Tech Salad

With Crunchy Bits and Bytes

Month: May 2015

Understanding Our Students

This morning I learned some very interesting facts about cochlear implants, about what they do and what they don’t do, from a segment on NPR’s Morning Edition. We have students with cochlear implants in our schools, and I doubt too many people, adults and kids alike, know enough about them.

How many of us have seen those popular feel-good videos about babies hearing their mothers’ voices for the first time? Well, it turns out ALL voices sound pretty much alike through a cochlear implant. Music sounds as a series of beeps and buzzes, but no melody actually comes through and lyrics are hard to understand.

There are lots of smart people, engineers and physicians, working together to make these devices better at transmitting sounds accurately to the brain. Until then, understanding exactly what our students hear can make a huge difference in how we try to connect with them.

Saving Materials For Next Year

Of course all your hard work will help you next year!

If you have uploaded content to Schoology that you plan on using again next year, all you have to do is save it to your Resources folders. If you are not sure how to do this, watch these videos. The first one shows you how to move items from your groups or classes to your Resources folders. The second one shows you how to create folders to keep your resources organized.

https://drive.google.com/a/glnd.k12.va.us/file/d/0B7aUta-hZDMCdjRja0ZmQ0VXclk/view?usp=sharing

Even if you do not save stuff to Resources, you will have it available. All content will be archived and you will have full access to it. However, if you have it in Resources, it will be much more easily accessible.

As always, let me know if you need any help.

Math IRL

“Why do we need to know this?”

There it is. Every teacher’s favorite question right after “Will this be on the test?”

It is always fun to find real-life applications of concepts for which I probably asked the same question. Here is a great example from Wired. How do you determine the field of view of a camera? Pull out your camera and give it a try. It would be a really fun activity for a classroom full of kids, all of them with a different model of phone. This single-block project could involve angle measurements and data analysis comparing the different phones. You could go even further and see if wider angles relate to higher pixel counts or phone price. This would be really fun, I think.

While this is much more advanced, it reminds me of one of my favorite projects of the past eight years as an Instructional Technology Coach in Goochland. Back in 2009 and 2010, Ms. Berry and her students created digital 3D structures and submitted them to Google Earth. Even today, when you visit Goochland in Google Earth, what you see is what the students created. They used very simple tools (student-made clinometers and ropes with knots) to measure buildings accurately. This gave kids a very good understanding of why we learn about angles, triangles, and congruency. With the accurate measurements they gathered, they reproduced the structures using Google SketchUp and Photoshop.

 

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