Friday, July 18, 2008

Apple - Engaging Today’s Learners with Innovative Technologies

This session was so much fun! We used many different technology tools to complete an experiment. (Some I have already and the others Melanie and I are dying to purchase after getting to use them!) The activities we did all centered on the topics of Global Awareness and becoming a 21st Century Learner. We explored the health of Wolf River, a river in Tennessee. This lesson can be adapted to any river/body of water. The tools can also be adapted to any subject area. Oh, the possibilities…

We began with hands on exploration of water samples and specimen samples from different parts of Wolf River. Each group was equipped with a Mac book, Proscope, a probe to analyze the water, and samples.

The sample items in our group included flowers, pine cones, small branches, etc. We had the opportunity to use the Proscope (I am dying to buy this one!) to take pictures of all of our items. Of course we all know how easy Macs are to use, but this was just a breeze. Plug in the Proscope, touch it to the object you want a picture of, “pull the trigger” and your picture is automatically on the Mac ready to use. No memory sticks, no discs, no formatting the pictures – just point and click and you are ready to go.

After we gathered all of our data and pictures, we compiled it to make a photo book using iPhoto. If you haven’t experimented with this program, you will love it! We simple dragged and dropped the photos we took with the Proscope into an album in iphoto and created a digital book of our findings. The digital books can either be printed from your classroom or created professionally and mailed to you with the click of a button. For this lesson, the books were printed to be presented to the local water authority so they could see the health of the river.

Next, we used iChat to hear from a local expert. We had the opportunity to interact with him – asking questions and sharing files – to gain more information about the river.
We used a Wiki to collaborate with other groups as we researched and to share our findings. Each group had their own page on the Wiki to which we uploaded podcasts that we created through GarageBand as public service announcements and asked each other questions. We explored blogs on water quality all over the world and shared our findings with many other classrooms. (You can also use a Ning for this type of sharing.)

My mind is racing with a million ideas for these tools in the classroom!

1 comment:

dayle timmons said...

Wow - the first thing that jumped into my mind was how neat it would be to have children from schools all over the county taking samples from the St. John's River and learning about the health of the river. How excting would it be to engage students in their own river and there must be lots of experts about the river here in Jacksonville! Of course then other possibilites come to mind - especially inquiry and science observations. Don't know how expensive this equipment is but isn't there a grant somewhere?