Category Archives: Education and Technology

Apps Are Playing a Major Role in Autism Education

Children who have developmental disorders, like autism, usually find it troublesome to recognize emotions and social cues. Autism apps like “Make Sentences” and “All Sorts!” can be of a major help to such children. These apps are programmed with voice and interactive response software and help autistic children to construct sentences and differentiate one object from another. Experts and researchers believe that these apps could be of immense help to autistic kids because they help focus on a single aspect of communication at a time, and then react according to the situation. The “Make Sentences” and “All Sorts!” autism education apps never overwhelm the child with multiple forms of communication. Introducing autism education apps at the right age will help the child become independent at the right time.

Both the “Make Sentences” and “All Sorts!” autism apps can be personalized. The can be changed according to the individual needs of the child. The educational apps help autistic children follow directions and bolster communication by instilling confidence.

The inclusion of technology in special education methods is already underway. Progress, however, is being carried out in steps and not in leaps. There’s still a lot of advancement need to be made. Technology in autism education, like the apps, can help students build confidence and attain academic and extra-curricular success. For students with special needs, it’s critical to usher in an emotional and social learning function into the mix. For instance, while using a technological learning device connected to an app, a teacher will be in a much better position to customize the learning plan which includes social, intellectual, and emotional learning. A child may face trouble to complete the daily tasks all by himself/herself. The autism apps will provide options for the answer to a question. The child can then match the nearest option and finish the task.

The “Make Sentences” and “All Sorts!” autism apps rely on teaching a child through games. The learning sessions are completely interactive. They are loaded with colorful icons and voice commands. A voice warns when a child selects a wrong option. Similarly, when a right option is chosen, the child is awarded with badges that help him/her go to the next level. The main aim of these apps is to make education fun. These simple gaming activities help autistic children further their education.

Both the “Make Sentences” and “All Sorts!” autism apps are frequently updated so that the special needs children can tackle fresh challenges.

If Technology Is Effective in the Classroom – Why Do Some Students Dislike It So Much?

The effectiveness of technology use in the classroom has become a controversial issue. While many teachers and students feel that it’s best to use technology because it enhances teaching many others feel that it causes too many challenges and that it is a waste of time. If technology is as effective in the classroom as many teachers believe it to be; why do some students dislike it so much?

In order to objectively respond to this question, 3 articles were examined. 2 out of the 3 relate how the use of technology in the classroom frustrates students while the last one translates the thoughts of students who feel that technology in the classroom has responded to their need. So the issue is not that technology is not effective but rather that some teachers need to be mindful about technology use in the classroom and others need to be trained in order to properly use technology to teach so that students do not view technology as obstruction learning but as an enhancing tool.

After summarizing the 3 articles that have been reviewed we will be able to prove that there are 2 groups of students who claim to dislike technology in the classroom: Those who are improperly exposed to it by their teacher and those who did not give themselves enough time to familiarize themselves with it. We will then be able to get to the logical conclusion that those same students would appreciate the value of technology in the classroom if their teachers used it properly. Let us first summarize the articles that we are referring to.

The article “When good technology means bad teaching related that many students feel that teachers and professor use technology as a way to show off. Students complain of technology making their teachers “less effective than they would be if they stuck to a lecture at the chalkboard” (Young) other problems related by students include teachers wasting class time to teach about a web tool or to flab with a projector or software. When teachers are unfamiliar with the technological tools, they are likely to waist more time trying to use them the technological software that is used the most according to students is PowerPoint. Students complain that teachers use it instead of their lesson plan. Many students explain that it makes understanding more difficult “I call it PowerPoint abuse” (Young). Professors also post their PowerPoint Presentation to the school board before and after class and this encourages students to miss more classes.

Another problem reported in the article with the use of technology in the classrooms is that many schools spend time to train their staff about how to use a particular technology but it does not train them on “strategies to use them well” (Young). The writer believed that schools should also give small monetary incentives to teachers and professors to attend workshops.

In an interview made with 13 students, “some gave their teacher a failing when it came to using Power Point, Course Management systems and other classroom technology” (Young ) some of the complains were again about the misuse of PowerPoint’s and the fact that instructors use it to recite what’s on the scale. Another complaint was that teachers who are unfamiliar with technology often waste class time as they spend more time troubleshooting than teaching. The last complain mentioned is that some teachers require students to comment on online chat rooms weekly but that they do not monitor the outcome or never make reference to the discussion in class.

Similarly, the article “I’m not a computer person” (Lohnes 2013) speaks to the fact that students expectations as far as technology is concerned is very different. In a study done with 34 undergraduate university students, they advise that technology is an integral part of a university students life because they have to do must everything online from applying for college or university, searching and registering for classes, pay tuition and that in addition to being integrated in the administration, etc. technology is also widely used to teach and is valued by higher education.

Those students, however, feel that technology poses a barrier to success as they struggle to align with the ways in which the institution values technology.” A student explains that technology is used in her freshman year to turn in assignments, participate in discussion boards and blogs, emailing the professor, viewing grades and for a wide range of other administrative task including tracking the next school bus. This particular student whose name is Nichole says that she does not own a laptop but shares a family computer. She has a younger brother who also uses the computer to complete his school work so she consequently has to stay up late to complete assignments. She states “technology and I? We never had that connection” (Lohnes). Nichole dislikes the fact that her college requests that she had more contact with technology than she is conformable with. Nonetheless, she explains that as she started doing those school online assignments so frequently she came to realize that they were not that bad.

One of her issues though with technology is that she had come from Puerto Rico about a year prior entering college and that she never had to use the computer so much there. The articles relates that other college students like Nichole have admitted that they are “reluctant technology users” (Lohnes) The article wants to explain, in essence, that although most people would expect that college students prefer technology and are already familiar with it,” that assumption is faulty” (Lohnes).

On the other hand, the article “What Screenagers Say About… ” High school age students were asked about what they thought of technology but most expressed liking it. One of them said about PowerPoint: “My history teacher did a good job with Power Points. He would put them online, which made for really great reviews.” (Screneagers, 2011) Others expressed how technology was really who they are and that teachers should understand for example that when they text in class, they are not being rude but that they have gotten used to multi tasking. Another student invites teachers to not be afraid of technology “Teachers shouldn’t be afraid of technology. Understand that it’s how we live our lives. So don’t just push it out. Learn to cope with us and how we work.” (Screenagers, 2011)

Another student however, expressed how she prefers simpler technology that her teacher is comfortable with rather than high tech that the teacher does not manipulate well “The most important thing for teachers is to be comfortable with what they’re using. It doesn’t have to be super high tech. My math teacher used a projector, and it was one of my favorite classes. Then I would go to this other class where the teacher used Power Points and the SMART board, but I didn’t get any more out of it because she wasn’t comfortable with the technology” (Screenagers, 2011) Students spoke about their appreciation for virtually all types of technology used in the classroom. Another said “One of my teachers used Skype. That’s face-to-face interaction. If I had a problem with some math problem I was working on, I could take a picture of it and put it on the Skype screen. She could see where I was making my mistake. It really helped.” (Screenagers, 2011) The bottom line is that those high school students wanted to let teachers know that they really like technology and that it is already a great part of their daily routine but that it had to be used properly in order for them to enjoy it.

Similarly, they summarize a few things that they dislike as well. Among the list, they said: reading on the computer, paying a lot for an online textbook and the fact that they often forget everything else when they get caught up with using technology.

Nonetheless, they had much more positive things they liked in technology like for example that some teachers would text a question for them to think about before class, so if they do not know they answer, they would communicate with classmates to discuss the possibility for the answer before class. This allows them to go to class prepared. They also like using Skype, emailing their teachers instead of going to speak to them in person. They also enjoy discussion boards. The advice they would like to convey to their teachers is to make sure that they are comfortable with whatever technological tools they are using, to give them more freedom to use the good sites and those in the middle range when they are surfing the net using school computers and to understand that technology is part of their lives.

After summarizing those articles, we can see that the students mentioned in Youngs, 2004 dislike technology because their experience with it was not satisfactory. In other terms, a group of students dislike technology because some teachers are not mindful about technology use or they need additional training. For example, some students are frustrated because they feel that instructors waist their time when they are not properly trained to use the technological tools. Others disliked the fact that some teachers had PowerPoint presentations which were either not meaningful or they would just read whatever they wrote and add no additional comments. Those examples are called “bad teaching (Young, 2004) and they are in fact terrible examples that teachers should not follow because technology is not meant to help teachers do the least work or to adopt poor teaching practices. Somme students related that PowerPoint was widely used by teachers so they even call it PowerPoint abuse.

I can relate to what is being expressed by those students. I observed a Teaching Assistant teach a grammar class recently. He purchased a device to allow him to monitor the screen without touching the computer. He was able to walk throughout the class while changing slides. It all looked so impressive but despite all of this show, students were left so confused at the end of the lesson. When they asked questions, he went back to the slide that had the grammar rule and read it over to the class. The PowerPoint was a duplication of the textbook chapter. The same examples of the book were used. At the end of the course, he felt that he had done a great PowerPoint when in fact, it was not meaningful. It was a copy/paste project from the text book to the screen. This example shows that we need to use common sense when using technology. When teaching grammar, a teacher has to be able to come up with examples other than those in the book, you have to write on the board, have student practice what they have learned. PowerPoint use was a real bad idea, in my opinion, for teaching this course. It was just not the right technological tool for the lesson.

Students in that class may decide that they hate Power Points because it confuses them more while the issue is not with the use of PowerPoint but instead with the teacher’s poor choice of technology. The point I also want to make here is that teachers may sometimes be unaware of their improper use of technology. This is why, as educators, we sometimes need to ask students for their feedback so we may make corrections where needed.

We can then conclude that those students dislike technology as a result of improper technological use by teachers, and also because many teachers do not attend workshops or training sessions to help them obtain a broader knowledge of technology since they are so busy. Like suggest (Youngs, 2004) and (Lohnes, 2012), those same busy teachers would have attended those trainings if there were given an incentive. In the article “Technology Standards in a Third-Grade Classroom” (Kovalik, 2001), it is related how a study done on a 3rd grade class of 25 showed that students were properly using technology. There is no indication that those students dislike using technology. The article also mentioned how the teachers were highly trained because the Ohio board pays incentive to teachers to participate in technology training which teaching them not only how to use technology by teaches them strategies on when to use them.

Boards from other states should consider doing the same thing to ensure that their teachers are responding to the technological need of their students and that they are teaching them according to the standards. The Ohio school mentioned above met the standards as far as technology is concerned because of the technology coaching received by the teachers. If teachers learn how to properly use technology in the classroom, it will be a less frustrating experience for them and for the student who will less likely dislike technology since it will meet its purpose to enhance teaching.

The other groups of students who dislike technology are those who were not exposed to it for long enough. The College Freshman, Nichole advises that she was not exposed to so much technology while she was in high school in her home country; consequently, it seemed to be a burden to her to have to need a computer to complete most of her school assignments but also to interact with her classmate via a discussion board. What is interesting though is that even though she claimed to dislike technology so much, she advised that once she started to spend so much time using it, she realizes that it is not so bad. Even though it is likely that some people do not like the telephone and texting so much, the computer and some website have become part of most people daily routine. In Nichole’s case, she does not own a laptop and has to wait for her turn to use the family computer which means that she has no attachment to this media because her use of it is controlled. However, once she gets to own her own computer, it is a guaranteed that her view of technology will change.

I returned to school after about 12 years. When I was in college the 1st time around, nothing was electronic but when I contacted USF to apply, they told me that everything was online. At first, I asked why everything was online but once I got used to it, I started to understand the value of having the convenience to do a lot of things without having to live my home.

Therefore, Nichole will certainly not continue to dislike technology that much once she gets more familiar and more attached to it. The fact is that she stated that she started to realize that it was not that bad once she started doing so many assignments. She came to the conclusion that the computer was not yet a friend but that it was no longer an enemy; it became to her an acquaintance.

With this understanding, depending on the background of some ELL students and depending on whether or not they were exposed to technology in their home country, they may not like technology at first but this should not be a sign that they will never come to appreciated it. As teacher, we will need to allow them time to familiarize themselves with it while we continue to properly use it so that we do not advocate against it or involuntary send missed information about its true value.

On the other hand, the last article testifies to the fact that the new generation is technology driven and that when used properly, they benefits from it in the classroom, there are several examples of how teachers originally used technology to teach which are appreciated by students. What should the conclusion be then?

We have proven that technology use is effective in the classroom but that teachers need to take some actions in order to make this tool useful to students. It is necessary that they received some training if they lack it, and like a student suggested in the Screenager article, they should refrain from using complicated tools if they are not sure about how to use them. It’s best to properly use something much simpler that they are familiar with like a high school student suggested.

In addition, it is important for teachers to screen the countless technological tools and to research them before introducing them to their teaching. Should they test some that do not work well, they have to stop using them and seek one that is more appropriate. Most importantly, technology is not always the answer this is why teachers should be balanced when using it. If it is required that we use the board and chalks to help students better understand, this is what we should do. Doing so, we will ensure that more students appreciate the use of technology in the classroom for what it is worth.

Work Cited

Kovalik, Cindy, Lynn Smolen, and Jazmine Toddy. “Technology Standards In A Third-Grade Classroom.”

Journal Of Research On Computing In Education 33.5 (2001): 1-17. Academic Search Premier.

Web. 9 Aug. 2013

Lohnes Watulak, Sarah. “‘I’m Not a Computer Person’: Negotiating Participation in Academic

Discourses.” British Journal Of Educational Technology 43.1(2012):109-118. OmniFile Full Text

Mega (H.W.Wilson). Web.9Aug. 2013.

Young, Jeffrey R. “When Good Technology Means Bad Teaching” Chronicle Of Higher Education

51.12(2004): A31-A31. Academic Search Premier. Web.9Aug.2013.

What Screenagers Say About… (2011). Educational Leadership, 68(5), 44-46 Wed. 9 Aug.2013.

By

NICK MYRCA MALEBRANCHE- GAUTHIER

Subject: Classroom Technology

8/9/13

5 Leading Online Schools

The internet has revolutionized many parts of our economy. You can shop, meet people online and, now, you can take college courses for credit. Five schools are influencing “distance learning” like no others before them. Let’s take a look at online education providers as offered by these leading schools.

The University of Phoenix was among the first accredited universities to provide college degree programs via the internet. Founded in 1976, the university began to offer internet degree programs in 1989. The program has grown to where 150,000 students are in the process of pursuing degrees on the Bachelors, Masters and Doctoral level at any given time. Programs in Technology, Business, Education, Nursing, and Management are offered and The University of Phoenix has now become the largest private university in the US.

DeVry University offers business and technology degrees on the undergraduate and graduate level. In addition, the school offers graduate level certificate programs. Headquartered in Illinois, the school allows students to work on their degree while online, at a local campus, or both. Indeed, campuses can now be found in 21 states as well as in Alberta, Canada.

Westwood College traces its roots to Denver, Colorado where it was founded in 1953 as the Denver Institute of Technology. Fifteen campuses in California, Colorado, Georgia, Illinois, and Texas comprise the physical campus with the internet opening up the school to students around the world. Westwood offers programs in Aviation, Business, Criminal Justice, Design, Technology, Health Sciences, and Industrial Sciences.

Kaplan University is a wholly owned company of The Washington Post Company, a publisher of one the nation’s leading newspapers, The Washington Post. Kaplan’s offerings include degrees in Arts and Science, Business, Criminal Justice, Education, Technology and Design, Nursing and Health Care, Paralegal Studies, and Financial Planning. The school offers students degrees on the Associates, Bachelors, and Masters levels as well as certificates for certain programs.

Founded in Naples, Florida in 1970 by a couple who wanted to offer a way for working adults to pursue doctoral degrees, Walden University has evolved into a large, online university offering students degrees on the Bachelors, Masters, and Doctoral level. Now headquartered in Minneapolis, the university features five distinct schools: School of Education, School of Management, School of Health and Human Services, School of Psychology, and the NTU School of Engineering and Applied Science.

Online education is not for everyone and that is why the first three universities give to their students the option to study on campus, while the last two are strictly internet based. However, all five schools offer to students something that traditional programs do not have: the opportunity to pursue a degree at a pace the student determines and at a place [your computer] that is appealing to many. Unquestionably, online education has arrived as a viable alternative for degree seeking students around the world.

(c)2005; Matthew C Keegan, LLC

Is a Degree in Information Technology the Right Choice for Me?

The field of information technology is constantly growing and expanding as the need for professionals who are skilled at working with computer software continues to increase. As one of the most in-demand fields in 2012, IT continues to attract more students to it every day. And while the field certainly gets you high paying jobs, that can’t be the only reason for you to want to pursue an education in it.

What is Information Technology?

Information technology concerns itself with design, development, implementation and improvement of computer technologies. These technologies support business, research, communications, etc.

What do IT related degrees cover?

An information technology degree will teach you how to apply logic to various computing methods, be knowledgeable about computer capabilities, effectively use computers and other information systems to achieve different objectives etc.

Depending on the specialization; almost every such degree will cover a few basic courses. These are:

· Computer fundamentals

· Networking concepts

· Web design

· Programming fundamentals

· Web programming

· General operating systems

· Human-computer interaction

Which industries can you work in?

With a degree in information technology, a student can find employment in a variety of industries. The job greatly depends upon the educational background with specialization, level of expertise and technical knowledge of an individual. Some of the industries where a degree in IT would come in handy are:

· IT consulting firms

· Internet service providers

· Banks and financial institutions

· Computer companies

· Telecommunication companies

· Hospitals and healthcare organizations

· Hardware and software manufacturers

Is a degree in Information technology right for me?

Education costs time and money. The decision about what you study is likely to affect every aspect of your life in the long run, so this decision would best be made after taking into consideration a few things.

· Make sure that what interests you to IT is working with computers and the field itself and NOT the high salaries that people are most attracted to. Like any other job, you will start out at a basic, entry-level job with a lower salary and you will have to work your way up the professional ladder.

· Information technology requires quantitative and analytical skills. If your Math skills aren’t strong you might have difficulty while creating algorithms and understanding programming languages.

· Information technology is a never-ending, continuously evolving field. Those who wish to study information technology should be prepared to face changes in computer languages to stay ahead of the game.

Colleges that offer Information technology degrees

Today, many technical colleges offer degrees in IT. California College San Diego is one such college. Reviews of California College San Diego highlight the college’s offerings and student services and help in making a sound decision about your future. If you think you work well with computers and are ready to face the everyday challenges in the field of technology, then IT could very well be the right choice for you!

Standardized Testing And Students With Assistive Tech

In recent years there has been a boom of standardized testing within American schools. Students are being tested in reading, math, science, social studies for state and school district standards that are used to show compliance with No Child Left Behind, along with NCLB testing students are also being hit with graduation tests, testing to move forward in the school progression ( i.e. a student must pass this test before moving onto the next grade level).

With the increasing number of tests given to students where the results weigh heavily on the school, school districts, or individual students performance, where do students with disabilities fall into this mix? Where especially students with Assistive Technology or Augmentative Communication? Federal law requires states and school districts to include students with disabilities in large-scale assessments, and to report their scores publicly, in disaggregated form, as a way of determining how well schools are serving these students. This is a matter of system accountability. Federal law is silent, however, on whether states or schools districts should impose high-stakes consequences on individual students with disabilities who fail large-scale tests. In other words, while federal law mandates participation in large-scale tests and public reporting of disaggregated scores, it is for states to decide whether large-scale tests will result in individual high-stakes consequences and, if so, for which students (Heubert, 2002).

Accommodations are able to be granted to students with disabilities without losing the standardization of the test. An accommodation is considered, any change to the standard test format to assess an individual’s abilities, rather than his or her

disabilities. Although allowable accommodations vary, they general fall in one of four categories:

o Presentation (e.g., directions/questions read aloud, large print).

o Response (e.g., use of a scribe).

o Setting (small group or individual testing, study carrel).

o Timing/Scheduling (extended time, additional breaks; Wahburn-Moses, 2003)

IDEA requires that the IEP team documents any accommodations in the students Individualized Education Plan. As Washburn-Moses (2003) stated, “The IEP team

should focus on the student’s strengths, weaknesses, and individual learning characteristics, and refrain from basing their decision on the student’s disability

level or current placement. Team members should consider only those accommodations that the student uses during classroom instruction and testing, as opposed to introducing new accommodations specifically for use on the state test (Thurlow et al.). It is extremely

important to document on the IEP the team’s decision regarding accommodations, as well as the justification for that decision.”

Dunne (2002), stated in an Education World article, “In Wisconsin, students with disabilities are being allowed testing accommodations so that more can take the test. The accommodations include increased time to take a test, use of a scribe to write down answers, and use of a reader to read instructions and questions aloud. Those types of accommodations will allow about 85 percent of students with disabilities to participate in the Wisconsin State Assessment System, according to a study authored by Eva M. Kubinski at the University of Wisconsin-Madison Center for Education Research.

For those students unable to be tested, even with accommodations, the state developed an alternate performance indicator tied to the state’s standards for use by schools to assess the 2 percent of Wisconsin students with severe disabilities or limited English proficiency, Kubinski wrote in her paper.”

What does this mean for students with Assistive Technology or AAC? Based on the research found, having an Assistive Technology device would allow a IEP team to determine if accommodations on standardized tests were needed. Each student is as unique as their assistive technology device and therefore it can be said that each student is going to pose different circumstances when it comes to testing in the school setting. According to IDEA, as stated earlier, the IEP team must determine what accommodations must be made for the student to be successful on the test. These accommodations must be written in the students IEP.

Since the students using AT/AAC vary greatly and many have underlying issues as to why they have AAC devices, such as other confounding disabilities. It is important that the IEP determines whether the device the student uses for communication is going to be part of the accommodation for the Standardized test or if it is not needed. It will be important to determine that and then prepare the student that they will or will not be able to use the device during the test. This is especially important if the device can not be used during the test, since this is the students voice.

IEP teams must work to find the best accommodations for the student to be successful, there are various ways to do that, including the Dynamic Assessment of Testing

Accommodations (DATA), which helps teachers determine which students will

benefit from which accommodations.

Based on the information provided it can be concluded that each students case is going to be very different, but overall each student that qualifies for special education, including those who use assistive technology or augmentative communication devices can qualify for special accommodations of standardized testing which will allow those students to complete the tests with reasonable scores.

References

Dunne, D. (2000). Are high stakes tests punishing some students? Education Weekly 34(1) 32-35.

Heubert, J.P. (2002). Disability, race, and high-stakes testing of students. NCAC. 4(1) 38-45.

Sindelar, T., Hager, R., & Smith, D. (2003). High stakes testing standards for students with disabilities. Neighborhood Legal Services, Inc.

Washburn-Moses, L. (2003). What every special educator should know about high stakes testing. Teaching Exceptional Children 35(4) 12-15.

The Future of Blockchain Technology

What is Blockchain?

The term blockchain has been used in numerous social and corporate conversations in recent years and everyone seems to have heard about blockchain technology, but a majority of the population actually has no idea what it actually means.

In order for us to clearly explain what blockchain technology actually means allow us to give you a brief breakdown about the history of how the transaction of money has evolved. Historically whenever people used to exchange valuable items there were middle men whose sole purpose was to record the authenticity of both parties and build trust between them. Currently these middle men are known as banks. The use of banks and brokers has continued over time and with the emergence of digital assets like stock, electronic money, and intellectual property the need for a more secure method has emerged. This is because digital assets are usually files within a computer that are therefore vulnerable to manipulation and theft. Thus the use of the blockchain technology enables parties to transact openly and transparently ensuring that the exchange is secure and efficient.

The Future of Bitcoin

Blockchain has the ability of completely disrupting the financial industry the same way social media disrupted mainstream media or the same way Netflix destroyed Blockbuster films. Blockchain technology has the potential of being used as a platform that provides financial services to everyone on the part of the world, this includes people in developing countries who may not have the access to traditional banking services and cannot afford the rates required to make large transactions. This technology has the potential of making major breakthroughs in nearly all major industries that are usually manipulated by big corporations.

The use of Blockchain technology in Education

Blockchain technology in education can be used to figure out the students that actually need the scholarships and those who can afford it. This is because a few students have been bypassing the system and getting financing. This would actually end up being detrimental to the needy students who end up dropping out or accruing a lot of debt that causes them to work for nearly.

Lastly, a huge number of the population may currently be hiding their heads in the sand as they wish blockchain to go away but this piece of technology is definitely going nowhere. In the near future we will all be trading using blockchain as part of our daily activities our great grandchildren will read about money and ATM machines just as how we read about barter trade and gold. It is therefore imperative that we jump on the bandwagon as soon as possible and get adjusted before we are forced to adjust.

Issues and Trends in Curriculum – From Technology to Global Awareness

Many immediate and complex issues overwhelm educators today. With positive and negative global influences, educators must look beyond the surface of education. Students are not just products of their schools but will become shaping forces in society, determining the success and failure of their nation’s future. Curricularists, educators, and everyone in leadership need to work together to develop a well-rounded curriculum, which includes the learning of different cultures. Our next generation will need to cope with cross-cultural matters and grow into sensible adults who are fair and just to the global society.

Technology plays an essential role in our education today and will even more so in the future. Especially in countries where economic and political situations are stable, the accessibility of the Internet and computers to maximize curriculum and to act as a means of communication among educators, even to the extent of intranets, must become available. This technology should be available in every school funded by taxes and donation from private industry.

Technology can also close the gaps between the educational levels around the world. Because of the political and socio-economic differences among countries, it would be impossible for this degree of technology to reach all parts of the world, yet effort should be made to see that education is fairy distributed to all children everywhere. This will require volunteers, donations, and assistance from the capable countries internationally. Even if there was just one computer in every town for those countries for school children, it would make a difference.

Another reason technology is significant to our curriculum development is for cultural knowledge expansion. The need to understand different cultures is an emergent issue in today’s education and societies as relationships among countries become more intertwined. The United States has always been a country of diversity; however, for the longest time, the contents of its curriculum were selectively western-focused.

For example, high school world history courses emphasized primarily European and western history. We now can make use of technology to design a world history curriculum that includes not only that part of world history but extends farther. San Diego University, in cooperation with the National Center for History in the Schools at the University of Los Angeles, offers Internet information on world history and assists teachers in delivering a whole curriculum without excluding a major part of the world’s people, events, or times (San Diego State University, 2007).

We should also take advantage of technology to form a curriculum for creating international awareness, understanding various cultures, and learning different opinions and values. Curriculums

need to focus on melting down barriers against others who are different and to encourage mutual respect and understanding for other cultures and beliefs. One way to promote cultural exchange is through technological communication. Thanks to the advancement of technology today, students all over the world can actually use computers to see and to talk to each other. More effort on promoting such communication should be encouraged and assisted by the government, various organizations, and individuals with the means to do so. One day, through the help of technology in education, people will learn that we are all part of the world community.

Penguins & Netbooks – Budget Solutions For Education Birthed by Innovation!

One of my podcasting co-hosts, Mark Gura, and I have been intermittently discussing the $100+ laptop project for the last two years on our popular bi-weekly series. If you happen not to be familiar with the $100 laptop project; it has been spearheaded by Nicholas Negroponte formerly of MIT. The importance of it is the way it has leveraged opened the tidal wave of adoption of open source software and forced computer manufacturers to develop low cost netbooks. This education-related project has truly transformed the computer industry and tech user expectations!

Background

Negraponte’s project is now called the One Laptop per Child project (OLPC) because the basic purpose is to provide low cost, durable laptop computers to the children of developing countries. The prototype of these laptops have gone through wide variations, and brought much criticism over the past few years and they are never meant to be the “does everything” computer.

These are basic models and yet quite revolutionary in several ways. For one, they are very small, have alternate power sources, such as hand powered, can be linked together to form an intranet (wireless broadband that can mesh network) and most of all do not suffer from what the founder dubs “Microsoft bloat.” In the dedicated efforts to keep the cost so very low, the software that is used is open source, which requires a much smaller installation footprint and hardware operation requirements.

The Original Prototype 2007 Details in Brief: Linux-based operating system, a dual-mode display, a 500MHz processor, 128MB of DRAM and 500MB of Flash memory. No hard drive, four USB ports and the wireless broadband that creates a mesh network.

Enter: Wider Public Adoption of Open Source Software!

In several episodes of the Teachers Podcast we discuss the merging of another one of my favorite technology trends with the OLPC phenomenon- open source development and software. Open source development occurs when groups of people openly share source code in the development of the programming languages, operating systems, or another application. The purpose is that the community will be able to test and work collaboratively world-wide on the project with many minds and perspectives available that might not otherwise be able to meet and work together. It truly is a community and thereby the content and the product remains “open” that is free for use. Very often a Creative Commons code license is used is to describe use and attribution of the software.

Probably the most famous current example is the operating system Linux (identified with by its mascot of the penguin aka Tux). Related to Linux which has scores of programmers working on it around the world, there are also other Linux-like operating systems available also including Apache, Ubantu, Linspire and more. For the education sector open source software has been way behind in adoption as schools have stayed mainstreamed primarily on pcs and small number on macs in the younger grades. However, having visited a few educational technology conferences the past two years I have seen a different trend finally being paid interest and the OLPC project could push it even much further again! Let me explain.

At ed tech conferences we have experienced hands-on demonstrations of Linux or Ubantu network labs which are “dumb terminals” hooked up to a server and all gaining internet access and applications from the server. This first-hand experience provides a point of entry for many teachers, ed tech specialists and school administrators who might have never otherwise considered these options. In these cases, participants see that there is no great loss in function with this configuration whereas the cost for this equipment is a small fraction of a conventional school lab. This is because of two obvious major factors 1), the hardware are not stand alone computers, and 2) the operating system is open source. Hardware costs and upgrade costs are also greatly reduced, as well as the fact that software licensing and upgrades are eliminated.

Open source software is no longer just for the tech heads. These platforms are point and click similar to most other programs. And there are thousands of open source programs freely available for us to meet business, education, graphic, music composition, media design, application needs to name just a few As some K-12 superintendents are bringing in open source networks (they call them Open Technologies) into their schools we are seeing the march of the penguins, pencils and laptops strut their stuff for education! At a time of increased scrutiny of school budgets and greater accountability, I expect that 2009-2010 will be a time when open source software, dumb terminals, as well as virtual terminals (to be discussed in an upcoming e-zine article) will be charging ahead at a double- or triple-time pace.

Update May 2009

The massive wave of netbooks (Asus, Acer, HP, Dell, and more) which have flooded the computer market in the last 16 months has been a welcome relief for consumer and school budgets alike! We have Dr Negroponte to thank for transforming the computing industry nearly single handedly by pushing his OLPC project to the forefront of the corporate table of competition. The details unfolded close on the heals of the progress of Negroponte was the Asus group and the release of the ee pc with Linux on board (originally).

Not just for tech people these were released in the standard grey and black colors, but also shocking pink and green, and white– we can see the market was broader than the standard computer industry had been addressing). Their product was enthusiastically received and so impacted the public marketplace that the major computer manufacturers had to respond – quickly. Now in June 2009 we have netbooks available from every major manufacturer available for under $500. The resulting smaller, much less expensive (roughly 77% reduction in price) and robust hardware selections we now see all around us in computer and office stores, is originally due to OLPC shake up of a sanguine, over priced system.

A related wave of adoption is also continuing in spring 2009, and that is Open source, from Open Office.org to Linux, has seen very good year so far. Not only are we seeing more ads for these products in mainstream publications, but lay people (non-techies) are asking, requesting, and using them. What does this mean for Microsoft? Will there actually be a backlash against steep upgrade prices? We have talked about frustration for years, but is the time here for it to have a significant impact? These are exciting times for the voice of the people!

The Connection

As more and more people catch the vision of netbook and realize they don’t need high-end computers for all student classrooms and instead they could even provide computers to go home with children; it will be open source software penguins leading that march as well. It’s been a long day coming for our educational system to see that this is a much more economically way to serve the teachers and students and thereby be able to serve ALL of them.

An important aside- very much worth the read and exploration- Negroponte is so open source he is now publishing a wiki where he is openly displaying the technical production notes, tech requirements, software, participating countries, photos of the prototypes and much more (see: www.laptop.org ). Bringing such tools into the hands of multitudes of schools and students around the world, near and far, can really change who the voices will be, and who will be in the global conversations in just a few months and in our global political future.

Providing such a tool and entry to the outside world for not just students, but also for their families, for that is part of the purpose, can build a growing wave of social change through many forms of literacy and understanding. When the walls of Equity and Access are broken down in even in these small ways, the opportunities are many for people to rise in to new possibilities. Penguins, open source, education and $100 laptop have much empowering potential for the children of the world, adults and nations.

The Benefits of Music Technology in Schools

1. Music technology helps to improve the understanding of musical theory

“You can use it [Logic Pro] to teach students pretty much any topic especially the use of dynamics, in a hands on practical way”. J Clarke BDA, Head of Music.

The plug-in and automation features in Logic Pro and most music software, enable students to understand classical terms such as crescendo and diminuendo on an interactive platform. Automation tools also give a level of interaction during the process, as they are able to control the dynamics according to each section and instrument. Plug – in controls such as attack, release, sustain and decay help students to visually interact with terms such as staccato, legato and accent; all essential tools when creating a highly expressive composition.

2. Develops performing, composing and arranging skills through an integrated approach

“It can enable them [students] to access compositional and arrangement techniques in a creative way from a young age”. M Barbe, MBP Head of Music.

When composing a song using an acoustic instrument, it can be challenging to write parts of the composition, plus arrange different sections – without an understanding of compositional structure and the ability to play a musical instrument. Using software solutions such as GarageBand, students are able to substitute these requirements through access to a world of instrumental loops and samples, whereby students may listen, cut and paste various samples to begin to build their own composition. The software allows students to use the interface as a canvas for their creations; to visually manipulate melody, harmony, rhythm, form and timbre.

3. Discovers hidden talents within the classroom

“I think the main benefit of using music technology in a classroom is the fact that students get exposure to unlimited resources and possibilities to use as a platform for their creativity”. L Neckles SHHS, Head of Music.

You never know how good you are until you are tested. Music technology is a medium whereby students may uncover skills they did not know they had. The use of music software such as Soundation4Education, allows a student to think critically, independent choices and cognitive judgments in the music production process. Presenting a range of musical opportunities provides the prospect of raising self-esteem, increasing motivational levels of a student and enabling them to use their creative skills for a career in the industry.

4. Music technology can further the boundaries of music and enrich music lessons for pupils and teachers, alike

“… The opportunity to learn a music is a basic human right which should be available equally to children attending schools”. John Brockhouse, Author, Getting better all the time: using music technology for learners with special needs. Australian Journal of Music Education

Children from early years through to the musically inept, gifted and disabled are able to have access to music through technology. Musical performance on a traditional instrument is often solely dependent on the users skill. Yet with technology equipment such as drum pads, synthesizers and electro acoustic instruments, illustrious samples and mind-blowing sounds can be played by the tap of a finger or click of a button. Assistive Music technology devices such as Band in a Box or Soundbeam, can be utilised in ways to engage physically challenged students to experience music performance as part of a group; but they also help to retain the students interest in music education. Without the access technology offers, higher education in music can remain closed to physically and mentally disabled pupils.

5. Music Technology enables students to extend their learning and creativity outside the classroom

“The use of music technology software aids to remove certain barriers to learning for students. It doesn’t matter if you are able to play an instrument or not, nor does it depend on your musical ability”. S Wagstaff, SBI Head of Music

Music technology is a fairly new skill, especially for primary school students. With the likes of Soundation4Education, students are able to access music production software outside of the classroom without having to afford the costly price of music production software. Today, online music software is significantly cheaper compared to the cost of purchasing musical instruments and music lessons in the long term. Through access to the Internet, students may develop music production skills by watching the vast array of tutorials from music producers from the comfort of their bedroom.

Conclusion

To conclude, music technology is the way to go. Music tech is a great way to teach composition, arranging and basic music theory to a whole class. Many schools have begun to adopt the benefits of technology as can be seen through programs such as Proclassic and level of IT capital invested in schools across London (£450m in 2013 according to Gov Today). However, there needs to be greater access for teacher CPD training in music tech, in order for schools to understand how to use the software not as an addition to the music curriculum, but to incorporate it as a tool to enable greater learning and understanding – and as a tool to facilitate greater access to music theory and performance capabilities.

Impact Of Modern Technology On Education

There is no doubt that modern technology has impacted in our life. It plays an important role in human life from various ways. It helps us to operate many critical and complex processes easily and effectively. Also in the education sector it impacted majorly and changes way of learning.

Computer Technology

In the education sector computers are revolutionary technology and you can’t avoid its importance in schools. It offers interactive audio visual media that allow rendering information to students via animation software and Power Point Presentation in an interactive manner. Visual effects have made learning more interesting for students.

Now days’ computer learning is a necessary part of education, so that students can gain basic knowledge of computer technology.

Internet Technology

The internet technology is providing huge information and it becomes a useful effective tool. Search engines are providing lots of information about any query. Various informative websites and web directories are providing wide knowledge. Internet is helping students to enhance their knowledge and gain some extra information too.

Internet and computer technology make distance learning simpler. Now, there is no need to be present in the classrooms, students can sit anywhere and learn. Internet also helps to submit assignment online that is now offered by number of colleges and universities.

The modern technology is not only helping us in education sector it also changing the world. Every where you can observe and sense the effect of technology. From traveling to communication everywhere technology is playing an important role and making human life trouble-free.