There’s nothing like a good history museum. Interactive displays. Interesting artifacts. Knowledgeable docents. Done well, a museum visit is not just a good time but can be an incredible learning experience.
That’s sort of the point, isn’t it? Especially if I’m a classroom teacher. Having students connect with evidence and explore possible theories in an environment specifically designed to support learning is something we all want for our kids.
And most history museums work very hard to find ways to get teachers and students into their buildings. The artifacts are there. The docents are there. The resources are there.
But more and more school districts are struggling to fund off-site field trips to history museums. Subs, entrance fees, fuel costs all add to make it difficult to get kids from schools into places like the Kansas History Museum. And so many museums, have been forced to develop a variety of tools that attempt to replicate actual visits.
They create and ship out traveling trunks. Create and post lesson plans online. use photos and videos to give a sense of artifacts and displays. Many museums are experimenting with online chats using Skype or Google Hangout.
Museum and Education Director Mary Madden and her staff at the Kansas Museum of History have done all of that. Their Traveling Trunks are very cool. The Read Kansas cards are a great example of practical and aligned lesson plans that focus on literacy and social studies.
But two days ago, Mary stepped into a whole new world. Together with Curriculum Specialist Marcia Fox, Mary led Read more
Some of them are low tech. Some are more sophisticated. Some are mobile apps. Some are not. Some are completely free. Some start free and allow for upgrades. None of them are silver bullets. None of them are going to save the world.
But I think we need to be using them more. These eight tools, and others like them, can change how we teach and how students learn. And I think any tool that does that – whether it’s paper and pencil or a mobile app – is a good thing.
In a recent article over at Huffinton Post, Dylan Arena, Ph.D., co-founder and chief learning scientist at Kidaptive states that
Technology by itself will almost never change education. The only way to change educational practices is to change the beliefs and values of teachers, administrators, parents and other educational stakeholders–and that’s a cultural issue, not a technological one . . . It’s about processes and people rather than bits and bytes.
These eight tools seem particularly effective at encouraging and supporting literacy skills. I’ve talked about many of these before but I think when they are clumped together, they become especially powerful in helping kids read and write in new and impactful ways.
There has been, and continues to be, a lot of conversation about reading, writing, and communicating skills. When I get to be a part of those conversations, I share the following lists with social studies folks. Pretty sure they’ll work across a lot of other content areas as well. Read more
Several months ago at Podstock 2014, we spent most of an afternoon working on iPad and Tech Integration Challenges. An iPad or Tech Integration Challenge is basically a do it yourself tutorial that walks people through the process of learning a specific tool or app.
We had a ton of fun. We demo-ed a few tools, brainstormed possible integration strategies in small groups, and then folks fanned out and learned new stuff. And created new products. And came up with a host of new integration ideas.
Since then, I’ve had the chance to create a few more challenges and use them with a few more people. And it’s always a good time. People get the chance to learn at their own pace. To pick and choose what they learn. And to figure stuff out by themselves or in small groups.
I’d like to share seven of my latest iPad and Tech Integration Challenges.
Yeah, I know. Not the most engaging title. But it’s been a busy day so . . . just a little brain dead.
But not so dead that I can’t appreciate the coolness of the latest update from Google. Back in the day of the first iPad and even into the iPad 2, Google Docs wasn’t really an option. Stuff didn’t work well on the browser version and there wasn’t an usable app. But over time, you just knew Google would step it up.
And with the move from Google Docs to Google Drive and separate apps form Docs, Sheets, and Slides, Google is truly back in business on mobile devices. Yesterday, they added the Slides app to the iTunes App Store so that iPad and iPhone users now have access to all of the Google Drive Big Three. (You Android folks have had this for a few weeks.)
With the launch of the Slides app for iPhone & iPad and updates to the Docs and Sheets apps, they’re delivering on an earlier promise to make it possible for you to work with any file, on any device, any time.
Here’s the skinny from the Google folks on the latest update:
It’s a Monday, it’s summer, and my brain is still working to wake up. So much of what you’ll read below is from an official Apple press release concerning the recent update to the mobile iTunes U app.
My own words on the subject?
If you have Apple devices in your building, you need to be using iTunes U as an instructional and learning tool. It’s a great way to push content out to students and, now with the recent update, pul content in from kids.
iTunes U – together with the free iTunes U Course Manager – helps you create courses including lectures, assignments, books, quizzes and more for your face-to-face students as well as students outside your classroom. With over 750,000 individual learning materials available on the iTunes U app, iTunes U is the world’s largest online catalog of free educational content from top schools and prominent organizations. You can access the work from thousands of educational institutions hosting over 7,500 public courses.
The new in-app updates Read more
I get the chance to spend a lot of my time working with Apple products and how they can be integrated into instruction. This means, obviously, I also get the chance to work with lots of educators who are looking for just the right tool and just the right app. And we always memorize together the mantra – “it’s not about the app, it’s about what kids do with the app. It’s not about the app, it’s about what kids do with the app.”
But there is still a need to know what sorts of things are out there. So today, seven of my favorite places to go to find just the right tool for what you want kids to do. Read more