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Tools for math operations

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Posted on 30th June 2007 by Judy Breck in Subject Sampler

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Go to updated version of this post at learnodes.com

Visit the page here at MIT Open Courseware for digital tools like the one illustrated above. There are more than two dozen tools for topics ranging such as precalculus, algebra and vectors, curves, surfaces and differential equations. Math

iPhone review confirms the future of learning

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Posted on 28th June 2007 by Judy Breck in Mobile Learning

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In David Pogue’s New York Times (enthusiastic!) review here of Apple’s new iPhone, two powers of the phone are present and functional that come together to truly make 20th century content delivery obsolete. 1) The phone is robustly wireless. 2) The full Internet can be browsed both on the (too slow AT&T network) to which the iPhone is now limited and wirelessly (very fast) in hot spots. The full Internet aspect has a magnification feature: your screen displays the entire width of webpages, and when you want to look more closely at a portion of the page you magnify it by touching the screen with two fingers, spreading the portion you choose to make it bigger.

There are several other features that will help kids learn if they are lucky enough to own one of these machines that will define education in the future. Of course iPhones cost more than $500 now and schools have not figured out how to use mobile phones in classrooms. Neither of those situations is unsolvable. The tough problems have been whipped in creating the technology that can now elegantly deliver what is known by humankind into the hands of youngsters.

‘In class you have to power down’

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Posted on 21st June 2007 by Judy Breck in Mobile Learning

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With thanks to All Briggs, whose comment is the first one in the previous post, here is the full quote from the Gardian:

“Whenever I go into class, I have to power down.” . . . “At school, you do all this boring stuff, really basic stuff, PowerPoint and spreadsheets and things. It only gets interesting and exciting when you come home and really use your computer. You’re free, you’re in control, it’s your own world.”

The full article is here. I reference it to illustrate that my description of education’s failure to embrace the digital future is hardly exaggerated.

Mobile, mobile everywhere but schools

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Posted on 21st June 2007 by Judy Breck in Mobile Learning

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One by one over the past decade the reasons computers are not the main tool of school students have disappeared. At first the schools were not wired: billions were spent to wire the schools and mostly the connectivity is used to keep records in the school offices. More computers were required: they were acquired but put into “labs” instead of given to individual students as was done for their parents at their jobs (learning is a student’s job, right?). Now the kids mostly have their own computers in their pockets: they are told they will cheat if they use them, and are forbidden. They say the little computers don’t access the Internet anyway; which is not completely true now and about to become wrong.

The real reason — and the reason that has been in effect all along — that computers are not the main tool of school students is that educators do not make or let that happen. Why not? For crying out loud why not? How much is learned in classrooms will continue to deteriorate — at tragic cost to the young generations — until we answer that question and educators embrace the virtual connectivity that has replaced analog information.

So am I being negative? I am just mystified. Why don’t educators press the mobile industry for learning features on handsets? Why don’t school systems demand their own wireless networks that interconnect with their students’ mobile phones? Why don’t teachers solicit content packages for the students’ mobiles from scientific laboratories, libraries and museums? Why don’t the kids have ways to drill for tests using their mobile devices so they can study on the bus?

Why isn’t the next killer app mobile learning? Hey, maybe it is. Let’s make that happen!

Carnival of the Mobilists 77

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Posted on 11th June 2007 by Judy Breck in Carnival of the Mobilists

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Host Zach invites us to: “So sit back, take a sip of that coffee, make sure that your calls are forwarded – and enjoy!” Carnival 77 on Symbian in Motion. It’s a handsome presentation with lots of great blogging about mobile.

Can the past accept the future in education?

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Posted on 9th June 2007 by Judy Breck in Schools We Have Now

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I hope so. The future of our children continues to be at stake as the pre-digital dominance in education continues to cope with the growing intrusion of the digital, virtual, connecting world. From a completely irrelevant source comes an insightful statement of the problem in this struggle. New York Times book reviewer Caroline Weber writes today about “The Diana Chronicles,” Tina Brown’s new book about the saga of Princess Diana. Weber writes:

After Diana’s death in August 1997, Brown again placed the magazine over which she presided — this time, The New Yorker — “in the middle” of what was still “the biggest tabloid story in the world,” by publishing a special issue devoted to the princess’ memory. Brown stressed the dramatic difference between the Windsors’ self-styled identity (“local, modest, unsurprising” guarantors of British tradition) and Diana’s (global superstar, unapologetically “shrewd … at press relations”). The conflicted relationship between the two had been, the historian Simon Schama noted in the same issue, a “wedding of the past and the future: the Radetzky March meets the Tatler cover girl. … But, as it turned out, the past and the future couldn’t get along.” What’s more — as Brown’s book demonstrates, and as the recent film “The Queen” has also made clear — the future was bound to win, even if it claimed its own leading avatar in the process.

Carnival of the Mobilists 76

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Posted on 5th June 2007 by Judy Breck in Carnival of the Mobilists

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The seventy-sixth edition of the Carnival is now online at Twofones. Like the one led by seventy-six trombones, this is a great parade — this time of the week’s best blogging about mobiles.