Category Archives: 21st Century Learning
10 Educational iPad Apps Recommended by Explore Knowledge Academy
EKA students as young as kindergartners use the iPad to learn traditional subjects in math, English, social studies, and science. (To read about their experience, click here.)
Here are the 10 iPad applications used by educators at the public charter school and recommended for other schools and families with iPads.
BrainPOP is a subscription-based application that brings 750 or more movies and quizzes in science, math, social studies, English, engineering, art, and health to the iPad. Users can watch an animated movie on a particular subject and then test their knowledge by taking an interactive quiz. The iPad application is free, but it costs between $1.99 and $6.99 per student, per month to access education materials.
Cell and Cell Structure
Cell and Cell Structure is a graphic application that teaches middle school students about cells, cell structure, and function. Users can view 3D interactive graphics on different cell types and parts, take quizzes to test their knowledge, and use flashcards to review and memorize information. Videos also give users a microscopic view of the cell. The app costs $2.99 in the App Store.
ConjuVerb is a foreign language application that allows students to look up more than 600 commonly used Spanish verbs and their conjugations. Quizzes and flashcards help students memorize and test their knowledge. It’s free in the App Store.
Dinopedia is a reference guide created by National Geographic for dinosaur connoisseurs. Students can look up more than 700 dinosaur types using the application and get audio pronunciations, vital statistics, size comparison, and videos about each of the dinosaurs. A visual table of contents and an interactive family tree allow students to quickly search for their favorite dinosaurs. It costs $4.99 in the App Store.
Discover is a reference application for the iPad that repurposes Wikipedia articles for the tablet user. It’s free in the App Store.
Math Bingo is an educational iPad game modeled after bingo. Elementary school students try to get five “Bingo Bugs” in a row by correctly answering math problems. Scores are determined by how fast students complete a game, and students are assessed a two-second penalty for every incorrect answer. It costs 99 cents in the App Store.
Math Drills is an educational application that tests up to 50 students in addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division. Students can use number lines, wooden blocks, facts, and hints to solve problems. Teachers can view an individual student’s scores and test history to see which concepts need to be reviewed. The app costs $1.99 in the App Store.
Penultimate is a handwriting and note-taking application for the iPad. Students can scribble notes on digital pages and sort them into notebooks. They can also import photos into the application and annotate them. It costs 99 cents in the App Store.
Scientific Graphic Calculator
Scientific Graphic Calculator is a math application for the iPad that allows students to solve math problems needing a scientific calculator or a graphing calculator. The application also contains a triangle solver, which solves for a missing side or angle in geometry problems. Students can also use a unit converter and a constants reference to complete math problems. It costs $1.99 in the App Store.
Word Wizard is a spelling application for the iPad that allows students to hear sounds of letters and words using an interactive alphabet. The application also provides a spelling quiz with more than 1,400 questions and answers. Elementary school students can tap on alphabetic or QWERTY keyboards. It costs $2.99 in the App Store.
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Would you still drive a car if it was the Ford Model T? No? Even if the paint was new and it had air conditioning? The answer would always be “no,” said one education reform expert, because no matter how much you spruce up an old model, there’s always a maximum capacity … and the same applies to education.
During the American Association of School Administrators’ National Conference on Education Julie Mathiesen, director of Technology & Innovation in Education (TIE), a professional development organization based in Rapid City, S.D., argued that the only way to achieve true education reform is to redesign student learning from class time to curriculum, and from teaching styles to learning spaces.
A key way to accomplish this reform, said Mathiesen, is to implement “Mass Customized Learning,” in which the instruction is tailored to each student’s needs and interests. And technology helps make this mass customization possible through personalized digital learning.
“The current Industrial Age system of education is working perfectly,” she said, “if you’re looking for 25 percent skilled and 75 percent unskilled students—[or] if you’re looking to have around one million students fail to graduate high school every year. We need to completely revamp the system.”
According to Mathiesen, the old way of learning doesn’t work anymore, because students are living in a world where they are no longer “told” how to think and don’t process and learn through “telling.” Instead, students learn by doing and by learning anytime, anywhere.
“One way to accomplish this is through the use of technology. I heard a great quote recently,” said Mathiesen, smiling: “‘The web and technology are setting out a great buffet of teaching and learning tools; however, most schools are just eating the napkins.’ If schools could learn about some of the great, free resources available, and learn how to engage students, true reform could start to take hold. We can’t keep simply tinkering with education.”
Along with the Model T reference, Mathiesen also discussed the book Finding Flow: The Psychology of Engagement with Everyday Life , by Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi.
According to the theory of “Flow,” there’s a boredom threshold and a challenge threshold. For example, we’re all skilled at clapping our hands but would find this too boring to do for fun. Like clapping hands, class activities can’t be based solely on skills—they have to be exciting and engaging as well.
Now take the example of knitting: People who knit like to apply skills to a challenging task to stimulate their mind. But if you say to those people, “You must knit a sweater and accomplish it all, perfectly, in one hour,” most will find it too challenging and quit.
“The classroom must be a place that balances both skill and engagement, and it can’t be limited to a time and place. One way to accomplish this engaging, successful, 24-7 learning environment is through customization that’s currently available through a number of resources,” said Mathiesen.
According to TIE, Mass Customized Learning (MCL) is described in this scenario: “What if every day, every learner came to school and was met with customized learning activities at his or her precise developmental and achievement level, was learning in his or her most effective learning style with content of interest, was challenged, was successful, and left school eager to come back tomorrow?”
An example of MCL can be seen in this video, which theorizes what a student’s MCL experience would look like:
Mathiesen also named a number of free online resources that educators can use to reach and engage their students. Examples include:
• iTunesU : K-12 curriculum videos are also included.
• Google Earth : It’s not just a map; it also includes activities such as looking at classical art in museums in Italy and mapping shark and whale migratory patterns, to name a few.
• Wolfram Alpha : A computational knowledge engine.
• Khan Academy : Free online lectures and videos.
• CK-12.org : These free online textbooks are also customizable and include many interactive components.
A full list of online resources and tools, as well as Mathiesen’s presentation, can be found on her TIE wiki page .
More information about TIE’s approach to MCL, including a rubric to get started, can be found in the book Inevitable: Mass Customized Learning, Learning in the Age of Empowerment, by Chuck Schwann and Beatrice McGarvey. Information can be found here .
TIE also is collaborating with the authors of this book to produce a field book of resources to support educational leaders in implementing MCL. A sample of resources from the soon-to-be published field book can be found here .
“Obviously, you can’t go into your school tomorrow and say, ‘OK, let’s implement MCL in one day,’”
Mathiesen said, “but you can start by identifying important content and skills today’s students need [and] determining how best students can learn these, by customizing content and by redefining space and time constraints.”
I absolutely LOVE this…
Here’s the post in its entirety…maybe we should have students reciting this everyday.
Educational Technology Bill of Rights for Students
by Brad Flickinger
The following are what I believe are the rights of all student to have with regards to using technology as an educational tool, written as a student to their teacher:
1) I have the right to use my own technology at school. I should not be forced to leave my new technology at home to use (in most cases) out-of-date school technology. If I can afford it, let me use it — you don’t need to buy me one. If I cannot afford it, please help me get one — I don’t mind working for it.
2) I have the right to access the school’s WiFi. Stop blaming bandwidth, security or whatever else — if I can get on WiFi at McDonalds, I think that I should be able to get online at school.
3) I have the right to submit digital artifacts that prove my understanding of a subject, regardless of whether or not my teacher knows what they are. Just because you have never heard of Prezi, Voki, or Glogster, doesn’t mean that I should not be able to use these tools to prove to you that I understand what you are teaching me.
4) I have the right to cite Wikipedia as one of the sources that I use to research a subject. Just because you believe the hype that Wikipedia is full of incorrect information, doesn’t mean that it is true — besides we all use it anyways (including you). I am smart enough to verify what I find online to be the truth.
5) I have the right to access social media at school. It is where we all live, it is how we communicate — we do not use email, or call each other. We use Facebook, Twitter and texting to talk to each other. Teachers and schools should take advantage of this and post announcements and assignments using social media — you will get better results.
6) I have the right to be taught by teachers who know how to manage the use technology in their classrooms. These teachers know when to use technology and when to put it away. They understand that I need to be taught how to balance my life between the online and offline worlds. They do not throw the techno-baby out with the bathwater.
7) I have the right to be taught by teachers who teach me and demand that I use 21st Century Skills. Someday I am going to need a job — please help me be employable.
8) I have the right to be accessed with technology. I love the instant feedback of testing done technology. I live in a world of instant feedback, so to find out a couple of week later that I didn’t understand your lesson, drive me crazy. If you were a video game, no one would play you — feedback is too slow.
9) I have the right to be protected from technology. I don’t want to be cyberbullied, hurt, scared or find crud online that I would rather not find. Please help me use technology responsibly and safely. Please stay up-to-date with this kind of information, and teach me to make good choices. I am not you and we don’t see eye to eye about what to put online, but help me to meet you in the middle.
10) I have the right to be taught by teachers that know their trade. They are passionate about what they do and embrace the use of technology to help me learn. They attend trainings and practice what they learn. They are not afraid to ask for my help; they might know more than me about the Civil War, but I know Glogster like nobody’s business.
This is a work in progress, please comment below on what to add or change.
Brad Flickinger is a technology integration specialist who teaches technology at Bethke Elementary in Timnath, Colorado and is the founder of SchoolTechnology.org