Well, this year has certainly not gone as expected. Unless something drastic happens, this is the last TechTuesday for the year. Things will continue to change at a dizzying rate, our new normal will somehow emerge, but...we can all catch up on that after a pause to catch our breaths. I usually have a long list of PD things that I will be attending this summer. I may or may not do a few virtually, but face to face, hands-on PD is what I actually find most useful, so my gardens will get more attention.
Ideas to Share
Interactive Google Slides
There has been so many posts, tweets, etc on using bitmojis, etc that it seems that everyone must have way more time to play around with slides, etc. than I have. I saw this video the other day and it looks interesting, but, honestly, I have not tried it. Maybe this summer. The one way I have tried to make slides interactive is using Pear Deck, which I can recommend. This video has lots of other ideas to try. One thing to keep in mind, however, is EF. If your students struggle with executive function, how many steps are involved in the actions on the slides? Is this helping or discouraging those kids? I was talking with a friend who teaches special ed classes and wondering how we could streamline what we do even more and she brought this to my attention. As we try to consolidate info, we need to be sure that it is accessible by all.
NetsBlox was shared in one of the online groups I follow as a way for kids to collaborate online to code games. It looks like a pretty well developed program, based on SNAP, with lots of options and levels. My real caveat is the same as any online collaborative site- who are the kids talking with and how is it monitored? I know the folks at Scratch and have faith that there are real people monitoring the site. Other sites- teach your kids, your students to be wary.
Steve Hargadon has pulled together a daily edu conference- for the next couple of months! This is an historic and unique event. Sessions are being held daily over the course of two months, all free to attend live. You simply sign up to access the schedule. All sessions are recorded. https://learningrevolution.com/
This morning I saw the email come through about the national parks session... which I cannot attend, but have added to my watch later list. Check out some of the other things for the week, and sign up to get access- every day for a couple months- and they are recorded.
I love this quote from Sylvia Martinez. I get tired of the buzz words used in education- from "learning styles" to growth mindset to grit. I think we all just want to find ways to reach kids, to light those fires and help them learn to love learning. Yes, compliance is nice. I did compliance as a young girl in school- got the A's, never learned much math- but could follow the recipe, and honestly, never really cared about school. I liked it because it was easy for me, my friends were there and I just like to read. Now, as an educator, I still work on trying to find ways to make school meaningful for students, especially those who struggle. I fail every day. Not in the ever popular "first attempt in learning" manner; I just make mistakes, miss the cues, and more. It is certainly not my first attempt. But, I have learned to care about what I do, or perhaps, I do what I care about... and that helps me persevere and demonstrate if not mastery- grit.
If you ever get a chance to hear Sylvia speak, go for it. She is an engineer, an educator and goes around the world talking with and helping educators. Her latest book is a new version of Invent to Learn, co-authored with Gary Stager. They also run a makers conference every year up in Manchester NH.
Andrew Roush wrote a great article on the TCEA blog about Interactive Maps. I had never looked at these National Geographic Maps. They have lots of very cool features. Andrew goes through these in his post with some good examples. If you just want to investigate on your own, head on over to National Geographic's Mapmaker Interactive. There's a playlist with 9 short videos to get you started.
I had never heard of this site before and it was explained to me as sort of an ask the expert type of site. Not so much from what I can see, but really interesting and is much more about learning about people. This is from their About page:
"DON’T JUDGE A BOOK BY ITS COVER
The Human Library™ is designed to build a positive framework for conversations that can challenge stereotypes and prejudices through dialogue. The Human Library is a place where real people are on loan to readers.
A place where difficult questions are expected, appreciated and answered."
Lots of "books" to explore and it looks like they will be starting a Human Library for children this summer.
Here's a TED talk to learn more:
I first skimmed through this article about how Google is working to make devices more accessible to all, but was utterly transfixed by one of the projects- Project Euphonia. This project is to expand the capabilities of speech recognition to all. I'm sure that you all have had students who were difficult to understand, for various reasons. I know that when I am looking for assistive tech solutions, I sometimes just plain run into the wall with artic issues- and speech to text just plain cannot work. This project, although still in its infancy- has real promise for those with articulation issues due to development, medical issues and more. Just watch this short video and see what you think. The article is here- there are several other projects to check out.
Ideas to Share