Saturday, February 2, 2013

Edtechkit Weekend Report - 2/1/13 #scc21c

Latest News

This week Google announced a big update to its Forms tool in Google Drive. The biggest change is the look of the Forms editor which now more closely aligns with the editing tools in documents and spreadsheets by adding a tool bar to the top that organizes all of the editing features. Some of the other important changes are the ability to collaborate on editing a form with others, the ability to open the chat side bar when others are viewing simultaneously, and the ability to copy and paste lists into the answer key area to quickly generate choices. I'm looking forward to trying out the new editor and hope these changes bode well for future updates like adding images!

Upcoming Events in Michigan

Digital Learning Day is Wednesday, February 6 nationwide, and many educators across Michigan are planning to participate. St. Clair County RESA is hosting a Town Hall viewing and collecting examples of Digital Learning Day projects from across St. Clair County. How are you planning to participate?

MACUL - Michigan's premier education technology conference is just around the corner March 20-22. This statewide event is an awesome opportunity 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

This week my colleague, Kristin Day, did a great job demonstrating the app Videolicious to a group of teachers currently working on developing Project Based Learning (PBL) units for their classroom. This simple 3 step movie making app lets you quickly stitch together images and video with simple transitions, voice narration and a music soundtrack to create a polished multimedia project perfect for PBL presentation trailers. 

Roll your own Professional Development

As part of my efforts to support a local 1:1 iPad initiative I've been creating a series of resources for using Google Drive with the iPad. My latest screencast focuses on how to use the Google Drive app and Chrome app to access as many features as possible on this device. It is directed toward students new to this process but should be useful for teachers getting started with Google Drive as well.

Thought for the week

Process vs. Product - This dichotomy came up a lot this week in conversations with colleagues and in my online networks. What do we value most in education? Is it the habits of mind and the actions of learning, the critical thinking and collaboration that is necessary to solve real world problems? Or is it the result of that work - the final, finished product we create and the proof that we what we have learned was mastered? It seems much easier to quantify products, especially products rooted in factual recall or in the performance of distilled skills. But process, especially a process rooted in inquiry and contextual application, is where real learning seems to reside. I think I agree most with Dr. William R. Hite, Superintendent of Philadelphia public schools, who said during his opening keynote at Educon last week, "It is not enough for our students to master content. They must master context." 

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