These are the types of activities that not only engage learners, often they reinforce the knowledge and skills so that they’re more likely to be applied effectively in the future. Plus, I’m sorry folks. Learning doesn’t have to be boring and passive like it used to be in the past.
  4. Accepting that you can’t learn everything “2.0.” It’s too easy to be overwhelmed by the rapid rate of development of tools in Learning 2.0. I think being able to develop a strong set of learning goals and objectives for yourself, your company, or your group is a good place to start. Say you need to market your courses better online, then you probably should start looking at how to effectively use social networking sites like Twitter & Facebook. You probably should also read books like the Tipping Point by Malcolm Gladwell as a primer.

Karl Kapp continues to bust myths on gaming

Having worked with Karl to design a course, I know first hand what insight he has to offer on the subject of learning with technology.  Plus he’s got a valid and thoughtful argument for every negative assumption about gaming and it’s true value. Recently on his blog, Karl shared that he was on a local radio program to talk about the future of gaming and how it applies to learning and the workplace. I can’t go over all the myth’s Karl articulately and skillfully debunked. You’ll just have to listen to the entire program.

Educating through video games

Myth: Video games are too violent and bad to teach anything worthwhile

I love Karl’s point on this.  Although people describe video games as bad and horrible… “It’s the content of the technology not the technology.” There are video games that teach or demonstrate positive behavior and values as well as ones that use violence excessively.

Myth: Kids only learn instant gratification from playing video games

Video games help teach players to make quick decisions when you don’t have too much information.  Also, many video games have objectives that require weeks or even months to solve… so, uh, where’s the instant gratification in that?

Myth: Cheating is bad even in video games

Using cheat codes to get around obstacles in a game is a common practice among gamers. As Karl points out, Remember Captain Kirk and Kobyashi Maru? (Sorry non-Trek fans). He cheated to make the simulation work to his advantage. This can be seen as a creative way of dealing with the situation by some.

Having worked as a teacher and in education for several years, I was sort of brainwashed to think that you always have to follow the rules and that “all cheating is BAD.” If you look at cheating in a game from a different perspective, it’s no different than finding a short cut or a more efficient way of doing something. One must always remember the context in which the cheating is happening. Also, if you want to stop the ‘bad’ cheating… I’m of the point of view that you have to “Be the buddha to kill the buddha.”  I don’t want to get into this extensive metaphysical argument here, but I do know looking at ‘cheating’ or ‘alternative solutions’ differently is one way to insure that you’re not always keeping to the traditional way of doing things.  And one can always use one’s own moral conscience as a guide to ask if their methods are wrong or harmful to others in the real world. As Karl pointed out… the executives of Enron cheated, but did they really ask themselves if it was right?

Myth: All video games desensitize kids to violence

While some (not all) video games have negative things… they also learn positive things:

  • Kids learn cooperation (multiplayer games)
  • Kids learn math and physics (Little Big Planet, &  just figuring out scores etc.)
  • Kids can build empathy by relating to other players on multi-player games
  • Kids can learn trade offs between variables from how to accomplish game objectives.

Little Big Planet is my favorite example of a game where you can learn cooperation and spark your creativity. I’ve even thought of building stories in the game that reflect plots of major works of literature: Can you see Kafka or Doestoevsky done as a Little Big Planet game? Awesome.

Little Big Planet

Little Big Planet

Using Podcasts to Teach Math

I was just trying to think of at least 10 ways to use podcasts to teach math. Can you think of any others. Please post your ideas to this post in the comments. Please note, timeliness is not an issue. I’ll be checking this post in the future.

10 ways to use podcasts (vodcasts) to teach Math?

  1. Post a monthly puzzler or a brain teaser as an audio recording. Students have to listen carefully to the words and vocabulary used to figure it out.
  2. Students share their own math stories and problems.
  3. Broadcast monthly updates to both parents and teachers on the types of math lessons and activities students will be focusing on.
  4. Create a podcast with your students on math related subjects. Your students act as researchers and reporters who broadcast the stories.
  5. Share any news or media stories related to math.
  6. Broadcast homework and major assignment reminders.
  7. For those who do not have video or multimedia capability. Create math puzzles, problems, and diagrams in PowerPoint then provide audio narration to go with it in the podcast.
  8. Find, listen to and share math podcasts that you find.
  9. Students create their own math riddles and share them.
  10. On a professional level, share your experiences teaching math with other teachers.

Additional notes:

I found two interesting sites with math related podcasts/vodcasts:

The Math Factor (brief math converation and puzzle):
http://www.podbean.com/podcast-detail?pid=18637

Math Train TV (math vodcasts created by middle school students): http://www.mathtrain.tv/

I love Probability with Ben & Jerry!

These students did a fairly good job demonstrating Probability. Click the image below to view the video:

Probability

Understanding the 21st Century Learner

I’ve seen a few of these presentations floating around the web, but I’m sharing this one because it’s a good discussion piece for people to share with others. I found this on the Always Learning blog.

We make this case all the time that the “Net Generation” learns differently than many of their predecessors. I’ve seen many adults view their children’s way of communicating and connecting with suspicion and fear.  It’s almost as if some of us adults are living in the movie Village of the Damned with all the Midwich Cuckoos. We’re really not quite sure how to handle the quirks of our progeny and we fear what they’re capable of because we don’t understand. Well, in the movie they really did have a reason to be afraid because the children were evil aliens.

[Youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3MBresWP9MY]

You can actually view the entire movie on Youtube.

Of course, our children aren’t evil aliens. What a silly thought. I do still think that the young can benefit from experience and guidance, and this is something that we star-struck adults shouldn’t forget. Part of 21st century education should truly focus on teaching critical thinking because of all the information out there that young people must sift through to separate the wheat from the chaff. Critical thinking should be a behavior ingrained in young adults. They should be able to analyze the nature any subject including the advantages and disadvantages.  This type of thinking should be as natural as breathing.  I can think of an exercise that applies to the subject of electronic connectivity.

There are some advantages to being connected all the time, but there are always disadvantages.  I threw this image together in less than five minutes. I’m sure if I had the help of others the responses would be much richer. As I was listing the pros and cons it was clear that many arguments for had an opposite argument against. This is something that young people (and old ones too) should be able to perceive. They must also learn to use their best judgment to determine the path of action or reaction that is correct for them based on their list of pros/cons. Of course, this is no comfort for those who like to have clear plans of action or rules set down for them.

Advantages and Disadvantages of Electronic Connectivity

Advantages and Disadvantages of Electronic Connectivity

The Open Sourceness of Everything

\Ancient Remixes\

This comic strip is a rather cheap and quick cartoon I created in ToonDo in less than 10 minutes.

I attended this thought-provoking talk yesterday by Michael Amick (Dean of Academic and Technology Services at Central Lakes College) titled “Remix Culture Appreciation (aka Art Appreciation).”

He emphasized the idea that “re-mixing” of art (and in a larger sense concepts, ideas, inventions, etc.) is essential to human creativity.
During the lecture I had to think. “How many things in this room would actually be possible if no one had copied someone else to create them?”

No, really?

I tend to think that the Internet has empowered us to be immensely powerful in our creativity. I’m a big fan of Jame’s Burke’s Connections series, and one thing I learned from watching these shows is that advances in human technology and cultures happen when individuals, peoples and cultures interact and share ideas. If you think of the potential creative productivity of hundreds of millions of people having access to the Internet, some of whom are intensely creative and innovative, the possibilities are mind-blowing.

Today in the breakfast lecture Brian Lamb shared the simple example of the Free Learning site. This site was originally a link resource list created by one individual in Malaysia. Other interested folks in England and Canada volunteered their time to create an active wiki/resource/search engine for free materials. Lamb notes that this project was developed without a budget, without a project planning team.

And we haven’t gotten to some of the larger possibilities. I wonder what would happen if many people contributed to solving some of the larger issues we face today: climate change, economic collapse. What if there were several or dozens of dedicated individuals, including experts, who orchestrated discussions and problem-solving attack groups? Of course, I wholly realize that what I’m suggesting here frightens more people that it excites and invigorates. As a species we are so ‘inside-ourselves’ that we often cannot appreciate or even trust these attempts at such broad collaboration, and yet, as Brian Lamb pointed out in his lecture, Wikipedia is a prime example of mass cooperation among human beings.

I’d like to spend more time blogging/writing about this topic, but time is short right now. I need to move on to the next lecture at this conference (ITC).

Speaking of re-mixes here’s a really good example of re-mixing from the movie Amadeus. It’s also a good example of how people can get pissed off when their work is re-mixed, but this just demonstrates how Mozart’s character probably wasn’t so diplomatic. Then again why did he have to be? He just saw a better way of doing it.


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