Friday, April 24, 2009

Now on Twitter

OK, I took the plunge, I am finally on Twitter @MobileLearn.

I need your help. What are the best ways to use Twitter? Are there good ways to link posts and threads from blogs or Facebook there and vice versa? Any best practices, hints or ideas for how to use it?

Your feedback would be great.

iLearn program launching next year

Friday, April 24, 2009

KILGORE — Some high school students might have more than textbooks to lug to class next year.

School officials in the district of 3,700 students are launching iLearn, a new program aimed at incorporating iPods with daily educational instruction.

Director of Technology Mark Lane said Thursday that teachers will upload curriculum, lectures, study plans and homework assignments to computers at the high school. Students will then download the lessons onto an iPod Touch, where it can be completed at home or on the go.

"We plan to start out with 60 iPods and introduce the program to our math and science classes at the high school. Later in the year, we will introduce it to our English and social studies classes," Lane said.

"By the start of the 2010-11 school year, we hope to have the program started at the middle school and phase it into our other campuses each new school year. The goal is to provide every single student in Kilgore ISD with an iPod." he said.

Lane said the school district estimates it will cost $135,000 to operate the program. He said about $95,000 will come from the school district, while the newly chartered education foundation has pledged funds for the remainder of the project to upgrade and integrate software at the high school, to purchase iPods and to send teachers to training for the project.

Lane said the goal of the program is to give students another resource to grasp educational concepts that some find difficult learning during traditional school instruction. He said school officials hope the new program will raise test scores and overall student achievement.

Kilgore won't be the first East Texas district to use the handheld electronic devices in school.

Hallsville High School students participate in a similar program using iPod Nanos and iPod Touches.

Toni Erickson, assistant technology director for Hallsville schools, said the program has been successful.

"We have added 450 new iPod Touches this year at the high school for math and science classes to continue the program," Erickson said. "So far, so good for us."

Lane is hoping Kilgore schools will experience the same success.

"The community has been so supportive of this project," Lane said. "I think our residents and businesses realize that our economy is changing, and we must prepare our students for it."