The iPad’s Killer App

Nov 5, 2014 by

It’s no secret that I’m not the biggest fan of chasing after the perfect app. Even when I was in the classroom, I would often give my students a few websites that I felt were appropriate, and then have them curate and identify the games, activities, and resources they found to be the most valuable. Sure, I have some favorite apps, but since I haven’t been in the classroom for 4 and a half years now, I realize that what I find valuable is likely quite different than what classroom teachers currently find valuable (and more importantly, practical). Which is why when I work with teachers looking for ideas for their iPads, or any tablet for that matter, I tend to focus on applications of one of the most powerful apps built into most mobile devices these days; the camera app! I know what some of you are thinking…”oh please,...

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Apocalyptic Exit Slips

Jun 2, 2014 by

I’m pretty big on carving out time for reflection in any learning environment. As evidenced by my latest blog post, taking the time to reflect allows learners to be critical, yet constructive, in addressing their own educational shortcomings. In other words, I want students to be able to identify what they’re struggling with, and how they might go about thinking how to get better. The problem will reflection is that there isn’t always time to do it within our busy classrooms and pressures from the curriculum. Which is probably why “exit slips” have become popular as of late. Teachers give students a quick, simple form to fill out (digital or otherwise) that provide a “snapshot” of how learners feel about the day’s concepts/learning goals. Collected as students exit the room, these mini assessments can often be filled out in less than a minute, and work into most schedules. I didn’t...

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Videos as Formative Assessment

Feb 23, 2013 by

I have this little project going over on Vimeo called the Video Story Problem Channel, and up until now most of the teachers involved have been creating a lot of really great student-created videos based around actual math from the real world (video from restaurants, home improvements stores, four wheeler races, etc.). Recently, I’ve been dabbling more with science-based videos, and wondering if there isn’t a way to encourage students and teachers in disciplines outside of the typical math classroom to latch onto the idea of creating videos of curiosity to help provide some learning experiences that are slightly more authentic than what we find in a text book (paper or digital). With that in mind, I created a short video in an attempt to provide a prompt for talking about viscosity. I intended to have the video serve as a prompt that might engage students to start thinking about what...

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Comic Sans vs. Peter Coyote

Nov 26, 2012 by

As seen on TV, Peter Coyote has one of those unmistakable voices, most recently heard narrating the excellent Dustbowl documentary on PBS. Where I didn’t expect to hear his voice, but am glad that I did, was narrating one of several of Edutopia’s videos about Assessment. I was actually assigned to watch the video as a part of a course I’m taking about blended learning environments, and besides making the totally meme-worthy image above, I couldn’t help but compare it to another video that I had watched from earlier in the module about assessment in a blended learning environment. While there are countless resources, media artifacts, and website to point to for a brief look at the differences between Formative Assessment and performance-based Comprehensive Assessment, The juxtaposition of the two piece of media I was given to watch struck me as oddly humorous. For a quick overview of what...

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Visually Exploring the Common Core Standards

Jan 11, 2012 by

I’m playing with the Common Core Standards in attempt to try and find ways to represent those standards which relate to technology to the rest of the standards as a whole. My ultimate goal is to try and find a way to emphasize the presence and requirement of student use of technological tools and methods of communication within the Common Core, without trying to isolate them as yet another “add on”. I’m not sure if this visualization is helping. In the interest of full disclosure, the top image is a collection of high frequency words from any and all language in the Common Core documents with the term “technology”. The bottom image a collection of high frequency words from all of the language from both the ELA, History, Science, and Technical Subjects Standards and the Math Standards. In fairness I removed the words “student(s), number(s), standard(s), and e.g.” from...

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Tossing Out the F-Bombs

Aug 12, 2011 by

If you’ve followed the traditional route of learning, then you’ve more than likely taken numerous courses, classes, and possibly an internship or two that have helped cement certain vocabulary within your cortex that allows you to function competently and professionally when you embark on your career. While your head may be filled with intellectual thought and theoretical buzzwords, many newcomers to any profession, including teaching, often don’t have a good idea of the practical vernacular that you quickly pick up on, or how certain terminology is twisted, thus taking on new meanings or even euphemistic trappings that are used to signify something that you’d rather not say. Take for example, the “F-bomb”. Tossed out liberally at many sporting events, the mainstay of one of George Carlin’s most infamous comedy bits, and generally a “nice” way of describing someone’s language that was laced with obscenities, this euphemism is particularly effective...

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