Saturday, September 27, 2008

Simulations and Reading

It's funny...Will Richardson just had a post about reading on vs off line. I found it to be a bit controversial and had to respond to his post. My kids did a simulation from UCo at Boulder and an amazing thing happened...the kids did not read it! Just like I thought that they would not. I disagree with Will Richardson in that reading is reading and kids need to be taught not how to read on line, but how to read vs how to skim. Skimming is what they did! We need to teach kids to read and skim and more importantly, when which is appropriate to do!

I am curious about your thoughts and opinions.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Simulations...boon or boondoggle?

I have been assigned this year a class in US History for 8th graders. I also teach 4 sections of physical science. My personal goal for this year is to bring in technology whenever a teaching tool, a learning tool and a tool for expression.

In history, I have found and used simulations that puts kids in the shoes of colonists in Jamestown as well as on board ship. Kids have done fact exploration online and this week are going to start their project that will use iWeb.

In science, however, I have run into some walls. For one, the system blocks many online sites that offer simulations. For another the computers that we use are a mixture of old and new and not all of them can handle the software. Finally, in science, I find that many online sites offer kids little or no chance to make mistakes...many are canned to the much so that there are not chances for kids to make errors. The hands-on, using equipment and manipulation, allows for this.

So here is the crux of my question...which is better? Exposing kids to science through technology in a very cookie-cutter way or is the equipment using part best? Are there simulations/sites out there that will do both? What have others of you found?