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Social Emotional Learning for Special Needs with Puppets #spedchat

Cool Cat Teacher Blog Vicki Davis - 12 April, 2017 - 20:30

A conversation with Karen McCallum in episode 53 of the 10-minute Teacher Podcast

From the Cool Cat Teacher Blog by Vicki Davis

Follow @coolcatteacher on Twitter

Today Karen McCallum is a special ed elementary teacher in Alberta, Canada. She has specialized in special education and behavior support programming. Today she tells a heartwarming but powerful story about how two puppets are helping transform the social emotional learning of elementary special needs kids.

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In today’s show, we’ll discuss:

  • How she decided to use puppets to reach a nonverbal student
  • Modeling appropriate and inappropriate behaviors
  • How 15 minutes a day with the puppets can transform behavior
  • Calming special needs kids using puppets
  • Some funny and powerful stories of using Matts and Penny to help kids learn appropriate behaviors

I hope you enjoy this episode with Karen!

Want to listen to another show about social-emotional learning? Listen to teacher Michelle Cotrelle-Williams talk about how vulnerability can make your classroom a safer place.

Selected Links from this Episode

See the transcript of this show

Full Bio Karen McCallum

I am a elementary vice principal and kindergarten teacher in Okotoks, Alberta. I am in my 33rd year of teaching. My entire career has been in the primary area. I have my Master’s degree in Special Education and have spent half of my career working in special education and behavior support programming.

The post Social Emotional Learning for Special Needs with Puppets #spedchat appeared first on Cool Cat Teacher Blog by Vicki Davis @coolcatteacher helping educators be excellent every day. Meow!

Categories: Planet

Output or compliance?

The Principal of Change George Couros - 12 April, 2017 - 09:02

This article from the New York Times, “I’m Not Texting, I’m Taking Notes“, is pretty interesting.  The basic premise (I suggest you read the whole article) is that a 17 year old working at BlackBoard (a technology company),  is ridiculed for using their phone during a meeting by some older adults, because it looks like he is texting, while he is actually taking notes.  He refers to himself as a “digital native”, and acknowledges this is a norm for him and his friends, while not perhaps the norm for others in the company.

The ending (spoiler alert!):

What really upset me at the meeting was the assumption that by pulling out my phone, I wasn’t paying attention. I’m a digital native. My friends and I have only known a world where phones are smart. My iPhone is a computer, and it’s natural to take notes on it.

I thought I was being diligent, yet they thought I was being rude. I even thought I was being efficient by quickly looking up something online and not missing a beat, and they thought I was playing video games. Clearly, my generation cannot assume the older generations know how we use technology.

Rather than allow others to see our phones as a distraction, we have work to do to prove that our phones are vital tools that we need to get the job done.

Just as I was feeling better about what had happened, my phone buzzed. It was a text from Craig that said: “Hurry up. We are starting again soon.” And so I walked back to the conference room.

As much as I hated the feeling of being reprimanded, I was glad that Craig had pulled me aside and had given me a heads-up. So before we resumed the meeting, I told him that I had been taking notes on my phone, and not using it to text or check Twitter or any other social media.

Craig (vice president) seemed to appreciate that. And he was nice enough to announce after the break that if anyone needed notes from the earlier presentations, I could text them from my phone. I knew what he was doing and why. My generation will need mentors like Craig who will listen to us and look out for us.

A few things.

  1. This is something that many people are struggling with in education and has nothing to do with age.  I have seen many younger educators bring pen and paper to a meeting while the veterans have access to technology. Whatever the case, we shouldn’t make assumptions about how other people learn because it looks different from us. Even if a person is doodling, that could be how some people process information.
  2. I appreciate the young person writing this article is being an advocate for their own learning, but I also appreciate a leader stepping up for them to shift how we see what is going on in a room to others.  Is the measure productivity or compliance? I would rather have someone on Facebook in a meeting that does amazing work, than a person who is writing notes that does a crappy job.  Output should be the measure, not compliance. (I believe this applies to classrooms and in employment)
  3. Acknowledging that people grew up in different times with different norms of technology is important, but we also shouldn’t separate people by age. I have been told several times that I am more comfortable with technology because I grew up with it, by people that are younger than me (Thanks Maybelline!). This has nothing to do with age, but mindset and how we embrace opportunities.
  4. Thinking less of someone at work because they use a phone or computer, is as bad as thinking less of someone for using pen and paper.  If someone is upset because I am on a computer during a meeting, I consider that a “YP”; Your Problem.  Same goes if I look down on someone for using pen and paper.  Start from the learner, and move backward from there.

I have been surprised how many leaders in education still ban devices from their staff during meetings or personal learning days, because they are worried what they might do or they are not paying attention.  One of my favourite images on the topic from Scott McLeod.


Don’t expect much to change in classrooms if our time together looks the same. People create what they experience, not what they hear about.

Categories: Planet

Aurasma and Augmented Reality in the Classroom

Cool Cat Teacher Blog Vicki Davis - 11 April, 2017 - 20:52

A conversation with Dr. Tim Green on episode 52 of the 10-Minute Teacher

From the Cool Cat Teacher Blog by Vicki Davis

Follow @coolcatteacher on Twitter

Today Tim Green @theedtechdoctor , Instructional Design Expert, talks today about augmented reality. Specifically he shares his favorite Augmented Reality (AR) instructional tool, Aurasma. Tim also shares a vision for the future of where augmented reality is probably taking us in education.

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In today’s show, we’ll discuss:

  • How teachers and students are using Aurasma
  • The future of augmented reality in education
  • How we can apply technology like IBM Watson and Microsoft Facial recognition in education
  • Simple principles for where we should be going in education with AR
  • A basic understanding of augmented reality and what it can do

I hope you enjoy this episode with Tim!

Want to hear another episode on Augmented Reality? Listen to Stephen Anderson talk about Augmented Reality and Virtual Reality.


Selected Links from this Episode

See the transcript

Full Bio Dr. Tim Green’s Submitted Bio

I am a former K12 teacher who has been a professor of educational technology and teacher educator at California State University, Fullerton since 1999. Five of these years I served as the Director of Distance Education at CSUF.

I currently run an online MS program in Educational Technology. I am the author of numerous articles and books, as well as a presenter, on the integration of educational technology, instructional design, and online distance education.

Some of the more recent books include the award-winning The Essentials of Instructional Design: Connecting Fundamental Principles with Process and Practice (Brown & Green, Routledge), The Educator’s Guide to Producing New Media and Open Educational Resources (Routledge), and Securing the Connected Classroom (ISTE Press). I co-produce (with Dr. Abbie Brown) the award-winning podcast Trends and Issues in Instructional Design, Educational Technology, and Learning Sciences.

I am passionate about working with schools and districts on visioning and implementing technology initiatives. I regularly consult with and provide professional develop to schools and districts. I received my Ph.D. in Instructional Systems Technology from Indiana University.

The post Aurasma and Augmented Reality in the Classroom 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 - 20:23

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 - 18:50

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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