Sunday, February 26, 2012

(My Diigo Notes) Study touts benefits of a "wired" classroom

  • tags: research
    • The 40-year retrospective study, published in the Review of Educational Research journal, concluded that classrooms where computer technology was used to support teaching had a "small to moderate positive" effect on learning and attitude.
    • The literature shows that more recent, sophisticated applications of the technology produce greater positive gains than older applications, he said.
    • "There were many studies that said that it actually had a negative impact. But the preponderance of evidence suggests that it has a positive impact," said Schmid.
    • In a followup study now under way, Concordia researchers are looking not so much at whether computer technology in the classroom has a positive effect, but under what circumstances positive effects are observed.
    • If the technology is used solely as a content provider — for example, if iPads are used as alternatives to books — then there won't be any positive change, he said.
    • The researchers' preliminary analyses show that things such as PowerPoint presentations don't have much effect on student learning or attitude, Schmid said
    • "Where technology does have a positive impact is when it actively engages students, when it's used as a communication tool, when it's used for things like simulations or games that enable students to actively manipulate the environment."
    • Herzliah has been piloting a digital/human exam reader in Grades 7 and 8, an iPad application that the Jewish day school adapted for its needs.

      Students who are auditory learners — who do better when things are read to them — can use the iPad to listen to exam questions. The questions are read into the computer tablet by staff members.
    • Students said the process made them more independent in exam writing, Grumberg said. And by using headphones, they were able to block out external noise, allowing them to focus better on the test.
Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.

Classroom audio recording is a Cinch

Update: and it's app are no longer in service. I recommend replacing these with AudioBoo or Soundcloud. and the cinch app for iOS devices have become my go to audio recording and podcasting tool. Let me tell you why.

My son listening to a Cinch recording of his favorite  book

First is ease of use. Both the website and the app are very easy to use when it comes to sign-up, recording, and listening to recordings. Second is the unlimited recording time (unlike which limits recordings to three minutes). Third is the ability to make recordings using your computer and a microphone (website), using an iPad, iPhone, or 4th generation iPod touch (app), or record using any phone associated to your Cinch account.

The classroom applications are endless but here are just a few of the reasons why Cinch is the best option in my opinion.

  • Recording lectures that are immediately available online for students who are absent or need to hear the material again
  • Parent communication podcast (Audio newsletter, Daily activity and homework reporting)
  • Audio directions for worksheets or test accommodations
  • Student interviews and observational data 
  • Student recordings of think alouds, group projects, audio notes, student created tutorials, fluency practice, or adding audio to physical projects such as posters, dioramas, or written work
 For a more detailed look at using audio and podcasting in the classroom take a look at this post I wrote last year.

With you can also add photos and text to the audio recording. With the iOS app teachers and students can quickly and easily add a picture from the camera roll or take a picture with camera enabled devices. Text is limited to 140 characters. Ideas for teacher or student use include:
  • Taking pictures of objects around the classroom or school that relate to a theme or concept (e.g find and describe examples of ecosystems or geometric shapes)
  • Taking pictures of charts, graphics, or text and recording audio to answer questions
  • Asking students to take pictures of their work and record reflections about the content
  • Have students record themselves reading classroom books or materials. Use QR codes or shortened URL's to let others listen - See the How-to below.
Setting up a Cinch account - I recommend creating a generic classroom account if students will be recording. I also suggest making your folders private by default.

or using the cinch app

Make private folder(s) for your recordings (folders can only be created from the website)

Make a recording using the website or app

Add photos and text to the recording

Share your recording by shortening the URL or QR codes from the website

I recommend installing a QR code/URL shortener like to your Chrome or Firefox browser or going to

Start adding QR codes and shortened URL's to books and other classroom objects. You can use a QR scanner app for your iOS devices to make access to the recordings a snap!

Listen for your self.

Friday, February 10, 2012

A glimmer of PD hope. I hope.

It's easy to get bogged down by the "we can'ts", the "I can'ts", and the "ya buts" especially when you are trying to plan Professional Development. Helping others to feel empowered and inspired by education technology often reminds me of the Louis CK routine "Everything is amazing right now and nobody is happy."

Yesterday, in our PD planning session we started discussing the absence of students from our process. It was like a light bulb went off and our conversation went from "ya but's" to "oh ya's!" Here's a glimpse of what we proposed.

Goals for the day are to:
  • Reconvene the TTDN group and representative students to identify strengths and challenges with  implementation and to continue support of blended and 21st century learning
  • Change the conversation by adding the student voice to our learning about what works
  • Plan for future support and expansion
We are still working out the details, but I found myself excited and inspired by the prospects of including students in our PD.  Having students and teachers work alongside each other to learn new ways of integrating technology in the classroom makes sense to me. It's actually the way we integrated technology in my school most of the time.

Do you have experience bringing students into the conversation? Please share your comments below.