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Saturday, March 31, 2012

Daily Education and Technology News for Schools 03/31/2012



  • My students are working on an awareness and social action campaign with the students from Reading, Ohio (teacher: Brian Page.) They are celebrating May DAy in a new way -- asking everyone to buy jewelry made by those rescued from human slavery and to wear it on that day. May Day: May all slaves be free one day but until then we will speak on their behalf. They have a blog, a Facebook page and more. Would you consider creating awareness next Monday and celebrate with them on May1st? We're looking for some more classrooms to join their voices to our blog at hopeforslaves.com a website we set up this week.

    tags: education news abolition endslavery flatclass digitalcitizenship

Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.

Friday, March 30, 2012

Elearning and global competency #flatclass #globaled 03/31/2012



  • My students are working on an awareness and social action campaign with the students from Reading, Ohio (teacher: Brian Page.) They are celebrating May DAy in a new way -- asking everyone to buy jewelry made by those rescued from human slavery and to wear it on that day. May Day: May all slaves be free one day but until then we will speak on their behalf. They have a blog, a Facebook page and more. Would you consider creating awareness next Monday and celebrate with them on May1st? We're looking for some more classrooms to join their voices to our blog at hopeforslaves.com a website we set up this week.

    tags: education news abolition endslavery flatclass digitalcitizenship

  • A downloadable guide to share with parents.They will need to sign in with Twitter or Facebook to download the guide. It does mention the Digiteen project (one of our Flat Classroom projects) in the manual but truly, all we're doing with Flat Classroom and the growing body of projects being created by our certified teachers are transforming education. There are those that shake their heads wondering why teachers would create so many free or almost free projects while shunning the traditional software programs that have kept schools walled away from the world - it is because we want to interact with the world.

    tags: education flatclass edreform

Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.

Teach This! Teaching with lesson plans and ideas that rock #teaching 03/30/2012



Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.

Edu app news: apps, ebooks, and sites for your classroom #mlearning 03/30/2012



Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.

Learning about Learning: Research and Edreform News and Views 03/30/2012



  • My very smart friend, Jarrod Robinson, from down under, has a PE games app.He is a PE teacher using QR codes and cross disciplinary learning experiences like few I've ever seen.(Plus he's nice and funny too.) If you work with Physical Education, you'll want to check out what he's doing.

    tags: education learning eduapp edapp

  • Very proud of my dear friend Cheryl Oakes from Maine who is on the Official Google blog with her work with those with disabilities. Cheryl is an amazing woman who loves children. My youngest son has met her only once (in San Antonio at ISTE) and still calls her Aunt Cheryl. She has that effect on people. Great post.

    "One teacher who has taken advantage of the web as an educational tool is Cheryl Oakes, a resource room teacher in Wells, Maine. She’s also been able to tailor the vast resources available on the web to each student’s ability. This approach has proven invaluable for Cheryl’s students, in particular 16-year-old Morgan, whose learning disability makes it daunting to sort through search results to find those webpages that she can comfortably read. Cheryl taught Morgan how to use the Search by Reading Level feature on Google Search, which enables Morgan to focus only on those results that are most understandable to her. To address the difficulty Morgan faces with typing, Cheryl introduced her to Voice Search, so Morgan can speak her queries into the computer. Morgan is succeeding in high school, and just registered to take her first college course this summer."

    tags: education news Google learningdisabilities literature bestpractices

Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.

Daily Education and Technology News for Schools 03/30/2012



  • Very proud of my dear friend Cheryl Oakes from Maine who is on the Official Google blog with her work with those with disabilities. Cheryl is an amazing woman who loves children. My youngest son has met her only once (in San Antonio at ISTE) and still calls her Aunt Cheryl. She has that effect on people. Great post.

    "One teacher who has taken advantage of the web as an educational tool is Cheryl Oakes, a resource room teacher in Wells, Maine. She’s also been able to tailor the vast resources available on the web to each student’s ability. This approach has proven invaluable for Cheryl’s students, in particular 16-year-old Morgan, whose learning disability makes it daunting to sort through search results to find those webpages that she can comfortably read. Cheryl taught Morgan how to use the Search by Reading Level feature on Google Search, which enables Morgan to focus only on those results that are most understandable to her. To address the difficulty Morgan faces with typing, Cheryl introduced her to Voice Search, so Morgan can speak her queries into the computer. Morgan is succeeding in high school, and just registered to take her first college course this summer."

    tags: education news Google learningdisabilities literature bestpractices

  • Here's the earth hour Facebook fan page. Saturday, March 31 at 8:30 pm (your time.) 685K have already liked this page - I bet it is over a million by the end of the day. We as educators should be part of this movement to turn off lights on Saturday at 8:30 pm. This is a teachable moment about the environment. 

    tags: education news teaching

  • The students are talking about this - are you? On March 31 - earth hour day is the "largest environmental event in history." Can you switch off for an hour? Can your students? This is a great thing to do with your students but also to have as a writing prompt. Did you participate? Why or why not? What did you do with your hour? Here are lessonplans to share and use to discuss this. It is Saturday.

    But Earth Hour Day (31 March), the largest environmental event in history, reminds us that switching off can be a good thing. Make a stand in 2012 and teach students about climate issues – prepare them to take responsibility for change in the future with this hand-picked selection of lesson plans and activities.

    The official Earth Hour Day website http://www.earthhour.org/

    tags: earthday lessonplans activities news education environment

Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Elearning and global competency #flatclass #globaled 03/30/2012



Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.

Teach This! Teaching with lesson plans and ideas that rock #teaching 03/29/2012



  • This infographic shares about the dissatisfaction level of teachers. While it points at specific areas such as increasing class size and out of date educational technology as issues, it misses some of the big issues I hear: paperwork ad nauseum, administrators that think that students have to be catered to instead of held accountable (many teachers aren't being backed up by admin even when very disrespectful behavior happens) as well as stress from a pretty unsupportive general public. The teachers I know are resilient, amazing people, and they will thrive and move ahead. We will keep our eye on students.

    tags: education edreform teaching attitude

  • Here's a game about recycling for children. Every time it is played, the company sponsoring it will plant trees.

    tags: education earth hour lessonplans teaching environment

  • Emotional well being is a tough one this time of year. With testing upon us in the US, many students are stressed out. Here are some lesson plans and an index of issues that will give you resources whether the problem is food, money, sex, drugs, or cyberbullying. 

    tags: education teaching lessonplans

  • Here's the earth hour Facebook fan page. Saturday, March 31 at 8:30 pm (your time.) 685K have already liked this page - I bet it is over a million by the end of the day. We as educators should be part of this movement to turn off lights on Saturday at 8:30 pm. This is a teachable moment about the environment. 

    tags: education news teaching

  • Here is the earth hour website.Many world monuments like the eiffel tower will be turning off their power too! This is Saturday. Go look at this website, sign up to be involved. Share what you're doing.

    tags: education earthhour lessonplans teaching flatclass

  • Google plus is moving to the classroom. Here is how one teacher is having his students hangout and also using google plus to hand out papers in his classroom. Worth a view.

    tags: education teaching lessonplans

Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.

Daily Education and Technology News for Schools 03/29/2012



  • If you want to quickly add some great feeds to your google reader, here's a bundle of lovely edublogs (over 800 of them) you can pull into a folder. You could remove those that don't interest you after reading. You can use these to get started in Google reader.

    tags: education news google rss pln

  • Google is really starting to get RSS so say experts. It is shown in the methods that Google is using to embed ads into RSS. I think the biggest thing is that I'd like to do this to at least differentiate my clean blog with all of those who scrape and take my blog content without credit. Great article on how Google is (finally) using RSS.
    "Google has filed for a patent with the US Patent and Trade Office (USPTO) for embedding advertisements into syndicated RSS and Atom feeds.

    tags: education RSS news socialmedia

  • There is a bug in twitter that some have uncovered. Sometimes people who are unfollowing you didn't unfollow you. Here Jeremiah Owyang explains what is happening. I know of a few unfollows that were upsetting to me and then later they swore they didn't. Of course, it could be true or not, but one of them was a family member who I know didn't unfollow me. Just be aware that thing is not all as it seems in Twitterville.

    tags: education news socialmedia

  • This article in the Washington Post, I've seen several mentions by teachers. The slow reading movement is one that advocates really getting into a book and also becoming intimate with the "author" even to the point of memorization. It is about relaxing and getting into a book instead of rushing through a lot of them.

    "I have therefore joined the slow reading movement. Like the slow food movement, it is about more than just slowing down, though that is part of it. It is about an intimacy with authors; it is about paying attention, about caring, about rereading and savoring what we read. It is about finding the right pace. About pleasure more than efficiency.

    Slow reading is also about recovering old practices that have traditionally aided readers in paying attention — oral performance, annotation, exploring complex and difficult passages. It is about reading that generates ideas for writing, what Ralph Waldo Emerson called “creative reading.” And even memorization."

    tags: education news engchat literature

Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Elearning and global competency #flatclass #globaled 03/29/2012



  • I don't see the information on this study that says foreign language improves global competence but I think perhaps it is the interaction with the native speaker from another country that causes the improvement in global competence. It is time to start studying global collaborative projects and their impact on global competence. Another point is that this article says that "it has been proven that proficiency in speaking a second language increases overall academic achievement."

    Unfortunately this author has no citations or links to follow and learn about. Perhaps it is citing the original NEA article. I just think this author can do better although I'm intrigued by what it says.

    "According to a study by the National Education Association (NEA) in 2010, global competence stems from proficiency in a foreign language."

    tags: education flatclass globaled

Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.

Teach This! Teaching with lesson plans and ideas that rock #teaching 03/28/2012



Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.

Why Schools shouldn't use Google forms for anything private (Lesson learned)



Last week was a mess largely because the form we set up for teachers to share their information with us for the Eracism project was pulled down by Google with no warning. All of the data we collected to set up the voicethreads you now see at http://eracism.flatclassroomproject.org was lost with no hope of return. I contacted Google (is there such a thing) and found that the only way to get my file back was to publicly post on a  a thread on the Google product forum. Talk about a security lapse! They are concerned I'm collecting private data and I have to publicly post the link to my spreadsheet to get it reviewed?

Here are some facts:

Google Terms of Service says you can't use forms to collect personal information

According to Google terms of service, you're not to be collecting personal information using Google forms. This includes a userid, password, AND emails. This is odd because we've been using Google forms in this way for as long as I can remember but that is what they say.

A bot looks for words like "userid" "password" and "email"

A bot looks for these words and can suspend your form. You get no warning. You get no way to get the data back.

Google Terms of Service Could Ruin Your Wedding

It set us back a whole week on Eracism but didn't kill the project (fortunately) but the women using Google forms for Wedding RSVP's shown in the note below are heartbreaking. With all the people using Google forms for wedding RSVP's that I've seen, I know it is in terms of service
Forum post on Google suspending documents


Google Terms of Service Could Shut down your class

Another teacher has his work blocked for some strange reason and has lost his coursework.



No resolution in sight
I followed the systems in place to get back the data. Meanwhile, although we've used Google forms quite a bit to collect data for our projects (for 5 years since Flat Classroom started) it looks like that we may have to look elsewhere. There is no method to communicate with Google employees and request review of a document.


In Summary: Don't use Google forms for anything somewhat private
This is a problem and although no one is talking about it, we need to start. Every day we ask for parent permission. We ask for addresses, we ask for phone numbers, and we ask for emails. If Google will randomly scan our work and also will not define for us what constitutes "private information" then Google forms is NOT a suitable alternative for collecting information for schools.

But then again, what is private? Just about everything we collect. Hoping to get some commenters to shed light on this in the comments below. Perhaps there is something I'm missing. Thanks.

I can't in good faith recommend it and am moving to surveyshare and looking at Zoho forms' terms of service to see if they are better options for what we're doing.

The needs of schools are unique and right now, Google is ignoring this one.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Elearning and global competency #flatclass #globaled 03/28/2012



Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.

Teach This! Teaching with lesson plans and ideas that rock #teaching 03/27/2012



Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.

Edu app news: apps, ebooks, and sites for your classroom #mlearning 03/27/2012



Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.

Do you know why you want to be a teacher?






This week, as I teach my ninth grade computer fundamentals class about how to create a social media campaign, we are working to promote the sale of bracelets in the movement to end modern day slavery. 

Three years ago, my students participated in the Many Voices for Darfur project with other students around the world. I want my students to be social media mavens, hinges that can influence society by understanding the power of social media. But building awareness isn’t enough. I want them to know that they can act. 

I want to be a living lesson plan helping them learn about life itself.


Who I want to be

Like an explorer setting forth on a journey to an unknown country, I want to be the one in the crow’s nest spotting the land of their future profession or passionI believe that every student has something that student does best.  

I want to be the one who helps the child who doesn’t test well see the beauty in the art she draws. I want to be the one who helps a young man with dyslexia learn how to download a book on his cell phone. I want to be the one who hugs a child when she gets accepted to college. I want to be the one who can hold it together even on a hectic day to show children that an adult can hold her temper, even when stressed. 

I want to help students from around the world travel electronically to a place of greater understanding that will benefit our world. I want to be a reason a child wants to come to school and engage. I want to connect kids to their future.

Let that be me.

Let that be you.

Who teachers must be

If you’re one of those fine, hard working, intelligent, empathetic people... or even if you’re not but want to be that kind of person.Welcome. Welcome to a profession of great professionals. 

We are noble because we behave nobly. We expect a lot from each other and yes, we’re heartbroken when those among us break faith with the children in their care. However, we will never use that as an excuse to be anything less than excellent.

To be or not to be... that is not a question for me. 

I want to be... a teacher with my lips, my hands, my feet, and my life itself. (I want to teach with this blog too!)

I’m not perfect but I love my students. I don’t know everything but I have an attitude of lifelong learning. I don’t know everyone but I do know a lot of smart people who help me when I’m having a problem (and I want to help them.)

While any job can be used to serve mankind, perhaps no profession is more important to the future of this planet than that of teaching. It is a job rich in meaning and opportunity to make a difference.


Why do you teach and struggle through a job that isn’t always easy? Why do you keep going? Why do you do it? Some may call us sappy but I call us in love with what we know our profession to be: noble. It is only as noble as we behave. It is time to remember our noble calling, teachers.


Photo credits: Bigstock

Monday, March 26, 2012

Elearning and global competency #flatclass #globaled 03/27/2012



Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.

Starwalk: See the Sky in a whole new way



Orion on Starwalk
Wesley Fryer's Starwalk Picture
The stars were beautiful in Medicine Hat, Canada this past week. Stunning. But they were also educational. As Steve Dembo (@teach42) and James Hollis (@jameshollis) pointed their ipads and iphones at the sky, Starwalk was adding an overlay on the world that was remarkable.

This is the kind of homework we should be giving. This incredible iphone app or ipad app, when pointed at the sky, determines the stars, planets, etc. that you're looking at and labels them for you.

As I searched on Google, I saw that my friend Wesley Fryer (@wfryer) had snapped a picture just 17 hours a go of the sky and Al Gonzalez (@educatoralreviewed this app back in 2010 at the trustworthy review site, Iear.org)

Everyone who looked at this app during the three days we were in Medicine Hat would suddenly forget the cold, gaze at the sky and their jaw would drop open.

This is a great example of augmented reality (see a Simple Lesson in Augmented Reality.) Reality is being enhanced with apps and online tools and it is quite incredible that such an app can recognize stars and overlay meaning on top.

Using the website "alternative to" I see only one good suggestion for Android, Google Sky Map, although I haven't tested that one.

Teach This! Teaching with lesson plans and ideas that rock #teaching 03/26/2012



Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.

Daily Education and Technology News for Schools 03/26/2012



Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Teach This! Teaching with lesson plans and ideas that rock #teaching 03/20/2012



Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.

Monday, March 19, 2012

Elearning and global competency #flatclass #globaled 03/20/2012



  • I love this great point from Kyle Dunbar that is very true. Harnessing peer pressure for positive - this is a perfect example. I want to use this example in my upcoming book.

    "Dude, Can You Please Edit?


    This was shouted across the room at him in a none-too-patient voice from a friend across the room. It was clear that when Student X went to give reluctant writer Student Y some feedback in his wiki, the piece was filled with too many errors. It was after this across-the-room exchange that reluctant writer Student Y quietly asked Teacher Wiki where the spell check function was in the wiki tool. Quietly, surreptitiously, reluctant writer Student Y went back and began to revise and edit his piece. That quick exchange with his peer made more of an impression on him than repeated attempts by his teacher. And I question whether or not the scenario would have unfolded the same way if the students had just exchanged papers. Instead, this is a perfect example of what can happen when students are encouraged to write from the beginning in a digital format.  Editing and revising is so much easier in the digital format but, more importantly, when adolescents get feedback from their peers, they are much more interested in revising than when they get the same feedback from their teacher."

    tags: education writing flatclass collaboration collaborativewriting case_studies

  • Teachers who are collaborating are joining this group to share their resources. 

    tags: education flatclass

  • As mentioned in the book, research relating to global collaboration is being tagged flatclassroom_research -- if you want to go back and categorize your bookmarks to help share and you use diigo - open your library on their website, go on the right side and look at advanced view. You can then select all the boxes or filter for certain tags and then modify tags and add tags to them. 

    tags: education flatclass globaled

Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.

Teach This! Teaching with lesson plans and ideas that rock #teaching 03/19/2012



Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.

Edu app news: apps, ebooks, and sites for your classroom #mlearning 03/19/2012



Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.

Daily Education and Technology News for Schools 03/19/2012



  • Another popular certification program for teachers.

    tags: education news apple

  • A well-written article on purported "journalist" Mike Daisey who has since been disgraced when it was determined he took dramatic license to the extreme in his "reports" about Apple in China. He should have disclosed that he was dramatizing or that his monologue was inspired by true events but not that it was fact. It is interesting that I had this very same discussion with someone who writes for a major autistic organization about his refusal to disclose that he's using "gonzo journalism" in his pieces. I think that people should disclose - it is part of what an ethical writer does. 

    tags: education news journalism reporting ethics apple

  • In a world where you can find anyone who says anything do you know how to sort out the truth?

    How reliable is the source of the claim?
    Does the source make similar claims?
    Have the claims been verified by somebody else?
    Does this fit with the way the world works?
    Has anyone tried to disprove the claim?
    Where does the preponderance of evidence point?
    Is the claimant playing by the rules of science?
    Is the claimant providing positive evidence?
    Does the new theory account for as many phenomena as the old theory?
    Are personal beliefs driving the claim?

    tags: education news science

  • In 3 weeks I'll be heading to the Berkman center for an Open Education Grantee meeting as a person who provides feedback to the grantees. I'm very excited to meet many of the people who have been invited but also to learn and soak in (and share) everything. With the people who will gather, certainly, there will be an impact on the open education movement.

    tags: education news opencontent opencourseware

Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Elearning and global competency #flatclass #globaled 03/19/2012



Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.

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