In our current age of shiny new tech, no one bats an eye when one learning tool is phased out in favour of another. But the truth is, old doesn’t always translate to outdated. What if we’re actually setting ourselves behind by replacing old with new? The abacus is arguably one of the greatest contributions... Read More
The impulse to create is one of the most basic human drives. As far back as the Stone Age, we were using materials in our environment to fashion tools for solving the problems we encountered. And in the millions of years since then, we have never stopped creating. In fact, the rise of civilization is largely defined by the progress of technology of one kind or another.
Today, the availability of affordable constructive technology and the ability to share online has fueled the latest evolutionary spurt in this facet of human development. New tools that enable hands-on learning — 3D printers, robotics, microprocessors, wearable computers, e-textiles, “smart” materials and new programming languages — are giving individuals the power to invent. We’re not just talking about adults. Children of all ages can use these tools to move from passive receivers of knowledge to real-world makers. This has the potential to completely revolutionize education as we know it. And the movement has already begun.
"One of the great things (among many) about 3D printing is that not only is it an important skill in itself, it’s also a valuable tool for learning about other things. Just look at 3D printed organ models, for example – they’re becoming increasingly common in hospitals and clinics as a way for surgeons to plan operations before operating, but they also allow medical students and professionals alike to study the human body – and all of its quirks and malfunctions – more closely and thoroughly than ever before.
3D printing, and its ability to create perfect replicas of microscopic particles and blow them up to thousands of times their original size, has also enabled researchers and students to study things like pollen, for example, in a tactile way that wasn’t previously possible. At the other end of the spectrum, 3D printing can scale the universe down to a cube that can be held in the palm of a hand.
There’s virtually no limit to the concepts that can be elucidated with a 3D printer, and a group of scientists at the Institute of Materials Science in Barcelona (ICMAB) have designed a course that uses the technology to teach high school students about the growing field of materials science."
IBM's Watson gained global fame as a “Jeopardy!” master that beat former all-time winner Ken Jennings at his own game. While the superprogram is no longer dominating the game circuit, IBM has put the computer system to use in a wide range of applications from tennis to weather.
Now Watson is also powering a modified version of “Minecraft” that makes learning about the human body as fun as crafting a house. “Medical Minecraft” was created by high school educators to teach students about infectious diseases. Normally, that would be a topic that would completely bore teens or to be too complex to the point of alienation. The teachers behind the modification figured the best approach to teaching the subject was applying lessons learned from games.
"We are approaching the golden age of learning technology. In the same way that film in the 1930s through the 1950s was considered the golden age of Hollywood, and the 1950s and 1960s the golden age of television, teaching and learning with technology will likely hit its stride in the next decade and a half, and almost certainly produce something stunning."
It’s hard to believe that just six years ago Minecraft was virtually unheard of. It was little more than a hobby project for creator and designer Markus Persson. Fast forward to 2016 and Minecraft has completely changed the way we perceive videogames.
Starting as a novelty in a handful of innovative classrooms, Minecraft is now a foundation of curriculums around the world. From math to art to geography and even quantum mechanics, Minecraft and imaginative educators are turning bland subjects into incredible immersive learning experiences.
"Augmented content is just another tool you can pull out of your teacher toolbox that brings student engagement to a whole new level. For STEAM the letter "S" is supposed to stand for science, so I thought how fun it would be to have a space STEAM unit. As a teacher I would use the Quiver Space Comparison coloring sheet to introduce the unit. Since I am into Augmented Student Interactive Notebooks I would print the coloring sheet as either a 4x6 or 5x7 size that could be easily attached to a page in the notebooks. I would also have writing prompts posted in an LMS, on Bulletin Board. whiteboard"
Some educators find Facebook daunting and potentially perilous, but the advantages are well worth it, especially once you master all the settings Facebook has to offer. Now, is it like being in the classroom? No, it’s not like being in the classroom, but it’s purposeful, interactive, and enjoyable, and exactly what my dry, strictly discussion-board online courses were missing. Facebook makes for an optimal virtual classroom, and this is why:
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