from the Director's Desk

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Friday, May 12, 2006

"Hot" Technologies--New Ideas

The State Educational Technology Directors Association (SETDA) had an interesting conference call today. Members of CoSN updated us on the newest technologies, many of which you probably already use or have known about for some time. But the applications of these technologies were what really caught my interest.

iPods have come on strong in the NC education community this year. Many of you have talked about how you use them for EOG review. Having students create review questions for their fellow classmates—or for younger children in the school—has been a popular application. On the conference call today they talked about:
How one school district has distributed video iPods to all their technology staff with the expectation that they will be in charge of their own professional development—via their iPods.
Another school has found that cell phones have been particularly useful with their job-embedded students. If they have a problem on the job with a particular piece of equipment, etc., they can just take a picture of it and send it to their job coach.
A central office staff is using their Trios to take pictures/videos of best practices as they visit classrooms.

They also talked about intelligent essay graders, not for teachers to use to give final grades on student papers, but as a first draft reader/responder. Students can submit their papers to the website and get immediate feedback, especially on grammatical errors, punctuation—the kind of errors that drive English teachers crazy. As the presenter said, “The best thing about these sites is that they are non-judgmental, consistent, and offer a timely response.”

One school system has a new policy about their teacher websites. Teacher websites must actually teach students something; it is not enough that they provide information about the daily schedule, the week’s homework, or the field trip information. I would have liked some further discussion on this because I think they have an interesting point. Hopefully just taping classroom lessons isn’t what they mean here!

The final technology they discussed was Radio Frequency Identification (RFIA). These are building entry key cards and the like. Schools are using them for managing equipment inventories and library books. They are also tracking students within the buildings and on the buses, even taking attendance at the door of the school or classroom as the students enter. CoSN will soon publish a position paper advising states and local school districts to consider carefully before they ban these RFID options, since they are such an important resource for both teacher efficiency and security.

I found all this information fascinating and would like to hear from you about your latest uses of the newer technologies. What are you doing that others across the state would find interesting and useful?


Blogger David Edwards, Tech Director said...

Another good new technology is the integration of geocaching into the classes. GPS devices are awesome tools for teaching kids about longitude and latitude. If you haven't had the DPI folks do a geocaching training for your district, I would encourage it. It's even gotten the local newspaper very interested and the reporters are going to the schools and geocaching while they write a story!

June 06, 2006 10:14 PM  

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