I really dig this animation that goes along with a talk by Sir Ken Robinson on changing education paradigms.
The long awaited Google eBookstore is now open (about 4 days after me buying an Amazon Kindle of course). To access the store, simply visit http://books.google.com/ebooks.
Google’s bookstore is a bit different than other similar stores such as Apple’s iBooks or the Amazon Kindle store. Basically, you choose the device you want to read the book on (iPhone, iPad, Sony eReader, internet, etc…) and then you can view the book in that format. Upon first glance, there is an excellent selection of books available and the prices are very reasonable. It’s still early to tell how accessibility will work out, but in my limited testing of a sample book, it was not accessible with a text reader. However, there are almost always work arounds (such as Read&Write Gold’s screenshot reader), but that may be more trouble than what it’s worth. I’m sure there will be much more to come on this topic as it progresses.
If you can’t tell from the name of this blog, I’m big on Universal Design for Learning. The first principle of UDL is Multiple Means of Representation. We have known for some time now that stand and deliver lecture is the primary way content is delivered in Middle and High Schools. If we are lucky, many times this is mixed with PowerPoint or the occasional video. Well, recently a literacy consultant told me to check out Flocabulary and let’s just say I am impressed.
Flocabulary uses very high quality hip-hop music to explain concepts. Hip-Hop music is popular among students, and it is very cool to see how engaged they become with the content when it is presented in this fashion. In addition to the music, the lyrics are available in print and there are other activities and workbooks that accompany each song.
So if you haven’t already, check out Flocabulary.com today. Many of the resources are free, but there is a paid option as well.
I just ran across a blog post, that referenced yet another blog post listing 20 Free Video Sites. Many of you are probably familiar with the majority of these (YouTube, TeacherTube, iTunesU, etc…) but there were a couple I had not heard of before. You find the blog post here: http://blog.curriki.org/2010/07/13/watch-and-learn/
I just installed WPtouch iPhone Theme on my blog. Basically, now you can browse to my blog on your mobile smartphone (iphone, adroid phones, etc…) and see a very user friendly mobile version. I tested it on my iPhone and it seems to work well. If anyone experiences any problems please let me know.
I had the opportunity to sit in on the unveiling of a new interactive multi-media project Thursday. Without going too far into the background of the whole thing, it originated from a grant that was awarded to a New York public broadcasting company (see www.thirteen.org), who then chose 10 sites in the US through another grant to start using it with. KET (Kentucky Educational Television) was awarded one of the grants and I had the opportunity to be invited to the initial training provided to a few teachers, KET folks and representatives from other state organizations.
Now for the important part. This multi-media project is a fancy name for a game, but as we all know using the word game in education isn’t always a good idea. Mission-US is different however. While it is a game, it comes with more teacher materials than you can imagine. It breaks each section of the game down and provides background information, vocabulary, how it relates to standards, and tons of activities to do in class. So a teacher could decide to use the game in one class, or do what most teachers who were involved in the pilot did and use it over multiple class periods.
There’s really much more to say about it than the information I provided here. The first game in the series is “For Crown or Colony”, which deals with the American Revolution. It has been tested with teachers and students in a variety of settings and proved to be both engaging and increased achievement. More games are to come over the next few years on a variety of US History topics. One of the best parts about this is that it is completely free. I believe the official release date is towards the end of September, but it can be accessed now. Check it out at www.mission-us.org
I just came across a site called MindMeister, which is a web based mind mapping/brainstorming software. It is similar to mywebspiration.com (which is currently in beta and free, but will likely be available as a paid subscription only soon) and is free for up to three boards, or if you are in education you can get the Premium edition for only $18/year. My initial thoughts on this site are very positive. The free version allows for the basics (create a board, sharing, printing, exporting to a pdf, etc…), but for $18 a year there are some additional very cool features. There is really too much for me to mention in a blog post, so check it out for yourself at http://www.mindmeister.com/. Another big plus for me is the ability to work in offline mode if you are traveling and do not have access to email and the mobile app.
We all know that it’s a good idea to use multiple means of representation when we present content. There are several ways to do this including lecture, images, PowerPoint, audio, video, etc… Many times video poses a problem however. First, it is not always easy to find sites that schools allow us to access. Then of course, if we do find videos online it isn’t always easy to get them on your computer so that you can insert in a PowerPoint or share when internet (or certain website) access isn’t available.
To help with this, there are two websites I use when I need to grab a video from the web and save it on my computer to include in a presentation. There’s been countless times when I found the perfect video to share while presenting at a conference only to find out there was no internet service, leaving my links useless.
Both resources are similar in the way they work. First, find the youtube or other video you would like to download. Next, simply visit one of these sites and paste the url of the video in and choose a file format. If you are using windows, choose .avi or .wmv. For macs, choose .mov. Click submit and in no time you will have a copy of the video available for download.
Would love to hear your favorite resources in the comments section below.
Apologies for being away for so long… I started another venture that occupied way too much of my time. Fortunately I’m back now, so should be able to provide updates much more often.
This post is just to speak on the two sessions I did with my colleagues at the CEC Conference in Nashville, TN. They were both very well received. Handouts can be found in the downloads section of our educational site and www.systemsofsupport.org. The titles/descriptions were as follows:
The Best of Both Worlds: Integrating Technology and Instruction to Increase Reading Comprehension”, with Jason Gibson, University of KY, and Lisa Shaw, Central KY Special Ed Coop
Reading comprehension is critical for students’ long-term success. With the availability of numerous instructional strategies and technology applications, it is unclear what works and where to start. The presenters will share a variety of comprehension strategies and technology solutions validated through research that can be immediately implemented into any classroom.
“Tools at Your Fingertips: Emerging Technologies for Preservice and Inservice Teacher Training”, with Jason Gibson, University of KY and Rob Pennington, University of Louisville.
Supporting teachers in implementation of effective practices is a critical process in preservice and inservice settings. Unfortunately time, distance, budgets, and limited personnel limit the level of support provided. During this session the presenters will demonstrate simple ways of using no-cost/low-cost Web-based solutions to provide teacher training and support.
I hope everyone has a chance to look over the handouts. Let me know if you have questions.