Friday, November 05, 2010

Electronic Pens and Podcasts for Education

I am so excited with the technologies available to the public in general. I wish that most teachers were more technology inclined; because they could really leverage what is available free of charge to make a huge impact on the learning of their students. Two tools in particular would make a huge difference in ensuring that students get the support they need to keep up with their work: podcasts, and electronic pens.

Podcasting in Education

As far as podcasting, I don't propose that teachers sit down to record podcasts in addition to teaching. This would be piling on to an already busy schedule of teaching, grading papers, and filling out countless forms that are required by each grant the school districts decides to get.

I think teachers could ensure that students stay on task if they were to simply record their summaries and/or assignments. For example:
Example History Assignment

This recording could easily be done on Cinch with a quick phone call. School districts could even request a white label version of the technology so that they can add it to the campus website.

Electronic Pens

I have seen electronic pens at the store as I'm shopping around for other items. The whole idea of having electronic versions of notes was interesting; but not compelling enough that I would spend $129 for a pen and then pay for special notebooks needed to make the pens work in their best capability.

However, I saw a Pencast, which completely changed my mind in that regard. Imagine if a student could replay a lecture by a teacher, which includes the audio and writing. Or, if the teacher could provide tutorials on the material to reinforce what was covered in class, it would help students and parents keep up.

Here is an example of a Pencast from Livescribe.

Pencasts don't cost anything other than just continuing to buy the special notebooks that the Livescribe pen needs to make the magic happen. What's even better is that over the years, teachers would have a library of lessons they can use to supplement classroom instruction. So, if we are covering Mesopotamia, we can also link to lectures on the same topic for the last 5 years or so for any assignment. These archives of lectures would be especially handy for math.

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