Thursday, December 8, 2011
If you're at the point in the Wilkes course where you have to figure out something interesting to do with Google Earth, there's a slide show of activities in this impressive collection of presentations to help you. If you have a cool idea, pick the presentation it fit, email Anthony Evans (email@example.com) for the link to the Google Doc presentation, and create your slide.
This is such a great tool for individual math problem solving review. The problems are mixed with multiple choice images and the program sends the student to the next level when 5 have been solved correctly. Set a timer on the whiteboard and see how many questions the kids can solve as a group in 3 minutes. OR let them play on their iPads when they're squirmy. When the page size is smaller, the display switches to fewer columns so there will be no scrolling on smaller screens.
Tuesday, November 15, 2011
Here then is a list of great ideas and tips from the past several months:
1) Using a QR code to give conference attendee access to your presentation slides and other handouts -- could also work in a class where the kids are allowed to use smart phones or have iPads to update them on homework assignments or where class presentations have been posted
2) How to check multiple Gmail accounts without signing out -- one bit of advice I use in my workshops is for teachers to create class gmail accounts, to register with online websites for classes using the gmail address, and then to have students work online using these accounts. This negates the need for them to register and gives you complete control of each all websites used. Keep the names and passwords easy to remember and meaningful.
For example: ourschoolgr5[at]gmail[dot]com could be the gmail address and the user name and password might be something like Oursch1Oursch2. That password is tricky enough to be accepted by 95% of websites but easy enough for the students and you to remember. [Note sub in your school's name or initials and your grade or class or block to make it fit your needs.] Be systematic and develop a naming convention, but keep the names generic enough that you can roll the accounts over from year to year or semester to semester.
3) The Google Earth Clock displays the current local time in your browser using satellite imagery from Google Earth / Google Maps.
4) Faking screenshots could be an interesting way to start a lesson on authenticating sources. Have students start with an original image and then alter it. Post a collection of 'reals' and 'fakes' and ask students in the school to vote. Here's another article that may stimulate some discussion and a link to an early post of mine about Authenticating Sources.
5) For librarians -- how to track new books with Google Alerts
6) See how far you can travel in a given time -- this could be an interesting one for math classes. Have students work out a radius the traditional way and then compare it to the map on this website. They can discuss the factors what might affect the outcome.
7) Create your own Google Maps -- if you like the idea of Google Lit Trips but don't want to take the time to have students work with Google Earth, try this simpler way to map historical events, literary works, scientific discoveries, etc.
8) Create a flippable e-zine that will work on iDevices as well as traditional computers using Themeefy -- this could be a great way for a student to compile an eportfolio of work created and posted elsewhere on the internet.
9) Another way to curate-- using Bo.lt which replicates webpages so that even if they cease existing on the internet, your reference will not disappear. "You may also use Bo.lt to save and archive web pages that require login" -- instead of using screenshots which is what I do at present to preserve all login information.
10) Sometimes PC desktops just do it better -- one keyboard, one mouse, multiple computers, multiple screens -- create your own command central for multitasking. See also Synergy if you mix platforms.
11) Learning about colour editing if you don't know much about it
12) Tip for repositioning a window on your PC when sreen recording
Happy Thanksgiving to all my American readers!
Source: Digital Inspiration (one of my favourite tech blogs)
Sunday, November 13, 2011
- keep track of a specific passages (or image?) in several articles
- keep a list of those references for your bibliography
Wednesday, November 2, 2011
2) Education tools and materials
3) Events list (click to enlarge)
Monday, October 31, 2011
Join a live, free webcast from the tundra during the peak of the polar bear migration near Churchill, Manitoba, Canada through Edmodo. Here's the information link -- http://blog.edmodo.com/2011/10/28/save-the-date/
News from Churchill http://www.polarbearsinternational.org/events-and-news-from-churchill-manitoba
Link to Facebook http://www.facebook.com/PolarBearsInternational
Link to PolarBear Cam above http://www.polarbearcam.com/#Page1
Tuesday, October 4, 2011
Today I'm updating my Web2.0 and math Wikispaces to prepare for an upcoming workshop. I want to have 2 projects to display on the wiki page, so readers don't have to use link away from the page in order to see them. The problem is that the sharing options o n these pages give only the URL links -- no embed code.
Embed code is a snippet of HTML software writing language. O.M.gosh! I hear you moan. Now I have to learn another language in addition to figuring out how the tools work. Well, this is kind of like learning enough French to ask how to get to the nearest cafe in Paris. Once you understand some of the basic 'catch phrases' and what they do, you can adjust heights and widths so the display works in your own wiki, blog, or class website. I found the information at WebSource.
In Wikispaces once you're in edit mode, select Widget from the menu bar and then Other HTML which is at the bottom of the list of options.
Next you need to copy and paste into the box the embed code provided by WebSource. You'll find it about half way down their page shaded in grey.
Two steps left:
(1) The given code will display a page form the WebSource website. You want your choice to show up, so you have to change the URL in 2 places. Copy it from the address bar and paste it into the code.
(2) You may have to adjust the width and height. Again, make the changes in 2 places. This may take a few tries to get them just right for your website and for the devices your students are use most often.
This worked on my wiki page, but it's created a small glitch when I want to edit the page. I now get a message that says I'm missing a plugin (which cannot be found/I'm using XP). Also when I saved, I got an error message when I'm saving.
I click 'OK' and it all seems to be working fine except for that plugin message. Ignoring it seems to be the best plan. If I solve the problem. I'll let you know. I suspect this has something to do with the pages I've embedded being interactive.
The resulting web page is too big for this blog, so I'll have to link out to it. (Sigh!)
Feedback would be appreciated.
Saturday, October 1, 2011
Badges seem to be the new hot ticket in many classrooms today, but I have to say I'm not really comfortable with implementing what is essentially a points-based reward system. I'm not convinced that these kinds of extrinsic rewards pay-off with long term behaviour change, and I think the novelty wears off for children at a certain point.
I have been reading about a different use of badges that is more like the old Scout & Guides system. In this case students pick areas of special interest or talents or outside activities or things they want to learn or skills to remediate and work on them because they want to (intrinsic). The recognition of work done or learning accomplished or contribution made is a badge. The teacher and class can decide on what kinds of badges they'd like to work on, what the criteria for achievement will be, how it will be judged and by whom. The kids can be judges or you can get peer tutors involved in this. Students who feel their special talents aren't represented can ask that a new badge be created.
If one criterion of badge-earning is having to relate the work to curriculum in some way, then students can be set the problem of figuring out how to meet that expectation and this can become a platform for independent project-based learning with a real world dimension.
I'm creating a one-week Moodle learning event on SmartBoards that's due to run in the spring, and I want to introduce to it the concept of working on a badge over the week. I've figured out how to make the Moodle less linear and more website like so people can make their own connections and have even found a Moodle module that will allow the awarding of what they call 'stamps' and I'll use for badges. So far I envision an 'Explorer badge' for people who go on safari and bring back interesting files, links, and resources to the group. If I'm a bit cagey in the way I put this together they should have to cross topics to complete their badge. I hope this will accommodate those who want to create a new file, experiment with different features of their boards, become more expert at something, explore other resources and add to our collection, and so forth.
There's a movement afoot to introduce lifelong learning badges into the world, and perhaps this idea for a self-study course -- with badges that can be displayed on a blog or website somewhere else -- might have some appeal.
For more information there's a new Scoop on the topic at http://www.scoop.it/t/badges-for-lifelong-learning.
Monday, September 26, 2011
Anyway in my search for a definition, I came across what was a cutting edge article in 1994 by Michael Strangelove: The Geography of Consciousness. It appeared in WAVE, "the first European newsstand magazine about digital convergence, internetworking, and the emergence of cyberspace."
"If you want to see the future, ... look into cyberspace. When you have arrived there, listen to the multiplicity of voices. Watch for the appearance of those who become empowered through bypassing the gatekeepers of mass communication. ... The new technology of communication, the new geography of consciousness, the new technique of existence combine to form a linchpin on which the whole world is about to turn."Is there such a thing as educational anthropology? Is there any urgency to look back less than 20 years because so much that is important to understanding the roots of current practice, growth, and change may be lost if we don't?
Image source: Vicki Woodward 03-14-11 blog.xplana.com/2011/03/disruptive-technologies-cartoon/
Monday, September 19, 2011
~Narratives of coherence by George Siemens (http://ltc.umanitoba.ca/connectivism/?p=61)
~Teaching in Social and Technological Networks (http://www.connectivism.ca/?p=220)
~Constructivist Learning Theory (http://www.exploratorium.edu/IFI/resources/constructivistlearning.html)
For some time I've struggled with constructivism. Surely, I've wondered, there's a lot of knowledge that's just better passed on in the old way -- taught directly by a person who understands it well. Would I want to entrust my body to a surgeon who'd completely constructed his/her own learning? Would I want to buy a house wired by a completely self-taught electrician?
Unfortunately, for some students, when their teachers implement a constructivist model, they abandon the role of instructional leader in the name of giving students responsibility for their own learning. Such teachers laud the value of peer-to-peer sharing and helping, but what they fail to see is that often the stronger students just take over the instructional role they (the teachers) have abdicated -- that of providing direct teaching to those who need it. (I suspect that in some constructivist classes, there's plenty of direct instruction going on. It just isn't emanating from the teacher.)
A few days ago, I came across the term "narrative of coherence". Aha, I thought, here's the secret that will save me| I thought it would fill in the middle ground between traditional delivery and extreme constructivism with some vision of how to infuse learning experiences with an underlying narrative that would give students' explorations coherence. But when I read the articles (top 2 above) more thoroughly, I realised the phrase was used as a sort of educational pejorative.
'Narrative of coherence', it seems, is a way to describe what traditional teachers do. They work out the setting, plot, characters, and theme and tell the whole story to their students who learn it by listening and studying it over and over until they know it by heart. Reaching the end of a lesson is like coming to the end of a chapter when a bedtime story is being read. Learners learn to wait until the next lesson to find out what happens next. The problem isn't so much that students don't learn the story (for many do and have), but that they hear only one story with an ending that always comes out the same way.
I firmly believe that well-crafted learning experiences must offer COHERENCE. I grew up as a teacher when 'discovery learning' and 'concept formation' were the progressive ways to teach. We believed back in 1974 that this was the way to put an end to the 'learn & forget' cycle (sound familiar???) because learning would become a sequence of 'aha' moments. I remember one day trying to lead a young fellow through the process of discovering how to do long division. I patiently laid out the bread crumbs that should have resulted in the magic moment of concept formation, but it just bewildered him. Finally he pleaded: "Please, miss, would you just teach me how to 'dibide'? I just want to know how to dibide!!!" So I did it the old way and after a few practice examples, he went away relieved and happy. For me it was a lesson learned.
But perhaps it was one I learned too well. Over the years I became a great educational story-teller, and my kids learned my narratives well, but for many that's where their understanding and questioning began and ended. Job well done, I thought -- but in retrospect it seems like a job only partially done.
So this morning I've been working on a new metaphor -- 'landscape of coherence'. I once read that mathematicians see a landscape of math. Like a virtual world, for them math has geography that is navigable and can be learned, enjoyed, used, enhanced, changed, and perhaps even destroyed. I think perhaps this metaphor has some power for educators as well. Perhaps the middle ground I've been seeking between narratives of coherence and radical constructivism is 'landscape of coherence'.
This landscape has important landmarks with some pathways connecting them, but the way you move around in it your way is determined sometimes by need, sometimes by signposts, and sometimes by interest. Instead of leading students down one garden path or telling them one story, teachers have to make informed decisions about what the critical landmarks are and then ensure the students understand & master those. As a complement to more traditional learning, we make the students responsible for working out their own meaningful connections, and we make time for sharing, comparing, crowd sourcing, and reflection (when we contribute our own perspectives as one of many).
When you revisit a learned landscape after a while, it's still familiar because it was extensively and intensively explored. You can revisit old landmarks and retrace old paths, but you'll also appreciate how the big picture has changed with time.
(Video Link: Rotating Earth Animation)
The key then is for the teacher not to refrain from making any decisions, but to give up on trying to teach everything to everybody in case they might needed it sometime -- because it never takes anyway. Our job is to do the much harder work of being selective -- of making better decisions about what the important landmarks are-- and to then ensure our students know how to fulfill their role in this new paradigm.
And so I think I've finally made peace with constructivism. I guess you can teach an old dog new tricks.
Wednesday, September 14, 2011
If you do/did the Portable Video course with Frank Guttler, you'll be familiar with Photostory. it's the free Microsoft program that adds Ken Burns effects to simple slide shows.
Wow Slider enables kids to create stunning visual Java slide presentations for their blogs, wikis, or websites. The download is free for personal and educational (non-commercial use). They've added interesting transitions and the Ken Burns pan and scan effect as well.
I was able to follow the how-t0 explanation down to the part where it says how to post, but I think that after I try it a couple of times, I should be able to figure that out.
Tuesday, September 13, 2011
Saturday, September 10, 2011
MOOC stands for 'massive open online courses' and this one promises to be a doozy. At present the schedule lasts 36 weeks each of which is being 'minded' by a different speaker. There will likely be over 1500 participants (and you thought your classes were big!!).
My main concern is that trying to keep up with so much incoming information may push me out of interested learner mode into being an overloaded procrastinator and finally into just dropping out. How do you scan RSS feeds from over a thousand co-participants' blogs? and stay current with the backchannel? and process the weekly discussions? and make meaningful contributions? and find people with whom you want to develop more personal and lasting relationships? and archive interesting links, comments, resources? and not end up swamped by the sheer volume of inputs?
I have an idea that it may make sense to follow a suggestion from Steven Bell who did a session last week in the TLT Friday Live free webinar series -- that is to create a small team, divide up the task of filtering, and create a way to update and share with each other the most promising/interesting/provocative inputs, and perhaps meet on a bi-weekly basis to share new insights.
If anyone's interested in trying change.mooc.ca and forming a team to try this, please let me know either in the comments below or through the Facebook page.
Sunday, September 4, 2011
I'd love it if you'd be willing to share ideas, resources, websites, blogs, wikis, and especially student projects that I could incorporate into this project. To help me out, please leave your links below or respond on the Facebook page. THANKS!!!!!
[BTW, the event will be open to anyone who wants to join in the fun, and certificates will be available to participants who want them. It will be late in October, and I'll post the registration information here when we get a little closer.]
Late breaking FYI --
Wikispaces has added a new feature called Projects to all educational wikis. This gives you a way to coordinate small group work inside one wiki by creating teams and assigning permissions.
P.S. I'll have to explore whether this can work for Canadian students as the kids apparently must join the wiki in order to be assigned to teams. If they can do this without having to register their personal information anywhere then this is a tool we Canucks can definitely make use of as well.
Monday, August 15, 2011
In math, big ideas are defined this way (R. Charles, Journal of Mathematics Education Leadership, Vol. 7 No.3) :
" a statement of an idea that is central to the learningand here's an example:
of mathematics, one that links numerous mathematical
understandings into a coherent whole."
"Any number, measure, numerical expression, algebraicNow that idea can be a beautiful thing to a mathematician and it's clearly an underlying understanding or concept that we aim for students to develop over time, but having that knowledge hasn't helped me see it's value or importance or usefulness outside the walled garden of math.
expression, or equation can be represented in an infinite
number of ways that have the same value."
One of the higher ed bloggers I follow is working on how to make the big ideas of physics and computational computing more accessible to his students.
Lately I've been doing quite a bit of reading about how the folk in higher ed are struggling with the why's, how's, and what's of improving their teaching skills. Similar to the way that many K-12 educators have been reluctant to adopt new technologies, some higher ed folk are finding it challenging to change their way of thinking about learning and teaching. I think perhaps in both cases the reluctance may stem from not seeing the why's -- or perhaps it's because that for many educators, figuring out our why's is something that takes place in the formative years of our careers. Maybe it's like developing a personal fashion sense or a look when you're young and after that you always dress the same way unless/until something forces you to see yourself in others' eyes and you don't like what looks back at you.
I think 'getting to why' is perhaps one of the biggest big ideas of our profession. Perhaps under all the reasons people give for not wanting to engage in this kind of educational overhaul (too much work for too little return, just a fad, no time, too much important content to cover, won't help on the test, doesn't work in my subject) lies these two simple facts:
- those of us who have made the paradigm shift have not done the work of making the why's explicit in as enticing and elegant a way as John Burke has done with his one simple idea and his one big idea.
- my why's (I'm an adult; I liked math; I didn't struggle in school) are not everyone else's (especially my students').
Hmmmm ........ sound familiar?
Thursday, August 11, 2011
Most of my webinar files are between 10 and 125kb in size. 300kb was large until yesterday, but, thanks to an early morning tweet from Jennifer Brinson (Jen is a Wilkes EDIM alum), I spent from 10:30am until 6:30pm at EdmodoCon. This was an online conference put together to showcase innovative mashups of high quality teaching/learning, ed tech, and Edmodo. 18 speakers from the US, Canada, Brazil, and Australia talked to nearly 500 attendees sitting at their computers all over the world. EdmodoCon's file in my webinar folder is 21,457kb. That's over 100x bigger for only 8x longer (by time) than ever before. No wonder I was so exhausted by the end of the day!
The sessions were archived. To access them together with all associated materials and links, either register with Edmodo (or reactivate an old account) and use the group code (1bbsgy) to join the EdmodoCon 2011 group or keep checking back to their blog.
I really want to use this post to award Betsey Whalen a huge badge and a billion points (and hope she gets a huge promotion -- sorry -- inside joke for those who saw the Gamification session) for keeping her energy so strong and infectious all day.
She set the upbeat tone, kept everything pretty close to on schedule, and pushed through the few moments of tech glitches without letting the momentum of the event dissipate. For me the most important take-away from the entire Edmodo marathon came from Betsy after Carol Anne McGuire's session about her world-rocking projects. Carol Anne started her presentation by talking about how she became inspired to transform her own teaching. Here's an example of the most recent result:
Final note: I've also bee thinking today, not about any single conference session, but about how Edmodo has evolved over the years from the the educational microblogging tool it first was into a resplendent content delivery, communication, and learning platform.
By incorporating the features the users have requested, its developers have grown this tool from the grass roots up. One speaker who just started using Edmodo last year mentioned that he'd sent in about 12 suggestions and that most (if not all) have appeared in the newest version. Edmodo was designed not based on someone else's idea of what teachers, students, and admins need and want but by listening and responding to real needs and real wants voiced by real users in the real world, and its users wax rhapsodic about how it's literally changed their educational lives.
There was one EdmodoCon presenter who said his 'aha' moment about thinking about what teaching and learning could become came when he saw the parallels between gaming and schooling. Hmmmm ..... I'm seeing similar parallels -- but between Edmodo's responsive growth model and learner-centered education. Could this be a metaphor or a template for creating learning experiences that leave people wanting more?
[CC Attribution: JohnONolan, 17 July 2010, from johnonolan/4816798476]
Print this. Tape it somewhere in your class where it won't get buried. Make it your computer's wallpaper. Add it to the notices on the photocopy machine wall (if your school hasn't gone paperless). Put a copy in your car and reread it in the morning before you step out in the school parking lot. Pass it on to a colleague who's getting a little lost.
An Open Letter to Teachers
Friday, August 5, 2011
I'm reading a blog called Mindshift these days. It's about grasping the opportunity to shape how learning will occur in the 21st century. After all, we're already over 1/10th of the way in. It's time to accept that technology + tough economic times + pressures on educators at all levels to better meet students' needs have combined to make a 'perfect storm' in our field.
Having survived breast cancer, it's always on my mind that I might have a recurrence. Should that ever happen, there's one thing I know for sure: my very survival will depend on doctors who make the best uses of the newest technology and techniques available to them. Yet somehow when it comes to ensuring that this generation of children receives the best quality education, a vision of orderly rows of obedient learners absorbing all the information they can like sponges and giving it back skillfully on tests is what springs to many minds. Surely educating minds is as important as curing people when they become ill!!!
Educators now have crucial choices to make for the kids in their care -- do we continue to sit like big rocks rooted to the bottom of a river resisting the flow of the water until a flood finally pushes us along ...
or do we learn now how to read the current the best we can and take advantage of the flow to create a truly exciting ride?
We can take a 'wait and see attitude' or become active participants in determining what education looks like 10, 20, or even 50 years from now.
Today's issue of Mindshift-- Turning Static Text into Interactive Discussions -- provides links to two interesting online learning courses: BioFundamentals by University of Colorado biology professor Michael Klymkowsky and Chemistry, Life, the Universe, and Everything by Melanie Cooper at Clemson University. They are using a new free tool called Highlighter to provide students with a way to interact on the course site and also collect feedback to guide further teaching/learning.
(I've installed Highlighter on this blog. Try it, and send me some feedback. If you see a toolbar at the top, clicking the arrows at the right will make it recede.)
The recent emphasis on the science education system is based in large part on the perceived need to broaden the appeal of science and deepen appreciation for the scientific approach’s value when thinking about a wide range of phenomena. While the current system is demonstrably adequate for those who succeed in it, it actively discourages the majority of students. All too often, the function of a science or math course is perceived by students (and, sadly, by some faculty) as a sorting mechanism rather than an opportunity to learn (and teach). This is a perception that can lead to the loss of important contributions and talent as well as misunderstanding of and hostility toward science within the broader community.
While higher ed teachers have lots of technology and content expertise, they're in the process of learning how to be better teachers.
This way of thinking about the teaching/learning interaction may seem pretty fundamental to us K-12 folk, but the solutions the higher ed folk are coming up with: 'demand' lectures; collecting data on the fly so you start a class knowing what needs to be reviewed/retaught; just-in-time-teaching; paying more attention to the flow-through from pre-class, to in-class, and then post-class learning so it all contributes to student's shouldering more of the responsibility for creating the quality of their learning -- these are processes we need to look at more closely.
Blended learning is new at the K-12 level, but it's going to put a lot of pressure on how we do our work. In my former district, the e-learning division is growing at an unprecedented rate, and you can be sure that if the educational decision makers see it saving money and working reasonably well in the largest school district in my province, they will be pushing other regions to make more use of remote learning. More and more classroom teachers will soon feel the competion from this cheaper delivery model, and we'd better have something very special going on in our learning environments to set our work apart and keep our services essential.
At its heart, science works as a highly interactive community. At the same time, it is possible for a single person to challenge and change accepted scientific understanding. That is not to say that it is easy to change the way scientists think; after all, most challenges to well established theories are wrong, and it is generally a waste of time to think about them seriously. That means that a new way of looking at a phenomena must be clearly superior, both in terms of accuracy and explanatory power, to the ideas that it wishes to displace. It must explain more than the old ideas, and it must resolve problems that an old idea was unable to adequately explain. It is this tension between consensus, conflict and resolution that drives scientific understanding forward, so that, in the end, more and more phenomena become explicable. Through its fundamental ability to accept change, science has come to provide the practical knowledge needed to manipulate and understand the material world.
If you replace the words 'science' and 'scientist' with 'education' and 'educators', this statement could become an interesting template for educational change.
Wednesday, August 3, 2011
blog makes for an interesting reading. The general categories are quite broad to help you see how companies are thinking outside traditional uses of familiar processes. But it's so easy to get sucked into wonderful distractions, that you might not get your work done in a timely fashion. I spent quite a lot of time with Creaza and Trail Me.)
The tool I want to write about today is Popplet which is a collaborative online tool with an iPad app ('lite' vs is free, full-featured is kind of pricey at $4.99).
Other bloggers describe this as a pumped up version of Wallwisher (see Larry Felazzo's blog) because it's a kid-friendly way to collect, bookmark, and organise information, ideas, websites, and media. You can connect Popplets, embed them, and export or print them. Users have to register, but if you have a class gmail account, you can give the students access without their having to put their own information online. I keep the email account name and password the same to make it easy to remember. This is also a great way to control their content.) It will look great on a SmartBoard and there's a little bookmarklet tool for your toolbar so as you come across content that will work with a presentation, you can update the appropriate popplet.
This tool is one I'll be adding to the list people can play with at my workshops.
BTW -- I also came across Mark Warner's collaborative presentation for uses of WallWisher. I'm sure the ideas can be used with Popplet as well. Enjoy!
Hey! I just figured out how to reduce this presentation to fit in the small display space provided in this blog. Simply cutting the width (to 400 for this blog) and height (proportionally either by estimate or using a ratio -- great math lesson!!!!) in the HTML code, cut off a big chunk of the Google Doc, but reducing with the 'amp' (whatever that is) to .75 as well did the trick. Hmmmm ... there's a lot to be said for trial and error learning when you have the time to play and an environment where there's immediate feeback!
Sunday, July 31, 2011
I think it might be cool to feature some of the EDIM alums and let others know what they're up to now. For example, Cary Harrod is one of the people I used to meet in my courses. Her discussion threads were always insightful and I looked forward to trading ideas and perspectives whenever we landed in the same course. This morning I came across a webinar that she's hosting in Learn Central on Aug. 9.
"What happens to learning when 353 seventh graders walk into class with their own laptop, netbook or tablet? After five months of intensive planning, we launched our BYOL in January 2011, forever changing the story of what it means to teach and learn in our district. Join us for this informative session where administrators, teachers and students from our district will share their personal journey through a BYOL. We'll save some time to hear the stories of other districts who have taken or are thinking of taking the BYOL path and of course we'll leave time for questions from the community. Together, we can re-imagine learning."
Unfortunately, I may be in a math and technology bootcamp for higher ed educators talking to them about using SmartBoards, but if I decide to save the $$ and stay home, I'll be tuning in.
And ... hey Cary, if you see this post, your project sounds crazy wonderful!!!
Tuesday, July 19, 2011
1) find this link on the Giveaway of the Day web page to download the program file.
2) download and install before the offer expires in your time zone. If you wait, you'll get a trial or lesser free version only.
3) open the 'readme' file and follow the installation instructions to register.
4) this is supposed to be portable, but I'm not sure how ... ???
- read the reviews
- overview from the website
- online version (free for now, but it's in 'beta' which means this will not likely last forever)
(questions you can work through with your students)
- ignore it because they're kids, who will know, or everything goes if it's for education?
- accept that project under the fair use provisions (do these apply in your country)?
- make them cite the source (what if they didn't bookmark and can't find it)?
- accept but deduct marks?
- make him/her replace the images?
Friday, July 15, 2011
Those of you in the EDIM program at Wilkes are so fortunate to be given free subscriptions to DE Streaming, Science and Health so you can use Discovery's assets to enhance the learning experiences you're creating for your students. Canadian students also have access to the DE's Canadian collection. (It's a separate subscription, so if you haven't been given this information, email your advisor and ask her for the details.)
But you may not be aware of DE's newest product -- their Science TECHBOOK.
Ask yourself what's missing in a traditional textbook:
- does it keep pace with scientific discoveries and current events?
- is it designed around big ideas and essential questions?
- does it facilitate connections across standards?
- does it help students connect their learning to their own experiences?
- does it stimulate their curiosity and make it easy for them to pursue their interests?
- does it bring science alive for your kids?
That's one of the big problems that DE's new Science Techbook solves. They've taken on the job of making it easy for you to deliver up-to-date content to your kids. They've also made it easy for teachers to be sure they're covering all the standards without having to carve up and dole out science content into isolated, decontextualised portions. The DE Science Techbook is all about the connections, the relevance, and the fascination of science that makes learning about science a way to learn more about ourselves, our world, and our universe and what can be more exciting than that!
So -- sign up for one of the Science Techook webinars and get a sense of what science teaching can be. Better yet, see if one of your instructors can arrange for a Wilkes webinar and request that Patti Duncan lead it. When I did my training with Discovery last year, Patti led the day on science making what could have been a stuffy training-for-trainers session fun and memorable. She teaches by example and models what she believes is possible in every science classroom.
The DE webinar schedule can be found near the bottom right of web page linked from the image at the top of this post. Enjoy!
Monday, July 11, 2011
If you like webinars or if you haven't ever attended one and would like to try out the technology, this could be an option. This is a series is a 'show and tell' for educators who enjoy talking to others with similar interests in technology. It's a time to listen, share, and discuss. LiveBinders is being used to store/share the links from each session. Professional development credits are available (1 per hour/session), and you can either attend live or listen to the archived event to qualify.
If you haven't used Elluminate (now Blackboard) before, it works best with a USB headset -- especially if you like to talk. Your desktop or laptop mike will cause a lot of feedback. Got to the session about 15 minutes ahead and go through the audio wizard set-up.
Chris Smith, aka Samblesguru, has done an introductory 'how to' video for the Saturday Classroom 2.0 web event series. Clicking on the image above will take you to the LearnCentral page where you'll find the URL to join the meeting.
Thursday, July 7, 2011
Good news: the app is free so any of your students can download it.
The catch: " Access to a SMART Bridgit Server version 4.2 or later is required to use this app. For more information on SMART Bridgit conferencing software, or to learn more about SMART Bridgit server software," so you'll have to contact your reseller for a price.
Saturday, July 2, 2011
A while ago I was showing 2 Notebook files that I'd created to accompany JUMP math lessons to a group of educators out at UBC. The question came up of whether the SMART people were working on an app version of Notebook software. The flash files wouldn't work, but it's possible to create lessons without using those kinds of gallery items.
Today I came across this response from a guy who calls himself Rabsmo in the MacRumors forum:
"I think that I have discovered the best solution based on the software available so far. I use an iPad app called LogMeIn which allows me to log in to the classroom computer and control it using my iPad. This allows me to walk around the classroom and do everything I would normally do with the smartboard using a copy of the computer screen on my Ipad. You do need a wireless connection (WIFI) between your IPad and the classroom computer to do this but it allows all of the functionality of the smartboard from your Ipad. With regard to using the VGA dongle there are Ipad apps available that allow you to display PDF files and web sites but you will have to be physically wired in to the Smartboard which I think limits the mobility that the Ipad was made for. If you are interested in these apps go to the app store and type in VGA as a search keyword."Feedback on the website indicates that this might be an expensive solution $30 fee for the app gives you only a month's trial. But it might be possible to use the app version of Join.Me which is a free screen sharing program which I think allows you to pass off the control from one participant to another. You might be able to share with yourself and with other students and all access the same screen (i.e. the Notebook file hooked directly from the school computer to the SMARTBoard) from individual tablets and phones.
I haven't tried either solution yet because I don't have a SMARTBoard at home to practice with, but if you get it working, please send some feedback via the blog response or Facebook.
Friday, July 1, 2011
I'm working on a PowerPoint version of Maria Anderson's Trinomial Traverse game. She and a partner have created this to get students to both practice multiplication of simple trinomials and also do some higher order game strategy thinking. It's a nice combination that can easily be adapted to other math skills when you want to avoid 'drill and kill'. I'm also working on a Notebook version for the SMARTBoard which uses spinners instead of dice because it's easy to change the information in the slices of the spinner.
While searching for interactive powerpoint dice, I came across Marilyn Weston's "Technology Tips for Classroom Teachers." She's been building it since at least 2003 (when the visitor counter was installed) and seems to be keeping it up to date. Although the website has a decidedly homespun look, this is a highly professional effort. On the "Stuff Ya Gotta Try" page alone there are hundreds of entries in a variety of content areas -- Language Arts, Math, Science and so forth -- and she's added material on topics such as Internet Safety, Keyboarding, and even "Anti-Frustration with Technology."
No tools compendium can ever be complete, and it's likely that when you scan her lists, one or two of your favourites may be missing, but this is a great place to look when you want to come up with a new tool for the Differentiation course or even to use with your kids.
- PicassoHead --if you have a few minutes to waste in creative fun. The gallery is fabulous.
- TerraClues for Schools -- "the ultimate Google Maps scavenger hunt game" -- you can use the hunts on the website or create your own or have the kids do their own for review
- Mailinator -- create an alternate email address to avoid using your own when you register at websites. This may be a workaround for younger students. You could create a class set and then let the students use them to login.
P.S. -- if you have a link to a PPT with dice or spinners that I can adapt for this math game, please post the link as a response here on in Facebook. THX!!!!!!!!!!
Friday, June 24, 2011
Students select the information they want to view by assigning the vertical and horizontal axes on the graph. The colours of the data bubbles correspond to countries on the map (upper left). Mousing over a bubble highlights the country on the map and its x and y coordinates. There is a slider beneath the graph one can use to choose the year (1800 - 2000+) to be illustrated. Clicking on 'Play' reveals the changes in the graph over time.
Using this kind of software to relieve the students of the time/labour intensive work of data mining and graphing will give them more time to speculate about underlying causes and possible future outcomes of making (or neglecting) changes. If you're looking for ideas about how to exploit this great resource, there is a teachers' page to explore.
Final note: the Teq people are offering a free webinar on June 30 (4pm ET) on using Google Earth, Skype, Gapminder Desktop, and other free resources on you SMART Board. Perhaps I'll see you there.
Friday, June 17, 2011
This morning I discovered another virtual tool that turns flat viewing into immersive 3D. Intel's Museum of Me morphs your Facebook page into a virtual building with rooms for your profile information, images of your friends, and your videos. It turns your text into a piece of dynamic art and at the end integrates the mosaic bits of the 'you' captured in your Facebook into a final defining image.
(Link to video)
I have to admit that visiting my personal museum is kind of a minimalist experience which reflects the fact that I don't reveal much of myself in that forum. The richer your Facebook, the more interesting Intel's virtual rendition of 'you' will be.
It would be very cool to use this kind of tool as a way to turn static classroom research about a historical figure or a character in a novel into a Museum of 'X'. If there's a way to make up actual Facebook pages for non-living characters, please let me know. Until then have fun walking through this tribute to your own life.
Thanks to CyberJohn from CEET for this one.
Thursday, June 16, 2011
OK -- so many of you who read this know that I live in Vancouver, that our team lost, and that many of those who live here behaved deplorably last night. I'm not sure if the sore losers in other cities wreak this kind of havoc when a team loses, but there has to be a better way to express disappointment than by trashing your own nest and doing it in front of an international audience!
But this post is about the image above and how to make one (not about the incident it portrays). This was made with a Web 2.0 tool called Tagxedo which blends visual with verbal by turning word clouds into images. It's in free beta now so you can play to your heart's content; however, soon some of the fancy features will move to a subscription basis. If enough people use it and write in, perhaps Hardy (the creator of this tool) will consider a special deal for educators (as have Glogster, Animoto, and GoAnimate to name a few).
(From the website) "With Tagxedo, you can:
- make word clouds in real-time, and re-spin, and re-spin to your liking
- save the word cloud as images for printing and sharing
- look at all variants of the clouds in a gallery (see screenshot above), and pick the one you want for further tweaking or saving
- choose from many different fonts
- use local fonts (e.g. downloaded from Font Squirrel, DaFont, FontSpace, or your own hand-drawn fonts)
- quickly switch between different colors and themes
- constrain the cloud to selected shapes (heart, star, cloud, oval, etc)
- use images as custom shapes (e.g. Reddit Alien) [premium feature]
- use words as custom shapes (e.g. "USA", "Love", "Joy", "I LOVE YOU") [premium feature]"
[One caveat: apparently there is no way to search for a gallery item once it has been created. I'd recommend doing your word composing in a document that can be saved so if you have to rework the original, you have the text on your own computer. I'd also add the URL of your gallery image to that page so you can get back to it at a later date. This might save some tears later on.]