Monday, December 13, 2010

Create Your Own Comic Book

If you have ever dreamed of creating your own superhero comic, now's your chance. With Thursday's release of "Comic Life 2," Plasq is giving comic book geeks the tools to build their own comics with the ability to import photos and upload the finished product to Facebook. The new version includes "smart shape" and free-form drawing tools, as well as a slew of new templates that users can customize at will. According to the manufacturer's website, "With a comprehensive set of features, Comic Life 2 gives you numerous ways to explore your creativity - liven up holiday snaps, tell a story, even create how-to guides!" 

At $29.95, the program is a steal. For a special time, they're offering a $9.95 upgrade and a free trial if you're new to the program. NOTE: Requires Mac OS X 10.4+

Improve Classroom Technology Use

According to a recent article in eSchool News, during a recent Consortium for School Networking webinar on technology in schools education leaders were encouraged to hire technology-integration specialists who could help teachers use classroom technology to improve teaching and learning. The webinar, entitled “Bridging the Chasm Between Curriculum & Technology,” featured a panel of four superintendents and educational technology directors from across the country who shed light on what adding more technology in the classroom has done for their students. Panelists also encouraged educators to use various digital resources -- such as Facebook, Twitter and blogs -- and to include education-technology directors in curriculum planning. 

Sunday, December 12, 2010

IUP Takes Students on Virtual Archaeology Dig

Indiana University of Pennsylvania has carved out a virtual dig for its archaeology students in Second Life. Archaeology Island is the creation of Beverly Chiarulli, associate professor and director of IUP Archaeological Services, and Scott Moore, associate professor of history. In the IUP Second Life world, students can explore accurate re-creations of a Mayan pyramid, a Native American village, ruins in Cyprus and a sunken ship. Students can see re-created versions of what structures that are now in ruins once looked like. Images of artifacts have been scanned and can be viewed in 3-D. They can even take a virtual dive around the shipwreck.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

iPad Projects in Higher Education

iPad pilots are permeating higher education. Two of the latest announcements involve institutions in Texas and Canada, both of which are running tests projects that put the Apple tablet devices into the hands of their students.

At CDI College, a career college with several locations in Canada, both nursing and business students have been equipped with iPads that hold electronic course textbooks and a suite of educational Web-based instructional portals. In a statement the college explained that it targeted those students for the initiative especially because the program will help them develop their skills for using technology in the workplace.
"The iPads have WiFi capabilities that allow learners to study, take e-notes, and review course materials not only in the classroom and on campus, but anywhere, any time," said Bohdan Bilan, vice president of academics. "As a result, students will become comfortable and familiar with technology as a tool for education and healthcare services."

Review of Portfolios in Higher Education

An article in Campus Technology reports that the Association for Authentic, Experiential and Evidence-Based Learning ( conducted a survey of its 100 institutional members in five countries this year regarding their use of portfolios. A portfolio is (almost always, now) a digital repository that is used to develop reflective and integrative critical thinking skills. The organization found 61 distinct uses of portfolios among the 20 institutions that responded. When so many people become this inventive with a technology, we can assume the technology has been institutionalized. At the same time, the number of vendors providing portfolio products is now at 30-40 world wide, a large number for a technology and market that is not yet mature and may not be for years to come.

Many of the reported uses stressed the value of students learning to communicate in writing about their work. One chemistry major program required all undergraduate majors use portfolios to demonstrate their research skills by collecting evidence of their work in the portfolio and analyzing results in writing within the portfolio. A program in social geography uses its portfolio requirement to develop project-working skills in its students. Another program in fashion apparel design use portfolios in a more traditional way: collecting photos of various stages of the design.

Many of the institutions reported adding a course in portfolio course specifically tasked with integrating knowledge from the various courses in the program. Others introduced a capstone or culminating portfolio requirement, encouraging students to integrate and synthesize their work over the full program.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Project-based Learning in the Classroom

With employers looking for graduates who can communicate effectively, think critically, and solve problems in collaboration with other team members, more and more schools are looking to project-based learning as a way to better prepare students for these demands. Besides helping students develop the same 21st-century skills that employers covet, project-based learning also helps students retain the information they learn, proponents of the approach say--and it engages students' interest and motivates them to learn. 

With the generous support of The Alan Sitomer BookJam published by Recorded Books K-12, eSchool News has assembled a collection of stories from their archives that exemplify  how teachers are implementing project-based learning effectively in their classrooms.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Time to Apply for Projects: Flat Classroom, Digiteen, NetGenEd

Cool Cat Teacher (Vicki Davis) posted the following on November 29: 

For those of you who follow these projects and may want to participate. Here are the upcoming deadlines for applications. If you apply - watch your email because part of the acceptance process is to see that you are responsive and involved - otherwise you're not ready for this yet.