This edition of the 2-Minute Tech Challenge is all about a great and often ignored tool that is on most teachers’ desktops: iTunes. Specifically, it’s about iTunesU, which is an amazing collection of lessons, lectures, demonstrations, and other resources on just about any and every topic imaginable. Elementary teachers can find math lessons on basic addition, for instance, while calculus teachers can take advantage of a large selection of lessons on math topics that might as well be in Martian to me. Seriously, it is an outstanding resource, and one that every teacher and student should explore.
And that is it–probably as easy as a 2-Minute Tech Challenge will ever get. Just post the title of the podcast/lesson you found in the comments and tell us why it interests you.
One more point I should make here is that Apple has created some great tools to allow teachers to put their content on iTunesU. If you’re a Seguin teacher who is interested in exploring how to do this, please get in touch with me, and we will make it happen. Have a great week!
One of the most under-utilized aspects of the evolution of today’s Internet resources within the education field is its ability to empower teachers, administrators, and parents to create highly personalized, up to date opportunities for professional learning. Time and money restrictions have reduced the opportunities for those educators in many schools and districts to take days away from the classroom to sharpen their skills or learn of the latest research. As such, we have an increasing responsibility to take matters into our own hands. Fortunately, there are countless resources available today to educators who desire to grow in their knowledge and skills. Even more fortunately, these resources can be accessed for free and in forms that save precious instructional time, being available 24/7 to anyone with an Internet-connected device. The following are just a few tools that are available to get started.
Online journals. Journals are a valuable tool for professional learning, as they provide insights into what is happening in the educational research field. While many academic journals require often substantial subscription costs, the number and quality of free, online journals has grown substantially in recent years. For example, SAGE Education News offers free access to some of their most read journal articles. ASCD offers free online articles from their International Journal of Education Policy and Leadership. The Education Research Global Observatory has a great list of open access journals covering almost every aspect of education.
YouTube. Far from being solely the domain of talking dogs or tragic skateboarding mishaps, YouTube has thousands of educational videos that deal with current issues in the field or provide quick opportunities to learn new skills. Educational professional development companies, such as Simple K-12 (educational technology) or Kagan Professional Development (cooperative learning) have channels where educators can get a quick professional development session and free access to training that might incur significant costs if attended in person. Countless video tutorials are available to learn any technology tool or classroom skill imaginable, as well.
Podcasts. Podcasts are a great way to take professional learning on the road. In either audio or video formats, podcasts allow educators to learn about current trends and hear from some of the best leaders in our field via mobile devices, such as smart phones or tablet computers. This type of professional development has become a favorite of mine, as I can sneak in an episode on a trip between campuses or to the grocery store. A few good examples to get started include TEDTalks Education, Moving at the Speed of Creativity, Teaching With Smartboard, and the November Learning Podcast Series. All are free and available on iTunes.
Twitter. While certainly filled with mundane or simply entertaining content, Twitter remains a powerful resources for connecting to other practitioners in our field. A good way to get started is by creating an account and following educators who are recognized as excellent sources of educational information. Lists of good educators to follow are here, here, and here (Word doc–also includes some great tips). Once following, get in the mix and participate in the conversations being held and don’t hesitate to ask questions. Learn how to use hashtags (e.g. #edchat, #edtech, #edreform) to help you filter through topics to find just what you need.
Free online newsletters. Numerous examples of these exist. You just find the sign up link and set your preferences, and updates are emailed to you daily, weekly, or monthly. Currently, I use SmartBrief to get updates on EdTech and ASCD. eSchool News is another I subscribe to that gives updates on issues and research in education. Tech & Learning has been a long-time resource, with blog posts, how-to articles, and more in the field of educational technology. Edudemic has articles covering a wide range of educational issues, technology, and more from kindergarten through university level.
So far, 18 teachers and administrators have participated–a great start! Today’s challenge focused on podcasts. Specifically, it focuses on the iTunes tool and its vast library of free, educational podcasts. When you complete the Challenge, be sure to leave a comment here or on the video site and tell everyone what podcast(s) you subscribed to. If you can’t view the video below, click on this link. Thanks, and have fun!
Oh, one more thing. If you missed out on either of the first two 12 Second Challenges, please don’t hesitate to go back and catch up. There is no due date, other than for the prize drawings, which will occur late in the spring, so feel free to join in!
I have had to do several projects involving putting together examples of Web 2.0 use in our district in the past couple of weeks. I thought I would share a small sampling of them here. They might inspire others to give some of the tools a try.
Talented Texans–elementary students sharing writing. Student interaction is constructive and congenial.
History Rocks–high school students discuss social studies topics. Some really good debates in here!
Miss Ross–elementary teacher’s blog used as class portal. Lots of useful resources, such as curriculum information, calendars, instructional videos, etc.
Team Simmons–another elementary teacher’s homesite. Uses home page to facilitate literature discussions.
Marvelous Math–elementary blog used as extension of in-class math lessons and assignments. Students solve weekly problems.
Raider Nation–principal’s blog, used to share campus news and facilitate discussions for book studies and other topics.
Reading Is Fun–wiki created and maintained by middle school, pre-AP reading class. Includes book talks, image gallery, discussion board, and more.
ACFT Science Lab—huge wiki filled with teacher and student-created resources, including photo essay on silk worm moths, student video productions, more. Also includes useful page of student use guidelines.
Tech ALT–wiki set up to record and share work of district English/Language Arts teachers trying new technologies in their instruction.
Ram Science–class wiki for 6th grade science class. Includes variety of resources, including calendar, motivational quotes, Sketchcast shows, more.
Readers Theater–elementary students’ stories share in readers theater style.
Mr. Winans–student-created daily news/announcements podcast.
Homework Hotline–elementary class podcast details the day’s homework assignment.
Student video projects:
I have to admit, I was actually very taken aback by the degree to which the read/write web has been implemented into the curriculum of our district (This has only been a part of the conversation for a year-and-a-half!). I had only viewed it through the narrow perspective of the three campuses I have been primarily serving, and this was the first time I had truly gotten a glimpse of the big picture. Teachers and students alike have created some amazing content. The fire is definitely burning, and it should erupt into a full-fledged blaze next school year!