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Christmas Gifts—Parent Power

Christmas Gifts—Parent Power

MindMake - Paul Henderson

Christmas in a hot climate doesn’t have a Christmas feel to it.

As much as I dislike the cold, there is something to be said for being wrapped up in a warm winter coat. Gloves, hats, scarves and thick socks, a hassle usually, become essential, joyful wear during Noel.

Night-lights, carols in the dark and mulled wine just add to the atmosphere. Even the risks of slippery snow shod sidewalks suddenly add to the fun.

In the sweltering heat of countries on the equator or in the southern hemisphere plastic Christmas trees, presents, preseason parties and barbecues still generate excitement and goodwill, but not quite the same pleasure. A northern winter-bound December brings poignancy to the lights, festivities and friendships of Christmas.

Yet one thing remains constant wherever we spend Christmas day. All things being equal, brothers, sisters, moms, dads, aunts, uncles, grandparents and cousins, somehow and to some degree head across the city (or country) to spend time together.

Meals and presents are certainly a large part of Christmas. But amid the celebrations stands a reminder. Family matters—and that for better or worse, it endures. Blood is thicker than water.

It’s hardly surprising then that family influences our outcomes in education.

It should be common sense. Read More


Minecraft: A Primer For Teachers

Minecraft: A Primer For Teachers

ISTE - Karen Richardson PhD

Want to strike up a conversation with your younger relatives this Thanksgiving? Ask them about Minecraft.

If they don't play themselves, they’ll know friends who do. And maybe, just maybe, they’re even using it in the classroom.

More and more teachers are finding ways to integrate game play into their lesson plans. Using an educational and security-friendly version of the popular building game, called Minecraft EDU, teachers are engaging their students in social studies, language arts and engineering. Read More


Beyond Knowing Facts, How Do We Get to a Deeper Level of Learning?

Beyond Knowing Facts, How Do We Get to a Deeper Level of Learning?

The Huffington Post - Matthew Lynch, Ed.D.

As educators across the country continue to examine the best ways of teaching and learning, a new lexicon is beginning to emerge that describes one particular approach — deeper learning. The phrase implies a rich learning experience for students that allows them to really dig into a subject and understand it in a way that requires more than just memorizing facts.

The elements that make up this approach are not necessarily new — great teachers have been employing these tactics for years. But now there’s a movement to codify the different pieces that define the deeper learning approach, and to spread the knowledge from teacher to teacher, school to school in the form of a Deeper Learning MOOC (massive open online course), organized by a group of schools, non-profits, and sponsored by the Hewlett Foundation. Read More


6 Trends Improving K-12 Learning Experiences

6 Trends Improving K-12 Learning Experiences

The Huffington Post - Matthew Lynch, Ed.D.

In this age of technology and innovation, the K-12 classroom is continually evolving in order to adapt to the times. It's important that teachers keep up-to-date with the latest helpful technology for their students and that parents understand the ramifications of that technology, too.

Here are six major classroom trends that are impacting the K-12 learning process:

  1. BYOD
  2. Customized learning experiences
  3. Online learning
  4. Early education emphasis
  5. Outdoor/environmental learning
  6. Strengthening STEM education

Read More


Why the Future Will be Made by Creators, Not Consumers

Why the Future Will be Made by Creators, Not Consumers

WIRED - Diana Stepner, Pearson

Megan Smith, Chief Technology Officer of the United States and former Google executive, wants every child to be able to code. That’s a sweeping but practical vision. If we’re teaching students the languages of letters and numbers to be able to speak, understand, and impact this world — math, science, technology, and code must be part of that knowledge. If we want students to be able to understand the technology that they use every day, then we need to start providing those building blocks from an early age.

The ability to code enables young people to become creators rather than consumers. Students with this creative capacity and technical literacy will hold the power in the future. They are the next generation of entrepreneurs, and, as some teenagers and younger students have shown us, they are already the entrepreneurs of today. Read More


Coding for All Means Coding for Girls, Too

Coding for All Means Coding for Girls, Too

EdTech Magazine - Sam Patterson

The field of computer science has a gender problem.

In fact, by percentage, there are fewer women now in computer science fields than there were in the mid-1980s. This is no small problem, and it has to do with our culture of work and play.

As a tech teacher for grades K–5, I am working in one of the best places to change this trend. In general, my classes have more girls than boys, and I have a great deal of freedom in the tools and modes I use to teach. This is a problem I care deeply about, so it affects my planning, and I am mindful of gender dynamics in the room as I teach.

During the last round of parent conferences, a mother told me that her third-grade daughter had asked her, “What can I do in life to make money that doesn't use technology?” I was floored, and I knew I had failed in some way. Read More


What is WhatsApp?

What is WhatsApp?

WhistleOut - Alex Angove

WhatsApp is a social networking and instant messaging (IM) service with over 200 million monthly active users. Its main drawing card is that it works across multiple platforms: iOS, Android, Windows Phone and even BlackBerry. This means that users can send iMessage or BBM-style messages even if their friends’ devices aren’t on the same ecosystem. The App itself costs 99c on iOS and 99c per year on the other platforms.

WhatsApp does also support calls in some areas, but all this does is place a normal call through the app instead of your regular dialer. The call still goes through your carrier and you still pay normal call charges. Read More


Connected Learning: Relevance, the 4th R

Digital Media Learning (DML) Research Hub

Connected learning is when you're pursuing expertise around something you care deeply about, and you're supported by friends & institutions who share this common passion that is tuned to the demands and opportunities of the digital age. Watch the Video


5 Tips for Teaching in the Age of the Connected Toy

5 Tips for Teaching in the Age of the Connected Toy

EdTech Magazine - Sam Patterson

What is the difference between a toy and a teaching tool? It is partly design, but mostly application.

Looking around a classroom, I can find many things that perform double-duty as both teaching tools and toys. From Lego blocks to math manipulatives, it is clear that toy companies are attuned to the power of playful learning.

Here are a couple of tips for finding the path to the pedagogy of the connected toy:

  1. Learn one thing
  2. Learn one thing about one thing
  3. Set some rules
  4. Fail forward
  5. Connect with a community

Read More


The ABC's of Sensory Play

The ABC's of Sensory Play

Totschooling

Tactile sensory play is an important part of a preschooler's development. Not only does it help develop fine motor skills, but it has many other benefits such as helping the brain make connections, problem solving, language development, memory, logic and creativity.

Making a sensory bin or activity doesn't have to be complicated. You can use simple objects and ingredients, literally anything you have on hand and just mix it up in a container and let your child explore. Trust me, your child will love it! Read More


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