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2015 Code Hunt Challenge

Microsoft is running their big Imagine Cup international student competition again this year. While some of the events take a lot of work and teams of students some of them are individual events. The Code Hunt Challenge is one of the later.

I grabbed a bunch of information from the Imagine Cup Code Hunt Challenge web page to share.

ACTIVE DATES (GMT): Wed, 10 Sep 2014 00:00 - Thu, 30 Apr 2015 23:59

WHO CAN COMPETE? Students 16 and older worldwide

WHAT'S THE TEAM SIZE? Individual Challenge

WHEN? Challenge #1 Begins September 20th

WHAT CAN YOU WIN? $1,000 for first place

Check the Official Rules for all the details!

Put your coding skills to the test. In cooperation with Microsoft Research, Imagine Cup brings you the ultimate challenge: write effective and elegant code, in real-time, in competition with thousands of other student programmers.

In the Code Hunt Challenge, you'll be shown a snippet of code, and you'll have to rewrite it to produce the desired output in as few lines of code as possible. The puzzles start easy but quickly escalate in difficulty. Can you solve them all?

The winner of each month's Challenge is the student who produces the best possible answers in the shortest time. The Challenge lasts just 48 hours, and the first student to get the highest score will receive a $1000 prize! And every student who participates will be entered into our Grand Prize drawing. One student will be chosen at random to win a $5000 prize!

The first Code Hunt Challenge begins on September 20th at 12:01 AM (GMT), and ends on September 21st at 11:59 PM (GMT). Even when there's no Challenge happening, though, you can still visit www.codehunt.com and practice your skills to get ready for the big event.

To get started, please register now and sign into your Imagine Cup Dashboard.Then find the Code Hunt Challenge and sign up!

Categories: Planet

Project Based Learning with a Purpose with @mrgfactoftheday

Cool Cat Teacher Blog Vicki Davis - 19 September, 2014 - 21:04

With only 1 in 10 schools offering coding in the USA, Josh Gauthier is one teacher using coding to engage students in learning. He finds learning how to new things in order to engage students is worth the time and money invested.

Listen to Josh Gauthier discuss creating apps with students

Add Josh Gauthier to your PLN Josh Gauthier – Show #75 – Project Based Learning with a Purpose

Josh Gauthier is a fourth year teacher in Wisconsin, who just moved to teaching at the local high school. Totally amazed at what his students would take on when given the chance, he watched in awe as his students learned  to create apps, using XCode and other languages.

Listen to #ecmatters show #75

Note: Show #93 was another Every Classroom Matters show about students creating apps with a fifth grader who created a french language app.

Every Classroom Matters is a bi-weekly podcast by Vicki Davis on BAM Radio network. Listening will help you teach with better results, lead with a positive impact, and live with a greater purpose. Subscribe.

Need help listening to the show?

If you’re clicking “Play” on the BAM Radio Site, this often works best in Internet Explorer. Or subscribe in a podcatcher. To get help use this tutorial.

Show notes prepared by Lisa Durff, Production Coordinator for Every Classroom Matters.

The post Project Based Learning with a Purpose with @mrgfactoftheday appeared first on Cool Cat Teacher Blog.

Categories: Planet

New Badge for CSU and NoTosh

HeyJude Judy O'Connell - 19 September, 2014 - 20:40

@aus_teach *Actually* crying with laughter, at Melbourne Coffee Morning courtesy of @mikecoulter #edcm @heyjudeonline #inf536

— Ewan McIntosh (@ewanmcintosh) September 14, 2014

Just when you think academic life is getting boring, along comes another opportunity to play nicely with friends!  In this case, my most excellent colleague Ewan McIntosh is in the middle of working with a good bunch of lucky students who are busy in our new subject Designing Spaces for Learning, which is part of our  in our fab new degree in 2014 Master of Education (Knowledge Networks & Digital Innovation).

This needs more than just a tick for a subject completed!  This is why! This is what has happened!

We’ve got a badge!  But we need to tell the story of the context and why we have the badge first!

Ewan masterminded the writing of the subject to fit the profile of our degree, and the students of course are encountering  challenges almost on a daily basis. Together we have been pushing the boundaries in traditional academic processes, and assessments. The most recently completed task (no marks, just challenges – that’s different!) has been a creative coffee morning experience.

In fact students were challenged to undertake a coffee morning, afternoon, evening beer, meeting the criteria of the task.

This assessment is undertaken in three parts:

  1. The creation and undertaking of a Creative Coffee Morning in your community.
  2. The online publication of photos, video, a Twitter hashtag archive, Storify and/or blog post which shows the activity that occurred during your Creative Coffee Morning.
  3. After completing your own task, you must provide kind, specific and useful feedback on at least three of your subject.

The upshot has been a wide range of activities, in a variety of settings.  But I’m sharing here the Storify #INF536 Creative Coffee Morning: A meeting of creatives to discuss creativity, design, design thinking and the design of learning spaces, of an event that took place in Melbourne, because I was very lucky to be able to attend!

You get the drift?

This degree and this subject is not your regular experience, even thought it does get structured around the traditional framework of an online degree. It’s new, and because it’s new, we wanted to see what else we could do.  Some of our students are also just doing this subject, as ‘single subject study’ and others are here for the long haul of getting a fab new degree.  So why not do more??

Charles Sturt University (CSU) has seen the potential for digital badges and are running an innovation project involving a number of faculty pilots in 2014. The benefit of digital badges for the Earner is that they can profile themselves online through displaying their badges and highlighting their most recent and relevant continuing education and professional development achievements. So in our case, the Faculty of Education,  has partnered with the global leader and CEO of NoTosh, Ewan McIntosh (expert and international keynote speaker on innovation, design thinking and creativity) to offer a digital badge in Designing Spaces for Learning. This badge recognises the successful demonstration of an earner’s ability to design spaces for learning through engaging in theory and collaborative practice, and fits beautifully into the participatory intentions of the  Master of Education (Knowledge Networks and Digital Innovation).

I hope that this will be the first of many digital badges that will be offered, but for now  we can learn from our experience of designing and issuing a badge, and improve on this for our next offering.

Experimentation with digital badges is gaining momentum across Australian universities with various trials and projects being announced including Curtin University’s Curtin Badges and Deakin University’s Deakin Digital.

I’m excited to be involved in actualising digital badging at CSU with NoTosh!

We’ve been connected online since a TeachMeet in Glasgow on the 20th of September 2006 (Judy beaming in via Skype at 2am).  By the way, did you know that TeachMeets were conceived in the summer of 2006 in Edinburgh, Scotland, under the name “ScotEduBlogs Meetup. The new name TeachMeet was created by Ewan McIntosh and agreed upon by the attendees of the first event. The 2nd Edition was held in Glasgow on the 20th of September 2006.

Want to join us in 2015 for this subject, or in the whole program – you’ll find that enrollments are open for March. Come join us :-)





Related articles [View the story "Creative Coffee Morning #INF536" on Storify]
Filed under: Badges, Cloud Computing, Connectivism, Design thinking, Future Directions, in Australia Tagged: Charles Sturt University, Digital badges, Ewan McIntosh, Twitter
Categories: Planet

So Many Ways To Do The Same Thing

Computer Science Teacher Alfred Thompson - 19 September, 2014 - 20:22
I updated my list of block programming languages and tools yesterday. Two more bringing the total list to 17. Seventeen? Yep. Also this week I learned about Gidget  (thanks to Mark Guzdial) which is a more text based programming environment for teaching programming. There are so many of these tools out there.
It seems like these sorts of tools for teaching beginning programming are appearing faster and faster all the time. A couple of years there were just a few of them with Alice and Scratch getting almost all of the attention. Next came Snap! in terms of attracting a large teacher base. Of course those were not the first around but they were the first to really jump into mainstream CS education. All of these have their fans and lots of people rave about them. Do we have research on how they work? Not much. Even less on the newer ones.
Recently I asked (Yet More Block Programming Languages) why these new languages were created and received a nice answer from one of the creators. (Thanks Jeff Gray) I suspect everyone who creates one of these tools has their own ideas about what should be done and how. I’m not going to tell anyone not to try something they feel good about.
In some cases, Spherly and App Inventor just to name two, a specific application domain is the target. Robots and phones in those two examples. In others a specific platform such as apps for iPads or Android devices. Or even different programming paradigms – TouchDevelop for small screens and a touch interface rather than a keyboard. They all touch some interest of study and some audience.
Students react to different tools differently. I have asked groups of students about several on different occasions. I’ll have some tell me they love Scratch and hate Alice. Others hate Scratch and love Alice. It seems to be a pretty personal thing.
Right now I am gathering a list of educational tools and projects that teachers are using to teach programming. Not just at the very beginner level up up to and even beyond Advanced Placement Computer Science. (Supported by code.org) I’m looking for volunteer teachers who are willing to help me review and rate them all. If you are interested and willing to help let me know. Email at act2@acthompson.net Thanks
Categories: Planet

Connected Educator Month Australia | Helping educators thrive in a connected world

Oz/NZ Educators Diigo Group - 18 September, 2014 - 23:55


  • "Throughout October 2014, a collaborative calendar will connect thousands of educators across the globe to engaging and diverse professional learning events, communities and resources." - Roland Gesthuizen

Tags: event, community, Victoria, PD, list, PLN, VicPLN

by: Roland Gesthuizen

Categories: International News

Teach APCS–A New Shared Resource Site

Computer Science Teacher Alfred Thompson - 18 September, 2014 - 19:49

A few days ago I was contacted by Christina Cacioppo whose day job is an engineer at a startup but who is also helping to teach Advanced Placement Computer Science. She is involved at a public school in San Francisco through TEALS (http://tealsk12.org) which places software professionals in the classroom to help start CS programs. Christina has created her own site to share resources. I have to say it has a lot already but she is looking for others to contribute as well. The site is called Teach APCS.

According to its creator, Teach APCS currently has:

  • an interactive REPL to help students get started
  • a dictionary of common terms
  • a compiler-error-to-English translator
  • a list of exercises that have been tested in classrooms and seem successful (these look particularly interesting to me BTW)
  • a "microtext" – snippet-sized explanations of key AP CS concepts
  • a list of microlectures – solid YouTube videos that could supplement
    classroom instruction.

If you are teaching APCS or other Java course check it out. Perhaps share some resources of your own!

Categories: Planet

Mindful learning

Bluyonder Greg Whitby - 18 September, 2014 - 17:42

The challenge of re-imagining schooling is not about changing structures but mindsets. This was the theme of my keynote address at the ACE National Conference in Adelaide recently.  It is time for a new professional maturity.  Let me be clear that professional maturity is the courage to think differently, respond creatively and to act boldly against a dominant and outdated educational narrative.

There have been two books this year that have influenced my thinking on how we think more mindfully about learning and teaching.  The first is Carol Dweck’s Mindset.  The other is Ellen Langer’s ‘The Power of Mindful Learning‘.  Langer is Professor of Psychology at Harvard University and has devoted much of her career to the theory of mindfulness.

Like Dweck, Langer stresses that myths and mindsets about education undermine the process of learning.  The desire by educators to personalise learning isn’t a new concept but Langer suggests a new approach – teaching students how to make meaning of content themselves.

Langer talks about enabling students to draw their own distinctions and to frame learning in such a way as to see more than one answer or angle.  When students are able to contextualise material it allows them to ‘create working definitions that are continually revised.’   In her experiments over the years, Langer has found that when information is presented as ‘could be’ rather than ‘is’, it immediately opens up the possibility of seeing things from different perspectives or more mindfully.

Reflecting on her own teaching practice, Langer says we should see that every inadequate answer a student gives is often an adequate answer when viewed in another context.  Langer writes:

If we respect students’ abilities to define their own experiences, to generate their own hypotheses, and to discover new ways of categorizing the world, we might not be so quick to evaluate the adequacy of their answers. We might, instead, begin listening to their questions.  Out of the questions of students come some of the most creative ideas and discoveries.   All answers come out of the question.  If we pay attention to our questions, we increase the power of mindful learning.

Often when I hear educators talk about the challenges of learning and teaching, they begin with ‘The reality is…….’.  As Langer shows, the reality is one perspective or one way of looking at the issue.  This notion is wonderfully illustrated by Salvador Dali in his painting The Persistence of Memory which challenges our concept of time.  There are as Dali depicts, multiple realities and many ways of seeing what ‘could be’ if we begin to view things differently – more mindfully.

The imperative we have to deliver a more relevant and personalised learning experience for all students demands that we think and respond differently.  John Hattie encourages teachers and leaders to adopt new mind frames.  He says these must ‘pervade our thinking about teaching and learning, because it is these ways of viewing our world that then lead to the optimal decisions for the particular contexts in which we work.’

Mindful learning must begin with mindful teaching.  And the challenge of re-imagining schooling begins not with what is but what could be.








Categories: Planet

The Top 35 edTech Influencers

Oz/NZ Educators Diigo Group - 18 September, 2014 - 17:37


  • List with biographies of 35 educators who are innovating education through using technology. With links to them online. - Rhondda Powling

Tags: teaching, educational technology, educators

by: Rhondda Powling

Categories: International News

Bitstrips - Comics starring YOU and your Friends

Oz/NZ Educators Diigo Group - 18 September, 2014 - 17:17


  • This is an online comic creator. It offers flexibility and quite a lot of customization with the options and features. This flexibility in Bitstrips comics allows you to create virtually any story that you can imagine. - Rhondda Powling

Tags: comicstrips, comics, cartoon, comic_strips, tools, comic, educational technology

by: Rhondda Powling

Categories: International News

Before You Move Onto the Next Big Thing…

The Principal of Change George Couros - 18 September, 2014 - 11:56

Often after presentations, I will hear things like, “This is really cool, but what’s the next big thing in education?”

My response?

Shouldn’t we become great at what we are doing now first?

The problem with continuously focusing on the future is that we are often neglecting the present.  The next cool “app” often leads us to going a mile-wide and an inch-deep.  We want our students to have meaningful learning, yet we often want to implement every new thing we hear about or see, that we never really become great at anything.

While we are fixated on things like “school in 2030″, just remember that there are kids in your building that need you to knock it out the park right now.  Just like we want our students to have deep and powerful learning experiences, we have to learn how to create these  same opportunities for ourselves. That takes dedication and long-term commitment, which are the same things we are hoping to develop in our kids.

Categories: Planet

National Poetry Month: Exemplars from EDSITEment: Poetry for the Common Core | EDSITEment

Oz/NZ Educators Diigo Group - 18 September, 2014 - 10:37


  • National Poetry Month: Exemplars from EDSITEment: Poetry for the Common Core - Rhondda Powling

Tags: poetry

by: Rhondda Powling

Categories: International News

NCWIT Aspirations in Computing 2015

Computer Science Teacher Alfred Thompson - 17 September, 2014 - 20:05

The nomination period for the 2015 NCWIT Award for Aspirations in Computing is now open. If you know a high school woman who is interested in computing nominate her or suggest she nominate herself. This is a great program to give some girls some recognition and support. And there are prizes too! From the web site:

The NCWIT Award for Aspirations in Computing honors young women who are active and interested in computing and technology, and encourages them to pursue their passions. This multi-tiered competition includes recognition at the national level (sponsored by Bank of America) and at the local level (sponsored by Microsoft), serving 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands.

Criteria and Eligibility Any U.S. high school woman with computing aspirations is eligible and encouraged to apply: NCWIT recognizes aspirations as well as accomplishments. Aspirations Award recipients are chosen for their outstanding aptitude and interest in computing, proven leadership ability, academic performance, and plans for post-secondary education. For more detailed information, please visit www.aspirations.org/faqs.
Categories: Planet

Initial findings | Australian Institute for Teaching and School Leadership

Oz/NZ Educators Diigo Group - 17 September, 2014 - 16:54


  • "ITSL, in collaboration with the Centre of Program Evaluation at the University of Melbourne are conducting a three-year process and impact evaluation of the implementation of the Australian Professional Standards for Teachers.
    The purpose of the Evaluation is to assess the usefulness, effectiveness and impact of the Standards on improving teacher quality.
    Over 6,002 respondents including teachers, school leaders, pre-service teachers and teacher educators participated in the 2013 National Survey. Initial analysis from the survey highlights the key findings below." - Rhondda Powling
  • "ITSL, in collaboration with the Centre of Program Evaluation at the University of Melbourne are conducting a three-year process and impact evaluation of the implementation of the Australian Professional Standards for Teachers.
    The purpose of the Evaluation is to assess the usefulness, effectiveness and impact of the Standards on improving teacher quality.
    Over 6,002 respondents including teachers, school leaders, pre-service teachers and teacher educators participated in the 2013 National Survey. Initial analysis from the survey highlights the key findings below." - Rhondda Powling

Tags: AITSl, teaching, Teaching Standards, infographic

by: Rhondda Powling

Categories: International News

15+ Teaching Ideas to Get You Excited About Teaching

Cool Cat Teacher Blog Vicki Davis - 16 September, 2014 - 21:14

Our classrooms are full of ones. Not hundreds not hundreds of thousands – – not millions — but there are millions of ONEs. Each child is unique. Each child is an individual. So are you teachers! We don’t do all the things quite the same. I read a great quote from Beth Moore that represents teachers so well:

You don’t have to see eye to eye to be glad to be side by side.

Do you need some ideas for improvement?

It fits.  I want to share with you some fast, easy ideas to make your classroom more excellent. For each of these ideas, I’m linking to a show that will help you learn more.

Which show? Well, many of you may not know but I do a bi-weekly (and sometimes more) show on BAM Radio called “Every Classroom Matters” and I’m celebrating 100 episodes this week!!!

The shows are a short 10 minutes. The focus is great education wherever it is happening: K12, highered, homeschool, virtual school, professional development. Learners of all ages in every country. Excellent teaching and trends – wherever they happen — are the focus (thus the name Every Classroom Matters.)

I want you to be encouraged and hopeful! Let’s get some ideas from each other. Here are 15 ideas and shows (and videos) to go with them.

1. Let Your Students Make Apps

Kennedy and her teacher Marsha Harris. Kennedy made an app to help other kids learn French and about France.

Kennedy (a fifth grade student) and her teacher Marsha Harris, @marshamac74 did this at their school in Atlanta, GA using Crescerance(I’m going to be doing this too at my school. We’ll start in October!)

Listen to #ecmatters show #93 “Students and Teachers Experimenting with Creating Apps  2. Encourage Your School to Start Prototyping

Scot Hoffman at the American School of Bombay in India is leading the school’s R&D department.

How do you innovate when you’ve “always done it this way?” The American School of Bombay has a fascinating approach: have an R&D department. If you don’t know “R&D” stands for “Research and Development.” Companies who spend money on R&D will be innovators in 3-5 years. The intentionally research and develop products for their company. This can apply to our classrooms too. Learn about ASB’s R&D department and some of the improvements that they’ve made with teachers. Apply this by experimenting and protyping teaching methods in your classroom.

Listen to #ecmatters show #92 R&D: Identifying the Next Best Teaching Practices  3. Encourage your Special Needs Kids to Make Videos

Two guests — one father and one award winning teacher — both found that videos are an excellent way to bring special needs kids into the larger classroom. Gary Dietz and John Lozano

 John Lozano and His Student Michael
Listen to #ecmatters show #73 with teacher John Lozano: Using How Do We Help Other Kids and Adults Understand Autism?   A Father Finds Videos Help His Son Give a Winning Report

Father Gary Dietz shares some stories about working with his son in the classroom. Dads of special needs kids will particularly love his heartwarming book, Dads of Disability(Read his post 5 practical lessons for elementary classroom inclusion about the impact that inclusion has on all kids in the classroom.)

Listen to #ecmatters show #91 with father Gary Dietz (author of Dads of Disability) : Understanding the Anxieties Around Educating Special Needs Kids   4. Consider the In-Flip Model of Learning if the Flipped Classroom Isn’t Doable for You

The flipped classroom isn’t doable for everyone — not all places have good Internet or computers at home for the kids. The in-flip model is one that every teacher can use. I love this model of teaching as I use Haiku Learning and prepare videos of the detailed work we’ll be doing. Learn more about how Flipped learning is moving forward and about the in-flip from Flipped Classroom pioneer Jon Bergmann. (Recorded at ISTE 2014.)

Listen to #ecmatters show #90 with Jon Bergmann: Preparing Your Students for Flipped Learning  5. Join Some Global Collaborative Projects This Year

Global collaboration is vitally important for every 21st century classroom. Whether you’re using Mystery Location calls or learning about rhinos in South Africa, this is something you can do.  Here are several ideas for you.

(If you’ve read the book I coauthored Flattening Classrooms, Engaging Minds – you’ll know that I co-developed a model for how to integrate global collaboration into your classroom and still meet standards. I still believe this book is THE definitive guidebook for global collaboration in education – I haven’t read anything that comes close to the how-to. Yes, I’m biased. ;-))

Listen to #ecmatters show #89 with Toni Olivieri-Barton Getting Your Students Involved in Global Partnerships 

My students have signed up again for the AIC Conflict Simulation run by Dr. Jeff Stanzler at the University of Michigan and we start next week. This awesome program teaches the Arab Israeli Conflict like nothing you’ve ever seen.

Listen to #ecmatters show #74 with Dr. Jeff Stanzler How Simulation Games Can Teach Complex Subjects 

Some challenges are hands on and use social media. This transformative project teaches about water poverty in a safe but powerful way.

Listen to #ecmatters show #64 The 4 Liter Challenge: Teaching Students ABout Water Poverty 

Karen Stadler from South Africa won ISTE’s Online Learning Award for this one. This is a great example of a project that a teacher has created that is making a difference.

Listen to #ecmatters show #56 The Rhino Project: Teaching Social Consciousness.

Students are connecting with Olympic Champions. Even if you don’t get in the program, the videos are free for all of us to use. They are a gold mine of grit, determination and powerful stories!

Listen to #ecmatters with Steve Mesler and teacher Julieann Cappuccino about Classroom Champions: How Students are Learning Critical Skills from the Best in the World  6. Learn the Tricks and Hacks for Google

Susan Oxnevad gives an awesome overview of 12 great tools to use with Google Drive. (If you’re into this, you might also want to read my 15 top Google Add-Ons)

Listen to #ecmatters show #77 12 Great Ways to Use Google Drive  7. Consider Gamification and How You’re going to Gamify Your Classroom

Cat Flippen (yes that is her very cool name) is researching games in the classroom and what they are (and are not). You’ll find yourself motivaed to use games with her work.

Listen to #ecmatters show #86 Serious Games: Rethinking Gamification in Education  

Watch this video that we recorded part of the Gamifi-ed OOC this past February with teacher Michael Matera who has gamified his entire history course. He has awesome ideas.

Speaking of Gamifi-ed – this past school year some higher ed educators and I combined our classrooms to study games. (We’ll be at it again in February if you’re interested.

Listen to #ecmatters show #51 Gamification: What Does it Take to Create Games that Actually Result in Learning with Verena Roberts, Dr. Lee Graham, and Colin Osterhout 8. Watch Videos of Best Practices and Share Them with Your PLC

Bob Greenberg is using his retirement to travel the country and record videos with leading thought leaders. The Brainwaves YouTube channel is must watch and share. These resources are fantastic snippets to use and discuss in any group seeking to improve education. Hear the back story behind what he’s doing. (It will make you love Bob and his noble quest even more.) Sir Ken Robinson and Chris Dede are among his newest interviewees.

This is a perfect example of learning to use the subscription feature in YouTube — so you can keep up with a channel like this!

Listen to #ecmatters show #85 Capturing the Best Teaching Practices and Leaving a Legacy 9. Dress Up and Hook Students

Elementary teacher Jeromie Heath has a costume closet! Great teachers remember that they are the most important asset they have in the classroom. When we dress up — kids take notice. (I also gave some clues into my own “Zombie Test Prep” example.

Listen to #ecmatters show #84 Making Learning Fun: Engaging Students With Imagination 

Dave Burgess and his book Teach Like a PIRATE: Increase Student Engagement, Boost Your Creativity, and Transform Your Life as an Educator totally rocked my classroom when I read them during the summer of 2013. Every teacher should listen to this show and buy his book!

Listen to #ecmatters show #20 Teach Like a Pirate: Grabbing and Keeping Your Student’s Attention with Dave Burgess 10. Encourage Students to Read a Renegade eBook

Twenty something’s Seth and Chandler Bolt (one of them is a rock star – literally) have written  a fantastic ebook for teens: Breaking Out Of A Broken System. The back story and how they are using the proceeds to help those in poverty is even better. This is a refreshing look at success and education by two brothers breaking the rules and suceeding anyway. I loved it.

Listen to #ecmatters show #83 Learning for Life Versus Learning for Grades, College or Career with Chandler Bolt 11. Make Sure Young Children Use Technology in Age Appropriate Ways

Author Karen Nelson is a PreK teacher integrating technology. She uses so many ways to positively connect kids and keep balance.

Listen to #ecmatters show #82 Generation C: When Very Young Children Are Connected to Technology 

Karen didn’t know this but her work lines up with the research from Patti Wolman Summers’ book about using iPads with kids under 4.

 Listen to #ecmatters Show #55: Toddlers on Technology: Touch Screens, Picking Apps for Young Kids and Setting Limits 

These two listens would make great discussions for elementary age teachers in staff meetings and PD.

12. Make Sure Your Body Language is Positive

Matthew Kohut, author of Compelling People: The Hidden Qualities That Make Us Influential, shares about body language and the subtle cues that can help you be a better educator. Plus, don’t miss the must-know body language tricks for speech coaches that you’ve probably never heard before!

Listen to #ecmatters show with Matthew Kohut #81 Hidden Social Qualities of Effective Educators  13. Write in Powerful New Ways

As those of you who read my blog know, I’m wildly intrigued by how writing is reinvented (thus my book Reinventing Writing). Linda Yollis is a classroom blogger-guru and has powerful ways for her students to connect.

Listen to  #ecmatters show #49 Trial and Error: 3 Strategies for Building an Authentic Audience for Your Student’s Work with Linda Yollis

First grade teacher and award winner Karen Lirenman uses Twitter in her classroom. You can do this too!

Listen to #ecmatters show #10 Savvy Use of Edtech in Early Ed Classrooms with Karen Lirenman

Annice Brave, 2012 Illinois Teacher of the Year uses Google Docs to co-plan with her fellow teacher Jeff Hudson. She also talks about journalism and AP Scores.

Listen to #ecmatters show #27 Reinventing Your Classroom  14. How to Have Great Test Scores and Focus on Learning

Superintendent Pam Moran has an epic interview where she shares the philosophy that has led her district to test less and score better. This is a must listen and share share with your superintendents and principals who say it can’t be done.

Listen to #ecmatters show #69 The Proper Role of Testing with Pam Moran 15 – Find Your Own Passion

I wish I had time to list every single show but it is now 7:05 and if I don’t get dressed, I’ll be late for school.

As of this moment there are 100 show episodes listed on the Every Classroom Matters page! Look at the page and find one that interests you and what you’re trying to do right now.

Shine the Light on Great Teaching Everywhere

This show is my own effort to shine a light upon everyday educators. Every day educators are AMAZING. Let’s celebrate teaching and learning wherever it is. I hope these short 10 minute shows help you get energized and excited about all the things you can do in your classroom. And remember.

Every Classroom Matters — YOUR classroom matters. Level up a little every day.

The post 15+ Teaching Ideas to Get You Excited About Teaching appeared first on Cool Cat Teacher Blog.

Categories: Planet

Why I Retweet Things From Heavily Followed People

Computer Science Teacher Alfred Thompson - 16 September, 2014 - 20:15

I used to think that retweeting something that someone who had a lot of followers tweeted was a waste of time. After all they reach many more people than I do. Plus many of the same people follow both of us so I’d be duplicating things. Then I started to look at statistics that twitter provides. Mind opening.

For starters even though I have something around 5,000 followers it seems from the statistics that only between 150 and 250 people actually see the average tweet I make. Still an ego boosting number but it made me realize that just because I see a tweet doesn’t mean that all the other followers of a tweeter see it. In fact only a small percentage of followers see each tweet. So if I see someone tweets something really good then there is a chance someone who didn’t see the original tweet, even though they follow the other person, will see my retweet. And that is a good thing.

For me much of the value in tweeter is what people share with me. Sharing things with others, original to me or from someone else, is what keeps the whole thing working. This is also why I include links from people who have many followers on Twitter or on their own blog BTW. If information is good then it should be shared.

Linking from a blog or retweeting on Twitter also helps bring new readers/followers to people sharing good information. Since many of the visits to this blog come from search engines there is always a chance that someone will find a blog, a twitter person, or a piece of information that they were not looking for because they didn’t know it was our there.

So I retweet things I like no matter how many followers the person has and link to blog no matter how many readers they have. It’s what makes the web work.

Categories: Planet

Dashboard | EQUELLA

Classroom 2.0 Diigo Group - 16 September, 2014 - 14:32


  • an open access repository service powered by EQUELLA. This publicly accessible repository promotes and provides access to resources contributed by academic institutions and repositories from around the world. 

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by: Kerry J

Categories: International News

8 Characteristics of the “Innovator’s Mindset”

The Principal of Change George Couros - 16 September, 2014 - 10:07

Recently I explored the notion of the “Innovator’s Mindset”, and have thought a lot about this idea.  As I look to write on the topic of “Leading Innovative Change” within schools, we are looking to develop educators as innovators.  To be innovative, you have to look at yourself as an innovator first, and to create schools that embody this mindset as a “culture”, we must develop this in individuals first.

Building upon Carol Dweck’s work, I have been looking at the traits of the “Innovator’s Mindset”, which would be summarized as follows:

Belief that abilities, intelligence, and talents are developed leading to the creation of new and better ideas.

To develop students as “innovators” in their pursuits, we must embody this as educators.  As I continue to research and look at different processes where innovation excel, such as design thinking, there are several characteristics that seem common amongst these themes.  Here they are below and why they are important for educators:

  1. Empathetic - To create new and better ways of doing things, we need to first understand who we are creating them for.  As educators, innovation starts with the question, “what is best for this child.”  For us to create something better for our students, we have to understand their experiences and this is why it is imperative that we not only talk about new ways of learning, but immerse ourselves in these opportunities.  This way we can understand what works and what does not work from the perspective of a learner, not a teacher.  If anything, teachers have to a deep understanding of learning before they can become effective in teaching.  We need to put ourselves in our student’s shoes before we can create better opportunities for them in our classrooms.
  2. Problem Finders - As Ewan McIntosh talks about, it is important that we teach our kids how to ask good questions instead of simply asking for answers. All innovation starts from a question not an answer.  The invention of the home computer started with the focus of, “How do we bring the experience of a powerful computer into the homes of families?” Many capstone projects developed by students in their classrooms start with first finding, and then solving problems both locally and globally.  How often do we as educators immerse ourselves in a similar process?  If want to be innovative, we need to look at questions first.
  3. Risk-Takers – Many would argue that “best-practice” is the enemy of innovation.  To be truly innovative, you sometimes have to go off the beaten path.  The reality of this is, that for some kids, the “tried-and-true” methods will still work, but others, you will need to try something different.  In a time where many kids are totally checking out of school, is “best practice” truly “best”, or just “most well known”?
  4. Networked – Steven Johnson has a powerful quote on the importance of networks where he states, “chance favours the connected mind.”  Innovation does not happen in isolation, as it is often ideas that are being shared amongst many that lead to new and better ideas being developed.  The best educators have always created networks to learn from others and create new and powerful ideas.  Now though, many have taken the opportunity to take networks to a whole different level through the use of social media to share and develop new ideas.  Isolation is the enemy of innovation.  Networks are crucial if we are going to develop the “Innovator’s Mindset”.
  5. Observant – A practice normal amongst those that would be considered “innovative” is that they constantly look around their world and create connections.  It is normal to have a notebook or use their mobile device to record ideas or thoughts around them and link them to their own ideas.  In education, we often look to solutions to come from “education”, but when organizations around the world share their practices and ideas, we have to tap into their diverse expertise and learn from them as well.  Wisdom is all around us, we just have to look for it.
  6. Creators – So many people have great ideas, yet they never come to fruition.  Innovation is a combination of ideas and hard work.  Conversation is crucial to the process of innovation, but without action, ideas simply fade away and/or die.  What you create with what you have learned is imperative in this process.
  7. Resilient – Things do not always work on the first try, so what are the tweaks or revamping that is needed?  To simply try something and give up as soon as it fails never leads to innovation only a definitive end.  This is something great teachers model daily in their teaching, as they turn good ideas into great ones.
  8. Reflective – What worked? What didn’t?  What could we do next time?  If we started again, what would we do differently?  What can we build upon?  It is important that in education and innovation, we sit down and reflect on our process.  This last point is definitely lacking in many aspects of education as we are always “trying to get through the curriculum”, yet reflection is probably the most important part of education as the connections we make on our own is where deep learning happens.

For educators to embody this, it is imperative that leaders create a culture where this types of characteristics are not only accepted, but encouraged.  It is also imperative that at both the leadership and whole organization level, these characteristics are embodied.  To many, being “innovative” is no more than a buzzword, but if we truly have innovative students, we need to embody the “Innovator’s Mindset” at all levels.

Categories: Planet

Interesting Links 15 September 2014

Computer Science Teacher Alfred Thompson - 15 September, 2014 - 20:16

Overshadowed, at least in the US, by the anniversary of the attack by terrorists on New York and the Pentagon, last week also included Programmers Day. Apparently started in Russia when Dmitry Medvedev issued an executive order establishing a new professional holiday, Programmers' Day, back in 2009.

Programmers' Day will be celebrated on the 256th day of each year, that is on September 13 or 12 depending on whether the year is a leap year.

I didn’t know in time to celebrate with my students. Maybe next year. I did collect a lot of good links to share with you. Read them all and don’t miss any.

Interesting article in @Marie Claire: How to Land a Job at Microsoft It’s good advice no matter what tech company you are interested in working for though.

Another hi-tech company is getting involved in promoting computer science education as Salesforce Pours $6M Into SF Schools, Computer Science Education Five million directly to schools and another million to CODE.ORG

Code.org also announced their new  Code Studio set of tools for teaching programming last week. 

Computer science is now the #1 course at Harvard (Just passed Economics) How does that happen? I wonder.

Digital Literacy vs. Learning to Code: A False Dichotomy Worth reading as you probably need to talk about this. I know I do.

Debugging the Gender Gap Documentary thanks to the CSTA blog I found out about this movie and watched the trailer. Good stuff!

Laura Blankenship shows once again why teachers need to share what they are doing with other teachers.  Net Neutrality and other hot topics is about how she starts of class with a short discussion of current and important topics. I need to do this with my classes.

17 Rare Images Tell the Real Story of Women in Tech by @michaelmccutch About people who too often are left out of the history of technology.

Know any women in STEM fields looking for help with graduate education funding?  Microsoft Research is giving scholarships to female graduate students in CS, Engineering, Information Science and Math. Pass it on. http://research.microsoft.com/en-us/collaboration/awards/fellows-women.aspx

Categories: Planet

Place Based Learning

Place Based Learning was the theme of conference on Friday, organised by Deakin University, Warrnambool. Deakin University is our local university (45 mins drive from my school). It is a smaller uni but maintains a wonderful country style community with beautiful grounds and surroundings. Faculties are active in getting grants and working with local schools.

On Friday, I not only attended this conference  but also presented on the theme “Mobile Learning – Changing Learning Spaces”. I spoke on “how can/do mobile technologies support/promote enhanced place-based learning and the types of positive impacts associated with that.”

Dr Julianne Lynch, a senior lecturer in curriculum and pedagogy at the Faculty of Arts & Education welcomed us and set the scene for the day. Although creators of technology create for a specific use, users of the technology will appropriate what they want and use it in ways that often designers did not envisage eg mashups etc. Learners need to be positioned so that can connect with and care for social and environmental welfare of the place, making them responsible for their learning and where they are living.  Experiences can be layered and students get a sense of place through virtual and phsysical spaces.

Several sessions were led by Will King from Brauer College. He outlined the school’s experiences with the Local Koori Mobile Project.  This exciting and essential work with our local aboriginal community ensures that their dialect and stories will be handed on to our current generation. It is essential that some of the stories are told out on Country so that students can learn about aboriginal history, often in the places where significant cultural actions occurred. Stories need to be connected to place! ARIS, a mobile app, is being experimented with to provide documentary evidence versus physical presence. Guided by Rob Lowe Snr, Peek-Whurrong elder, Year 7 Brauer College students participated in a field based local history program. They collected digital artefacts and created a heritage trail, navigable using the geo-tracking capabilities of hand held mobile devices.

Will and  Paul McLaughlin,  a phys ed teacher at Marion College, Ararat, with an interest in integrating technology in education, including location based games,  showcased their students’ learning and outlined the processes involved in developing a game-based local history trail linked to the Australian curriculum. The mobile app ARIS was used to develop this local history trail.
Oral history is still vitally important and the way that aboriginal knowledge has been transmitted.

Terri Redpath, coordinator for the School of Education at Deakin University, shared her work with the students in using iPads to record learning. Students become producers of information, going from print based learning to multimodal communication. Students put their learning an knowlegde into their own words and came up with powerful rich understanding.

Steph Hann outlined her work with geocaching and grade 6 students. Geocaching is a “real world outdoor treasure hunting game” using GPS enabled devices.

Students worked with staff and students at Deakin to produce 6 geocaches. These were hidden at the university. Their theme was based on the careers and courses that uni students could do. The learning included making links with community, sense of ownership, sharing stories and the importances of imagery.

Nadine Frankel, a specialist science teacher at Warrnambool East Primary School together with a fellow science teacher Kerry McCarthy won a Victorian Education Excellence Award for Outstanding Curriculum Innovation. They worked on a project in primary science (WEPS – focused on the Fluker Post environmental monitoring system). Finally, a session on the lane-ways of Warrnambool using some digital augmentation was shared by Karen Richards. She is an award-winning artist working in the medium of embroidery, digital embroidery, animation, lace sculpture etc.

A SWOT analysis in small groups completed the day, which was a wonderful celebration of local, innovative teaching and learning and Place Based Learning.

Categories: Planet

Why We Don’t Truly Embrace Failure

The Principal of Change George Couros - 15 September, 2014 - 08:13

Although it seems to be cliche and commonplace in education to talk about innovation and the importance of “failure” in the process, this thought process seems to be misguided and focusing on the wrong aspect of the process.  Advocates of the importance of “failure” will often point to stories such as that of James Dyson, the inventor of the Dyson Vacuum who, “spent 15 years creating 5,126 versions that failed before he made one that worked.”  Yet the reality of this story is that no one would even mention James Dyson if it wasn’t for that one success at the end.  How many other vacuum inventors can you name and, especially,  how many of the other vacuum inventors that never successfully got a vacuum on the market can you name?

The part of this process that is imperative is resiliency and grit.  Resiliency, in this case, being the ability to come back after a defeat or unsuccessful attempt, and grit meaning a “resolve or strength of character.”  These are characteristics that are important in the innovative process as we need to continuously develop new and better ways to serve our students.

For example, I was recently talking to a learning coach that shared her frustration about working with another teacher who basically tried one process with a student and it didn’t work. When her learning coach asked her whether she tried anything else, the teacher had told her she hadn’t.  The learning coach was obviously frustrated that this was a “one and done” situation.  Later, our group conversation turned to focus on the notion of failure and how it is important that educators “embrace” and be okay with it.  I immediately jumped in and asked the learning coach, “Do you consider the process you described earlier as a failure?”, to which she quickly said “yes”.  I then asked, “and were you okay with that?”, to which she emphatically said, “NO!”  Trying out different things and figuring out alternative options for our students are all part of the “innovator’s mindset“, but accepting failure, especially when it comes to our kids, is not something I, or others, will ever embrace.

When I first started teaching, I remember famously saying to a student, you are going to learn the way I teach.  I could not have been more wrong in my thought process with this student.  A great teacher adjusts to the learner, not the other way around.  This is where resiliency and grit are not only “nice”, but necessary.  Not accepting failure is important to be successful in serving our kids.  What works for one, might not work for another, and as leaders, we need to develop a culture that focuses on doing whatever we can to ensure that we are successful in serving our students.  This “napkin drawing” by comedian Demetri Martin, beautifully outlines this process.

Success is messy, as is learning.  Although I love this picture, the one thing that needs to be pointed out is that on both sides of the drawing, the endpoint of the arrow is pointing in the same direction.  Towards a better way in the end.  Yet in many educational institutions, their “line” would not look like either.  It would simply be a plateau where we have done the same things over and over again; no better no worse.  We all know what a “flat line” means in the medical profession.  Schools can’t mirror that or we might face the same outcome.

Categories: Planet
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