Monday, January 28, 2008

Free Technology For Teachers: Is YouTube Making Professors Popular

In a recent issue of The Chronicle of Higher Education Jeffery Young has an interesting article about the role of YouTube in making some college professors popular. Click here to see Mr. Young's article. Mr. Young makes the point that even though many college professors have their lectures posted on university websites and Apple's Itunes store, but YouTube may be a more effective means of broadening audiences because so many people are already browsing YouTube. Mr. Young does put in a disclaimer about YouTube's education channel warning that simply searching the term "education" will bring a mix of relevant and irrelevant results.

Applications/ Implications for Educators
As I wrote in a previous post and as Mr. Young implies in his article, it is important to meet and engage students with technology they are already using. Speaking the language of technology with your students will increase their engagement in your class. Uploading to Youtube clips of your class notes or lectures may be one way to increase engagement. Create a blog and include short video clips related to your class to increase student engagement. Click here to see a blog I'm currently using with one of my classes.
YouTube is by no means the end all and be all for finding video clips related to your classes. Apple's Itunes store has thousands of free video podcasts that you can play on your computer or Ipod. I wrote about the free video podcasts for education in "Podcasts, Debunking a Myth."

Free Technology For Teachers: Bite Size Information for Students and Teachers

The BBC's website is full of fantastic resources for students and teachers. The Bite Size section has bite sized information on a wide variety of topics including math, science, and foreign language. The Bite Size page aims to take large concepts and revise them into bite size chunks of easily digestible information.

Application for Educators
1. The BBC Bite Size page has a section dedicated to teacher resources and lesson ideas for all grades above Kindergarten.
2. The BBC Bite Size page has a variety of free educational games.
3. The BBC Bite Size page offers MP3's recordings of the information on most of the subject area pages.
4. The BBC Bite Size page offers study games, study planners, and information available for mobile devices like cell phones and Ipods.

Free Technology For Teachers: Text Messaging Homework and Questions

Text messaging is one of, if not, the most preferred method of communication among teenagers. A teacher in San Francisco decided to put text messaging to work in her health class. Deb Levine had students in her sex ed class text message her with the questions they were afraid to ask in class. Click here to listen to the news report of the story.

Application For Educators
Students love to text message so take advantage of their passion and get them engaged in class. Speaking the language of your students goes a long way toward keeping them interested. There are many ways to use text messaging for good educational purposes. You can do like Deb Levine did and have students text the questions they're afraid to ask in class. There are services like that allow you to call in or text in messages to shared web space.
My friend Jim Wells has suggested using text messages to show students how connected we are to the world and how easy it is get information from around the world. Jim suggested having students text ten people outside of the building to get answers to ten questions in ten minutes.
Be creative and you'll find that most of the technology kids love can be incorporated into a lesson plan.

Free Technology For Teachers: Major Universities create channels on YouTube.

On the Open Culture blog Dan Colman has posted a list of ten major universities and their YouTube channels. Some of the universities have complete lecture recordings while some of the other universities have primarily promotional material. You can see the list of universities with YouTube channels by clicking here.

Application/ Implication for Educators
Take advantage of the YouTube university channels to show your college bound students the way a college course operates. On the UC Berkeley channel students will be able to watch entire classes and lectures.
Take advantage of the popularity of YouTube to connect with your students. You may not want to post the entirety of one of your classes, but posting a portion of your lectures or class discussions is a good way for you and your students to review and reflect. As I shared last week, when one of my classes created a video the engagement factor increased. Creating a YouTube account is easy, all you need is a valid email address to get started.

Free Technology For Teachers: Free Audio Books from LibriVox

LibriVox is a collection of 1180 (and growing) free audio recordings of famous books. The list includes works like The Odyssey, Romeo and Juliet, and War and Peace.

Applications for Educators
Librivox is a great resource for literature and English teachers who have reluctant/ struggling readers. The audio recordings help to make material that is inaccessible to some readers, accessible.