Monday, November 30, 2009

an Apple a day....

When you leave your home for class or work, you are likely to see many people with an Ipod Touch. The Ipod was originally a neat mp3 player that has slowly become a hand held computer. The Ipod Touch can now be seen as a vital tool in many people's lives. Such a small portable device, can easily become a distraction in the classroom, but also can become a very powerful tool. It is obvious that students love technology. The Ipod Touch has many applications, some that can be used in an educational manner, and even some made to be educational. These applications can be spanish tutors, to maps and calculators. Rather than trying to fight against these gadgets, it is much more wise to see how they can be used within an educational setting. Technology is often seen as an enemy of education, but when embraced, gadgets like the Ipod Touch can become powerful tools that not only capture the student's attention, but also help them learn. Below is a video clip found on youtube showing how the Ipod Touch can be used as a tool in the classroom.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Making Learning Fun

I remember when I was in 6th grade when my elementary school made a very interesting purchase. The school purchased about 30 Sony Playstations. Now many parents may see the gaming industry as a threat to learning and fitness, but video games can very much encourage children to discover how fun learning can be! When I was younger I actually learned to add by playing some Nintendo games. At the end of each level the game would give you two digit points and reset a one-hundred points. I would always try to add my new score to my current score before the game showed me. Today, companies like Leapfrog are finding many new ways to help children learn with fun handheld games. Kids can play games featuring their favorite characters, while also maintaining an emphasis on learning. I believe that games can encourage children to keep learning, and help reinforce that learning can be fun!

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Small towns and Technology

Education Technology classes offer new ways to teach using technology. While this seems like a very interesting idea, some argue that smaller schools may not have the resources to use these tools. After talking to my father the other day, I realized that these technologies are slowly entering classrooms all over the world. For nearly 20 years my father has been working for the Perry School District. He told me that he had recently gotten a projector for his class that uses a camera. The ELMO is seen in almost every class at UNI and is a very important tool in college classes. My father has used a simple projector for nearly 20 years and is now excited to use the ELMO. This isn't the first time I have heard my father talk about new technology he is getting. A year ago he was able to get a set of graphing calculators, which he uses to help teach his students about sloped and curves. Because he was able to teach them to use these calculators now, when these students will be able to spend less time learning about these calculators, and more time using them. Getting cutting edge technologies into classes sometimes seems like an impossible task, but it can happen slowly but surely. By having new tools in the classrooms, teachers are able to enhance the students' learning experience.

*images taken from

Monday, November 16, 2009

Virtual Worlds and Virtual Education

The first time I heard about Second Life, was about 2 years ago when a neighbor in the dorms was playing it. I understood that it was a virtual world where people were free to do whatever, but I was in shock to realize there were very few limits. I have played several online games where you create a character and even join groups. Although this was fun, I never felt any real connection to any of the groups I joined. Games like World of Warcraft offer a similar virtual world, but the game limits you to a certain degree on what you can do other than play. After a lecture in my Ed Media class, I realized that games like Second Life have another use: Communication. Rather than joining and communicating like other games, second life may influence people to join to communicate. An example would be a student who joins second life to attend a virtual lecture the Professor may do in Second Life. This allows people to continue to communicate and learn while also doing it in a fun and exciting way. I was even surprised to see that colleges and business are joining Second Life and using this virtual world as another form of communication. I would not be surprised to find out that most major businesses and schools are using Second Life as a form communication. As of right now, I do not have a second life account, but if there was a reason like a class lecture, I would easily use that as an excuse to explore another world!

*images come from Second Life Blog