Monday, October 31, 2011

Chrome web store

I have just been looking at what is available in the Chrome Web Store. There are some interesting applications or Web 2 tools that would be good for schools however...

I have been looking at the map showing earthquakes that have happened in the world during the last 7 days.

As you can see from the screen shot it tells us that there have been no earthquakes of a magnitude of 2.5 or above in my country in the last seven days. They say none at all!!!

This is completely incorrect as we have had 27 earthquakes in my city (or surrounding countryside) in the last seven days! Where am I? Christchurch New Zealand. The majority of these earthquakes are over 2.5 but of course that is not a big quake as far as we are concerned. Below you can see a screen dump of where some of these earthquakes happened, their magnitude and the depth.

What concerns me here is that if there is such a glaring error i.e. 27 earthquakes not registering on this site how accurate are any of the other offerings here?

If you are using any with your class I would suggest that you check it out carefully before the children use it.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

3D technology in the classroom

I have just been watching a video from Fox television about a school in Colorado where they are using 3D technology in the classroom.

This is a biology class where the students are full of praise for the technology e.g. "I think it's awesome! In my past biology classes I've always had a really hard time understanding what a molecule looks like and how it can be rotated and how it changes. But, with the 3D movie it shows it rotating," and "It makes me really interested in the topics that we are studying about. It's a new way to see things,".

That sounds like a gimmick however the teacher says her students have a better understanding of the subject and their test scores are up 10% which is pretty impressive. Obviously a serious drawback to the use of the technology is the expense - this report mentions that a projector and 30 pairs of glasses is about ten thousand American dollars!

For those interested to find out more about the benefits of 3D technology there is a white paper available. This paper suggests that benefits of using the technology are:

  • Test results
  • Higher retention rates
  • Enhanced learning experience and excitement

Frankly I seriously doubt that the technology will become available in many schools for some time and I would see limited use for it with primary aged pupils especially given the cost. Having said that another article discusses a pilot test third, fourth and fifth grade students. During this time the students participated in classes using the technology in maths (calculate the volume of unusual shapes through objects that could be viewed or moved around to show different angles), science (a tour of the solar system, life cycle of a plant, dissecting a frog) and health (going inside the human body to see how antibiotics work). Benefits of using the technology included:

Those who tended to be disruptive or inattentive during traditional instruction were so enamored they uttered nary a peep. Those with limited English proficiency suddenly had a visual that helped them grasp concepts where mere words had failed. Gifted kids were making so many new connections and asking such provocative questions that the lessons often mined territory far beyond teachers had anticipated.

I would be interested in what others feel about the technology and particularly if you have used it in the classroom.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Guest post

Exploring the Integration of Tech-tools or ICT in Learning
The blend of technology in teaching and learning process has initiated a change in the practice and progression of education. With education transpiring in the digital world, learning in 21st century has become more flexible and accessible. From traditional classroom learning to distance learning, the integration of technology is found in all approaches to education. In most cases, educationists of today are relying upon the newly evolved from of blended learning that initiates a wonderful mix of technology in learning. This blend not only ensures better and motivated learning but also helps in highlighting the needs and interest of students in learning styles.
Information and communications technology in classroom has been the major catalyst in leveraging the way people learn in this new age of evolution and innovation. Integrating classroom technologies in learning instigating better communication and information exchange can be of a major benefit in effectual classroom management techniques. Several statistical reports on this line have stated that if learning is relevant and interesting, behavioral issues automatically lessen. This particular concept has indeed initiated the implementation of technology in classroom learning. Several UK high schools, colleges, and universities have embraced the evolution of blended learning making study in UK far more interesting.
The influence of information and communications technology in classroom has also helped in the evolution of distance learning in such a wider scale. The integration of technology in education has paved way for swift information exchange and communication. Furthermore, the integration has also helped in replicating the entire classroom-learning feel over the virtual presence without any physical setting. You can sit in one corner of the world and enjoy an interaction with your instructor sitting in another corner of the world independent of time and distance constraints. The implementation of technology in learning has effectively opened the study in UK door without any restraints.
This implementation in the online world of learning is best experienced through the advancement of integration of E-learning in education. For further references onto the subject, you can browse through the Wikipedia page on E-learning.
Information and communications technology in classroom calls for better interaction and communication among students, teachers, and parents. This implementation in classroom learning allows the students to blend their theoretical knowledge with practical experience. From updating the wiki with a research article, recording narratives as podcasts, creating blogs, or participating in a conference talk, technology works towards the goal of fuller development along with personal enrichment. Any information that is delivered to students with the help of technology holds maximum chance of being more engaging and effective. Classroom learning relying upon power point presentation offers the student a visualized learning approach.
Tech-blend learning if delivered effectively by a proper instructor knowing the terms well is sure to offer the students with a platform to publish their own thoughts in text, video , and multi-media format enabling a better learning experience. Information and communication technology in classroom learning lays a different and immediate approach to learning that comes with a feedback forum. This integration helps the students in developing creative thinking ability.  However, it is to be remembered that information and communications technology in learning though a potential tool in learning serves a purpose than being an end.
AUTHOR BIO - Robert Williams driven by his passion of writing and interest in education loves to write on various educational topics and new-age technologies and innovations affecting the course of studies. Here, he focuses upon information and communications technology in classroom and the study in UK approach.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Guest post

Information & Communications Technologies - Changing the Way of Learning

The role of technology in changing the way of teaching and learning is all-pervading. Advancement in information and communications technology in education has indeed provided a support platform to learners worldwide in keeping them integrated with performance-oriented skills along with the knowledge. Implementation of information and communications technologies, referred to as ICT, in learning has benefited education in many ways. From making education accessible for all to formulating a convenient and flexible learning mode – the significance of ICT in distance learning is indisputable.

The concept of learning via distance has been quick enough to respond to the innovation and advancement in the field of technology support towards education. The blending of technology and education in making distance learning courses accessible and flexible for all can be attributed to the reasons of introducing need based course programs and developing performance skill and support among today’s learners and professionals alongside the knowledge base. Furthermore, implementation of ICT in distance learning also helps in designing a flexible schedule of learning assisting the professionals and learners in developing their own learning module.

Implanting information and communications technologies in learning is a proposal or idea that finds it integration in all branches of education. The augmented and enlarged use of ICT in delivering learning at all corners of the world connecting the student, instructor, and content over a single platform is currently perceived as an up-and-coming practice in the educational sector. The focus of the initiative lies in bringing the rural and geographically remote areas under the fold of education via distance learning conquering over the geographical barriers and other odds.

Offering support services to the learners form an important part of distance learning courses and the educational program. Since, the learners are not involved with campus learning process directly; effective teaching-learner interaction needs to be carried out over the virtual learning setting. Support services like, admission process, academic counseling, academic career guidance, teleconferencing, teleconferencing, ICT implemented e-learning, library support, and information services are provided to the students for building an efficient interaction platform among both teachers and students.

Distance learning that until recently relied upon postal and mailing services now enjoys a new twist under the hands of technologies and online tools that holds the power of transforming the learning environment completely. The implementation of Information and communications technologies in distance learning courses hold multiple benefits in transforming the way people learn -

· Technological developments and advancements have paved the road to better learning enriched with visualization, interaction, and graphical representations.

· Video conferencing and live conferencing through enhanced satellite system helps the student and teacher connect beyond the geographical barriers and physical classroom setting.

· E-mail and other communications technology have made communication easier ensuring greater feedback and increased interaction among the peers along with teacher-student interaction.

· The Internet acts as a complete source of information making the incorporation of classroom environment easier for both the student and the instructor. It also offers the scope if self-paced learning and self-development.

The greatest benefit of implementing information and communications technologies in learning can be solely attributed to the fact of making distance learning courses available for worldwide. Distance learning courses now holds the potential of transforming the way of education and the way people learn in shaping up a new global economy conforming to the rapid societal changes.

For more references on this, you can refer to the Wikipedia page on Educational Technology.

AUTHOR BIO - Robert Williams loves writing and holds an interest towards various education related topics. He loves to write about distance learning courses and the changes the learning mode is facing in its evolution. Here, he focuses upon the influence of information and communications technology in learning.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Embed Plus

This site is now very popular with educators as can be imagined.

They have now got an area where they have an example of how their tool might be used in a classroom or with students. The first example is a dictionary which will be great for ESOL teachers (pronouncing words) where students can find how to pronounce words and use the word in context. This will also interest other teachers to give them some ideas of how they might use it.

You can also go the link page to get the html code to use in your own web site.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Guest post

Communications Technologies in Classroom helps in Learning Enhancement

With technology continuing its influence in the world affecting our way of living and working, the educational sector too is not left far behind. Advancement in Internet and communication technology within the last decade has also offered a massive turnaround in the way of our learning. Today, the world of education under the dominating influence of the digital transition is continuously confronted with numerous challenges and opportunities. Distance learning, as it was in the past is embraced with new technological developments that are paving way for better learning. Online courses in today’s age is largely shaped in the mould of interactive classroom teaching characterized by online learning system management

The implementation of the online learning management system in the school or college environment is all set to witness a new turnaround under the influence of communication technologies in classroom. Several statistical surveys has reported that integrating technology in classroom studies hold positive results, as it increases concentration and appeal of learning among young students. Information and Communication Technology abbreviated as ICT is recognized as a universal potential tool for educational advancement leading to national progress and personal enrichment. Application of such technologies in classroom is conceived as a beneficial approach in transforming the way we learn.

However, the actual challenge comes in connecting the advanced communication technologies in support of teaching and learning that now happens at a multi-dimensional level. Initiating a child to learn or appealing a college student towards regular learning is a challenge for every teacher. In such a situation, technology acts as the engaging tool for initiating the students to learn and grow. With the entire world turning digital, students are seen to hold a special interest for tech-blend learning. Communication technology in classroom is sure to support the genre of online courses or e-learning thereby, making learning far more associable and flexible along with being convenient.

The Wikipedia page on E-learning details on the use of communication technologies in classrooms to support e-learning. The page also details on various other leaning management software that assists the usage of communication technology in enhancing learning.

The advancement of Internet technology and the availability of communication tools in the generation of web 2.0 application offer an extensive resource for communication technologies in classroom. From wikis, blogs, productivity application, concept mapping tools, to social networking sites, today’s teachers and students are proficient with every usage and application of communication technology. Online instructors to support greater learning are complementing the use of such technologies in classroom for presenting the course content and proving a wider access to information. Online courses in many universities are supplemented with platforms like

Wikis and weblogs too are known to offering an excellent platform of implementing advanced communication technologies in classrooms to enhance learning. These communicative platforms in today’s age of flexible learning make sharing ideas, initiating discussions, and indulging in question-answer session a lot easier. Videos and podcasts act as other engaging tools of enhancing learner working towards the same goal of connecting instructor and learner along with the content over a virtual platform independent of distance and time.

However, implementation of communication technologies in classroom, as it supports a learner initiative to learn at his own pace also holds challenges for both the educator and instructor to use the technologies properly. A number of universities and colleges today have implemented online courses on information and communication technology for helping the collaborative undertaking of enhancing learning through communication technologies in classrooms.

AUTHOR BIO - Robert Williams is a blogger by choice and he loves to write on educational topics for benefiting the learners of today’s age in knowing about the new implementations and changes in online learning or distance learning courses. Here, he focuses on the subject how communication technologies in classrooms can enhance learning.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Steve Jobs

Like many other people, I was saddened to hear of the death of Steve Jobs yesterday. Apple computers were so important in schools right back since the 1980s. It is fascinating to read that he started to make and sell Apple computers as long ago as 1975, truly ahead of his time. He was a known perfectionist who worked tirelessly to ensure that his products were the best they could be.

He was a great visionary who has died at such a young age. My thoughts are with his family.