Sunday, June 26, 2016

Pen Pals!

 In a science classroom, notes are a necessary evil. Fortunately, there's this really cool pen that's making it easier than ever to take notes. The Livescribe Smartpen not only captures everything that is written, but also what is spoken. It's had rave reviews from students all over. The loudest champions are those with learning disabilities.

With no extra instruction, a child can use one to write or draw something on special paper and record whatever audio its microphone hears. After a 10-second sync to my laptop, I can post and share the video replay of whatever the student wrote on the paper with the audio as voice-over. Students use them to explain tough concepts, record team brainstorming sessions, and even capture classroom notes for students who are absent.

Smartpens capture everything you hear and write so students can be confident that they won't miss a word. No matter what their learning style, this pen lets them capture words, scribbles and diagrams and syncs everything to what is said. Students can then transfer all the smartpen notes and recordings to their computer to search for key phrases and create custom virtual notebooks to better organize notes. There are even play back controls on the Livescribe paper that allow students to slow down or speed up the audio recording, control volume and even bookmark key information. Livescribe helps find and focus on highlights from a lecture. They can play back only the key material from a semester’s worth of notes with a tap on their notebook, Mac, or PC. This pen is a miracle for many children suffering from learning disabilities. 

Sunday, June 12, 2016

Classroom Expeditions!

     Ever want to take a lesson and just immerse your students completely in it? Want them to walk on Mars? Swim in the bottom of the ocean? Climb Mount Everest? 

     Recently, I heard about this really interesting program called Expeditions Pioneer Program. It is a program that's run by Google where a team brings everything the teacher needs for the lesson and even sets it up before class. Expeditions is a virtual reality platform built for the classroom. They worked with teachers and content partners from around the world to create more than 150 engaging journeys - making it easy to immerse students in entirely new experiences.

Teachers can guide their class of up to 50 students in goggles using a tablet and point out important details about the lesson and terrain being covered. It's a pretty unique program to sign up for and I could see all sorts of applications for it in the science and geography realm. Check out this link below and see what's possible in the classrooms of the future!

Expeditions Pioneer Program