Thursday, October 15, 2009

Smart Tables

I have just been reading Tom Barrett's views on using a Smart table in his classroom. These are a very expensive piece of equipment and before spending on some of the technologies it is important to ensure that it is going to enhance the children's thinking and learning. Tom was saying that these are about £5000 in England - with the present exchange rate it makes it extremely expensive here in New Zealand. His blog discusses his own experiences and is worth reading.
I have experience with using smart boards but have only seen the smart tables demonstrated. I would be very interested in hearing from anyone who is using one of these to find out how they are using it to enhance the thinking and learning and the benefits they have found in the classroom (or not as the case may be).

Sunday, October 11, 2009

How a Wiki can be used as a learning tool

How a Wiki Can Be Used as a Learning Tool
Guest article by Adrienne Carlson

If you’re almost always connected to the Internet either on your phone or your computer, you’ll know that a wiki is something that is as common as a newspaper once was. It’s where we go to look for information; it’s what we reference when we’re researching a topic; and it’s what we read when we’re trying to gain some knowledge. The enormous success of Wikipedia has demonstrated the power of collaborative effort, one that works through individual contributions that are collated as a whole and organized and cross-referenced for easy navigation. Technology has thrown up quite a few tools for pedagogy, and the wiki is one of them. To learn how the wiki can be used as an effective teaching aid and tool, read on:

  • Teachers can use wikis to publish up to date information on courses, lesson plans, syllabi, and other info that are useful for students.
  • Students in high school can use them to collaborate on projects with their classmates. The advantage of a wiki as a collaborative and sharing tool is that it facilitates online education too, so students can be far apart geographically and yet stay connected through the Internet. This helps when projects are meant to be completed during vacation or a short break from school.
  • College students can use it to collaborate on research projects
  • Wikis make great tools for the presentation and evolving of ideas in new projects
  • Teachers can use them as part of their e-portfolios to reflect their teaching ideology and methodology and the advances they have made in the personal journey as academicians.
  • Students can use it to keep record of their thoughts and ideas on lessons, using it as a notebook to jot down their interpretation of prescribed readings.
  • Wikis are a great tool for improving the knowledge of students and broadening their horizons because they provide information on anything under the sun.
  • They also provide students and teachers with opportunities to add to common knowledge by putting up wikis of their own or adding to ones that already exist.
  • Wikis help link to various resources, thus bringing them all under one page even though they are sorted and arranged according to category and type.
  • Wikis make perfect tools for writers collaborating on a project; each member of the team is responsible for editing and maintaining certain sections of the project while one person is given the responsibility of organizing the entire article into a coherent form.

This guest article was written by Adrienne Carlson, who regularly writes on the topic of
accelerated online degrees . Adrienne welcomes your comments and questions at her email address: