Archive | January, 2014

R(e)post of the Week: “We Learn Better in this Way”

31 Jan

This week on Teaching Like it’s 2999, Jennie Magiera shares her 5th grade students’ video submission to The White House Student Film Festival (whose deadline is today). Jaylen, Jean Paul, Grevelle and Latrell did an awesome job turning Lorde’s hit song, “Royals” into a music video about their love of digital learning. Go here to watch the video and learn about their process for creating it, including the use of a shared Google Doc to transform the lyrics. WTG, guys!


Staying in touch even when school is cancelled

31 Jan

With all of the recent bad weather, there has been a great deal of school missed by many students and teachers.  One thing I have found useful in keeping in contact with my students in the past is Remind101(P.S. It’s free!).  I started using it in conjunction with Schoology last year, and took the time early on in each semester to have my students enroll in my Remind101 classes.  What I like about Remind101 is that is allows everyone to keep their mobile phone numbers anonymous. The students didn’t know my phone number, and I didn’t know theirs.  But I was able to reach out and send messages to my students in a platform that most of them are very familiar with, by text. Often it was just reminders to bring something important for class or a test coming up, but I also could see it being a useful tool for times such as inclement weather.  You could even send out a link to a video tutorial, and possibly get a lesson in even though students aren’t in physical attendance at school. Sure, you can’t guarantee that the student is going to actually do the work, but at least the thought has been planted in their mind.

I’m Not Teaching Search!

29 Jan

One of our biggest misconceptions with technology as educators is that our students “get technology”. What I mean is that we do not need to teach them anything about technology…they already know how to double space a document for a paper, how to insert pictures into a presentation, and mail merge in Microsoft Word. OK, that last one is just a joke (though I am sure there are some educators out there that believe this should be taught).

When Marc Prensky termed the phrase “Digital Native” and “Digital Immigrant”, I think we missed his whole point. I think he meant that we as, educators, are afraid to “click buttons” and have to ask fifty times if this is the correct button to click and our students have already “clicked the buttons” fifty times and have already figured it out, through trial and error. That is real the difference between a digital native and a digital immigrant.

Because of this misconception, we do not teach certain things that we should….one of those things is SEARCH. I am sure some of you are about ready to close this post. You are thinking “I am not teaching search”. Hear me out…have you seen your students search on the web, they…

1). Go to Ask Jeeves and ask their search term as a question… “What inventions were created in the classical musical period?”

2). Type in

3). Give up after the first page from their search results and then type in the exact same search phrase again.

Do you see what I mean, they do not “get” it.

According to the American Library Association by in 2020 information on the web will be doubling every 15 minutes. So the question is “Why have we not been teaching it?” It seems that if there is this much information on the web, it should be very important and educators should be even more important to help guide and teach them how to effectively find and curate the web through Google.

Google In Education has created 4 amazing resources to help assist you in teaching your students how to search…

Google Search Education – Lesson Plans, Materials, etc

Power Searching with Google – Online Course

Advanced Power Searching with Google – Online Course

Search Challenges

I have also created a series of short videos to teach teach search to your students…


R(e)post of the Week: At 30, The Original Mac Is Still An Archetype Of Innovation

27 Jan

All Tech Considered has a post about the Macintosh’s birthday, as well as the Morning Edition story that interviews two members of the original Mac team. They offer insights into Jobs’s goal of making a “computer for the people” that placed an emphasis on making a personal computer that was extremely approachable and did not require reading an owner’s manual to get started. This cornerstone of intuitive design of Apple products is the standard to which I judge all things tech when evaluating them for potential use in the classroom.

R(e)post of the Week: Use Tech Challenges to Motivate Teachers with Andrea Keller [ECM #45]

17 Jan

The Cool Cat Teacher Blog advises us to give a listen to the Every Classroom Matters Podcast this week with Andrea Keller. Keller explains how she uses “Technology Challenges” to motivate staff & students to get connected beyond their classrooms. If you’ve never listened to an educational podcast before, check out ECM!

Using Twitter to teach history

17 Jan

Looking for a way to bring history to life for students in today’s technology rich world? A twitter re-enactment might be the answer. Last summer my hometown of Lawrence, Kansas decided to re-enact one of the local historical events, Quantrill’s Raid of 1863, as if it would have happened in real time, via Twitter. A cast of characters/participants was created, and the hashtag #QR1863 was born.
Thinking about all the preparation that went into this, I can imagine it would be an incredible way for participants to learn more about historical events. All of the people tweeting had to understand the basics of the event, but also had to imagine putting themselves in the shoes of their characters. A few of the re-enactors even took on the roles of their ancestors or relatives that were involved in the actual event. Primary sources had to be researched in order to recreate the August raid. A script had to be written, verified, and timed. So much work, and I’d say it was worth it.
Knowing how much today’s students used social media like Twitter and Instagram, using this type of an activity to re-enact historical events might just open their eyes to the history that brought us to where we are today.

Lessons from #hasjustinelandedyet

12 Jan

The evening of December 20th, I was getting ready for bed and checked twitter one last time, but kept seeing the same hashtag: #hasjustinelandedyet. Delving into the hashtag little further, I learned what can happen from just one very short tweet. It was a good lesson for today’s social media users in regard to what you post. After what almost became a witch hunt on Twitter, a woman lost her job, probably even before she realized it because she was unreachable on a flight. She didn’t start a chance with an apology that came later, because the damage was already done.
I also noticed another social media “oops” after the FCS championship game this past Monday evening. The mother of a popular college football player tweeted, and then tried to delete a message, but it had already been seen, shared and saved for all of eternity on the internet.
Before hitting the enter button on that tweet or Facebook status, think about a few things. 1) Is this something I want to be associated with when people search for me on the internet? 2) Do I care that this will be linked to me forever? 3) Is it really that important that I write this for the whole world to see? Because, chances are, they will.