Sunday, February 3, 2013

Whiteboards for Dummies and YouTube Education Channels

The article "Whiteboards for Dummies" was very interesting because I did not know that there was that many things you could do with an interactive whiteboard.  The teacher in the article plays a game with his students where they get to throw a koosh ball at the board and then questions pop up when they hit certain objects.  He uses this to help them with their vocab words.  I think this is a great way for his students to actively learn in his classroom.  It makes learning fun and interactive and the technology is used to it's full potential.  Sometimes technology can hinder the learning process if it is used incorrectly, and this activity definitely does the opposite.  The students get more engaged because this is a complete new way of learning their vocab words other than the standard way of  writing them down and defining them.   The students get to associate images with the words and get asked questions about each word.  The article also addresses the  fact that technology is only as good as it's user.  This is a great point because if a teacher does not know how to use a piece of technology well, they will not be able to use it to its full potential.  It directly speaks to the issue of school districts not having enough training opportunities for their teachers about new technology.  Teachers may get an interactive whiteboard and never use it because they do not get properly trained.  The biggest obstacle is making sure the technology is helping the students learn, not hindering them, and this is where workshops come in.

The second article lists the top twelve YouTube education channels for teachers and students.  It lists channels for all age groups and provides three or four channels for each.  I chose to look at the K-12 section, focusing on the ones that are more for high school and middle school.  The two listed were Space Lab and Khan Academy.  Space Lab is filled with great videos talking about many aspects of space.  It provides updates about the space world and they address the rumors about space happenings.  I think this would be a great channel for students to use for projects since it has so much valuable information.  Khan Academy is the next channel that I looked at.  I have used Khan Academy before to help with my homework and I think it is a great channel.  Sal Khan does a great job teaching how to solve certain problems and I think this is a great resource for students.  There are an extreme amount of videos to choose from and I think students really benefit from his videos.