With their headphones and iPod Touch machines on, Beatrice Azanza's 20 third grade students were geared up for an afternoon of reading and math.
Textbooks haven't gone away in her class, but high-tech gadgets like the iPod Touch are making Azanza's teaching life at Oswalt Academy a little easier.
After a lesson on addition and subtraction, Azanza's students can get on the iPod Touch, launch the Basic Math application, and test how quickly they can solve a set of problems. The fun, Azanza said, is endless.
"The students are really excited to use them," Azanza said. "You can just see their brains working. They are very motivated."
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First-grader Thomas Tsangaropoulos stands before a laptop during his Spanish class at Lake Parsippany School, smiles broadly into its tiny webcam and waves.
"Hola," he says to the image of a young girl appearing on the computer and on a large screen in the front of the Parsippany classroom. "Me llamo Thomas."
Across town, first-grader Mariah Colon peers into a laptop at Troy Hills School and waves.
"Hola. Buenos días," she says.
Remember when technology in schools meant computer labs and internet connections? New Jersey teachers and students are slowly but increasingly using the tools of Web 2.0 — the so-called second generation of the web that includes creative, collaborative, shared content.
Students are writing on wiki pages, blogging about their classroom activities, recording audio files for band practice, videoconferencing with people around the globe and chatting online about literature.
For a generation that has embraced a joystick and a mouse since they were toddlers, these technologies can help them learn how to be creative, how to communicate and how to work together, said Lisa Thumann, a senior specialist in technology education at Rutgers University’s Center for Mathematics, Science and Computer Education.
Continue reading at www.nj.com.
Across the country, the traditional chalkboards that have been teachers’ primary tool for presenting content for more than two centuries are quickly being erased from classrooms. As educators look for ways to present subject matter in more engaging ways that also develop some of the technical skills students need to succeed in the high-tech workplace, more and more administrators and parent-teacher organizations are purchasing interactive whiteboards for their schools.
The large, computerized screens—which allow Internet access, video and audio presentations, digital assessments using remote clickers, and recorded lessons for replaying later—are seen by proponents as an investment in modernizing classrooms to meet the needs of the digital generation. But while the boards have gained a loyal following among even old-school teachers, at a cost of up to $5,000 a classroom they have also drawn significant criticism as being nothing more than an expensive update on an age-old teaching tool.
Continue reading at www.edweek.org. What do you think? Are Whiteboards worth the cost or just a fancy device for doing the same thing as the traditional blackboard? Comment below.
At Empire High School in Vail, Ariz., students use computers provided by the school to get their lessons, do their homework and hear podcasts of their teachers’ science lectures.
Down the road, at Cienega High School, students who own laptops can register for “digital sections” of several English, history and science classes.
And throughout the district, a Beyond Textbooks initiative encourages teachers to create — and share — lessons that incorporate their own PowerPoint presentations, along with videos and research materials they find by sifting through reliable Internet sites.
Textbooks have not gone the way of the scroll yet, but many educators say that it will not be long before they are replaced by digital versions — or supplanted altogether by lessons assembled from the wealth of free courseware, educational games, videos and projects on the Web.
“Kids are wired differently these days,” said Sheryl R. Abshire, chief technology officer for the Calcasieu Parish school system in Lake Charles, La. “They’re digitally nimble. They multitask, transpose and extrapolate. And they think of knowledge as infinite.
“They don’t engage with textbooks that are finite, linear and rote,” Dr. Abshire continued. “Teachers need digital resources to find those documents, those blogs, those wikis that get them beyond the plain vanilla curriculum in the textbooks.”
Continue reading at www.nytimes.com.
At Goshen Local schools, students this fall will use iPod Touch devices to access the Internet.
They'll set up Wiki Web pages, much like Wikipedia, to share class projects and research.
They'll learn from interactive white boards instead of chalk boards.
Goshen, a rural-suburban district of 2,700 students in Clermont County, is like dozens of other Greater Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky districts trying to create tech-savvy classrooms in a recession.
Despite budgets so tight some teaching jobs go unfilled, public and private schools are finding ways to fund technology upgrades.
Educators say it's mandatory. Teachers and students have to be well-versed in high tech.
"We have to prepare them for ... the tools they'll use in college and in the workplace," said Darrell Edwards, a Goshen principal.
Continue reading at www.news.cincinnati.com.
Smart Technologies aims to change how kids learn.
Children who marched into their grade school classrooms this autumn found the usual assortment of crayons, glue sticks and light-up globes. Thousands found something else: large interactive screens affixed to a classroom wall, known in playground lingo as "Smart boards."
When attached to the Internet, these boards are a portal to the digital world. Students can manipulate what's on the screen with a finger or a stylus. Changes get saved to a laptop computer and then printed or sent home via e-mail. Teachers like the boards. They're cool and digital--but if you want to use them like a blackboard, you can do that, too.
Sales of wall screens, which cost between $700 to $4,500, have zoomed from 170,000 units in 2004 to 700,000 worldwide this year, mostly to schools. Almost a third of k--12 classes in the U.S.--and three-quarters of the schools in the U.K.--now have one. "This is the first tool that's transforming our classrooms and showing how they're different from the past hundred years," says Diane A. Garber, principal of Lincoln Elementary School in Burlingame, Calif.
Continue reading at www.Forbes.com.