Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Flipping for New Chromebook for Today’s Classrooms

After using the ASUS Chromebook Flip C100 I’m left with just two questions:

1) Why doesn’t every school provide one for every student?
The Chromebook Flip would save schools money and provide a more effective learning tool then 20th century alternatives. No more paper, no more books. No more calculators, rulers, or lots of other costly items either when you have a Chromebook. It comes in at under $300 a year and lasts for three years.  This means for $100 a year you have outfitted your students with all the supply (singular intentional) they need. And, it’s not just a replacement for traditional supplies. Instead, it provides the functionality of traditional devices and it is also a powerful creation tool that enables them to collaborate and connect with the world.  

Sunday, July 26, 2015

Close Captioning Tools Support Literacy

Guest Post by Jacob Gutnicki 

All too often the benefits of close captioning in instruction are largely ignored. Many people believe that this only benefits students who are hard of hearing, deaf, or have a language deficit. 

This could not be further from the truth. Close captioning can also help students with various cognitive disabilities, English Language Learners, developing readers, as well as all learners. Furthermore, presenting information in multiple ways can help address the diverse needs of learners in the classroom and engage students on multiple levels. For example, close captioning can be used as a study aid, can expose students to public speaking, and can be used to teach students various writing genres. Additionally, the use of captioned or subtitled media can be a great tool for teachers looking to differentiate classroom instruction. This is because many struggling readers avoid text, and have minimal exposure to print. To this end, close captioning can provide students with additional exposure to print when they watch a video at home and at school.

Saturday, July 25, 2015

The Hottest Posts Everyone's Reading

Here’s the roundup of what's been popular on The Innovative Educator blog. Below you’ll see the top posts along with the number of page views. I hope there's something that looks of interest to you.  If it does, check it out. If you’re inspired use one of those icons below the post to share it with others and/or leave a comment.
Jul 8, 2015, 
Jul 15, 2015, 
Jul 19, 2015, 
Jul 22, 2015, 
Jul 8, 2012, 
Jul 12, 2015, 
Jun 13, 2013, 
Jun 28, 2015, 

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Using Cell Phone Technology to Support Students Who Struggle with Writing

Guest post  by Jacob Gunicki

For a long time software companies have offered a number of applications that allegedly support student-writing skills. These offerings include Inspiration, Don Johnston Software, Clicker, Write on Line, Dragon Software, as well as some web based options. Unfortunately, these applications have had limited success with helping students who struggle with writing. This has happened for several reasons, which are as follows;
  • The interface for specialized software often has a clunky non-user friendly look. Subsequently, teachers servicing high need students are reluctant to learn how to use this software. Additionally, the targeted students find the interface non-appealing and are less likely to want to use this software.
  • Specialized software is often expensive. This limits the ability for cash strapped schools to invest their limited funds in the software applications noted above.
  • Specialized software only targets the needs of a narrow audience. This makes the software impractical unless your needs happen to fit the expressed purpose of the software developer.

Sunday, July 19, 2015

After the Cell Phone Ban - NYC Schools Launch #BYOD

The New York City Department of Education lifted the ban on cell phones last spring. For some schools the difference was that students could bring their phones to school, but have them locked up or out of sight. For some of the more innovative schools however, that meant teachers could empower students to harness the power of student devices for learning.  

That's exactly what happened at Harlem's P.S. 129 where 4th grade students in Stacey Nealy’s and Ryann Geldner’s launched the initiative in their school using the devices to better understand Native Americans. Students read information and sent in their reflections via a student response system from their own phones or laptops. For students without devices they were provided a school-issued device or they shared with a peer.  

In an interview with the Hechinger Report, Amy Thiam, a fourth-grader explained, “We are learning and having fun at the same time.”  You can read the whole article here

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Socialization: How are Schools Doing?

Traditional public schools have a testing- and competition-focused model that often gets in the way of potentially positive social interactions. After all, you can’t test students in their personal interactions, so in what’s the point in fostering it?

When considering if school is a good place to learn healthy interpersonal relationships, it is important to make the distinction between socializing and being socialized.  

Socializing is fun. Being “socialized”... not so much.

When we think about school, we generally see 20-30 children, grouped by date of manufacture,  in a room with one adult. Order and rules govern the room. They are required to move from place to place when loud bells ring. Recess, another thing that can’t be tested, is fast becoming an endangered species.  Today’s schoolchildren enjoying 50% less time outdoors then when I was in school.  

The ability to be quiet is highly valued.
  • Do not talk during class.
  • Do not talk in the halls.
  • Be quiet in the lunch room.

Failure to conform to “shushing,” is met with a stern warning: “You’re not here to socialize.” Disobedience results in consequences, even low grades in “conduct.

Sunday, July 12, 2015

Hashtag Power - Everyone Has A Voice

The power of the hashtag is to bring to the conversation what is missing from the conversation. That is what I discussed with Amy Coupal CEO of Learnography at ISTE in Philadelphia.

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Amy asked me what was missing from the conversation at ISTE and I realized that with hashtags we can include whatever it is we feel is missing from a conversation. For example, during the opening keynote,  showed a clip from a school that did not offer classes such as calculus required by some college programs.  A student was able to get the class added to the school's offerings, but ultimately, nearly all the students dropped out. What wasn't addressed is that this class looked extremely boring and there was no technology. It was not a place I could imagine anyone would choose to be. In short, what I wanted to add to the conversation, was that it is not enough to offer a class. We have to offer classes that make kids want to be there. Because I am Twitterate, I used the appropriate hashtag, my thoughts were heard, and I became a part of the conversation (you can see one such conversation here).  
Gone are the days when we can gripe about a conference, news program, or really anything, missing the mark. With hashtags we can contribute to the solution. Hashtags allow us to enlist the talent and ideas of a global community. That is of course if you have, and share, a hashtag.  Whether you are running a conference, a school, or a business, hashtags are indeed the magic bullet to bring the community into the conversation.  You can watch our conversation in the 90 second video below.