April 27, 2010

Admiring Ms. Davis' New iPad!


Sixth grade math teacher Ms. Davis brought her brand new iPad to our Tech Staff meeting today!

She's keenly interested in learning how the device can be used in the classroom, not only for math, but for other subjects too.

She already went to the Apple App Store and downloaded some apps, many of them free.
Ms. Davis thought I would enjoy this slot machine probability app.

Here are some things I learned:
  • The manual for the iPad is totally online.
  • Each purchasable app ranges from $1.99 to $4.99. Larger apps like Pages and Notes are available for $9.99.
  • The iPad can be connected to a projector, using a purchasable cable, and can also be used with a wireless keyboard.
  • The battery charge for an iPad lasts for 8 hours.
  • You can read Kindle books on it.
  • If you have a MobileMe account you can find a misplaced iPad, using GPS capabilities.
  • The device has a hard drive in the form of flash memory on a chip.
  • And my personal favorite, the video resolution is SPECTACULAR.
This is what the keyboard looks like.
    Ms. Davis envisions a learning environment where every student has their own iPad, kept in the classroom.

    Mrs. Hodara notes: "The iPad and other new mobile technologies are transforming how we communicate with each other and share our knowledge. They would also be great tools for classroom use."

    Mr. Turbeville reflects: "It looks great, seems easy to use and has a ‘wow’ factor that everyone likes. I think this type of technology is great if we can determine the proper use for it in the classroom, it makes the teacher’s job easier, and the students are excited to use it. I was pleasantly surprised by its weight and video resolution, and I can see many professional (and fun) uses for it. I know of at least two students who already have an iPad in the Upper School."

    Mr. Toda's reaction: "It’s an exciting new technology. It’s not a replacement for a desktop or laptop computer but really in its own category. We are only beginning to discover its potential in the classroom and for educational purposes. If you have one, please share your favorite apps!"

    Ms. Davis loves her iPad. "This is the students' world, and I think they would enjoy educational activities with the iPad. It is a lot of fun to work with and I am looking forward to all the new apps.

    I try to learn about new things that students can relate to -- the iPad is neat-o-keen! (one of Ms. Davis' favorite words)"

    Apple says the "iPad Makes the Perfect Learning Companion", with its
    Looks like we'll be experimenting with iPads in our Seabury classrooms, come Fall!

    (◕‿◕)

    April 20, 2010

    Net Neutrality -- Our Tech Staff Debates the Issue

    The issue of net neutrality is a hot topic of discussion with our tech staff! Since I wrote Net Neutrality -- Something to Fight For, both Mr. T and Mrs. H. got in the fray, with their own ideas. Mrs. H. is pro, and Mr. T. is con.

    Mrs. H brings two articles to the discussion.
    There Isn't Enough Broadband Market Choice to Prevent Bad Actors
    Net Neutrality is the Internet's First Amendment

    Mrs. H. states: "I am concerned about equal access to the communication and information that Internet provides. Why would I expect profit motivated companies such as Comcast to be interested in every family in America having access? I would not expect them to. This is an issue of what is good for the public at large, which is the realm of the government."

    Mr. T. also brings two articles to the discussion.
    Nothing Neutral about Net Neutrality
    Free Press Net Neutrality Proposals Would Devastate Economy

    Mr. T. states: "Non-techies like politicians like to frame arguments in overly simplistic terms but have no clue when it comes to technology. The Comcast issue is case in point. BitTorrent traffic occurs at the physical layer, not the application layer. If politicians control how companies can or cannot manage their own networks on the physical layer, the end result will be slower Internet access for everyone. It would be like the government telling Seabury that we cannot ban students from using Limewire or BitTorrent on our network."

    So, there you have it -- two entirely different takes on the issue of net neutrality.

    Interested in exploring this hot issue further? It's fitting that a library comes to our rescue, with a comprehensive list of links, on both sides of the question:
    Net Neutrality: A Special Coverage Guide, from Middletown Thrall Library

    . . . Any comments from the peanut gallery?

    (◕‿◕)

    April 13, 2010

    50 Ways to ... Use a Wiki in the Collaborative and Interactive Classroom

    What can you do in a classroom with a wiki? Each of the 50 ways listed in the article below have links to specific examples.

    50 Ways to Use Wikis for a More Collaborative and Interactive Classroom from smartteaching.org

    The list of 50 ways is divided into the following categories:

    * Resource creation
    * Student participation
    * Group projects
    * Student Interaction
    * For the Classroom
    * Other

    and each way has a link to *stellar* examples.

    I personally like wikispaces because (1) you don't have to be a technical user to participate, (2) a wiki can have few or many members, (3) it can be short- or long-term, (4) wikis can be created (and deleted) very easily, and (my favorite) (5) it's virtually vandal-proof. And (6) you can embed media (video, audio, RSS, etc.), too!

    With the Wikispace Plus plan (free for K-12), this is what you get:

    * Unlimited users
    * Unlimited pages
    * Total file storage: 2 GB per wiki (you can create more than one wiki)
    * Per file maximum size: 20 MGB
    * WYSYG Editing
    * Ad-Free
    * Private wikis

    Here's the link to sign up for an educational wikispace. http://www.wikispaces.com/site/for/teachers.


    (◕‿◕)

    April 11, 2010

    Net Neutrality -- Something to Fight For



    Shouldn't the FCC be regulating the use of the Internet? The Federal Court ruling (full text) in favor of Comcast was "the shot heard round the world". We are already at the mercy of companies who can reroute our information willy-nilly, based on business partnerships, i.e., $$$.

    This is what Tom Bradley has to say about it: Comcast Wins FCC Challenge, Your Move Congress - PCWorld Business Center

    What does this mean for our teachers and students? A HUGE roadblock that's already being put up, to prevent open access to information.

    What should we do about it? Let our legislators know that we think NET NEUTRALITY IS AN ABSOLUTE MUST!

    For more information, check out savetheinternet.com

    Washington Post video added 4/13/10: Free Press Policy Chief Responds to former FCC Chairman Powell

    (◕‿◕)

    April 07, 2010

    Essortment -- Free Online Articles on Health, Science, Education & More...

    So I read with sympathy Kathy's lament on Facebook about being stung by a yellow jacket, on her eyelid of all places -- OW! 

    Former Seabury parent and respected Maui pediatrician John Briley quickly came to Kathy's rescue, whipping out an article for her to read, from Essortment,  titled Bugs and Bites: How to Treat Yellow Jacket Stings (the key to treating stings is to act quickly).

    I learned about Essortment's mission "to provide high quality free information to web surfers. Essortment seeks to provide concise, clear, and accurate answers to questions real people ask online." The articles are easy-to-read, short, and authoritative -- a perfect one-stop resource, I thought, for the student researcher.

    So, courtesy of Facebook and Dr. Briley, I added Essortment to the developing Castle Library site. PLOP! --  onto the Reference page it went.

    Thanks, Dr. Briley ... and rest up, Kathy!
    (◕‿◕)

    April 05, 2010

    Online Video Converters


    Checked out the 2007 article Top Ten Online Converters - Freakitude, and four of them still work:

    "1. ZamZar: Free Online file conversion service. It can convert your online videos to a number of video formats. The converted files are sent via email.
    2. Tubefish : Tubefish video converter can convert your videos instantly to MPEG, AVI, MOV, 3GP and Divx.
    3. Movavi : Movavi is another online video converter. It notifies via email when converted files are ready to download."

    Here are three more,  from 13 Useful Free Online Video Converters | Flash, Design, Vector, Photoshop, Adobe Tutorials | GraphicMania.net:
    1. FLVto.com: Converts or downloads Youtube videos to MP3, MP4, AVI or MPEG.
    2. You Convert It "Convert any Youtube and other Online Video to popular formats or download the video without buying or installing anything on your PC"
    3. Tubeminator: Download and convert from any site. FLV, AVI, MP3, MP4  
    This is by no means a comprehensive list, but it will definitely get you on your way!

    (◕‿◕)

    April 01, 2010

    Telling Hawaiian Stories Online


    Hawaiian stories are only a click away!

    Heitiare (Kawehi Wallace) Klammerer (Seabury '03), speaks about E Pa'a Pono, the book she wrote in Hawaiian. The book is available at ulukau.org and can be read either online or downloaded.

    "The book was part of several other books that I took part in. E Pa'a Pono In particular is one that I authored, designed the layout and did the photography. The book project was a partnership with several community groups in the Ko'olauloa area headed by the Na Kamalei-K.E.E.P. Early Childhood Education Progam of Punalu'u. The project was to tell stories related to the Ko'olauloa area of O'ahu. The story E Pa'a Pono comes from the Kula Kaiapuni 'o Hau'ula.

    Having been a teacher at Hau'ula Elementary, I was given an opportunity to put in a story idea for our Hawaiian Language Immersion Program (HLIP). I put in a story idea that showcased the Hawaiian language and its importance. The story also highlighted the local Halau Nalu or Surf Club which is made up of most of our keiki from HLIP. The Halau Nalu is just a great outlet for Hawaiian keikis as well as non-Hawaiian kids to learn the Hawaiian sport of surfing as well as practice language and culture.

    Mainly the book is meant to show the importance of preserving our Hawaiian language. I believe it is the kuleana of all who love Hawai'i and who make Hawai'i their home.

    I don't know how it is that people separate language from culture because they go hand in hand. As the 'olelo no'eau or Hawaiian proverb explains it best, "Ma ka 'olelo ke ola, ma ka 'olelo ka make". In language there is life and death.

    E ola mau ka 'olelo Hawai'i."

    Mahalo, Kawehi, for sharing your mana'o with us and for helping to preserve our Hawaiian language!

    (◕‿◕)

    (This article is also posted as "E Pa'a Pono (Hold Fast) -- A Book Written by Seabury Alum Kawehi Wallace '03" in sister blog Seabury Reads)