So nice to talk about curriculum and know most of the people in the US can discuss it on the same level. Instead of each state creating their own resources, we can pool our content and find good things like Common Curriculum (http://www.commoncurriculum.com/). I recently discovered this after it being highlighted at one of our state technology meetings. The premise is simple. You sign up for an account, put in the subjects you teach, then begin dragging and dropping resources to create your plan book. It searches the Common Core to help with objectives, and allows you to put in your resources. Pretty nice user interface and tool. I plan to look into it a little more.
I always thought the Gimp a good photo editing software. Of course it gets even better if you can use your Android tablet as a sketch pad to your computer. Think how powerful this could be in an art class or even just in a regular classroom?
You know QR codes, right? Those little squarish things that resemble, kinda, the old screens on a b/w tv when the programming was over. So anyway, these QR codes allow you to tie some webpage or anything, really, to your phone or device with a camera.
Ok, so I will go with the presumption that you can scan QR codes with Apple like you can with Android. I seriously do not know. On the Android side of things, you can use an app like Google Googles. You ‘take a picture’ of the QR code, and it will pop up the link, video, file, etc. Pretty neat.
I recently saw an article on Lifehacker (http://lifehacker.com/5973021/turn-your-daunting-project-backlog-into-a-fun-and-actionable-qr-code-to+do-list) where you could turn your regular to-do list into a series of QR codes. The thought, then, becomes not knowing what task is next, throwing some randomness into your daily chores or workload.
So I started thinking…how could you use this in education? Lots of ways! With students, you could have them in groups and have each group use their phone or tablet to scan a QR code to see what their task is. Or some type of quest or scavenger hunt, with a series of QR codes acting as clues. Then how about just choosing partners? Nothing says random like this does. Use centers? How about using some QR codes to put students into their centers or for them to receive their tasks for the centers. Or studying history? How about different historical figures each getting a QR code? Or maybe historical events?
Then what about professional development? I for one HATE group work. Just give me my task and let me complete it. Maybe using QR codes would motivate people like me. Maybe each QR code is under the seats, and those people sharing the QR codes do an activity together. Maybe Common Core meets The Amazing Race. Or maybe you have three or four concurrent sessions. Maybe use QR codes to shuffle people into different sections.
Lots of potential here. I believe I will soon try this. Love seeing some, almost forgotten, technology used in new ways.
QR code–created at website: http://www.qrstuff.com/
What college student doesn’t like free textbooks? Heck, you tell your parents to send money for texts, use free ones, and you pocket the rest, right? Boundless, a site that uses Creative Commons textbooks, will allow you to do that. Of course, K12 Open Source Classroom will not condone that though!
Boundless (www.boundless.com) seeks to provide open content to students. They work with the Open Educational Resources community to provide this free content.
So you go to the site, create an account, and choose your school and then classes. This is exclusively a higher ed entity at this time, but I can definitely see the promise for high school in the future. As you go through your courses, you will find some open textbooks. It does not seem like all the courses provide open texts, but my school I used to sign-up, North Carolina State (go Wolfpack!) has some using Boundless. You can also just browse an entire list of available texts at https://www.boundless.com/textbooks/. You can find a wide variety of courses from Accounting to Art History and from Marketing to Microbiology. When you drill down into a course you find a nice outline, and then your actual text. Boundless also provides other materials like study guides, quizzes, and flash cards for registered users. Pretty nice tool!
How great for a college student! If all their classes supported this, they would probably only need something like a tablet device for school. Instead of the hundreds of dollars put toward textbooks, put that to a device (although making sure to put a little to the good folks at Boundless who run the site–they need to eat too!). Do the publishers like this? Of course not, but they have had their run. Now it is time for us to shift directions, getting more crowd-sourced, current information. More engaging and interactive content as well. Now, just to see it at the high school level!