Set Up Your Own Digital Media Lab for Next to Nothing

A green screen and a Mac turn a storage space into a hi-tech playground

media-labBack when I was in school, class projects were limited to written reports, dioramas, and posters—things we could create with pencils, paper, Popsicle sticks, and glue. To say our students today have many more options available to them would be the understatement of the 21st century.

With the advent of lightning-quick computers and gorgeous digital media tools, students are now dreaming up PowerPoint presentations, Prezis, websites, wikis, Photo Stories, and more—things limited only by their imaginations. Creating these types of digital projects has become second nature to them, and they have no concept of a time when these technologies were not available. In fact, creating digital media has become a very personal matter. Just look on Facebook, YouTube, Vine, Vimeo, Instagram, Twitter and you will see that our students are creating and sharing digital content on a daily basis.

As educators, it behooves us to find ways to provide opportunities that allow our students to engage in learning activities relevant to their lives. As a library media specialist, I know there’s no better place to provide them with these opportunities than a school’s own library media center.…Read More

New Dept. of Education guide lists the kinds of tools ed tech needs

Educators, developers, and startups are urged to take notice of the biggest education gaps

edtech-guideThe Department of Education’s Office of Educational Technology (OET) has released a new guide for developers, startups, and entrepreneurs in the ed-tech space, written with help from educators, researchers, and others in the industry. The goal is to help entrepreneurs apply technology to solve real, persistent problems in education

The Ed Tech Developer’s Guide: A Primer for Developers, Startups and Entrepreneurs is free, and addresses key questions about the education ecosystem and highlights critical needs and opportunities to develop digital tools and apps for learning.

“Technology makes it possible for us to create a different dynamic between a teacher and a classroom full of students. It can open up limitless new ways to engage kids, support teachers and bring parents into the learning process,” Duncan said recently at the ASU+GSV Summit 2015 in Phoenix. “We need tools designed to help students discover who they are and what they care about, and tools that create portals to a larger world that, in the past, would have remained out of reach for far too many students.”

Next page: What tools does education need?

Six tips for classroom technology success

An industry advisory panel of educators shares strategies to help teachers – regardless of their tenure – implement education technology in the classroom

lego-technologyThe LEGO Education Advisory Panel (LEAP) advises LEGO Education, the education division within the LEGO group, on how to meet the needs of educators and students. The panel consists of 50 educators, across all levels of education, who are experienced with the trials and triumphs of using unconventional teaching tools in the classroom.

Drawing from our experience using a wide gamut of education technology, we compiled the following list of tips and tricks to help teachers —regardless of their tenure —implement education technology in their own classroom.

1.  Be sure to teach the concept that failure is an important and expected part of the process. What we learn from each failure or mistake is the important part and will lead to the next version, or improved iteration in the problem solving process.
– Beth Brubaker, grades 1-8 Project Specialist, North Idaho STEM Charter Academy…Read More

8 simple tools for creating engaging infographics

Kelly Maher, a mathematics and technology teacher and technology coordinator, shares several infographics generators to help illustrate complex information

information-infographicsInformation graphics, also known as infographics, provide a way to express complex data, ideas, or other information graphically.

Human beings are visual and adept at identifying patterns and trends quickly. Therefore, infographics often aid our understanding of otherwise dense, multifaceted, or complicated material.

Anyone can use infographics to further their understanding of a topic, and you can also create your own for use in teaching or presentations. Here are some infographics generators to consider the next time you need to teach a difficult concept or illustrate intricate information.…Read More

New this fall: Free, popular digital tools

A new global tool expands “brains,” and PBS offers free digital tools

tools-digital-wiki-brains

A new beta tool called Wikibrains is making global waves among innovative students as it encourages out-of-the-box thinking. The online, digital brainstorming platform lets users connect with ideas from around the world on specific topics.

For instance, type in the word “literacy” and the map takes you to multiple topics related to literacy, such as “new literacies,” “Common Core,” and “Unesco Confucius prize for literacy.” After choosing “digital literacy,” the tool then takes you to more ideas specifically on digital literacy, such as the “digital divide.”…Read More

Students use computers to design real-world service projects

An idea that originated in a computer lab at North Heights Junior High School in Texarkana, Ark., helped a blind woman in a nursing home enjoy Christmas a little bit more.

Junior-high students Lori Hensley and Angelina Leonesio developed the idea in the school’s Environmental and Spatial Technology (EAST) lab. In the lab program, students work out concepts for service projects on their computer screens and then apply them to real-world situations and people, said Michael Vincent, EAST lab teacher at North Heights.

The term "spatial technology" refers to the function of any number of different hardware and software tools that help students engage with the physical world. Students in the lab use technologies that teach them computer-aided design, engineering design, visualization, database design, web page design, programming, office automation, global positioning systems, and geographic information systems.…Read More