10 Simple Ideas for Minecraft in the Classroom @ #EdCampDetroit

May 9, 2015 by

If you’re a parent with children of gaming age, or a teacher that hasn’t been hiding in a bubble of luddite ideals, Minecraft is huge! So much so that LEGO has gone on record as wishing they had built it and Microsoft bought it for a cool 2.5 billion dollars late last year; yes, that’s billion. It’s a juggernaut, and while I’ve played with it off and on for a few years alongside my daughter and DS106 folks, I haven’t really dipped into the Minecraft EDU waters; a special version of Minecraft made just for classrooms. For those that have explored Minecraft in the classroom already, these ideas may not be terribly new, innovative, or informative; it’s just a place for me to gather some good starting points as I begin to explore the world of Minecraft beyond  the playful building I’ve experienced. If you want a quick idea of what Minecraft EDU...

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Econ Teachers, you NEED to be Listening to Planet Money

Jan 7, 2015 by

I’m an avid podcast listener. So much so that I took up running a couple of years ago in part to increase the amount of time I have each week to listen guilt free (my wife appreciates that the extra time away from family has helped me shed some pounds too). I’m not alone in my listening. The Verge produced a nice video (embedded below) about the rise of the podcast era. Many media consumers believe we’re approaching a new podcast renaissance. If you missed the first great podcasting wave, don’t worry, it wasn’t too long ago, and it was mostly a bunch of talk-radio format audio. The current wave of podcasting is lyrical, narrative-driven, and addicting in a way that scratches the same itch that binge watching a series on Netflix does. The shows come to you, live comfortably on your devices ready to listen when you are, and often go deeply...

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Planet Money’s Simple Explanation of Net Neutrality

Nov 11, 2014 by

Planet Money is an amazing podcast. If you aren’t listening, you should be. If you’re an economics, political science, or business teacher, it’s one of the richest pieces of media being produced today that breaks down complicated business and economic issues into easy to digest and engaging audio. If you’re a regular NPR listener, you’ve probably heard their pieces during longer news segments. If you’re an avid podcast listen, go subscribe…..now. It really is great story telling capable of turning the dullest of subjects into engrossing stories; including how the story of two pasta factories can help you understand the basics of the entire Italian economy. Net Neutrality isn’t anything new; it’s been discussed and argued for more than a decade. In fact, the Planet Money team was able to easily explain the amazing power that the internet can afford even the smallest of innovators through an anecdote about...

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Time Travelling Through Dubai

Sep 5, 2013 by

What a difference a few years can make! A recent post on Mashable about some radical differences in satellite imagery over the course of just a few years in Google Earth got me thinking. How could a Geology or Math teacher use a time-lapse video of the terraforming taking place in the thriving Middle Eastern metropolis? Over the last decade or so, Dubai has managed to build extravagantly expensive archipelagos  for development, and with the advent of satellite imagery and the “time slider” in Google Earth (more formally known as the Historical Imagery tool), you can peer back to a time when all that existed off the coast of Dubai was ocean. Below is a brief example of myself walking through a quick “time travel” in Google Earth. I’m not sure how a roomful of students could escape asking the curiosities about how much time is taking place, how...

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Every Common Core Standard Related to Technology

Nov 7, 2012 by

I’ve had a LOT of traffic on a Google Document that I created last year while exploring the Common Core State Standards. At the time I created it I was looking for a way to impress upon the teachers in my district that technology standards are now for the first time being embedded within the content standards (at least here in Michigan). Previously, the technology standards were published by the state separately from the core content areas, which created a convenient excuse for many teachers to basically say “well, they aren’t my concern, because they aren’t in my standards.” Walking carefully away from that statement (which I know is far over-generalized), I wanted a positive way to show the teachers I work with where technology is being asked to be integrated within their instructional practice. For better or worse, all educators at the K-12 level are now responsible for ensuring that...

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Go Vote!

Nov 6, 2012 by

I’m a sucker for performing important civic duties…..and black and white photography. So I decided to craft this impromptu voting poster today with the help of the United States Library of Congress and their awesome digital collection. While I really don’t have much to say this morning beyond the trite “go, vote” mantra that even the least engaged citizen can accomplish, I wanted to point out that the LoC has a fantastic collection of images, legislation, websites, audio, video, and more! If you happen to be in the patriotic mood, go help yourself to one of their “voting images” from the photo, print, and drawing category (most of them are public domain, or available under free use exemption), load it up in an image editor of choice, and have your students create some propaganda for the simplest civic duty any of us can perform. I particularly enjoyed shifting through...

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