Monday, March 12, 2007

The Adventures of Datagirl

The Adventures of Datagirl is a podcast project from WSWHE BOCES... a good example of the use of podcasting for educators!

These short 5-8 minute podcasts examine the use of data for effective use for learning. Datagirl educates teachers and administrators by mixing in research-based information and authentic classroom vignette's to convey ideas about using data effectively.

Read the show notes for more info about the first four (4) episodes:
Listen to our new audio professional development series, The Adventures of Datagirl, on your mp3 player or computer to hear about various data analysis questions and concerns and how our heroine, Datagirl, helps solve the problem! Each episode will be accessible via this webpage. If you need any assistance accessing these files, please call (518) 581-3741 or email
Datagirl visits King Minus on the Island of Unmet Standards to help the new king collect data about why the natives continue to build structures that are not up to par. Tune in to Episode 2 to find out what Datagirl discovers and how King Minus plans to improve the situation!
In Episode 3, Datagirl and the Comparison Shoppers, Datagirl provides parents with assistance on averages. Is one classroom really outperforming another? Tune in to find out how means and medians can change the way we view test results.
In Episode 4, Datagirl assists school districts on how to think about data differently. Can administrators and teachers help students develop a whole new mind? Tune in to find out!

I like how this podcast is starting out. Bringing in teachers and administrators (apparently a superintendent in Episode 4) to ask questions is necessary. I think teachers can relate to the questions being posed about data.

Thursday, March 01, 2007

[wideangle] Online Documentaries

[wideangle] is an online documentary resource put out by where you and your students can access programs aired on PBS's [wideangle] series.

This looks very promising as a supplement to enhance the history in schools. An initiative called [wideangle] Window Into Global History was produced by PBS Thirteen in New York City to support teaching and learning of Regents Global History and Geography in high schools across New York State.

Access to Multimedia Titles Improves

New to Web/MAX is a login feature which logs you into Web/MAX and will now also log you into your PowerMediaPlus account. PowerMediaPlus titles are also available in Web/MAX. There is currently 8579 titles in Web/MAX.

Work is currently being done to make BOCES video streaming titles listed and available through Web/MAX. Requests for purchasing are also available through this site as well.

Audiobooks in Education

Today's Multimedia meeting began with a discussion around the use of audiobooks and mp3 players. Discussion centered around services and equipment that are available. Services such as, Overdrive(as used by the New York Public Library), and self-playing digital audiobooks.

Glen H. brought up an interesting point in that public libraries provide these types of services for one patron while the school library model is designed to serve teachers and their classrooms. This raises the question of what model of audiobook circulation is best for our schools? Do libraries make it available for just one student, where it may remain on their desktop or mobile device for 3 weeks? This poses a licensing problem where these expensive books would have a very limited access unless schools purchase a large number of the audiobook.

Tadge brought up the point that there is the iTunesU model and where iTunes thinking is with providing a service with K-12 education. BOCES Multimedia and ITS researched this model last year and was told that iTunes, at that time, was not interested in working with K-12 and that we should seek a partnership with a local college/university.

The discussion moved to how providing a variety of formats for books (i.e. - CD, Playaway, mp3 download) would benefit the available technology within classrooms as well as the readiness of a teacher to work with the technology. There was interest in trying to learn more about how audiobooks are or are not being used in classrooms presently. So where are we?