Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Mathematics & Technology

The MAA Mathematical Sciences Digital Library is published by the Mathematical Association of America and has a huge amount of online resources for both student and teacher. Such as Convergence which is an online magazine that intersects math, history and technology.

Math Projects Journal website has quite a few lesson plans and documents on math projects for the classroom.

OnMath is the Online Journal of School Mathematics. With articles for the math teacher from Primary to College.

iEARN (International Education and Resource Network) is a non-profit organization made up of over 20,000 schools in more than 115 countries. iEARN empowers teachers and young people to work together online using the Internet and other new communications technologies. Some activities for Science, Environment, Health, Math, and Technology .

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Social Networking goes Mobile

The mobile phone has become the primary tool for planning and organizing lives today. Companies are taking advantage of that. With the generation of mobile phones that are being released daily (such as the iPhone) - it is basically a "personal-life remote control" (Gloria Goodale). Advertisers know that the 25 and under age group are known as "early adaptors for hot new gadgets." Advertisers now realize that this generation likes to be in control of their communication and like "instant communication."

MoSoSo is "Mobile Social Software" that is usually installed on a mobile phone but can also be installed on a laptop. It works on the premise of associated geographical location and time with a person's social network. In other words....with the use of your mobile technology

MoSoSo is not has been around for a couple of years. I think it is really starting to become popular with the young masses due to the popularity of social networking websites ( wrote a story on MoSoSo back in 2005).

Some examples of MoSoSo applications:

Thought: Do you see any use for MoSoSo in your classroom?

Friday, January 26, 2007

Science and Technology in the Classroom

Discovery Science Connection has been launched by Discovery Education .

Science Connection is designed to help educators (especially middle school) in areas such as Physical Science, Life Science and Earth and Space Science. The website includes interactive content for students, multimedia resources and formative assessment.

The offers a huge podcast archive available for download. Podcast downloads go back to 2005 and topics vary from deep space, metacognition in the animal mind, discovery on how we recognize faces, mars is it dead or alive - are just a few of the topics covered.

You can subscribe to the podcasts on the website so it will automatically update through your iTunes.

Infoplease has developed an interactive periodic table. Clicking on any of the elements brings up more information on each element.

Chemsoc is another science website with a lot of classroom resources on it. Chemsoc has a great interactive periodic table designed using Flash.

Thursday, January 25, 2007

Research Reports on Social Networking

"Social Networking Sites Continue to Attract Record Numbers as Myspace.Com Surpasses 50 Million U.S. Visitors in May" reports comScore Media Metrix. " reached new heights with 50 million visitors in May and nearly doubled its traffic from April, reaching 12.6 million visitors."

Although comScore Media Metrix does not report WHO the social networking users are - The Pew Internet & American Life Project attempts to answer that question...........

The Pew Internet & American Life Project is a non-profit organization in the US that "produces reports that explore the impact of the Internet on families, communities, work and home, daily life, education, health care, and civic and political life. The Project aims to be an authoritative source on the evolution of the Internet through collection of data and analysis of real-world developments as they affect the virtual world."

The research report called Social Networking Websites and Teens: An Overview discovered that the majority of teens surveyed (935 teens were surveyed ages 12 - 17) and more than half (55%) use online social networking sites. The interesting outcome of this report is that teens use social networking websites (like MySpace or Facebook) not to necessarily find new friends but to interact and communicate with their circle of friends they see face-to-face on a regular basis.

One of the survey questions was: "What are the different ways you use social networking sites? Do you ever use those sites to....?"

  • stay in touch with friends you see a lot - 91%
  • stay in touch with friends you rarely see in person - 82%
  • make plans with your friends - 72%
  • make new friends - 49%
  • flirt with someone - 17%

Some other statistics from the report:

  • 85% of teens who created an online profile used or updated one in MySpace
  • 77% of the teens interviewed have their profile (personal information) visible to anyone
  • 22% visited the sites several times a day and 26% visited once a day
  • older teens (in particular girls) are more likely to use social networking sites

Think children under the age of 12 are being left out - not so.......

Walt Disney Co. is picking up on this trend and has announced they will be releasing a new social networking component of their new website. Included in the new redesigned site will be opportunities for chat, video clips and social networking, similar to MySpace but with stronger parental controls in place for children.

Questions for thought......

  1. As educators why should we care what our students do in their spare time?
  2. Will this have any impact at all on how students learn or want to learn?
  3. Should social networking and all that it encompasses (ethics, etiquette, etc....) now be a part of the education curriculum?

Wednesday, January 24, 2007


Yes now there is the iPhone.

Google the "iPhone" and this morning I received 80,400,000 hits. The MacWorld conference had a buzz with most people wanting to see this latest release from Apple. It should be available in the US market by June....the New Zealand market possibly several months later. There are many interesting features about the phone but what about its educational possibilities?

It is basically a hand-held mini computer that runs on an operating system (OS X). A widescreen iPod (with touch screen controls), a cell phone, and an internet navigator all in one.

Benefits in Education????
Like any new device there is always a chit chat of how this new technology can be added to the curriculum. Although I must say there is a lot of chatter about this one online. A quote from ChalkFace Project lists the following possible benefits of the iPhone in the classroom:

  • Adoption. Every kid will carry one of these voluntarily long before they all have laptops, or you have enough desktops in the school.
  • Portability. Ever tried playing football on your way home carrying a laptop? But you'd do it with a phone in your pocket, wouldn't you.
  • Connectivity. It's got both GPRS and wifi. So you don't have to think about how you are connected, you just are.
  • Flexibility. It's borrowed one thing from the desktop computer; OSX. So it runs real programs. Lots of them.

Education and the iPhone.....what do you think?

"How Stuff Works" gives a good overview of the iPhone.

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

The world of art meets mobile phones

The concept is pretty simple: "explore, collect and share."

A group of museums and art galleries in the UK are educating students using a unique version of a social web model - creating an interactive website called Myartspace.

Registered groups of students that take a school visit to participating museums/art galleries are given a cell phone on arrival. "By using mobile phones as collecting tools, pupils can be prompted in stages to analyse their initial ideas, and find out more about the objects they collect, in increasing amounts of depth."

The organizers of this unique concept believe that "Myartspace enables pupils to act as artists, curators, critics, detectives or editors based on the selection of items, objects and images. It will also help reveal how and why these are grouped together by the pupils and what they bring to their analysis from their own knowledge, research and understanding of the wider subject."

Preview the teacher research material.

Another great example of embracing instead of banning the technology :)

Q: How would you feel using mobile technology as a part of your class field trip experience? What an exciting way to apply educational outcomes to a new technology.

Monday, January 22, 2007

Flock - the social web browser

Flock is a new web browser that has incorporated elements from the "social networking" craze. It is based on the Mozilla firefox technologies and was first released in June, 2006.

Extensions allow users to easily connect with other people online and share media. There are several "Flock" forums that link from the main is called "Flock Hacks" that chats about different ways to customize your Flock browser. An easy drag and drop function in the tool bar allows you to easily share photos with friends and family.

A Yahoo Maps toolbar has just been added and the ability to store personal bookmarks at Shadows (a link-sharing website....kind of like Flickr for your bookmarks.)

See more about Flock in the FireFox online magazine.

Friday, January 19, 2007

Perceptual Science Group @ M.I.T.

Massachusetts Institute of Technology has been known as a leader in innovation and technology research for years. One of the interesting groups from M.I.T. that I came upon is the Perceptual Science Group. There is research in areas such as:

  • comparing how people from different parts of the world perceive music.
  • Visual & Motion Illusions
  • Lightness Perception & Illusions
  • Munker-White Illusion

  • Available are tutorials and demonstrations designed using Flash with supporting documentation (in most cases) discussing the proceedures.

    Great for student use in Art, ICT, and Science classes.

    Thursday, January 18, 2007

    Dida Delivered

    Dida Delivered is an interactive website for students that was designed by a talented group of UK designers/educators. One member of the team is also an Adobe Educational Leader - Diane Nolan. This site just won the e-Government Excellence: Education Award in the UK - congratulations!

    Check it out it has some great tutorials for students all related to ICT.

    Wednesday, January 17, 2007

    Technology enables schools to easily connect with parents

    An article written in called "Parents get the message" writes how schools rely on technology to send messages to thousands of parents in minutes. Schools across North America are now using various communication software to contact parents or staff for school updates and emergencies. Email was thought to be the way to contact parents but many families still do not have computers at home or access through work. Rural school districts are even looking at using these communication tools to contact students who are on bus routes if their bus breaks down.

    Question: What systems does your school have in place to connect ALL of your school community? Are these systems reliable?

    Tuesday, January 16, 2007

    Managing Knowledge in 2007

    I hope that everyone had a great Christmas and a good start to 2007.

    Just before the holidays started I was reading a book by Carl Davidson and Dr. Philip Voss called "Knowledge Management: An introduction to creating competitive advantage from intellectual capital"....what a great book. (Note: Davidson and Voss are co-founders and directors of No Doubt Research. Some of their work on knowledge management can be found on their website.)

    Davidson and Voss define knowledge management as....

    "creating systems that enable organisations to tap into the knowledge, experiences, and creativity of their staff to improve their performance."
    I was first introduced to the concept of knowledge management during my masters program several years ago and it has intrigued me ever since. One of the books I read back then was by Thomas A. Stewart called "The Wealth of Knowledge: Intellectual capital and the twenty-first century organization." Stewart defines knowledge management as ....

    "knowing what we know, capturing and organizing it, and using it to produce returns."

    Education & Knowledge

    After reading Stewarts book for the first time I couldn't help thinking of how we manage knowledge within the education system or more specific within our schools .

    I think there is really 2 different pathways of knowledge within schools.

    1. knowledge in the classroom between teacher and students
    2. knowledge (that includes skills and experience) within the staff

    Teacher and Students

    The knowledge classroom has changed over the years and technology has had a huge impact on that. This topic is one I will cover over the next couple of weeks as I would like to focus on knowledge and staff.

    Knowledge and Staff

    How is knowledge shared within your school? Are there gatekeepers that tend to hold onto the knowledge? These gatekeepers are usually people that have some level of responsibility and believe if they control the knowledge they are in power. Unfortuantely this damages the growth of the school and creates an environment of mistrust and resentment.

    Are there systems in place to encourage all staff to share their knowledge? A quote from Davidson & Voss's book from the CEO of Hewlett-Packard remarked 'if only HP knew what HP knows, we'd be three times as profitable'.

    Can the same be said for schools? If schools only knew what schools know.......

    Once staff are hired, how often are their CVs revisted by senior leadership? Are staff encouraged to share with other staff throughout a school year or is it a one time thing....if at all?

    How is knowledge managed in your classroom? In your school? Is knowledge shared through all levels of management? Is there a 2-way sharing process in your classroom? In your staffroom? Are there gatekeepers that hold onto the knowledge? Are there knowledge pools 'lying around' in your school not being accessed?

    Knowledge management is something I will be revisiting through out the next couple of weeks. Looking at such things as: the impact of timetabling and classrooms.