I've moved the blog!

I've moved my blog to www.coolcatteacher.com as well as all of the posts from this blog. Learn more...

Thursday, January 31, 2013

Teach This! Teaching with lesson plans and ideas that rock 01/31/2013

  • I love this reflection from Azhar Youssef, an EFL teacher in Egypt who is so passionate and excited. This is what MOOCs are all about - connecting the world and finding the best wherever they are. Hat tip to my friend Lee Graham of #diffimooc who let me know about Azhar's work. This is her introduction video that she used for the Mooc work. I think that all teachers in the near future, are going to need to have an introduction video. Like a resume, you'll need it to use to introduce yourself when you participate in elearning projects. Do you have an intro flyer or video? Isn't it time? I love her smore flyer. (via Azhar's Reflections: Twitter in a new dress!)

    tags: teaching flatclass news mooc edreform highered all_teachers

  • According to this article “Science is starting to show that there is a very strong integration between social and emotional skills and learning,” said Vicki Zakrzewski, education director of the Greater Good Science Center at U.C. Berkeley, which studies the psychology, sociology and neuroscience of well-being during a recent Forum radio show. “Some scientists believe that cognitive achievement is 50 percent of the equation and social and emotional skills are the other 50 percent.” This links back to using a program like the Classroom Habitudes (by Angela Maiers) program that I'm using in my classroom. Emotional intelligence is IMPORTANT. Talking about persistence, imagination, creativity, self awareness - these are all important parts of being able to learn. As Angela says, " we start with our to be list before we ever give students a 'to do' list."

    tags: teaching empathy habitudes eq tumblr

  • I love this reflection from a teacher using the Flat Classroom 15 challenges as part of her coursework and studying the book Flattening Classrooms, Engaging Minds. I love how the teacher reflects on learning and what it means to be in a network of learning. Look at the conclusions the teacher draws while comparing learning to other students. This is the kind of learning we need to do! I left this comment: "I Love it! "I am sold." Well, I'm here, and I wrote the book. Here's another benefit of what you're doing. By sharing openly, you connect with others around the same topic. One tip. I use Google reader and if you use it, you can go into settings and create a "bundle" and share it with others so they can subscribe to the same feeds too! ;-) Let me know if you have any questions. Thank you for mentioning the name of the book so I could find you and respond. I subscribe to a google blog search for the words "Flattening Classrooms" and everyone who blogs using those terms is sent into my RSS reader. Then, I checked Mr. Reader and was able to see what you're doing. This is "brand management" which is a third use of RSS as we talk about in the book! "

    tags: news flatclass flatclassroom pln teaching

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

Daily Education and Technology News for Schools 01/31/2013

  • I love this reflection from a teacher using the Flat Classroom 15 challenges as part of her coursework and studying the book Flattening Classrooms, Engaging Minds. I love how the teacher reflects on learning and what it means to be in a network of learning. Look at the conclusions the teacher draws while comparing learning to other students. This is the kind of learning we need to do! I left this comment: "I Love it! "I am sold." Well, I'm here, and I wrote the book. Here's another benefit of what you're doing. By sharing openly, you connect with others around the same topic. One tip. I use Google reader and if you use it, you can go into settings and create a "bundle" and share it with others so they can subscribe to the same feeds too! ;-) Let me know if you have any questions. Thank you for mentioning the name of the book so I could find you and respond. I subscribe to a google blog search for the words "Flattening Classrooms" and everyone who blogs using those terms is sent into my RSS reader. Then, I checked Mr. Reader and was able to see what you're doing. This is "brand management" which is a third use of RSS as we talk about in the book! "

    tags: news flatclass flatclassroom pln teaching

  • Mac prodductivity apps are going on sale. Here's an overview of some great apps. "The sale will go from week to week, through three categories - including Prioritize, Organize, and Utilize - with apps for various needs. Like Us on Facebook The first week's category is Prioritize, and it includes Clear, Things, 2Do, Due, Todo, TaskPaper, the Hit List, and BreakTime. These apps all have deep discounts, some around 50 percent. For example, Todo is down from $14.99 to $6.99 and Things used to cost you $49.99, right now it costs $24.99.

    tags: news productivity

  • This article from the Wall Street Journal gives a nice overview of many of the techniques being used today. I've got a hybrid of quite a few systems and have moved my task management from an app to pen and paper with Evernote tracking my master tasks using the Secret Weapon method. Great article that really cautions against some of the pitfalls of modern "productivity" apps. "Trendy digital tools aren't for everyone. Many people suffer when they try to eliminate all paper, says Ms. Stack; the tactile experience of using pen and paper helps some think clearly. Some "get creative flashes at random times, like at night in their beds," when powering up a digital device may not be practical, she says. Others say reading on a computer gives them a headache, or their fingers are too fat to type on a smartphone, she says.

    tags: news productivity evernote

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

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Daily Education and Technology News for Schools 01/30/2013

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

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Teach This! Teaching with lesson plans and ideas that rock 01/29/2013

  • The idea that only positive feedback is needed is WRONG and this new research demonstrates the importance of positive feedback and criticism. This is worth a read and sharing between teachers. "Confusing, isn’t it? Thankfully, brilliant new research by Stacey Finkelstein (Columbia University) and Ayelet Fishbach (University of Chicago) sheds light on the seeminlgy paradoxical nature of feedback, by making it clear why, when, and for whom negative feedback is appropriate. It’s important to begin by understanding the function that positive and negative feedback serve. Positive feedback (e.g., Here’s what you did really well….) increases commitment to the work you do, by enhancing both your experience and your confidence. Negative feedback (e.g., Here’s where you went wrong….), on the other hand, is informative – it tells you where you need to spend your effort, and offers insight into how you might improve."

    tags: teaching feedback

  • February is approaching and Edutopia has a list of tools that you can use.

    tags: teaching history sschat

  • My friend Alfred Thompson went back into the classroom on Monday. After leaving Microsoft, he just couldn't stay away from the classroom. He's such a great person and I know he's going to rock the classroom. I've always recommended his blog and suggest that you follow him and subscribe to his blog as well, particularly if you teach computer fundamentals or computer science or applications.

    tags: teaching computer science technology computers

  • A nice round up of some incredible math teachers. If you're a math teacher, you'll want to go to these sites and click on the RSS button and add it to your Google Reader. If you don't have a google reader go to reader.google.com and just paste in the links to each of these blogs and it will put them into the reader for you. Then, when new articles are posted on the blogs, your reader will put them together in a magazine like format using the RSS (really simple subscription) technology. Go for it.

    tags: teaching math mathchat

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

River of Doubt: The Only Good Educator is a Dead Educator?

From left to right (seated): Father Zahm, Rond...
From left to right (seated): Father Zahm, Rondon, Kermit, Cherrie, Miller, four Brazilians, Roosevelt, Fiala. Photo taken in 1914. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
I'm reading a completely engrossing account of Theodore Roosevelt's expedition up the River of Doubt in South America (See The River of Doubt: Theodore Roosevelt's Darkest Journey), where he almost died, but made incredible strides forward for science. I've been soaking up biographies of great men and women since my friend Angela Maiers challenged me to find my "dream team."

"You become most like the five people you ponder the most, who will those people be?" she said.
When set back, Theodore Roosevelt always went into nature to meet some great challenge or danger. But not only did he go and hunt (as he did in Africa), his purpose in South America was to advance science.

I think that there is a big lesson to take from "Teddy's" life. When beset by struggle and setbacks, set your mind on another great task and get busy. Life is short, you have things to do and wallowing in sadness is not one of us.

If you're alive, you've experienced setbacks. If you haven't experienced a setback, I would guess you either have memory loss or you're not very old, because in my own life, even when I was a child, I had personal setbacks and hurts - not being invited to a birthday party, being made fun of, being left out. These are all things that are part of life.

Little Trickles of Doubt.

The last book I finished was Mother Teresa's "No Greater Love" - another great book. She said something that has stuck with me,
"May I be so humble that I cannot be insulted or put on a pedestal." 
While such words may not be for many of you, they are perfectly for me. If I spend my life waiting for someone to say I'm so great -- what a sad life. Life isn't about being praised by men or women -- such praise is very temporary and quickly changes tenor when the tide goes out, leaving behind, just a river of doubt flowing from the inland of your heart.

My biggest river of doubt I know now comes flowing out of the tv every time I look at the "news."

Seeing the media feeding frenzy like the Pirana's in Roosevelt's River of Doubt, upon my friend Suzie Nestico, based upon the word of a unscrupulous lawyer has told me all I need to know. The media is in search of a sensational story and doesn't care about reporting the truth.
Suzie Nestico and me at PETE&C in 2011. I am proud to
say I'm her friend.

Right now, my friend Suzie Nestico, surely must be experiencing a River of Doubt. She's a great educator and I've known her at least five years (likely longer.) I was in India with her as she stood between one of my students and an overly aggressive street vendor and turned down the order and walked on. She loves kids. My friend Suzie is now a principal... at Mt. Carmel Elementary in Pennsylvania where a child threatened another one at a bus stop it turned out to be a "hello kitty bubble gun" according to the news media.

I wonder how did it get from the bus stop to the front office? I'm guessing another child had to be scared somewhere in there? Where are the parents of the other children who (obviously) complained?

I refuse to ever again let the media try educators in the court of public opinion without giving the educator the benefit of the doubt. If a story is ridiculous, it is likely a LIE and watching the video of the lawyer Robin Ficker (also a famous NBA heckler)  and reading his bio on Wikipedia, I can't tell you the revulsion I feel for the entire situation. Ficker also lost his license in Maryland for a period of time for misconduct.

I'm ashamed that the news media would take the word of such a man and the desire for a sensational story over the integrity and longstanding history of a woman like Suzie Nestico. A man who craves the media over a woman who shows up every day helping kids. I know Suzie and I know she wouldn't "grill" anything but chicken on the stove. (The lawyer said she "grilled" the child for 3 hours, a fact I find preposterous, although, I don't know the other side, which is just the point.)

The media is going to write entire articles based upon this man's version of what a five year old says happened.  The early articles are clear to state that the bubble gun was not with the child. In fact, when I first told my husband about it, he couldn't even understand the words "bubble gun" and thought I said gun or bubble gum. Is a five year old going to clearly communicate? How did the other children feel about the threat?

So, then people descend upon Suzie, sending her threatening mail and taking a picture of her and her child and calling her a slut? (I have left the blogger in question a comment, on his "about" page which I doubt will be published. I've left comments on the hate filled idiotic people who profess to have the same faith I do, but if you take a descent into debauchery and look at the comments on any of the articles I've linked to, understand that the ugliness there doesn't represent the Christian faith I cherish.) Really? What does sex have to do with this incident anyway? Do they call men a "gigolo" when they are at the center of a controversy?

I say according to the news media, because the only time I got to talk to Suzie last weekend, she choked back sobs telling me she wasn't allowed to say her side but the inaccuracies were killing her.

 She was also very afraid, I know fear when I hear it.

A river of doubt.

She must be feeling it. She's given her life in love to children and she gets this? There's a verse in Proverbs that says you believe one side of the story, until you hear the other. Well, no one has heard the other.

Principals, administrators, and teachers are maligned all of the time because parents and students are not bound by the confidentiality that we must cherish. Our job is to protect the privacy of the children, even to our own detriment.

Suzie, I'm sure is having doubts, but I don't. I know that there is another side to this story. 

  • I don't doubt my friend for a moment that she tried to protect the children under her care. 
  • I don't doubt that she found out what happened at the bus stop because another child was scared and went home and told Mom and Dad.
  •  I don't doubt that there is a bigger story and I KNOW that Suzie doesn't grill children and wouldn't do that for 3 hours. Now, it might have been 3 hours from dropoff to when Mom and Dad could be reached about what had happened, but I'm quite sure that the child wasn't "grilled" as Ficker alleges.

A river of doubt.

Educators, you are heroes. Maybe one day my friend Suzie will be able to talk about this and we'll be ashamed of ourselves. By then, the media will have moved on and not care about righting the wrong they have done. This Ficker lawyer will be on to another educator or person that will allow him to get on TV, because that seems to be what he likes the most.

But my friend Suzie will know that I publicly told her that I know that her side is there and I won't form an opinion until both sides are known. It isn't my job to pass judgement anyway, that is the Boss' job.

The media thinks the only good educator is a dead educator.

The educators at Sandy Hook were praised for their sacrifice. Stepping in the way of the bullet. They are heroes.

But must we die for people to know our dedication? Must our love be written upon our dead faces and cold hands for people to know it is there? Surely not.

If my friend Suzie hadn't investigated, and a child had brought a gun to school and shot her classmates, she would have been vilified.

My friend Suzie did investigate, and it turns out it was a bubble gun and now she is villified.

But if a child brought a gun to school and she jumped in front of it and took the bullet and died, she'd be a hero.

Her love is written in her silence. She cherishes the confidentiality of the family who is going after her and has chosen the right course, silence. The fact that she hasn't come out to tell her side of the story, even to me, her friend. I don't know the facts, but I know Suzie and what has and is happening to her is wrong.

I'm not going to go down this river of doubt.

I am sure that even though the media only reports bad things that happen in education that I will not go down that river. My calling is noble and so is yours. If my passion to love kids, protect them, and do my job to the best of my ability leads to being blasted on the front page of the newspaper or on the news, then so be it.

And to the fools who blindly believe that the media actually reports "stories" based in fact and all sides of the story - particularly when education is involved and one party is obligated to silence and confidentiality - those fools who take that story and write hate mail or make hateful phone calls to the educator involved -- you are despicable.

As for me, I don't know the facts in the story, I do admit that. But it isn't for me to judge. It is, however, for me to speak out at a great injustice happening to educators in the media. I don't understand why the media would believe anything this particular lawyer would say anyway.

This is now the fourth post I've written in the last two weeks, the others were far too emotional and will just languish in my blogger drafts, but one I am determined to post. I will post it today.

As for me, I refuse to traverse the river of doubt. We are on a dangerous journey, no doubt. We are dealing with a toxic society that has confused news with reality television and a people of itching ears that can only be scratched with bad news. There are some very mean, unkind, sick people out there. I've gotten my letters too.

But we will not doubt for one moment that our work is not important.

Teaching is important.

We won't wait for others to respect us - we will respect ourselves.
We will be unafraid to speak out that educators should get the benefit of the doubt because they aren't allowed to tell their side of the story.
We will call out lawyers who make a life destroying the careers and lives of others.

One day, my friend will tell her story. But until then, I hope that you'll join me and #supportsuzie - there are two sides to every story and hers isn't being told - I have no doubt.

When mainstream media becomes infected with the cess of society's cravings for another sensational story, the naive will be swept away with the refuse as their minds become tainted with discontent and anger, without an ability to discern truth. Ignorance isn't bliss... ignorance is the bane of civilized society.

I hope that we will learn from this. When you hear a sensational "story" about what "that educator" has done realize that there are two sides to the story and one day "that educator" might be you. The words you say today or think today about this situation will come back to haunt or bless you when it is your turn.

I also want to point out that getting "on the news" DOESN'T END YOUR CAREER - not always.

There are worse things than being lambasted in the news. You could be a coward. You could be a bully. You could use children for your personal gain. You could forget your nobility as a teacher and get down about your chosen profession.

Get out of that river of doubt. Remember your noble calling, teacher.

Enhanced by Zemanta

Daily Education and Technology News for Schools 01/29/2013

  • In an interesting, but somewhat uncomfortable feeling research project, Facebook will partner with save.org to look at social data of those who committed suicide to see if there were warning signs. Of course, the question is... when they know, what do they do with it? If you see someone is likely to commit suicide - what do you do with that data? This is a question full of ethics worth debate and discussion.

    tags: news suicide facebook trends tumblr

  • You can ask Facebook's CPO (Chief Privacy Officer) your questions. If you discuss digital citizenship with your students, they might have good questions to ask.

    tags: Facebook privacy news

  • Be aware that some apps (like VINE mentioned in this article) have some adult content. This instance points out the importance of checking out apps PERSONALLY that you recommend to kids - just because apple recommends it, doesn't mean that it is safe for kids.

    tags: news ipadchat

  • Thomas Friedman pontificates on the meaning of MOOCs and the global impact they can have to lift many out of poverty. I think that one of the questions that will emerge is proving of mastery and also the potential for "microcredits" as Yong Zhao discusses. These are all questions that will need to be answered as we move forward into a very new, changing highered network. All educational organizations are bricks aND clicks and those universities who ignore the clicks may find their bricks being impacted. Whole buildings dedicated to broadcasting video and connecting online will be emerging on campuses that provide excellent learning around the world.

    tags: news mooc education edreform

  • A set of studies of more than 70 research studies has yielded some interesting results. here is just a glimpse of some of the findings "When it comes to nutrition, there's not much evidence that multivitamins do any good, but having pregnant and lactating moms and young kids take Omega-3 fatty acid supplements (particularly DHA) likely does. Just having books in the home might not help, but interactive reading with children under 4 could boost IQ by around 6 points." I think if this is your area of research, you'll want to drill down into this meta analysis.

    tags: news research iq children parenting

  • This Edudemic article gives an overview of PaperTab technology - epaper that is location aware. It could do fascinating things for our kindles, etc. If you watch new technology, read this article.

    tags: news epaper eink technology innovation

  • Fascinating discussion about how MOOC's are being sold and how outsourcing will likely hit education. Personally, I do think that a well educated, fascinating prof is worth it... of course, what happens when that prof is at a school that is underrated or underappreciated - some amazing people live all over the world. Professors may be the next rock stars. ;-)

    tags: news mooc edreform

  • The biggest issue about looking at China to compare with the US is that not everyone in China goes to schools and often when schools are reviewed, they are the premier schools in urban areas. This is a good point, however, that they are using technology in all curriculum areas, not just one or two and one that we should note, particularly for college prep, as I think that it is comparing apples and oranges. Having been to China, often things that filter out aren't what they seem-- they tightly control the stories that emerge from their borders.

    tags: news education edreform china us

  • Interesting approach. These "Common Core" bags have selecting things on a particular topic and only count as one thing when checked out. If well selected, this would be interesting. I'd love to know more. I also wonder how librarians are creating "packages" of ebooks and materials with the proliferation of BYOD - it seems that free books, etc. could be somehow packaged and distributed. "Each bag contains 10 books on a subject, “carefully chosen by grade level,” Shaver said. “We selected books that present the topic in a variety of formats, making it accessible to many different learners. For instance, many of the new bags include graphic novels and hands-on science guides, in addition to traditional research resources. For the younger grades, there is an equal mix of fiction and non-fiction; for older grades, the bags contain mainly non-fiction materials.” The bags can be checked out from the library for three weeks at a time. Although they contain multiple books, they count only as one checked-out item. One check-out renewal can be requested unless someone else has expressed interest in getting the same bag.

    tags: news literacy common core

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

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Daily Education and Technology News for Schools 01/26/2013

  • ""The use of Facebook by students around the world to communicate with one another does more harm than good."" This is our topic for the Eracism 2013 project. You may wonder - why did we limit it to Facebook - well, after much-- yes, --- debate-- on our end, every good debate topic should have compelling topics on both sides - we wanted to have compelling discussions around social media and keep with the original spirit of the 4 students who envisioned this project. They wanted to debate topics of importance to promote cultural understanding. If you want to sign up, this is linked to the 2013 press release that will tell you how to enter a team from middle up to high school (there are 2 brackets). We debate asynchronously in a method we call "simulated synchronous" until the finals, when we have a synchronous live debate in blackboard collaborate. 

    tags: news eracism eracism_resources eracismproject debate facebook social media connection

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

Friday, January 25, 2013

Daily Education and Technology News for Schools 01/25/2013

  • This post has some excellent tutorials on advanced features in evernote. I use saved searches all of the time in evernote. Some great tips here if you use evernote.

    tags: news productivity evernote

  • Colleges and universities are entering an era of global competition with k12 schools not far behind. While I think it is likely that lower grade levels that require face to face contact will require more in person schools, it is likely that online elearning platforms, particularly for students who are disciplined and can learn in this format, will increase. Language learning, history, and more will be transformed as classrooms flatten and merge in ways we cannot begin to understand. Schools that take steps to globalize and understand this new world of education are positioning themselves long term. With some districts spending more than 10,000 per student and running out of money, it could be understandable that buying a computer and internet access and paying an organization (one even out of country) would make sense -- if they only look at it from a cost perspective. This is, of course, not understanding the economic impact of having local schools and local teachers. There are more reasons than ever to support your local school, but also, for parents and school board members to insist that schools aren't just bricks but are clicks - how are they connecting online? How are they connecting with the world? The walled garden may not only be a mistake for kids, it may be a death sentence for schools unprepared for the global tidal wave of education that is rapidly moving online. No one knows what this is going to look like, only that online education is changing. "A new portal has been launched make the quickly growing European study options even more accessible for learners around the world: www.DistanceLearningPortal.eu. Funded by the European Union and developed by the European study choice platform Studyportals and EADTU, this central information source will support orienting learners worldwide to study abroad from home. On 27 September 2012 the portal was officially launched by Commissioner Vasiliou

    tags: education highered news tumblr

  • Forty public universities, including Arizona State, Cleveland State, and the University of Arkansas, are planning to offer free online courses that carry full credit in an effort to entice potential students to sign up for a full degree program. The new initiative, know as MOOC2Degree (MOOC stands for massive open online course), is being run in a partnership between the universities and Academic Partnerships, a commercial company that helps universities move their courses online. As part of this initiative, Academic Partnerships will work with the universities to recruit for these courses and will receive a cut of any tuition from students who sign on for further study.

    tags: news highered edreform mooc tumblr

  • "Macmillan will begin their first ebook library lending program by the end of the Q1 2013. They plan to initially test the idea with 1,200 backlist titles from their Minotaur Books imprint. The ebooks will be available via Axis 360, OverDrive, and 3M Cloud Library. Once purchased by a library, the titles can be lent for either 2 years or 52 lends, whichever comes first. All of the books in the program will have the same digital list price."

    tags: news library ebook

  • HASTAC has this draft up for comment on their website. HASTAC has the draft up on their website for comment.

    tags: education news digiteen digital literacy

  • New textbooks from Boundless are being released under the same license as Wikipedia. Read more on Stephen Downes website, but realize that textbooks -- free textbooks- are going to be proliferating and some may end up meeting needs quite nicely. Textbook companies are going to have to sell more than words on a page, but experiences, projects, connections, and apps to be worth the price and even then, educators will be able to cobble together their own in ways that may become very powerful. We talk about the evolution of the textbook some in Flattening Classrooms, Engaging Minds.

    tags: news education textbooks

  • QR codes are very convenient and this article from Edutopia does a nice job of outlining some of the benefits of using QR codes in the classroom. If you get into this, I have a blog post on my blog called "QR Code Classroom Guide" to help you get started.

    tags: news education qrcodes tumblr

  • Sebastian Thrun's wife, Petra Dierkes-Thrun writes an article on HASTAC about what it is like being "married to the MOOC" including glimpses into how they filmed lectures in their basements. This MOOC made news when, after a New York Times article was written, over 160,000 people signed up for this MOOC about Artificial Intelligence run by two experts. It became the largest class taught up until that point with students from around the world. I found this a fascinating read about what happens when LEARNING -- yes, I said LEARNING goes viral. This is only the beginning - the first "viral course" of many to come. Wake up and be aware,

    tags: news moocs tumblr education highered edreform

  • You can use Google Presentations offline now, a major reason many of us wouldn't consider using Google Presentations over Keynote or PowerPoint. It still doesn't have a lot of the flexibility of those two or even Prezi but for those heavily using Google Apps for Domains, it is a big plus. Hat tip to Richard Byrne at Free Tech for Teachers for this nice article.

    tags: news google apps presentations

  • While Google docs is great, when we had our conference in Beijing, China, we used etherpad installed on some servers out of Hong Kong. The original collaborative writing tool, Etherpad is very powerful. This in depth article teaches you how to set up etherpad on your own server and some of the benefits of using the tool. If Google Docs is blocked for you, this is a great alternative, although it does require a bit of tweaking or a lack of fear and ability to follow directions.

    tags: news collaborative writing wiki_book apps writing

  • We should teach Computer Science because it is important to our future, but if you really need justification, Alfred Thompson shares the new alignments of Computer Science topics with all kinds of standards including Common Core.

    tags: news commoncore

  • Very interesting read about affluence gaps (less in the US) and how the US is really suffering on PISA international tests because to students are dropping,

    tags: news testing

  • I've been reading up on the "Drafts" app because of the useful new features I've been reading about. This article at the cult of mac on Drafts' new automation options, is the best article I've read on drafts and some of the more advanced features. If you don't understand it, it is worth trying. I'm just barely understanding the incredible things I can do with it, but many are just starting to use it for writing just about anything. Cool.

    tags: news productivity ios apps

  • There's an interesting discussion going on over at lifehacker about the best ifttt "recipes." Ifttt is "if this then that" and is an automation program that does amazing, very cool things. I've integrated it with my wemo, for example, and have it turning off and on my lights in the den and logging when there is action or motion in the kitchen. This is one of those posts you'll want to look at the comments.

    tags: productivity ifttt automation news

  • Drafts is a handy app for those who who use a variety of tools like Evernote and dropbox. For example, you can jot a note and click a button to send it to Twitter, Dropbox, Evernote and more -- (like if you want to save copies of certain tweets, etc. since it is so hard to get things out of Twitter.) I'm not entirely clear on the workflow automation piece of Drafts after watching this video on lifehacker but am going to learn more about this handy app.

    tags: news productivity iphone automation.

  • Google image search is being redesigned. I hope that one of the big changes that the quote below means is that we'll have more transparency with copyright. So many times, when I ask a source, students say "Google Images." No. No. No. Google images isn't a source, it is a search engine. You must quote the original source!! Hopefully this will make it easier. From Google Webmaster central... "We now display detailed information about the image (the metadata) right underneath the image in the search results, instead of redirecting users to a separate landing page. We’re featuring some key information much more prominently next to the image: the title of the page hosting the image, the domain name it comes from, and the image size."

    tags: news google images copyright tumblr education literacy citizenship

  • A school in seattle has parents, students, teachers refusing to administer the MAP test. Teacher Tom clearly shares why this is happening and why it is a good idea (the margin of error in the test is broad and it is being used to unfairly evaluate teachers.) When tests are used to evaluate teachers, those tests should be accurate. Testing, also, should be the exception, not the rule, and overtesting is causing problems. At my school, while individual teachers have tests - everyone has just one standardized testing period a year - that is it. The students do very well and we move on. We have no pep rallies, we just let parents know to make sure their kids get rest and that's it.

    tags: news testing edreform

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

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Teach This! Teaching with lesson plans and ideas that rock 01/24/2013

  • I had a great conversation led by Rae Pica and with Dr. William Bender, Suzie Boss, Anthony Cody as we briefly discussed project based learning. It was an enjoyable conversation (but a fast one). If you want to pick up some quick conversations about important topics.BAM radio is a great one to add to your podcast lists for the ride to school. I'm finding a lot of gems there.

    tags: pbl teaching best practices differentiation

  • Twitter conversations lead the most interesting places. Leah Obach is a first grade teacher who uses evernote to keep an efolio for each student. She creates templates and each child has a stack including photos and pictures of the child's work. She uses this during parent conferences to show what each child has done. Wow! This blog post is a must read for anyone looking at evernote or at streamlining assessment at the elementary level. I'm quite intrigued and want to know more. She's also shared her templates for assessing a variety of things for first grade - counting, etc. Applause for what she is doing, but also for taking the time to write the blog post when having a conversation with another teacher on Twitter. This is how we teach and encourage each other to know more. I'm debating about what would be appropriate to do with my students.

    tags: teaching evernote assessment elemchat

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

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Do we debate? Eracism 2013 is around the corner

I hope you'll forgive the posts about upcoming projects in the Flat Classroom family but so many things are getting ready to start and some of you may not have heard about some of these projects. The Eracism project was invented by students at the first Flat Classroom conference in Doha Qatar and was voted up by the world of educators and students as being most needed. They were so right! Last semester we ran 4 brackets (2 middle school and 2 high school). The debates begin by debating on Voicethread and the finals are synchronous in Blackboard Collaborate. We're excited to be working with ObaWorld as a result of meeting Yong Zhao at ISTE this summer. We'll be beta testing this platform for use with future projects. 

So, I copied an email that Julie Lindsay just sent out to our mailing list and am inviting any of you who would like to do this. It doesn't take a lot of time, but you do need to help students prepare to field a team. My classroom actually won the first competition back three or four years a go, and I had the whole class prepare and debate one another to select the team and then supported the team as they went through the competition. It was a great project. I'm not fielding teams now, just because it is the right thing to do for the projects and because the timing doesn't fit with my keyboarding class. 

You're invited to join in Eracism! Here's information.

About the Eracism Project: A Message from Julie Lindsay.

You are receiving this email because of your interest in the Eracism Project. In fact you may have already completed a project in the past, you may have been a judge, or you may have filled in a form asking for more details, or you may be involved in another Flat Classroom Project. You may also be a classroom teacher who has already signed up for the Eracism 13-1 project! 

I am writing to you all to help us spread the word about the NEW project starting in February, Eracism 13-1. We are madly working in the background to bring you the BEST asynchronous global debate we can. Thank you to those who provided feedback via our survey from the last project, and we are acting NOW to make even more improvements:
  • We have tidied up the Eracism wiki - most details are there now for the new semester!
  • We are reviewing all protocols and procedures, including the judges rubric, to ensure all language is clear and provides a 'flattened' learning environment for all global participants
  • We are joined in partnership with ObaWorld from the University of Oregon's College of Education to offer, for this semester, a free online platform (ObaWorld) for teachers, judges and students to form a community around this project. Many comments we have received in the past were about the challenges of communication between teachers and the need to get students connecting across classrooms before, during and after the debates. ObaWorld will help us solve this, and be a lot of fun as well!
  • We have reviewed the project Timeline and have the current Calendar dates on the wiki - we are giving MORE TIME for each asynchronous debate so that schools can work more efficiently around holidays and interruptions and judges can provide feedback in a more timely manner
  • We are carefully considering the Eracism 13-1 Debate Topic, and will provide a Topic and Resource page on the wiki to help clarify and share resources - the topic should be finalised this coming week! Watch this space!
So, spread the word! Applications for classrooms and debate teams are due February 7. Expressions of interest to help with judging and coaching will be taken any time from now on. Classrooms applying and Judges and Volunteers fill in the same online form: http://tinyurl.com/Eracism13-1. We need more classrooms from all over the world to take part!
What teachers said about Eracism 12-2:
  • Hearing how the other teams debated was fascinating because we learned about how/what other people think about key global issues.
  • Working with the students in my school in a different context was a spectacular opportunity to know them better.
  • Loved the whole thing. Despite the amount of work and sacrifice it entailed, it was a ton of fun and our team learned a lot about debating. Next time, we will be more prepared.
  • The final live debate was a highlight!
  • This makes learning applicable and real for the students. They no longer care about a grade, but instead want to do well as the world listens in.

Daily Education and Technology News for Schools 01/22/2013

  • Aaron Maurer, a Flat Classroom Certified teacher, has started the Bald Eagle project that we are incubating. At Flat Classroom, our goal is to help foster and create powerful online learning projects. While our premier projects are run by teachers and require a small fee, the incubation projects are being incubated and supported by our other projects and efforts,so you can apply and join in. Here's information on the project. Aaron is top notch.

    tags: education history_teacher edtech elemchat news flatclass

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

Monday, January 21, 2013

Learn more about Flat Classroom! Connect your students globally.

I get tweets and emails asking "what is this Flat Classroom thing?" When you flatten your classroom, you remove the walls. You connect your students to others around the world in a level playing field where they collaborate, work together and learn from each other. The first project was based on Thomas Friedman's book The World is Flat when Julie Lindsay was a teacher in Bangladesh and I connected my classroom in Camilla Georgia to co-create and co-author a wiki on the trends in the book and make videos that have contributors from the other side of the world. 

After the first project won ISTE's Online Learning Award, and Friedman included us in the update to his book, teachers from around the world started joining in. It has grown into projects from Kindergarten through 12th grade and now we're working with preservice teachers as we look to see what that will look like. Teachers discuss how to connect globally on our Flat Classrooms Ning, open to any educator. 

Join us tonight!

Tonight, Julie Lindsay, and I will be presenting Meet the Flat Classroom®  Monday (tonight) January 21, 8pm EST (January 22, 1am GMT) to talk about how you can connect globally by creating your own projects as well as the pedagogy behind it. We will also discuss our projects and give you updates on the Eracism debate project.

Below are some links and information you may find helpful including information on the conference and a new virtual book club about Flattening Classrooms, Engaging Minds, in case you missed the last one. You may be overwhelmed when you see all the things going. Julie is a masterful administrator, and Lisa Durff does so many great things to keep us going, but it is our teachers - the many teachers around the world who have taken this viral. It has spread through Twitter, Facebook, blogs and conferences as teachers, students, and preservice teachers imagine and facilitate what we used to only dream about.

You CAN do this. Please join in. Buy the book, follow the links. We want you to join us.

Hot Links and Information

1. Flat Classroom Projects - We are launching all of our projects again in February 2013. Our goal is to facilitate the best global collaborative projects in the world where students co-create. Make sure you get your applications in! Download a brochure to share.

2. Flat Classroom School Subscription  Co-founders of Flat Classroom, Julie Lindsay and Vicki Davis, have a solution for schools who want to 'go flat' and include more classrooms and teachers in Flat Classroom Projects each year AND provide professional development opportunities for teachers. Become a Flat Classroom School!
Prices for 2012-2013
  • Bronze Level - $195 for up to 100 students
  • Silver Level - $495 for 1 certified teacher and up to 200 students
  • Gold Level - $995 for 2 certified teachers and up to 500 students
  • Platinum Level - $1795 for 3 certified teachers and up to 800 students
Each category includes access to all projects across the full year up to the number of students noted. There are three Flat Classroom Certified Teacher courses/cohorts to choose from during the year.
View our current Flat Classroom® Schools on the website!

3. Flat Classroom Certified Teacher course. The next cohort will kick off in February! Come and join us or a PD experience that will not only build your PLN but transform your teaching and learning.
ANNOUNCING! Flat Classroom Certified Teacher - Group discount for schools and organizations (2012-13)
$2000 - 5 certified teachers
$3500 - 10 certified teachers
Contact Flat Classroom now to tailor your professional development needs. fcp@flatclassroom.org

4. Flat Classroom Conference  Come and join us at the Yokohama International School, March 8-10 2013 in Yokohama, Japan for this unique, challenge-based event that brings student and teachers together from across the world. We invite you to browse our updated website and consider bringing students to this life-changing opportunity. Teachers looking for course credit for attending this conference watch this space for important updates coming very soon. Virtual participants invited to attend also - watch this space for application form coming by the end of January! REGISTRATION is OPEN!

5. Projects Databank - This is a place for Flat Classroom Certified Teachers, and others, to post their projects and attract classrooms from all over the world to participate.
We invite global project designers to join our Project Databank because:
  • This wiki will be the face of each project but the real power will be in the searchable database currently being built
  • Flat Classroom style projects are about community and networking - and we will provide this for our Flat Classroom community to thrive
  • Congratulations to Aaron Maurer, Flat Classroom Certified teacher cohort 11-1.
Aaron is running an incubator project, Bald Eagle Project you must see!

6. Future Learning Action Talks (F.L.A.T.s) - We invite you to consider presenting in Blackboard Collaborate and share your global adventures and successes. An archive of past FLATS are on the website. Upcoming F.L.A.T.s with Australian Chris Betcher, the FCP 12-2 keynoter, on January 29, 10pm AEST / 6am EST USA. Topic: The Flat Classroom Project - Taking the Long View.

7. Announcing: The World Wide Think Tank is a joint initiative by THINK Global School and Flat Classroom. It is a student initiated and student driven global student leadership forum. It was launched by students, Hannah, Yada and Paul, during a presentation at the Global Education Conference, 2012.
  • To foster leadership skills.
  • To encourage global conversations.
  • To generate change.
Please spread the word!! #WWThinkTank is our hashtag - tweet it out!
Join in for the next online meeting (week starting January 28), volunteer to be a student leader!

8. Global Events - We invite you to use the Flat Classroom Educators network to advertise your global events. Make sure you keep an eye out for what is coming up!
What’s coming up?
  • Meet the Flat Classroom - The next opportunity to meet Julie Lindsay and Vicki Davis in an online information session will be Monday January 21, 8pm EST (January 22, 1am GMT). Check your location for date and time.
  • Join a virtual book club -  A new virtual book club is being led by Kyle Dunbar @edtechdunny based on our book, ‘Flattening Classrooms, Engaging Minds’. If you want to join, there is still time! Julie and Vicki will be coming to some of the sessions. The meetings are about discussing the concepts found in the book for flattened learning, making connections and learning from one another.
  • Projects, F.L.A.T.s and more!

Questions about Flat Classroom®? Please email us: fcp@flatclassroom.org

Julie Lindsay (Australia) and Vicki Davis (USA)
Directors and Co-founders, Flat Classroom®
julie@flatclassroom.org, vicki@flatclassroom.org
Lisa Durff: Flat Classroom Coordinator - lisa@flatclassroom.org
Hashtag: #flatclass
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...

Disqus Comments for Cool Cat Teacher Blog