Friday, March 11, 2011

Another exciting Inquiry and Technology class!

Xtranormal: This is so fun! But wait, when does fun and entertainment become learning? This is a constant challenge for me in ECE. We know that children learn best through play, but when is play justified and when is it not? I love how xtranormal has different languages. We are currently getting into a lot of bilingual books to support multilingualism and multiculturalism, and I never even thought about these programs and their potential for this! What about in language learning classes too!

Goanimate. We didn't get to see this in action today but apparently it's similar to other animation programs. Animoto too. Lara did one with pictures and it only took about 15 minutes. See class webpage.

Garage Band
What is the value in this for learning? When does it become more than entertainment (particularly in early childhood classrooms)?
I can see how a music teacher might use this, but I'm struggling to think of ways it could be used in the regular classroom. In our little group, Erin had an idea about how it could be used in math. Counting the bars is a visual way of using fractions. In that sense we thought it could be incorporated into a math lesson.

Why use podcasting in education?
Podcasting is very aesthetic and can be used to share information and ideas. Juice is a software that allows you to create podcasts on your PC. iTunes will also allow you.
GarageBand podcasts: You can record separate voices and then put them together later. After a recording you can edit out any mistakes, "dead air" moments, etc. When you're finished, make sure to save it as an mp3 file for more versatility. Podcasts can upload directly to iTunes.

Podomatic: I'm realizing the potential for this in helping students at home. What if we can create these podcasts for students to access at home for extra tutoring in a particular area. This idea comes from a recent founding of Khan Academy. At Khan they record podcasts with visuals to teach math and science concepts from K-university levels. They purport that this can change the face of education in the sense that they do this learning at home with the podcast and do the "homework" at school with teacher support. I can really see how this enhances student learning. (Check out Get off your butt and ride's blog for the video lesson). Good for teaching students about copyrights because legal "mumbo-jumbo" includes examples making it easier to understand. You can google free music for podcasting. These are usually indie bands trying to get their music out there. Michele made a great point about how we can over come these copyright issues by making our own music in GarageBand!!!

The difference between a task and an activity? I have never thought about this! So, an activity is something that doesn't really have an outcome, similar to our Student showcases. It's informative but there's no real product. A task is similar to the Great Tasks we did. It leads to a product of learning and involves specific assessment. See IO for more information.

Arts Smart: 21st Century Skills, Creative Inquiry Process (see article posted on Class Webpage)
  • Use this article for Independent Inquiry!


  1. GarageBand is useful in a classroom if you want your students to spend an hour not accomplishing much and leaving you to do your marking. I think you are correct to ask how this could be used in a classroom. But more to the point, why would you use this instead of having student's compose on regular instruments? OR, what does this tech do that makes it better for educational purposes? I've used this stuff for a very long time, taught tech in classrooms and in P.D. and I am unsure of the efficacy of using technology. -I'm researching it as deeply as possible and my research is telling me we are not working for the best interests of the student.- Politically we will be pushed to use it as it is there, it has been purchased and the parents (at this point) seem to think it is worthwhile. I suspect that in truth, tech is a detrimental substitute for real inquiry and for interpersonal and executive skills. It is all stimulation and fast results - Is it not the opposite of inquiry? - I'm very pleased that you question the usefulness. I too question this and do not feel the "because it is there," response holds up a good reason for its use. The schools bought in without due diligence, and the ubiquitous nature of tech is driving us like lemmings. I think debating the efficacy of technology in education is seen as an act akin to heresy. I am very thankful you question this stuff.

  2. Hi Tim, Thanks for your comment. I struggle to understand your point of view, but promise that I'm trying. I don't see how simulation and fast results are the "opposite of inquiry". Perhaps I define inquiry differently. I see these as options in the growing world of investigative possibilities.

    In speaking to the value of technology, I can bet that we would never have had this conversation without it! Thanks for engaging us in the provocative questions around inquiry and technology.