"Padlet is a versatile, easy to use tool for every teacher’s toolkit. Let’s learn the basics. At the bottom of this post, I have a Padlet that is temporarily open for you to post and share your favorite edtech tools."
Africa is one of the most rapidly growing technology markets in the world. It is therefore no surprise that Microsoft instated its '4Afrika' initiative a few days ago. As part of the mission to put smart devices in the hands of educators, students and SMEs, Microsoft has partnered with Huawei, to provide a Windows phone just for the continent. In doing so, the two tech giants will place themselves in an active role in the economic development of Africa by bridging the digital divide.
And their dreams are big: By 2016, they will bring over one million SMEs online, up skills of 100,000 workers and empower thousands of graduates with employable and entrepreneurial skills. The sleek-looking touch screen phone with the 4Africa logo on the back cover comes with apps created by African developers customised for African users, has a dual-core 1.2GHz processor, 4GB of storage and over 400 hours of standby time because of its power-saving technology. Pretty sweet phone, huh?
The 4Africa phones and services will be introduced in seven countries this month: Angola, Egypt, Ivory Coast, Nigeria, South Africa, Morocco and Kenya. Yes, you read right, sadly no Rwanda! There are probably a dozen reasons why we didn't make the cut (for the first phase) but obviating my innate bias toward my country, I believe we deserved to be on the list. Deserved because: a number of Microsoft's projects are aligned with ours; our government would provide full support (also we are the most secure country on this continent); our central position, ambition, and small size make us the perfect test-tube baby for such an initiative.
Access to technology has been recognised as an accelerator for Rwandan competitiveness and subsequently introduced in our action plans. Without going into much detail, the induction of cloud services and efforts to disseminate smart devices to Rwandans through subsidies and loan schemes are just two examples of what Rwanda has on the blueprint. Microsoft and Huawei could leverage these efforts to aid adoption of their products especially given the decreasing data prices in the market, thanks to competition within our telecom sector.
The concept of "blended learning", which was introduced as early as 2000, has assumed more importance than ever before and has transformed from a theoretical concept with rudimentary applications to an essential part of mainstream education...
"Turn your PowerPoint presentation into an interactive online lesson. We call this a mix. Everything you need to create and share your mix is included. Add audio and video of yourself giving your presentation, write on slides as you talk to them, insert quizzes, practice exercises, and more – all from within PowerPoint. It’s like a screencast, but better. All you need is Office 2013 and the free Office Mix add-in.
"Office Mix is an easy way to take your PowerPoint presentations and bring them to life as interactive online lessons. From recording audio or video of yourself giving a lecture, to directly writing in the presentation as you would at your whiteboard, to quizzing, to sharing, to seeing how it all worked – Office Mix helps you do it all simply.
"Simple means more time to engage your students and teach on your terms. So dig in. Spend some time using Office Mix. We’re sure you’ll teach us a thing or two, or even show us what’s next – in your classroom and beyond.'
Jim Lerman's insight:
This looks like quite a nifty FREE product. Please note you need to have Office 2013 to use it.
Course starts Feb. 23 and runs for 5 weeks. Aimed at K-16 educators.
" EDUCAUSE and the University of Central Florida (UCF) are bringing back the Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) on Instructure's Canvas Network with "BlendKit2015: Becoming a Blended Learning Designer," their second installment on the merits and methods of blended learning. The BlendKit2014 course was EDUCAUSE's first-ever MOOC, and it elicited a tremendous response from the higher education and K-12 communities."
Below are 22 apps we’ve handpicked as powerful teaching and learning tools to work with digital media in your classroom. Like almost anything, these are more potent in the hands of students than teachers, so start there and work backwards–audience and purpose: What’s possible? What needs communicating through video, and who needs to hear/see it?
Flipagram is a cool app that allows you to create short video stories using pictures and images you have in your camera roll, albums, Facebook or Instagram. The process to create a video story using Flipagram is very simple: select your photos, add your favourite music. You can also add text to tell your story. Once done you can then share your creation with others using social media platforms or through email.
Jim Lerman's insight: A great video that illustrates proper ergonomics so using your computer doesn't cause you pain. There is no dialogue, which demonstrates how to communicate effectively across language barriers.
In Kenya, the majority of the population doesn't have electricity at home, since the country's national grid is unreliable and expensive to buy into. Now a solar energy startup is changing people's everyday routines.
Fifty-two-year-old Daniel Tempes Olonapa stands outside his greenhouse perched on a hilltop overlooking the towering buildings of Kenya's capital, Nairobi. He points to two paper-sized blackpanels on top of his roof.
"Can you see them?" Daniel asks, pointing towards the panels excitedly. "They are small, but they are very powerful. I rigged them up there myself and put in the batteries. Then the sun comes and we get light, we can charge our phones. My six children can do their homework at night. "
Students can be pretty demanding about wanting the teacher's PowerPoints, lecture notes, and other written forms of the content presented in class. And a lot of teachers are supplying those, in part trying to be responsive to students but also because many students now lack note-taking skills. If they can’t take good notes, why not help them succeed by supplying them with notes?
The answer: in more ways than you could imagine. While Skype was not designed as an educational tool, it’s quickly becoming one as teachers discover the many ways it enriches their lessons and the lives of their students. Even something as simple as hosting a guest speaker through a video call can add excitement to a lesson.
As with any tech tool, it can seem daunting to introduce this into your classroom at first. If you don’t know where to start, try one of these five creative ideas.
Facilitating discussions between students is one of those things that is infinitely easier when you’re teaching in a physical classroom rather than online. When the students are all in one room, discussions happen more naturally. Facilitating the same type of productive, useful discussion when teaching online is more of a challenge.
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