Are You Ready to Disrupt Learning?
Mar01

Are You Ready to Disrupt Learning?

In late 2015, my best friend’s daughter was going through something really horrific at school. She would come home and cry about math tests and she was beginning to show signs of  hating school. Tanya and I think it was because her teacher was so caught up in making sure she delivered certain content in a timely matter, that she had failed to notice that some of her students were not understanding the information. In addition, her daughter was becoming frustrated with what she thought was her inability to learn. One evening while saying her “good-nights,” this sweet seven year old girl confided in her  mom about a punishment she had received for talking during class…and as she told her story, her mom began to cry. It is from this story of an unjust punishment – a public humiliation really – that this TEDx talk was written…   Share...

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Google Introduces Expeditions for the Classroom
Sep29

Google Introduces Expeditions for the Classroom

Take your students places a school bus can’t go! Nestled at the bottom of South Australia sits a town known for it’s amazing wine and beautiful beaches – Adelaide. This week, however, Adelaide took on a new distinction, it became the home of the world première of Expeditions, Google’s new virtual reality learning tool. (Think of it as Google Classroom, meets Google Cardboard, meets Google Streetview ) Luckily, I happened to be in Adelaide at the same time, so I attended a session. I entered the Expedition classroom with a healthy dose of curiosity and skepticism – but with one look at the table of “cardboards,’ all I could feel was pure anticipation – and I could sense the collective excitement from the other teachers. It was as if we all instinctively knew that this could become one of those educational tools that might just change the way students see themselves and the world. What are Expeditions? Simply put, they are field trips from your desk. Using Google Cardboard as a catalyst, Google has put together 100 initial Expeditions so students can explore the world. These “Expeditions” are made with 360 degree cameras by a host of Google partners who have created amazing imagery of international landmarks such as the Great Barrier Reef, El Capitan in Yosemite, and the ice-covered land masses of Antarctica. Google hopes to open up a world of knowledge to students – allowing them to visit different locations, experience underwater geographical features and learn about lands far, far away. Someday, it might give young learners the ability to virtually experience a day in the life of an unknown cultures Hopefully, this will allow students to develop an empathetic view of the world and a healthy respect for the cultural differences that makes our world great.     To help teachers guide students through the Expeditions – a “script” is provided from the Expedition content (if the teacher needs it), and he or she can begin reading about the important events in the expedition and point students to important details using the touch of a screen. This touch will deploy embedded arrow markers on the screens of the students. These markers help students find the spot being highlighted. I got a chance to run my own expedition – and saw first hand the power of this evolving virtual learning tool. How can we use them in the classroom? Learning about coral reefs? Why not visit the Great Barrier Reef in Australia? Students can look around as the teacher explains the importance of the reef and how it is supported by the fish and animals (that you can...

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Periscope in the Classroom
Sep07

Periscope in the Classroom

This year give Periscope a try in your classroom. This quick video will give you some great ideas on how to do it well.   Six Periscope Ideas for the Classroom: Livestream students working on a project – have them explain what they are working on to gain an authentic audience or followers on their blogs. Livestream debates and speeches. Livestream class discussions. Livestream all the fun you are having in class! Livestream any homework and directions (not that I want you to give homework). Livestream a five sentence wrap-up of what you learned in class.   Share...

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Google Classroom Meet Chrome Extension
Sep02

Google Classroom Meet Chrome Extension

Great new extension makes it possible to get everyone on the same page! In your Google Classroom. New Chrome extension, Share to Classroom, is great for that BYOD classroom or 1:1 classroom. It allows teachers to push out a webpage to everyone so that learning can begin and headaches can end. *Note: Google Apps admins can install the extension for their entire domain so that it’s easiest for teachers and students to get started. Teachers and students both need the extension in order to push web pages to each other. Share...

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5 Great Uses for Canva in the Classroom
Jul31

5 Great Uses for Canva in the Classroom

What is Canva you ask? In the companies own words “An amazingly simple graphic design tool.” Five Great Reasons to Use Canva in the Classroom Easy to Use Canva is very easy to use. Students simply sign up with their Google account. If no Google account – an email address and a password is all that is required. Once the account is set up – it is smooth sailing from there. Think-Pic-Share I like to think of the things I ask students to do on Canva as a “Think – Pic – Share.” Think – First, ask students to think about what they learned and find a way to summarize it. Being succinct and articulate is a very important 21st century skill and NOT one students do very well on their own. Teaching the art of concise writing –  that is still able to catch the readers attention – is not easy.  Learning how to do this is extremely valuable in today’s 140 character world. Pic – Next, find a picture (at this point teach about creative commons) that is a good graphical summarization of what was learned. This is also a skill students don’t do well on their own. They want to choose crazy pictures that are not pleasing to the eye, or pictures that are not simple enough for a textual overlay. I call this being a good “stealographer.” Basically students are stealing other pictures and they need to learn how to do it appropriately. Just like a good photographer learns to take good shots with different angles…students need to become good at choosing a picture that accurately reflects their learning. In 2015, these are VERY important skills to develop in our learners. Share – In my opinion, this is the most important step. Gone are the days where students turn in work that it is only seen by the teacher, graded and then returned. When students share their creations on something like a Padlet or Tackk (one they all have access to) the extended learning begins to take place. Once they are done and have shared their work…they look to see what others have turned in.  Students will compare their designs with the other students and  begin thinking about their thinking – or better yet thinking about their learning. It is a step we can not devalue – because it helps with metacognition and deeper understanding.   Quick Reflection Canva can be used as a quick reflection tool. What about a six word summary about what was just learned. I use it to teach thinking strategies like this one…an idea I garnered fromMaking Thinking Visible by Ron Ritchhart, The Great Hook Get kids excited about an upcoming unit...

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Comic Strips come to Book Creator!
Jul31

Comic Strips come to Book Creator!

It is true! On Book Creator’s next update – there will be an option for Comic Strips! Comic Strips are a fun way for students to summarize and make sense of their learning – and can really add a fun look to simple summaries! Don’t forget to have students share these great comics so they can learn from each other – using a completed book or something like Padlet. Look at the fun you can have! I made these with a preview of the app! Keep an eye for this update and let your students begin to create comic masterpieces! Share...

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