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WebOs Tablets in Education

WebOs Tablets in Education
In this presentation, a representative from Hewlett Packard introduced their pre-production model tablet (their answer to Apple’s iPad) – due to come out in early July.

Pros:
What immediately stands out about this device is that the operating system (the software behind the applications that run on it) is almost entirely cloud based.  To put that into simpler terms, if you were to lose your tablet or drop it into the bathtub, none of your data, settings, files, or applications would be lost.  EVERYTHING is saved to the Internet.

One distinct advantage of this approach to computing is that user can access “their” computer from any device with Internet access.  This introduces new possibilities with regard to device implementation in schools.  Districts wouldn’t necessarily be binded into multi-year contracts since the device itself is almost irrelevant.

Cons:
Without getting overly technical, this seems like the right direction for educational tools.  However, this particular device is far too new for widespread implementation.  Here’s where I see this device’s shortcomings:

  • No one has piloted this thing in a classroom yet.
  • It has NO VIDEO OUT capabilities.
  • At the time of the presentation there were only 7,000 “Apps” compared to Android and Apple’s hundreds of thousands (this number is expected to increase over time).
  • There is no classroom management software (think iTalc or LAN School) for this device yet.

Espresso Education

Espresso Education

This pre K-5 web based resource is built around learning modules designed to address specific learning outcomes and is packed with educational video, multimedia activities, worksheets, fact files, and interactive maps.  Additionally, Espresso includes a weekly News Roundup that brings news into the classroom through topical, age-appropriate video clips.

While Espresso Elementary is relatively new on this side of the pond, 60% of classrooms in the United Kingdom utilize this resource.  Features that may be of special interest to teachers include standards based resource searching, a virtual teacher resource center, and a “route creator” that could greatly help facilitate differentiation.  Espresso Elementary greatly compliments SMART Board instruction, and is extremely student friendly.

One more logistical note regarding Espresso: all downloadable resources are free to use in perpetuity regardless of the condition of the license.

Google Docs and Data Analysis

Conditional Formatting.

Take advantage of a lesser known Google Docs Spreadsheet function – “Change colors with rules…” to view data “horizontally” and “vertically.”  For this particular rubric, I highlighted the students’ scores and set the numbers 0, 1, 2, 3, and 4 to Red, Orange, Light Orange, Yellow, and Green respectively. See below.

Sample

View a sample conditionally formatted rubric.

The Result?

At just a quick “horizontal” glance, it is easy to see among the field of green (which means 4 or full credit) that students struggled with the design requirement more than any other.  Reteaching should focus in this area.

A quick “vertical” glance reveals a lot of red and orange for student 15. Additional support, and possible intervention, should be provided to this student.

Give this a try, and comment below to let me know how this worked for you.

Animoto.com

Video Slideshow Maker 
If you have never visited  animoto.com, do yourself a favor and check it out.  It’s a great resource for simple video slide show creation.  Everything happens on-line.  All you need to do is upload your pictures and video clips, choose a song (of which they supply an extensive library), and add some titles.

Above is a compilation video slide show of Macromedia Fireworks digital photo montages designed by my sophomore level computer class.