Hack Day wish list a window into educators’ world ??? and our shared future

November 9, 2011

Mobile-graph

Whatever happens this weekend at Education Hack Day at Digital Harbor High School, the inaugural event has already succeeded by surfacing such thoughtful proposals from educators on how technology might make learning more efficient, responsive and rewarding for students in Baltimore and beyond.

Asked what problems they would like developers to address, teachers and school officials went straight to offering solutions. Demonstrating a nuanced understanding of technology’s abilities and limitations while revealing institutional and cultural symptoms technology alone cannot treat, their creative but pragmatic responses should be required reading for anyone who tries to control or critique the difficult work they do.

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See for yourself on the hack-a-thon’s website and distribute up to 10 votes among the ideas you like. I’m supporting the eight listed below. My favorites grow the audience and generativity of students’ work through sharing and turn potentially distracting mobile devices into instruments of learning. Oh, the classroom noise meter is also one I’m loud on. And foreign language chat roulette is too cool for words, in any tongue.

‘Share work and projects with parents/family and other teachers’

Suggested by Billy Michels

So many projects are completed and sent home and nobody gets to see them but me. I want to connect the families with the classroom more. Show work of all students, share ideas, etc.

 

‘Hey Teacher’

Suggested by Andrew Coy 

I wish there was a way for a student to “raise” their hand with a web tool or iOS app that would send a push notification over wifi to the teacher. The teacher then could have a que of students instead of having students call out or raise hands.

‘Bring native foreign language speakers into my classroom via Skype’

Suggested by Henry van Wagenberg

What if there was a fun “language learning” video chat roulette where my students could pick the language they want to learn, and a foreign student from that country popped up to chat live in that language?

‘Science animations in HTML5’

Suggested by Mark Davis

Almost every animation online (from mitosis, meiosis, seasons, moon phases, states of matter – you name it!) are all flash. Many teachers have classroom sets of iPads but still need to walk down to the clunky computer lab to learn from animations.

‘A volume meter for the classroom like yak tracker but for iPod’

Suggested by Justin

A leveled meter to remind students of the noise level in the room. Green good, yellow a bit noisey and red too lound. Once they get to that level an alarm will sound.

 

 

‘I wish there was an app that could work with a positive behavior system’

Suggested by Charlie Gerancher

The application would work in conjunction with a positive behavior system. It would allow teachers and administrators to award different types of digital badges that would be compiled within the system. The system would also have a mobile interface to provide a way for schools to integrate the use of handheld devices by students in a positive manner.

‘Create a database of good story problems’

Suggested by Scott Messinger

It’s hard to think of good, rigorous story problems for students. It would be nice to have a database curriculum writers could use to enter and organize the story problems. Teachers in the district could log on and print off relevant problems for use in the classroom.

‘Get permission slips filled out and signed by parents’

Suggested by Paul Genge

Right now our parents have to fill out the same information ten or more times per year. If there were a way to get their information and a “fresh” signature somehow then that would save an enormous amount of time and energy for parents and teachers.

Learn more about Education Hack Day in this Bmore Media article or on the event’s website. Demos of the resulting apps, scheduled for 4 p.m. Sunday, are free and open to the public, but organizers ask that guests register.

Creative Commons photo by Flickr user opensourceway

ALSO SEE: Fast Times at Digital Harbor High: Catching the spirit of Education Hack Day

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