I’m a bit skeptical of the effectiveness of these kind of online test programs for anyone but the most motivated student, but I may very well be wrong. It might be helpful to my IB students. At least, except for an initial introductory one, it seems free of most of their awful usual Khan videos.
While Expeditions can be used on devices already in the classroom, they come alive with Google Cardboard. Our pilot kit is a collection of all the hardware needed to go on Expeditions in full virtual reality — a tablet for the guide, VR viewers for each student, a speaker to provide ambient sounds and a durable box to transport, charge, and store it all. We know many schools don’t have great Internet service (or any at all) so we built Expeditions to work without it. The kit includes a router that allows Expeditions to run over its own local Wi-Fi network so there’s no buffering, dropped connections or lengthy loading times.
It’s unclear to me if they’re making these “pilot kits” available for free or if schools have to pay for them. It seems like the Cardboard viewers cost about $20 each, though Google also makes the designs available so really ambitious teachers could have students create them. However, since Google introduced a new Cardboard version yesterday, I don’t know if the new designs are on their site or if those are for the older kind.
I wouldn’t want to deal with having to make them, and I’m hopeful they will be making the kit, or at least the Cardboard viewers, free to schools.
Real-world trips can’t be beat but, if you’re going to go on a virtual one, it seems like “Expeditions” is going to be the coolest way to go….
Our District has just activated YouTube’s Safety Mode, and it’s just awful. Teachers are up-in-arms because so many videos are blocked. Just today, I found videos that I often used in class like newsreels from the Spanish-American War, clips from movies about the Battle of Waterloo, even Charlie Chaplin’s “Gold Rush” silent film are now blocked.
I put this question out on Twitter today, trying to find out if other district’s have been able to just activate it for student accounts but leave teachers free from the restrictions. Here’s one response I received — any other ideas?
Here’s how The California Writing Project describes Digital Learning Day:
Organized by the Alliance for Excellent Education, Digital Learning Day celebrates effective teaching and learning practices powered by technology. Each year, hundreds of thousands of teachers and education leaders, and millions of students from all fifty states and the District of Columbia join this grassroots movement in schools nationwide. From classroom activities to district-and statewide initiatives, Digital Learning Day events are diverse and unique and share the goals of encouraging innovation, supporting teachers, and spreading best practices for the use of technology in schools.
I’ve previously written several posts describing activities that I’ve been having my Beginning and Intermediate English Language Learners do in pairs or small groups, with the Intermediates in more of a “teaching” position, but where they can learn, too.
Another exercise that fits into that category is a collaborative story lesson that I’ve posted about at A Good & Simple Collaborative Storytelling Lesson. I won’t repeat the steps here, but, basically, I give prompts and students work in groups to write and illustrate a story together. It’s a lot of fun, and I can adapt the prompts to the thematic unit we’re studying at the time, current events, student interests, etc.
I’ve purchased (for $1.99) and downloaded it on my iPhone. It seems to operate just as Edudemic says it does, and I plan on putting it under my document camera this week and using it as a “change-of-pace” from the “manual” collaborative storytelling process I referenced earlier. I’m confident that the “manual” way is a better one, but, as in many situations, a tech version can often be used in place of an “old-fashioned” way to occasionally liven things up. As lots of research shows, novelty works wonders in teaching and learning.
Google has announced a free online conference for educators called Education On Air that will take place on May 8th and 9th.
They don’t mention any names of presenters or speakers, and they’re pretty vague on the topics to be covered. They say a schedule will be released next month. They are also inviting people to send in suggestions of what should take place.
Those days are a Friday and Saturday. It’s the middle of testing season, so I wonder how many teachers will be able to participate in the first day.
It will be interesting to see what Google comes up with…