Why do You Share?

Feb 16, 2015 by

It’s no secret that I have a very high-minded approach about how educators who blog should conduct themselves; blogging is a reflective practice that allows the world small windows into our lives. If we open the curtains a bit, we can encourage others to learn from what we’ve observed, share experiences and resources, and create communities in which discourse and disagreement can live happily (relatively speaking) alongside positive cheer-leading. If we’re inviting the world to peer into our lives, we as educators need to understand, and find ways to appreciate, that we don’t all have the same methods, thoughts, and attitudes when it comes to working in a professional environment. Push back is a good thing; stepping back from back-patting to ask difficult questions (in respectful ways) is a good thing; it brings out the reality that learning (and growing) is an active, messy struggle. It emphasizes the reality that great...

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Create Your Own Cards Against Humanity

Feb 10, 2015 by

Cards Against Humanity is irreverent, fowl, absurdist, and generally raucous. So why would you want to use it in the classroom? You wouldn’t! But the formula that the game follows is a brilliant mixture of both structure and player agency, a formula that works well in the classroom. Many successful veteran teachers create spaces in which students are free to work with materials, ideas, and learning processes towards a common learning goal. Learning centers at the elementary level, project groups throughout K-12, and problem or challenge-based learning allows for students to tackle common learning tasks through a variety of methods. Much the same can be said for Cards Against Humanity, or the more education-friendly Apples to Apples. In both games, there’s a shared goal by all players to complete a phrase by matching the dealer’s card to a card in their hand. Everyone has a unique set of cards...

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Tech Director Chat #017 – The State Comes Calling

Feb 9, 2015 by

Up until now, most of what my Tech Director (Pete) and I have discussed during our weekly chats pertains to our school district. We’ve been fortunate to have active enough listeners elsewhere on the web to receive a steady stream of more generic technology questions, but we usually address issues that affect our school district. This last week we were fortunate enough to have a visit from the Michigan Department of Education; they were seeking input on our state’s Technology Readiness Infrastructure Grant (TRiG), a program designed to help better prepare Michigan schools for the digital testing environments coming down the pike. Professional Development, access to survey tools, and a pot of “reimbursement money” for approved device purchases are all part of the program, and it was a good sign that representatives from it have been out seeking input about the program. There’s been some good about the program, and some...

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Tech Director Chat #016 – Fellowship of the Gmail

Feb 3, 2015 by

I try to answer questions about technology in education as directly as possible. That can be a challenge, as often some of the issues surrounding technology decision making are affected by a number of issues; bandwidth available to a school district, local culture regarding social media, parental awareness of technology use for learning, and the list continues. It’s easy to make decisions based on our own individual or classroom realities; it’s another think entirely when you consider the realities of dozens of classrooms across a building or school district. That having been said, I will stand my ground that all K-12 schools that have Google Apps for Education accounts should seriously consider creating just #OneDomain for their staff and students; the explosive uptake in collaboration, communication, and creativity that having all learners in the same “digital space” provides will greatly overshadow concerns and possibilities that often drive school districts...

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Video Writing Prompt: No Friction

Jan 29, 2015 by

Disclaimer: If you’re a science teacher, you won’t want to read this post, or watch the video…..honestly, you’ll cringe. In the following video, I directly imply that ice has no friction. There, I’ve said it, and I’m not happy about it, but it’s done. Now, for everyone else; I had an ice day! Huzzah! I took to my driveway this morning to enjoy the sheet of ice that had covered the entire drive, and road, and most of the town. It was a “low friction” wonderland, and I captured my antics on camera to share with others. As I was sliding, waving like an idiot to my neighbors who surely thought I was attempting to injure myself, I thought about creating a video story problem; I hemmed and hawed about the incredibly low coefficient of friction that allowed me to glide shuffle down the driveway, and how someone might...

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How To: Clear Google Chrome Cache

Jan 26, 2015 by

Google Chrome is the current browser “hotness.” Besides being THE operating system for Google’s Chromebooks, as of December 2014 W3Schools reports that it currently enjoys almost a 62% market share of the web browser market. It’s here, in a big way. There’s just one small issue with that market share; the platforms it’s designed to run on don’t always play nicely with it, or rather it doesn’t play nicely with Windows and Mac OSX as often as I would like. Chrome likes to cache everything! Like a good web browser it saves images, files, and creates local caches of all the favorite places you like to browse on your hard drive. That’s a good thing! In fact, a web cache can dramatically increase your browsing speed. However, when a web cache becomes too large, it can slow down any browser, cause issues with crashing, and introduce other issues to the “user experience” (that’s...

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