There has been a lot of recent debate on the benefits of social networking tools and software in education. While there are good points on either side of the debate, there remains the essential difference in theoretical positioning. Most conventional educational environments are "Objectivist" in nature and highly structured in terms of students progress and choice. Social networking essentially requires a less controlled, user-generated environment which challenges conventional views of the effective "management" of teaching and learning. Therefore, can social networking both as an instructional concept and user skill be integrated into the conventional approaches to teaching and learning? Do the skills developed within a social networking environment have value in the more conventional environments of learning?
Podcasts are becoming popular for educational purposes. Increasingly students in K-12 and in higher education are creating podcasts to demonstrate what they are learning. The technology is becoming so important that online course management systems, such as Angel Learning, are now incorporating features enabling content providers to include podcasting. However, many of those I've heard appear to be created by individuals experimenting with the technology and suffer from poor quality in the audio, content, and speaker presentation.
- By Patricia Deubel
News flash! Young children like technology! Early childhood programs can reinforce safe and appropriate usage by being intentional with their policies and instructional practices.
- By Gail Lovely, Deb Moberly
Sometimes I wonder if we (educators) will ever really use technology for what it should be used for. Yes, I know there are great examples of schools and teachers doing wonderful things. But I contend that when we take a broad view of how technology is being used, we see a lot of PowerPoint and electronic textbooks. Ouch!
Increasing numbers of studies are being done that seem to support the notion that blended course delivery or program delivery really captures the best of every possible world and, as such, is an effective way of learning for students.
Technology is a marvelous tool for enhancing the curriculum, engaging the students, and bringing life to an antiquated classroom. Most educators will agree this premise is true. But how do you get teachers to take the leap and dive into technology integration in their classrooms?
Mobile learning is really taking off! In developing nations, at least! We present a few highlights from UNESCO's 2nd Annual Mobile Learning Week, held at UNESCO’s Paris HQ, that we participated in recently.
- By Cathie Norris, Elliot Soloway
As technology continues to change and affect how students think and process information, instructors must realize that there is an opportunity now to capture and assess in ways not formerly possible. Research continues to enforce the importance of learning as a process, student engagement, and learning outcomes in the process of learning. Technology does not change this reality, but it can provide new ways to evaluate learning.
Strategies for using your iOS devices in the math--or any--classroom environment.
- By Tim Pelton and Leslee Francis Pelton
Second Life appears to be the biggest online community to hit the Internet in recent times. It's a 3D digital world, imagined, created, and owned by its residents, which number more than 7 million from more than 100 countries at the time of this writing. It's not a site that most K-12 educators would consider using, as Second Life requires residents in its main grid to be at least 18. A number of businesses, universities, libraries, museums, and a few educational organizations that cater to K-12 have joined Second Life, and at least one middle school, Suffern Middle School (NY). As a newbie, I wondered what the excitement is all about and decided to explore. What I found was that reading about Second Life and actually experiencing it are a world apart.
- By Patricia Deubel