Despite the cold weather and rain, I’m walking around campus with an extra pep in my step this morning (I know it’s sunny out now, but the blog was written on Monday AM). Three words will explain this – FLYERS SERIES WIN. I’ll spare those readers not interested in hockey with my commentary and details on the exciting achievements of this team. However, I will suggest that those of you interested in some Flyers talk to leave a comment as I’m certainly willing to chat! Despite a busy weekend of watching hockey and a rain soaked MS Walk, I found time to keep up with the latest happenings in the world of education and technology via my social media sources i.e. Twitter, Facebook, Blogs, and RSS Feeds. Interestingly, there has been a recent paradigm shift where many of us turn to social media for our news rather than the traditional nightly news at 6 or or daily newspapers. Other than the technology section of the NY Times and Huffington Post (which I read through my Google Reader or Flipboard on my iPad), I’m completely reliant on the aforementioned social media outlets for what’s going on in the world. So I’m curious, how do you get your news?? Take a look a this infographic from Mashable that illustrates How Social Media Is Taking Over the News Industry. What are your thoughts on this? I’d love to hear both traditional and more modern views of how we get our news.
My next point of business for this week’s Daytime post is with Digital textbooks or ebooks, or iBooks, or whatever you want to call them. I read two interesting articles this weekend on this subject, the first article is from Electronista “Digital Textbooks May Save Schools $250 per Student per Year.” According to the article “If all or almost all of the US’s 49-50 million K-12 students were to be equipped with digital textbooks, the quality of the textbook education would significantly improve (along with other less-tangible benefits such as an expected lowering of the dropout rate and improved test scores) and the cumulative savings would be substantial: over $12 billion per year. Though the average $250 per student per year is only a fraction of the $3,800 schools spend per student per year in public education, it would act as a significant hedge against future cost increases while improving the quality of the education, the commission believes.” Another highlight of the article suggests that “Although the US spends more than $7 billion annually on traditional textbooks, many students are still using books that are seven to 10 years old and often contain outdated material, the commission said. Other countries, such as South Korea, may gain a further competitive advantage over the US by transitioning to digital textbooks more quickly.” Given that we have the technology with our 1:1 program to support ebooks, along with the recent Apple iBooks announcement, doesn’t it just make sense to transition to ebooks? It seems to me that with the Web and Database resources currently available to us, we should take advantage of resources that are both current and updateable in real-time to reflect what’s is relevant today, not 10 years ago. What do you think? I’d love to hear your thoughts, for or against.
The second article I read Increase Student Engagement by Getting Rid of Textbooks was written in 2010 by Edutopia’s Betty Ray. Ray a history and foreign language teacher suggests that some textbooks have value “I’ve had to realize that times have changed and that even in the short decade that I’ve been a teacher, many of the texts, tools, and devices I’d learned to see as “most effective” weren’t necessarily the “most effective” now in 2010 when it came to holding my student’s attention — and more importantly, instigating the best benefits of their motivation and imagination.” Another point that I found interesting that Ray mentions is “medium does matter.” Think back to when you were in school, did you ever get bored reading a textbook? Admit it, you fell asleep a time or two with your face in the text, I know I have. “If textbooks were inspiring and everyone wanted to read them, they’d be at the top of the New York Times’ bestseller list. But they’re not.” The article was written in 2010 prior to Apple’s recent iBooks announcement where they announce that they’re partnering with the top 4 education text book publishers to offer interactive digital textbooks or “iBooks” for the iPad. Consider how effective technology can increase student engagement. Want to see it in person, stop by a lower school classroom and see how students intuitively understand iPads, and then think about trashing, or better yet, recycling your textbooks!
I’ll leave you this week with one of the more intriguing articles I read over the weekend by Mashable writter Amy-Mae Elliot – 5 Exciting Innovations That Will Change Computing in 2012. While Apple’s Siri has stalled a bit in my opinion, I sincerely believe the technology will continue to evolve to a point where voice commands take over mouse/ trackpad controls, as well as many of the tap/touch controls on our mobile devices. Other highlights of the article include eye control (think Google Glasses), advanced touchscreen control, and gesture control. Check out the Samsung Smart TV for an example of a product currently available that uses gesture and speech controls. The price point is currently a bit high, but it’s a nice glimpse into the future of home entertainment
LETS GO FLYERS, LETS GO FLYERS, LETS GO FLYERS, LETS GO FLYERS, LETS GO FLYERS!!!