Monday, April 1, 2013

Edtech Weekend Report 4/1/13 - Happy Spring Break! No Foolin'

Links of the week

Working with "at-risk" students for years has led me to one clear conclusion when it comes to grading; Zeroes are one of the worst grading policies for supporting learners. There's a blog post in that sentiment for sure, but lately my twitter and blog reader have been filling up with post like these.
My former principal and all around great guy, Pete Spencer, wrote a nice post asking Why so few career connections in classrooms? He makes some important points about relevancy and real world connections to careers in schools. 

And if you haven't heard about yet then now's the time. This site is getting lot's of buzz lately as a way to curate content on the web for your blended classroom or as an alternative to traditional presentation tools for students. Here's an example of an edcanvas put together by another fantastic ed techie, Kristin Day, on using QR codes in the classroom

Upcoming events

If you are over on Michigan's southwest side you might want to check out the Southwest Michigan iPad Conference on June 20, 2013 at Barrien RESA.

Here's another opportunity to attend an Edcamp. Edcamp Novi is May 18th hosted by Novi schools.

And finally, Todd Bloch, a Michigan educator you should be following, has suggested that #miched start compiling a list of PD and conference opportunities around the state. I totally agree. Especially since my little attempt here to cover these myself is sure to be falling short. If you have an event you would like to promote be sure to share it out on Twitter using the #miched hashtag.

New apps to check out

CK-12 has just released a new app to showcase their open source e-textbooks and learning resources. The app features a digital library for searching and downloading their books. I'm not entirely sure if the app is a better alternative to reading the e-textbooks in iBooks or online at the moment, but it's encouraging to to see how the platform continues to evolve

 Roll your own PD

So this week I didn't create any new resources myself, but that doesn't mean that there aren't tons of awesome ways to keep on learning. The REMC Connected Educator Series features a variety of topics in short digestible chunks presented by educators from around Michigan. The latest in this series is from Gary Abud showing how he has made a Bring Your Own Device policy an integral part of his classroom. 

College ready vs. Innovation ready

The future is hard to predict. Perhaps that's why it's easier to set goals that target specific and measurable outcomes - like college graduation for instance. Successfully completing a post-secondary program has long been one of the surest guarantees of economic success. But is this model sustainable? A Masters degree is becoming the de facto qualification and that the costs of a university education continue to sky rocket. I'm not saying that there is no value in having the skills necessary to successfully complete college, but I also believe this landscape is shifting rapidly. Traditional brick-and-mortar college classes are becoming increasingly blended or are moving entirely online. Knowledge based courses that essentially "cover" content are competing against the Internet and losing. Meanwhile fewer careers are going to be available based solely on what you know, instead demanding entrepreneurs who can work with existing sets of knowledge to create solutions to problems and needs that don't exist yet. As this New York Times op-ed says, a base set of knowledge is still important, but more and more it is the ability to synthesize this knowledge into new ideas, new solutions, and new products that will be valued by employers and society. The good news is that these are the careers of passionate, empowered, creative people. It's a move toward a society of intrinsic productivity and voluntary interdependence. I think it's exciting.