Thursday, December 20, 2012

iPads Vs. Laptops

A Look at iPads vs. Laptops in Education

The question of iPads or laptops is one that needs to be asked. What is better for education-an iPad or a laptop? The question has no simple answers. It's a complex question because of the complexity of education and the K-12 system in general. Which is better for each content area? Or grade level? What is best for AP psychology is probably not best for kindergarten. As you all know, there is such a wide range of ages and abilities in a K-12 system so in my mind, we can't just all use the same thing. It seems the push is towards the iPad. Is that the best option? Is it the best option for middle school? High School? I think before we start spending all this money, we need to take a serious look at what is best for education, what has the most potential, what teachers want, and what we are capable of. I surveyed hundreds of teachers about their thoughts, opinions, and desires when it comes to technology in education. I attempted to answer the question: What is better: iPads or Laptops? I did not come away with a solid answer, though I was able to gain valuable insight into technology in education. I was able to learn about what teachers are frustrated about, what they prefer, and what they want going forward. I decided I would share my findings with you for this last Techno.ED post before the break. The graphs did not show up on my google docs version, so I have included them below this post. My thoughts and commentary on each graph is located within the document. 

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Sharing Student Work with Picasa

Picasa allows you to share student work quick and easy. On my website, I have a"showcase" page which I use to share student work. I use Picasa because it is synced with my Google account and I like how you can post a slideshow right on your blog/website. Students constantly ask me when I'm going to add more stuff to the showcase page. They like to have their work shared. They take pride in their work and try harder knowing other might see it. Since I started showcasing student work on my website, I have seen an overall increase in effort of my students. With my iPhone, I take pictures of student work and easily upload them to my picasa web album. Having an iPhone makes this easier, but if you don't have an iPhone, you can still share. You could scan the student work with a scanner and upload the images that way. Whether you share student work online or hang it on a wall, I think its a great thing to do to get the student excited and proud of their work. 

Friday, December 14, 2012

A Meth addict and a Navy SEAL

Bobby Knight and referees. Water and Oil. Middle schoolers and hygiene. Hatfields and McCoys.... Some things just don't go together. What does a meth addict and a Navy SEAL have in common? Nothing, except in the case of Adam Brown who happened to be both. I recently read a book called Fearless, and wanted to share it with you because of just how powerful a story it is. Adam Brown was born and grew up in Hot Springs, Arkansas. His childhood wasn't anything significant. Not poor, but certainly not well-off, Adam was a very likable, happy go-luck kid. He was always up for having fun and doing crazy things, yet at the same time, extremely respectful to his parents. Through high school, Adam was just an average football player but was named captain due to his leadership ability and how hard he played. He had all the potential in the world, had life by the tail, smart, dynamic, charismatic, it seemed Adam could do anything. After high school, things began a sharp nose dive and over the next 5 years, Adam drank and did drugs. Eventually, Adam started using meth. Meth is a monster that once gets you in its grip, rarely lets go. Adam sunk to the depths of life, constantly finding himself in one meth house after another. He went to rehab, then would relapse. Rehab again, relapse again. It seemed the monster would not let go. Then, everything changed. He joined the Navy with the help of a friends' father who happened to be an admiral. Adam decided to try to become a SEAL. He succeeded in not only becoming a SEAL, but one of the best SEAL operators in the entire Navy. He eventually became a member of SEAL Team 6, the most elite warriors on the planet. It is an amazing story. All throughout his drug addiction, there was something great inside him, just waiting to get out. I wonder how often that is the case for us? Not a SEAL but perhaps something else great? Something different? Something better? I tell my own kids that inside of them is the potential to do great things for people, they just need to let it out. Inside of us, we have the potential to do great things for kids. It's just a matter of whether or not we let it out. This is an amazing story of a human being overcoming something so powerful such as meth addiction to become one of the most elite warriors in the world, but not only an elite warrior, but an elite father, husband, son and teammate. The story of Adam Brown will move you to tears and cause you to appreciate what you have in life. It will make you feel patriotic, make you feel thankful for those protecting us. It will make you hug your kids tighter, appreciate the time with them more. Adam Brown was Fearless. I think we should be Fearless too.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

7 Habits of Highly Effective Teachers who use Technology

Today I thought I would provide you with a list of 7 habits of highly effective teachers who use technology. If you are viewing this in your email only, you will have to click on the post to see the image or click the link. Becoming a highly effective teacher with technology is not something that happens over night. It is a process, perhaps a process that never even ends as there are always things out there to learn, try, discover. I by no means consider myself a expert when it comes to technology in education, but simply someone who is open-minded to trying new things, discovering new tools, and willing to change/improve what I do. I did not come up with the list, but I think it is accurate.  Click here for a larger version of the list.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

More Online Games!

We all know kids play video games a lot. Kids love playing video games, so why not have them play OUR video games! I attempted to contact Sony and EA to help me develop an XBox 360 game for ancient civilization. They never returned my email (not surprisingly). So, I guess we have to make due with what's on the internet. I posted about a few days ago, so I thought I would continue the theme of educational video games with a few more options. 
Review Game Zone is a site that allows you to make games with your own questions/content. It provides many different types of video games that incorporate your questions. 
Super Teacher Tools is another site that allows you to create games for your students. It also provides a few different types of tools such as classroom management tools. Browse through these sites and perhaps you will find something you would like to try/use. Having your own website is very helpful with this type of stuff because it allows you to post your created games so students can access them easily.

Monday, December 10, 2012

Turning your content into an Arcade Game

Example of "Word Shoot" in the arcade
This may not come as a surprise to you but kids love playing video games. Just think about all the hours spent in front of an Xbox 360 that could be spent reading or learning. Just think if we could combine the two: video games and learning. Well, thanks to the internet and, we can. With this tool, you can enter up to 30 questions and create arcade games. I used this for my ancient Egypt unit with the gods and goddesses. There were quite a few names to remember, so this was a good way to get the kids to practice those names and who those gods/goddesses were. offers five unique arcade games: "Manic Minor," "Word shoot", "Cannon Ball", flashcards, and memory. By far, the games my students liked best were Manic Minor and Word Shoot. Manic Minor is a game in which you control a minor below ground and only have a certain amount of air. You are given a question, and you need to go grab the answer with the minor. Watch out for danger though, because if you run out of air, step on a danger, or get hit by an enemy, you will lose a life. Word Shoot is a game in which you are given a question and you have to "shoot" the right answer. Each level gets more difficult. Kids were constantly playing these games, which meant they were constantly using the Egypt material I wanted them to use.  This is a good tool that your students will like to use to help them review. It is free. Simply sign up for an account and begin. There are other options to use with, but the arcade generator is a fun one to try/use.  

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Rules of Life

Whether Bill Gates or Steve Jobs actually included these rules in a speech or not is irrelevant. The following "rules of life" are definitely interesting and worth reading. Wouldn't it be great if we operated under these rules? So why aren't we? Are we scared of parents? Are we scared to make the tough decisions? The decisions that need to be made? If a capable student is getting all F's, why are we allowing that kid to play sports? If a kid is on ICU for 5 assignments, why should they get to go watch the MS play and not stay back and do their work, which they chose not to do the first time? Are we afraid they will feel badly about themselves and their self-esteem will be injured? Are we afraid we are going to get a parent complaint? Parent calls in: "Why wasn't my child allowed to go watch the MS play?" "Your child has 5 missing assignments." End of call and conversation, unless that parent wants to talk about how they can help get those assignments done. In my relatively short time as a teacher, it seems teachers have the least amount of power out of anybody in this game. It seems that parents and students are in charge and not the teachers, who should be. Don't get my wrong, I am a huge advocate for the student, I just think perhaps a little more toughness is required sometimes.  Anyway, check out the rules below. It's a good read. 
     RULE 1
     Life  is not fair - get used to it.

     RULE 2
     The  world won't care about your self-esteem. The world
     will expect you to accomplish something BEFORE you  feel
     good about yourself.

     RULE 3
     You  will NOT make 40 thousand dollars a year right out
     of high school. You won't be a vice president with
     car phone, until you earn  both.

     RULE 4
     If  you think your teacher is tough, wait till you get a
     boss. He doesn't have tenure.

     RULE 5
     Flipping burgers is not beneath your dignity. Your
     grandparents had a different word for burger flipping
     called it Opportunity.

     RULE 6
     If  you mess up,it's not your parents' fault, so don't
     whine about your mistakes, learn from them.

     RULE 7
     Before you were born, your parents weren't as boring as
     they are now. They got that way from paying  your bills,
     cleaning your clothes and  listening to you talk about
     how cool  you are. So before you save the rain forest
     from the parasites of your parent's generation, try
     delousing the closet in your own room.

     RULE 8
     Your  school may have done away with winners and losers,
     but life has not. In some schools they have  abolished
     failing grades and they'll  give you as many times as
     you want to  get the right answer. This doesn't bear the
     slightest resemblance to ANYTHING in real life.

     RULE 9
     Life  is not divided into semesters. You don't get
     summers off and very few employers are interested in
     helping you find yourself. Do that on your own  time.

     RULE 10
     Television is NOT real life. In real life people
     actually have to leave the coffee shop and go to  jobs.

     RULE 11
     Be  nice to nerds. Chances are you'll end up working for

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Taking a Step back, thinking about your life

My Techno.ED return is not going to start with a tech tool for education, but rather a video that you need to see. The video above is looking at the question: What would you do in life if money was no object? It's a fascinating question and the narrator does an amazing job talking about it and discussing the possibilities. As the video states, far too often we miserably go through our day, our job only to do it all over again the next day. I think its good for us to stop and take a look at our life. Is it the life we want? Are we spending our ever so precious time on this Earth doing what we want? What we were meant to do? Doing what we were born to do? Or are we just plodding along, wasting our time? For some, watching this video might reinforce what they are doing with their lives. For others, it might strike a painful chord inside them, waking them up the cold reality that they are indeed wasting their life. I find it interesting to apply this video to teaching. Why are we teachers? It's an important question and one that I believe we need to ask ourselves and examine every so often. I would like to believe that all teachers come out of college ready to change the world, ready to save every kid but through years and headaches, that energy wears off and teaching simply becomes just a job, a drag. Ask yourself why you are a teacher. If you have no good answer, change or quit. But if that spark and desire to truly make a difference is still inside you, let it come to the top. Let it overflow and reinvigorate your life! I know that I ask myself that question from time to time, to remind myself that I became a teacher because I want to help kids. So, if money was no object, what would you be doing? 

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Techno.ED Returns

Well, that was an unnecessarily long break from posting on this blog. I got too busy during football season, so I told myself that I would resume once the season ended in late October. Then I got busy with a class I am taking, maintaining my main website, turning 30 and being depressed about it, and just life in general. So, here we are, beginning of December, and I am just now finally returning to Techno.ED. I see that I have 20 subscribers. I know 3 of those subscribers are myself, which means I only have 17 real followers who see these posts via their email. Is it worth doing all this work for 17 people? Yes, I think it is. I am definitely not going to bore you with that Starfish story we've heard a million times ("It matters to this one....") but if some of those 17 subscribers get something out of these posts, then I am happy. Despite the lack of posts, I've continued to  gather and research tech tools and think about ways to make technology meaningful and impactful, not just "toys." I have tried to focus my efforts with technology in education to coming up with ways to enhance what we already do in the classroom. Technology is not meant to replace, but to strengthen. We want technology to be education enhancers, not replacers. So, throughout December and into the 2nd semester, I am going to  resume my Techno.ED self-imposed duties and try to bring you not only tech tools, but ways to use them to enhance your teaching. 
I apologize for the long delay and I thank you for subscribing. I think you will find it is worth your time to browse what I post. 
-Dan Klumper