Tuesday, December 13, 2011

The Open University

For my last post of 2011, I thought it would be fun to give you some great FREE places to explore while you have a few weeks off. I am so intrigued by how much is freely available to us and yet we never seem to have enough time to take it all in. Yet, somehow, I will be adding to the pile of things you always meant to check out, but hope to give you only some of the highest quality. I will begin the 2012 “tuesdays” the first week in January, which will be my sixth year – hard to believe.  Thank you so much for sharing with me.  During the break, I hope you have time for your families, relaxing and catching up. Merry Christmas and Happy Hanukah to you and your family. 

A creative website
For the final site of 2011, I have chosen The Open University in iTunes. It’s incredible, it’s FREE and it’s loaded with easy to access video tutorials, “How To” ebooks and whole courses that you can use with your students.  One example is the Digital Film School series in the iTunes Open University. One of the episodes features Chris High, showing how to get images from a digital camera, video camera and iPod to a Mac and a PC.  It was very informative and easy to listen to. Other areas of The Open University include: Teaching and Education, Exploring Babies and Young Children’s Development and Learning, Growing Up with Disabilities and much more. Perhaps the most striking feature of iTunes U is the ability to download content right to a device (mp3 player, laptop, iPad, iPhone, iPod, etc). I would highly recommend that teachers introduce iTunes U to their secondary students because they have more time and opportunities than we do and who knows, you may just be encouraging the next Steve Jobs!
*Note, be sure to click on the links and then view the content in iTunes. It’s much more effective (iTunes works on Mac AND Windows)

An image to share
The Digital Film Institute in The Open University, iTunes

A proverb
"The most basic of all human needs is the need to understand and be understood. The best way to understand people is to listen to them.”
Ralph Nichols

An encouragement
In schools we are quick to dismiss the use of mp3 players in the classroom because the “distraction” factor rises to the top. I believe that once teachers realize just how much is available in mp3 and small video format, the perception of mp3 players in the classroom will dramatically change. I would like to encourage you to take this challenge. Watch this short video, “An Introduction to iTunes U.” It is the power of content sharing FREE to anyone who is interested in learning and made accessible online and deliverable right down to those handy cell phones and small devices that the students have with them all the time. This is learning to go for anyone, at any time, at any pace and in any place. (Hmm - sounds ubiquitous to me!) It’s such an interesting time we are living in. The Internet has truly opened up horizons we could not have dream of.  Kudos to iTunes University for making the world wide web even more accessible.

How do you do that?
How do you use mobile devices in the classroom? I would start with FREE podcasts from experts in the field. Find a pair of speakers and put the audio jack in the earbud hole and you have an instant guest speaker. Next, I would experiment with video through free podcasts from National Geographic, the History Channel and Discovery. My absolute favorite use of nano devices is for voice recording. To begin, find something that you can read, to develop your speaking voice. I committed to record the whole Bible and it has really helped me become very comfortable at recording with my iPod. I call my daily exercise, “The Word for Our Children’s Children.” There’s no telling which grandchild will hear his/her grandma’s voice, maybe even one I’ll never meet. Some classroom ideas include recording summaries of your lessons, explanations of concepts, messages to parents and anything of value that you want to pass on to your students. The students can record stories they have written, practice for fluency and leave messages to the teacher.  Digitization of learning has made it possible to share far beyond anything we could ever imagine.  Have a safe Christmas break.  See you in 2012!

As always, I am
Ubiquitously yours,

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