Tuesday, November 27, 2012

You'll FLIP for authentic learning!

Maybe you've heard the talk about flipped learning, flipped classrooms, flipped education.

Maybe not.

There are a lot of definitions out there, and there's a lot of hype.  As most teachers are just hearing about this trend, people who've been involved in EdTech for a while are seeing a move away from the term "flipped" as the vocabulary no longer matches the wide variety of situations one might consider "flipped."

The basic idea is changing the way time within class with the teacher is used.  It denotes a move away from lecture-based classes and worksheet-based homework.  Beyond that, the meaning varies as much as teachers vary.

Here is an overview of 16 Flipped Classrooms from Around the World on edudemic.

You can see a variety of self-paced and non-traditional formats for learning, including a number of successful AP courses.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Interesting (but not surprising) findings on cheating

What to do about cheating?

This HuffPo article discusses the work of the Challenge Success folks.  You've heard of them, Harker.  What can we do, as teachers, to change the climate and decrease cheating?

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Primes and Composites, Visualized!

So I just got pointed to this fun way of demonstrating prime factorization . . .

I want to try it with music of different genres, to see which seems like the best match.

Animated Factorization Diagram

And here's an explanation of how it came to be: Dance, Factors, Dance

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

You've come a long way, baby. (Du har kommit en lång väg, barn.)

I love Google+.  Today, something funny happened.  I was included as a specific recipient on a Google+ post with a question about Google Drive.  The person who posted it is Swedish, and a number of people who had already responded by the time I saw it are Swedish-speaking friends or colleagues of his.

I don't understand Swedish.

Before answering Niilo's original question, I wanted to make sure I wasn't just repeating what someone else had already said.  At that point, I didn't even know that what I was reading was Swedish, by the way.  I figured Scandinavian, but that's as close as I had gotten on my own.

Google Translate to the rescue!  I copied and pasted each response into the first box on the Google Translate screen, selecting "Detect" as the "from" language and English as the "to" language, and it translated for me (and informed me that I was looking at Swedish).

Click this image to see it enlarged...

This led to an interesting discussion with Niilo, during which I of course confessed my sneaky tech tactics.  He then shared with me this story from BBC News Technology about a recent demonstration by Microsoft of an instant English-Mandarin translation tool.

This is just exciting news all-around in terms of language tools, but of course, it presents new challenges for teachers of modern and classical languages.

I still think the entire thing is pretty cool.

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Just added a great resource to our Google Apps site!

Becky Evans is one of the few folks at Google whose job actually includes Education Outreach.  Believe it or not, it's not an army of Googlers assigned to the K-12 sector.

She put together some slides showing great ideas for using the tools I've started introducing to many of you at Harker's Upper School.

You can find her slides embedded on the Resources page of my "What Can I Do with Google Apps?" site.

You find history in the most unusual places!

This article in Collectors Weekly came to my attention this week.  With my affinity for genealogy and the very personal side of family history, I found it fascinating.  Each of the suitcases discovered in an attic of a psychiatric institution is like a snapshot of that person's life.

Abandoned Suitcases Reveal Private Lives of Insane Asylum Patients

Friday, November 2, 2012

Outside Your Comfort Zone

I saw an image recently that I think exemplifies how we live out and model what we want our students to be willing to do.  I have met so many great folks at The Harker School since starting here just three months ago.

And I think I've had some of the most meaningful interchanges with those who've been willing to venture outside their comfort zones to try some new tool or method in their work with students.  May more magic happen each day!

Keep Calm . . . and make signs

I recently visited Mary's classroom to work with her Stats I students on a project we're doing.  I spotted a funny variation on the "Keep Calm and Carry On" meme, and now I found a way to create my own graphic of it, using The Keep Calm-O-Matic.

Go on, Keep Calm and Make Signs!

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

50 Awesome Chemistry Videos for the Busy Science Teacher

Got this link from a fantastic principal in northern New Jersey, near where I grew up.  I wish I had these when I was taking chemistry!

Perfect for supplementing your blended or flipped classroom.

50 Awesome Chemistry Videos For The Busy Science Teacher

DigiWriMo -- 50K in 30 Days

I think I am going to do it.  I was already batting it around in my subconscious when my boss sent me a message with a link to this article:

 10 Reasons You Should Do Digital Writing Month

I think I am going to do it.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

What the Other Half Deals With

I am very grateful that The Harker School does not believe in the wholesale blocking of content on the Web.  Many of our compatriots in the public schools, and also in some private schools, have to deal with this issue daily, however.

KQED published this excellent article last fall about some of the myths involved in blocking websites in schools, and the author does a great job of dispelling these myths: ORIGINAL ARTICLE

This came to my attention when my friend Joe Wood shared a more recent article about what to do if your school bans useful websites.

Again, we don't really run into this problem here, but it's good to know what others are up against and perhaps even how to help your friends who work in other schools.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Great Share About Teaching Argument Writing

Catlin Tucker, who teaches English in Santa Rosa, has been looking closely at ways to incorporate technology into the Common Core adaptation of her already stellar courses.  Today, she shared how she's helping her students become stronger at writing arguments and how this differs from persuasive writing.

Read her blog post here.

Google Has It -- newest song parody

I made this song parody the same day I made my Call Me, Maybe parody (see below), but I didn't have time to put the video together until last night.

I'd love to know what folks think of it.  You should be able to comment on this blog post.

Call Me Maybe parody from the start of the school year:

Monday, October 8, 2012

Passive voice was eliminated. And there was much rejoicing.

I've got a friend named Kevin Brookhouser who teaches English at York School, an independent in nearby Monterey.  He recently began creating a series of videos called Writing Felonies, and his latest installment tackles passive voice:

To see more of Kevin's series of Writing Felonies videos, visit http://grmr.me

Friday, October 5, 2012

WE are the Infinite Thinking Machine, Harker Eagles!

I wanted to share this wonderful resource of short video episodes that focus on various topics in education.  Many involve technology, but that's not the sole or primary focus.

And if you look closely, you might even spot a familiar face....

The Infinite Thinking Machine
(go here for more episodes!)

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

This Friday is World Teachers' Day

This was a nice blog post by Cristin Frodella of Google in Education:

Celebrating teachers who make a difference with Google

Rambus/KCI Innovation Award 2012 -- Call for Entries

From Gay Krause, Executive Director of Krause Center for Innovation, Foothill College:

"Rambus and the Krause Center for Innovation at Foothill College (KCI) announce the call for entries for the Rambus/KCI Innovation Award 2012.
The Rambus/KCI Innovation Award was initiated in 2004. The award honors an exemplary technology project or program that benefits the Silicon Valley educational community. The first place award is $4,000. The second and third place awards are each $1,000. All three winners are honored at the award recognition event.
The call for entries seeks nominations for current or recently past exemplary, innovative technology projects and programs related to education. Please nominate a great educator, project or program. Third-party and self-nominations are welcome.



Call for entries opens: 8/15/12
Applications due: 10/29/12
Award announcement: 11/9/12
Award Recognition Event: 11/28/12
(Applicants must be able to attend evening awards ceremony on 11/28/12)
Rambus is a world-leading provider of advanced chip interface products and services, and has pioneered innovative interface solutions that are found in leading computing and communications products and applications. Rambus is pleased to partner with the KCI to support educational innovation in the Silicon Valley."


Not true at Harker!

U.S. News & World Report recently told us that high schools are not meeting STEM demand, but I know first-hand that isn't the case at The Harker School.  Every upper school student takes at least a semester of computer science, for example, and despite only 2100 high schools offering AP Computer Science, we not only offer it, we've got scads of kids taking it every year, as well as multiple other programming courses.  The science and research programs available at Harker are another source of well-earned pride for our school community.

We're not just meeting the STEM demand, we're feeding it.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

40 iPad Apps for Science

I know some folks around here at my school who will really like to try out some of these.

The list is broken down by discipline within the broader subject area of science.

40 iPad Apps for Science by Category

Google Apps and Teaching Writing

This just caught my eye on Google+  It's by a professor of college writing and journalism classes, but he illustrates some important points that translate well across the curriculum.

"How Google Drive Makes It Easier To Teach Writing
by Dave Copeland

Friday, September 28, 2012

Brace Yourself for Banned Books Week!

If you're at Harker's Upper School campus, you're probably already aware that this is coming, thanks to efforts by our library staff to get the word out through their creative bulletin board in Manzanita.  (It's across from where you grab a tray.)

Sandra Wozniak, whom I met this summer at ISTE in San Diego, is a wonderful and witty educator from my home state of New Jersey.  I enjoyed her blog post on Banned Books Week.

Online Discussions with Students

Catlin Tucker knows about class discussions.  She knows that the kind we normally do really don't work well for many students.  Were YOU the kind of student who spoke up in all your classes?

Catlin discovered that taking the discussions online changed and expanded the dynamic of the discussions and gave more students the opportunity to participate a bit more within their comfort zones.  AND it caused more students to start speaking up in class who never had before.

Read all about it HERE.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Hook, Line, and Sinker

(You can click the cartoon to view an enlarged version.)

TED Ed does it again with Carolyn Mohr's "The power of a great introduction"

Thanks to James Sanders and Sean Williams for bringing it to my attention on Google+.

Monday, September 24, 2012

Yet another reason to "Go Google"

Google recently shared some information about colleges and universities using their Google Apps for Education suite of tools.  Given how many of the nation's top schools are using these tools, it's clear that we need to be as well if we're going to prepare our students for life on campus.

Edudemic listed a few of the newest Google schools in a September 16th article

Their column was based on a Google blog post from a few days earlier in which it was revealed that seven of the eight Ivy League schools use Google Apps for Education.

We can all do a little bit to Change the World

Change the World
(Click the above image!)

We can all do a little bit to Change the World, just by going to this website and clicking the giant penny.  While you're there, click on the world also, and learn more about what my friend Adam Bellow is doing to get EdTech professionals involved in using just a little change to make big change.

Adam Bellow runs a free website for educators called eduTecher. He helps people find the resources they need to hone their craft as educational technologists.  Any teacher, self-proclaimed techie or not, can find some really great resources at eduTecher.  And Adam himself has done some pretty amazing stuff, including his recent launch of eduClipper (like Pinterest for education).

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Why am I so excited about "The Black Death in 90 Seconds"?

No, it's not some new song out by a Ska-Punk-Indie band.  I don't even know what that means.

The Black Death in 90 Seconds is a charming little video, made by a local teacher, that makes me so proud to be an educational technology professional.

You see, I was there at the birth of this beauty.  Barb Luis, a teacher at Serra High School, is a member of the current cohort of the MERIT program at Foothill College's Krause Center for Innovation.  I'm the Assistant Director of that program, and next year will be my first of three years as its Director.

The second half of July is our annual Summer Institute.  This past July, Barb made this adorable (about the Black Death? I know, just stick with me...) video as an assignment during the Summer Institute.  I got to help a little, though MERIT faculty member Sean Williams really helped Barb the most.

Long story short (too late, I know), Barb entered her video in a contest at Next Vista for Learning, and SHE WON!!!!!

But wait, THERE'S MORE!  There's this charming bloke in Britain who runs an EdTech blog, Free Technology for TeachersRichard Byrne has reached celebrity status in EdTech circles for his vital work through his blog.  He has started and shared so many great ideas, and then gone on and blogged about other people's wonderful contributions to EdTech.  Appearing on his blog is high praise indeed.

And now, the point of all this: Barb's lil' video was the star of Richard's blog yesterday.

And, if you REALLY love the Black Death (no judging), you'll also like the video by the History Teachers:

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Peter Jackson kicks off Tolkien Week!

If you're anticipating the upcoming release of The Hobbit film, or if you're a lover of all things Tolkien, you'll want to check out this quick video of Peter Jackson and maybe poke around his YouTube channel at the video production diaries and other items, including a trailer for The Hobbit.

Who says you don't know Scratch?

My good friend Chris Betcher in Sydney, Australia, works with students much younger than mine.  In the spring semester, I'll be teaching a course called Digital World.  It's a half-year computer science course aimed at the kids who don't want to learn programming.  I see it as a perfect fit for me, since I am not a programmer, and I don't understand most of what is said by my colleagues during Computer Science Department meetings.

But a part of this course I'll be teaching needs to help students think algorithmically, the way a programmer has to.  I'm sure any kind of programming will be met with resistance.  And that's fine with me.  Enter Scratch, a fun response to fear of programming.

I defy you to look into the enthusiastic eyes of these Aussie schoolgirls and fight my introduction of Scratch!

Monday, September 17, 2012

How does the other half live?

Greetings, esteemed colleagues!

You may not know this about me, but where I started my teaching career two decades ago was a junior high in East Orange, NJ — about as different a place as you can find from The Harker School.

For that reason, when I watched the video and read the eloquent article that followed, this message truly resonated with me.  What was true in EO twenty years ago is still true in BedStuy today: young men and women of color are discouraged by their peers from the simple joy of reading.

What's Wrong with Reading? by Anthony Turner

Friday, September 14, 2012

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Helpful Resources about Presidential Elections

My buddy James Sanders does it again!  He has gathered some fantastic videos to help teachers explain the nuances of our election system when the topic comes up in class.  Because you know it will.

Raising a Math Genius?

I have struggled with math for a long time.  If I want to set a good example for my son and the students around me (who could ALL school me big time in the quantitative arts), though, maybe I should stop telling the story about how they wouldn't let me take calculus in college until I first passed a non-credit pre-calc class.*

*Long story short, I was an English major and took the easiest two for-credit math courses available and never got anywhere near pre-calc or calculus.

So I admit to lacking confidence in math.  But I am now armed with some healthy ways to avoid instilling math phobia in my son.

I enjoyed this article, because not only does it give me some sound advice as a parent, but it speaks to some other important messages we need to convey about embracing struggle (and even failure) and enjoying the process just as much as the end result.  (The right answer isn't the most important thing.)

Raising a Math Genius

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Any 30 Rock Fans Out There?

Here I am, sneaking into your Inbox to tempt you once again to come play with me in the Google world.

If you like 30 Rock, you'll laugh at this.  If you don't like it, or you've never seen the show, you'll still appreciate this.

Yes, you can have a group of people contributing to the same document at the same time.

It's not magic; it's Google Apps.

Video: ( http://youtu.be/-iXpeFfnA4g )

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

This is why I do the work that I do.

This guest post that takes the form of an open letter to "tech-fearing teachers everywhere" is very positive in its tone, and it makes excellent points.

I especially like where the author recommends that teachers start slowly by just trying one new thing.  That is what my job is all about.  I help match up each teacher with a tool or resource that aids him or her in stretching just that little bit at first.  I think it's the best job in the world!


Professional Development Opportunity at Foothill College

Here's the details from the folks at Foothill:

Foothill College in conjunction with Innovative Educators in hosting a FREE conference at Foothill College this Fall on October 12, Leveraging Technology to Support Students, Faculty, and Staff (http://www.innovativeeducators.org/product_p/183.htm).

Our goal is to provide several innovative technology programs and information that our faculty, staff and managers can use to support student success.

We have 3 strands in the conference: Teaching & Learning, Student Services and Workforce and Career Development. We have a variety of technology-based tools, programs, providers and experts who will be participating that day including Coursera, AdaptCourseware, MERLOT, Open Courseware Consortium, Financial Aid TV, Credentials Solutions, LearnUp, InternBound, IntelliResponse, Innovative Educators, SARS, Go2Knowledge, Student Lingo, After College and more. We are continuing to add more speakers and programs. We are also committed to making certain that all participants provide accessible programs.

We hope that you will find time to join us. Please register online to reserve a space at http://www.innovativeeducators.org/product_p/183.htm.

Sharing is Caring

So, I decided that since I created this blog to have one place where my colleagues could go to look back at things I've shared out with them via e-mail at work, it wouldn't be a bad idea to go back and post all the stuff I've sent out to them since school started.

Problem is, very little of it is my own original work!  I guess I've been using the CASE model (Copy And Steal Everything) -- in fact, I stole that acronym as well -- and just publicizing at my school the stuff I've found by reading others' tweets and Google+ posts.  Since that is not completely a bad thing, I will summarize some of my early shares here.

Really great examples of perspective and point-of-view, thanks to James Sanders:
(With warnings about language and violence, thanks to Quentin Tarantino and Breaking Bad.)

20 Things You May Not Know You Can Do with Google Search:
Great tips in this article!

Advertising through storytelling:
My friend James Sanders put together a quick blog post on this idea.  I thought many of you would enjoy the ideas and the video examples.

Science in the Nick of Time (also thanks to James Sanders):
Lest ye mistakenly believe that my background in the humanities leaves me lacking awesome resources in other areas, I bring you……
ASAP Science (see http://www.classroominthefuture.com/2012/9/5/science-just-in-time)
These quick videos explain specific topics in science in a way that makes them easy to understand, without sacrificing on technical specifics of the content.

Tolkien reads his own work:
Listen to J.R.R. Tolkien read poems from The Fellowship of the Ring, in Elvish and English:http://www.openculture.com/2012/09/listen_to_jrr_tolkien_read_poems_from_ithe_fellowship_of_the_ringi_in_elvish_and_english_1952.html

21st Century Bloom's Taxonomy:

I sent this to the Upper School Librarians:
(more from James Sanders)

Desks Found to be Harmful to Education:
(from Jaime Casap of Google)

World History on YouTube:
(I sent this to the Upper School History Department)

Friday, September 7, 2012

Cool Tool for School: Remind101

Greetings, esteemed colleagues!

I wanted to share with you some information about a very cool FREE tool I use with my advisory, my grad class, a cohort I direct in a summer program, and the class I'll be teaching in semester 2.

It's called Remind101, and it allows you to have students "join" a class using their cell phones (or e-mail if they prefer), and you can send out broadcasts to the whole group from your cell phone or from the web.  However, PRIVACY is insured in that the students never have YOUR cell number, and you never have theirs. The students also cannot text you back through this service.  It's one-way and controlled by you.

Here are a few links and more information:

Remind101's Back to School Blog

Top Ten Ways to Use Remind 101

A PDF explaining what Remind101 is and how it works can be found HERE.