Sunday, July 31, 2011

What's Popular This Week on The Innovative Educator

Here’s the roundup of what's been popular on The Innovative Educator blog this week. Below you’ll see my top weekly posts along with the number of pageviews in the past 7 days. I hope there's something that looks of interest to you.  If it does, check it out. If you’re so inspired leave a comment.

Jul 17, 2011, 14 comments
2,117 Pageviews









Jul 24, 2011, 9 comments
  1,148 Pageviews









Jul 21, 2011, 2 comments
 1467 Pageviews









Jul 26, 2011, 5 comments
 1425 Pageviews









Jul 10, 2011, 29 comments  1
357 Pageviews









Jul 28, 2011
  1335 Pageviews









Jul 30, 2011, 1 comment
  1273 Pageviews









Jul 25, 2011  1
224 Pageviews









Jul 15, 2010, 19 comments   1
213 Pageviews









Apr 25, 2011, 20 comments
 1183 Pageviews








Saturday, July 30, 2011

Turn Your iPad or iTouch into a Document Camera

I just LOVE saving people and schools money and here's another way to do it.  If you have an access to an iPad or iTouch you also have a document camera you can use in your classroom.  Simply connect the device to the projector and balance it on something in camera mode, then wah-la! A document camera.  You don't need any fancy or extra equipment.  So simple and so cool.

We used it in a workshop where people had iTouches and iPads and we were trying to figure out a very easy way for everyone to share their work without having to upload, email, etc.  All we needed to do is turn one iTouch or iPad into a document camera then everyone just took their device.  Placed it under the document camera -designated device and we were able to share!  It also worked well when we were trying to share how we did something on a particular device.

This video made by Chris Bell features Lainie Rowell showing us how at Alan November's Building Learning Communities conference.

Listen to Me Speak Today! Creating Schools that Empower Students with the Freedom to Find Their Sentence

I will be speaking today at the Reform Symposium Worldwide conference about Creating the Schools that Empower Students with the Freedom to Find Their SentenceThis is a free webinar where I will discuss why we need to help students break out of the boring prison of school if we want to prepare them for the real world in which they live. I hope to shatter some of the myths that have been used as excuses for administrators and policy makers to take the easy way out keeping 21st century students stuck in the past. In my presentation I will bring in voices of real students and educators who have experienced the success that ensues when students are empowered to think outside the ban and are given the freedom to communicate, connect, and create in real ways, with real meaning, for real audiences.


Time and Date: Saturday, July 30th, 15:30 to 16:30 LA time/ 1830 to 1930 Boston time/ 23:30-00:30 London time. You can check other time zones here.
Join at this link.
Payment information:  FREE!
Twitter: My alias @InnovativeEdu Conference hashtag -

Friday, July 29, 2011

Is College Really for All?


The Common Core Standards are being adopted far and wide and sprinkled throughout is a new acronym that concerns educators like me.


CCR


It stands for College AND Career readiness.  This concerns a lot of people for a lot of reasons. You can read what I’ve written about this here. Here are five obvious reasons not everyone should go to college:
  1. Many of our most successful entrepreneurs didn’t graduate from college and many of those who did question its value.
  2. College-ready shouldn’t be a requirement for blue collar workers.
  3. The artists, musicians, photographers, actors, of our world don’t need a college degree.  
  4. College debt has surpassed credit card debt in our country.  Do we need to force everyone down this path?
  5. High school students are given less and less choice when it comes to focusing on what they are interested in.  They may need time in the world before picking a path in college.  Heck ask around and you’ll see that many people who did graduate from college aren’t in the field they went to school for.  
  6. Not everyone is, or should have to be, academically-minded.  
Many innovative educators know that it’s common sense that the common core should not require college for all and if they don’t there’s tons of press coverage to inform them.  Here’s a round up of some stories that have caught my eye lately.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Public schools that don't require high stakes tests

Back to HomeDid you know that if you live in New York and you don’t believe high stakes tests are what is best for kids there is a coalition of high schools which have pioneered the creation of educational communities synonymous with active student learning, exemplary professional development and innovative curriculum and teaching strategies for 21st century students? Yep there is.  In fact many of the schools and leaders have even been nationally recognized through such honors as New American High Schools, 21st Century Schools, and Blue Ribbon Schools of Excellence.


These Consortium schools have devised a system of assessment and they document how their work meets and exceeds New York State Regents standards through a system of rigorous commencement-level performance-based assessment tasks. Performance on these tasks is reflected on student transcripts. The tasks require students to demonstrate accomplishment in areas such as analytic thinking, reading comprehension, research writing skills, the application of mathematical computation and problem-solving skills, computer technology, the utilization of the scientific method in undertaking science research, appreciation of and performance skills in the arts, service learning and school to career skills. Experts external to the schools, from universities and the business world, participate in reviews of student work.
           
You can visit the Member High Schools to discover if there is a school near you.  You can find out about schools and programs in other areas at The Coalition of Essential Schools website.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Homeschooling, Socialization, and the Autism Spectrum

Guest Post by Homeschooling Mom Heather DeGeorge  


Editor’s note:  When I mention home education as an option some in the education world who are in my PLN have brought up socialization being an issue.  Heather DeGeorge has had wonderful feedback which she shares on the Homeschooling, Unschooling, Uncollege, Opt Out, DIY, Hack Your Education group. I asked her to share her insights here and she said yes!  This is part 2 of her insights.  Part 1 addresses homeschooling and socialization in general.  Thank you Heather.


I am a mother of a child in the spectrum.  Our journey started when he was flagged with profound delays at 9 months old and suspected of cerebral palsy.  I remember when, as a nursing infant of a stay-at-home mother, my son had no concept that I had left the room let alone gone out to the store.  I remember when he had progressed to the point of being able to verbalize a need, but didn’t understand that a human needed to be present to hear it in order for that need to be met.  I remember the very first time he laid his head on my shoulder, or looked me in the eye—because they were exceptions in our life.


He is now 7-1/2 years old.  I have a Master’s in Education with additional graduate credits in Special Education and teaching children with autism.  I have been a foster parent.  


And I homeschool.


Tuesday, July 26, 2011

How “Socialization” Happens in Homeschooling

Guest Post by Homeschooling Mom Heather DeGeorge  

Editor’s note:  When I mention home education as an option some in the education world who are in my PLN have brought up socialization being an issue.  Heather DeGeorge has wonderful feedback on the Homeschooling, Unschooling, Uncollege, Opt Out, DIY, Hack Your Education group. I asked her to share her insights here and she said yes!  This is part 1 of her insights.  Part 2 will address homeschooling and socialization with children on the Autism spectrum.  Thank you Heather.


It’s such a hot-button issue, isn’t it?


I’m the mother of a 7-1/2 year old social BEAST.  My kid has spent (literally) EIGHT hours playing with the THIRTEEN kids on our block and come in at night crying that he barely got to play with his friends.  So please—I’ve been there if you have one of those.  It’s misery.


But I’m also a very fervent believer that children need to learn how to work with others in joint decision-making, on a team, taking direction from other figures of authority, and just understanding basic, NORMAL, day-to-day social interactions.  And really, I think this is what people are thinking that homeschoolers just toss to the wind “in exchange” for the academic benefits.


SO not so.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Ten Ideas to Get Going with Homeschooing

If your children / students are not thriving in a school setting you might want to consider home education. To follow is a compilation of resources and recommendations for getting started.  

1)     Connect with others online
There many home education groups to join.  I've compiled a list of them here under the heading “Discussion Boards.”
Here is where you can get started.:
  • The Unplugged Mom's group on Facebook
  • Backyard schooling on Facebook
  • Connect with a local home education group where you can find support, community and camaraderie.
    • You can find unschooling groups in the world and in the United States at this link.
    • You can find homeschooing groups by location at this link.  
2)    Know your stats
You should know the stats of the success of those who are home educated in comparison to those who are not.  You can get started by checking out “What happens to home educated adults?”
3)     Know the law in your state
Know the home education laws and requirements in your state.  The Home School Legal Defense Association has state by state laws with which you should be familiar. You can check out the laws in your state here.  
You may also need to show how your home education meets state standards.  Sandra Dodd has ideas on how you can show curriculum requirements are being met here. She also has a suggestion for how to handle standardized tests in states that require them here.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Being Social Online Means Being Social In Life

As a proponent of social media, I am often met by those who have not joined these waters with comments like:
  • "Students can't even learn to speak properly to each other face-to-face. We need to get that straight before we focus on communicating online."
  • "If I want to speak to someone, I'll pick up the phone or make a plan to meet them."
  • "I prefer real connections."
  • "Social media is making people less social. They don't go out in the real world anymore."
My response is generally that our online behavior is usually an extension of our f2f behavior and that social media doesn't change that, rather it offers new ways to connect.  Well our friends at Pew Internet & American Life Project released a new report about Social networking sites and our lives which supports beliefs like mine and disputes the perceptions of the nay sayers.  

In the report they answer whether or not social networking hindered off line activity and interactions.  The answer is clear, it most certainly does not.  Not only do social networks fail to retard offline growth, they actually help users develop connections and form stronger relationships in the real world.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

What's Popular This Week on The Innovative Educator

Here’s the roundup of what's been popular on The Innovative Educator blog this week. Below you’ll see my top weekly posts along with the number of pageviews in the past 7 days.

This week, Google+ has it!  Not only did my post that explains when and why to use G+ vs other social media make it to #1, but it actually made it to the #1 post of all time!  People are really interested in Google+ and with good reason.  If you're interested too, check out the posts.  Also at the top was an awesome list of assistive tech resources that I was able to compile thanks to my fantabulous PLN.  

There are several other interesting posts as well. I hope there's something that looks of interest to you.  If it does, check it out. If you’re so inspired leave a comment.


Jul 17, 2011, 13 comments    
8998 Pageviews









Jul 10, 2011, 29 comments    
4259 Pageviews









Jul 21, 2011,   2 comments
    4,213 Pageviews









Apr 26, 2011, 10 comments           3
750 Pageviews









Jul 18, 2011,     2 comments
              3605 Pageviews









Jul 18, 2011        
2546 Pageviews









Jul 15, 2011
      1937 Pageviews









Jul 19, 2011, 4 comments
    1863 Pageviews









Jul 22, 2011, 1 comment     1
797 Pageviews









A Compilation of work from John Holt - One of The ...
Jul 20, 2011, 1 comment
 1580 Pageview

Friday, July 22, 2011

A Special Teacher’s Story of “That Kid”

sheehy.jpegPeggy Sheehy is “That Teacher.” You know the one.  The one that you remember after you graduate. Not because she helped you fill in the bubblesheet well or do a great job at answering the questions at the end of the chapter or diagram a sentence.  Those are the teachers you want to forget.  Peggy is the teacher kids will remember not because she is so stylish or because she has the coolest and funkiest hair of any adult around...though she does!  


Peggy received her Master’s Degree in Educational Technology from Stony Brook University and studied Library Science at Southern Connecticut State University. She was named Tech Teacher of the Year two times and is an advocate for the authentic use of technology in education, but this also has nothing to do with why Peggy is “That Teacher” students will remember. 
  
Peggy is “That Teacher” kids will remember because she is a teacher that asks, “Why?” when...

Thursday, July 21, 2011

What Happens to Home Educated Adults?

Many adults who are considering home educating their children are concerned often because they hear others (whose kids are schooled) how necessary it is for success in life.  I've shared profiles of unschooled adults here on The Innovative Educator which show a positive picture of what home educated children grow up to be.

Some of those posts are bulleted below:
I recently came across this study of home educated kids as adults:
Ray, Brian D. (2004a). Home educated and now adults: Their community and civic involvement, views about homeschooling, and other traits. Salem, OR: National Home Education Research Institute www.nheri.org

The study reveals that home educated kids fair better as adults when it comes to
  • Learning habits and attitudes
  • Civic Engagement
  • College Admission
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