Tuesday, June 28, 2011
Special Assignment 2
1. For Special Assignment 2, we were asked to review three collections that have been put into place to allow educators and students an opportunity to post their lectures for future reference. These are completely free of charge. These tools can be a great asset to all learners, especially for students with disabilities. The first of the collections is found at Kahn Academy. Kahn Academy is a not-for-profit organization that is in the business of bringing knowledge to anyone anywhere. Kahn Academy has an extensive library of video lectures, practice exercises and assessments. Another site that we were asked to look at is iTunes U, brought to you by Apple. This is a place that universities can upload all of their digital content into the iTunes Store for the public, which can be easily downloaded. TED is another site that brings together a world of technology, entertainment, and design. Their goal is to spread ideas and allow for people from all walks of life to form a deeper understanding of the world.
2. Collections found at Kahn Academy range from K-12 math, biology, chemistry, physics, finance and history. In these collections you will find a number of tools. Some of these tools are: videos, practice assessments, a stats report, a knowledge map, and a summary of the classroom performance as a whole. The videos are one of the first tools here for learning. You can then move on to a practice assessment to learn at your own pace. By using the knowledge map, you can start anywhere you want and the program will make suggestions as to whether or not you to review or where you should move on to next. The summary report enables teachers and coaches an opportunity to see where their students rank amongst their peers. It gives a true account of their progress.
At iTunes U, they are allowing an opportunity for learning to happen anywhere at any time. By allowing universities to upload their lectures, it also makes it easier for the instructors. They no longer have to keep repeating themselves. It’s also great for sharing other types of content — including slideshows, PDFs, books, films, exhibit tours, and audiobooks. Once their university creates their account the instructors can immediately upload - lectures, lab demonstrations, historical footage, and whatever else they choose to help bring their subjects to life. It has a simple set up, controlled content, public access, and offers internal access for enrolled students.
TED is another non-profit site that collaborates information from the three worlds of technology, entertainment and design. The concepts behind this site it to spread information. They also refer to it as a global community. There are numerous amounts of videos that consist of certain themes, talks and speeches from a vast amount of people. What a great tool to use if you are a visual and auditory learner. The site organizes all of the topics and you can view videos that are anywhere from the most recent to the most viewed.
3. Simple Equations is a video that I watched at Kahn Academy. Since I am not a math whiz, I thought it would be best to watch the simplest of instruction. The instructor went over step-by-step instruction of solving equations. To be honest, it brought back things I had learned in the past about this subject. I think that this is a site that will be extremely helpful to me next semester when I am taking Finite Math. To me, numbers and letters don’t mix well, so I will definitely visit this site in the next few months.
When I visited iTunes U, I first wanted to search English/Language Arts, since that is what I want to teach. I was overwhelmed with what I found. There is so much information out there. I listened to this podcast. What a useful tool! I find this to be very helpful since it has been 14 years since I have taken an English course. This gives me the opportunity to take a free refresher course. I do have an iPhone4 and I will definitely be visiting iTunesU for more podcasts and lectures. I can't wait to discover what else is out there.
At the TED site, I watched the video Adora Svitak: What adults can learn from kids. Wow! This kid has made a fantastic point! She is right on point with what Dr. Strange is trying to get across to us in EDM310. We can learn so much from children. She says that learning between grown-ups and kids should be reciprocal and that it has a lot to do with trust, or the lack of it. This reminds me of Rafe Esquith’s philosophy in his book, Teach Like Your Hair’s on Fire. Adora states that kids need the opportunity to lead and succeed. I really enjoyed this video and am looking forward to looking at more.
4. I am not sure if Kahn Academy will be effective in my classroom since I will be teaching English/Language Arts. This site is catered more toward math and science. It is definitely something that I will keep in mind and be sure to inform my students that it is out there. I can see that iTunes U will be effective. I can explain to my students what it has to offer and that they can listen anytime, anywhere, and get ahead with their studies. This could be used to give someone a sneak peek at what a course may be about before they register for a class. Being able to access lectures, lab demonstrations, historical footage from my iPod or iPhone will surely be helpful. My students would greatly benefit from this because they will be able to listen or view a lecture anywhere, any time. I have to say that my favorite was TED. I think that the videos are something that I would be able to show in class to inspire my students to be great writers. This is a tool that would be helpful in demonstrating what other people are doing across the globe.
5. This assignment has not surprised me the least bit. Dr. Strange is continuously trying to find new resources to introduce to us. I appreciate this. By having us play around with the sites and experience them a little, it will only make us better teachers. By being able to learn for free anytime, anywhere will surely give us a leg up. I have learned so much from these sites and will use them in the future.