Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Free Technology For Teachers: Students believe in technology, but do all educators?

The results of the 2008 Lemelson-MIT Invention Index were released last month. The survey of 1004 teenagers found that more than 70% of American teens believe that technology can help fix some of the world's most pressing problems. The bad news is more than half of the students do not feel that their high school is preparing them for a career in technology and engineering. If you recall from Michael Wesch's video, many of today's students will have jobs that do not exist today (click here to see the video). What do educators need to do to prepare students for the jobs of the future? If technology is pushing the economy and technology changes far faster than schools can invest in new technology, how then do schools prepare students for the future?

Free Technology For Teachers: Understanding Genetics - Tech Museum of Innovation

The Tech Museum of Innovation, located in San Jose, California has an interesting online display about genetics. The online display covers the science of genetics and the politics of genetic engineering. The online display includes a series of videos from the Future of Science Conference. In the video leading scientists and philosophers discuss topics related to genetics.

Applications for Educators
The science of genetics displays are informative and appropriate for use with students in middle school and high school.
The videos and articles discussing the ethics and politics of genetic engineering and gene therapy are appropriate for use with high school students.
Below I have embedded a video featuring Daniel Dennet discussing genetics at the Future of Science Conference.

Free Technology For Teachers: Web Safety - Protecting Kids Online

Fifty countries across Europe are celebrating Safer Internet Day today. The day is designed to raise awareness of the dangers students can face on the Internet. Read more about Safer Internet Day here.

In an effort to teach children about potential dangers online the Council of Europe has created a game called the Wild Web Woods. The Wild Web Woods is designed for students ages seven through ten to learn how to spot danger on the Internet and what to do when they do spot danger on the Internet.

Applications for Educators
Wild Web Woods is an activity that all elementary school kids should complete before exploring the Internet. I actually had a high school student try the game today and she agreed that middle school and high school students could learn from the game too.

Free Technology For Teachers: Presidential Candidate Match Game

USA Today has a short, 11 questions, survey to help citizens determine with which candidate they match up.

Applications for Educators
The Candidate Match Game is a short but potentially deep activity to use with high school students. The questions and issues raised in the Match Game are good for starting conversations with students about the various Presidential Candidates.

Free Technology For Teachers: Yale Open Courses

Last week I explored MIT's Open Courses. This week I'm exploring Yale's Open Courses. The number of open courses that Yale offers is not as large as MIT's, but Yale's Open Course offerings are deeper. The courses Yale offers include video and audio files of the lectures from each class as well as the transcripts from each class. Like MIT's open courses, not all of the readings are available for free so you'll have to check Amazon or your local bookstore for the readings.