Sunday, October 29, 2006

Low cost devices for 1-to-1 initiatives

There are now two low-cost computing devices that have been created to support students in areas of the world where technology is needed. I am hoping someone decides, at some point, that devices like these two, which do more than handheld computers but less than full laptops, and are affordable for districts like mine, would be appropriate for 1-to-1 initiatives in US schools, too.

I have always said if each student had a device, like a handheld, they could do 80% of what they need to do on the device. We could then "bling out" the desktops to allow them to do any final production and creative work. By "bling out" I mean provide them with access to camcorders, digital cameras, scanners, audio and video-editing software, midi keyboards, and high-level software that requires a full computer. With devices like Intel's Classmate PC and OLPC's XO, I feel the 24x7 access to a device that is rugged and can perform the simple tasks without a huge learning curve, would be very beneficial for our students.

Your thoughts?

Intel's Classmate PC
ClassmatePC pictures

One Laptop Per Child XO
OLPC Hardware Specs

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Tuesday, October 17, 2006

K12 Online Conference

Having been busy catching up after my journey to ACEC06, I am posting this a little late, but I want to make sure that everyone knows about the K12 Online Conference being held over the next two weeks.

The description of the conference on the site reads:

"The “K12 Online Conference” is for teachers, administrators and educators around the world interested in the use of Web 2.0 tools in classrooms and professional practice."

I encourage you to follow the proceedings and I will "see" you there!

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Sunday, October 15, 2006

Prawn fest in Australia

Had a great time with Greg and Betina when they treated me to prawns while we lounged around their pool in Cairns. It was a working vacation...really!!!

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Monday, October 09, 2006

Back from ACEC06 in Australia

G'day mate,

What a wonderful experience, attending the ACEC Conference in Australia for the second time! Besides being among the nicest people in the world, the presenters and attendees at the conference were full of energy and ideas! There are so many great initiatives going on in Australia and many teachers willing to take a risk and try something different to impact teaching and learning using technology. (And I adopted a few things while I was there-- an addiction to their yogurt and Tim-Tams, and the phrase "No worries!"

They DO use more acronyms than we do (if that is possible!), but, by the second day I could follow along. The presentations, except for the keynotes, were 1/2 hour in length with 5 minutes between them, so it was very hard to process the material on-site. (And it was even harder for me to squish my presentation on Web 2.0 into that time slot!) I did have lots of travel time on the way home to process, and will be implementing some of the great ideas when I get back to school this week!

Some things to think about:

1. Lower the interactive whiteboards to "kid height" and set up a classroom computer and projector with the whiteboard as the monitor. This set-up allows students to easily work on group projects, and to work together on interactive learning objects and Java-based simulations.

2. The Learning Federation in Melbourne offers thousands of interactive learning objects for use by all teachers in Australia and New Zealand. I was able to see a few of them during the conference, as presenters showed how they use them in the classroom, and the creative ways in which they are used are great! I am going to make it a point to locate some similar items that we may have access to.

3. As part of the ISTE team, we were warmly welcomed by the ACEC Board and the attendees. Being the international visiting group was a different role for us, and we spread the word about the great things ISTE is doing for both the national and international communities as well as paired up our local ISTE Affiliate with an Australian ISTE Affiliate for joint student and collegial projects.

The closing keynote was given by a TV personality, Bernie Hobbs. She was great and has a wonderful science site here:

You can see the list of papers that were presented here:

And, if you are interested in my pictures, you can find them here or view the PhotoStory video version here.

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