Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Tool # 9: Incorporating Classroom Devices as tools for Learning

Why do you think it is important to tie the technology to the objective?
Technology can be seductive and a sneaky time thief. It is so entertaining for students. That is its power: it can entice students to be enthusiastic about the curriculum information being delivered. That is its drawback: students will be tempted to use the technology for non-educational purposes. Teachers, as they learn to use new devices and applications, could have all their planning and preparation time consumed by learning how to use the technology, and have less time to develop content. Teachers need to select the right amount of technology needed in order to meet the learning objective. Sometimes the new technology tools will be indispensable. Sometimes the old way of doing things will be just as effective but more efficient.

Why should we hold students accountable for the stations/centers?
Students need to learn more than facts. Students need to develop character traits like responsibility and honesty, and develop efficient work habits. When students are responsible for accounting for their time and caring for the equipment, it helps with the development of these traits. It also helps preserve the expensive equipment.

Visit 2 of the applicable links to interactive websites for your content/grade level. Which sites did you like. How could you use them as stations? How can you hold the students accountable for their time in these stations?
Thinkfinity has two activities at the high school level that fit into my curriculum. The Skin Cancer activity would support content objectives from the course TEKS. The "From Cells to DNA" activity would be a good introduction to anatomy and physiology, and a good review of important concepts covered in biology, which is a prerequisite to my courses.

Another interactive website that might be useful is Tenmarks, which allows development of math lessons. This might be useful in developing medical math skills. There is a wide range of math ability in students. Those students who need more practice could work at a center doing online drills, while other students could do an alternate activity, such as constructing medical math problems.

List two to three apps you found for the iPod Touch/iPad that you can use in your classroom. What do you see that station looking like? How can you hold the students accountable for their time in these stations?

DK The Human Body app sounds like it would be a valuable enhancement in teaching human anatomy. It has high resolution images, so students could see necessary detail. It has a testing tool, which might be useful for student drill and practice. 3-D rotatable images would be superior to printed illustrations. It is not free, but only costs $10-$19, so it might be a worthwhile use of budget funds.

Bamboo Paper is a free virtual notebook. It claims to allow handwritten notes, drawings and doodle. This would provide flexibility for students to capture their thoughts, brainstorm and collaborate. Although the app is free, it requires a "Bamboo stylus" I did not see price information for that product, so I do not know if it would be cost effective
What about other ways to use the iPod Touch/iPad? Share another way you can see your students using the device as a station.

In the past, I have used stations with Physician's Desk Reference and other pharmaceutical reference books when students are learning to use resources and research drugs. Adding an IPad station to this lesson would enhance the learning. Epocrates is an excellent app providing information about prescriptions medications. There is a free version available that I have been using. I think it would be appropriate. I will need to find out how to get it added to the SBISD approved list of IPad apps.

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