Monday, May 19, 2008

Distance Learning 2.0

In the past Distance Learning has conjured up thoughts of expensive carts, hard to work equipment and one way content providers. This model has worked exceedingly well in the past and there will always be a place for it. However, with free Internet conferencing software such as Skype and webcams that can be purchased for less than fifty dollars the future of distance learning resides at a micro level. Teachers willing to collaborate with classrooms inside the district, state, country and world will give their students an authentic audience to make the work they do more genuine.

The two biggest obstacles to face in Micro Distance Learning are who and what. To both of these obstacles I would say start small and stick with the familiar. Do you have a fellow teacher friend that would be willing to be a risk taker and collaborate on a common topic? Send them an email with an idea and tell them to download Skype from there you can conference together by talking.

Distance Learning 2.0 Example: Two first grade classes from Houston and Ft. Worth, Texas will be using Skype and a built in extension called Whiteboard to play “pictionary” using terms they have learned in class.

Please leave a comment if you are interested in connecting with a classroom in Texas.

Skype (click to download)
Skype whiteboard extention (click to download)

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Five Great Sites to download FREE Audio books and e-books

With iPods, mp3 players, PDA’s and Smartphone’s becoming a staple in today technoholic world I have comprised a list of free sites which you can download e-books and audio books at no cost. Audio books are great to listen to while in the dole drum of traffic or long road trips. You might as well get smarter with all the time you spend in the car. So whether you are in traffic or at the gym try putting some classics on your device.

Most of these books are classics so they are great for students and children who want get acquainted with great pieces of literature.

Project Gutenberg: Has both e-books and Audio books

LibriVox: Excellent site with a twist

  • Audio Books Incredible selections with a Web 2.0 twist you can not only download books but you can record your own and upload them for others to listen to.

Infomotions: Large collections of public domain books

Learn Out Loud: Books, speeches, and topical lectures this site has it all

  • Audio Books There is a paid version of this site but stay with the free stuff. Excellent resource for historical speeches.