Saturday, February 23, 2013

Edtechkit Weekend Report - 2/23/13 "Design is a form of activism"

Links of the week is a great place for teachers and students to find beautiful, high impact images that are available under the Public Domain license. This means they are free to use in just about every way. Of course giving credit with proper citation is still highly recommended.

Speaking of pictures. I'd also like to suggest taking a moment to view this TED-x video entitled Teaching Without Words. It hits on many important Universal Design for Learning principles and the importance of using visual feedback to support learners.

If you aren't participating in the #miched chats every Wednesday at 8pm then you should be. This Wednesday was no exception with teachers sharing some of their favorite web tools and how they are using them in the classroom. I'm most excited about which I learned about in the chat last week.

Here are a few more of my Twitter favorites from the week.


  1. Lots of shushing at IDEO school design event. Can we design that out?

  2. What does an Ed Tech Coordinator Do?  ( a cartoon) via the Innovative Educator

  3. The resources on  educon page are the euqivalent of taking a class on design thinking 

  4. Just Block EVERYTHING - Texas Principal  

News and Upcoming Events in Michigan

MASSP iPad Summit March 26 (MSU Henry Center) - Only 35 seats left for the Michigan Association of Secondary Schools Prinicipals iPad Summit conference. If your district is implementing or planning to implement iPads at the Secondary level then you won't want to miss this opportunity to learn how schools  in Michigan are transforming student learning using iPads. I'm honored to have been asked to keynote this exciting event and look forward to setting the stage for the day with what I think will be a very fun theme: "iPad Magic - How to Wrangle the Unicorns"

It's Official! 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.

How about attending Michigan's unconference jugernaut, EdCamp Detroit, on March 4, 2013. An unconference empowers educators to facilitate and/or participate in spontaneous participant driven professional development. It's the kind of event that leads to quotes like "This was the best PD EVER!"

New Apps to check out

This one's not exactly new and it's not directly educational but the Public Radio Player app recently received a major overhaul that updated the user interface and added the ability to download episodes of featured Public Radio programs like This American Life and Car Talk. Unlimited access to most music genres, news from around the country, and great programming shouldn't be overlooked as a resource for the classroom.

This week I'm also recommending that teachers take a look at the updated version of the Puppet Pals App. Like the Public Radio Player this is a major refresh of the original app. So much so in fact that it has actually been released as a new app entirely - Puppet Pals 2. With better animations and new characters and backgrounds this is a must have app for any classroom. 

Roll your own professional development

I use Weebly websites for both my and sites. In my mind it is the fastest, most intuitive way to get a website up an running. While there are more advanced tools out there that teachers can and perhaps should use to represent their classrooms online I feel that Weebly is an important first step for many teachers needing to make the leap to making digital content available to their students.

My Weebly training resources are available here for individuals looking to learn a bit more about Weebly. It's also part of my flipped-training model that helps me maximize my face-to-face training time.

Thought for the week

On Tuesday I participated in a professional development day with one of our local school districts. The morning session was intended to expose the teachers in this district to the Future of Learning design process introduced to our county by Dr. Bryan Setzer of  2Revolutions. One big idea that I keep coming back to is a quote from their introductory video that states, "Design is a form of activism". This idea, that the design process is proactive, empowering, and Revolutionary is important at a time when education is not only under fire but also undergoing sweeping changes. And I'm equally drawn to a quote from the IDEO design website that describes design as "solving problems with elegance and beauty". Put these together and we have the opportunity to radically redefine education on our terms but in a manner that is unmistakably attractive. Attractive in the sense that it appeals of our aesthetic sensabilities as well as our common sense and thus lays to rest the notion that we are failing our children.

Week 01 IDEO from Design Thinking for Educators on Vimeo.

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