Sunday, February 10, 2013

Edtechkit Weekend Report - 2/10/13 "Punchin' the time clock" #scc21c

Links of the week

I come across all kinds of great articles and resources every week. These are a few that I've bookmarked or shared on Twitter that warrant a second look for myself and perhaps a first look for you.

I'm a fan of Yong Zhao and value his insights regarding the big picture of our educational system in the U.S. It's no secret that he is not a fan of high stakes testing or the nationwide push toward standardization. Whether or not you agree with his opinions, I recommend reading this recent interview.

I was privileged to meet two extraordinary teachers, Shawn Wheeler and Ken Kozzar from Cleveland, Ohio a few weeks back at Educon 2.5. They blog under the moniker Teaching Humans about their journey creating a "school within a school" founded on cross-curricular, mastery based, project based learning (PHEW!). A current project they are running is called the Wikiseat Project that incorporates design thinking principals, Emersonian philosophy and a whole lot more. Check out one student's blog reflection about this project to see an example of the type of reflection and engagement schools should really try to achieve.

And a just few more for the fun of it:

  1. age will appear as a link
  2. What would you do as the Director of Blended Learning? - My learning network is invisible. At least it is to everyon... 

News and Upcoming Events in Michigan

Save the date. April 20, 2013 Jackson ISD will be hosting an innovative conference that plans to be half edcamp half brain trust (bringing in the REMC Connected Educators from around the state). It's sure to be a can't miss. Details to follow.

Another interesting conference you may want to check out is the Visual Thinking and Literacy conference April, 13, 2013 at Seaholm High School in Birmingham, MI. This won't necessarily be your typical education conference since it is open to business leaders, community leaders and educators. Design thinking and effective communication across all fields will be explored.

And don't forget! MACUL - Michigan's premier education technology conference is just around the corner March 20-22. This statewide event is an awesome opportunity to learn and network with some of the most innovative educators in our state. This year's MACUL conference is hosted in Detroit at the Cobo center. I'm facilitating two sessions this year - The Appcessible iPad (UDL strategies for the iPad) and co-presenting with Laura Chambless - Cooperative Learning and the iPad.

New Apps to check out

File this one under the category of "Makes math teachers cringe". MyScript Calculator is a handwriting recognition calculator that can perform most basic math functions by interpreting handwritten numbers and symbols. It's amazingly accurate and really quite fascinating. I also feel that a tool like this has the potential to benefit students who struggle using traditional keypad based calculators. I've worked with many students who make simple input mistakes that effect the accuracy of their answers. Drawing the number 3 is less prone to mistakes than accidentally pressing the key next to the three. It might also benefit students who have difficulty with fine motor skills.

And here's a fun one. Lego Super Heroes Movie Maker is a Free stop motion movie creator. You can easily substitute Lego figures out for any objects you choose. Possible ideas for the classroom are student generated "In Plain English" style explanations of concepts and ideas, storytelling, and classroom news (ok that one might be a stretch but I have some thoughts on how I'd do it)

Roll your own Professional Development

I had a very productive Friday. More about that below. I've made three more Google Drive tutorials for my Google Apps for Education series. You can view all of these resources and the accompanying written instructions on my website. Or take a look at these three latest screencasts.

Thought for the week

As I mentioned above I had a very productive Friday. Without going into all the details lest someone enamored with time clocks and seat time become upset, I will share that I was not at my desk during any of this burst of output. Blended learning is generating big buzz these days but I firmly believe that blended work environments that honor adult autonomy, comfort and schedules needs a closer look especially in education. I know. I know. - "We can't just have everyone running around making their own schedules and working in coffee houses whenever they like!" Not to mention that fact that teachers cannot "watch" our children if they are not in their classrooms. But I do believe that there are ways in which flexing our schedules and work spaces can work to the benefit of all. It involves partnerships and collaboration, utilizing technology to bridge space and time, and a commitment to innovation. And yes, integrity too but if that's not a given then we have a larger problem. Don't we?

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