Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Anytime, Anywhere, Any pace Part 2

In part 1, I shared what the Web-based education commission found throughout its extensive studies on the Internet and its impact on teaching and learning. They compared the impact the Internet has on teaching and learning to Sputnik, cure for Polio and electricity. Lofty praise. So, what did they do with their findings? What was their recommendation to the President of the United States? They issued a call to action. Keep in mind, this was in 2000. This was what they said needed to happen fourteen years ago.
The Web-Based Commission issued a call to action of many things. Here are a few highlights.

  • Make the Internet widely and equitably available for all learners. 
  • Provide continuous and relevant training and support for educators and administrators at all levels. 
  • Develop high quality online educational content (For example: Kahn Academy)
The commission summed up it's opening abstrat with this quote: "It is time we collectively move the power of the Internet for learning from promise to practice." 

Sunday, September 28, 2014

Anytime, Anywhere, Any pace (Part 1)

The purpose of this website is to share thoughts and ideas on Technology in Education and how we can not only integrate but improve the learning experience with technology. With that said, I've been doing some interesting reading lately and will share it here.
Recently, I was reading about the congressional Web-Based Commission that was formed with the task of examining how the internet is being used and it's value to teaching and learning in the K-12 institution, higher ed and the work place.  It compiled its findings and presented them to the President of the United States and the rest of Congress. Pretty intense stuff. I am going to share some of their findings with you because I think this commission did what we are always trying to do: prove the value and need for not only Internet, but consistent access to Internet. Keep in mind this commission published their findings in 2000. That is fourteen years ago. Imagine how much more of an impact Internet can have now.
To start, I will share a quick summary of what the commission found through their extensive research. The Web-Based commission found that with Internet, specifically consistent access to internet, enables education to occur in places that has none. It extends and provides resources. It extends the learning day. It opens up the learning places and removes the shackles the school building has on students. The internet connects people with communities and resources to support learning. It gives students multiple paths to learn, create, explore and understand. The commission states that the Internet is something today's students expect to use for expression and communication, for they are digital natives. They were born into this world. The commission also stressed that the Internet is not a cure all or solution for every problem in education. I think this is important to note because it shows an unbiased look by the commission, not just trying to push an agenda.
After their extensive research, they issued this statement: "A national mobilization is necessary, one that evokes a response similar in scope to other great American opportunities: Sputnik and the race to the moon; bringing electricity and phone service to all corners of the nation; finding a cure for polio."
Those are quite the comparisons. This bipartisan congressional committee reported back to the President of the United States that the Internet can have as big of an impact on the education of the nation as the cure for polio, electricity and the space race. Lofty company.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Technology Provides Efficiency, Opportunity

This morning I was thinking about the day's topic of Otzi the Iceman in my social studies class. I had everything prepared, everything set to go. However, this morning, I stumbled upon some interesting articles, some new findings about Otzi, and a website that breaks things down for kids. These three resources I felt would be very interesting for kids to read, think about, and discuss. They shed some new light on the topic of Otzi, in particular, our topic of the day which is his mysterious death and tattoos. Unfortunately, I am relegated to telling my students about the new information instead of having them sift through it themselves and make their own discoveries. This puts the teacher in the center of the learning circle, instead of what should be in the middle: the student. Sometimes in teaching, you find something that you think is good and want to use it right away. Technology, specifically having consistent access, provides students with more opportunities to learn and discover. It is a more efficient way of doing things. With tools like Symbaloo, Google Drive, and Gibbon, I could easily post the articles and have students access them immediately, at their own pace. We could talk about what they found, what they think and what it all means. I posted them to my website in hopes they explore the resources further at home.  

Monday, September 8, 2014

Remind.com: Great tool, new look

As the school year starts and we start thinking about what tools we are going to use, give Remind.com some thought. Remind was built for teachers. It allows you to text message your students in a safe, secure way. I have used it for the past 2 years and students and parents love it. They love getting the messages sent right to their phone. It is very convenient. Students don't always use/check their planner. But it is a guarantee that they will check their phone, usually many times a day. Remind.com has a new look from last year so I posted a video above to help make sure we are comfortable with the new (better) look. If you have any questions, please ask.
Why Remind.com is such a great tool:
-It's free to use.
-It doesn’t require your student to have a cell phone.
-Teachers do NOT see your child’s cell phone number. 
-Students do NOT see their teacher’s cell phone number.
-The text message notification counts as simply one text message in your cell phone plan. ----Students can NOT text the teachers. 
-Your child’s teacher will explain how to become a “subscriber” to their notifications.
-Cell phone numbers are NOT sold or given out by Remind101. 
-Text message option or email option or both.
-It provides a "widget" to place on your website so students can get the messages without being a subscriber.

If you would like some help in getting Remind.com up and running, I will gladly help! 

Thursday, September 4, 2014

A Powerful App to increase efficiency

Sight is an iPhone app that has powerful potential. It is an app that can greatly increase your efficiency as a human. With this app, you can take a "screenshot" with your iPhone and sight will save the article, not just the picture of the article. While browsing the internet or news outlets, there might be an article you want to read, but don't have the time. So you want to save it for later. There are a number of bookmarking sights, or you can email to yourself, etc. but with "Sight", simply take a screen shot and the app saves the article in your account, so you can easily access it at a later time to read it, or just something you want to save. It's free on the apple app store. If you have an iPhone, check it out! 

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

South Dakota's FIRST Edcamp. Check it out. Details below.

On September 20th, South Dakota will have it's very first EdCamp. This is a very unique professional develop opportunity for educators. What makes this PD unique is the design of what an "edcamp" is. It's called an "unconference" because YOU can choose what you go to and what you learn about. It is a PD day that does not have sessions set in stone, but rather are created and provided throughout the day, in a somewhat impromptu style, based on the feeling of the attendees. For example, if you are listening to a classroom management session, and you decide you have had enough, then just get up and walk out and go to another one. It is a day that is designed for teachers, by teachers. Nobody telling us what to do or what to learn. We, as teachers, get to set the agenda and talk about what WE want to talk about. We can share what WE want to share. I will be attending this Edcamp and I invite you all to join me. I've never been to one, but I'm looking forward to this unique Opportunity. 

South Dakota EdCamp
When: September 20th, 2014
Where: Harrisburg North Middle School
2201 W. 95th Street | Sioux Falls, SD 57108 
Time: 8:00 am to 3:30 pm

Breakfast: doughnuts, juice and coffee--FREE
Lunch: Qdoba catered--FREE