Do you happen to know a teacher or homeschooling parent in the Aleutian Islands who might have a middle school student interested in connecting for a short project-based learning opportunity? Honestly, with all this tech, I should be able to go to a website immediately, plug in some info, and find a quick connection. Ideally, this source would have vetted adults sponsoring students into the system, so that there is some safety net and accountability. EduMatch.com
Since it doesn’t exist yet, can you help me find a connection? Or if there is a great place I might find a connection, can you share it?
My 7th grader will be answering the question, “Could I design an Aleutian wildflower garden that would survive in our yard in Colorado?”. It would be super cool to have a student in the Aleutians answer the opposite question, with a lot of collaboration and sharing of research in an Edmodo small group.
Anyone out there in the Aleutians?
I’ve been using my iDevice almost exclusively since I got it back in March 2012, and I’m not sure I’m thrilled with the results. Here is my take on using an iDevice (insert your tablet of choice… the issues are similar with each of them)…
- More reading. I’ve read tons more books. I check them out from the library, purchase them from Amazon, and generally consume lots of information. I read the news regularly now on the device.
- More connection with family. My extended family uses FaceTime extensively to keep in touch. I can wash dishes and talk with my mom at the same time. #sweet
- More connection with local people. I tend to use the device to extend conversations, take notes, etc. for face to face meetings. And there are really great multiplayer family games that we use at a moments notice.
- Less paper clutter. Now that I have trained myself, receipts and notes and everything just goes straight in… I love Notability especially for drawing out garden ideas and taking notes at meetings.
- Less email time. I find it’s pretty easy to junk my mail on a device. I think it’s because of some of the cons I list below.
- Better focus. I’m not jumping all over the place… which leads me to the cons…
- Less writing. My blogging has pretty much come to a screeching halt. It’s too hard to write quickly, edit, add pictures, etc. on the device. I have a keyboard, but having to punch the home button repeatedly to scroll through applications, copy/paste etc. just makes writing a pain. So I haven’t done that. And I miss it.
- Less typing. Anywhere. Email, blog posts, comments, Facebook… I don’t like typing on the iDevice. I don’t like the way it goes back and autocorrects in the strangest of ways, making me sound like an illiterate, grammatically stunted person. I use less words when I do actually type, which generally means less communication.
- Fewer online connections. It’s just more difficult to keep up with Twitter and everything else. No quick tabbing from one thing to the next, or seeing notifications pop up while writing a post.
- Less production in general. I play with the Pages app, but there are definite limitations. Which means that checklist I started back in August still hasn’t been perfected and we are limping along with something much less than I would have produced on a laptop with much more time.
- Less creativity. It’s not a creation device in any way… yes, I can make cool cards, or scrapbooky things, but in general, it’s hard and time consuming to create.
- It is not a laptop replacement. Period. I really wanted it to be.
- It is a great way to read and learn and use in a group setting without the ‘screen wall’ that goes up with laptops.
- I need to work with both devices regularly. I need to use the iDevice as a book and the laptop as my pen and paper.
Ramifications for Education?
See #3 above. Students need to have access to a way to easily connect, create and explore…. not just read, consume, and play. Can the iDevice do that? Ja. Is it easy? No. Will students find it hard to do if they are only used to using an iDevice? I don’t know. Right now, I think they still need both. Or access to both.
What about you?
(A funny aside…. I can’t tell you how many times recently I have touched the screen on my laptop to click or move something…)
Let me ‘fess us right now… I am not a fan of math. I use it when necessary, but have some longstanding hang-ups, especially when it comes to algebra. This year, I have the pleasure of walking my 7th grade daughter through Algebra I. Can you imagine the joy that fills my heart? (extreme sarcasm here, for those of you who don’t know me well)
Thankfully, I have a local group of educators who listen and respond to hard questions, like “Why algebra? And when?”. Obviously, I know my own bias will get in the way, not just mathematically, but technologically… if I can stick it in Wolfram Alpha and get the answer so that I can move on with my life or project, why do I need the ability to solve the problem? I don’t have a good answer.
My basic question is this… why are we moving students rapidly through math concepts? Is there a purpose for this in their life/future career?
I’ve heard responses from my local edupeeps, but am curious…. what do you think? Is algebra necessary? If so, why? And when are students developmentally ready for it? What role does technology play in the content and breadth of math instruction? (Links to your blog posts are appreciated, as always!)
photo credit: simplerich via photopin cc