PAA-NewTechnologies

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New Technologies

Connecting our Community

PAA Conference


April 23/04

By Alec Couros


"[This device] appealed at once to the eye and
to the ear, thus naturally forming the habit of
attention, which is so difficult to form by the
study of books .... Whenever a pupil does not
fully understand, [it] will have the opportunity ...
of enlarging and making intelligible."



"[These instruments are] not uncommon, but
are but little resorted to by the teacher.”



"The teacher knows almost as little how to use
it as his pupils.”



Quotes from the 1840’s and 1850’s regarding
the use of the chalkboard, from
UPAEP
.



"...the existing system is utterly inefficient. The
teacher...may pour it in the ear, or extract it
from the printed page,...but unless he teaches
through the eye...no satisfactory instruction can
be conveyed."




Sir David Brewer (1856) regarding the magic
lantern and stereoscope.



"[It] is going to make school so attractive that a
big army with swords and guns couldn't keep
boys and girls out of it."




Thomas Edison (1911) regarding motion
pictures/film.



Edison continued …“
Mix moving pictures with
education and you'll have something that
makes kids want to go to school. You'll have to
lick 'em to keep 'em away."

(1911)


Introduction


The following is a survey of some of the
emerging tools being used in Education.
This is by no means a comprehensive
list, and perhaps not all of them may be
considered absolutely ‘new’. However,
many of these tools are beginning to
make an impact on our schools.

Types of New Technologies


Speech/Character Recognition


Web Communication/Creation Tools


Open Source / Free Software


Thin Client Systems


Other Notable Technologies

Speech/Character Recognition


Voice recognition has been attempted since
1870 (Bell) ... has proved very difficult.


Major accomplishments have come since about
1936 for text
-
to
-
speech and since 1970 for
speech
-
to
-
text (speech recognition).


AT&T labs (Natural Voices) was a pioneer in
readable text (text
-
to
-
speech)


see demo.


http://www.research.att.com/projects/tts/demo.html


Useful, but still not perfect.


See Hamlet examples.


Types of Technology


There are varying types of speech
recognition technology. The key
distinctions are:


Does the system work with one user, or does
it recognize only one voice/user?


How large of a vocabulary does the system
support?


Does it permit the user to speak naturally?

Source:
Tom Weston,
Stanford University

Source:
Tom Weston,
Stanford University

Source:
Tom Weston,
Stanford University

Source:
Tom Weston,
Stanford University

Major Consumer Packages


Naturally Speaking


Dragon


ViaVoice


IBM


Microsoft Office 2003/XP also has VR
(demo)



These can be integrated into all aspects of
your computer applications (e.g., Microsoft
Office, or any text
-
related applications).


These packages are up to 98% accurate,
and run up to 140 words per minute. The
capabilities of these packages has grown
dramatically as hardware has become more
capable of handling the requirements.



Character Recognition


Character recognition has also become
popular. Examples include:


Optical Character Recognition (OCR) on most
scanner software (OmniPage Pro used to be
THE package to purchase, but now many
proprietary systems work well).


“Graffiti”
-
type software on Palm Pilots (PDA’s)


Wacom
Graphire

Pads (demo)


Logitech
io Personal Digital Pen





The Future of …


Speech and character recognition
will continue to expand as the tools
get better.


Already, there are systems in place
where you can publish to a
webpage or
query Google through
a telephone line
.


The future will be interesting.

Web Communication/Creation


HTML editing tools like Dreamweaver,
FrontPage, GoLive, etc. have been
popular, and may continue to be
important. However,

there is a an
easier “solution” to managing web
creation through various new(er)
tools.


CMS, Blogs and CSS are just some
of the new tools to know about.

Content Management Systems


What is a CMS?


“A system used to manage the content
of a Web site. Can allow a content
manager or author, who may not know
Hypertext Markup Language (HTML), to
manage the creation, modification, and
removal of content from a Web site
without needing the expertise of a
Webmaster.” (NoMensa)


Let’s see one in action (demo).

Source:
NoNomensa.com

Blogs (Web Logs)


Web Logs use a specialized CMS software, and
have various uses


mostly web type
journals/logs.


Popular services include:


Blogger

(demo),
LiveJournal
,
TypePad
,
Pitas
, etc. (100’s more).


Blogs have many uses, and are becoming
popular in many facets of education.


See a blog about blogging in education:


Weblogg
-
ed
-

http://www.weblogg
-
ed.com/


Cascading Style Sheets


With CSS, “styles define how to
display HTML elements, these styles
are normally stored in Style Sheets (a
separate file sent with an HTML
page). Multiple style definitions will
cascade into one, depending on the
browser being used.”


In other words, the style and content
of an html page are kept separate.


See a great example here:



CSS
-
ZenGardener


Open Source / Free Software


The Open Source / Free Software
movement is complex … but what you
need to know, there are a lot of free tools
(software and content) that is available
for your use, for free.


The most common examples include
Linux, Apache (web server) and Open
Office.


Open Source software offers a strong
alternative to proprietary software (e.g.,
Windows).

What’s available for free?


All sorts of software is available:


Entire operating systems (Linux)


Web Servers (Apache)


Content Management Systems (Nuke)


Graphics Programs (The GIMP)


Typing Tutors (Tux Type)


School Administration (Open Admin)


Office Suites (Open Office)


demo


… So many more …

And there’s content …


The Open Movement has inspired free
learning objects, and even course
content.


MIT’s Open CourseWare Initiative


CreativeCommons.org


MERLOT


CAREO



Project Gutenberg

Many more here:

http://www.uwm.edu/Dept/CIE/AOP/LO_collections.html



Places to Start (for OS / FS)


School Forge


http://www.schoolforge.net/


Open Source Education Foundation


http://www.osef.org/


Open Source Schools


http://opensourceschools.org/


K
-
12 Linux Project (terminal server)


http://www.k12ltsp.org/


Thin Client Systems


… an approach to computer networking
wherein the processing horsepower to
run applications and data storage are
placed on a central server and the user
interface is placed on a desktop
computer that accesses the server to
execute applications.


The idea of thin
-
client systems has been
around since the time of the mainframe
computer. Improvements in affordable
server power has increased thin
-
client
feasibility.

In Saskatchewan


Major implementations of thin
-
client
systems have taken place in Moose
Jaw and North Battleford.


While results and opinions vary on
this implementation, it’s likely that
thin
-
client is not going away soon.

Notable Technologies


Personal Digital Assistants


E.g., Full implementation into
Garden Valley
Collegiate

(Manitoba)


Wireless Technologies


Apple Wireless Mobile Lab


Writing Related Technologies


Endnote (bibliographic software)


Turnitin.com

(plagiarism detection)


Online Course Conferencing Tools


WebTrain


Conclusion


New technologies are all around us,
and are being invented daily.


The most powerful and relevant
technologies allow us to transform
teaching and learning.


How do we find time to become
familiar with new technologies, to
take risks and further benefit our
profession?

Keeping Up On New Technologies


Network of Innovative Schools


SlashDot

(news for nerds, stuff that matters)


Weblogg
-
ed


SchoolForge


Canopener


NewScientist.com



My own Blog and resource site:


http://www.educationaltechnology.ca


You can download today’s presentation from
here as well.






Thank you for listening.


Contact:

alec.couros@uregina.ca


www.educationaltechnology.ca