Leadership – Education – Technology – Other Interesting Stuff

Archive for May, 2012

Formative assessment…Science simulations…Summer reading…Online portfolios

Colorado Commissioner of Education Robert Hammond and the Colorado State Library are urging educators and families to help students retain and develop academic skills by reading during summer vacation. The free online “Find a Book, Colorado” utility provides a way for parents and children to quickly and easily search books that match a child’s reading level and interests as well as to locate the local library carrying each title.

I first ‘met’ Chris Smith at some lectures in Second Life. Like me, Chris is a curator of information with a focus on technology in education. In fact, his Twitter account identifies him as a Digital Nomad Evangelist if that provides a clue as to his passion for the subject.

Long before I learned about formative assessment, I taught computer classes. When students had a problem they placed a red plastic cup on top of their monitor (and yes, this was way before monitors were an inch thick). This was a signal to me that they needed help. If you have seen, heard about or used red-yellow-green cards, disks or cups in your class to allow students to signal you where they are with the learning, you have an idea about this new app (of course there is an app for this). However, I would love to get your comments about this idea. Understoodit says that students can “anonymously, and in real-time, indicate if they understand or are confused.” Why would anonymity be a good thing with this tool? Please share your thoughts about this.

While I attended and worked at the University of Colorado Denver, the Boulder campus has some pretty cool science simulations, at PHET. Physics, biology, earth science, math and chemistry comprise the library. This site is the recipient of The Tech Award 2011

Is an online mixed media portfolio a scrapbook, portfolio, resume or progress monitoring tool? While I haven’t decided it definitely looks interesting to me. Pathbrite has a site that makes you think and a tool to provide a different way to capture who you are and what you bring to the table.

My friend Tom brought me to O’Reilly Radar where I discovered to interesting blogs. The first on “Teachers as Makers where hands-on learning is demonstrated to help teach writing.”

And the second, which is a long-time favorite topic of mine and one that I used to earn my Master’s degree, is about Marie Bierede talks about DIY learning and three groups of people leading us into more personalized learning. Funny thing is, I have been on this path since I got back into teaching in the mid-90s. Her term “edupunk” got me thinking.

Scholarships & Glasses

Robin just shared this great list of scholarship opportunities. Perhaps you know someone who would be interested.

Wake Forest University has an opportunity for minority students to attend its MBA program for FREE, and so far, the response has been very poor.  Please pass along this opportunity to your friends, families. This is a great school and a tremendous opportunity to attend a top graduate school. The contact person is: Derrick S. Boone, Ph.D., Associate Professor of Marketing, Rm. 3139 Worrell Professional Center, Babcock Graduate School of Management – Wake Forest University_ WINSTON_SALEM  N.C 27109-8738 email: derrick.boone@mba.wfu.edu  or visit www.wfu.edu      phone# toll free (866) 925-3622

 Black Male Teachers needed. Do you know any Black Males who are seniors in high school who want to go to college out-of-state for FREE?  The CALL ME MISTER program offered by 4 historical black colleges in South Carolina, Benedict College, Chaflin University, Morris College and South Carolina State University – visit the     details online application or call 1.800.640.2657

Harvard University is offering free tuition to families of HONOR STUDENTS and their income is less than $125,000 per year. Visit or call 617.495.1581.

Syracuse University School of Architecture is desperately seeking young women and men of color interested in pursuing a 5 yr. professional degree in Architecture. Contact:  Mark Robbins, Dean School of Architecture, 201 Slocum Hall, Syracuse, N Y 13244-1250 (315)  443-256           

A free pair of eyeglasses from Target for any child ages 12 and under brings a valid prescription for glasses from their doctor.  You can find stores with optical departments at www.target.com        

APPLY NOW – If you have/know young adults between the ages of 18-31 with a High School Diploma.  Can earn up to $100,000 and earn benefits.  The Federal Aviation Association is taking application for Air Traffic Controller School.

Data telling stories…shoes…formative assessment…micro-loans to support the global economy

When I first started sharing inforgraphics, one of the premises shared was about data telling a story. Enrico Bertini’s blog, Telling a story doesn’t tell the whole story,  provides a frame of reference on this topic.

New-to-me fact – Did you know that right and left shoes were thought up only a little more than a century ago?

Read a new blog focused on formative assessment  Learn more about the research behind formative assessment and the importance of Teacher Learning Communities.

A friend introduced me to Kiva a few years ago as a Christmas gift. This is the first year they have published the annual report online and the data graphics are great…as well as pretty interesting. If you are interested in micro loans to small businesses as a way to support the global economy, please take a look. You might even decide to give. I do regularly. If you decide to give, click here for a free trial . These free trials are financed by friends of Kiva, allowing the new lender to make one $25 loan free of charge.

Sites for Educators

While the end of the school year is upon us, there is always time to share sites that can serve as great resources for teachers. Check out a few of these during your summer break.

San Diego Zoo — The zoo’s education site offers K-12 classroom materials and teaching guides focusing on animals, the environment and conservation. If you don’t live close, the zoo makes its experts available to schools via videoconferencing.

For those who live in the Pittsburgh area, plan on a live field trip to the Carnegie Science Center. This center is known for pioneering STEM-related programs and houses the Robotics Hall of Fame. This site also includes downloadable lesson plans.

From grade K through higher education teachers will be surprised that this NASA site offers a wide variety of surprising materials to support a wide variety of content from the expected STEM offerings to history and careers.

Want to get your kids out and moving? Check out this soccer site designed for elementary schoolers. Information provided is about the game, the rules and most importantly the behaviors.

This PBS site – Liberty – is all about the American Revolution. It goes beyond the PBS series and seems to be a large database of everything associated with the American Revolution. There is even a trivia game that allows students to test their knowledge of the material.

If improving school climate is part of your school improvement plan for next year, check out this site. The Safe and Supportive Schools Technical Assistance Center is funded by the U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Safe and Healthy Students (formerly the Office of Safe and Drug-Free Schools) to help address issues such as bullying, harassment, violence and substance abuse. The archived webinars and research section cover a variety of topics.

Shmoop is today’s version of Cliff notes. While some areas of the site are paid, the free areas are pretty comprehensive.

This site is the source of everything technology that CNN covers. A great site for tech teachers, this is also the place where teachers not quite so tech-savvy can learn a lot. Education World says, “Whether you’re the one who can’t throw out that old typewriter or the one who’s already waiting in line for the new iPhone, CNN.com/Tech is worth a look.”

Looking to put some fun into a math lesson? Check out details behind the Rubik’s Cube here. If you’re a fan of the 80s, click here.

Geo-Cube is geography on a Rubric’s Cube and a fun way to learn more about the world. With 6 faces and 54 topics there is so much to explore!

RTI is a challenge to implement. This site holds a wide variety of assessment tools to help teachers find out where students are and to monitor their progress. There are a lot of ideas, evidence-based technical assistance and resources.

I used to have a question of the day in my class – sure wish this site had been around then. What a great resource for teachers and students – the question, the answer and background information. Could be fun for everyone.

Two site for tag clouds that are fun AND have assessment value. Take your classroom blog or online discussion, dump the text into a tag cloud at Tagxedo and see what jumps out. Are the words that are most prominent the ones that you would expect to see most often. Can you tell how well your students are getting the content you want them to learn??? Try Wordle as well.

Every Friday my leadership students turned in a journal. We shared a written conversation about their thoughts, impressions and learning…and their lives. It was also a full milk crate to lug to and from the classroom. This electronic journal takes away the need to carry paper and pen.

All things regarding US politics live here and, thanks to NBC, are made easy to understand. All civics, social studies and history teachers should at least peruse the content here, particularly during this election year.

Annenberg has long been a favorite of mine when it comes to articles and videos for professional development. There are a wealth of resources and courses available here.

Visuals (NBA shots, Anthropocene, Foodpairing, Avengers, Titanic) and BYOD

Have an interest in NBA and the shots made in the past 5 years? Take a look at this data visualization and where players stood to make shots, color-coded for frequency.

It seems like asking the right questions can set up apart not just in the classroom but in the workplace in general.

Did you catch NCIS/Hawaii Five-O this week? The doctor who that igniting a smallpox epidemic would help the planet. Her commentary included the enormity of the population explosion in such a short time. Welcome to the Anthropocene is a 3-minute journey charity the growth of humanity over the last 250 years. “Anthropocene” was a new word for me. Wikipedia describes it as an “informal geologic chronological term that serves to mark the evidence and extent of human activities that have had a significant global impact on the Earth‘s ecosystems.”

Have you ever used the Visual Thesaurus? Do you like to cook? If so, you might enjoy exploring this Foodpairing tool. Discover new flavor combinations for your cooking.

Are BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) policies helping or hindering blended learning? It would be great to hear your thoughts on this topic.

The Avengers visualized (and outside of the movie) – including comic book covers, first appearances and more – very creative

If you ignore the misspelled words (the author says it is because he is Spanish), the blog has some great infographics about the Titanic AND they are from 1912.

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