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Even if the Surface Pro is not strictly a laptop killer, it nonetheless changes the game. It's a machine nobody's built before, and it should get a lot of imaginations whirring. For thousands of people, it will be an ideal mobile companion.
David Pogue journeys to the CES show in Las Vegas and writes about the upgrade to Microsoft's Surface, the Pro model. He likes it...quite a lot.
By shawn Cornally
"Over the years I've come to believe that the use of single-shot, for-point assessments is one the worst possible things we can do to students. If the students don't recognize assessments as a chance to show their learning, then these things aren't even assessments; they're something altogether alien to real learning.
"Fortunately, there are many approaches we can take within our own classrooms to change this situation. With a few changes, we can make assessment a loved part of the educational process.
Here are a few ideas to get started."
By Rebecca Alber
"What's ideal when it comes to collaboration in our classrooms? Here's one coveted scenario: several children gathered at a table engaged in a high-level task, discussing, possibly debating an issue, making shared decisions, and designing a product that demonstrates all this deeper learning.
"As teachers, we'd love to see this right out the gate, but this sort of sophisticated teamwork takes scaffolding. It won't just happen by placing students together with a piece of provocative text or an engaging task. (Heck, this deeper learning collaboration is challenging for most adults!)
"In preparing our students for college and careers, 21st century skills call on us to develop highly collaborative citizens -- it's one of the 4 Cs, after all.
"So how do we begin this scaffolded journey? Once we've shared with students the task or assessment they are challenged to complete with their group, here's some suggested steps for supporting students in deep and meaningful collaboration:"
By Meghan M Biro
"Online learning social communities exist which cater to all learning styles, all skill sets and personalities, native abilities and educational needs. Available to employees on-demand as well as via mobile devices and tablets, online learning communities remove barriers dear to the hearts of brick-and-mortar universities and companies. The best are built to allow people to forge relationships with others as well as ‘faculty’ ‘experts’ ‘leaders’ who may or may not be professional educators. Of course there are still reasons to participate in classroom training, for ex: when you’re studying for skills requiring certification. Nonetheless we are seeing the beginnings of an online social movement which will enhance traditional classroom education and breathe new life into the world of work. A degree from a Twitter Chat – Really? One never knows. I’m smiling."
"Leaders must be ready to manage the shift as they face (at least) five profound ways in which online learning communities are changing cultures and challenging our notions of leadership and engaging your talent and your culture:"
THIS IS A REALLY BIG DEAL -- A FREE, POWERFUL ONLINE GRAPHING CALCULATOR -- THAT WORKS ON ANY DEVICE
Yes, I'm shouting. Desmos is a browser-based graphing calculator that works terrifically on any device. It's built in HTML5, so it even works on iOS.
To start off 2013, Desmos has added to its repertoire of functionality by launching Tables of Data. As the Desmos team says on its blog, "Tables are a student’s first way of organizing the logic of a function — number goes in, number comes out. They are the heart of statistics. They are one of the three legs of the representation tripod mandated by Common Core, along with symbolic (equations) and graphical (um… graphs).
If you teach mathematics, or use mathematics in what you teach, this is sure to mean a lot. Please check Desmos out and add comments below.
This is very, very cool.
By Jennifer Barnett
Summary by ASCD SmartBrief
"It is important for students to demonstrate ownership over their learning communities, writes Jennifer Barnett, a veteran teacher and technology integration specialist. In this article, she offers seven ways educators can help students take ownership at school. Among the ideas are to give students the freedom to imagine possibilities, invite students to help craft the school's identity, allow students to host visitors at school and give students more information than they may need rather than too little."
By Michael Hsu
With a new wave of stylish, electric bikes, riding up hills or to the office is no sweat.
These bikes are so cool.
By Ben Stern
"I’ve received a lot of feedback on my recent prediction that technology integrationwould disappear in the years to come. I made this prediction because well-integrated technology causes technology to disappear. It becomes a means to the end of better learning. It is never an end in and of itself. I still believe this. However, I should have clarified what I think will replace it – namely, innovation.
"Because technology is a mere tool, effective usage requires training in the art that it serves. Hence, Technology Integrationists who do their jobs well spend as much or more time dealing with creative, innovative pedagogy as they do with the technology itself. “Technology Integrationist” is a bit of a misnomer.
"Instead, schools should be hiring Innovation Specialists. In so doing, they will make their aims in hiring this person explicit. Innovation, not more technology, is the goal. Ironically, by focusing away from technology, it will be used for effectively.
"I’ve composed a job description for this new position:
By Reg Swanson
"Storytelling continues to be a powerful tool in education. Storytelling from a teacher's point of view allows us an insight into the depth of understanding our student have around certain concepts and ideas. It also gives us a privileged view into the world of the kids in our care. "Storytelling is just as fantastic for students. Storytelling apps allow students a voice, a way of telling complex narratives and a way of illustrating their ability to weave multiple ideas into a single and coherent storyline. "Here are a couple of apps that students and teachers of all ages will love. People never seen to tire of Stop-motion movies."
Posted by Katie Lepi
"If your resolution for 2013 was to be better organized, these apps are recommended for you by the fine folks at Apple. They’ve assembled a sort of toolkit for teachers that aim to make you a better, more informed, and connected educator.
"Before you start being an even better teacher, you should take some self inventory and figure out when you’ll have time to take on this task. That means it’s time to get organized. These 5 apps will help you do just that."
By Jessica Sullivan
"The benefits of the project were noticeable almost immediately. After the initial lesson on basic skills to get started with Google Earth, the students were so engaged that before their first planning class period was over I had invited the high school administrators to visit to see what we were working on in room 407.
"The next class period, students eagerly explained what they were working on to our Assistant Principal, a former Marine Ecologist and IB Biology teacher, while taking him on the tour they had built thus far.
After two class work days, other benefits became apparent. Google Earth tours can be made with a recorded narration of the stops along the way. This was a huge benefit for non-native English speakers who felt less intimidated by being able to practice and re-record their voices as opposed to speaking “live” in front of the class."
A teacher's journey with her class into use of Google Earth for a highly motivating project that produced extensive learning. Great job.
Kimai - the free and easy Time-Tracking software application.
Check out also my curation about it here (will get updated often):
The Touchfire iPad keyboard is a transparent, flexible, squishable, silicone membrane, weighing less than an ounce. The Touchfire's surface is molded into the shape of keys so you can type on the tablet screen with ease.
This looks like quite an ingenious solution to the problem of typing (as opposed to tapping) on an iPad. A visit to the manufacturer's website is even more convincing: http://www.touchfire.com/
I think I'm going to get one.
1. Get Reading (e.g. these recommended blogs)
EdutopiaKQED Mind/ShiftGetting SmartPBS MediaShift EducationThe Principal of ChangeAround the Corner
2. Get Tweeting (e.g. these recommended tweeters)George Couros- @gcourosNicholas Provenzano- @thenerdyteacherRichard Byrne- @rmbyrneDavid Andrade- @daveandcoriJason Markey- @jmarkeyapAnnie Murphy Paul- @anniemurphypaul
3. Get Watching (recommended webinars)Let’s Share Ideas! EdTech Webinars: Access over 15 webinars by your peers on 1:1 computing, interactive learning, engagement, collaboration and moreEdTech Teacher Webinar ArchiveseSchool News WebinarsEducation Week WebinarsTech & Learning Webinars
4. Get Moving (recommended events)ASB Un-Plugged- January 2014, MumbaiISTE- June 2013, San Antonio, TXTCEA- January 2013, Austin, TXIowa 1:1- April 2013, Des Moines, IALausanne Laptop Institute- July 2013, Memphis, TNTeachMeets- Regional, locally organized un-conferencesEdCamps- Regional, locally organized events
5. Get Talking
Ask other educators in your district what they are hearing in the EdTech world. What are their favorite resources to reference? Now prepare to share.Initiate EdTech “Lunch and Learns” to share pedagogical ideas and successes and spread encouragement for innovative technology integration.Highlight an Educator of the Month achieving excellence in curriculum-based technology integration.Start your own blog to chronicle these journeys
By Ron Berger
"I travel with a heavy suitcase. Over my 35-year career as a public school teacher and educator at Expeditionary Learning, I have been obsessed with collecting student work of remarkable quality and value. I bring this work with me whenever I visit schools or present at conferences and workshops, because otherwise no one would believe me when I describe it.
"The student work in my giant black suitcase is exemplary -- beautiful and accurate, representative of strong content knowledge and critical thinking skills -- but it's not from "exceptional" students. It does not come from gifted and talented classrooms or from high-powered private schools. It's the work of regular students in typical schools around the country. The difference is that these students' teachers have helped them develop the skills and mindsets necessary to produce work of exceptional quality, and have built classroom and school cultures in which exceptional work is the norm.
"When I work with educators around the country and pull this work out of my suitcase, it changes the vision of what is possible when students are allowed, compelled and supported to do great things. The quality of the work itself is a game-changer. The fact that most of it comes from urban schools in low-income neighborhoods leaves most audiences astonished.
"Every time I present this work and discuss it with teachers and school leaders, I reminded that the choices we make about how to use time in school are often the enemy of quality or value. Our patterns in leading classrooms are so ingrained that we do not even realize when we are making poor choices. Consider my own experience
I enjoyed this video a good deal. It shows how a student's peers and teacher can support them in doing excellent work.
Full sized poster available at http://www.downes.ca/files/Homeschooling%20for%20Poor%20People.jpg
Such a powerful example of graphic communication...and such an important question. Not just for the US, but globally.
CanvasDropr provides a virtually infinite online canvas on which you and your friends / contacts can easily add, position, resize and rotate photos and video clips at will.CanvasDropr can be used to brainstorm around visual collections, to select and organize images, and to prepare visual portfolios or tours to share with others or to be published online.
From the official site: "The center of the CanvasDropr idea is to work and collaborate on a so-called "Canvas".
The canvas can be shared by an unlimited amount of people, and changes made in the canvas are updated real-time in every user’s canvas.
Users can easily drag and drop new images directly from their desktop onto the canvas."
CanvasDrops allows you to text chat in real-time with other "collaborators" you have invited as well as to set permissions for what "public" users can edit or modify on a "public canvas.
It is possible to place photos and video clips coming from Facebook, YouTube, Flickr and Picasa or to import one simply by providing its URL.
The final canvas can be shared on FB or Twitter, downloaded as an "image" or a .zip file containing all of its images and can also be "embedded" on any site or blog.
The service is free to use.
Check this video: http://vimeo.com/31591478 ;Find out more: http://www.canvasdropr.com/ ;
or you can try it immediately with no need for signup if you alrady have a Twitter or facebook account: http://www.canvasdropr.com/Signup.aspx ;
A nice collaborative tool for images.
By Lyndsey Layton
"...What’s the best way to identify an effective educator?
After a three-year, $45 million research project, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation believes it has some answers.
"The most reliable way to evaluate teachers is to use a three-pronged approach built on student test scores, classroom observations by multiple reviewers and teacher evaluations from students themselves, the foundation found."
Access the full Gates study here: http://www.metproject.org/
By Sandra Wozniak
"Although I think that many teachers write their New Year’s resolutions in July, for many winter break gives the opportunity to take a few deep breaths and dream! I got an email from a friend just as break was starting; she had great hopes for reading some books, writing some curriculum, grading some papers, meeting for lunch, etc. Just 5 short days later she was suffering from a cold and lacking all motivation. She was dreading the end of vacation and pleading for “one more day.” The New Year is a great time for a mind makeover. "
Some excellent ideas for recharging your personal batteries.
By Mark Wilson
"We’ve assembled a gallery of our favorite 50 photos from the Apollo missions. Many you will recognize, but just as many will surely be new. Some are silly, some are inspiring and some are just refreshingly candid of normal people doing extraordinary things. And if you find yourself as stunned as we are, maybe you’ll agree: It’s about damn time we set foot on Mars."
By Kevin Jarrett
"We have seen the future and it is MOBILE, COLLABORATIVE and ALWAYS-ON
This evolution of the NCS elementary computer lab is the result of many forces converging at once. Thanks to a very successful pilot of Google Chromebooks in our 4th grade this year (funded by our generous community and amazing Parent-Teacher Organization), we are now confident that Chromebooks (the hardware) and Google Apps for Education (the software) are not only viable but essential to our instructional mission.
"We will still use Microsoft products, just not exclusively. We live in a blended world, a world where we interact with a variety of technologies every day, more and more of which are web-based. Therefore, we want to provide students with seamless access to the information and resources they need, on whatever device they are using, wherever they happen to be. Groundbreaking technologies available today (like Google Apps and Classlink’s Launchpad product, for example) can make this possible.
"Our district is evaluating highly competitive proposals for enterprise wireless connectivity and we are developing appropriate “bring your own technology” policies that make sense for us. Best of all, NCS teachers and staff are at the epicenter of this effort, dedicating themselves to finding creative ways to leverage these technologies in the classroom to help students learn."
You can rely on Kevin Jarrett to be on the leading edge of K-4, school-based educational technology.
"The 2012 Survey of Online Learning reveals that the number of students taking at least one online course has now surpassed 6.7 million. Higher education adoption of Massive Open Online Courses remains low, with most institutions still on the sidelines.
"The rate of growth in online enrollments remains extremely robust," said study co-author Jeff Seaman, Co-Director of the Babson Survey Research Group. "This is somewhat surprising given that overall higher education enrollments actually declined during this period.""Institutional opinions on MOOCs are mixed, with positive views of their ability to learn about online pedagogy and to attract new students, but concerns about whether they represent a sustainable method for offering courses," stated his co-author I. Elaine Allen.
Key report findings include:
From the website
"This video from TEDxBayfield features Stephen Baker, principal of Virtual High School Ontario. The mission of Virtual High School is to provide students with the opportunity to achieve success according to the students’ own interests, abilities, and goals. By providing a quality online education within the student’s greater educational community, Virtual High School can offer the student more choice. "
By Katrina Schwartz
"Azul Terronez, who teaches at High Tech Middle, a public charter school in San Diego, Calif says that when an educator teaches a unit of study, then assigns a project, that is not project-based learning because the discovery didn’t arise from the project itself. And kids can see through the idea of a so-called “fun project” for what it often is – busy work. “They don’t see it as learning; they see it as something else to do,” said Terronez. “They don’t see the value.”
“If you inspire them to care about it and draw parallels with their world, then they care and remember.”
For Terronez, the goal is to always connect classroom learning to its applications in the outside world. He’s found that when the project is based in the real world, addressing problems that people actually face, and not focused on a grade, students are naturally invested. “If you inspire them to care about it and draw parallels with their world then they care and remember,” he said.
It takes a lot of diligent planning by the teacher to design projects that give students space to explore themes and real-world resonance to make it meaningful for them. And it takes trust in the students, as well.
"When Terronez assigns a writing project, it’s rarely just for a grade. Rather, the goal of the assignment is to be published in an anthology or in some other way relevant to the world around them.
"Here are just a few examples of some the innovative things Terroniez has tried."