Teaching in Second Life: (Thanks Colleen!) This is a program developed in New York City Schools District 75 using Second Life as a virtual world for training students – This course is for teachers of high school aged students in alternate assessment whose goals focus on expanding students’ communication, social and life skills. Students selected to participate in the Virtual World must have a basic level of ability navigating on a computer using a keyboard and mouse, as well as a basic level of verbal communication skills in order to benefit from the program. A series of follow-up professional development sessions will be held online following the initial in-person training. Teachers attending the workshop commit to participation in the Citywide World Curriculum for the entire school year, including weekly on-line learning sessions planned and executed by the teacher with support from online staff. In addition to the online component, teachers are responsible for planning and implementing the year-long curriculum as well as integrating content-specific work into their lessons.
By The Way…this was presented at the National Conference for Technology Innovation Conference in Washington DC. See More about this Immersive Environments and Virtual Reality presentation here: www.nationaltechcenter.org/index.php/2010/11/15/live-from-ncti-2010-immersive-environments-virtual-reality/
SL Education Bibliography! Related to the above NY School Effort in Second Life, here’s an annotated bibiography on a Purdue webpage of education in Second life. This is a really great resource! If you’ve ever asked yourself or had someone ask you, “why Second Life for education,” then, this is a tool you need to bookmark and spend some time exploring!
(Artwork: “Throwing Shoes,” by Zoe, on the iPad)
Do We Ban or Do we Teach? Last evening I had a passionate discussion with two people I’d consider friends, both of whom were strongly against allowing the use of cell phones and other like technology in the classroom. One of these friends is a teacher and the other works in the business world. Both of them are concerned with the education system in the USA. Of course, I’ve been thinking about it ever since. One friend, the teacher, worked in a poor, urban area and was concerned that technology couldn’t be funded and even if it was, would be used inappropriately and traded for drugs or worse. My business friend was concerned that cell phones and other portable technologies in the classroom were distracting and should be banned.
Of course, my long-standing stance is that behavior is behavior, regardless of the medium. That is, if a student throws his shoe at another student’s head, we don’t suddenly ban shoes in school. Instead, we TEACH. We don’t decide that shoes are dangerous and require our students to leave them at the school doors or leave them in their backpacks out of sight. Instead, we might deal out the appropriate punishment to the shoe thrower and more importantly, we’d teach this student how to appropriately use shoes in the future. …or books, or pencils, or rubber bands or whatever! The technology is just another “shoe” that REQUIRES us to teach appropriate use and take advantage of the teachable moments that arise from inappropriate use.
Just some things to think about. Comment on the post please, if you feel strongly in one way or the other. Additionally, I’ve been talking to one school district in particular about their technology policy and potentially revising it to allow teachers to actually have more rights (and responsibilities) than students! Imagine that! Here’s an article I came across this week that discusses this very topic as it relates particularly to social networking and schools and it includes some sample internet policy components as districts begin to rewrite their policies!
FREE ePUB Converter from PATINS and ICAM!
The PATINS Indiana Center for Accessible Instructional Materials (ICAM) is pleased to announce that beginning November 17th Indiana school district’s ICAM registered Digital Rights Managers (DRM)will be able to a download a free new software conversion tool, – the DAISYtoEPUB Converter.
This new eBook conversion tool is the first and only tool that converts DAISY3 electronic files into EPUB, the preferred standard format for mainstream eBook Readers like the iPad, Nook, Sony Reader, Android devices.
The DAISYtoEPUB software will benefit students with a print disability who want to read their accessible DAISY books on one of these new portable consumer devices. Additional files based on the DAISY 3 standard include NIMAS (National Instruction Materials Accessibility Standard) and Bookshare files.
With DAISYtoEPUB, it’s easy to convert files in a three-step process:
1. Select the file and choose a location to save the converted file,
2. Click convert, and
3. Transfer the EPUB file to the portable device or computer
The DAISYtoEPUB software works on Mac 10.4 and Windows XP, Vista, and Windows 7. For more product information go to: www.donjohnston.com/products/daisytoepub/index.html
or contact your PATINS Regional Site Coordinator: www.patinsproject.com/contact.html