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Sarah Falkoff
Education Doctoral Student
Division of Teaching & Learning
Website:
Sarah Falkoff is a full time science teacher at Clayton High School. She teaches chemistry and a general science course entitled "Systems in Science." Clayton is a physics-first school meaning physics is taught to freshmen using the modeling approach. Then students go on to chemistry sophomore year and biology junior year. In addition to being a teacher, Sarah is the faculty sponsor of the CHS Community Service Club. She is also a member of multiple committees/groups at the school and district level. She is also the student coordinator for the STARS program based at UM-St. Louis. Sarah is an Ed.D student working on her educational technology certification through the CISTL cadre of teachers in joint partnership with Washington University and UM-St. Louis. In her free time, she loves to read, dance, sing, and spend time with her husband, friends, and family. She lives in St. Louis, MO with her husband and their two cats.

The Pulse SmartPen

There are so many options for technology in the classroom in our society.   Since technology is constantly changing, companies are coming out with newer technology all of the time.   From new SMART software to using Web 2.0 in the classroom, all of the technology is being used to move education forward.   If students have many options and avenues to collaborate, find information, and ask questions of students and staff, it will really teach them more than content.  This will also help move them toward furthering their social skills both in person and online.  Towards the end of the school year,  I became aware of a new technology.  I was having a meeting about my concepts class with one of our reading specialists at Clayton High School.  She told me about the Smartpen from Livescribe recommending I test it out for potential use in my classroom next year.   After this conversation, I went to the Livescribe Smartpen website and read all about it.  I  purchased the pen and the special notebooks. The cost for the  2GB pen was $199.00.

The Livescribe Pulse Smartpen can be purchased online through their website at Livescribe.   According to the Livescribe site, the Pulse Smartpen “records and links audio to what you write.”  The pen works by infrared camera and the Pulse dot positioning system, DPS. This is why the special notebooks are required; the pages of these notebooks have “navigation buttons” to start and stop recording and navigate through the audio. One can also print their own dot paper off of the Livescribe website. Al the pen writes, the infrared camera tracks the dots and links the audio to the smartpen charges on the USB docking station and while it charges the user can also upload its contents to the Livescribe desktop. From the desktop, the user can upload the contents to the livescribe website and share it with anyone they choose, in addition to making it a completely public upload.  From here, the students can listen to the presentation, print out a PDF copy of the notes, and take ownership of their own learning. The OLED display on the pen is great because you can really see the menu screen and it is easy to navigate the menus using the Navigation button at the bottom of the dot paper. The pen also comes with some fun too, such as a piano, movies, and a translator tool.  When you write a word and tap it while in translator mode, it will translate that English word into any number of languages.

How the iPod Touch is useful both in and outside of the classroom

The [wikipop]iPod Touch[/wikipop] is a fabulous way to incorporate Web 2.0 into the classroom in a safe, user friendly, and economical way. The iPod Touch is similar to an iPod in that it can play on demand music, movies, TV shows, etc. However this is a powerful tool to connect the user to fun, knowledge, people, organizations, stores and so much more. Since it works on any wireless network connection, the iPod Touch really can provide knowledge and socialization at the user’s fingertips. It has a touch screen that is easy to navigate for any level of technology user. These great applications can be used inside the classroom and are also useful for college students trying to acclimate to their new surroundings.

[wikipop]Web 2.0[/wikipop] has significantly changed the way our society socializes. These social networking sites are quite popular for catching up with long lost friends, help on homework assignments, or updates on the daily news, articles, stores, and organizations. [wikipop]Twitter[/wikipop] is a great tool for linking a user to the outside world in a flash. Many teachers are starting to Twitter the homework assignments daily to their classes. The St. Louis County Library, for example is on Twitter and when a user subscribes to the library on twitter, they then get the advantage finding out of new arrivals, updates, classes/conferences, etc. all available from the library. Twitter is also available for the iPhone/iPod Touch via the free application, Twitteriffic. Twitteriffic is a great app for the iPhone that can be used both inside and outside of the educational world. Twitter is a great way to catch a professor with a question, post the status of a project or what a student is working on at any given time. It is also a great forum to post ideas, discussion, and comments on people’s thoughts and feelings. The St. Louis Post-Dispatch is also on Twitter and sends messages, or tweets, to keep the subscriber updated on local, national, and global news. A downside to this is user subscriptions to games such as FarmVille, Lil Blue Cove and others. These games and interactive spaces are not viewable on the iPod Touch as of yet. What is great about twitteriffic on the iPod Touch, is that these updates are available 24/7 as long as the user has access to wireless internet. With the iPhone, the user can always have access to these updates and such via wireless connection or the 3G network.

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