Personal Computing In the Classroom and Beyond!
Jim Hirsch, Plano, TX
Jim is talking about how to reach every student in the classroom no matter how limited the technology resources might be. He says “the future is here already, it’s just not widely distributed yet.” I think that’s a Tim O’Reilly quote if I recall correctly.
Heroes still exist for our students and affect their outlook on solving problems. What are the heroes of students today? Jim’s point is that today’s heroes are often ensemble casts. That extends to teacher heroes. Collaboration—not just sharing—is the way in which our student expect to find information, solve problem and create new understandings.
The new generation of kids thinks about “personal computing” in a very different way. Maybe cell phones will be the 1-to-1 computing device of the future? Personal computing needs to extend beyond school to the mall, coffee shop, home, etc.
How do we engage students within the classroom? Jim is going to talk about things they’ve tried in Plano.
- Some kind of large-screen display to engage kids in large group discussions. They use TVs in elementary school, but have LCD projectors in every secondary classroom.
- Wireless keyboard and mouse that can be passed around to enable students to contribute to an activity that’s being projected.
- Annotation software (they use Master Pointer) to make it possible to annotate on top of anything being displayed on the screen.
- A personalized portal for each student and staff member with links to classroom resources and other communication tools. (I think Moodle can do much of what’s shown in the portal that they’re using.)
- Tiny mobile computing devices including the myPad from M&A Technology. Also the Nintendo DS and software in the style of Brain Age.
- Cell phones and wireless test administration. This is pretty wild. Check out rtestedu.com.
- The Sony mylo is a handheld wi-fi device. It supports Skype and has Opera’s web browser too.
- Jim showed us how you can use Google Docs and Spreadsheets on the Sony PSP and other Internet-enabled devices.
What a great set of tools Jim showed. Most teachers have no idea that things even exist. Personal computing is going to be getting much more personal very soon.