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Interesting Links 18 May 2015

Last week I made my travel arrangements for the Annual CSTA Conference. Less than two months away and I’m really looking forward to it. I’ll also be at ISTE this June. Not as much CS stuff there but a lot of edtech stuff that I find interesting as well as a lot of great educators to talk to. But big as ISTE is, the CSTA conference is the one I would go to if I could only go to one conference a year. Hope to see a lot of people there.

http://Code.org targets high school computer science via @usatoday Great news for the districts involved. I have some thoughts on what about the rest of us to share soon. In the mean time you will want to read Mike Zamansky’s blog post - What's Expedient vs what's good - curriculum vs teachers

The new partnership will encourage high schools in 35 of the nation's largest districts, including New York City, Chicago and Los Angeles, to offer Code.org's computer science course this fall.

Code.org will provide curriculum, tools, training and funding to school districts that qualify, said Code.org CEO and co-founder Hadi Partovi.

Dawn DuPriest @DuPriestMath  had a couple of good posts on teaching loops last week.

If you go to this link:   and click on the YouTube tab, you will see a list of links to Alice 3 tutorial videos.

I could not help myself. I backed another educational Kickstarter last week. The banana piano was just the beginning. Makey Makey GO, the portable invention kit, is here! How I’ll use it I have no idea. It may go to my wife for use in the MakerSpace in her middle school program.

Microsoft Band SDK Release and Band Studio Introduction (Channel 9)   via @ch9

A Speech Library Helper for Cortana – may make for some interesting projects.

9 Anti-Patterns Every Programmer Should Be Aware Of – what do you think of these? 

Amazing how fast memory is getting bigger on the inside without getting bigger in the outside. 

Categories: Planet

Coming soon – 2015 Computer Science Teachers Association’s annual conference

With the Computer Science Teachers Association’s annual conference coming up in July there are a few things we thought you should know now that we’ve sprung into spring and we’re less than two months away:

– Several workshops are at, or nearing capacity

– There will be NO onsite registration for workshops, so if you are interested you must sign up online in advance

– Housing reservations close on: June 17

– The online registration deadline is drawing near: June 26

– We will be providing workshop and conference certificates for CEU’s (check with your state board for regulations/requirements)

The bottom line is, we don’t want you to put off registering any longer. This year is sure to be amazingly, wonderful, and memorable. Please come join us at DFW Lakes Executive Conference Center in Grapevine, Texas, July 12-14.http://www.cstaconference.org

Categories: Planet

Is STEM the key? (Part Two)

Classroom 2.0 Diigo Group - 17 May, 2015 - 17:49


  • The call for improved STEM programmes has gained momentum in the past two weeks with an address to the National Press Club by Catherine Livingstone AO of the Business Council of Australia and an occasional paper released by the Office of the Chief Scientist. - Nigel Coutts

Tags: education, technology, learning, science

by: Nigel Coutts

Categories: International News

The Impact of a Teacher

The Principal of Change George Couros - 17 May, 2015 - 05:06

It has been hard watching the news and hearing about strike action and funding cuts to education in so many provinces around Canada.  Being a part of education, I am not only seeing educators go out of their way to do more for their students, but also continuously tweak and innovate their practice.  Of course, as in every profession, there are weak parts, but I have been lucky enough to travel around the country and see so many dedicated educators that go above and beyond what is expected of their profession.

This made me think of my own teachers and their impact on me.  There are so many different stories I could share that go way beyond one teacher.  Like my kindergarten teacher Mrs. Stock who was one of the most kind and caring people I have ever known, sending me messages 30 years later congratulating me on becoming a principal.

Or my grade 3 teacher Mrs. Penrose who sparked a love of drama and “being on stage” as an eight year old, that has never left me, who wrote on my report card, “You can achieve any dream you want if you put your mind to it”, and constantly pushed me throughout my entire time in elementary to love music and acting.

Or my grade five teacher Mrs. Sloan who had my class run a business at our school and taught us about “entrepreneurship” long before it became a “21st century competency” and was just the best teacher ever.  She even made lawn bowling seem amazing.

Or my grade eight teacher Mr. Hill, who is the principal of my former elementary school, who made a bet with me that his Seattle Supersonics would beat the Los Angeles Lakers in the playoffs one year, and had to wear a Lakers sweater I gave him in 30 degree celsius temperature for the entire day.

Or Mr. Bellamy in grade 10 who inspired us to create commercials in class that I can still remember to this day and wish YouTube had existed because I am sure ours would have got at least 100 hits.

Or the countless coaches that put in so much of their own time to help me explore my passions and teach me way beyond any game.

Or Mr. Steele, my high school principal, who didn’t judge me by the kid I was, but treated me like the person I could be, and believed in me even though I was huge brat for many years in high school.

Or the huge group of teachers that came to my father’s funeral to support my family even though I was the last of my family in school and it had almost been 20 years since that time.

I could go on and on about my teachers that made such an impact on me, and the current educators that I serve every day that make such a difference.  This is not meant to be a political statement at all, but more just showing gratitude to the many educators who have made such a difference in the lives of so many.  I have often said, “if we only teach the kids the curriculum, we have failed them.”  This is something that was not told, but has been shown to me by so many educators throughout my time in school.

Thank you.

(I encourage you to share your stories about your teachers to the #EDUin30 hashtag, as this week’s question asks for that.  My 30 second story is below.)

My teachers went above and beyond the curriculum and for that, I’m so thankful. #eduin30 #EDUin30w11 #fb pic.twitter.com/ZsUvwT4E0E

— George Couros (@gcouros) May 16, 2015

Categories: Planet

Why Twitter could hold the secret to better #CPD | tesconnect

Oz/NZ Educators Diigo Group - 16 May, 2015 - 12:16


  • "Get your hashtags ready: Twitter is a far more effective source of CPD than more traditional approaches, research has found. Indeed, teachers believe they derive more from the 140 characters of a tweet than they do from several hours of seminars or lectures. Academics from two US universities surveyed 755 members of school staff about Twitter. They found that the most popular use of the social media website was for CPD, with many praising Twitter’s advantages over more traditional methods. Twitter, many teachers told researchers, allowed them to create a virtual staffroom, filled entirely with their own choice of colleagues. Indeed, a middle school English teacher explained: “I have learned so much from other teachers. It has transformed my teaching. And this is my 18th year [in the profession].”" - John Pearce

Tags: twitter, professional development

by: John Pearce

Categories: International News

School’s out Friday

Lucacept - Jenny Luca - 15 May, 2015 - 23:43

My students are currently enmeshed in the John Green component of our ‘Language of our Times’ class. In the past couple of weeks they have been working in teams and collating research about John, trying to ascertain how he uses the Internet to build community and thus increase his audience.

His success at doing this, in an entirely authentic way, has changed his life. He’s incredibly successful, has had two of his novels made into feature length films and has had YouTube approach him and his brother to host ‘Crash Course‘ – a range of fun educational videos about science, history and literature. But as this video suggests, it’s also changed his life in ways he probably never anticipated. He’s become a recognisable Internet ‘star’ and and this means a life of constant attention. The price you pay for fame I guess.

John says in the end stages of the video that he thinks that some kind of loss is inherent to change. I think he’s right.

I’ll leave you with that, and wish you the best of weekends. Melbourne is promising an almost balmy 19 degrees C this Sunday. If the sun is shining, I’ll be basking in it. Whatever you’re doing, enjoy it. :)

Categories: Planet

Drown or swim?

The Principal of Change George Couros - 15 May, 2015 - 09:03

As always, it is an honour to work with schools and school boards to share my learning with them, and in return, learn from their ideas as well.  I always encourage push-back in my sessions because I want to create an atmosphere where we all get better, including myself.  The challenges are crucial to our development as learning organizations.

Recently, I worked with the Ottawa Carleton District School Board (OCDSB) and we talked about changing learning and learning environments. What was really special about this day was that there were several high school students in the room as part of the day.  During the first part of the morning, I went and talked to the students and asked them on their thoughts about different things (should teachers use twitter with them, ideas on snapchat, what their learning looks like) and the conversation was so amazingly rich.  As I talked to them, I shared some of the ideas that I was going to present on, but asked them to think critically about what I shared and challenge me after in front of the group.  If I am talking about opportunities for students in learning, it is imperative that I ask them about their opinions and pushback.

What was really inspiring to me was one of the students talked about how it wasn’t really a great idea to use Twitter with students before I talked.  By the end though, she was advocating it’s use to her teachers, because she had seen used in a different way.  I was almost in tears listening to her as she was open to learning and new ideas, and then advocated for herself for something new.

Another amazing moment was when a student advocated that we spend more time on “life” and less time on school (I almost cheered out loud!).  The analogy that he used for the idea of social media was pretty profound.  He said (paraphrased),

“Social media is like water because it is everywhere in our life.  We can ignore it and watch kids drown, or we can teach kids how to swim.  Which way are you going to go?”


I was deeply moved by this experience and I thought to myself, why do we not do this more?  We are talking so much about “what is best for kids”, without any kids in the room.  Innovation has no age barrier, and it is important we not only bring them into the conversation, but tap into their brilliance.  How often are we asking kids to be a part of our workshops or “talks”, and not only telling them to be a part of the conversation, but openly telling them to challenge us?  This should be the norm, not the exception.

If any of those students are reading this post, I just want to thank you for your inspiration and ideas.  I hope you know how much your words were appreciated.

(P.S. Here is my #30SecondReflection on the day below.  I am wanting to do this more to push my own learning.)

The importance of empowering our kids to challenge us as educators #DLAchat #30SecondReflection #fb pic.twitter.com/zUlDtOnFnN

— George Couros (@gcouros) May 11, 2015

Categories: Planet

EPISODE 144: The Elements of a Great Educational Game [PODCAST]

Cool Cat Teacher Blog Vicki Davis - 15 May, 2015 - 06:27

The Every Classroom Matters Show: Matthew Farber, Expert on Gaming in the Classroom

Matthew Farber does a masterful job of explaining game mechanics, Bartle’s player types, and how to use gaming in the classroom. In Episode #144 of Every Classroom Matters, Matt also talks about game design as it relates to the classroom and how he uses questions to level up his classroom design.

Listen to ECM #144 with Matthew Farber

He also relates the “magic circle” of play with the zone of proximal development. Matthew is helping create a common design grammar between game design and what is happening with education. He teaches his middle school students about Game Mechanics and Bartle’s player types as part of a game literacy he builds in his classroom.

Note from Vicki: If any of you follow educational gaming and know anything about “real” game design, you’ll know that many in education are blindly trying to figure it out without applying research and terminology from the rapidly maturing game-design industry. You can’t slap points and badges on it and say you’re gamifying!

Matthew Farber’s new book Gamify Your Classroom: A Field Guide to Game-Based Learning (New Literacies and Digital Epistemologies), is a must-read for those working with games in the classroom. Matt includes both research and practical classroom ideas in each chapter. (I love it when classroom teachers write as they teach, the result is a fresh book that really WORKS in the classroom. That is what Matt has done with his book.)

It is fascinating to hear Matt talk about a conversation he had with Richard Bartle about the misapplication of Bartle’s player types in game design.

I especially enjoyed Matt sharing how he taught his sixth grade students social studies lessons about the Columbian exchange. It helps me picture how to use games by using game stations.

Some must-have takeaways that Matt mentioned in this episode:

Matt points out that game designers keep asking questions and iterating. He challenges us to do it in our own classroom. You can follow @MatthewFarber on Twitter and his blog on Edutopia.


The post EPISODE 144: The Elements of a Great Educational Game [PODCAST] appeared first on Cool Cat Teacher Blog.

Categories: Planet

EPISODE 143: 10 Practical, Entertaining Ways to Teach with Mobile Devices [PODCAST]

Cool Cat Teacher Blog Vicki Davis - 14 May, 2015 - 20:00

The Every Classroom Matters Show: Tony Vincent, Expert on Teaching with Mobile Devices

Tony Vincent started using mobile devices in the classroom back in the days of Palm Pilots. Since then, he’s become an expert on everything mobile. In episode 143 of Every Classroom Matters, Tony teaches us how to use the iPad even when you only have one. He shares about infopics and how you can use them for a student reporter project. Tony also explains his new app, StickAround, which lets you create cool informational puzzles in teaching and learning.

Listen to ECM Episode 143 with Tony Vincent

If you are teaching with mobile devices or don’t have enough technology to go around, this episode will be very helpful to you.

Here are some must-grab resources that Tony shared:

Teachers with insufficient technology access who want students to blog should try his “daily planet” student reporter idea that he shares on the show! You can follow Tony on Twitter @tonyvincent and read his blog.

If you can’t see this video in your RSS reader or email, then click here.

The post EPISODE 143: 10 Practical, Entertaining Ways to Teach with Mobile Devices [PODCAST] appeared first on Cool Cat Teacher Blog.

Categories: Planet

Top 10 Tech Tips for Teachers #SketchNote - Shake Up Learning

Oz/NZ Educators Diigo Group - 14 May, 2015 - 18:41


  • "Ten tips for successful technology integration in the classroom - the Sketch and Canva versions" - Rhondda Powling

Tags: tech tips, classroom activities, tips, classroom practices, technology integration

by: Rhondda Powling

Categories: International News

Free Technology for Teachers: Create Rubrics and Email Grades from a Google Spreadsheet

Oz/NZ Educators Diigo Group - 14 May, 2015 - 18:18


  • "This option provides a useful way to build rubrics, mark assignments and send out marks to students. Also, because you can collaborate using Google Spreadsheets, this option could provide teams of teachers with a way to collaborate on the development of rubrics. It also provides an opportunity to share in the responsibility of scoring assignments." - Rhondda Powling

Tags: rubrics, assessments, spreadsheet, google, Online rubric add-on

by: Rhondda Powling

Categories: International News

Exploiting Opportunities

Chris Betcher - 1 April, 2015 - 19:58

The following is from an email I wrote to someone who asked if I was going to be presenting at the EduTech conference in Brisbane this year. As you can see, my answer is no, but I think what’s important is my reason for saying no. If you’re planning to present at EduTech, I hope you consider the effect of saying yes.

To be honest, I am not a big fan of EduTech, mainly because I really don’t like their policy of non-payment for Australian speakers. I find it quite insulting that they are willing to pour outrageous amounts of money into getting overseas speakers but are not willing to pay anything for local speakers. I think they need to approach this with greater equity and offer ALL their speakers some form of payment, even if the locals just get a token amount. As I’ve no doubt pointed out before, this is a (very) commercial event run for profit by a professional conference-running company, and yet they expect the vast majority of what they are offering to their customers (at a significant price) to be provided to them for free.

On http://www.edutech.net.au/apply_speaker.html it clearly states that “in the vast majority of cases, we do not pay speakers”. Obviously that blanket statement is not true, as they pay many of their “big name” overseas speakers. What they mean to say is that they don’t pay local speakers because they feel they can get away with that. They also make the very generous point on that page that they “don’t charge speakers to speak”. Woop-de-do, EduTech.

While I’d be very happy to present something, on principle I’m not really willing to be exploited by the EduTech organisers who expect that all Australian presenters should be willing to present for them for free. It just doesn’t make sense to me. I’d love to see all Aussie presenters just say no to EduTech but it probably won’t happen.

There are many many great things I’m happy to give my time freely to… helping other teachers, sharing resources, giving time and energy at the grassroots level. But I’m not ok with helping EduTech carry on their culture of exploitation of Australian presenters just so they can make more money.

Featured image: CC BY-SA www.flickr.com/photos/neubie

Related posts:

  1. A Question of Value
  2. Big Dreams, Big Opportunities

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