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Saturday, January 29, 2011

Daily Education & Technology News for Schools 01/29/2011

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

Friday, January 28, 2011

Daily Education & Technology News for Schools 01/28/2011

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

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Hey - I'm not messing up - I'm learning!

Taken by Vicki Davis.
Vulcanized rubber, Post-it notes, and penicillin were all created by mistake. What if the inventors had thrown out that petri dish or crumpled up that piece of paper and thrown it away?

When you make a mistake learn from it.

I love the story from Andrew Carnegie in Dale Carnegie's book "How to Win Friends and Influence People." Andrew had a head of one of his divisions who had just made a mistake that cost the company a lot of money. Andrew went to the man's office and the man was packing. Andrew said something like this:

"Why are you packing?"

Disheartened executive: I made a mistake that cost this company a lot of money, I should be fired.

Andrew: "I just spent $100K training you, why should I fire you!!"

Andrew Carnegie understood that mistakes are the training ground for greatness. What do you think of the loyalty and performance of that man for the rest of the time he worked for Andrew!

It is a mistake not to tolerate mistakes, Just don't tolerate NOT LEARNING from mistakes.
The running joke in my house is when one of us makes a mistake (the last one who dropped a gallon of milk on the floor by picking it up by the cap), Kip says:

"Now, what have we learned?"

This is one mistake we have nowadays - we don't tolerate mistakes in anyone else but feel like we should have all the excuses in the world. Often in hiring/ firing we're guilty of two things - we let those derelicts who should be fired hang on and sap the lifeblood and productivity out of our organization and we fire the trailblazer for the one mistake not realizing that person is a 'go getter' and one who really gets things done.

Your Arena
By Stuck in Customs, Flickr

Theodore Roosevelt said this:

“It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood, who strives valiantly; who errs and comes short again and again; because there is not effort without error and shortcomings; but who does actually strive to do the deed; who knows the great enthusiasm, the great devotion, who spends himself in a worthy cause, who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement and who at the worst, if he fails, at least he fails while daring greatly. So that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who know neither victory nor defeat.”

You are a teacher. You are in the arena. Right here right now.

You are daring greatly many days and I mean that. Some of you right now have gang violence as a threat hanging over your head. Or you have those awful fights and worry for your own safety if it happens in your room. Tension is everywhere...

in your arena.

The Greatest Nobility of our Time is Teachers who behave Nobly
You are spending yourself in a worthy cause because you are an educator. The greatest nobility of our time. Nobility is not determined by the gold castle nor the piles of money in the antechamber, but in the fact that underneath your garments you wear the mantle of kings and queens and yet, you choose the path of an unappreciated profession.

You are noble and admirable but you must act like it!

Don't Give It Away
When you whine... when you curse... when you mope around like the world is coming to an end... you give away a piece of your nobility. You are noble... act like it.

Rise up and be a generation of teachers remembered not for their fancy tools and definitely not for their fancy cars but for their heart.

The teachers who say,
"I"m going to teach you if it is the last thing I do... and it might just be."

Teachers who overcome excuses and make things happen for their students through the sweat of their brow! Teachers who give the kids all the credit and on this side of heaven no one will ever know what you've truly done.

Be noble. 
Photo of "History Teacher" by One Lucky Guy on Flickr
There are thousands and hundreds of thousands of you out there, my friends. I could care less what the news media says or the political brew-ha-ha of today. You can and will work in this environment. One day, people will look back and admire the teachers of this age for enduring our transition from industrial age to information age -- IF and only IF you behave admirably amidst it.

Be admirable. Be noble.

And if I sound preachy it is because I am preachy doggone it. I may be down here in south Georgia but I'm sick and tired of everyone telling us what we can't do.

We CAN do Something
We CAN change and improve our classrooms one period at a time, one day at a time, one week at a time, one month at a time. We can't do everything but we can do something.

Remember your noble calling, teacher. Behave admirably in the arena!

Learn from mistakes and move ahead until society learns from the dire mistakes it is making that are negatively impacting education. Be tough. Be good but above all be NOBLE.


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Tuesday, January 25, 2011

iPad apps for Teachers

News and Current Events is a Top Use of the iPad
AttributionNoncommercialShare Alike Some rights reserved by Tojosan
A new study about reading habits on the ipad which surveyed more than 1,600 people was released by the Donald W. Reynolds Journalism Institute (RJI) at the University of Missouri. who found that "keeping up with news and current events is the most popular use of the Apple iPad." (press release sent to me via email.

Their findings:
"Of the more than 1,600 survey participants:
  • Three-quarters of respondents spent at least 30 minutes a day consuming news on their iPad, nearly half said they spend an hour or more.
  • iPad users are predominantly well-educated, affluent men between the ages of 35 and 64 who tend to be early adopters.
  • A positive iPad reading experience is influenced by age and traditional media habits.
  • Overall satisfaction and time spent with the iPad is very high."
What are the Essential Apps for Teachers on the iPad?
Craig Nansen
My "go to guy" for iPads in schools in terms of deployment is Craig Nansen from North Dakota. (There are lots of other experts as well Scott Meech, and Kevin Hunnicutt to name a few.)

Recently, a colleague of mine who teaches literature received an ipad for Christmas and I reached out to Craig to ask what she should get. I got such a great answer that I asked Craig if he'd blog it but lately he hasn't had time to update his blog. So, I got permission to share his advice here so many of you who have just received iPads for Christmas can benefit.  Alas, I do not yet have an iPad (it was that or a TV for my family -- the family got the TV ;-) but I do have a new iTouch which also rocks.

Feel free to add your thoughts in the comments:

Craig Nansen's response to "What should a literature teacher have on her ipad?"
iBooks, Kindle, Nook, Google eBooks for sure. I get everything I possibly can through iBooks, but often get a better deal or find books that Apple doesn't have through Barnes and Noble and Amazon. Google eBooks has the best selection of free ePub books, most of them being the classics that are out of copyright and can be found on Guttenburg (Project Gutenberg) and other sites.

I confirmed with Barnes and Noble that we can LEGALLY purchase one book under an account and install it on up to six different iOS devices. We set up six different accounts with Barnes & Noble to purchase books for an professional development project we have going on next week with Bernajean Porter. (It will be featured in a Spotlight Presentation at ISTE!)

Hopefully she has access to a Macintosh running the most recent version of Pages. Last July I was at the Apple Distinguished Educators Summer Institute and took a 1/2 day session on how to make our own ePub books and get them onto the iPad into iBooks. With Pages, I can show them how to do this in five minutes!

Evernote, GoodReader, Instapaper, Google (with a Google Docs account) and Reeder are Apps that I suggest to anyone who wants to use the iPad to consume information. Any information that  is in text format (e-mail, web site, Twitter, Blogs, etc.) that I want to keep I simply copy and paste into Evernote - and have immediate access to in on my iPad. Any other documents I want on my iPad (or my home computer) I put into DropBox and access it on the iPad from GoodReader. 
I have a ScanSnap scanner by my computer (scans both sides of a sheet in one pass) that I scan articles that I want to read and again put them into Dropbox and read them with GoodReader. When I run across an new article or blog that I want to read on my iPad, I use Instapaper to mark it "Read Later" in my browser and read it with Instapaper on the iPad - without the ads. Reeder is the best RSS reader I have found on the iPad, and it reads the feeds that I have set up on my Google Reader.

Does she know about Readability? How about Google Lit Trips?

Here are some of my resource links on Diigo

Director of Technology
Minot Public Schools
Minot, ND 58701
Apple Distinguished Educator
Google Certified Teacher
Star Discovery Educator"
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Monday, January 24, 2011

Funday Monday: Murphy's Laws for Teachers

A funny page of "Murphy's Laws for Teachers" will start your Monday off with a cackle.

Here are some of my favorites:

"Students who are doing better are credited with working harder. If children start to do poorly, the teacher will be blamed.

 When the instructor is late, he will meet the principal in the hall.If the instructor is late and does not meet the principal, the instructor is late to the faculty meeting.
Law of the Compounding of Murphy's Law:
All that has been accomplished by the insertion of the computer into the classroom is the combining of two areas covered under Murphy's Law.

It is a funny page and one I hope you'll enjoy.

Math Apps on Mobile Phones Free to Students in Denmark for 2011

I had a fascinating discussion with Stephan Stephensen, CEO of Mingoville, in South Africa this past October. Mobile learning is such an important growth area. We all wish we had laptops in the hands of our students, but the fact is that more of them have and will have mobile phones than laptops.

This generation is engaged with their mobile devices and so I was so excited to talk to Stephan about what they are doing and the agreements his company is signing with some countries and organizations to deploy mobile learning apps to children with their countries.

Mingoville is the "largest free online English lesson website for kids" but now they've developed mobile apps for math. I asked Stephan if he'd let me carry their press release in English for the US because he has partnered with the government of Denmark and several mobile companies to make their math apps free for all of 2011 for the students of Denmark. I want you to hear from his mouth what this means and what this is.

He and I talked for about an hour and the conference with most of that time him not having any idea that I was a blogger. I was impressed with his genuine energy and excitement.  Now, I have lots of friends in other companies and I rarely post press releases -- but I am fascinated with the innovative nature of this endeavor and look forward to seeing if there is an improvement in Math scores in Denmark in 2011.

Most of you know that I've advocated for the effective, well planned use of mobile phones in schools. It CAN Be done. Just because many aren't doing it yet doesn't mean it cannot be done!

"In our hyper-connected, multi-tasking, digital everyday, many of us adults consider the mobile our indispensable umbilical cord to a wwworld in constant flux - and a distraction those times it rings while we’re, after all, busy doing other things.

In Denmark it’s a learning device. For students, in schools, at home and everywhere else. And that’s no fairy tale.

While some countries have a ban on using mobile phones during school hours – as students have been prone to extracurricular excursions such as games, calls, netsurfing, facebooking, twittering and texting – Denmark adopted a “if you can’t beat them, join them” philosophy, and started researching how to put the device to better use in a learning context.

A number of Danish mobile learning games have been developed to that end – so far with subjects ranging from English to math. And the projects are looking to get a flying start, currently one third of all Danish students in primary and secondary school, have online access to a math or English learning programs for PC’s. These students will now also have immediate access to a mobile math app library of more than 100 small apps, teaching them everything from simple addition to the Pythagorean Theorem. These mobile games have been met with a massive positive response from both teachers and students. Teachers have found it easier to maintain student focus on assignments –

It is no longer teacher-driven, really fun to see how they students show each other what to do, I was at one time quite obsolete.  Says Mads Remvig, teacher from Danish School

Students have found it easier to comprehend difficult topics in math, with short animated videos to explain them how and what to do. First test seem to indicate that the ubiquity of the phones and the fact that they are both youth culture hotspots and communications hubs, makes students prefer this device over PCs in a learning context. Assignments can be accessed anywhere and anytime, and students can solve them in their own time – while being engaged, apparently.

CEO Stephan Stephensen from Danish e-learning company Mingoville – which incidentally is also the name of the world’s largest online English learning platform, now going mobile – says: “I want to show that it is not just about learning styles, but learning “rooms”. Future teachers will take advantage of several different learning platforms at the same time and in the same room. If learning is an experience – why not use the most influential and effective tool in this respect, since the students already know it and have it? As a bonus, students acquire 21st century skills like dealing with complex problems and finding information fast, while using their mobiles in a learning context”.

As any concerned parent would object by now, what about the squalid matter of mobile payment plans and cost of data use – potentially racking up charges for the students? To preempt any such concerns and constraints, Mingoville partnered up with the major mobile operators (covering close to 90% of the Danish market) to allow free use in 2011, of the mobile data net in connection with students using the www.Skolemat.dk’s mobile math learning apps.

Additionally, the clever Danes have of course considered the digital divide – not only between the mobile haves and the have-nots, but also between those with fancy smartphones and those with clunky clamshells. Consequently, all the learning games have firstly been designed to run on the majority of popular mobiles and platforms, backwards compatible to devices dating back up to 4-5 years.

The Danish government has made it a priority that Denmark gets in the top five best educated nations in the world, and also become a frontrunner in the use of ICT on every level of society. Using the mobile as a learning device helps achieve both goals, in a cost-effective way.

The mobile has several clear platform advantages over traditional PCs and consoles. By its very nature, it’s already a networked computer and an efficient data transmitter. Mobiles can be integrated into the natural flow of instruction more easily than their big-screen counterparts, and can create compelling educational and engaging learning environments for students. Mobiles wide level of installed base, plus low production costs of programs compared to other platforms, makes them attractive to develop on. It’s truly portable, always connected and everywhere. Both size and processing powers makes it ideal for any instructional media, and it’s not hard to envision how this technology can be harnessed on a broader scale to transform learning.

The Danish mobile e-learning experience does not substitute teachers or textbooks – it just makes learning more effective. Once integrated into the natural flow of instruction, mobiles can create compelling and engaging educational environments for learners all over the world. The notion that programs could be tailored to challenge each student according to abilities and styles, and adapt to fast as well as slow learners, opens up a world of possibilities for digital learning on the mobile.

More than 5 billion people have access to mobiles, and 90 % of the globe has mobile coverage. Mobile learning games is an idea whose time has come, and the tech is ripe. Entertainment and serious games are not opposites – but making them work right together is no fairytale but hard work. The Danes have decided to take the challenge to the next step and make it happen, big time. Mingoville is just the beginning."

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Daily Education & Technology News for Schools 01/24/2011

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

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Yes, there are great conversations on Facebook!

So, I have to go home to join in, but yes, there are great conversations between educators cropping up all over Facebook. One of my favorites is the #edchat Facebook page.


Lots and lots of conversation and great resources over there that are worth sharing and almost 2000 fans! Hey, let's make it a few more!
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Daily Education & Technology News for Schools 01/22/2011

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

Friday, January 21, 2011

What the World Needs Now

Just got this email from Julie Lindsay with a list of schools coming to the Flat Classroom Conference in Beijing the end of February. This is very exciting!

  • Changchun American International School
  • Guangzhou Nanhu International School
  • RDFZ Xishan School
  • International Academy of Beijing
  • Hua Shi Yi Fu Zhong High School
  • Tsinghua High International School
  • Yokohama International School, Japan
  • International School Beijing
  • Gyeonggi Suwon International School, Korea
  • Western Academy Beijing
  • Beijing City International School
  • Beijing Normal University
  • University of Nothern Iowa, USA
  • Livingston American School, China
  • Al-Azhar Islamic Senior High School, Indonesia
  • Dalian Maple Leaf Foreign Nationals School
  • American International School of Guangzhou
  • Dulwich College Beijing
  • Kaohsiung American School, Taiwan
  • Shanghai American School
  • British School of Beijing -Shunyi Campus
  • International School of Tianjin
  • International School Yangon, Myanmar
  • Cebu International School, Philippines
  • Nanjing International School
  • British School of Beijing
  • The Illawarra Grammar School, Woolongong, Australia
  • Nishimachi International School, Japan
  • Stonehill International School, Bangalore, India
  • International School Bangkok, Thailand
  • Shekou International School
  • Yew Chung Intern. Beijing
  • Harrow International School Beijing
  • St Andrew's Cathedral School, Sydney, Australia
  • Westwood Schools, Georgia, USA
  • Minerva Special Needs School, Australia
  • Kristin School, Auckland, NZ
  • Vientiane International School, Laos
  • Teda International School
  • St. Michael's International School, Japan
  • Osama Bin Zaid School, Oman
  • Senri Osaka International School, Japan 
 There are many schools that understand that what their students need now is not only a world class education where the students know math, literature, writing, reading but also that students need to know this whole new subset of communication skills: technopersonal skills. More than that, they need to know how to relate and work with one another and that we need to have our students working together and co-creating with one another on an ongoing basis.

Our students need so much but they also need each other. They have an uncanny desire to relate. Let's social-network their learning in powerful ways.

I believe that those coming understand that the world is changing and they want to be part of it. In fact, so many of the schools coming are coming because of Twitter, Blogging, and Social networking. Pretty much all of the speakers involved came in to the program through our network.

Project based conferencing as we do it with very very short speeches (when they are given - we call them Flat Learning Action Talks or FLATs) and several projects that run through the conference is still a somewhat "experimental" method of conferencing in the eyes of many. But for those who have seen it in action it is tremendously powerful and transformational.

Wish you call could come - meanwhile, feel free to join the Conference Network and participate virtually. We'll send out instructions through the Ning.

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Daily Education & Technology News for Schools 01/21/2011

  • Some requests for proposals asked for for this:
    "I’m writing to let you know that the Next Generation Learning Challenges is releasing its second wave of a series of RFPs to solicit proposals for technology applications that can improve college readiness for 7th through 9th grade students. Specifically, this second wave will focus on next generation approaches to learning aligned with the Common Core State Standards, as well as next generation assessments."

    Just wanted you to know.

    tags: education grant

  • Everyone has been asking me how to publish your blog on the Kindle. I would write a blog post but really, the instructions on this page make it simple. Schools should also be publishing news blogs for a subscription - it would be a great model!

    tags: education learning blogging publishing ebook

  • You can now save your livescribe notes to Evernote. It captures the audio and the text for taking your notes.

    tags: education learning productivity

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

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Make your Classroom a Welcoming Place!

This 2007 video by students Kyle Barrett: University of Illinois and Bobby Barrett: Cary Grove High School) for students now has over 100K hits.

I'm not sure how they got permission to use the music but it is very compelling and something you can share if you're working with a bullying prevention program.

I think the toughest thing for me is that I've seen teachers who are bullies. It makes me angry. We must all know that any power we may have can be used for good or be used for bad. Often, the teachers we remember are the "bad ones" and the bad ones almost always wielded their power to intimidate, humiliate, and embarrass. Often teachers don't know it.

We must always be careful to:
  • Watch. Watch the body language of our students. If several respond with a remark like "ooh" or "you told him" you often have embarrassed a child. Talk to them later and privately and apologize.
  • Apologize. Good teachers apologize because all teachers make mistakes. It takes a good one to model how good, decent human beings live our lives when we mess up. We apologize.
  • Defend. Kids relax when you tell them that you are very sensitive to eye rolling and body language. I tell them up front that I was bullied for a period in my life and that such behavior often sets me off. I tell them that I may falsely accuse someone of bullying and they may not be but to know that if I see it I will respond in that way and deal with it. It is amazing how I can see many kids relax as I say this. I can see them thinking, "I'm safe."
  • Mute yourself. NEVER I mean NEVER EVER say anyone's grade in class. I was made fun of when I made a perfect grade. I was made fun of when I didn't. Once a teacher called out everyone who made a 100 and I wasn't on the list. One boy stood up in class and said, "it is now the best day of my life because I made a 100 and Vicki didn't - I can die a happy man." Humiliation takes all forms. Don't be part. Keep quite about grades. I speak from experience and it makes me angry. I know some teachers who post the top averages with names. I'm sorry but that offends me. Classrooms should be safe.
  • Love. Yes, I said love! Good teachers love their students. This is not sexual or any kind of inappropriate love. But tender love for those who need it most. They need it.
  • Eye contact. Look them in the eye and call them by name. Everyday. A child's name is musical salve to a soul that wonders if they matter. They do and it starts with you.
  • Change starts here. You can't change everything but you can change something -- more specifically some ONE - that someone is YOU!! You can change! Little changes make a big difference when they are the right change.  
Challenge: Write down one thing that you can do to your classroom a more welcoming place. Do it this week. 

Please share.

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Daily Education & Technology News for Schools 01/20/2011

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

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Keep a Straight Face: They Might Not Mean to Ask a Dumb Question

question markImage via WikipediaThis funny set of "operating system" jokes is a great one to pass along to your IT department including:

"Customer: "Do you sell Mac OS X for Windows?""


"At least three people from our company have come to me panicked, almost crying. They all say, "I think I just erased a program!! Help!!" In reality, it turns out they just minimized the window. When I open it again, they gasp, "What did you DO?!?!?""

 Why do I bring up the "dumb question?"

Well, really my journey that has culminated in this blog and many other blessings really started with a  dumb question.

"What is a blicki and how do I use it in my classroom?"

I asked David Warlick at GAETC in November 2005. With kindness he corrected my portmanteau of "blog" and "wiki" but then said something I've kept with me:

"It depends on what you want to do."

It always starts with what you want to do.

And in this case, my dear, intelligent IT friends we want to take technology into positive uses throughout the entire school. We want to improve education.

Behind every "dumb" question is a pretty smart teacher who probably doesn't know they've asked a dumb question. 

They have guts for asking it so respect that.

How will their future self see you?
Their future educated self will always look back upon their uneducated self and the question with a lopsided smile and their opinion of you, oh great conveyor of IT knowledge, will largely be determined by the respect you show them as a person when (not IF) ... when they ask that question.

Asking questions is a good thing. It can open the gate for many more good questions or it can forever shut the gate on questions and the transformation that can happen when one really starts asking good questions.

Respect the person even if they are emitting a question worthy of inclusion on a joke page. Build bridges with your facial expressions.

Technology Change is People-Centric
This is hard because so many of us IT people are SOOOOOOO direct and so incredibly easy to read. But in this case, technology change is people-centric. Treat the people with respect and they will treat your technology with respect.

Teachers remember your noble calling. IT department remember you are teachers as well - teachers of teachers and your calling is thus, noble as well!

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Daily Education & Technology News for Schools 01/19/2011

  • It is very exciting to see a teacher who is planning to go and learn all about technology but also one who is going to so richly share the learning experience with her students! This is such a powerful example of "taking people with you" for vicarious learning. We'll also have a China immersion project going on back at the school and it is going to be exciting - just like it was for India.

    tags: education learning

  • Another project management online program from gtd agenda - they have also come out with youchecks and you tasks.

    tags: education productivity

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

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

I Teach Poorly Sometimes to Get Them Ready for College

Day 83Image by Marquette La via FlickrSometimes I have to take my students into the textbook because that is what they will get in college.

Sometimes they have to do those awful, outdated labs on their book on CD because that is also what they will get in college.

Sometimes I have to have them do those awful, hard to read lessons that tell you to click here and point here because I don't want them to be so thrown off by that obtuse language... because that is what they get in college.

I know because I've researched it and my students are coming back and telling me that although what I teach them is great in the "out there - "Mrs. Vicki" lessons" that it is also great that I "prepared them for college." (Which usually means solo using only a book technology lessons.)

Uhm. Someone in college needs to prepare kids for the real world.

The Frustrated Few
And you good professors are out there - Curt Bonk, Leigh Zeitz, Eric Brunsell and many of you who read this blog ARE doing this. But you are frustrated. Frustrated because your courses are no longer required for teachers. Frustrated because you meet so much opposition. Frustrated because you are the mavericks and not appreciated for how hard you have to teach because you use projects and don't have these obligatory 900 page tomes of paper that you teach from but that your colleagues respect.


Sometimes Great Teaching includes a Little of the Not So Great
For now, I'll keep staying the course and including a wide variety of teaching methods including the occasional smattering of something I don't really care for. (Less than 10% at a max!)

But, I'll tell you exactly what I tell students.

"OK, kids, I don't really like the next module we're about to do, but you need it because this is how they do it at [college's name omitted to protect the guilty] and you'll have to do it that way. My students thank me for letting them experience this but know that it won't last long - just long enough for you to be ready... for college."
Does anyone find this odd besides me? Colleges should be the bastion of best practice in education.

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Daily Education & Technology News for Schools 01/18/2011

  • Excellent post from my friend Walter at ASCD about innovation and how to build success for your program. A great read.

    tags: education innovation change

  • This makes me livid. My friend Suzie Nestico's students cannot come to Beijing at this point but the reasons stated are totally off base:

    1) "Why can't they just watch it on a big screen?"
    The time zone is 12 hours difference and this is a project-based learning conference. Students will not only learn about technology but will envision and develop future projects for global collaboration as they participate with some of the best minds in the business.

    2) This is just a paid vacation to China!
    This perhaps makes me most angry of all! If someone is going to China on vacation - you wouldn't go in February!1 We are going to a local school that is hosting us and this was the most convenient time for them and to get local participation.

    3) Let's keep the money at home.
    Rather than this small town having students and a teacher who understand how to work in one of the most rapidly growing markets in the world (China) they are choosing to stay at home and remain oblivious to the opportunities that exist.

    4) They are not going for a competition
    yes, they are - there is a competition. But the difference is that you are paired with three other students from three other countries. This year, we have an environmental focus as we work to design how students would benefit from collaborating globally on environmentally sensitive issues.

    Yes, times are tough. Yes, it seems to only benefit a few. However, as we push towards globalization one step at a time we have to get out of our comfort zone for the future of our small towns and communities.

    I could go on and it saddens me that these were just looking for a reason to say no. Of course, in a democracy they have a right to do this and it is ok. This is not a permanent setback, I just wish they had made this decision before they told her to go ahead and raise the money. This sort of vacillation can snuff out teacher motivation to try things that are new. Passports had already been stamped.

    tags: education flatclassroom

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

Monday, January 17, 2011

Students say: "I'd rather have a compliment than sex or pizza!"

Photo by Handle with Care
Many people think that kids just aren't motivated by grades any more. Of course, this research released in the New York Times has many people a Buzz.

Students would rather receive a boost to their self esteem over hanging out with friends, sex, or pizza?

Isn't this the generation we've been told to compliment over and over? Many schools have removed awards and made sure everyone gets a trophy. Doesn't this help?

Or are they hungry for genuine, well-earned praise?  Do they want to know that they matter? Do they need meaning?

I don't have the answers here nor do you, but I do know that when I do things in my classroom that it is important for kids to know that the work we are doing matters and that they matter as human beings.

My friend Angela Maiers was telling me about some research she did with school children in some low performing schools in Hawaii.  What did the kids want? They want the teachers to look them in the eyes every day and know their name!

Whatever we've done with this generation they want to know that they matter.

To me, it isn't a matter of giving more cheap compliments that are not sincere but perhaps a matter of finding out what each student is actually good at doing!

Kids can spot a fake. I think the telling part of the article says:

"But Carol Landau, a clinical professor of psychiatry and medicine at Alpert Medical School at Brown University, pointed out that sex and alcohol are readily available on many college campuses and within students’ reach. Their accessibility could explain why students are more motivated to get good grades and positive feedback, which may be harder to come by. “The other rewards are somewhat within their control,” Dr. Landau said. “The self-esteem factors are not.”"
In fact, most adults aren't getting compliments either!

Remember your noble calling, teacher. And work hard this week to take the challenge. I challenge you to make sure you give genuine compliments in an appropriate way at least once every class period. And while you're at it, compliment at least once colleague a day -- that is six per day! Just do it this week and I will too, and let's see what happens.

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Do You Believe in Me?

Great video as we start the new calendar year in North America and new school year in the southern hemisphere. Created by Starkville (Mississippi) School District by Broadcast Media Group
(hat tip to a 2009 post from Wesley Fryer.)

Video is the new essay. Yet somehow I also wish that videos could automatically be transcribed for my growing base of Kindle readers.

Remember your noble calling teacher!

It is noble and you are noble if you act like it!

Daily Education & Technology News for Schools 01/17/2011

  • Excellent post on leadership from Shannon in Ottowa. She says

    "When I was learning how to ride my motorbike, the instructor reminded us over and over to keep our eyes on the road where we want to go. Allowing our gaze to stray and linger on oncoming traffic or the ditch will lead to disaster: You drift towards your focus. To avoid an accident, keep your eyes on the road ahead."

    Great post for those in leadership or in schools.

    tags: education leadership learning

  • So, if you want to chat, but don't really want to have your gmail open all the time, remember that you can bookmark and install google talk. This will keep you from getting interrupted by your email while still making you accessible to those who need to reach you using this valuable service.

    tags: education productivity

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Sunday, January 16, 2011

Tech Tip: Google Tasks

I'm working towards a much better working model of list making, etc. I'm not ready to share a lot of it yet, but there is one aspect that is helping me a lot.

On my "habit list" that I keep in my Home Routines app, I have "inbox zero" on my list and also "check email tasks." In email, I have several contextual task lists that I keep. As I"m reading email, I add the emails to the appropriate list by clicking Shift + T.

There is also a little known tasks canvas that lets you see the tasks away from email -https://mail.google.com/tasks/canvas .

This is extremely useful when you need a little faster retrieval than a google search and also keeps your email task list HANDY in context - IN EMAIL. I use it for nothing but email tasks but find it very helpful for being organized.

Don't be confused - task lists is not my only list - but I'm finding it helpful to have contextual lists and then ROUTINES I follow to send me to those lists. IF it is vital it goes in my paper planner. 

Google just announced the five most requested items for Google Tasks which (according to Mashable) are:

  • 1. A Tasks API and synchronization
  • 2. Reminders and notifications
  • 3. Recurring tasks
  • 4. Shareable task lists
  • 5. Visual distinction for overdue tasks
 We'll see on these updates, as for me, I'm perfectly happy helping it corral my email problem. Those ponies just run all over me sometimes!

Google Tasks and my recent purchase of MailWasher Pro have helped considerably.

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Daily Education & Technology News for Schools 01/16/2011

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