Monday, December 31, 2007

Read It Before You Buy It

Here's something new that came to me today. A website that features picture books that you can read online. This site, LookyBook, is trying to give books a chance to be read that might not otherwise come to consumer's attention - there are also some books here that have been in publication for a long time such as "Corduroy." It's a great concept. With a free account, you can read books, create your own "bookshelf", and comment on the books you've enjoyed. And, if you'd like to promote or share a particular book, you can grab an embed code to feature it on your website or blog as I've done below. If you're an author who would like to have your work placed on this site, you can do that as well.

Right now, children under 13 cannot register at this site but they're releasing a LookyKids version sometime in the future.

This is well worth taking a look at!

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

No Such Thing as a Technology Activity

Using Statcounter to track visits to this blog is interesting. I can see where people are from and, if they're doing a search using particular keywords I can see that, too. I've written previously about that feature.

Today, in looking at my Statcounter account, I notice a search for "easy technology activities students can do." My blog is #5 on the list of search results. However, Google isn't taking this searcher directly to the link related to "activities." Instead, it points to my main blog page.

Here's the previous blog post that I wrote about the use of activities versus learning experiences. "Activities" per se don't do a couple of things:
1. They don't accomplish specific learning goals. Any "learning" not connected to a specific goal means that our students don't have much to connect to and to return to in the future.
2. They don't promote thinking. Thinking = Learning When our students have to apply particular thinking skills to content, there is more of a chance that they will retain that information for future use.

"Easy" only gives the teacher the opportunity to say that his/her students are using computers and releases that teacher from connecting the use of technology to thinking and therefore, learning. "Easy" only keeps a student "busy" in front of a machine as a management tool. If we really want to tap in to the power of technology for learning, we need to give our students learning experiences which require them to actually think their way through the information using whatever tool is most appropriate for the task.