Wednesday, March 3, 2010

TEDxNYED - A TED Event About Tech in Education

At $6,000 a ticket or $1,000 for the live video feed, attending the TED conference is out of the reach of 99% of teachers. Fortunately, TED is now lending its name to a number of smaller and more accessible events. Dubbed TEDx these smaller events are independently organized events that use the TED model.

TEDxNYED is being held this weekend (March 6) at the Collegiate School in New York. The focus of TEDxNYED is examining the role of new media and technology in education. The list of speakers for the event includes Chris Lehmann, Dan Meyer, Lawrence Lessig, and Michael Wesch among others. All of the talks will be streamed live, for free, on Saturday March 6. You will be able to view the stream live on the TEDxNYED site.

Applications for Education
TEDxNYED is bringing together some of the leading minds in the field of teaching with technology. This should be a great opportunity to hear new ideas and perhaps pickup an idea that you want to use in your school.

Here are some related items that may be of interest to you:
15 TED Talks to Watch Before 2010
Put TED Talks on Your Desktop
Teaching With TED Talks

iLoveSchools Helps Teachers Get Supplies

iLoveSchools is a free service that helps teachers get supplies for their classrooms. iLoveSchools operates in a manner similar to that of Donors Choose and Class Wish. To get classroom supplies teachers register on iLove Schools and create a list of items that they would like to have for their classrooms. Donors then visit iLove School to choose a classroom to which they would like to donate supplies. A donor can contribute money toward purchasing the items a teacher has listed or a donor can contribute the actual items.

Applications for Education
As school budgets get tighter and tighter, services like iLove Schools are going to become more valuable to teachers. If you find yourself needing classroom supplies you may want to consider trying a service like iLove Schools before dipping into your own pockets.

Webinar - Structuring the Research Process

Last month, on Februrary 11, I conducted a webinar with Jim Wells from the Maine Learning Technology Initiative. The webinar was part of series of webinars that Jim is conducting on structuring the research process. Jim brought me in to share some web-based tools that can help students organize the findings of their web research. The recording of the webinar is now available in the webcast archives on Maine 121. The webinar can be accessed by clicking on either the 3:15 or 7:15 time slot for February 11. The two recordings are about 85% identical with the difference being the questions from the audience.

The links I mentioned in the webinar can be found here.

A Classroom Back-channel Gone Wrong

This year I've been experimenting with different ways to use back-channel chats in my classroom. For the most part it's gone very well and my students have benefited from the experience. You can read about those good experiences here and here. Yesterday, I tried to do something new with a back-channel. What I tried did not work and I hope that those of you considering trying to use a back-channel in your classrooms can learn from my mistake.

Yesterday, I had a short (25 minute) video that showed to my students. For some reason I got the idea that I would award a bonus point (added to a quiz I recently gave) to the first student to correctly answer the questions I posted in the back-channel. In hindsight making chat a contest was a very bad idea because most of my students either posted guesses as quickly as they could or they tuned-out because they didn't think they could answer quickly enough. In the end, because of my mistake, my students didn't pay attention to the video as well as they would have otherwise. So while a back-channel can definitely improve the educational value of showing a video in class (case in point here), it must be done correctly.

Here are some related items that may be of interest to you:
Back-channeling During a Class Viewing of Glory
Try TodaysMeet for Back-channel Chat Without Distraction
Neat Chat - Quickly Create an Ad-free Chatroom

Free Audio Books from Books Should Be Free

Books Should Be Free is a provider of free audio books. Books Should Be Free hosts hundreds of free audio books in a wide range of genres. All of the audio books in the collection are either public domain or Creative Commons works. All of the audio books can be downloaded directly from Books Should Be Free and or iTunes.

One of the aspects of Books Should Be Free that I think some students will really appreciate is the large display of book covers that they'll see when browsing by genre. It's true that we should teach students not to judge a book by its cover, yet at the same time a good cover might get students interested in books they would otherwise ignore.

Applications for Education
If you have a student in need of an audio book to support their reading, Books Should Be Free could be a good place to start your search.

Here are some related items that may be of interest to you:
Seven Places to Find Free eBooks
Guys Read - Getting Boys to Read
AdLit - Strategies for Teaching Adolescent Literature