The Revolving Door of Technology in Education

May 24, 2013 by

Let’s keep this relatively short and simple shall we? I’ve spent just a month shy of 10 years in education, and I feel as though some days I know just about as much as I did on day one in the teaching field. I’m not going to call it an industry, because that term would only serve to acknowledge the increasingly perverse ways that educational institutions are being transmogrified (or at least attempted) into for-profit institutions that no longer server the public, only public shareholders. No, let’s not tap that keg of dynamite….yet. Instead, let’s take a few moments to lament that the more things change, the more they stay the same, including technology. It would seem that the more creative, collaborative, and integral technological tools become to education, the quicker people are to turn these new tools into nothing more than digital pencils. Desktops and laptops quickly become...

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Reading Rainbow Remixed….and an App!

Dec 4, 2012 by

For anyone who may be in their mid 20s to late 30s, and grew up watching PBS, the following remixed and auto-tuned video may bring on sudden waves of nostalgia. Please be advised that those under the age of 12 may exhibit signs of confusion. Please ignore them, and then share how amazing Reading Rainbow was with them! But wait, there’s more! Although Reading Rainbow went off the air in 2006, Levar Burton has managed to revive the essence of the show in an app for iPads, and it’s free!! Read books by yourself or with a narrator, play games, or watch special videos exploring the world with Levar Burton! There’s really a lot of great stuff in the app, but this is a much different model than what you would expect from the old PBS television show. While the show was free (tax payer funded, and free for...

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Flickr + Freesound = FlickrSounds

Jun 21, 2012 by

cat by Nickym007 Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs License Your browser does not support the audio tag. kitten19.wav What you’re seeing (and possibly hearing) above is the result of some rather clever code & mashup work done by John Johnston, an amazingly creative ICT Development Officer (which is U.K. speak for “educational technology nerd who likes to create nifty tools for others”). I’ve been finding it difficult to get back into the groove of things after last week’s rather anticlimactic end to the school year (we had lots of layoffs and the mood was grim). I thought I’d try a few simple tools found over on the ds106 assignment repository to just play around and see what I could find that I haven’t tackled before, and wham! Here I find this amazingly little tool that John cooked up called FlickrSounds! The concept of FlickrSounds is rather simple; enter in a search term, let’s...

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Exploring the Adobe Education Exchange – Navajo Talking Books

Sep 11, 2011 by

I was asked over the summer if I might take some time to explore the Adobe Education Exchange while their Educator’s Choices Awards are going on. I was intrigued as the exchange isn’t so much about the “come pay for this teaching tool because it’s awesome”, but rather “come check out all this really neat FREE stuff built with Adobe tools.” Don’t get me wrong, the ultimate goal is to sell Adobe products, but some of the interactives, web resources, and activities that people are sharing on the exchange are really interesting. It was with great excitement that I found this rather awesome collection of Navajo language talking digital books, made with the help of students, teachers, and teachers in training. I even put together a little video overview of the site, along with my comments on it. As I said in the video, the only real downside I see of...

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Animalia for iPhone & iPod Touch Free This Weekend – Video Preview

Nov 13, 2010 by

Animalia is a famous alliterative alphabet book published in the late 80s, and is fond in the hearts of many in my generation. The hours I spent in front of this “hunt and find” style book are too numerous to recount, but suffice it to say it’s “Where’s Waldo” like illustrations are beautiful collages that capture the imagination of early elementary aged students, and will keep you busy trying to find alphabet themed images on each page. The app is just as addicting, with mini-games based on the the “find the image” concept from the book, in addition to a “find Graeme” game that proves just as difficult as the original from the print version. What’s even better is that this app is completely FREE this weekend, November 13th and 14th, 2010. Apparently there’s a special promotion going on, so if you happen to have an iPhone or iPod...

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Spell a Picture with Kerpoof!

Mar 24, 2010 by

I realized yesterday that I’ve never written about Kerpoof before, which is a huge shame because it’s a wonderful tool that allows students to get a handle on the basics of movie making, storytelling, and has a fantastic teacher management tool for allowing students to share work in a moderated environment. But what is Kerpoof you ask? Simply put, it’s an online social network for kids, built around art. Accounts are free, although there is a paid membership that gives you access to premium features.  All users can create drawings, stories, movies, and then share their artwork with the greater Kerpoof community. Once shared, artwork can be awarded stars (much the same way YouTube videos have ratings) by other users, which earns coins for both the artist and the person awarding the stars. The coins then allow users to purchase items for their avatar, better paintbrushes, extra characters for...

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