Apr 30

Take the Terror out of Teaching with Tablets

By:Michael Smit

teachers“A year and a half ago, I became the iPad Man at the international language school where I teach. I imagine myself as some Mega Man character with the ability to shoot lasers with my fingertips. However, the reality is that my school had introduced twice a week iPad classes and our scores were in the dumps. The transition had been difficult as none of the teachers had ever taught with an iPad and many had never even used any sort of tablet. Our first training had to cover things as basic as how to turn the iPad on. Our academic director came to me not because of my superpowers — impressive though they are — but simply because I wasn’t afraid of the new technology.

My responsibility as iPad Man was to hold focus groups with students and perform observations of every teacher’s iPad classes in order to find what was working and what wasn’t. After a summer of working with the staff and students, I came to some conclusions that helped raise our customer satisfaction rating with technology classes from 60% to 85%. In case you are another teacher terrified of tablets, I want to share with you the three things that made the biggest difference.” To read further please click here”:http://www.edudemic.com/take-terror-teaching-tablets/

Apr 30

the ONE tool I can’t do without (and neither can my school)

By: Kelli Etheredge

microsoft“We all have our “go to” tools when we want to work efficiently. For me, when I really need to accomplish a task, I clear my desk, close my door, turn on Vivaldi, and open OneNote. Regardless of the project—lesson redesign with a teacher, research on learning spaces, creating professional development sessions—all of my notes, ideas, questions… everything is in OneNote. OneNote has been my go to tool ever since I discovered its power eight years ago.

Two years ago, my administration asked me to help the 5th and 6th-grade teachers transition to a 1:1 learning environment with teacher created/curated content rather than textbooks. In my design of the program, the unquestionable tool at the center of this learning initiative was (and is) OneNote. Because I had been using a collaborative OneNote notebook with my own students since 2008, I knew it would meet the needs of every teacher—regardless of discipline. And so the process of building our own textbooks for our 5th and 6th graders began.” To read further please click here:


Apr 30

Parents, teachers, tech tools: working together for student achievement

By:Sharon Davison

kindyg“What a wonderful surprise I had in my Gmail yesterday! I have been sick and many of my students have been out as well. So one of my innovative parents decided to create and connect Kindergarten at home with her child who was not well.

The reason I am posting about this is because as a teacher, I am able to model explicitly how I use digital tools, but also more importantly how they can offer an opportunity to connect and engage when you are not able to come to school.

Parents working alongside teachers

In my classroom parents understand that the blogs I use are ways for them to connect, reflect with their child and engage in the learning. So because this parent looked at our class blog, she was able to connect the learning happening in Kindergarten with her own child. I love this because it reflects and displays so beautifully the seamlessness that blogging can offer. As an educator I want my students and their families to be a part of our daily learning. When this is encouraged, parents feel welcomed to engage. Through our ability to model this and offer invitations to extend learning outside of our classrooms parents begin to work alongside us, the teachers who are working hard each day to make a difference for all of our students.”To read further please click here:


Apr 29

Auditing Your Classroom Environment: What Does Your Space Reveal About Your Values?

By: Angela Stockman

classroommss“What we believe about children and teaching and learning is made visible in the way we design our classrooms. Instruction isn’t the only way we influence learning. The choices we make about classroom environment reveal much about the difference we’re trying to make for kids.

Have you ever audited your space and considered how your design choices align to your beliefs, your values, and your vision? Consider using this protocol.
1. Define: Before you begin, take some time to articulate the vision of the teacher you hope to be and the learners you hope to shape. What are your values? What do you believe in? Who do you want your students to become, as a result of your relationship with them? Craft a vision statement that makes these answers transparent.

2. Notice: Grab a camera, and give yourself a bit of time to work when the room is empty. Begin with a wide lens, taking a photo of each wall of your classroom and the way the floorspace is divided and filled. Then, zoom in a bit: shoot the contents of your bookshelves, bulletin boards, centers, and any other space that has been defined with clear intention. After you’ve captured images of your empty classroom, be sure to take some photos of your students at work within the space as well.” To read further please click here:


Apr 29

Two Great Apps for Creating Educational Screencasts on Chrome

by: Med Kharbach

apps“Following the post we shared a few days ago featuring some powerful Chrome apps for taking screenshots, today we are sharing with you two great tools you can use on your Chrome to record screencasts.These web based apps will provide you with an easy way to create educational tutorials and step by step  guides to share with your students.

1-  Screencastify
“Screencastify is a simple video screen capture software (aka. screencast recorder) for Chrome. It is able to record all screen activity inside a tab, including audio. Just press record and the content of your tab is recorded. So you can easily create a screencast for video tutorials, record presentations etc. It also supports desktop capturing, allowing you to record anything on your screen (not just tabs). Videos are recorded as webm/vp8 files with ogg vorbis audio and can be saved to disk or uploaded to Youtube or Google Drive with a single click. “To read further please click here:


Apr 29

5 Myths about Blended Learning by Laila Sanguras

By:Laila Sanguras

Blended-Learning-Models1. If you use technology in the classroom, you are a blended learning educator.

Blended learning is an instructional model that leverages technology in order to personalize learning experiences. The term “blended learning” is actually a misnomer – this is an instructional model that is driven by the educator, not the learner. The success of a blended learning program hinges on the creativity of lesson design that allows for students to use technology to further their understanding. Technology doesn’t create a blended learning classroom any more than feathers and glitter create a gifted classroom.” To read further please click here:


Apr 29

Amazon’s making digital homework easier to assign

By:Roberto Baldwin

amazon“If you’ve ever seen a 6th grader lugging around a 30 pound backpack, you’ll understand the allure of e-readers and tablets as a replacement for traditional textbooks. To help school districts make the digital transition from physical textbooks, Amazon launched Whispercast, a free content management and distribution tool. Schools can buy or rent books directly via the online tool and push them to anything that supports the Kindle app including: Kindles, Fire Tablets, iOS, Android, Mac, Windows and Chromebooks. Today, the free two year-old online tool gets an upgrade with tiered administration, support for purchase orders, an easier-to-use online interface and an assisted setup service for new schools.

Whispercast aims to make distribution of digital media in schools and businesses as easy as a few clicks. The service enables central content administration of e-books, documents, apps and other media on multiple devices.

Today’s update adds more administrative deployment options. Instead of just having the IT department in charge of everything, tiered permissions can be given to teachers and other staff members. Educators can now control which of their classes get which documents with the online tool. “You want the ability to have this centralized, but when it comes to reading material, you want to give schools and teachers the power to deploy,” said Rohit Agarwal, general manager of Amazon Education.” To read further please click here:  http://www.engadget.com/2015/04/28/amazon-whispercast/

Apr 27

5 Great Web Tools to Enhance Collaboration in Class

By: Med Kharbach

apps2“If anything, web technologies have redesigned the notion of collaboration and  rendered it an open construct independent of any conceivable spatio-temporal constraints. For instance, in our educational context,  possibilities for collaborative learning are bigger than ever before. Teachers and students have at their hands a variety of powerful softwares and web-based tools to help them engage in collaborative learning anytime, anywhere. From popular learning management  systems (LMS) such as Blackboard, Collaborate, and Moodle to social networking websites like Twitter and Google Plus, collaboration opportunities are limitless.

When we talk about collaborative tools we are basically referring to web tools that allow teachers and students to do the following: communicate either synchronously or asynchronously, collaborate in creative ways, engage in interactive discussions, easily share  and access learning resources (i.e documents, PDFs, files, calendars) and many more.To this end, we have curated this list to share with you what we think are some of the best web-based tools to enhance teachers-students collaboration and ultimately, boost students learning.” To read further please click here:


Apr 27

4 Resources for Creating and Developing Digital Portfolios

By: Jeff Bradbury

paperless3“As the educational landscape slowly turns to a completely digital and paperless classroom, we are often asking ourselves about the best methods and technologies that are available to collect and curate both teacher and student created content.

The Portfolio has certainly evolved since I was a new teacher.  I was required to put together 3 major reflections on my years accomplishments when I first arrived at my current position.  I have vivid memories of purchasing two 4 inch 3-ring binders and filling them with evidence of my professional growth.  This was a very difficult task for a music teacher who even at that time was a digital native.  How do you demonstrate your professional worth when everything you do is created at the moment a bow crosses a string and instantaneously disappears a brief moment later.

Luckily teachers and students today do not have to worry about killing dozens of trees or spending hours carefully slipping printouts of websites into 3-ring plastic sheet protectors. (ah.. the memories)  Today, teachers and students have several options at their disposal to create online digital portfolios.  I have been a big fan of each of these methods and can honestly say that there is no one “best method” for creating a digital portfolio.  It is all personal preference. Depending on your needs, and more important based on the way you think about organization, each of these methods are very valid methods of collecting, curating, and more importantly creating digital content.” To read further please click here:http://www.teachercast.net/4-resources-for-creating-and-developing-digital-portfolios/

Apr 27

4 powerful ways to implement blogging in the classroom

By: Jennifer Carey

blogging picture“Blogging is a popular activity in classrooms today because it allows students to share their writing with a broader audience and teachers to communicate with parents. There are a myriad of platforms to choose from: edublogs, Kidblog(especially good for elementary age children), Blogger, wordpress, and most LMS systems have a blogging platform built in.

How to set up blogging in the classroom will depend on your platform, and is pretty easy to figure out with all of the “how-to” videos and help center collections. What teachers most often ask me is why they would set up a blog for their class. What value is there in a class blog?

Here are some great ideas and applications for class and/or individual student blogs that you can explore in your classroom.


Blogs can be set to private, public, and shared with specific individuals or groups. This makes them a great platform for students to build their own ePortfolio. They can curate their content first for teachers and parents before publishing it to a broader audience. As a blog allows for not only written content, but multimedia material (images, videos, interactives, etc), it makes it possible for students to create a robust online presence. Kristen Wideen uses Kiblog for her elementary students to create digital portfolios; you can read more about her experience here.” To read further please click here:http://dailygenius.com/blogging-in-the-classroom/

Apr 27

5 Year Olds Coding Without Technology

By: Brian Aspinall

codess“Melissa Dann (@meld70) is a prep teacher in Melbourne Australia who has begun exploring the concepts of coding with her five year old students. Yesterday she sent me the email below. As she reflects on her own practice, I applaud her confidence in considering a blog post – way to take a risk! As such, I asked if I could quote her here in this space to get comfortable. Check out the really cool things that are happening!

Hi Brian,

Here is a quick overview of what been happening in my classroom teaching coding to 5 year olds. (Just a reminder that we have been at school for 12 weeks – its amazing!)

Game : Robots and Programmers

Children work in pairs. One child is the Robot the other is the Programmer.

Language development is an important part of the activity. Programmers can ask Robots to take steps, turn, jump, hop etc. Programmers cannot ask their Robots to do anything dangerous. Programmers must say please, or the Robot will not respond. This is similar to the game Simon Says, where the children don’t respond unless the command is prefaced with “Simon say….” And saying please is just good manners.” To read further please click here:


Apr 26

Top Ten Latest Issues and Trends in Educational Technology

By: toptencatalog.com

MOOCs“Education has different with the arrival of technological strategies. From PCs to mobile phones, laptops ,smartphones, and tablets. Things have transformed momentously subsequently the time our parents remained at school. All these technical devices play a prodigious role in the expansion of the educational system. Though there are several people who are still beside educational technology subsequently they are yearning for their old days, equipment has been demonstrated to be of excessive use at classrooms. The misgivings could be decided in a few arguments “Our students are degenerative their time!”. Wasting time castoff to be a lame fact we pull every time we do not comprehend the use of somewhat new. The time scholars spend using this expertise teaches them a lot. Education and information are not only about truths in textbooks. Whatsoever the kind of information is, it needs to be public and skillful and the modern expertise helps to do this. The subsequent are the top 10 state-of-the-art issues and trends in modern day educational technology.” To read further please click here:


Apr 25

Six Ways to Create Flipped Video Lessons

flippingBy: Richard Byrne

“A few months ago I created and posted a video about making flipped video lessons onVideoNot.es. Since then I’ve made videos about more tools for creating flipped video lessons. The most recent video is about Vialogues which allows you to build online discussions around videos hosted online and videos that you have saved on your computer. The video about using Vialogues and the video about VideoNot.es have been added to a new YouTube playlist that I’ve titled Creating Flipped Lessons. Six videos are currently in the playlist and I’ll be adding more as I produce new screencasts. The playlist is embedded below.”To read further please click here:http://practicaledtech.com/2015/04/19/practical-ed-tech-tip-of-the-week-six-ways-to-create-flipped-video-lessons/

Apr 25

Enlisting Student Moderators for Classroom Blog Posts

By: Wesley Fryer

blogsing“What a beautiful sight this was today in our school library! A team of 4th and 5th grade student volunteers, who have been working as mentors in our enhanced eBook project, are now helping moderate both comments and student posts on the 22 classroom blogs we have at our school.

I wish we had enlisted the help of students to do this at the start of the year! Basically, students are checking to make sure there is not any profanity, bullying, or other inappropriate text in the comments or posts. If they have a question about whether a comment or post is appropriate, I’m right there to discuss it with them and make a decision to approve or delete the entry.

Due to schedules and priorities, we haven’t ever provided face-to-face training / guidance to all our classroom teachers this year on how to use and moderate KidBlog posts and comments. As a result, it’s been very overwhelming for me to deal with the quantity of posts and comments students have created on these blogs. I setup the KidBlogs for all 22 classes at our school at the start of the year, which I’ve used in my STEM classes. Our librarian, who I’ve been collaborating with on our eBook project, has also worked with all our classes and taught students how to both post appropriate comments as well as posts. ” To read further please click here :


Apr 25

How to Create a State of “Flow” in the Classroom

By: A.J.Juliani

apicture“What is flow? It is a term and concept you’ve probably heard before. It’s also a feeling or state that you’ve had many times in your life. We often call it that feeling when time stands still a state of “flow”; and we often call that feeling when we get lost in what we are doing for hours a state of flow. Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, Ph.D., psychologist and author of the book, Flow: The Psychology of Optimal Experience, describes what “flow” looks and feels like:
>The flow experience is when a person is completely involved in what he or she is doing, when the concentration is very high, when the person knows moment by moment what the next steps should be, like if you are playing tennis, you know where you want the ball to go, if you are playing a musical instrument you know what notes you want to play, every millisecond, almost. And you get feedback to what you’re doing. That is, if you’re playing music, you can hear whether what you are trying to do is coming out right or in tennis you see where the ball goes and so on. So there’s concentration, clear goals, feedback, there is the feeling that what you can do is more or less in balance with what needs to be done, that is, challenges and skills are pretty much in balance.” To read further please click here: http://ajjuliani.com/4-smart-steps-foster-flow-classroom/

Apr 24

Letting Go of the Reins: Students Lead the Way with #Minecraft

By: Myria Heinhuis

mine“It took me a while to wrap my head around how I was going to incorporate Minecraft into my Core French Classroom.  I have read about and seen many people use it for other core subjects, but had some trouble figuring out at first where it applied in my room.  I think this is partially due to the fact that I don’t know that much about it.  I understand the main idea to Minecraft, but what one is truly capable of doing with it is beyond me because I don’t play it.This is the first project I have attempted with Minecraft and I am really excited about the results for a variety of different reasons.  I would love to include it into my program in other ways and will look to the students for inspiration. Using Minecraft to Demonstrate Understanding of Directions in French.

Learning Goal:

We are learning to give clear directions in French.

Success Criteria:

The success criteria had been previously created with the students.  see the image below.  We had completed several different activities to practice this in spoken situations because I truly believe if students can say it, they will then be able to write it.  Every class, I would designate the first half to spoken interaction games and activities.  Studentsearned time on Minecraft by participating properly during these oral activities.  I needed this “earned” time as a reminder and sometimes as fuel for those who are more reluctant to participate otherwise.  We also developed two different criteria.  One was for being able to give clear directions, and the other set was for what should be included in the Minecraft project in order to properly show that they understood the learned concepts.” To read further please click here:  http://www.mmemallette.com/2015/04/letting-go-of-the-reins-students-lead-the-way-with-minecraft-edtech-ipaded/


Apr 24

Should Personalization Be the Future of Learning?

By: Benjamin Riley & Alex Hernandez

kkids“Sprinkle the phrase “personalized learning” into virtually any conversation or speech regarding education, and you’ll see heads nodding in happy agreement. Although some might view this as evidence of merit, I suspect that the personalization concept has become an empty vessel into which one may pour any number of competing theories or policies.

What many people mean by “personalized learning” is using technology to give students more control over their education experience. “Blended learning involves leveraging the Internet to afford each student a more personalized learning experience, meaning increased student control over the time, place, path, and/or pace of his or her learning,” declares the Clayton Christensen Institute for Disruptive Innovation. We must “empower learners to learn any time, any place, and at any pace, both in school and beyond,” according to a report from the Aspen Institute, “Learner at the Center of a Networked World.” “Instead of organizing students by age and giving them all the same lesson, [students may] initiate their own learning, follow different paths, and seek varied resources to help them meet their goals,” says my friend Alex Hernandez.” To read further please click here:  http://educationnext.org/personalization-future-learning/

Apr 24

How Cool is Voki? Create Fun Talking Avatars for Classroom Use

By: James Thompson

VokiI introduced Voki to EmergingEdTech readers back in 2011, and its overdue for another mention! This is a such a fun tool. Guest writer James Thompson offers a handful of approaches to using this unique application in teaching and learning. – KW

Discover Voki, a fun, unique tool for your classroom and students. The idea behind this application is to create custom-made avatars (characters that resemble living people) and give them a set of instructions to say something.

Gone are the days when asking your students to speak in front of the classroom or write up a short essay were the only ways to present. Welcome to the 21st century where technology presents us with a multitude of ways to do things – and when it comes to using technology, the kids simply love it!

You can create a free Voki account that allows for a 60 second clip, or you can for the premium version of Voki Classroom (under $30/year!), which provides for longer clips, a Classroom Management System, and more. This Classroom Management System allows you to manage lessons, review work, modify instructions, talk to other teachers using the program, and receive teaching tips offered by others in a “teacher’s corner”.”To read further please click here:


Apr 24

Google Classroom gets some new features that we’ve been asking for

By: David Andrade

google classroomGoogle Classroom is Google’s learning management system, allowing teachers and students to share assignments and communicate online.
It is easy to use and works great, but there were some features teachers were asking for. Well, Google listened!
Google has just announced some new features:
1. Invite another teacher to your class- teachers who co-teach, or want special ed teachers to have access to course work, etc can be invited to join the class as a teacher. Multiple teachers can now work together in the same class. The additional teacher(s) can create assignments and announcements, view and grade student submissions, participate in comments on the class stream, invite students to the class, and receive email notifications related to the class”To read further please click here:


Apr 22

Detroit Public Schools Moving to Microsoft to Prep Kids for the Future

By:Microsoft Education Team

microsoft“For over a decade, administrators and teachers at Detroit Public Schools (DPS) have tried a slew of hardware and software solutions to aid in educating the district’s students, and one way or another most of the technology fell short. They recently set out to create a new approach to integrating technology into the classroom that would better prepare students with skills for success in the future while meeting the daily educational requirements of the district. After careful research they selected a Microsoft-centric approach for unifying classroom devices, software, and even IT infrastructure.A first step in the new program was adding to the district’s existing technology with the DPS IT Division’s purchase of  2,500 Windows-based Dell Venue 11 tablets, which will be distributed as a pilot program to a select number of schools serving grades K through 8. The touchscreen wireless devices run on Windows 8.1 and are configured with an Intel i5 processor, 4 gigabytes of RAM and 128 gigabyte solid-state drives.

Mark Bartoski, the district’s Executive Director of Technology, says it’s the first big step in providing powerful touchscreen wireless devices that do not have any limitations in running software used throughout the district.

“We have limitations with iPads in running core school applications, such as Renaissance Learning and Carnegie Math,” says Bartoski. “We are also not able to secure, manage, track and update iPads like we can with Windows-based computers.” To read further please click here:


Apr 22

How to Create Your Own Ebook Using Google Slides

By: James Scherer

google slides“Step 1: Decide on a Topic

You want to create something your prospective clients want to read. The best way to do this (I’ve found) is to create something your current clients want to read. After all, they’ve got to be pretty similar, and one of those groups you already have the contact details of.

Send an email, something like:

“Hey [First Name], James Scherer here from Wishpond. I’m just reaching out because I’ve been thinking about creating an ebook, and I’m wondering if there’s a subject you’ve been dying to learn more about?

Feel free to choose from these five options, or reply to this email with your topic.”

In order to add a poll to your Mailchimp mailout simply put your ebook subject ideas within the survey merge tags, which look like *|SURVEY: [your subject idea]|*.

Alternatively, place a poll on your blog or most trafficked page. In order to do this with WordPress, check out several poll plugins, or if you use Blogger, here’s a simple how-to guide.

Step 2: Write Blog Articles

This might sound a bit counter-intuitive. Why would I write blog articles when I want to write an ebook?Silly reader, don’t you know an ebook is just a massive, somewhat visual blog article?To be more specific, an ebook is a comprehensive look at a subject. The reason it’s valuable is because it’s downloadable, complete and easily referred-to.” To read further please click here:


Apr 22

9 Ways to Prepare for a Substitute for Your Tough Class

By: Love Teach

out of control“During my first year of teaching, I had to be out for quite a lot of professional-development days during the school year. I was not an effective classroom manager my first year, and I taught several classes of students with behavioral disorders. The combination of these factors means that during much of my first year, I was plagued by DABOBLYSWAB, which stands for that feeling of Diarrhea-ish Awfulness Brought On By Leaving Your Students With a Sub.

One day when I was out, my students used my duct tape to tape one another to chairs and uploaded a video of it to Facebook.I don’t want to talk about it.
The good news, though, is that over the past several years, I’ve learned several things about preparing to be out when you’ve got a tough crowd of students. I’m proud to say that my DABOBLYSWAB has been almost entirely cured. In fact, I was out for a day this past week and received a near-perfect report from the sub, which almost made  me cry, then made me skeptical for just a second, but then almost made me cry again.
If you have found yourself suffering from major DABOBLYSWAB, here are nine ways to prepare for a substitute for your tough class:” To read further please click here:


Apr 21

Avoiding “Just Google it!” with your students

By: Richard Bluford

imagesCAF1CB64“In a recent staff meeting we kicked off our first professional development season, which focuses on learning engagements. One aim of the plenary was to begin to get teachers thinking about how they use technology in the classroom. The cartoon clip below was used as a conversation starter to get teachers to think about how they use technology with student inquiry.

The purpose was to understand that simply asking our students to “just Google it” is not great practice. Discussion centered on that we often refer to students as being ‘digital natives’ but while our students may have grown up with today’s technology, many of them do not know how to use it effectively, particularly for academic purposes. While evidence appears inconclusive about whether school libraries are in decline, owing to the online alternatives, my discussions with students indicate that in some classes they never use the library for research purposes. If this is the case with some classes, how well are teachers guiding students when conducting online inquiry?

Our responsibility, when asking students to inquire or perform any form of online research, is to teach them how to use the technology both efficiently and effectively. So, what do we need in schools to make this happen?

There are two key starting points:

1. Developing the skills for both students and teachers to search effectively on the web

Some teachers need training in understanding how search engines work and the different search engines available for use, their advantages and disadvantages” To read further please click here:

how they use technology in the classroom. The cartoon clip… …


Apr 21

Google Classroom: Who Deleted Student Answers?!

By: Alice Keeler

google classroom“Collaborative documents bring a world of possibilities and a new set of potential problems. Intuitively students do not know the social norms for how to work on a document at the same time. It is likely that when students are first exposed to a collaborative document that they accidentally or intentionally delete the work of other students.
Google Classroom
Google Classroom allows you to easily distribute collaborative documents to students. When attaching a file in Google Classroom choose “Students can edit file.” This expressly shares the document with only the students in the class and gives them editing access. Students will access the document from the stream, allowing all students in the class to edit the document at the same time.” To read further please click here:


Apr 21

What Does a 21st Century Classroom Look Like: Collaboration

By: Patrick Goertz

assessment“Continuing to follow up the post 10 Signs of a 21st Century Classroom, I would like to share some ideas that we have at my school for achieving these goals. Some are actively implemented by a significant number of our faculty, while others are still just an idea being trialed by one or two teachers. I am by no means saying that these are the best or only ideas out there.

The importance of a collaborative environment cannot be overstated.  Whether preparing for college or for a career, the ability to successfully work together to solve problems and create new material is a critical skill that students must be given an opportunity to practice.  While it is easy to say that students are naturally good at working with their peers, here are some ideas that may help to ease the transition between conversing with others and true collaboration

Rearrange seating

The traditional arrangement of a classroom (teacher in the front, students in rows facing the same direction) works well if class is conducted in the view that the teacher is the source of all knowledge.  However, in the “teacher as facilitator” model that many of us have adopted, the whole arrangement of the classroom needs to be reconsidered.  Walking through our halls, several classrooms styles are observed: traditional, students gathered around tables, desks forming a large circle, and desks in clumps.  Each arrangement has benefits within certain contexts.  Laura Bradley has a great article about using specially designed furniture to promote a student directed, rapid change of classroom environment.” To read further please click here:


Apr 20

BYOD Is Shaping Education in the 21st Century

By: Brian Meller

flickeringbrad-smileipad“It’s important for education systems to provide students and staff with the tools they need to build proper skills for the 21st century. Perhaps one of the most important lessons schools must accept is that technology integration in the classroom is a must. With technology, everyday learning will be able to meet society’s ever growing expectations and prepare students for the real world.

And guess what? BYOD (bring your own device) is being adopted by hundreds (if not thousands) of schools. BYOD is sweeping the nation — and for good reason.

7 benefits of BYOD in education

Increases access to technology in the classroom

Many school districts don’t have the budget to implement a 1:1 program (everyone has the same device). That’s fine because most students have more current, powerful, and flexible devices than those offered by their school. So students who have their own device can bring it, and those who don’t can use the school’s.

Saves school’s money

BYOD enables teachers to implement technology in the classroom even if they don’t have the budget to give every student access to a tablet or computer. Students with their own devices are also in charge of the maintenance, so if their device breaks they are responsible for replacing it.”To read further please click here: http://tech.co/byod-education-21st-century-2015-04

Apr 20

The Difference Between Skilled Learners and Good Students

By: Saga Briggs

homework22“The skilled learners of the world don’t always excel in their studies. And I don’t mean Gates and Einstein. I’m talking about the huge number of people who are passionate about knowledge, who have a real knack for remembering facts, who are self-taught musicians and casual scholars. People who ignore homework because it’s boring to them, fail geometry because their teacher makes it boring to them, don’t listen to lectures because they’d rather absorb the information themselves. These people aren’t good students; they’re natural learners. And we’re doing them–and the world– a disservice by treating them like second class citizens.“I spend a lot of time these days talking and writing about how we are asking teachers to redefine what it means to be a teacher,” writes David Warlick in his popular 2¢ worth blog. “But perhaps a significant part of this exercise in redefinition should involve our students– an explicit remolding of perceptions of these youngsters, in order to fully shift the relationship between student and teacher, learner and master learner.”Here’s how he breaks down the difference between learners and students in his own chart:” To read further please click here:  http://www.opencolleges.edu.au/informed/features/the-difference-between-skilled-learners-and-good-students/


Apr 19

Coding in the Classroom: A Long-Overdue Inclusion

By: Merle Huerta

codingg“One need not look to superstars such as Mark Zuckerberg or Bill Gates to justify reasons for using code and programming logic in the classroom. There’s plenty of literature that illustrates its positive learning outcomes. Coding in the classroom is linked to improved problem solving and analytical reasoning, and students who develop a mastery of coding have a “natural ability and drive to construct, hypothesize, explore, experiment, evaluate, and draw conclusions.”

But there are other compelling reasons for integrating code in the classroom.

Reasons to Teach Coding

1. Coding is a new type of literacy.

Wired Magazine reported that reading and writing code is the new literacy. Those students who master it are better prepared for a technical revolution that spans cultures and language boundaries. That’s because coding isn’t just a language. It’s a way of thinking about problem solving.

2. Coding is a tool to improve educational equity.

Coding in the classroom is a means of bridging the digital divide. That means more than granting technological access — it’s a way for all students to use technology for creative engagement. Without coding in the classroom, many students in lower socioeconomic communities will miss the opportunities it affords.” To read further please click here:  http://www.edutopia.org/blog/coding-classroom-long-overdue-inclusion-merle-huerta

Apr 19

Dr. Scott’s Top 10 Tips for Learning in Nature

By:Dr.Scott Simpson

nature“Because I am always looking at birds and listening to their songs, my daughter Jade has become something of a birdwatcher too. As parents and educators, we can help children discover their true passions and learn with and from the natural world. Here are my 10 key principals to inspire a love of learning in nature:

1. Make New Habits

Take some time to discover the varieties of wild or semi-wild nature close to your home and explore these places with your children. Most young children will have no problem engaging with their natural surroundings. Their curious minds are built to do just that. Older children who’ve established a bias toward electronic screens may take a little more coaxing; this is where grown-ups need to exercise some imagination, and even foster a trickster mentality. Rather than telling children that they need to go out because it’s good for them, think about encouraging them to play games like tag and kick the can. The key here is to establish nature as the fun and preferred option for playtime.” To read further please click here:http://gettingsmart.com/2015/04/how-to-raise-a-wild-child-the-art-and-science-of-falling-in-love-with-nature/

Apr 19

This Article May Be Illegal – Lifting the Veil of Silence on Standardized Testing

By: Steven Singer

whistle“Warning!What you are about to read may be a criminal act.I may have broken the law by putting this information out there.

Edward Snowden leaked data about civilian surveillance. Chelsea Manning released top secret military documents.

And me? I’m leaking legal threats and intimidation students and teachers are subject to during standardized testing.

Not exactly a federal crime is it?

No. I’m asking. Is it?

Because teachers are being fired and jailed. Students are being threatened with litigation.

All because they talked about standardized tests.

The US government mandates public school children be subjected to standardized assessments in reading and math in grades 3-8 and once in high school. Most schools test much more than that – even as early as kindergarten.

And since all of these assessments are purchased from private corporations, the testing material is ideological property. The students taking these exams – regardless of age – are no longer treated as children. They are clients entering into a contract.” To read further please click here: