Endless Possibilities

I consider myself decently proficient when it comes to technology; however, when it comes to the amount of tech tools and ideas and the rate in which change in this area occurs, I realize the possibilities are truly endless. The amount of knowledge and skills I possess in this area is minuscule in comparison. I think that is part of the reason why I am so intrigued with tech stuff. There is always going to be something else that surprises me. My learning will never end. I was reminded of this again as I attended an iPad for administrators session led by @nlakusta where I learned about a number of new apps, tips, and tricks with the iPad.

One of the cool resources she shared was a collaborative Google presentation called 103 Interesting Ways To Use Ipad In The Classroom. Check it out!

Are Textbooks Going The Way Of The Dodo Bird?

Are traditional textbooks outdated? Are they convenient? Are they even practical? Will traditional textbooks go the way of the Dodo bird? Will they become extinct?

recent Scholastic survey commissioned by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and released in 2010 found few teachers believe traditional textbooks can engage today’s digital natives and prepare them for success. Teachers say they prefer digital and non-digital resources like magazines and books other than textbooks. Only 12 percent of some 40,000 teachers surveyed said textbooks help students achieve, while only 6 percent said textbooks engage their students in learning. (High School Hustle: Overloaded backpacks and outdated textbooks; a better way?)

I know that the above stats are American based, but I don’t think a Canadian survey would produce different results. So what is the alternative?

Open sourced textbooks utilized with the Ipad seem to be a much more more engaging and interactive way for students to work with content as exemplified in Apple’s video on the subject. I do not have any first hand experience using these at all; however, I think the potential for student engagement and learning is enormous. Not to mention the potential cost saving and practicality of students not having to log around multiple thick textbooks in a backpack or forgetting them at school when they have homework (I have yet to meet a student who forgets their iPad at school).

To be honest, I am not sure at this point the number of resources that have been made available in this format; however, I do know that some main education publishers such as Pearson and McGraw Hill are already partnering with Apple to create new a “new textbook experience for the Ipad“. In reading on the subject I have found a few of our neighbors to the south that have started projects to phase our traditional textbooks, replacing them with digital versions such as California, Utah and Washington. I a currently hoping to find some Canadian schools or divisions who have started utilizing open sourced textbooks. Regardless, I am definitely excited about this concept and am interested in continuing to explore this for the future.


“Show Me” The Money!

Okay, so you don’t have to show me the money, but I am excited about the new app that I found for the Ipad called “Show Me“.

ShowMe” is a global learning community – a place where anyone can learn or teach anything. Our mission is to make learning as accessible as possible, while giving great teachers and experts a platform to reach even more students. (http://www.showme.com/about_showme/)

I have been reading some blogs such as Jumping Aboard on flipped instruction and am excited to continue to grow in this area and make it part of my practice. With that in mind, I set out to learn how I could extend learning beyond the classroom. Using the Show Me App for the Ipad, I created my first Ipad screencast on the water cycle for my grade 5 science class.

I know it isn’t perfect… I stammered a little, my writing was messy, and it may be a simplistic explanation, but I think part of embracing the process of incorporating technology and flipping the classroom is getting over our own insecurities and pressure that we place on ourselves that it does need to be perfect. Taking risks and embracing technology is necessary to inspire learning… and that is what we all want to do.

I don’t know if the Show Me App is the best Ipad app for screencasting and I do know there are a few other options available. With that being said, here is what I liked about using the Show Me App to create a screencast:

  1. It is free
  2. It syncs with your online account at www.showme.com  so you can access it from any computer
  3. You can easily share your screencasts via Twitter, Facebook, email or embed it into a blog or website (as you saw above).
  4. You can share your screencast publicly or keep it private.
  5. You can tag your screencasts by adding “topics” (tags).
  6. You can access many other screencasts done and shared by other educators around the world that are sorted into topics.
Finally, I guess I would be remiss if I didn’t talk about how I am making this accessible to my students. Although, I am very early (emphasis on early) in the process I am going to make all the links available, among other web resources, on my Parkland School Division classroom blog. I have made a “students resources page” on my blog with links to subject specific pages that I will update throughout the year with resource links and screencasts.
Well there you have it. This is one of the things I have been learning as part of the Learning Leader Project. I am excited to continue on in this journey of incorporating screencasting into my regular practice. Who knows, the thought has even crossed my mind to let the students make some screencasts, explaining their learning, that I can put on our classroom blog… because isn’t that after all when learning really takes place? When the student can tell the world what it is that they know as opposed to just listening to what I know?