Archive for the ‘Education’ Category

Changing the World through Software

February 9th, 2007 No comments

I ran across this video while reading the Thingology Blog. If you haven’t checked out their web2.0 site for books, you should. I’ll warn you, it can be addicting though. And Tim quoted Chris Anderson (of Long Tail fame) saying, “this is why I do what I do.”

I want to change the world through software that connects people. As an educator, I believe in the power of connecting people so that we can learn about the world around us and about ourselves. This video inspires me…


Garageband for 5th Graders

February 2nd, 2007 No comments

Last week I had a chance to help out a teacher that was using the Mac lab at their school to do some very cool things with 5th graders on a science project about the solar system. Their teacher had put together some resources about the solar system and I was there only to help show them how to put all that information into a podcast.

These kids, mostly 10 and 11, spent the period recording their narration of the info they had compiled on the solar system with the built-in microphone on the Intel Core Duo 17″ iMacs they were using. With Garageband, it was really easy for them to record and then go back and insert additional comments to introduce each “chapter” in their narration. Once they were done recording the “voice talent” for their narration, we had them drop in little “intro” and “outro” sound effects / loops as well. The kids had a lot of fun picking out loops to spice up their presentation.

Once the audio was set, the kids then dropped in pictures to illustrate what they were talking about in their podcast. In typical Apple fashion, all they had to do was drop the image from the folder in the Finder right on top of the tracks in Garageband. To place the image at a certain timecode in the podcast, you just click and drag. Once in place, the kids dragged the edges of the image placeholder to make it appear on screen for a shorter or longer time. They were able to listen to their podcast (thank goodness we had headphones for all 25 kids!) and then visually move the images to the appropriate spot in the podcast so that they appeared when they were talking about that topic. It was dead simple and incredibly fun to watch how easily these kids were able to manipulate the content to produce their very own podcast about the sun and the planets in our solar system, complete with pictures.

While simple, it was a really powerful illustration of how technology can enhance learning for young kids. The podcast was merely a way for the kids to interact with the content and really own the material that they were putting together. One of the frustrations with projects like these is that sometimes the technology becomes the focus of the lesson and managing the tools actually gets in the way of the content you are trying to teach. Here is where Apple shines, of course. The technology behind Garageband just faded into the background as this group of 10 and 11 year-olds was able to manipulate all the information they had put together in a way that will help them retain what they have learned.

It was a great experience and makes me really excited about the future of education and technology (my two favorite things!).

Note to teachers: This lesson could be adapted to older students by having them research a topic, write the script, and find pictures on their own. It can also be used to have students find examples of a principle, technique, or strategy where everyone will have unique material that all connects to a common theme. You could then host all of the podcasts or publish them to the iTunes Store for the other students to explore.