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Posts Tagged ‘21st Century Skills’

Google Trek – 3 Minute Tech

April 17, 2012 Leave a comment

I was recently re-introduced to the idea of Google Treks by a fellow educator. Previously for some unknown reason, I thought they were useless. Luckily, I have seen the errors of my way and couldn’t wait to show everyone else in my district the awesomeness of Google Treks! These are really super easy to make and even easier to share. The lesson plan possibilities based off these are endless! To help introduce my fellow teachers about Google Treks, I created a brand new 3 Minute Tech video. If you have yet to try making one of these, go to Dr. Alice Christie’s  Google Trek website for outstanding tutorials and examples.

On a side note, if you are someone getting married this summer, or the parent of one of these lucky newlyweds, think how awesome it would be to share a Google Trek with your wedding guests! You could show family and friends neat places in your town, location of the wedding and/or reception, and so much more! If you create a neat Google Trek, please share the link. I would love to see your creations.

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Ideas and iPads

October 3, 2010 Leave a comment

Recently I gave my 7th and 8th grade students an assignment to come up with ways their local school board could help prepare them for the future.  To get them thinking I: had them watch “Did You Know? v3.0”, they checked out U.S.News’ top high schools in America, and I presented some ideas I recently heard from Yong Zhao (a Michigan State professor and author).  To further help the thought process, I had students brainstorm and share their ideas via Infinote.  Infinote is a iPad app where you basically use sticky notes to record thoughts and they can be saved in a variety of image formats and even PDFs!

The students really enjoyed using the iPad and they found it engaging.  The problem was I only have one iPad, and in a classroom of 25 students it took two class periods for every student to use it.  For most of my students, this was the first time they ever saw an iPad in real life, so it was worth the wait.  The results of their thinking can be found at the bottom of this post.

An interest side-effect of this project though showed up a few days later.  A student came up-to after class and asked if I knew how to create apps for the iPad or Android OS, which I stated, “No, but we can learn!”  So last week I spent every homeroom working with this student to download the necessary software to create Android apps (iPad is next week).  Word has spread and now I am up-to two students wanting to work on this project.  It seems that even with minimal exposure to something (the iPad), students will gather like a moth to a flame.

Below are the students (7th and 8th graders) thoughts via Infinote.  Please note I did not change or edit any students thought.

Computers Lower test scores?

July 15, 2010 1 comment

As I was checking some articles out on Digg the other night I came across this article from the New York Times, http://nyti.ms/aLiYsx. It is an interesting article about the negative effect computers and laptops have had on students. It discusses programs here and in Romania where students were given laptops (or vouchers). It states that after getting the technology their test scores actually went down.

But is that what really happened? This article does not go far enough. Test scores should not be the only evaluation if the program was a success or not. What about their grades, assignments, heck, their creativity! Yes, the technology may have distracted students from their work, but it may have also taught them other ways to think. The real study should be done in 20-30 years to see what the long term affect was on students. But in this age where we think education is always failing our students, the quick unquestioned study is king.

School Geek Squad

June 25, 2010 2 comments

I have been busy lately trying to find new and innovative ideas for my classroom.  But my latest idea came as I drove 20 miles to work on a friends fax machine.  How cool would it be if a high school ran their own version of the Best Buy “Geek Squad.”  It would be kind of like a work release program.  Students could get credit for going out into the community to help people for simple computer problems.  It would be a great way to get them experience and an assist to the community.

I know someone out there is thinking, won’t this take jobs away from computer repair businesses, but I do not think it would.  They would be fixing or solving basic level problems, ones that someone does not want to pay someone a hundred dollars to fix.  Also, this would be a great way for those businesses to find their future employees!  I have a meeting in two weeks with a couple of my districts tech people, and this is an idea I will surely bring up.