Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Somethings New

Yesterday Noah brought in a book I'd never seen before called "Jingle All the Way."

The book and the stuffed animal come as a package
You turn a switch on in the little stuffed animal to activate a voice recognition device (VRD). When you read aloud passages in the text that are highlighted, the VRD activates an audio file inside the dog appropriate to the text. So as the story reader makes his or her way through the book, the stuffed animal dog barks, whines, and woofs on cue in just the right way and in just the right places.

The book was quite well received by the class. I was left to wonder what the kindergartners made of the experience.

Did they imagine the dog was actually responding to the story?

At the after school teacher meeting today, all the teachers took the computer-based "smarter balanced" assessments for a test drive. I worked on the math test for third grade using my iPad. I had difficulty dragging and dropping lines drawn with the touchscreen interface. The math problems themselves were easy enough to do, but getting the answers to go on the screen in the appropriate boxes was often puzzling.

I'm not sure that anyone walked out of the meeting room feeling smarter or more balanced. I know I didn't.

Mr. Schaible said he was glad to opt for Chromebooks instead of iPads. The other teachers used laptops and seemed to have less difficulty than I.  Mr. Schaible's Chromebook buy probably pleased Larry Page, too, I would guess.

As for me, I find I do my best thinking on paper with a pencil in my hand and an eraser nearby. The change to online testing is almost dizzying.

I'll bet Larry Page feels smarter.

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