Friday, June 12, 2009

Teaching Tools

We need a collection of teaching tools that will allow everyone to publish education related material from their own personal computer. I think everyone would agree these tools must be open source. Next, it should be decided what are the "capabilities" (to use a military term) that a teaching toolkit needs to have?

First off, off the top of my head 1) a way of publishing video, in a way that lets recorder to switch from "talking head" mode to "capture my desktop" mode. 2) teacher would have to be proficient on creating OpenOffice presentations (or be able to do the equivalent using LaTeX for math related fields), so toolkit has both.

3) For hard science related teaching, there must be a scientific computing package, as well as a symbolic math package. Seeing how George Lucas' Industrial Lights and Magic has been using Python language for years on graphical processing, my bet would be a Python related package would be grand here. There are great packages for visualization that will let teachers creating content in specific domains as well. Teachers in civil engineering can create a 3D model using these tools and publish them online.

We need someone to think about these issues and get paid for it, I just saw an Innocentive project that gave me an idea; You can create project that pays for ideas as well as finished products. So a think-tank or an education non-profit can create a project for around $10,000 and collect all ideas submitted. Winner (or top 10) earn the prize.

I would be interested in any cooky ideas coming from the losers as well.

Tools are very important. Sure a toolset could become a "moving target"; changing as the technology changes, but there can be alternative toolkits competing so people choose one over the other.

Github could and should house the teaching material toolkit source code.

Incentives: Why would a teacher create a nice 3d model and share it online? What in the marketplace would encourage them to do this? Ideas needed. How is payment handled?