Thursday, February 2, 2012

Teaching Tech

How many times have you used the internet to help you finish your homework? In today’s world with tons of information merely a few keystrokes and a click away, the internet can be an obvious place to turn to when you need assistance. While there are likely a few sites out there that simply list correct answers to homework problems, there are many more sites dedicated to teaching students in many subjects and helping them to develop better study habits. A few websites are even utilized by teachers as a regular part of the course, becoming a handy instructional tool.
These tools are largely devoted to providing resources to help aid the educational process, whether it is in the form of games, information presented in an easy-to-understand way, or video instruction. The great thing about this is that a student can go to these sites from anywhere with internet access, obviously, meaning a student can receive help understanding something from nearly anywhere in our modern world.
Recent websites have sprung up and are becoming classroom staples, such as icivics.org, Blue Notes, and in some classrooms; YouTube videos (the videos created with educational purposes in mind, of course). One could point out that such information has likely been on the internet for years, but it comes down to presentation. A stone-cold website with paragraph of paragraph after information is the same to a student as a text book. Intuitiveness, ease-of-use, and presentation are key factors in gripping a student and helping them to understand a concept more easily.
One website that does the above very well is the aforementioned icivics.org. iCivics is a website as envisioned by Justice Sandra Day O’Connor, who was concerned that students weren’t receiving adequate information on civil participation. If you are in a civics class this year at RHS, chances are you’re at least somewhat familiar with the site already. iCivics is the host to an assortment of games designed to help describe different civil processes like voting, immigration, Supreme Court cases, budget, and even campaigning. The games don’t sugar coat anything either; some can be rather challenging to achieve success in. iCivics is a great example which shows that educational games can work when they are engaging.
Another site out there is studyblue.com, which has an app for smart phones (iPhone and Android) called Blue Notes. Blue Notes is a study tool that allows students to access notes, flashcards, study guides, and even past quizzes from their phone no matter where they are. The app even allows social integration with Facebook and Twitter so a student can share what they are studying with friends. If a student even feels so inclined, they can make a quiz on the material that others can take. The idea behind Blue Notes is to always have your notes with you, so you can always study. flashcardmachine.com offers similar features, and also has an app for iPhone and Android devices.
Taking advantage of today’s technology to educate is likely a major goal that a lot of educational organizations have these days. The websites discussed above do it properly; appealing lay out, easy to navigate, and even social integration (or modern-day gaming facets in iCivics’ case). They properly motivate the user to want to utilize their service.

2 comments:

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  2. t’s not only modern men in power positions who are clueless about women. If Ben Franklin were alive today, I’d love to whack him upside the head with my Susan B. Anthony T-shirt. Okay, I’ll give him credit for the lightening rod, bifocals, the Franklin stove, and for helping lay the groundwork for the Declaration of Independence. But by all accounts, the guy was a serious womanizer.
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