The “Magic” School Bus

The other night on NBC Nightly News was a story of a man with a plan – a plan to use that wasted time on the schoolbus in the morning and put some technology to better use. As it ran on TV.

But, online they have a somewhat extended video that talks a bit more with the kids about their experiences.
Sorry for the links and no embedded video, but apparently wordpress.com things MSNBC videos are dangerous and keeps stripping them from this post.

Billy Hudson, from Vanderbilt University deserves a gold star for his efforts in putting that time on the schoolbus to use through eLearning sites and podcasts. Hopefully school districts will take note of what is being done and decide to make some similar modifications on their own. This should serve as evidence of how feasible it is to get some sort of mLearning into use. Look closely and you can see some of OLPC’s XO machines.

By the way – TeacherJay was going to post on this earlier, but he was too casual in his conversations and he got beat to the punch. Thanks, Allan, really, thanks =P

Closing the Digital Divide…

… using our own computers and internet access to help give access to others…

TeacherJay has long been an advocate for bridging the digital divide – that unfortunate set of circumstances, such as poverty, and access to equipment, that has keeps computers and telecommunications out of the hands of so many of the world’s citizens. He joined the Digital Divide Network, a project of TakingITGlobal, some time ago to read articles and participate in discussions. Just this morning, he learned they have now formed a Causes group on Facebook. With donation amounts as low as $10 US, it’s very easy to show your support for this important cause. Thanks to some special ‘challenges’ on the site, special gifts may be awarded to the organization for having the most new donors.

Give One Get One Extended

TeacherJay is a big fan of the One Laptop Per Child (OLPC) project that has the goal of creating affordable and rugged wireless laptop computers to be used as educational tools for children in developing third-world nations. He has posted on them previously. Their Give One Get One campaign in which a donor is able to purchase 1 machine for a child in a developing nation and, in recognition, receive a second for that special child in their life. They recently announced that the program will be extended until December 31.

To learn more about the program, click here.

To learn more about the One Laptop Per Child project, click here.

RSS in Plain English

TeacherJay is a big fan of Really Simple Syndication and the eXtensible Markup Language. He has tried to explain these technologies using plain English, but he is surely no expert in that. However, the guys over at The Common Craft Show, with their wonderfully low-tech productions, have done a very nice job and TeacherJay wanted to share it.

[blip.tv ?posts_id=209879&dest=-1]

Kindle

Jeff Bezos, Founder & CEO of Amazon.com, is debuting their newest product, the Kindle, a small paperback-sized electronic book reader. Could this device be the improvement to the book? Even Bezos comments that the book is elegant and ponders if it is even possible to improve upon it. In today’s post, TeacherJay takes a look at the development of eBook readers and has a few words for the practical use of the devices. Read the rest of this entry »

Exploratree

Thanks to Thane over at Technology on a Shoestring, TeacherJay learned about this neat little tool. Having been a big fan of graphic organizers and mind maps for years, TeacherJay had long been interested in finding an application that was easy to use, multi-platform and free. Today’s post takes a quick review of this new site and suggests some potential uses for it in education. Read the rest of this entry »

WikiProject Classroom Coordination

Wikipedia Globe

TeacherJay has long been fascinated with the experiment that is Wikipedia (see previous post). It is still surprising to him that users all over the world have come together to create a body of knowledge that is responsible when it comes to copyrighted information and accurate, insofar as references and citations are included to verify information. In his daily wandering of Wikipedia (he loves that Random Article link), TeacherJay came across the WikiProject Classroom Coordination page and also information on School and University Projects. These two projects are aimed at encouraging teachers to use Wikipedia not as a research tool, but as an authoring tool by creating lesson plans for students to learn how to contribute to the Wikipedia community. Students can research topics and help to revise articles – this could provide them with much-needed support that their work is actually meaningful and will be used by others, as well as instill in them a responsibility in their work.