Digital Media Learning Grant

When eleven educators in four school divisions across America build 1:1 Learning Labs containing Livescribe Pens, a FabLab station, and iPod Touches, and have a business partner’s innovative technology to create “apps” for any mobile platform, we are able to scaffold our students’ understanding as they use, design, build and improve upon robust tools for meaningful learning and collaboration.

So begins a MacArthur grant I am involved in with some of my PLN folks. The most powerful part about our proposal, for me,  is the collaborative and sharing aspects we have built in as we support STEM thinking in elementary and middle school classrooms across four different divisions with the tools for creativity and exploration we have chosen.

The whole grant proposal is an interesting process, though, because you can only submit 300 words to describe your project, and part of the process is to solicit comments on those 300 words. You submit, comments are opened for about a week, then you revise and resubmit, and then the proposal is once again open for comments, this time for only a few days.

Judges then have several weeks to read everything and invite the top entries to submit the full application. After that is done, the public gets to vote on the best entries. Thus, the whole process is quite impacted by people outside of the specific grant process itself. Grant proposers are encouraged to blog and tweet about it to solicit responses.

We are currently in the process of soliciting grant responses–questions, comments,and/or suggestions for additions or changes, as we still get to rewrite it if we are chosen to submit the full proposal.

Some people have expressed that it’s a pain to have to register for the DML website in order to comment, and others have wished for a streamlined way to comment. Please probe us (either here or on the DML site) to get more information if you’d like– we can certainly go beyond our 300 words to flesh out our descriptions for you, and your questions and comments will help us think through our proposal.

Here you go, friends–please read our proposal and then put your comments here if you choose not to register for the DML site.   I’ll add a link there to the comments we get here.


(people involved: Becky Fisher, Chad Sansing, Michael Wacker, Cathy Brophy and Laura Diesley)

And, we’d like to say a HUGE thank you to those who have already responded and or given us help!!!

iPod Pilot

We have an iPod Touch Pilot going at our school.  Well, we really have a mini pilot, since we only have 4 and we are trying them out with 7 kids. It’s been an interesting venture thus far, so much so that I thought I’d share some thoughts here and you can read the kids comments on our wiki, Crozet Math Musings iPod Pilot.

Sue Waters (@suewaters) tweeted on April 13 that

Education 1.0=Consumer

Education 2.0=Producer

Education 3.0=Collaborator

Others have said a similar thing about web 1.0, web 2.0 and web 3.0.  What we need to realize, as we work with iPod Touches (and I’m referring to the 2nd generation) is that it is designed as a device for access. It allows users to get to “stuff”–email, twitter, texting, the internet, games, etc., but it is NOT easy to create on it. It doesn’t allow access to many web sites in ways that you can use them (flash doesn’t work, for example, so there go all the flash-based games on my school’s computer support site), and the kids complain that the keyboard is hard to use.

If that is so, and it is mainly a device for access, then would it not make sense to categorize it as a web 1.0 device, since you are mostly consuming web pages with it??

But wait, can you not record on it?  Can you create a voicethread?  Can you work on a wiki?  If you can do some of those things, then doesn’t it become a web 2.0 device, since you can now produce on it?

And, as you record for that voicethread, or make that wiki, or respond to an email, text or Twitter, aren’t you collaborating?  Doesn’t that, then, allow us to classify it as a tool for collaboration, and thus a Web 3.0 tool?

If it’s such a tool for collaboration, then why aren’t we infusing them into classrooms and using them daily  instead of machines that cost three and maybe even as much as four times as much as an iPod?  Why don’t they become the basis for our 1:1 programs?

What are people using iPod Touches in the classroom for? My 8 and 9 year olds are exploring games on them, and reviewing the games (see our wiki).

What are others doing? See Chris Webb’s Why an iPod Touch in education? for more info on using iPods in the classroom.

There are lots of ways to use them, but do they REALLY do collaboration well?  I’m not so sure, and would be interested in YOUR ideas of what you would like to see on the iPod to make it more of a collaborative tool.  Iin the third or even fourth generation iPod, what features would YOU like to see?