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What I Am Reading: Invent to Learn

I came across this quote on Pinterest a while ago.

If you read an hour a day, one book per week, you will be an expert in your field within three years. Through continuous learning, you will be a national authority in five years, and you will be an international authority in seven years. ~ Brian Tracy

In reality I do not have an hour a day to read as some days the kids are lucky if we have time to eat and read their books before bedtime. So I guess I am becoming an expert on Diary of a Wimpy Kid and Whatever After, but that really doesn’t help me in my career.  I have decided that something is better than nothing and I am not seeking to be an international expert, just to get better at what I do.   I have started by finding books that challenge me to think about education, technology and how kids learn.   Currently the buzz I have been hearing is around MakerSpace.   MakerSpace was a big topic as last year’s SXSW Edu event and I can honestly say I did not “get it” at that time.

I began to watch how my own children learn and play and started to see the allure.  We have gotten away from allowing kids to build and create.  School work needs to have multiple choice questions associated with it.  I see it in their homework and graded papers.  Science is graded on how well they can choose the right answer instead of how they can make predictions, test theories and explore how things work.   I also began thinking back to my own school days and tried to think about what work do I remember from the 1980s that I was graded on.  What came to mind was the replicas I built of the Globe Theater, an Egyptian Tomb, science fair projects that I researched and put together and the one page notes pages my trig teacher would let us bring to class.  All these things I created.

I was starting to “get it.”    The idea still seemed overwhelming in the face of standardizing testing.  I began to research online and ran across the recommendation for this book: Invent to Learn.  I am enjoying reading through the ideas and thoughts in this book.  I have used it as a reference book to find ideas and resources in how I am helping to create a MakerSpace existence on campus.  More to come on that later.    By reading I am conquering my fears and finding solutions.    I am not through with it yet, but wanted to share and find out what other people are reading right now.

What are you reading to become an “expert?”

 

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Technology Inspired Lesson Ideas

I usually look at technology as being the engagement piece of the classroom.   These lessons do not take technology to implement into the classroom, but they use technology themes to engage the students:

Table Texting:
An interactive strategy to use with any topic or text. Pose a question to the class, or have them construct a question about the topic/text. Then pass the paper around and have other respond to the question as if in a text message. Directions and the handout are available here.

Exit Ticket: Tweets
Twitter is very popular these days and can be a good way to check for understanding of the day’s lesson. Have students fill in their tweet slip and turn it in on the way out the door. These can be hung up on walls/bulletin boards to show the learning taking place in your classroom.
Tweets about Today’s Lesson

Cell Phones from the Past
What if a historical character, a character from a novel, or a concept/element had a cell phone? what would be on it? What apps would they use, who would they text, who would be calling them? Have students fill out this handout with that information as they think through the cell phone owner in a different way.
Cell Phones from the Past

Make Your Images Interactive with Thinglink

Edmodo

Technology Tuesday – Web Curation

The internet is crowded with tons of resources and ideas.   How do you manage all the content you find online?  Do you add it to your favorites?  Do you add a link on your website?  Or have you taken advantage of one of the web 2.0 tools out there that help you curate your links in a way that make them accessible, ready to share, and ready to use.   Here are 5 of my favorite Web Curation Tools that are available for free.

1.  Pinterest Logo Pinterest –have you heard of it?  I know most of you have since I see your pins all the time.   Pinterest is a web curator site, or another way to organize your links that is social and visual.   You set up “boards” to which you “pin” websites. Each board can have a theme and you can look through other people’s boards (if they make them public) for more ideas.  Other users can follow your boards, like your pins or re-pin your pins onto their own boards.  There is a section labeled Education that displays people’s pins(website finds) that have to do with education.

I have created an account on Pinterest dedicated to educational resources.  If you would like to check it out (or follow them) go here:  http://pinterest.com/techrobin/

If you need an invite to Pinterest, please let me know!

2.  LiveBinders LogoLivebinders http://www.livebinders.com/ – collect all your resources, images, videos, pdfs, websites, and group them into a “binder” where students have easy access to the websites that you have.  Inside the binder you can divide the content into tabs and each tab can have sub-tabs.  Students can create accounts and add the binder to their own collections or create binders on topic assigned to them.

 Examples:

3.  Linoit LogoLinoithttp://en.linoit.com/ – An online collaboration tool in the form of Sticky Notes.  Create a bulletin board of ideas and files on any topic.  Organize ideas and resources be rearranging the sticky notes on the board.  This is an easy, visual ways for students to find the resources or information they need.  This can also be a great collaboration tool as students add in notes (if you allow that) and collect ideas.

4.  Diigo LogoDiigohttp://www.diigo.com/user/robiny – Diigo is a bookmarking website that allows users to create groups, share links and have discussions.      Researching biomes?  Give the websites you find a specific tag and gie that link the to students so anytime you add more resources their list is updated without having to add a link to your website.

This is a resource that I have been using for a long time and still love it.  I can add bookmarks from school and still retrieve them from home.   They also have apps that are useful for mobile devices.

 

5.  Wallwisher logoWall Wisherhttp://www.wallwisher.com/ – another online bulletin board that has been around for a while.  You can add stickies that contain text, images or links to websites.   This tools is great for collecting images of a certain topic and them having students use those images for their projects and since the kids can help add in the resources, this can be a great collaboration tool.

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