A Class Full of Geniuses — THE Journal

February 18, 2015

In the summer of 2011, I was handed an opportunity to design and teach a course loosely based on Apple’s in-store Genius Bar. The driving force behind this course was the impending launch of our 1-to-1 iPad environment. That summer, the Burlington Public Schools (MA) tech team was preparing to deliver iPads to every student in the high school. We were a five-person team, and three of those positions covered every school and device in the district. We were taking on these additional devices without additional support.The key in all of our 1-to-1 planning was developing a way to integrate tier one support on a daily basis. We knew there would be a demand for consistent support from both students and teachers. We also knew that our standard ticketing system would get backlogged very quickly — not to mention that we would still have to attend to other tickets districtwide.

via A Class Full of Geniuses — THE Journal.


A Guide for Bringing the SAMR Model to iPads | EdSurge News

February 12, 2015

When used effectively, iPads can develop thinkers and problem solvers. They can be used to transform learning inside and outside of the classroom, and offer limitless opportunities. Many educators are effectively integrating technology in the classroom using iPads to achieve the 4C’s, or “super skills,” that digital learners need to compete in our global society.But in order to do that, the focus has to shift from apps to content: that’s when true redefinition takes place. When my district rolled out our iPad initiative in 2012, teachers thought they needed specific apps for every content area. Eventually, we ended up with literally thousands of apps in our portal. This was extremely overwhelming, difficult to manage, and eventually, a turn-off for teachers.

via A Guide for Bringing the SAMR Model to iPads | EdSurge News.


Lisa Nielsen: The Innovative Educator: How Much Technology in the Classroom is Too Much?

February 11, 2015

I had the opportunity to be interviewed by Rae Pica at BAM Radio about how much technology is too much when it comes to technology in the classroom. Joining me in the conversation were Sonny Magaña an award-winning teacher who has been studying the impact of technology on teaching and learning and author of “Art and Science of Teaching with Technology” as well as Andy Marcinek, Director of Technology, Grafton Public Schools, and author of article, “Technology and Teaching: Finding a Balance”.

In the conversation I shared my belief that you can never have too much technology, just like you can never have too many books, if it is used well. In fact, we need to get rid of the idea that balance is key when we come to using technology.  I also share a great tool to find teachers can use to find the right technology for student learning goals.

via Lisa Nielsen: The Innovative Educator: How Much Technology in the Classroom is Too Much?.


A Dictionary For 21st Century Teachers: Learning Models

February 10, 2015

Purpose: Improving our chance for a common language in discussing existing and emerging learning trends, model, and technology in hopes of innovation in classrooms, and collectively, education at large.

Audience: K-12 & higher ed educators, researchers, institutions, and organizations globally.

Form: An index of learning models, theories, forms, terminology, technology, and research to help you keep up with the latest trends in 21st century learning. This page was created and is updated by Terry Heick and TeachThought Staff, who you can contact directly with suggestions for terms, improved citations, corrections, or additions to the index.

Revisions: Persistently updated. In addition to new definitions, models, and strategies, citations and references will also be added periodically, as will updates, corrections, edits, and revisions.

Ed note: As stated, this is an ambitious work in progress that we’re choosing to share as we proof, revise, iterate, and generally improve for wider dissemination. When you find typos, dead links, missing sentences, inconsistencies, or flat out lies, let us know. ; ^ )


A description of a learning environment where there is one “screen” for each student (whether an iPad, laptop, etc.)

via A Dictionary For 21st Century Teachers: Learning Models.


Educational Technology Guy: LibreOffice – awesome free Office Suite – gets new UI and lots of updates

February 4, 2015

LibreOffice is a free, open-source, powerful office suite software that is a great alternative to Microsoft Office. I use it on my home computer when I’m not using Google Drive. It is available for Windows, Mac and Linux and has six applications: Write (word processor), Calc (spreadsheet), Impress (presentation), Draw, Math and Base (database) and there are also extensions and templates available. Draw and Math are excellent for creating drawings and images as well as mathematical equations and Base is an excellent alternative to Access.

via Educational Technology Guy: LibreOffice – awesome free Office Suite – gets new UI and lots of updates.


Education Technology As A Matter Of Principle

February 3, 2015

Modern arguments around education technology tend towards binary positions–usually for or against; this “position taking” makes the design of education technology inaccessible because we’re not considering design, but rather positions. There are few compelling arguments against technology as learning tools, though even that depends on what students are learning and why. But if we’ll accept, if only for a moment, that:

via Education Technology As A Matter Of Principle.


Prodigy: A Math Game For Elementary Skill Building -

February 3, 2015

With more and more educators embracing game-based learning, it’s important to evaluate and choose the program that works best for you and your students.  Game-based learning should not be a replacement for conventional classroom instruction, but rather used as a support tool to engage students and encourage practice, as well as develop “soft skills” that can promote the “whole child” while also improving academic achievement. This is where a math game we made comes in: Prodigy Math Game.

via Prodigy: A Math Game For Elementary Skill Building -.


Collaborative Learning – CIRCL

February 2, 2015

Learning to explain, justify, critique, etc. are essential skills for today’s citizens, for scientists, and in many other careers. These activities are intrinsically social. Further, conceptually challenging content is often best learned by working together with other learners. However, merely asking students to “work together” is not enough to lead to positive learning outcomes. Tools and activities must be designed to enable, structure, and guide social interactions to facilitate effective learning.

Collaborative learning engages students to work as a team in learning together, and is not just a matter of dividing up work among members of a team. When collaborative learning is working well, students engage in building on each others’ contribution, and individuals learn from their team as the team advances a shared outcome. Effective collaborative learning teams are able to manage both their team relationships and progress on tasks, and are able to monitor and reflect on their process. Terms used to indicate the essence of learning together include: joint problem solving, intersubjectivity, shared/collective/group/distributed cognition, collective consciousness, and transactive discourse.

via Collaborative Learning – CIRCL.


Collective Inquiry and Knowledge Building – CIRCL

February 2, 2015

Technology can enhance how students learn when they work with all the students in their classroom to investigate a topic. In commonplace use of web technology, teachers and students share information and may respond to requests for help. However, generic use of everyday social technologies rarely leads to deeper learning; more commonly, use of social technologies only makes familiar learning activities somewhat more convenient. In contrast, cyberlearning researchers have found that specific classroom practices and social technologies can be transformative. Instead of using technology to complete a classroom assignment (such as homework or a quiz), a classroom can use social technologies to undertake an open-ended investigation together, to improve each other’s ideas, and to emulate how scientists or scholars work together on an investigation.

Thus, in collective inquiry, students participate in a classroom community that builds knowledge and develops shared practices (Brown & Campione, 1996; Scardamalia & Bereiter, 2006; Bielczyc & Collins, 2005). Advances in web technology (e.g., discussion forums, wikis, blogs, social networks) enable dynamic, socially-oriented designs where groups of students work together to improve their knowledge, and use the groups’ emerging knowledge to advance their investigations (Slotta & Najafi, 2012). When students feel that their work is contributing to the progress of a larger community, they can become more motivated and engaged in learning, and their progress can accelerate (Brown & Campione, 1996; Scardamalia & Bereiter, 2006).

via Collective Inquiry and Knowledge Building – CIRCL.


The Difference Between Technology Use And Technology Integration

February 2, 2015

Using technology for learning makes sense. Technology creates access, transparency, and opportunity. Any smartphone or tablet is media incarnate–video, animation, eBooks, essays, blog posts, messages, music, games. The modalities of light, color, and sound all arranged just so to communicate a message or create an experience.But there is a difference, claims this graphic from teachbytes, between using technology and integrating it deeply into the learning experiences of students. This is, of course, what models like the SAMR model are based on–that idea of mere use to automate, to redefining what’s possible.This is not a new idea, but what makes this graphic useful is the indicators offered that clarify Dos and Don’ts–kind of like an educator’s Goofus and Gallant.

via The Difference Between Technology Use And Technology Integration.