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Posted by on in Education Technology

hammer-tusk-79755-unsplash.jpg

The world of reality has its limits; the world of imagination is boundless. - Jean Jacques Rousseau

We say "a picture is worth a thousand words" and then ask our students to imagine things they cannot see.

In chemistry, we show two-dimensional representations of atoms, create crude drawings of molecules on classroom boards, and use abstract notations to show where the electrons are. We constantly look for videos - some better than others - to show things and processes so small terms such as "nanotechnology" were invented to classify them. As technology miniaturization becomes more extensive the understanding of it becomes more paramount. But how can we make learning of such concepts more real, more vivid, and more effective?

Virtual reality.

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Posted by on in Education Technology

Devices in classrooms can empower students when used effectively. But how do teachers know if they are integrating technology effectively? Here are questions to ask about time that help teachers use effectively integrate technology. 

What percentage of time are students in creative apps such as Synth, Tour Creator, ThingLinkJamboardCanvaFlipgrid, Google My Maps, Google Sites, etc? What percentage of time are students in Google Docs or a word-processing tool?

What percentage of time are students consuming from self-paced interactive tools such as video paired with EdPuzzleDesmos, Google My Maps, Google EarthThingLink, Google Expeditions, etc? What percentage of time are students learning from the teacher and a slideshow?

What percentage of time are teachers speaking to students one-to-one or in groups of five or fewer? What percentage of time are teachers lecturing to the whole class or not speaking at all?

The more a teacher increases the percentage in the first question and decreases it in the second question - the more effectively they are integrating technology.

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Posted by on in Education Technology

instant pot

The Instant Pot I received for Christmas this past year sat for a few months before I even thought about using it. My wife would remind me frequently we had it and that I should try it (I do all the cooking in the house. She does all the laundry. Fair trade-off). When she would encourage me to use our new cooking gadget, I looked at her and our Instant Pot with a little disdain. I felt my cooking was pretty good, and besides I already had my go to Pioneer Woman dinners that couldn't be beat. So I was always a bit insulted when the Instant Pot was referenced in my house, as I felt not only was my cooking being insulted but so was the Pioneer Woman herself, Ree Drummond.

Then one night in late January it all started to change. I came home late from work to find my wife using the Instant Pot! I have to admit, the meal she cooked was pretty good, but secretively I was a little upset. I was not about to let her one-up me with the use of the Instant Pot, so I began searching for and trying out some recipes for it. I tried some baby back ribs, some roasts, some chicken and all were a complete disaster. I ruined the dinners and meat altogether and was disgusted with the Instant Pot, my dinners, and more than anything, myself. So I went back to my Pioneer Woman dinners.

Yet there was still that part of me that would not let me be one-upped by my wife and the Instant Pot itself. So I started reading the instruction manual more carefully and watching a few YouTube videos to find out where I was going wrong. It turned out that I was not letting the Instant Pot preheat enough for its timer to begin properly. I was using my own, separate timer. I didn't understand the preheating process enough or at all really, which lead to instant failures for my dinners. But once I figured out why I was failing, I started making some pretty terrific Instant Pot meals. My favorite so far has been the gumbo. Not too spicy, not too dull. And in the words of Mr. Food, "It's umm so good."

I look at my learning experiences/failures with the Instant Pot in a very similar way of being faced with something new in the classroom. At first, I might feel a little insulted, then when others begin and start to have some success, I feel some pressure not to be one-upped. So I try the new tool or technique out and it's pretty rough. Lessons don't go so well. So I go back to what has worked all along. But when I am honest with myself, I know those I'm "serving" want something new, even though they like my old stuff, they also want a little taste of something new. So because of them and my own desire to master that new tool or technique, I start to learn more about it and try it again until I have success.

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Posted by on in Education Technology

We may have come a long way since the days of filling the blackboard with Latin declensions, but the field of formal language teaching and learning is still relatively young. The demand for language instruction is surging: the British Council anticipates two billion people studying English by 2020—and that’s just English. While this field is growing dramatically, technology is changing nearly every industry out there, so without a doubt, technology will dramatically reshape what language learning looks like within our lifetime. Let’s take a look at some emerging technologies with the potential to transform the language-learning industry.

 

Immersive Video

Virtual reality—like other items on this list—first debuted decades ago, but back then it was a hefty investment in a clunky headset, cord-bound to a CPU that would transport you to a digital world of wonder. Or if not wonder, at least a world of pixelated polygons. Today, things are different: our iPhones pack all the necessary tech components—magnetometer, gyroscope, etc.—and Facebook’s 360 Videos and YouTube 360 put actual VR (now often called “immersive video”) into our pockets and onto our feeds.

 

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Posted by on in Education Technology
sock puppet
The 2017 YouTube video #Socialnomics has recently reported that we are preparing almost 30% of students for jobs that don’t exist yet.  I’ve always wondered what kind of jobs they could be.  Sadly, we are learning about them in today’s times.

I was exposed to three new terms this year that didn’t exist years ago:

Click Barns

Sock Puppeting

Troll Factories

For those that don’t know about these, I wanted to share them, as these terms are creeping into education practices, but have been more prevalent in politics and news.Ever wonder how something gets so many website hits or how it’s ‘liked’ by so many people? Look no further than a click farm. Click farms are offices/apartments that house hundreds of cell phones and thousands of SIM cards.  People and/or businesses that are looking to have search terms rise or fall can get click farms to change how you view products or people. Knowing that 90% of people do no go past the first page when a google search is conducted (Wressics, 2016), “pushing down” a search term is easier than ever.  Here’s the catch – it’s illegal; you’re manipulating data to reflect a false impression.  There are people now dedicated to finding the patterns of this practice and working with police to eliminate them100%; vertical-align: middle; clear: both; display: block; margin-left: auto; margin-rIf you ever watched the Showtime television series Homeland, you heard about sock puppets in the 2016 season.  Sock puppets are groups of people hired to create accounts (like the click farms above) of every rang of social media known to us as we know it, and then comment on various articles, news websites, blogs, and other topics to boost a search topic or sway an image. This may sound familiar, as Russia has been accused of doing this to sway the 2016 presidential election. You can watch sock puppets in action by clicking here.

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