Sunday, July 3, 2011

Special Assignment #2

Part 1

        Kahn Academy was started by one man who was tutoring his cousins and found it more helpful to post his lessons online for them to see and because he made it free for anyone to see, his videos started getting a lot of views.  He eventually turned it into the "Kahn Academy" and now creates 12 minute long videos that consist of him lecturing on some subject.
        iTunesU is similar to Kahn Academy in that it is a source for learning, however, here you can upload your own lessons to distribute among your students or faculty.  Also, with iTunesU, anyone can put the information on their iPod, iPhone, PC, or Mac.
        TED is a resource for videos of inspiring lectures.  All of these videos contain "Ideas Worth Spreading" and can be about nearly anything.

Part 2

        For Kahn Academy, teachers might use these videos to reiterate what was taught in class by having students watch particular ones at home.  Another option might be to use one as an extra credit assignment by explaining what they learned from the video that was not explained in class about a certain subject.
       iTunesU would be helpful for teachers so that they might produce "virtual lessons" for their students to watch or listen to.  It could make some lectures more interesting for students.  Teachers could also upload lectures for students who were absent and need to catch up with everyone else.  Also, teachers could simply use lessons that were already uploaded as part of their lecture or use them to jog their memory on a subject they are about to teach.
       TED would come in handy for teachers when they want to spruce up a subject that might be boring (yet necessary).  There are tons of lectures on this website that can make certain subjects very interesting by putting new spins and adding new information that possibly even the teacher did not know about.  This keeps it up-to-date and fun for students.

Part 3

        For Kahn Academy, I watched US History Overview 1: Jamestown to the Civil War.  In this video, Kahn gives an overview of the main events that occured in American History from the founding of Jamestown up to the Civil War in the 1860s.  After Kahn initially discusses the founding of Jamestown (1607) and Plymouth (1620), he jumps ahead 130 years to 1754 when American History really came into play.  He ends with explaining the implications that would turn into the Civil War.
        This video gave some details, but basically showed the broad happenings of the US over time.  Kahn used maps, dates, and photographs to give some visual explanation to his lecture.  I found the maps especially helpful in reminding me where certain locations were.  This would definitely be a vital tool for American History teachers to send to their students after that section of history is covered in order to summarize to them what was just taught.
       On iTunesU I watched Pop Culture Influence under the Moments in American History Channel in iTunesU.  This was such a neat little channel.  It had 1-3 minute long videos based on one particular subject in American History.  Topics ranged anywhere from the founding of Jamestown to the Feminist Movement.  It used experts in each of the short video clips and made for a quick learning device.
        Pop Culture Influence explained how much pop culture affects everyone, especially young adults.  One man in the video said that by using the music, fashion, and art of a given period, it works as a "hook" to capture young adults attention when trying to get them interested in a particular history subject.  The video ended asking viewers, "Does pop culture affect American societal times, or does American society affect pop culture?"  It certainly left me thinking.  What about you?
       For TED, I watched Honor Harger: A history of the universe in sound.  Harger begins with playing audio clips of the radio waves various planets and stars in space make.  Harger runs a website that combines both her artistic nature and science that broadcasts the live sounds that these various planets and stars are making.  Harger then proceeds to explain the history of our universe in sound.  She starts with the invention of the telephone.  Thomas Watson (who helped Alexander Graham Bell with the telephone) noticed the weird sounds that his telephone lines were picking up (and this was 10 years before the existence of radio waves was discovered).  What were these sounds?  The crackles were lightening and the chirps were solar winds interacting with the earth's atmosphere (aka Northern Lights).  Later on, in the 1930s, a man named K. G. Jansky figured out that celestial bodies emitted radio waves.  In the 1960s, two more men heard strange sounds and they researched and determined it to be the sounds of cosmic radiation.
        This video was very interesting in that it showed not what our universe looked like and how it moved, but how it sounds.  That is definitely a new take on learning about the universe     a take that would most certainly intrigue students about learning what lies beyond the earth.

Part 4

        Kahn Academy could one day help my (history) class in helping keep the student's memories straight with all the dates and events that occured.  I could even use it as a source to keep dates straight for myself as a teacher!  It certainly was cool to see how many subjects Mr. Kahn had made videos about.  I guess he could be considered a Renaissance Teacher (highly knowledgeable about all school subjects).
       iTunesU seems to have videos and podcasts about everything.  I can even publish my own!  It has so many interesting channels that can teach about literally any subject.  As a teacher I can us channels such as  Moments in American History Channel like I discussed earlier.  It kind of gives students "the inside scoop" that a simple lecture might not be able to give.  I could show some in my classroom or assign them as part of homework.  Maybe I could even get my students to post their own?
       TED lectures from around the world.  I could see myself using this website to show opposing views on a particular subject and having my class analyze these differences and tell me who they agree with more and why.  I could also simply show the lectures in class to help them think more deeply about my lesson rather than just hearing it.

Part 5

        The actual assignment did not surprise me considering it is EDM 310.  (We always have so much to do.)  However, besides hearing about (but not exploring) iTunesU, I had not heard of either Kahn Academy or  TED.  They are good sources for a teacher to keep handy.  As lengthy as this assignment was, I am glad Professor Strange introduced me to these resources.  Adding to PLN now...

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