Monday, October 29, 2007

Apple iWorks

Really neat and user friendly! Take Adobe and MS Office and put into one package. Seems to me the best value of this software is in making presentations. Instead of 2D photos on web page or presentations, you now have animation. Adobe has wonderful products but you have to take a course to learn to use each software. This iWorks will take out the lower end of the Adobe market!

Question: Platform compatibility - when making professional presentations at client's site. Windows is the predominant platform and they don't have anything like iWorks. That means you have to bring the Mac iBook to connect to projectors instead of having presentations on a flash drive?

Sunday, October 28, 2007

21st Century Literacy

Great article.

NCLB (and the reauthorization) cativates the attention of all K-12 educators. Meanwhile, the reality of the 21st Century skills must also be addressed. Teachers can help by using technology in teaching and requiring students to use technology to do group projects and search for information. The points about getting kids to self-direct, be curious, be creative, take risks, perform higher-order thinking and exercise sound reasoning are easier said than done, however. Aside from the skills described, many of the desirable characteristics listed are ideals to work toward...nice to list as ideals and strive for them. It's one thing to say the ideal car goes from zero to 100 mpy in no time, use no fuel, environmental friendly, cost nothing to buy and maintain. It's quite another thing to make that happen. Nice thought process, though!

Monday, October 22, 2007


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Sunday, October 21, 2007

"Net Savvy" and "P21 Framework articles"

Much of the text of the "Net Savvy" article talks about the net-culture of today's students and the state-of-the-art of internet forums. I don't see the connection between these technology matters and learning other than more powerful tools of delivery. The author made a good point of embedding information literacy across the curriculum. I take it as a call for educators to force the students to learn how to use technology (ironically, the author began by saying the net-generation are experts in these modalities - natives, as compared to adults who are immigrants to the tech world). The "P21" article is better. Like the new food pyramid, this article prescribed the skills and knowledge domain for the 21st century. While it has a lot of common sense appeal and parallels some requirements (e.g. Criteria 3 of ABET 2000), it is a vision. Vision means no proof is needed and not responsible for damages if they are wrong. I am not knocking their idea but is this group, Partnership for 21st Century Skills, a domain name? A virtual organization? Or a legitimate organization with qualified members putting out adjudicated material? Caveat emptor !!!

Berkeley Puts Full Courses on YouTube

I don't get it. On the one hand, this practice fits with my prior story on making prior lectures accessible to make it easy for students to catch up on missed lectures or review important concepts. On the other hand, what gives these professors the right to convert intellectual properties into public domain content? For the UC system, this should be approved at the Regent level. For such a policy to be enacted, the Regents need to explain to tax payers of California how it benefits the constitutents and their best interests are protected and assured.

Can Classroom Capture Boost Retention Rates?

On this webpage, dated 10/17/2007, an initial study by a professor at Coppin State University in Baltimore indicates that class capture technology that allows students to view lectures online after the fact can improve course retention rates and grades.

Like many colleges whose populations include working students, Coppin State would like to improve retention numbers for many classes; drop rates can average around 30 percent for some courses. In the study, Brittan-Powell found that his face to face classes with no recorded lectures offered after the fact averaged a 71 percent retention rate; when he offered lectures in class and online via Tegrity, that boosted the retention rate to 83 percent, in effect nearly cutting the drop rate in half.

While this study applies to higher ed instead of K-12 in my previous international student achievement accomplishments, I think it supports my hypothesis that the total time of engagement has a positive correlation with academic success. In this study, Tegrity's Campus software can make lectures available at any time to students by automatically capturing, storing and indexing each class for replay over the Internet. It is well known that review and repitition has definite value in learning and recall.