Before I get to the notebook topic... check out my friend Mike's podcast on Assistive Tech.
Assistive Technology- what is it? Is it just for SPED? Check out this podcast from my friend Mike Marotta with Jennifer Cronk. He is an AT specialist from New Jersey and is well known both nationally and internationally for his AT expertise. I love hearing him talk about Google Keep, one of my favorites. This is part 2 of a series. You can check out Part 1 and all the other podcast episodes here.
Notebooks- Paper or ?
You can read all sides of the paperless classroom debate online, (here, here, here) Should we all be paperless? Do students retain information best when they interact with it by writing it down or ? I would love to get rid of so much of the paper that clogs up my life as an educator. Do we really need to fill out paper forms, keep the pink copy, send the blue one here, the white one there and oh yeah, the yellow one goes to so and so? Do students need to print out all of their assignments that they created digitally and turn them in? Everyone has their own answers. Today, as I play catch up- writing my Tech Tuesday post on a snowy Wednesday, I was looking again at the Rocketbook and other "new notebooks".
I am a believer in writing things down to remember them. I like to have notes from meetings. It kind of gives me something to do while I sit there. I don't mean looking at the board or slide deck and writing all the stuff down that I will also have a digital copy of later, but writing down the highlights, writing down my questions, drawing myself a picture. I also need to write down reminders to myself. I like to make lists. I am a big fan of Google Keep. However, sometimes, having your computer open on the table makes people think you're not listening and honestly- it can be a distraction. This may be just the culture at my current school, but I think not. I have tried out Livescribe Pens and love them- but, I don't usually need to go back and listen to that recording again. Maybe if I was using them in a class I would find them more useful. I did find the little recording dots useful to make books more accessible. There are also some privacy issues around recording in a meeting or a classroom setting.
So- Rocketbooks. I first saw these on Kickstarter a while back. They were the kind you put in the microwave to erase. I thought it was clever, but a bit silly. However, the new version seems to have potential. These are notebooks that feel like real paper, and supposedly can be infinitely reused by simply wiping the pages with a damp cloth after uploading the scanned pages. You can upload the notes to Google Drive and many other cloud platforms- not Google Keep- yet. It does not OCR the notes. This is something I would love to see. If only you could upload to Google Keep... OCR and flip to Google Drive. But- check them out here.
Blackboard™ by Boogie Board™ is an alternative electronic writing tool which can be used to plan, sketch, and design featuring Liquid Crystal Paper™. I first saw this at Hopkins when the rep from Barnes and Noble came to demonstrate tech tools. It did not overwhelm me, but since then I have heard good reviews from other educators. Check it out here.
Google Edu in 90
It is pretty much impossible to keep up with all the changes in edtech. I depend on my PLN. I get daily emails from the bloggers that I choose to follow, check in on Twitter, Google +, various FB groups, and on and on... Google Edu in 90 can help. It can give you a quick overview in 90 seconds. You can read more about it here. Here's one of the most recent examples. You can sign up to get the Google Edu newsletters and see the past issues here.
Image CC: By Rebeca Zuñiga
I recently read an article about Esther Wojcicki's work, watched a few of her videos and then saw that there is now an actual Moonshot in Education movement, a little like the 20% time that many of you have heard about. One of the primary goals is to give students agency in order to help prepare them for the real world. This really resonated with me as several of my colleagues were just talking about this today- allowing students to make decisions, to work collaboratively on real projects. The Washington Post recently ran an article about the skills Google was looking for in their employees: same skills that Esther is promoting: "Project Aristotle shows that the best teams at Google exhibit a range of soft skills: equality, generosity, curiosity toward the ideas of your teammates, empathy, and emotional intelligence. And topping the list: emotional safety. No bullying. To succeed, each and every team member must feel confident speaking up and making mistakes. They must know they are being heard." You can learn more about her work, her goals and maybe sign up to get more info and resources here.
H/T to Leslie DiChiara for sharing Hillary Goldwaith-Fowles' article: Digital Does Not Equal Accessible. As more districts incorporate digital tools into the mainstream student population, we often get the impression that the tech or the digital access will magically cure all. Needless to say digital ≠ accessible. OER ≠ accessible. UDL ≠ accessible automatically. Check out this wonderful article and all the crowd-sourced comments to help bring this issue into focus for all.
Diana Benner down in Texas has published the first in a series of articles on accessibility on chromebooks. Nicely categorized, features a short list of chrome extensions to check out. If you are looking for a more complete listing, or other options, check out Eric Curts' work here.
#Ditch Summit report
I ended up binge-watching all 9 hours of Ditch Summit on a couple of those frigid days of the vacation week. As usual, it was worth my time. Two of the presentations really stood out. My favorite as far as potential gold mine of resources was Jon Corippo's EduProtocols: What They Are and How They Can Impact Learning. You can get in touch with Jon on Twitter: @jcorippo. He has so many great ideas to help streamline your workload and get more time with the students. You can get a quick synopsis from the notes Matt Miller provided. The other presentation I really enjoyed, although I have to say just picking 2 is hard, was Tanya Avrith and Holly Clark's presentation on Technology and Pedagogy. "How can we use technology to amplify great teaching instead of just putting technology on top?" Contact them: Website: hollyclark.org Twitter: @HollyClarkEdu & Website: tanyaavrith.com Twitter: @TanyaAvrith. These two amazing women are doing the work, not just talking/writing about it, and it shows in the way they approach the topics and in their solutions to the problems we all face. Here's the quick synopsis from the notes Matt Miller provided.
Storytime from Space
I saw this site referenced the other day and thought it was the coolest thing! Astronauts are reading/videoing children's books from the International Space Station. You can learn more about it here. Here's a short blurb from NASA: "Story Time From Space combines science literacy outreach with simple demonstrations recorded aboard the International Space Station (ISS). Crew members read five science, technology, engineering and mathematics-related children's books in orbit, and complete simple science concept experiments. Crew members videotape themselves reading the books and completing demonstrations. Video and data collected during the demonstrations are downlinked to the ground and posted in a video library with accompanying educational materials." You can read more about the research involved in this project here.