Despite (or perhaps because of) the sales push, many educators are still skeptical of tablets in the classroom—and Amplify seems designed to put them at ease. Its operating system gives teachers and schools an unprecedented level of control over the devices in students’ hands. There is no home button, for example: Students can’t just exit out of a math program the way they can close Angry Birds on an iPad. Instead, if a teacher hits her “eyes on teacher” button, any or every student’s tablet in her classroom suspends; a message tells the student to look up. Or the teacher can call on a student randomly, and a message pops up on her screen. Or with just one click, a teacher can pose a multiple-choice pop quiz and see instant results, set a five-minute timer for an activity, or divide students into discussion groups. Or she can automatically give individualized homework assignments based on the day’s performance.
-Anya Kamenetz, “News Corp. Introduces A New Kind Of Interactivity To The Classroom”
I was reading a print copy of this month’s Fast Company (not my subscription, mind you)—which solicited this tweet—and came across an article entitled, “News Corp.’s Big Test”. For whatever reason, the online version has a different name, but the sentiment of the above blockquote is the same: the future of the classroom is awesome!
At a previous job, I did a lot of work with online educational software—Blackboard, Angel, and Moodle, in particular—and I was often dealing with the cutting edges of what such software could do at the time; it is amazing to me that the iPad had only just begun to make an impact on the classroom at that time. Looking into the future, I can see a real boon to teacher productivity and effectiveness due to tablet hardware and software technology movements. Being that my wife is a teacher, such improvements sound great to me.
In addition, my mother has been heavily involved in the movement for inclusion of special education students into general education classrooms in Chicago Public Schools; the above quote smacks of the future of inclusion in ways that my mother could only dream of a few years ago. Being able to cater curriculums to specific children to insure that those who are gifted in a subject are properly challenged and those that need help are similarly accommodated is a future in which I want to live.
Did the Internet community peak at bookmarks? Asked in a different and perhaps more complete way: just as technologies like RSS and email in their purest forms are hard to beat even as technology marches forward, what better technology exists to keep track of information on the ever-expanding Internet than bookmarks? Taken a step further, what better way to share the bookmarked information than a site of your own? As such, I‘ve been reading, which is why I write now.
Working in and having a passion for libraries, I am struck by the fact that the way bookmarks work in the physical world is not directly analogous to bookmarks in the digital world. Bookmarks in the digital world are instead like dog-eared pages or highlighted passages; if you think of the Internet as a single tome, that is. In any case, anything that moves you to deface a book should probably be shared or become immortalized in some other way than just a reference for a future version of yourself.