So I went ahead and upgraded my Lenovo X1 Carbon ultrabook to Windows 8 this week. Before you begin judging me, I had my reasons. My father-in-law bought a new computer, which of course came with W8, so either way I would provide tech support, so I figured I better know what I am talking about. So you see my Start page to the left. Overall, so far, I like it. Of course there are lots of things I would like to do to better rearrange stuff, but, being Windows, most of it is locked down. Usually many hacks will come as well, I guess it’s just early in the process. Anyway, I will mess around with it for awhile, and then share my experiences.
So we finally moved into the gaming era, albeit quite late, with the acquisition of a wii over the holiday. The girls are quite the dancers and bowlers already! That got me thinking what are we doing with gaming in our schools? I will assume you hear about the interesting things they do with World of Warcraft in Pender County, North Carolina. Lots of teaching of history, math, and science using a popular role playing game. How about a school that uses gaming exclusively as their curriculum, as in the Quest for Learning School in Manhattan? And now we see many schools offering video game development using Microsoft’s XNA Game Studio (ok, so it’s Microsoft) through Computer Programming courses in their Career-Technical Programs.
I love all of this! Why do we continue to think we need to prepare students for taking on huge debt for four years of college they probably mostly will never use. Yes, we still need doctors and lawyers, but if a high school grad can design a game or an app and make a decent salary, why does this upset us? I have seen time and again students design Apple or Android apps, sell them for $0.99 a piece and make awesome crazy money. Why do we not want this? In programming you need logic. You need math, especially in the spatial sense. Problem solving. So many skills. Let’s move more and more in this direction. Higher Ed will feel threatened, surely, but they also need to change with the time. Maybe 1 or 2 year programs to further a student’s knowledge. Don’t stick them in a 4 year program and take electives that have no relevance to their program. Yes, they may lose some money, but that’s the way of the world!
So you use a variety of Android devices. It only makes sense to use Google Books to access content. Google Books has come out with some new features, including read-aloud. Check out the video for more!
Yup, it’s that time of year…lots of countdowns and looks toward 2013. We definitely enjoyed a good year with Android in 2012. Finally got some decent devices. From the Samsung Galaxy Tab series to the Amazon and Barnes and Noble lines, and finishing with the Nexus 7 at year’s end. In our schools we use these for any number of reasons, productivity with our Principals to the Wireless Generation assessments with the Nexus 7. So much so that we purchased 200 of these devices. So going forward, where will 2013 take us?
1. Google coming out with a purchasing plan for schools. Right now, that’s a big reason for schools not to go with Android. Apple has its licensing/mass purchasing program to a science. Even Barnes & Nobles has a way to use purchase orders to purchase content for nooks. Google, not so much. In order for these devices to really take off, there needs to be some program. And not just buying gift cards. Hopefully Google has something in place soon!
2. A mobile device manager that allows more control. We are looking at a variety of MDMs to keep track of our devices. Meraki has a nice one (free!) and we have been looking at AirWatch, Symantec, and others. We will need to choose one and go with it in 2013.
3. Devices. What will CES, the big consumer show in January share with us? The Nexus 7 definitely fills a nitch. What will the next device built on it show us?
Image from http://www.soft9000.com/blog9000/index.php?entry=entry111111-090652
How many of you grew up with Lolly, Conjunction Junction, and I’m Just a Bill? I know I definitely did! Then I used the videos teaching fourth grade, especially those on History Rock. Now, I get to share them with my own eight and five year olds. I found some great resources here: http://www.openculture.com/2012/12/schoolhouse_rock_at_40_still_fabulous_and_rocking_on.html, from a post about SHR’s birthday. It got me thinking: the reason these were so popular, obviously, was not because of the content, but the way they would get lodged in your head. How many of you can sing Three is a Magic Number? Or Interplanet Janet? And you actually learned something from them.
So why do we not make more of these with our students? Especially now with the Common Core–you could share them with kids all over the Country. You just need a digital camera, or maybe a tablet, some free video editing software, some recording software (Audacity?) or a voice recorder app, and you are set. Get those kids to memorize and problem solve!
Image from: http://allthingsjohnadams.blogspot.com/