Sunday, July 3, 2011
Special Assignment #2
For this assignment we were given the task of discovering three useful tools for education: Kahn Academy; iTunesU; and TED. I will summarize and evaluate the importance of each. I will discuss and share my reactions and what I have discovered.
Kahn Academy: I listened to the founder, Salman Kahn discuss the beginnings of Kahn Academy with a group gathered at TED for a lecture in March 2011. He discussed how he began creating tutorial videos in math. He shared these videos on YouTube; and because of the positive feedback has developed a non-profit academy that has global reach. He believes that use of these videos has "used technology to humanize the classroom." The videos help in self-paced learning that provides anonymity and mastery for the learner. Teachers and students might use these videos in self-guided learning, review, homework assignments, intervention. The Kahn Academy program also provides important data for assessment.
I was excited to learn that he has topics that teach English skills. I want to explore more, and yes, I would love to use this in my classroom, especially in teaching grammar. I am surprised by this tool because it has such humble beginnings, yet such global reach. Being free, these tools allow education to belong to nearly everyone around the world.
TED=Technology, Entertainment, Design: Established first as a conference in 1984, it is a nonprofit "devoted to ideas worth spreading." I see these collections being used in training or in the secondary education fields, especially in business or science. I could see myself using TED if I wanted my students to see an innovative philosophy or concept. I think to bring such a global network of successful information is wonderful. You no longer have to be in an elite group to learn from these highly successful people. These lectures are available to all.
I wanted to learn more about Daniel Pink so I watched Dan Pink and the Surprising Science of Motivation. This lecture was directed to the business community where Pink discusses a new approach to motivating employees. Our social science data proves that rewarding based on outcome puts a narrow focus on a task and chokes creativity. Pink believes focusing on three elements of behavior can greatly change outcomes. These elements are autonomy, mastery, and purpose.
The surprise for me came when I couldn't help relating these elements to the use of technology in the classroom. The more educators give of this kind of motivation, the more students will be in control of their own learning. Further, the more teachers will see students going beyond expectations. TED has already given me a great nugget of personal insight.
This was a first visit. It is my understanding that groups can use iTU to collect their technological teaching materials in one place and can store them for registered viewers and others. I feel like schools might use this collection for training or conference material. I'm not really sure how I might use it in the classroom, because I need to become more familiar with it. I did take note that the interface had a "cooler, hip" feel to it. I think students would like that, and they would most likely have easy access to it.
I enjoyed watching some tutorials on Pages an app for the iPad. I especially enjoyed watching this just because I wanted to and was interested. The beauty and ease of producing a news letter/magazine was inspiring.