Monday, November 28, 2011

Building Blocks

A GREAT article in the NY Times School Book section about using blocks to play, learn and discover. My older brother and I would play with wooden blocks for hours and hours on end!

Smarter Every Day

Came across a pretty neat YouTube Channel this morning called Smarter Every Day. Some great looking videos and because we always have hummers in our backyard, check out the video!

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Thoughts on this Sunday....

Was going through some old bookmarks and a great article on the Mind/Shift blog came to mind for a re-read.

21 Things That Will Be Obsolete by 2020, you can read the entire list here, and my thoughts on three are below.

Desks - This shift should have already happened five years ago with the boom of laptops in schools. My current school is only five years old and many of the planning decisions in my opinion were very short sighted.

aka: Desktop computers were purchased with the school, only to be replaced by laptops this year. Overhead projectors were purchased initially, with LCDs and Doc Cameras coming soon after. Desks are still being purchased for classrooms we're adding, despite our vote for moveable furniture, or simply comfortable chairs to 'learn' in throughout the day.

Wikipedia - My teaching career spanned from 3rd grade, to Junior College, and Wikipedia was always a discussion for my class. Not a good place to start with research, 'the' place to start your research. If you can cross-reference on two other sites, you can use the original information from Wikipedia. Many teachers I talk with are still reluctant for their kids to use this resource, even Google is/has changed their search algorithm to utilize current trends and social suggestions for their results. Come-on, hop on board with Wikipedia.

I.T. Departments - Probably the touchiest and for sure the costliest if we don't change. Touchy because jobs are at stake, which brings unions into the picture. Costly, because districts are spending lots of money on hardware and personnel when there are free or discounted options available.

What are your top three from this list?

Monday, November 21, 2011

Chromebook - Set-Up and Mini-Review

A great Chromebook video! I've also been reading a lot more about them lately and they seem to be gaining steam.

I have the Acer Chromebook ($350) and I've tried to be subjective in my review of the laptop, but it's seeming more difficult than I though. The 11" MacBook Air is my go-to laptop throughout the day, as well as the iPad2. The Chromebook is definitely not the MacBook Air, but, does have some great features that can't be discounted.

- The price is amazing!
- It's light and very easy to transport
- As the video above says, it's VERY simple to set-up and start working
- There are no software issues, or updates that need to be maintained.

Of course there are some negative aspects, but I'm focusing on the positive.

Playing the College Game

A great article in the NY Times Education section today about college and the hoops/loops our kids are jumping to just get in.....

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Flash Mob - We Need an Education Version

The Flash Mob is not a new concept, but this somewhat recent mob in Copenhagen really caught my eye. First, love all the bikes around the train station, the family who heard the music and sat down to listen (would that happen in the U.S.?) and the fact they're playing some classical music and not hip-hop!

Then, I'm thinking about an Educational Version of the Flash Mob. What does that look like? Fast, quick, innovative? I've been at some meetings lately where conversation was about how slow education moves and changes. There isn't a clear picture in my brain, just thinking out loud and trying to find a muse.....more to come next week when we're on holiday break.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Earth Time Lapse and Open Culture

Open Culture is a favorite learning resource of mine and they posted a great new Time Lapse Video of Earth this morning. It is absolutely beautiful and you can watch via Vimeo below. After the video, be sure to check out all 125 Great Science Videos that Open Culture currently has published.

Earth | Time Lapse View from Space | Fly Over | Nasa, ISS from Michael K├Ânig on Vimeo.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

I like this!

If our teachers can't speak this 'language' how will we prepare our children for success?

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Programming With Kids

During my undergraduate work there was a 'required' programming course that I actually took during the winter session which was much shorter and higher speed. I can't remember which programming language was taught, nor can I write any code. Much of this is changing and the NY Times ran a great article about Programming With Kids.

The article talks about a site called Scratch which teaches kids to create their own interactive games and such. It's more of an 'intro' to programming and another option as young children develop their 'language' skills.

Alice is another option from Carnegie Mellon that was mentioned in the article. If we're going to bridge this Digital Divide and our App Gap, it's our responsibility as educators to open these options with our students and to bring them along!

Worth Watching

Not technology relevant....but Worth Watching for obvious reasons. We average fifteen bikes in our rack each day, with 1,120 students enrolled, that's a very low percentage.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Disney and YouTube

Disney and YouTube have announced a partnership for a video deal that will be based on an app called, 'Where's My Water.' Disney will produce a series of web videos, and of course the partnership means they'll be hosted on YouTube.

The YouTube partnership with Disney is coming off some recent announcements of additional channels on YouTube covering numerous topics. It will be interesting to see how YouTube grows and what they grow into? Will they someday take on television? Apple TV?

Friday, November 4, 2011

Sesame Street - Video Production With Our Kids

It was 4:00am this morning and my seven-month old daughter decided she wanted to hang out with dad and work on the computer. I was browsing some Sesame Street videos on YouTube and had some nice flashbacks to my childhood when my older brother and I would watch the show. (We only had seven channels growing up and the public station was one of them!)

Browsing the videos which are all on YouTube had me thinking about video creation at my school and that our students should be doing much more video creation. I'm going to talk with our Student Council president about ideas and creating a weekly/monthly video for our school!

Here's the expert from this YouTube video....

The Sesame Street Muppet from the hit song "I Love My Hair" now sings "Change the World," an inspirational song empowering children with the idea that they can be anything they want to be!

Another 'all-time' favorite of mine :)

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Cellphones - Lift the Ban

Cellphones are everywhere, in most backpacks at school and nearly every teachers pocket or desktop. There are SO many articles/opinions out there about allowing cellphones in schools, and how to utilize them in class.

The NY Times has a newer section called SchoolBook that I've written about before, and there was an interesting article yesterday about lifting the cellphone ban in public schools. Lifting the ban is a great idea, in any district/city, however there needs to be Professional Development provided or in place in order for this to be successful. This is the missing piece in many cases....

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

S.T.E.M. Careers

I'm not reading quite as many books as I like these days, but I was checking out the ISTE store and a new S.T.E.M book looks good. There have been so many articles in many different newspapers about S.T.E.M. careers and the huge deficit our country is going to face with not enough of our students going into the field and choosing a S.T.E.M. major in college.

Connecting our students to those careers is the first step, and I'm hoping this book does just that.