More kindergartens using technology to encourage learning through play

Samantha Lee writes about a project in Singapore where children are becoming movie directors

The kids write their very own movie script for their stop-motion animation video. With a S$4,000 Innovation Grant from the Ministry of Education Singapore they bought a laptop, digital camera, projector and a screen for this project. The kids then use Lego blocks and other recycled materials as props and photographed the scenes, eventually stringing the photos together to moving illusion (like how we flipped the end of our books to create movement). Through this project, the children learn the basics of animation and understand that Television is really about moving images. They also get to be introduced to technology early in life and be comfortable with technology in future – a basic expectation we have for the generation of tomorrow.

The children use a mix of lego and other recycled materials to create the scenes.

In full, Photos on Asia one

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Technology use in the classroom helps autistic children communicate

The Economic and Social Research Council report findings from Topcliffe Primary School in Birmingham. The project received a grant from the ESCRC and the EPSRC. The children are using a large multi-touch screen and explore the virtual environment, interacting with an agent called Andy. The staff were surprised at the level of social interaction.

Research shows that children with autism often find computers and technology safe, motivating and engaging, particularly in the areas of social interaction and communication. Autistic children often struggle to communicate and learn effectively, but it seems that this technology can tap into their motivation and enable them to communicate in a way in which teachers simply can’t get them to do in traditional classroom settings.

Echoes 2 project

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Funding awarded for Sierra Leone health partnership

From Kings College London news, their Global Health centre has been awarded a grant to improve health professions education in Sierra Leone.

The partnership will draw on the expertise of staff from across King’s Health Partners to work with staff at COMAHS to develop revised curricula for all programmes, provide training in modern teaching methods, equip classrooms and develop proposals for new training programmes. This will involve visits by medical, nursing and pharmacy educators to Sierra Leone to conduct needs assessments and hold curriculum workshops, as well as provide distance mentoring and support.

The project will also use an online learning platform called MedicineAfrica

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Tips for TechCautious Teachers

Kevin Fairchild mentions an article which includes a range of tips for teachers who are not used to technology and not sure where to begin.

Some people get excited by finding new websites, new tools, new strategies for students: the more, the better.  Other people get easily overwhelmed with too much new information: how can you select the valuable from the worthless?

The article by Brianna Crowley mentions some great pragmatic suggestions including giving yourself time to learn

Sometimes, to understand the potential of a tool to enhance your classroom, you have to dive in and experiment, giving yourself permission to learn and play before you fully commit

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Headphones in the classroom

Royan Lee says

I invite my middle schoolers to bring their headphones to class. It’s not just because the year is 2012, or because stringy white ear buds are as ubiquitous as skinny jeans that sag beneath boxers. I want them to use their music and headphones for at least a few reasons…

These include finding individual and paired solitude as needed. A range of commenters echo similar practices and reasoning for why students can use headphones and listen to music

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Poetry, Teaching and Technology With August Kleinzahler

Ratik Asokan interviews August Kleinzahler and asks about changes noticed in students’ habits of writing and reading. He mentions about keeping a distance from information technology

Technology is fabulous; it has unquestionable merits. But it has liabilities, as well. The amount of information we have access to is a wonderful resource, but it eliminates a number of steps that include thinking and memory and association, and I think it makes the mind rather lazy (there is some evidence now that shows that technology is changing the chemistry of the brain in real time).

Later in the interview he discusses the distractions created by technology but suggests that poetry will continue to be significant

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School Districts and Modern Technology, or, Things That Make Me Bang My Head On My Laptop

Orangespicedrop aka Diane succinctly notes that technology is great when it is used correctly and works correctly.

Our school district constantly boasts about the fact that they use technology in the classroom. To the point of annoyance and nausea.  And it’s true–the Tweedles’ homework these days is mostly done “online.”  When I walked into various classrooms on Teacher Conference Day, a Smartboard was present in most of the rooms.  On the school’s website, you can do everything from checking your student’s grades or the event calendar, to putting money into their lunch account.  Each Friday, the principal of the school sends out a mass email, detailing events of the past week and informing parents of upcoming important dates.

She has a hypothesis that people fail to use technology correctly 90% of the time and provides several anecdotes highlighting how both information and technology have been used to illustrate this.

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Two classes meet via Skype

Kerry Muste blogs about the Crazy Crazes project with gives South African students the opportunity to connect with students from around the world sharing their experiences via a wiki.

The project has resulted in a whole lot of learning not only for the students but also for me as I have never used a wiki. I have also learnt to use Youblisher to showcase the students’ work about our town and school and VoiceThread to allow the other classes to hear us singing the National anthem.

She describes the excitement of being able to connect with other students via Skype,

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Preparing e-learning online

Anne Fox reflects about the UnderstandIT project which has recently been completed in Europe. The project explored possibilities and spaces for elearning developers and designers to create eLearning by collaborating online – using a method known as ConCurrent Design. She provides a diagrams of the sessions plan.

The UnderstandIT project used the previously developed VITAE vocational training course to test out distributed CCeD with partners from Denmark, Norway Lithuania Italy, Germany and Portugal.

They have delivered a range of outcomes including an online tool for making a business plan and a proof of concept using ELGG

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Samsung Solar Powered Internet Schools Bring Technology-Based Education to Africa

Anna Rudenko reports on an innovative program which allows the provision of educational initiatives in rural areas that have high levels of poverty. They have converted old shipping containers into solar powered areas where children can learn.

Such 12-meter classrooms can “accept” up to 21 learners at one time, who get access to technology behind their new desks—for many of the students, it’s the first time they can use computers and surf the web and get access to the educational content. For the initiative, Samsung has teamed up with local teachers, content developers and school administration to create programmes to deliver maximum effect using a range of technological devices, ranging from 50-inch electronic board (which allows video conferencing, distant learning, etc.) to solar-powered notebooks with an Internet connection, Samsung Galaxy tablets and Wi-Fi cameras.

In full