Have you read a blog post or article that stated that technology will be the saving grace for solving the problems with education today? In my opinion, technology alone is not enough to make a difference.
Is technology enough?
No, it’s not enough. Is technology with training enough to positively impact instruction?
No, it’s not enough. Is technology with training, time to practice enough?
No, it’s not enough. Is technology with quality, time to practice and time to debrief and share experiences? Possibly. As long as the professional development is quality and effective, building technology leaders and creating motivated users with a common vision. If it isn’t, it’s not enough.
Debriefing and reflecting is an important part of the process and without the time to practice, try, fail, succeed and reflect upon a teacher’s strength and weaknesses using new technology hardware or software instruction will not significantly improve.
Time to collaborate, take risks, share what worked and what didn’t is so important to professional growth and not enough time to learn and expand a teacher’s knowledge base will not happen without just that – time to learn.
Just having the latest technology, even in a one-to-one situation, will not magically transform teaching. But having training on using digital media and slowly adding more technology tools to a teacher’s toolbox – that will pay off dividends in transforming teaching and learning.
Real learning occurs when the three C’s take place – collaboration, communication and creativity. Just as students are learning and exploring how to effectively use technology in the classroom so should teachers. When something exciting happens while a student is using technology they share it with everyone. Same should be happening with educators.
Unfortunately, our enthusiasm has been stifled by testing pressure and demands, ignored discipline issues in the classroom, just another program ideals, and a host of other personal and professional issues and demands that sap the life out of educators.
This is why quality professional development is needed. Create leaders who can assist other teachers. Have teachers team teach with one another. Have the media specialist and technology specialist work with the teachers and model lessons.
Do everything possible to share the good things instead of focusing on negativity to transform the teaching and learning culture. It isn’t an easy task but it is doable if you have effective professional development to train the teachers.
Enthusiasm is catching and when you have teachers and students excited about learning to use technology, coupled with continued quality, effective, and innovative professional development you have quality, effective and innovative learning happening in the classroom. That’s my two cents!
Washington Monthly.com posted a list of the top 10 worst colleges in the U.S. The ranking was based on a variety of reasons. The list and reasons the colleges made the list are below:
A second chart lists the top 20 worst colleges using the graduation rate as the criteria for rankings.
The third chart ranks the worst 20 colleges according to, “… debt statistics using its borrowing rate. This acknowledges that a college where 90 percent of students borrow and many default is much different than a college where only 10 percent of students borrow and, of those, many default. This grouping also sidesteps the problem of part-time students being excluded from graduation rates by only counting the ratio of degrees per 100 full-time equivalent students, which includes all students, full-time and part-time.”
The last ranks the worst colleges according to minority numbers. This uses demographic and socio-economic statuses to set the rankings.
With the maker space theme becoming a big trend in current classrooms in today’s schools, trying to come up with learning activities and materials for a classroom that fits the maker theme can be a difficult and daunting task. I found several at ‘The Grommet’ website.
First is a circuit board kit that turns objects that conduct electricity into user interfaces and keyboard controllers. It is designed for ages 12 and up but can be for any age with supervision. Just complete the circuit to create the objects students want to make or run.
The next ‘toy’ or explorative activity item is called OgoSport constructive toy sets. These sets allow students to create open ended items and put the pieces into an endless number of configurations. The YouTube video explains more about this item.
The next item is the Sphere 2.0 app controlled robot ball. The balls are programmable with a smartphone app, can fit in your hand, light and do a variety of things once programmed. The YouTube video below shows more about what robot balls can do.
Next up is the remote-controlled robot. The robot is controlled with an iPhone or iPod Touch and can dance, walk, and talk. You can let the robot more about freely or use the remote-control to program and control the robot. You can do a great deal with the programming of the robots and I highly recommend you explore this ‘toy’ as well.
The last item is the littleBits modular electronic kits. It is described as:
Just as LEGO enables kids to build complex structures with very little engineering knowledge, littleBits are small, intuitive blocks that make it a snap to create sophisticated electronics. Each bit consists of a tiny circuit-board with its own specific function (light, sound, sensors, buttons, thresholds, pulse, and motors). littleBits are color-coded and magnetic making it simple to build large circuits in seconds. No soldering, no wiring, or programming necessary. In combination with everyday materials, littleBits can be transformed into working LEGO bots, clay cars, toy nightlights—you name it, you can create it.
There is a YouTube video that explains the item in more detail.
All of these items would make great additions for coding, programming and creating things that fit the maker theme type of classroom and align to the CCSS featuring creativity. The prices vary and you can read more about each item on the Grommet toys and games page. They also have other interesting items to explore to enrich your classroom. You can apply for grants or use sites like http://donorschoose.org and http://classwish.org. They have some very interesting items that kids would love to explore and create with!
Have you ever needed one of your SlideShare files on a mobile device for a presentation? If so, you can now download, view and upload SlideShare files using their new app. The app was just released on October 2, 2014 and is available for iOS and Android devices.
Discover New Presentations
The new app lets you browse the 12 million presentations that have been uploaded to Slideshare or discover new presentations based on a variety of topics. SlideShare gets 60 million unique visitors a month allowing you to view presentations and learn new content at the tip of your fingers from a wide variety of resources and networks. Now that the app is released it is even easier to view presentations uploaded to SlideShare.net.
Expand your Network and Make Connections
You can view presentations uploaded from people in your network in addition to the presentations that result from a general search. This month is Connected Educators Month now is the time to take advantage of this great opportunity to expand your network and learn from one another via SlideShare presentations whether you are an educator or not. We can all learn from one another and serve as educators in a variety of capacities and this is the perfect time to reach out to those in your network and download or view their presentations offline or online using the new app. Before the release of the app you were limited to viewing presentations online only and did not have the ability to download for offline viewing.
Share your Work with SlideShare Community
Additionally, you can share your own presentations by uploading them and connecting SlideShare with your favorite networks like the SlideShare community, Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter or Plurk – quickly and easily using the SlideShare app. Viewing the slidedecks shared on SlideShare is even easier on your mobile device as you can view them in full-screen mode. Before the app release it was difficult to view the presentations online as the images were very small and details were not as visible as they are now. Be sure to download this app and view on the go!
Ready to help NASA with a science project? NASA is inviting people around the globe to go outside during Earth Science Week and observe the sky, clouds, etc. and share those observations as ‘citizen scientists’. Earth Week is October 12-18, 2014 and is a great time to work on STEAM projects that have to do with weather and atmospheric conditions. I included the ‘A’ in STEAM as artwork can be done based on observations of what a students views in the sky.
Clouds are an important part of Earth’s atmosphere, and NASA scientists are studying how they affect our weather and climate. Clouds cover about half of the planet at any one time, ranging from high, wispy cirrus to dark, rumbling thunderheads. By participating in #SkyScience you will help NASA learn more about the types of clouds where you live, work and play, and help all of us celebrate the beauty of Earth’s atmosphere, and the science behind it.
You don’t need a Ph.D. in a field of science to be a scientist. All it takes is curiosity and a bit of planning, and you’ll become a “Citizen Scientist” in no time!
#SkyScience is part of an annual event founded by the American Geosciences Institute to every ‘citizen scientists’ to engage in Earth Science by observing, photographing, drawing or reporting on clouds where they live and go to school.
To report your observations, share on Twitter, blog posts, Instagram, Flickr, Facebook or any other social media outlet and use the hashtag #SkyScience. During Earth Week, NAZA will share of most interesting photos on NASA’s social media outlets. For years, NASA has been involving students in cloud observation via the Students’ Cloud Observations On-Line (S’COOL) Project.
#SkyScience is one more opportunity to obtain a variety of reports in a short period of time and enable NASA scientists and personnel to study and analyze the reports shared with NASA.
To get more information and find out how the steps so you can participate, visit: http://go.nasa.gov/skysci. Please share your form of participation with this blog – what an exciting activity for your students!
If you are like me, you are busy or focused elsewhere and misplace your keys, wallet, handbag, pens, etc. I hate when I lay things down and don’t know where I put it especially when I am in a hurry, running late or just had the item in my hand that I am now looking for. Well, I just learned about a new device that will help with that.
I have an iPhone and have the find my iPhone option enabled in case I lose the phone or the phone is stolen outside of the household. The new device is called ‘Tile’ and you put the one inch GPS ‘Tile’ on or inside of whatever item you want to keep track of. There is a small hole to attach the device to a keychain or similar item.
Tile’s website shares the following:
At Tile, we believe that technology, design, and ingenuity can solve problems that most of us take for granted. Life’s little inconveniences add up: the average person misplaces upwards of 3,000 items a year, and then spends another 60 hours a year searching for them. All told, our misplaced stuff adds up to billions of dollars annually.
Tile casts a signal across a 100-foot radius, making short work of any haystacks you lose your needles in. And since every phone with Tile helps find your stuff, your search range is potentially limitless.
The app that supports the Tile device can support up to 8 tiles. The app records the last time your cell phone saw the Tile on the item you want to keep track of and reports that information to the app. The app works on the signal strength of the device and the physical location. It indicates the location of the Tile on a map and then indicates as you get closer to the item Tile is attached to.
Lastly you can share the app with your friends so they can help you locate the items the device is attached to as well.
Share access to your Tiles with friends, family, and coworkers so that you can stay on top of the stuff you all use. Whether you’re helping Dad find the remote or keeping tabs on the office laptops, you can make it a team effort.
Currently the price is $20 a tile. They have an option to buy 3 for $60 and get 1 free. This is probably the option I might choose but I would love to hear from testers or anyone who gets one when it is finally released. For now, you can reserve your tiles and the app is only available for iOS but the Android version is soon to be released.
What are your thoughts? Just another gimmick or a valuable tool to use on a daily basis? I have shared my opinion – please share yours!
Discovery Education is hosting an ‘Epic Story Virtual Field Trip‘ on Wednesday, October 15, 2014, at 1pm EST. The event will last an hour and students can meet part of the Science Channel crew.
Meet Wyatt Channell, Executive Producer of How the Universe Works, during our Virtual Field Trip to The Science Channel Headquarters. Learn how great stories are made and how Wyatt became an Executive Producer. Tweet and chat in your questions during the event.
This is an excellent opportunity to expose students to a large audience of peers about a storytelling. Research shows when students know they have a large audience their performance and achievement is increased. This is a great opportunity to participate in an authentic writing and storytelling event for free. It will be livestreamed to don’t miss this exciting event!
The Library 2.014 will be October 8-9, 2014 this week and jam-packed of great sessions for librarians and educators of all content areas. According to the Learning Revolution description of the free, virtual conference,
We have an amazing group of Keynote & Distinguished Speakers lined up for the Library 2.014 virtual conference, October 8th + 9th.
View the conference schedule in your local time and mark your calendars for keynote speakers
- Samantha Adams Becker on “On the Horizon: Pressing Technologies, Trends, Challenges for Libraries,”
- Phil Bradley the UK Search Guru, Jonathan Hernández on “Internet censorship, privacy and freedom of expression: new challenges for LIS professionals,”
- Dr. Sandra Hirsh on “Working in a Global Environment – Success Strategies for Today’s Information Professional,”
- Helen Partridge from the University of Southern Queensland,
- Pam Sandlian-Smith on “Creating Experience Libraries,”
- Dr. Daisy Selematsela of the National Research Foundation in South Africa,
- Joyce Valenza of Rutgers University School of Communication & Information, and
- Jia Yang on “Exploring the Use of Information Visualization for Library.”
This year’s distinguished speakers include
- Stephen Abram on “7 Tactics to Gain Big Savings through Collaboration: Can we bravely take risks?,”
- Christine Bruce, Hilary Hughes, and Ian Stoodley on “Information Experience: New approaches to theory and practice,”
- Susan Hildreth on “Libraries as community learning partners – STEM, Maker and Badging!,”
- Peter Morville on “The Architecture of Understanding,”
- Michael Stephens on “Finding Balance: Reflective Practice and the Profession,”
- Barbara Stripling on “Building a Learning Community Through a Library Learning Commons,”
- Roy Tennant on “How to Be a 21st Century Librarian,”
- David Weinberger on “John Henry in the Library: Algorithms vs. Humans.”
We certainly are! Feel free to use our promotional materials to help us share about Library 2.014, and follow the conversations at #Lib2014 for conference updates and broadening your professional network.
What a great lineup scheduled this week – hope to see you there!
This Tuesday, October 7, 2014 has been designated as Connected Librarian Day as part of the many Connected Educators Month events and will serve as a Library 2.014 pre-conference event hosted by Steve Hargadon and other online conference volunteers.
This is an open, online, and free event sponsored by Follett and The Center for International Scholarship in School Libraries (CISSL) at Rutgers.
Join us for special presentations by:
- Heidi Neltner on “Your Stakeholder Connected Librarian Toolkit,”
- Judy O’Connell on “Leadership in a connected age: change, challenge and productive chaos,”
- Michelle Luhtala on “Flipped Learning and the Essential Tools to Get you There,”
- Patrice Bryan & Darcy Coffta on “Schools’ Vortex: Innovative Library Makerspaces,”
- Matthew Winner & Sherry Gick on “When Sherry Met Matthew: Finding Your Educational Soulmate and Helping Kids to Rule the World,”
- Jennifer LaGarde on “Imagining Library Spaces of the Future, Today,”
- Special opening and closing sessions with Britten Follett, Ross Todd, Shannon Miller, and our preconference co-chair, Joyce Valenza.
Check out http://connectedlibrarians.com/ for more information, and be sure to share with the librarians in your schools! You can use #cld14 to share your excitement about this event with your followers, and share or embed the Connected Librarian Day Flyer on your website or social media channels.
There is a fantastic line up of speakers set for Connected Librarian Day this Tuesday. The schedule can be found here and on that page is a time and date converter to make sure you view the schedule in your time zone. Hope to see you online and happy Connected Librarian Day!
World Teacher’s Day is coming up on Monday, October 5, 2014. Educators around the globe should be celebrated and appreciated for their dedication to education. I received an email asking everyone to get involved to help promote education for all students around the world.
You can play a role in advancing the global cause of the teaching profession on World Teachers’ Day. On October 5, tell the United Nations Secretary General, Ban Ki Moon, that you support quality education for all and the global campaign to get all children into school.
You can send your message by clicking here: http://www.5oct.org/2014/.
Do what you can and celebrate world teacher’s day by doing something special or kind for your children’s teacher(s) or your colleagues. Hopefully admins will follow suit with their faculty and staff across the globe.