2013-02-01 Weekly IT Update

This Week:

Testing and Technology – Is testing still relevant?

School Printing – A Thing of the Past?

QR Codes – In the Classroom

Educational Technology – Advice from Teachers

Professional Development – Online Educational Technology Trainings

Free Educational eBooks – 5 Sites


Testing and Technology – Much like my belief in my PPCC courses, traditional testing is becoming a thing of the past. Even more so in the last couple of weeks with a couple of schools / educators refusing to issue standardized tests. But, the point of this blog is that it gives an example of how alternatives to traditional testing can both be successful in the classroom AND make your grading that much more interesting. Instead of having a single option for a project, the goal is to allow students to create material based on what they know. I won’t spoil it but there is some great advice in this blog posting at: http://smartblogs.com/education/2013/01/21/ive-got-99-problems-but-a-test-aint-one-by-nick-provenzano/

School Printing – With textbooks going digital, netbooks and tablets becoming more and more mainstream, and continual access to the cloud, is printing slowly going the way of the dodo? Recent reports have shown that the need to print is on the decline and that digital resources are booming. So, instead of printing that itinerary of a meeting, send it out in an E-mail and keep the paper for important things, like the bathroom. Take a look at this infographic for more on the current trends: http://edudemic.com/2013/01/will-school-printers-soon-be-a-thing-of-the-past/

QR Codes – Ever wonder how QR Codes can make a difference in your classroom? Take a look at: http://www.edutopia.org/blog/using-qr-codes-in-classroom-monica-burns . From the site: “A Quick Response Code is a digital image that can be scanned without the beam of light needed to scan barcodes at the supermarket. It’s used in advertising and marketing for smartphone users. You may have seen QR codes on flyers, subway posters, brochures and even cereal boxes. They are often accompanied with a message that says, “For more information scan this code.” They can be scanned using one of the many free QR scanner apps available for smartphones and tablets. When you scan the code, you’ll be taken directly to a website.”

Educational Technology – For some interesting ideas and feedback about educational technology in the classroom, check out: http://blogs.edweek.org/teachers/teaching_ahead/wanted-tech-savvy-teachers/?cmp=ENL-EU-VIEWS2 . The blog is rather lengthy but has some pretty cool ideas on how to use technology in the classroom including practical examples and activities. It is all in preparation of the upcoming Digital Learning Day (February 6th). Each suggestion / tip leads to the practical instead of using “technology for technology’s sake”. Take a look, there’s some good stuff to get motivated by.

Professional Development – An interesting site to take a look at is: http://training.fractuslearning.com/index.php which has begun offering online professional development for different educational technology tools. So far it looks like they have three courses available ranging from 1 to 3 hours of training. Right now they have Prezi for Use in Schools and the Classroom, Introduction to Social Media in Education, and an Introduction to Online Video and Screencasting. While the regular courses run around $39, there are free course samples to make sure you are interested in the material. These are some great methods of gaining skills in educational technologies.

Free Educational eBooks – If you’re looking for free sources for educational eBooks, look no further than this site: http://edudemic.com/2013/01/free-educational-ebooks/ . The site includes links to The Harvard Classics, Project Gutenberg, Bartleby, OER Commons, and the International Children’s Digital Library. All books are available and there is such a wide range it’s impossible to get in here. One cool one is Gray’s Anatomy at: http://bartleby.com/107/   (And, unlike the student who was just looking over my shoulder, it is NOT based on the TV show) Do enjoy!

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