Mar 10

As interactive white boards gain more traction in the educational technology market is this where we are heading? Jeff Han demonstrates the possibilities in the video below via here - great to see that Google Earth and Wikipedia are included - some logevity in those tools perhaps. The multi-touch display is remarkably like a giant iPhone interface and will keep teachers very fit as they move around. Will students be able to interact from their seats with a Wii like interface communicator?

Jeff Han's demo

Appendix: Tongue was firmly in cheek as I wrote this post.

Update: Thanks go out to my colleague Tanya for putting me onto this more detailed video of the interface as shown by it’s creator Jeff Tan at the TED Conference.

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Jan 17

IwriterAs more schools and students use iPods, educators are adding to their repertoire of teaching strategies such as podcasting. Tools such as iWriter for creating learning programs and iLingo for language translation are specifically being written for these devices. A current sourceforge called Encyclopodia project allows iPod users to download and browse Wikipedia on your iPod. While the interface screenshots look a little naff, it is interesting for the simple fact that the worlds largest and most dynamic user generated encyclopedia can now be carried around in ones pocket!

Encyclopodia is a free software project that brings the Wikipedia, which is one of the largest encyclopedias in the world, to the Apple iPod. Encyclopodia can be installed on iPod genarations one to four, as well as on iPod Minis and Photo iPods.

This may be the closest we’ve come yet to the Hitchhikers Guide. Weighing in at a >800mb download the Wikipedia eBook carries with it some heavy issues like bias and source reliability. However, with appropriate critical literacy skills students of all ages will continue to find Wikipedia a good starting point in their research. Even Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales warns against it’s use as the be-all-and-end-all resource in educational settings:

Speaking at a conference at the University of Pennsylvania on Friday called “The Hyperlinked Society,” Mr. Wales said that he gets about 10 e-mail messages a week from students who complain that Wikipedia has gotten them into academic hot water. “They say, ‘Please help me. I got an F on my paper because I cited Wikipedia’” and the information turned out to be wrong, he says. But he said he has no sympathy for their plight, noting that he thinks to himself: “For God sake, you’re in college; don’t cite the encyclopedia.” Source: chronicle.com

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Oct 12

While attending the Knowledge Bank 2006 Online Conference I listened to a presentation on a teacher developed website in a Year 1/Prep class at
Clevy Keyboard
Wheelers Hill Primary School. The website is centred on developing the metacognitive abilities of the Year 1/Prep students through the use of thinking and goal setting tasks, student self and peer assessments and rubrics. Additionally, it contains samples of student work and also planning documents. One thing raised was the difficulty students had in using traditional keyboards, specifically the ability to recognise capital letters. This is a problem I have experienced too. Adding stickers to the keys can help, but they tend not to last very long! Another solution may be a keyboard designed for these young learners. I have heard there are plastic covers available but can’t find a link. A couple of keyboards I have come across are Big Keys and Clevy Keyboard which has Australian distribution. BNC Distribution claims the Clevy Keyboard:

…. essential in the education of writing and computer skills in primary schools. It anticipates on the growing interest for the development of the motor system connected to the education of handwriting. Moreover, this attractively designed keyboard stimulates young children to get acquainted with computers in an educational way.

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