Tuesday, May 10, 2011
Online and just a click of the mouse
Left image:Aged Tia Chi at 6am in the morning! Beijing, China
Right image:Kindergarten in Beijing, China.
Related sites to the Spatialworlds project
21st Century Geography Google Group
Australian Geography Teachers' Association website
'Towards a National Geography Curriculum' project website
Geography Teachers' Association of South Australia website
Where am I??
Adelaide, Australia: S: 34º 55' E: 138º 36'
Learning tools for the new culture of learning
As discussed in the previous posting, Seely and Brown consider that "a new culture of learning" is based on several basic assumptions about the world and how learning occurs:
• The world is changing faster than ever and our skill sets have a shorter life
• Understanding play is critical to understanding learning
• The world is getting more connected than ever before – can that be a resource?
• Challenges we face are multi-faceted requiring systems thinking & socio-technical sensibilities
• Skills are important but so are mind sets and dispositions
• Innovation is more important than ever – but turns on our ability to cultivate imagination
• A new culture of learning needs to leverage social & technical infrastructures in new ways
• Play is the basis for cultivating imagination and innovation
This thinking reminds me of the some of the statements of Guy Claxton, at a recent workshop I attended in Adelaide.Statements which resonate strongly when we consider the creative inquiry, student empowerment and curiosity capacity explicit and implicit in the use of spatial technology in the geography classroom:
“21st Century learning should be focused on the development of quality of mind to the challenges of the times.”
“Ability to ask questions is of prime importance.”
“To aim at all times to develop a culture of inquisitiveness.”
“To know how to flounder intelligently is of prime importance in the future.”
“Gumption will be the most valued outcome of education.”
The online space has great potentials but also some serious challenges for education. In recent years, online education has become synonymous with online college courses from the likes of University of Phoenix and Online Graduate Programs. These types of for-profit institutions pose a threat to the sphere of education by dumbing down educational standards and increasingly treating students as commodities. Thankfully, there are still numerous efforts being made to provide rigorous online education, through initiatives like Stanford's Engineering Everywhere and MIT's OpenCourseware. Additionally, there are numerous online sources for learning tools, programs and technologies.
Whilst searching for learning tools, other than GIS, to use with students in the classroom to develop, as Seely and Brown call ‘The New Culture of Learning’, I came across the fantastic ‘one-stop-shop’ Directory of Learning Tools site. This site has over 2,000 tools for learning and working in education and the workplace
To aid the review of the products on the site, there is a special page showing social tools particularly targeted at (or very useful) for the primary, junior, middle and secondary school classroom. Note that free resources are marked with a yellow free star.
The site also has a Top 100 Tools for Learning list based on the contributions of learning professionals worldwide. Go to the link to see the alphabetical list of all the tools that have appeared on the Top 100 Tools list since 2008 with their ranking each year. Note that the majority of these great sites are free.
Some free sites of interest
I gleaned the list of sites and links below by looking for what I consider as useful for the geographical learning and most importantly are free to download and use.
* Wink is a Tutorial and Presentation creation software, primarily aimed at creating tutorials on how to use software (like a tutor for MS-Word/Excel etc). Using Wink you can capture screenshots, add explanations boxes, buttons, titles etc and generate a highly effective tutorial for your users. This tool is great to put together process sheets for students to use when learning GIS or undertaking a task.
* CourseLab is a powerful, yet easy-to-use, e-learning authoring tool that offers programming-free WYSIWYG environment for creating high-quality interactive e-learning content which can be published on the Internet, Learning Management Systems (LMS), CD-ROMsS and other devices.
* Audacity is an open source cross-platform sound editor and recorder suitable for podcasting.
* MOS Solo: The simplicity of an office programme using the power of a multimedia content generator.
* Free and open-source (Drupal-based) web service that provides teachers and learners with an integrated set of social media that each course can use for its own purposes—integrated forum, blog, comment, wiki, chat, social bookmarking, RSS, microblogging, widgets , and video commenting are the first set of tool
Open source, Download
* Authoring tool for elearning courses (Free, Pro and Enterprise versions)
* Create free educational games, quizzes, activities and diagrams in seconds! Host them on your own blog, website or intranet! No signup, no passwords, no charge!
* ClassMarker's secure, professional web-based testing service is an easy-to-use, customizable online quiz maker for business training & educational assessment with tests and quizzes graded instantly - saving hours of paperwork!
* The Xerte Project provides a full suite of open source tools for elearning developers and content authors producing interactive learning materials.
* iQuiz Maker is an easy way for you to create custom quizzes for the iQuiz game for the iPod. iQuiz Maker works seamlessly so you can write, create, package your very own quizzes. Download the free application today to begin putting the world to the test.
* Academic based social educational network and academic platform.
* Chamilo is a new project that opts for open source in a radical way. It aims at bringing you the best e-learning and collaboration platform in the open source world.
* CoFFEE: Plan, moderate and evaluate collaborative activities in a digital classroom using various tools, for brainstorming, mind mapping, voting and more.
* EctoLearning is a social, collaborative, online learning environment that directly addresses the needs of the modern learning environment by making the new communication skills and competencies for content creation and sharing central to the classroom experience.
* Lets instructors make lecture notes, audio and video available to their students - or the world - quickly and easily
* Perfect for making your own quiz, online tests, training, recruitment, exams, trivia or just plain fun quizzes!
* Quandary is an application for creating Web-based Action Mazes. An Action Maze is a kind of interactive case-study; the user is presented with a situation, and a number of choices as to a course of action to deal with it. On choosing one of the options, the resulting situation is then presented, again with a set of options. Working through this branching tree is like negotiating a maze, hence the name "Action Maze".
* Qedoc: Is quiz software that not only plays quizzes, interactive lessons and revision aids; it also helps teachers create their own learning content and work cooperatively with others in the process of authoring.
* QuizRevolution offers a rich solution to create online quizzes. Embed a great looking quiz widget in any website or blog without programming.
* Games creation: An academic social learning web site that provides an environment for collaborative online learning and free flashcards and quizzes built entirely by users.
* Create a online Jeopardy template without PowerPoint
* A toolkit for producing educational simulations. The tools are written in Java and allow the user to create Java applets which can be delivered through a standard web browser
* Easily develop and publish Simulated Conversation Interactions.
* Games templates for PowerPoint
* Create interactive stories, animations, etc
The next posting will showcase geography specific games, simulations and quizzes.