Wednesday, December 17, 2008

What Makes a Technology Rich Curriculum?

Is it just the stuff? Gadgets like student response systems, document cameras, scanners, global positioning systems, laptop carts, digital cameras, slates, SMART Boards, ActivBoards, etc., etc. The list of “things” available to incorporate into our classrooms is astounding.

But, technology rich curriculums don’t begin nor end with just stuff. Add to that ever-growing and very long list resources like... web-based applications, widgets, wikis, blogs, traditional software, online learning communities (i.e. Moodle), global communities, online educational games, social bookmarking, virtual (educational) worlds, podcasts, vodcasts/vidcasts, video conferencing, Google Docs, SharePoint sites, digital storytelling, screencasts, vlogs… the list just keeps going and growing and going and growing.

So, how do you pull it all together? How do you incorporate the “stuff” with the resources? Simple. Think outside the box (textbook, worksheets, pen and paper). Instead, add to those common items imagination, creative planning and a lot of forethought.

What is the goal in producing a technology rich curriculum? A learning yet interactive experience in which your students gain core knowledge, insight, new perspectives and new technological skills.

Go ahead, think outside the box. Your students will appreciate it.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Can Wii Come into the Classroom?

Wii. Wii. Wii. Quite the buzzword these days. But, what exactly is the “Wii” and how can we utilize it for learning? Both are very important questions and imagination has lead the way in providing the answers. According to the official Nintendo site, the Wii is a social gaming experience. That is a pretty high level description when you compare it to “regular” old school games like Frogger, Pac Man and anything Atari provided in the 80’s!

So far, the offerings from Wii are extremely impressive and are mainly geared towards just having a fun time. But, there is one new gaming experience, Wii Music, that may find a niche within music classrooms across the globe. It allows you to play (experience) over 60 different musical instruments.

Want to see it in action? Watch this video of a kindergarten class being officially introduced to Wii Music at school. Be sure to take note of how many kindergarteners were already very aware of what the Wii does... even before they began to interact! Further along in the video, the teachers even got a chance to play. Or, should we say learn?

You may click the image below to view the video

*Image/Video from the Nintendo and Wii websites.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Use the Chalk! is a web-based teacher community which provides lesson plans, activities, digital content, and professional development. This resource is free to teachers and students and requires a user account and password. Hotchalk offers TONS of videos and numerous lesson plans on just about everything including math, science, music, language arts, computers, physical education, social studies, etc.

What can you do right away on hotchalk… check out the section on digital content. Here is an awesome example of an interactive video… “Math Matters: Off-Road Algebra”... It shows students how mathematics is involved in everyday life. Don't forget to set up your free account to access the available resources. Use the chalk! Your students will enjoy it.