Inclusion Benefits All
This short film has gotten rave reviews around the world. The film sets out to show that children with disabilities can and should be included. Check the write up on Respectability.org
Here's the blurb from YouTube: " A short film that appeals to emotions. A crush on the heart so that we all participate in the construction of a more inclusive world. Ian was born with cerebral palsy. Like everyone else, he wants to have friends. Like no one, he needs to work hard to get it. Discrimination, bullying and indifference keep him away from his beloved playground. But Ian won’t give up easily and will achieve something amazing. Ian is not alone. In Argentina there are five million people with disability. In the world, more than a billion. Inclusion is vital for our society, it makes us richer, more diverse and more just."
Less than 10 minutes... take the time.
12 Days of Techmas
Nadine Gilkison has shared a great slidedeck filled with wonderful ideas. She has given me permission to share the first slide (above) and to link it to her work. Check out her video below which explains a bit more about her motivation, the big picture. I first became aware of Nadine's work via Twitter and then was amazed all the wonderful hyperdocs that she shared. Lots of great ideas in the slide deck and don't forget to follow her work online for more.
A Holiday Gift from Lisa Highfill and HyperDocs
Lisa and her co-authors, Kelly Hilton and Sarah Landis, as well as all the teachers who freely share their work on the Hyperdocs.co site, or on the FB group deserve a standing ovation from all who benefit from their work. I was in the first cohort to take the Hyperdocs course, back when the book first came out and have to say that the ideas shared then combined with all the new hyperdocs shared online, are amazing tools which can really help you connect with and make a difference for your students. Click here or on the image below to see all the goodies Lisa shared today.
Ditch Summit 2018 & Access to all 35 Videos!
I know I already posted about this free online PD, but I didn't know that Matt Miller was going to open up all 35 videos in the series! These are only available through Dec 31st- so watch as many as you can before they disappear again. Today is Day 5 and I am already behind... but plan to catch up.
Don't Forget- Free Master FlipGrid course is live!
The debate around screen time is heating up once again. I have my own personal take on this, being one of the only tech folks in the universe who does not own a cell phone. But, aside from all the personal engagement/social issues that we can all acknowledge as adults- what is this doing to our kids' brains?
60 Minutes did a whole show on this recently and it was written up in the NY Times. This is an excerpt from the NY Times article: " As part of an exposé on screen time, “60 Minutes” reported that heavy screen use was associated with lower scores on some aptitude tests, and to accelerated “cortical thinning" — a natural process — in some children. But the data is preliminary, and it’s unclear whether the effects are lasting or even meaningful."
So NIH is doing a big longitudinal study to help clear this up. This is all well and good, but it also means that there is no quick and easy answer. I get a bit frustrated when I hear complaints about screen time in school. Our goal is to use this as an additional tool, to create, to learn. When the complaints come from folks who hand off a phone to a toddler in the car, it bugs me. Is this generational? Perhaps. When I see a group of students on a really cool field trip looking at natural wonders through a lens, instead of being present, in the moment, I think they are missing out. I see tech as a cool tool, but it should enhance, not limit, our world.
The various press releases around this study are already pointing fingers... more than 2 hours of screen time negatively affects the brain; brains of 9 and 10 year olds who use screens more than 7 hours a day show "thinning cortex", and on and on. It is a really interesting study, but it is far too early to say what these initial findings really mean. However, it is not too early to remind ourselves, parents and children to be aware of screen time and to balance our activities.
Hmmm... Who calls listening to a book ear-reading ? At any rate, several articles have appeared in the last couple of weeks about the use of audio books. Is it cheating? How does it help students or does it help only some students? I never listened to books as I drove myself and my children and their friends back and forth to school every day (50 minutes each way). I trained myself not to listen to anything in the car- sanity while driving middle school age children was a priority. Now I listen to books pretty much constantly- on the way to and from work, while I'm working outside, weeding, mowing, shoveling snow... I consider it reading. I read about 300 books a year, more than half are audio books.
Is listening to a book cheating? Well, are you working on decoding or comprehension? If you want your students to understand the material, let them listen to it, look at it, watch videos, etc... The only caveat I have is that videos are generally not true to the book and you lose the language, the flow that the author intended.
In the past I have used the uPAR test with students and found that the vast majority of students- something like 87%, demonstrated significantly better comprehension- up more than a grade level- when they also got to listen to the text being read. UDL works.
Both Edutopia and The New York Times have really interesting articles about this- check them out.
If you hadn't noticed, I really like FlipGrid. Since the acquisition by Microsoft, many things have changed, aside from it becoming a free resource. It seems like hardly a week goes back without something new- and it's usually good. I was so happy to see that Holly Clark is giving a FREE course, beginning this Friday to help you #Master FlipGrid! You can sign up here.
TED talks have teamed up with Brightline Initiatives to offer 21 Days of Ideas. Check it out
Live from the North Pole
Google has been tracking Santa for 15 years now. Check out what's new up at the North Pole.
There are books about chrome extensions. I just want to talk about a couple of them. I have used One Tab and Speed Dial2 for years and really like them. Recently I noticed that a similar extension Toby, has also been included in many favorites lists. I downloaded and installed it, but really haven't put it to a test. Perhaps one of you can let me know what you think.
One Tab is incredibly useful to me, especially when I am listening to a webinar and popping 20 or 30 tabs open as I listen. Not only does this suck the life out of my computer and slow it down, but it has caused Chrome to crash and then I lose all my open tabs. One Tab to the rescue. I can have a ton of tabs open, press One Tab and it scoots them all into one tab, lets me label it, share it out as a web page, etc. It supposedly works across devices- but I end up with different lists on my different devices. Here's a quick screenshot of what this looks like.
I use Speed Dial 2 as my start page. I have 3 tabs- one for sites I use at home, one for sites I use for work and one for sites I used for course work. I use this extension constantly. I have it set to be the tab that opens when I click on a new tab. Here's an example of this one.
So what does Toby do? Supposedly a little bit of both. "Toby is better than bookmarks, it's a browser extension that helps you organize your tabs on every new page." It sets itself up as the new tab page automatically. (I had to undo that in settings, since I really like SpeedDial2). It puts all the tabs you open in a list on the right and then you make collections- pulling the tabs in - so kind of like One Tab, but it's supposed to be a great way to organize. Reading through the comments on the Chrome Web Store, it sounds like it meets the needs of some folks perfectly and others wish there was an import/export and other features. The jury is still out for me, but I will try it and see if I want to add Toby to my toolbox or replace a tool with this one.
Hour of Code
This week most of my time and energy has gone into going through some of the new features on Code.org and a few of the many third party educator resources. This is such an amazing resource, and so much of it is free. This year I decided to change up the offerings for grades 4-6 and use the time to introduce microbits. Across the board, the students did a great job. We'll have to look at investing in more of these, as well as more peripherals- sensors, servos, etc. I'm looking forward to seeing what these students can create. K-2 students worked on the iPads with challenges in Scratch Jr and Kodable. Third graders were the first class to try out the new Dance Party. It was an exercise in close reading; those pesky directions! All of this from Day 1... Here's the link to this year's HES Hour of Code site.
Google Expeditions Guide
I've written about Google Expeditions before, but Nick LaFave has created an excellent guide that you may be interested in. You do not have to have fancy glasses or viewers to see these.
This statement was important to me: "No Fancy Equipment Required Originally designed for viewing with a virtual reality headset (or Google Cardboard and a phone), expeditions now work on any mobile device (iPad, tablet, smartphone); just click “View Full Screen” when you open the expedition."
Check out Nick's guide here. He also has a great detailed spreadsheet with a searchable list of all available expeditions.
Adam Bellow posted a link today to showcase the Holiday Breakouts that are available on the platform. It made me realize that I haven't done any breakouts at HES so far this year. We'll have to pick a couple to try.
Insight Mission Activities
Wow! How exciting! A new Mars landing! These are just a few of the resources available to teach students K-12 about Mars, about coding and creating. My friend, Adriano CyberParra Parracciani, one of the original members of the Global Educator's group, created this template in Scratch for you and your students to try.
JPL has a very detailed project, again using Scratch, with various tasks to complete. You can check out that one here.
You can find some great NGSS aligned K-12 lessons about Mars here.
And of course the NASA Journey of a Lifetime Resources are here.
Looking for PD?
Well, I can't make to a teeny percentage of all the wonderful conferences offered. Luckily some share their resources online. VSTE, down in Virginia, just finished up and shared these sessions. I will have take notes on this one: 10 Things to do When the Wi-Fi goes Wonky
Don't forget about the 12 Days of PD from The Birdville ISD down in Texas https://sites.google.com/g.birdvilleschools.net/12daysummit/home
Ditch Summit is coming soon! This is where you get your ticket. It's free.
"The Ditch That Textbook Digital Summit is a FREE virtual event from December 14-31. It brings together some of the brightest minds in education to discuss technology, pedagogy and more."