I have been using an Android TV for over a year now and use it frequently in class. From listening to audio books, reading books, sharing documents and photos, Google Drive, YouTube and the internet. This tiny device is small, and fast.
Unlike most PCs that require a start up and shut down, this box simply stays on all the time and can be used to show students information as soon as you require it. It is an incredible invention and has challenged the way I teach. I enjoy the fact that I can control my laptop through it, making everything easily accessible.
Imagine searching for your school and the returning web pages are no longer there. Instead you are given the option of multiple live video streams.broadcast live through the internet and streamed to your phone, tablet or laptop.
We have arrived in a time whereby the constraints of limited broadband speed and data caps are a thing of the past. Youtube makes no secret that it wants to open up millions of live streaming channels. No longer do you have to upload, you stream live to the net. Now comes the interesting part...
Picasa, Googles photo manager system uses facial recognition which then changes web searching even further.
Imagine searching for your childs name and the returning web pages are no longer there. Instead you are given the option of multiple live video streams from varying angles, broadcast live through the internet.
The future of this venture has certainly begun with websites such as klip, justin.tv, ustream ans youtube live. Just how far it goes is limitless but how far the government pushes it depends on who you vote for.
The application for this in the classroom is immense. Sitting with a group on the mat doing reading and across the room you can hear the story another group is listening to is too loud. Simply drag the volume control and you can turn it down so you can hear the students you are with.
Android@home (codenamed project tungstein) will be a huge leap in education. From here you can have speakers throughout the school and control it from any tablet with administration rights.
The students were invited to explore the device. Software such as Twitter, Blogger and Docs were installed on it. Immediately the students were mobile. Able to send photos and email their learning to anyone interested in hearing it. This authentic audience has certainly changed many students perception of learning. No longer are they writing for their teacher. They are writing for the entire world. That certainly is a very different course from the current mode of thinking.
What's next? Our goal is to have up to 5 tablets in every classroom. We won't be purchasing anything over $300 and will be using the Android system.
Uploading photos with only one click
Uploading video and editing it on Picasa
Uploading and updating home learning weekly
Providing a forum for students to converse in learning
We took the process one step further. By downloading a file of all student names, we allocated them with individual logins to google (using our own domain address). This has now opened a world of opportunity for our students. They are emailing their learning, creating newspapers, blogging, tweeting, uploading photos and creating a platform for their learning. The best thing of all is that Google provide this service for free. They charge businesses to use it but provide that same level of product to education facilities.
Being a computer administrator for the school, our next step is to enable Google Cloud Printing so teachers can print from anywhere in the world. Free.
The only sacrifice you make is allowing Google into your world, your likes, dislikes and your e-life. A small price to pay for those willing.
Enter the Chromebook. A small wifi-enabled laptop at a fraction of the price of other laptops. They are so compelling that a reporter in for The Daily Telegraph expects 10 percent of all laptops to be sold next year will be Chromebooks.
I believe that will be an astounding boost after only one year on the market. But it is the uptake from education that will certainly be worth more of a mention. Schools are stuck with old computers that run of different OS and CPU speeds. On the other hand, the Chromebook has a web-based desktop, taking you straight to your photos or videos you have stored online. If you want to add photos, simply insert the USB Flash Drive, and instantly the photos will be uploaded to Google Picasa Web Albums for the world to see. It is this innovation that doesn't stop when you buy the Chromebook. Updates are a thing of the past with webware: you simply receive the update by clicking onto your webpage and begin to use. I think Google is positioning itself perfectly as a leading provider for education in terms of both webware (Google Docs) and hardware. I just wish I had a Chromebook I could fit in my pocket. Oh wait! I do, and it's called my android phone.
Recently I have dabbled in using web2.0 tools such has wallwisher, voicethread, gcast, google docs and apps, worldTV, ispring and glogster...wait! I am speaking english still! These tools are simply good websites I recommend you visit and let your students simply explore. Why? Well it is a simple answer and a complicated one at the same time. Answer 1: They're paving the way for a revolution beyond the classroom walls. Answer 2: These web2.0 tools (I'll just called them websites from now one) are connected to others all over the world and can be used to learn, communicate, debate, collaborate and infuse knowledge between one class and culture together.
An example of this is the website 'collaborative classroom' which has been set up to allow other classes to explore and understand other classrooms; either within the same neighbourhood, of further away in other planets.
Testing students can take a relatively long time from the delivery of the test, marking and analysis of the results. With e-asTTle making inroads, how can we best shape tests for ourselves and create them across the curriculum areas? Is is really possible to get significant data and analyse it within 10 minutes? The answer is yes: read on.
A website that enables the teacher to create a test, set parameters like the amount of time allowed to complete the test and initiate it to the children has been created and is guaranteed to be 100% free in the future.
This web 2.0 site is called that thatquiz.org. This website markets itself as 'The most accessible math test resource on the web today with over 6 million graded exams to date and over 300,000 participating students.' Certainly a large number of test papers to mark by any account!
The websites belief is simple and straight to the point: 'What we don't believe in: Games, advertising, fees, spam or gimmicks.'
So, how does it work? Firstly you can begin with two options. Create your own test from scratch or load up a test someone else has written, change it around a bit and then give it to your class. Each child has a login and can set their own password. Since you are the administrator, you can reset these or set your own password for the children.
Once the quiz has been accepted, the student can then go through it and complete the questions. Finally, a summary mark is given and you have the opportunity to see which questions they got wrong also. This can be conveniently emailed to anyone and the results can be exported to Excel for closer analysis.
To truly see the simplicity of the tests, Hadleigh Benson administered a number of tests within mathematics. Each quiz was 20 questions and had a time limit of 6 minutes. The quizzes were on: time (analogue), multiplication, division, addition, subtraction, fractions, graphing, place value, measurement, decimals, and inequality.
Once the entire class had completed the tests which occurred over the two week test period. The results were clear to see. Each student was conferenced on their area of weakness and strength, and what they needed to do in order to learn new mathematical skills.
The results were extraordinary, the data provided by these tests were exactly what a teacher needs. They are short tests in length and provide the next steps for the student in their learning. Along with individual results, the graphs provide in-depth analysis of the class or group learning needs and what areas need to be taught more than others.
Further research needs to include the same tests administered over time, from the beginning of the year, to a mid year and end of year test. These results should then be analysed in order to see how the shift in student knowledge has progressed.
The posts are lining up and falling gradually into place. The juggernaut of the computing industry is positioning itself to supersede any other operating system and computer we have seen to date. Google's ambitious move to create a 'cloud computer' that is cut price web based computer will shake computing to its core.
According to industry writer and former executive editor of the Harvard Business Review Nicholas G. Carr in his new book "The Big Switch: Rewiring the World, from Edison to Google." He hypothesised applications and files would be stored on a large, centralised supercomputer whereby users log in and save their files to this supercomputer.
Imagine a computer with no hard drive, no CD drive and therefore no major moving parts. Now imagine a computer that simply connects to the internet, is never required to be turned off (in fact there is no off button) and will never need updated because the Operating System is non existent. How could it be used? Has this been done already? The answers are "yes" and "yes!". Take the idea from Live Kiosk which has created a computer that doesn't require a hard drive and instead uses the CD Drive to create an Operating System that simply loads up one fundamental piece of software: Internet Explorer (it will actually be Google Chrome).
Now you have the makings of an extremely cheap 'computer' that is always connected to the internet. By using the plethora of Google applications that are web based you can then have a computer for less than NZ$300. The most incredible thing is that is won't need updating, repairing or any maintainance, just a screen, small box, keyboard and mouse. With this function Google will win the race and illiminate all other opponence by simply not allowing any other viable option.
Google has created the initial Operating System set to rock computing to the core. It is in the form of the Google Andriod OS. Although initially it will be for mobile phones. It makes a great platform for launching a computer that will be (if you want) as small as a mobile phone. Development is in its early stages but the refining is continuing on the gOS.
Although this will take time, the writing is on the wall as discussed by the Google President in this interview. This phenomenom has been discussed for years now, but it has taken Google time to complete all the chapters in the book. Each chapter represents a replacement for Hard Drive software applications, for example: Word, Powerpoint is now Google Docs. Has this started? The posts are in place, just the cement has not set.
Put simply Google applications allow many pieces of the Office Suite to ‘talk’ to each other. What is meant by that is the fact that a student can have on his/her own blog within Google apps a plethora of learning throughout the year. Sounds like an e-portfolio of learning? Precisely what it is and now the ability is there for the learning to follow the student throughout their education.
Google applications consist of Powerpoint (simply titled presentations), Excel (spreadsheet), Word (write) and now Forms. The Forms have been added as an extension of the spreadsheet. Forms enables a student to create a questionnaire online for other people to answer. It can be closed of open questions and the results it provides are enormous.
Forms have the ability to collate, analyse, graph and comment on the data enabling a student to quickly see responses to questions and generate some generalisations about the data.
Simple forms can be created during statistical investigations like “What is your favourite colour?” to more in-depth questions asking the students to reflect on their home-learning this week or review the latest book they have read.
Google Applications is more than a traditional suite. It is freeware, web2.0 (web based and no need to upgrade any software) collaborative and more importantly offers a package that can ‘talk’ to all the other applications as well.
Further research into the Google applications should be made into the effectiveness of statistical teaching and learning for students to conclude if the data and results the application produces can enhance students’ minds and understandings.
These two games enable the user (student) to hold a guitar, drum kit, microphone or bass guitar and play the notes as they roll down the screen. This links directly to the New Zealand Curriculum Level 2 objectives to share sound making using basic music performance skills and techniques.
These techniques include using this system of performance in a competitive nature between classmates, inter class competition and inter school competition. What is missing in today’s learning environment? In order to create this form of competition and involve as many students as possible the only thing lacking is a second set of instruments and a second projector.
With this enabled you would have a total of eight participants, and within only 4 rotations the entire class would have participated.
Recent observations in the classroom of only one guitar and projection resulted in a total of 24 out of 27 students actively observing the projection and acquiring an understanding of the game’s task.
Further research should include the link between this type of game play and the ability to cross-over into playing traditional instruments to see if the cross-over makes learning the new instrument more straightforward and simpler.
Teachers should remain aware that technology is not just about having computers in the classroom but in fact having a myriad of other technologies at hand. Old technologies have there place too, including the analogue clock, tape deck stereo system, VHS video player, and typewriter.
In order for students to understand the world they are currently living in, it is vital they understand the world that once was and these aged technologies have a place in educating students about the changes in technology.
Although some classes have these dated technologies, they aren’t fully being utilised and realised for their true potential. Stereo decks are fantastic learning tools for use during independent reading. Students can use pre-recorded School Journal articles and use them in order to enhance their listening comprehension.
VHS video players offer a plethora of videos relating to current topics and provide back catalogue videos not yet converted to DVD or Blu-ray. The typewriter can be used as a publishing tool and provide insight into its use before the advent of the modern computer- guiding students toward an understanding of the purpose of the QWERTY keyboard layout.
Technology is continuously being updated and refined; it is up to the educationalists to provide hands-on pieces of equipment that offer insights into the period of time when that certain piece of equipment was in main stream use. Instead of letting these gather dust, we should be upskilling our students on how we once used these technologies.
Sketchup offers a 3 dimensional learning environment that can aide students within integrated learning areas. Sketchup has been trialled within the classroom for a number lessons and it has become evident that this teaching tool fits within Inquiry Learning, English, mathematics, and Social Studies.
Further trials of Sketchup revealed an enhanced interest and motivation towards the areas of Mathematics and Social Studies. During the Inquiry Learning process Sketchup has been used to enhance and consolidate childrens’ learning about cultures.
The children were asked to consider the enduring question throughout the entire Inquiry Process: ‘ By looking at what other countries and cultures do, how are they different and similar to ours?’
The trial of utilising Sketchup with the students included five 12 year olds and two 9 year olds. Data collected after the activity was complete during discussions included student comments that ‘learning was fun, motivating and interesting’. Students wanted to learn more because they were using a tool that looked like they were ‘making a movie’.
Students were taught about foreign countries in a whole class teaching method, namely South Korea, China and New Zealand kiwiana. In order to promote learning within the classroom students were then directed to select a culture of choice for study.
The application has been used widely by classroom students to recreate the Great Pyramids of Giza and the Great Wall of China. Information was then inserted into the project and after using research processes.
Sketchup has been promoted by Google as a tool essential to learning in classrooms; however the promotion is more directed towards purchasing the Pro version.
Further trials should look towards using the Google Pro version for education and compare and contrast the differences between the freeware programme and the Pro package.
Web 2.0 and its ability to challenge the way we install and hold software on our computers is turning computers on their heads. Traditionally a Mac was a Mac and a PC was a PC but all that is changing.
If you have a computer you will be well aware of whether it is operating on Windows or Mac Operating Systems. But they can both access the internet and the advent of Web2.0 has very quietly challenged our understanding and blurred the lines between what computer you have and use.
This synergy has been grasped by companies such as Google and Yahoo to name a few, who offer documents, presentations, photos and videos to be stored on their servers. This has now enabled students to simply click on a website, upload their learning and view it both at home and at school.
Simple online programmes coined webware like scrbl, tutpup, mind42, Google Apps, voicethread, grogster, and blogging have removed the need to install and continually upgrade this software at a nominal fee.
For marketing companies, this is the perfect weapon when faced with a David and Goliath battle. The need for creating DVDs and placing your software in shops to be purchased by consumers has been reduced because they can market their product simply by word of mouth.
The quiet unfolding revolution that is occurring at the exact same time is the fact that because of these webware tools being created more and more every single day the notion of asking which OS you use is becoming more and more redundant. The difference is simply a click of a button and the rest is equivalent.
An alliance has been formed and the battle lines are drawn, computers and televisions are becoming obsolete due to the fact that they do the same thing and their isn’t enough room for the both of us.
Televisions provide media that are interactive, play movies, music, deliver news, contain millions of colours, have sound and video, inform, entertain, communicate and motivate we as educationalists. Sounds familiar? Computers do the exact same function.
So the two are facing each other and have reached a crossroads, but on this road there isn’t enough room for one to pass the other. Like a cataclysmic event similar to the LHC the synergy is prophesised and the light is beaming on a CompuTVe, also known as a TV and Computer in one.
People will not be concerned about where the television is beaming in from, but it will continually be evident it will be streamed in on the copper wires instead of SKY or digital satellite.
When you sit down stare at your TV and relish the idea that although it may be the latest HD flat widescreen TV, its days were numbered the moment you purchased it without internet access. The CompuTVe will pause movies when someone is ringing you on Skype, play music and do everything you wanted from your computer and TV.
What does this mean for education? Much of a muchness really, the added fact will be that teachers will truly be able to watch streamed events as they happen without looking very far for it.
Take for instance cabling a school. The Ministry standard is Cat5e which can obtain speeds of up to 155 Mbit/s, Cat6a cabling is capable of 10 Gbit/s and Fibre Optics can achieve an amazing 111 Gb/s speed. The dilemma for Principals and Board of Trustees is when to make the jump and purchase these expensive infrastructural requirements.
Likewise, the purchasing of computers is also another dilemma with the same root cause: planned obsolescence. What should we do in order to maintain the highest quality products that will enhance our students’ abilities with ICT?
There are two main options on the table, leasing and purchasing computers. By leasing the computers it takes away the need for a ‘repairperson’ when the computer hardware fails, but it can be costly to lease them also.
Purchasing computers give opportunity to the school to maintain and hold these computers well after their use by date when they seem to morph into a relic from an Ancient Egyptian tomb.
Either options are win situations for companies that provide the computers, but there are new emerging technologies that can enable schools to have their cake and eat it also.
Macedonia is the first country in the world to have 1 computer for every child. They have used the ncomputing's technology to essentially transform 1 computer into 4 with minimal cost and extended its ability to the limits.
Although it may sound like a fat or thin client, the technology behind it is similar but different also. Upon installing the circuit board into the computer and plugging in the cables and box the computer is then sent and instruction to share itself a little more.
If you have ever seen two screen on one computer, this uses the same technology and ‘fools’ the computer into thinking it has 4 screens, the only difference is that these four screens allow different logins, different programmes to load and stream videos simultaneously.
How could school maximise their returns? In order to understand this expenditure it should be understood that in the best interests of the children and school these ideas will benefit stakeholders now and well into the future.
The key is that the xtendas do not have any moving parts thus making them highly unlikely to break down, use far less power compared to having 4 computers, require no upgrading, no power socket and no internet cable.
If schools were to lease the main computer and purchase the xtendas then the school would continually have the latest computers and best technology in the country instead of being left with relics from Ancient Egypt gathering dust.
For Principals and Board of Trustee members alike the moral decision needs to be made, purchase computers and place them into the school until they are archaic or lease computers and purchase the xtendas so when we upgrade the leased computers the xtendas will automatically follow suit and be upgraded to the latest OS and highly specified computer. If we can do this our teaching of technology could be twice as fast and certainly twice as better.
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