Technology in Education Support

I had a meeting with our Education Support coordinator today. She is concerned about how we can best meet the needs of a couple of students, currently in year 6, who are moving into year 7 in 2010.

They have some specific needs:

  1. While they generally see and understand any notes made on a whiteboard (or equivalent), they find it very difficult to take accurate notes from this (for a variety of reasons).
  2. They can be very particular and careful to get everything exactly correct.
  3. Limited attention span

They would benefit from:

  1. Having their own copy of any notes / diagrams etc generated by the teacher during the lesson.
  2. Not needing to make this copy themselves manually
  3. Having a clear and logical system to use to store their notes
  4. A system where their parents can quickly and easily see these notes to assist with any homework where necessary.

So, the search for a ICT based solution to help them begins. Currently, I’ve got 2 options in mind.

Option 1

The first option originally suggested by our Ed-support coordinator was for each student to have a Mimio style IWB setup, coupled with a netbook computer (like this Dell Latitude 2100).

While this option could probably be quite effectively tailored to tick all the boxes above, I have a few reservations:

  1. While each of these items themselves are quite small, when added to already burgeoning school bags it ends up being quite a task to carry these extra items around all day. (Granted, weight savings can be made using digital text books etc.)
  2. This is quite a teacher intensive solution. It would require the class teacher to set up the equipment at the beginning and end of each lesson, have the required pens/stylus setup, to be trained… it goes on. Class teachers are under enough pressures already, I’d like this solution to be as unobtrusive as possible.
  3. Cost – While I’m yet to actually do the sums, I’m sure this won’t exactly be a cheap solution.

Option 2

This idea came to me while I was taking notes in this meeting using Evernote on my iPhone. I wondered if the students could actually use a camera device to take photos of any notes on the board, then transfer to Evernote. Where, they could store these notes in individual notebooks for each subject.

They could either use this in conjunction with a netbook computer in class, or, download all of their notes to a computer at home.

My vision looks something like this:

  1. The students have a connected device with a camera (iPod Touch with a camera would be the perfect solution – why, oh why, Apple, is there not such a thing yet?!!! Anyone know if this would work with a Nano? Other devices – iPhone excluded?)
  2. Once the teacher finished their notes (or diagrams, pics etc) on the board, the student takes a snapshot of the board.
  3. The pic is synchronised with their Evernote account. (The beauty of this is that text within this picture is searchable in Evernote – awesome!)
  4. They have a netbook in class – logged into their Evernote account. As the pic synchronises, they move it to the appropriate notebook, alongside any other work or notes they have taken in class.
  5. The parent also has access to their Evernote account, and can keep up to date with their progress.

The downsides:

  1. The technology I want to use isn’t yet available! An iPod Touch with a camera would be just perfect for this. I don’t want to suggest iPhone – as this opens a whole new can of worms that we aren’t ready for yet. Are there any alternatives? Could an iPod Nano perhaps be used – if not for no Wi-Fi connectivity or Evernote app. [picapp src=”2/7/d/9/36.jpg?adImageId=7564373&imageId=1173300″ width=”234″ height=”157″ /]
  2. This is a much more student focused solution. We need to investigate the ability of the students to be able to manage this solution. Given the nature of the particular needs of these students, I suspect that they would pick up the technology quite quickly. Managing their notes carefully may require some extra scaffolding.

I think this solution could really work well.

Does anyone have other ideas? I’d love to hear them!

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1 Response to Technology in Education Support

  1. Pingback: Education Support and use of Evernote – Process | Youly – ICT in Education

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