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MAD About Mattering 2017 Kickoff! #appsthatmatter

Cool Cat Teacher Blog Vicki Davis - 9 February, 2017 - 01:44

Global Collaborative App Development

From the Cool Cat Teacher Blog by Vicki Davis

Follow @coolcatteacher on Twitter

Last night we kicked off the MAD about Mattering 2017 project. Last year, we started with five schools. This year, we have fifteen schools. We’ll be in two cohorts– the Mad-junior group (kids under 13) and the MAD-senior group (kids 13 and up.) Right now, it looks like around 1,000 students making apps that matter. Last year was a fantastic time full of learning and we’re excited to kickoff this year.

The picture on this post is from our teacher kickoff meeting. We like to give a high five when we collaborate and work together. I’ve recommended all of the teachers and organizers grab a copy of Flattening Classrooms, Engaging Minds as I’ve found the principles Julie Lindsay and I outlined in that book to remain tried and true when it comes to global collaboration.

The MAD about Mattering Keynote

Kevin Honeycutt has uploaded a great keynote to spur on student excitement and thinking as we encourage them to create apps that matter.

The Organizers

Hats off to organizers Alefiya Bhatia and her team at MAD-Learn from Crescerance for working so closely with us teachers to create such a great project. I do not work for Crescerance (my assistant Lisa Durff will be working for them some because of the amount of support needed and her expertise with global collaboration) — but am lead teacher for the MAD-senior team.

I have 53 ninth and tenth graders from here at Westwood in the project. It is part of our goal here to be leading/bleeding edge in our use of technology and collaborating with the world. We’re so excited to connect with other classrooms around the US, Canada, Australia, and the Mariana Islands! Fun!

They are working closely with teachers to give us the support we need to collaborate. This is the first time I’ve really had a company who understood the pitfalls and struggles of global collaboration and is working to build something that we can use as teachers. It excites me greatly.

I also appreciate Angela Maiers for helping us kick off the project last year. Her #choose2matter movement is blossoming and I support her work 100%! Her encouragement to help us do work that matters to students is always first in my mind.

I’ll be sharing our work some here, but feel free to take a look at our wiki where we’re kicking off student work: http://madaboutmattering2017.wikispaces.com/

The simple goal is to have students create apps that matter in collaborative teams. Stay tuned.

 

The post MAD About Mattering 2017 Kickoff! #appsthatmatter appeared first on Cool Cat Teacher Blog by Vicki Davis @coolcatteacher helping educators be excellent every day. Meow!

Categories: Planet

Helping Students Develop Their Online Identity

The Principal of Change George Couros - 9 February, 2017 - 00:36

In 2015, I wrote the following article entitled, “3 Things Students Should Have Before They Leave High School“. Here are the “3 Things” that I suggested:

As I was speaking at a school in North Broward Preparatory School in Coconut Creek, Florida, and was talking about this, one of the teachers, Jason Shaffer, said, “We already do this.”  I was so pumped to hear more.

I asked him about what he is doing, and he shared that his school has a required course on “personal branding” for students. Not only are they doing the “3 Things”, but they are going way beyond. Here is a snippet from the Huffington Post article written on Jason and the course:

Personal Branding and Digital Communication has been in place at North Broward since summer 2012. The course has evolved over time but the message has remained the same. Identify your passions, stick to your moral code, focus on your goals and tell your personal story through a variety of social platforms. Today, Jason’s curriculum is rich with interactive exercises focused on matching your passions with your online identity. One of his favorite teaching tools? Music.

“A teen’s language is music,” Jason says. “Music allows them to express their identity. There’s no better way to chronicle the stories of their lives.”

In the Personal Branding classroom, students develop a playlist of songs they feel represents the different aspects of their lives. This playlist is eventually published publicly on Google+ — hence the clever name of the exercise, “My Sound Track.” (Fun fact: The most common song on playlists is “Man in the Mirror” by Michael Jackson.)

Once this, and a series of other self-discovery exercises are complete, students build a digital portfolio across various social media sites like About.me, Twitter, LinkedIn, and YouTube. Jason encourages students to leverage brand assets, like photos and logos. Students are also advised to showcase their passions, backstory, extracurricular activities, and accomplishments.

What I loved about this course, is that this was also with the vision of the administrator at the school, and Jason, along with Dr. Joan McGettigan, came up with the vision to make a course that was much more relevant to students’ needs today and in the future.

Up until this course was created (in 2012), our school pretty much like every other high school. Offered a required computer applications course. They learned PowerPoint and it was about dinosaurs most of the time.

My mentor and my advisor at school Dr. Joan McGettigan, had a vision, to make a course that was more relevant to what today’s teen are using.  What tools they’re going to need for college and beyond.

It was a fantastic idea and when the opportunity presented itself to create the curriculum even though they didn’t give me much time start. It really did present a course that kids have fallen in love with.

Jason gives”Five steps for high school students looking to develop a personal brand“:

1. Find your passions

From the court to the stage each of my students is asked to identify what motivates and interests them from both an academic and extra curricular perspective. This requires reflection and goal setting with an eye on the college admissions process and potentially more long term dreams. Come up with a list of your various interests and start from there. Along the way your list is sure to grow as you begin to realize the vast information that exists and is being shared.

2. Learn from others

A few years back I had the pleasure of meeting Pat Williams, the Executive Vice President of the Orlando Magic. At the time, he told me, “Anyone can become an expert if they are willing to read ten books on a particular topic.” I wanted to apply this to the art of digital communications.

Through the web students should access video tutorials, blog posts, hashtags and even experts. Combining their own personal experiences, students can use the web to accumulate a wealth of knowledge and become the type of expert Pat Williams described.

3. Share your learnings

In order to build a reputation and a personal brand you will need to make your learning visible. Use social networks to retweet others and leave meaningful, constructive and thought provoking comments on the blog posts that you find interesting. Join chat rooms and discussion forums so that you can share in professional dialogues and gain an experience usually reserved for those in “the biz”. This helps to both catalog and present what you have learned.

4. Create Original Content

While consuming is great for digesting knowledge and understanding various viewpoints, true learning, understanding and “branding” comes when you are comfortable enough to share your own thoughts, experiences and knowledge on a specific topic. Try shooting and editing a video tutorial or crafting an interesting blog that helps readers connect with you emotionally. Here is where you will find your voice and build emotional connections with your audience.

5. Connect Your Networks

Managing the social networks was a challenge for many students until the discovery of about.me which they now use to tie everything together. For the first time, anyone with a link can follow along in the individual experience that has been crafted. Consider adding an about.me link to your signature line and point visitors in the direction that they can best learn about your brand.

Once students begin to use social networking for professional purposes and understand the power of their voice they are far less prone to the potential hazards of the digital world. Making decisions based about what they post and share becomes easier once they understand their own values have a channel to express them. I would argue that developing a personal brand that best represents who you are is a lifelong process. Although the audience may change over time, the message that your brand presents will remain consistent and provide insight into your personal passions and expertise.

Such great stuff and honestly, five steps that could help anyone reading this set up their own course for students.

Although this is a private school, shouldn’t this be a norm in all schools?  We can no longer say we are preparing students for “the real world”, when what mean is “the real world” that we grew up in, not recognizing current needs of today.  The next time a conversation breaks out on whether we should be teaching “cursive” in schools, I suggest asking how much time we are taking time to prepare for the reality of them all being “googled” continuously throughout their lives.

Kudos to Jason and the team at their school that took a vision, and made it into a reality.

(If you have followed Jason on Twitter already, I would suggest you do! He is doing some great stuff!)

Categories: Planet

#08: The BreakoutEDU Box: The Classroom Experience That Has Everybody Talking

Cool Cat Teacher Blog Vicki Davis - 8 February, 2017 - 22:08

10MT | A 10-Minute Teacher Interview with Adam Bellow

From the Cool Cat Teacher Blog by Vicki Davis

Follow @coolcatteacher on Twitter

Learn the pitfalls, challenges, and advantages of these BreakoutEDU adventure game boxes used to teach everything from grammar to math. Kids and teachers are raving about BreakoutEDU boxes. Let’s learn what they are from Adam Bellow, cofounder of BreakoutEDU.

Adam Bellow (@adambellow)  began his career in the classroom as a High School English teacher. He has worked as a technology training specialist and a Director of Educational Technology. He is the founder of the websites eduTecher, eduClipper,WeLearnedIt, and eduGames. In addition to these free resources, Adam launched the popular charity “Change the World” student-focused charity campaigns and currently works with BreakoutEdu.

Bellow was honored by ISTE in 2010 as an emerging leader and then again in 2011 when he was named Outstanding Young Educator of the year. In 2014 he received the Making IT Happen Award from ISTE as well as Innovator of the Year from the Academy of Education Arts and Sciences.

Learn about BreakoutEDU

In today’s show, Adam explains the BreakoutEDU phenomenon that has educators talking:

  • How BreakoutEDU boxes work
  • The teaching challenges of BreakoutEDU
  • The new skills teachers develop as they use BreakoutEDU boxes
  • Expectations for what the classroom looks and feels like when using BreakoutEDU boxes

I hope you enjoy this episode with Adam !

Listen now!

Leave a review on iTunes today! We’re giving out a #Breakoutedu box to one lucky reviewer! Thank you, Breakout EDU! (You’ll also be entered in the drawing for the Makerbot Replicator Mini+!) See contest rules below.

Want to learn about another technology? Listen to the interview with Karen Lirenman and Kristen Wideen about their favorite iPad apps for elementary classrooms.

Selected Links from this Episode

DOWNLOAD TRANSCRIPT 10MT | #08: The #BreakoutED Box: the Teaching Experience That Has Everybody Talking

Full Bio Adam Bellow

Adam Bellow (@adambellow)  began his career in the classroom as a High School English teacher. He has worked as a technology training specialist and a Director of Educational Technology. He is the founder of the websites eduTecher, eduClipper, WeLearnedIt, and eduGames. In addition to these free resources, Adam launched the popular charity “Change the World” student-focused charity campaigns and currently works with #BreakoutEdu

Bellow was honored by ISTE in 2010 as an emerging leader and then again in 2011 when he was named Outstanding Young Educator of the year. In 2014 he received the Making IT Happen Award from ISTE as well as Innovator of the Year from the Academy of Education Arts and Sciences.

Contests included in this show
  • GIVE AWAY: Drawing for One (1) Breakout EDU Box!!
    • Manner of Selection of Winners: All participants with a valid Twitter or Instagram handle who leave a review on iTunes for the 10-Minute Teacher between February 8, 2017 and midnight on February 9, 2017 will have their handles put into a random drawing to determine the winner.
    • Geographic Area and Eligibility: This is being shipped by the author and the location that is being shipped to should be commensurate with the shipping cost to North America. If it is not, an alternate winner may be awarded.
    • Dates: February 8, 2017 – February 8, 2017 at midnight EST. (We give 48 hours for all reviews to show up on iTunes before drawing.)
    • How Prizes Will be Awarded: All names of people who leave reviews on iTunes will be put into a random drawing by the prize administrator.
    • Determination of date of winner: February 3, 2017 the name will be drawn and the winner will be notified.
    • No purchase necessary.
    • Alternate method of free participation. You may also enter with a social media posting on Instagram or Twitter linking to the show using the hashtag #10MT.
    • Winner’s name will be posted on this blog before February 27, 2017.
    • Void where prohibited.
  • MakerBot Replicator Mini+ Giveaway Contest Rules
    • Manner of selection of winners: All classroom teachers with a valid Twitter or Instagram handle who leave a review on iTunes for the 10-Minute Teacher show will have their handles put into a random drawing to determine the winner. Those who leave a review between 2/1/2017 and 2/3/2017 will have two entries for each review. The winner will be required to verify that they are a classroom teacher and that the MakerBot Mini+Replicator will be used in the classroom. Or, if the winner is not a classroom teacher, we must verify with an appropriately designated principal or administrator of the location in a classroom where the device will be placed. Winning another prize during the contest period from the 10 Minute Teacher Show does not exclude the winner from winning this prize. All reviews of the show are eligible for entry.
    • Geographic Area and Eligibility: Due to shipping costs, this contest covers the United States and Canada. Classroom teachers or those in schools who will place the device in a classroom for student use are eligible to apply.
    • Dates: February 1, 2017 – February 14, 2017 at midnight EST.
    • How Prizes Will Be Awarded: All names of people who leave reviews will be put into a random drawing by the prize administrator.
    • Determination of date of winner: February 15, 2017 the name will be drawn and the winner notified and verified to be a classroom teacher or to place the device in a classroom. If the winner does not meet qualifications, another winner will be selected.
    • No purchase necessary.
    • Alternate method of free participation: You may mail your name, mailing address, email, phone number, and school name to ATTN: Lisa Durff 26 Beall Street, Frostburg, Maryland 21532.
    • Winner’s name will be posted on this blog before February 27, 2017.
    • Void where prohibited.

The post #08: The BreakoutEDU Box: The Classroom Experience That Has Everybody Talking appeared first on Cool Cat Teacher Blog by Vicki Davis @coolcatteacher helping educators be excellent every day. Meow!

Categories: Planet

Cracking the code

Bluyonder Greg Whitby - 8 February, 2017 - 16:18

Last week in his address to the National Press Club, the Prime Minister made brief mention that increased funding to schools hasn’t delivered improved educational outcomes. In the context of Australia’s slipping international rankings in Maths, Science and Reading, the Federal Government wants the biggest bang for the least amount of bucks. One of the specific policies directly tied to funding is the introduction of a Year 1 Literacy Numeracy Assessment that includes a phonics screening check similar to the one introduced in Britain in 2012.

One of the most contentious, divisive and ongoing debates in education is the question around teaching children to read and the role that phonics plays in the process. Learning to read is one of the most complex tasks we engage in as humans. Unlike walking or talking, it is not a naturally acquired skill. For a minority of learners, reading does happen naturally before they start formal schooling without any deliberate, sequenced or planned instruction.

We need to ask ourselves as educators ‘what does it mean to read?’ Sometimes as adults we don’t have the required knowledge to gain meaning from the text we are reading. Think about Sir Isaac Newton’s Principia – we gain meaning from the text by drawing on many strategies including phonic knowledge.

If reading is seen as a process of making meaning, then there are many factors or elements that contribute to the success of reading instruction. As Marie Clay said (2001), “Knowing sounds of letters and letter clusters is essential but not sufficient for successful reading of texts.”

What’s interesting is that the evaluation report undertaken by the National Foundation for Educational Research has found that the Phonics Screening Check and the systematic teaching of phonics in Year 1 classes, increased children’s ability to identify sounds and combinations of sounds, phonics but there was no discernible “identifiable impact on their attainment in literacy.” (Process of Evaluation of the Year 1 Phonics Screening Check Pilot – February 2015).

No-one disputes that the sooner educators can intervene, the greater the opportunity for struggling students to achieve. Since 2009, our system has been assessing Year 1 students in Literacy and Numeracy. Using the data and relying on evidence-based research, we chose to implement two intervention programs for Year 1 students: Reading Recovery and Extending Mathematical Understanding.  Since 2015, all of our primary schools have trained intervention teachers and trend data shows that we are making progress.

Except for a lucky few, reading instruction is a complex and arduous process for most learners. The danger is that when governments zero funding in on a specific strategy such as phonics, it’s not at the expense of other evidence-based approaches.  We need to take a long view here otherwise we run the risk of believing that one method, one strategy, one curriculum framework etc is the silver bullet needed for improving learning outcomes. If this were the case, we would have cracked the code long ago.


Categories: Planet

#07: Getting Started Using Twitter for Educational Excellence

Cool Cat Teacher Blog Vicki Davis - 7 February, 2017 - 22:14

10MT | 10-Minute Teacher Interview with Billy Krakower

From the Cool Cat Teacher Blog by Vicki Davis

Follow @coolcatteacher on Twitter

Billy Krakower (@wkrakower), co-author of 140 Twitter Tips for Educators, is a co-moderator of a weekly Twitter discussion for current and emerging school leaders called #Satchat. He is one of the Lead Organizers of edcampNJ. Billy is currently a Computer & Resource Reading Room Teacher in Woodland Park, New Jersey.

Get a 45-day free trial of SmartLab Game-Based Learning Software

SMART Learning Suite is today’s sponsor. Register for my free Differentiating Instruction with Technology webinar sponsored by SMART Learning Suite next Thursday, February 9 at 4pm.

Today for Tech Tool Tuesday, Billy Krakower and Vicki Davis take a deep dive into Twitter for educators. In today’s show, we discuss:

  • The best things educators are doing with Twitter today
  • Some of their biggest mistakes with Twitter
  • Strategies for not getting overwhelmed
  • A simple way to get started with Twitter

Finally, Billy finishes up with the MOST EXCITING thing he’s learned on Twitter (#breakoutedu). So exciting, that our show tomorrow will be on this topic! Stay tuned!

I hope you enjoy this episode with Billy Krakower! Leave a review on iTunes to enter today’s contest for the Makerbot Replicator Mini+ and Billy’s book! See below for contest rules.

Listen Now

 

Want to hear some more about tech tools? Listen to last week’s tech tools show about iPads in the Elementary Classroom with Karen Lirenman and Kristen Wideen.

 

 Today’s Give Away Contests! We have 3 give aways going right now. People who leave a review on iTunes will be entered in our drawing for 3 different items.  (see rules at the bottom of this post and instructions on how to leave a review:iPhone/iPad or PC/Mac instructions ): Selected Links from this Episode

TRANSCRIPT: #07: Getting Started Using Twitter for Educational Excellence

Download the Transcript

Full Bio Billy Krakower

Billy Krakower is a co-moderator of a weekly Twitter discussion for current and emerging school leaders called #Satchat. He is one of the Lead Organizers of edcampNJ. Billy is currently a Computer & Resource Reading Room Teacher in Woodland Park, New Jersey.

He is co-author of 140 Twitter Tips for Educators: Get Connected, Grow Your Professional Learning Network and Reinvigorate Your Career.

Contests included in this show
  • See the contest rules for the SMART Learning Suite and MakerBot Replicator Mini+ in last week’s show.

  • BOOK GIVE AWAY:140 Twitter Tips for Educators: Get Connected, Grow Your Professional Learning Network and Reinvigorate Your Career.
    • Manner of Selection of Winners: All participants with a valid Twitter or Instagram handle who leave a review on iTunes for the 10-Minute Teacher between February 7, 2017 and midnight on February 8, 2017 will have their handles put into a random drawing to determine the winner.
    • Geographic Area and Eligibility: This is being shipped by the author and the location that is being shipped to should be commensurate with the shipping cost to North America. If it is not, an alternate winner may be awarded.
    • Dates: February 1, 2017 – February 2, 2017 at midnight EST.
    • How Prizes Will be Awarded: All names of people who leave reviews on iTunes will be put into a random drawing by the prize administrator.
    • Determination of date of winner: February 3, 2017 the name will be drawn and the winner will be notified.
    • No purchase necessary.
    • Alternate method of free participation. You may also enter with a social media posting on Instagram or Twitter linking to the show using the hashtag #10MT.
    • Winner’s name will be posted on this blog before February 27, 2017.
    • Void where prohibited.
  • MakerBot Replicator Mini+ Giveaway Contest Rules
    • Manner of selection of winners: All classroom teachers with a valid Twitter or Instagram handle who leave a review on iTunes for the 10-Minute Teacher show will have their handles put into a random drawing to determine the winner. Those who leave a review between 2/1/2017 and 2/3/2017 will have two entries for each review. The winner will be required to verify that they are a classroom teacher and that the MakerBot Mini+Replicator will be used in the classroom. Or, if the winner is not a classroom teacher, we must verify with an appropriately designated principal or administrator of the location in a classroom where the device will be placed. Winning another prize during the contest period from the 10 Minute Teacher Show does not exclude the winner from winning this prize. All reviews of the show are eligible for entry.
    • Geographic Area and Eligibility: Due to shipping costs, this contest covers the United States and Canada. Classroom teachers or those in schools who will place the device in a classroom for student use are eligible to apply.
    • Dates: February 1, 2017 – February 14, 2017 at midnight EST.
    • How Prizes Will Be Awarded: All names of people who leave reviews will be put into a random drawing by the prize administrator.
    • Determination of date of winner: February 15, 2017 the name will be drawn and the winner notified and verified to be a classroom teacher or to place the device in a classroom. If the winner does not meet qualifications, another winner will be selected.
    • No purchase necessary.
    • Alternate method of free participation: You may mail your name, mailing address, email, phone number, and school name to ATTN: Lisa Durff 26 Beall Street, Frostburg, Maryland 21532.
    • Winner’s name will be posted on this blog before February 27, 2017.
    • Void where prohibited.
Disclosure of Material Connection: This is a “sponsored post and podcast episode”. The company who sponsored it compensated me via cash payment, gift, or something else of value to edit and post it. Additionally, some of the links in the post above are “affiliate links.” This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I may receive an affiliate commission. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I believe will be good for my readers and are from companies I can recommend. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.) Please also note that all opinions are my own or belonging to the guest on the show and do not necessarily reflect the opinion of any sponsor or employer.

The post #07: Getting Started Using Twitter for Educational Excellence appeared first on Cool Cat Teacher Blog by Vicki Davis @coolcatteacher helping educators be excellent every day. Meow!

Categories: Planet

Meet Felix

Chris Betcher - 30 January, 2017 - 21:23

Doing a photo shoot can be tricky. Setting up the location, finding the props, getting the lighting right, etc, can be time consuming and sometimes expensive. If you want a specific picture of an object in a particular setting, you usually need to get that object, set it up, light it, and photograph it.

So I’m finding a new beta from Adobe quite interesting. Called Project Felix, it lets you assemble 3D objects and render them into a Photoshop file. I’ve been having a play with it and it’s pretty simple to use, and has lots of potential.  Just drag objects from the library into the canvas, use the move, zoom and rotate tools to assemble the scene just the way you like it, then render as a finished image. Export that image into Photoshop as a PSD file and keep working on it.  Lots of possibilities.

Check the minimum system requirements though… the rendering process can be pretty computationally intensive. Rendering even a relatively simple image on my MacBook Air with an i7 processor took quite a l-o-n-g time. Still, it got there in the end.

Check it out at http://www.adobe.com/au/products/project-felix.html

Categories: Planet

OK Google

Chris Betcher - 24 January, 2017 - 19:50

You probably realise that when you search for something on your computer that your browser keeps a history of those searches (and page visits).  You can of course clear that browser history at any time.  (For those of you with paranoid tendencies, perhaps you should be using Incognito Mode?)

You might also realise that a full history of your search and web browsing activity is kept by your search provider. In my case, that’s Google. This search history is not kept on your own computer, but rather on the search engine’s servers. You can also visit your web history page online to review (and delete if you wish) your search history or the pages you’ve visited.

But what I think is not very well known is that you can also see the full history of all the voice searches you’ve ever made using your phone.  Yes, every time you pick up your phone and say “Ok Google”, then ask a question, that search is recorded.  And by recorded, I mean the actual recording of your voice asking the question. Naturally you can have full access to these recordings and listen to, or delete them if you wish.  Personally, I find them fascinating to go back and listen to.

I recently visited my voice search history and then used Audio Hijack to record them to a file, and Audacity to tidy them up a bit.  I removed the gaps, tightened them up and placed them all back to back. I was struck by not only the number of searches but the variety of what I was asking for.  I remember asking most of them, and funnily enough I remember getting reasonably useful answers to most of them too. I often get told I’m a fairly curious person, and when these voice searches are all compiled in one stream like this, it becomes fairly obvious.

If it’s possible to ask – and I mean literally ask – your “curiosity questions” about basic facts and get quick answers, then we really do have to rethink the nature of what we ask our students to do in schools. When “fact recall” is simply the low hanging fruit of knowledge, we can (and must) change the way we think about information and knowledge building. I’m not saying that “knowing stuff” doesn’t matter. Of course it does. And a well rounded, knowledgable person should “know stuff”. But when our ability to find a basic fact quickly becomes so simple, surely we need to think about asking better, more interesting questions.

And it makes you wonder, to whom did we direct our many daily “curiosity questions” before Google came along?

Header image: Curiosity by Mohammad Abdullah  CC BY-NC

Categories: Planet
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