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!