Who knew how much work it would be to transform what you do every day as an educator in a K-12 school and magically try to make it all work remotely? Well, we're all finding out. I continue to see colleagues in my district and around the world struggle, work harder, reach out and begin to come together, with, if not the same lessons done remotely, lessons that work. Even with my job in tech integration, doing it remotely is simply not the same- at all. Hilltown internet with speeds slower than dial-up (which, at least didn't drop continually), make it pretty challenging.
I'm sure that you all have been overwhelmed with offers from literally hundreds of edtech companies, as have I. A couple that we will be offering district wide include Loom pro, WeVideo pro and access to all Texthelp edtech applications, including Equatio. Look for more information coming via email. We have also rolled out a new EdTech Tools site, with a curated list of tools to help you teach remotely, as well as some of the basic tutorials. The link was sent out yesterday and also lives in the shared drive in the ICP folder.
It feels like I am attending anywhere from 1 to 3, 4, or more webinars a day lately. One presenter, aside from Greg and Avra at EdTechTeachers stands out this week, Leslie Fisher. I attended one of her webinars on using Merge Cubes last week, enjoyed that one, so I signed up for one of her book creator webinars this week. Now, I have used Book Creator with kids, and honestly, didn't think I would learn a whole lot. I was wrong. Not only have they added over 200 accessibility features to Book Creator, but Leslie came up with very cool ways to use it- for all ages, not just elementary. I plan on attending another one this coming Friday- Book Creator and Accessibility. You can register for it here. The one I liked the other day is still open "on demand" til Monday 4/20.
Resources to Share
Here are a few resources that you may find useful, either in your teaching or to share with parents who are looking for alternative activities.
International Day of Women and Girls in Science
Today marked the 5th annual International Day of Women and Girls in Science. We, in the U.S. are still losing the battle to get more girls and women into science. There have been some positive notes, legislation that passed last year may help, but overall, women are not equally represented in science. Strange, since the first step in solving most design challenges is empathy. If women are not equally represented in the sciences, how can we expect the same level of empathy to guide the design process? Check out the video below and a couple of links to share. From the UN, this link, from Forbes magazine- this linkwww.womeninscienceday.org/, and from Women in Science Day, this link. Or follow some of the great links with this hashtag, #WomenInScienceDay.
One way to get more girls into STEM fields is to introduce it early. This is a FREE course from Engineering is Elementary. The PDF link for the syllabus is here.
More Black History Month Links
Rob Morrill has been making a series of lithophanes to celebrate Black History Month, sharing his results on Twitter and his instructables online, as well as the Thingiverse files. These are pretty amazing. I've tried printing them a couple of times, not terribly successful, yet. However, Ken, the infamous art teacher, gave me some great tips to try to improve them tomorrow. I'm still at the copying stage- have not played with codeblocks yet.
Ideas to Share
Before I share all of the great links from TCEA, a couple of others that caught my eye this past week.
The SheetsCon 2020 free online conference is coming up in March (11th and 12th). This is a 2 day conference to help you learn more than you have ever imagined about using Google Sheets. They have some great speakers lined up. This will range from super practical, you can pick this up and use it in your classwork tomorrow, to super geeky, you, or at least I, watch and wonder what the heck that one was...
Resources from TCEA from Wanda Terral
I embedded Wanda's Wakelet below, but what got me really interested in checking out the presentations from TCEA was Wanda's Data Dashboard presentation. This is something I want to learn more about. Enjoy all of Wanda's links, as well as Miguel's. I didn't embed all of Eric Curts' links, but here you go.
Resources from TCEA from Miguel Guhlin
Starting out with a little social studies. Did you see the article inThe Washington Post the other day? Ken Burns has come out with a new collection for educators. Here's the gist of it: "Created for sixth- to 12th-grade educators, the new one-stop destination houses a full library of classroom-ready content — aligned to state and national standards — about historical events and issues that Burns has highlighted in his films.“Ken Burns in the Classroom” includes hundreds of video clips, lesson plans, activity suggestions, discussion questions, handouts and interactives to help educators integrate the films into their classroom instruction.
I checked out the site- part of PBS Media and loved what I saw. I also learned about his other site "Unum" which I had never seen before. It was inspired by the motto of the U.S.
KEN'S NOTE "E pluribus unum was chosen as the motto of the United States in 1782. It means “out of many, one” which captures the very soul of this project. It’s all one story. It always has been."
EdSurge ran an article about a renaissance for Social Studies. Their 3 major points to focus upon are :
1. Focus on student engagement above all.
2. Ensure a diversity of voices.
3. Listen, build, learn, repeat . Read the whole article here.
And of course, a little geography too. Richard Byrne wrote a blurb about this the other day, so I went over to the Google blog to check it out. https://www.blog.google/products/earth/new-google-earth-creation-tools/ "With new creation tools now in Google Earth, you can turn our digital globe into your own storytelling canvas, and create a map or story about the places that matter to you."
On to Science articles this week: We hear about/talk about diversity and equity a lot lately. These articles relate these topics back to STEM.
Kathy Renfrew and Amber McCulloch did a NSTA blog post recently where they discussed "Ensuring All Elementary Students Have Access to Science Learning". The problem, as most of us are aware is that teachers in elementary school have little time for science. The students are tested in Math and ELA on the state tests, thus most of the teaching time is devoted to those core subjects. One of the resources they mentioned is easy to access and worth 22 minutes of your time. It's called Elementary Science Video Workshop and will "walk you through some learning tools centered around why elementary science, what does good science instruction look like, and how building leadership teams can best implement changes to what science instruction looks like in your school." Check out the blog post for more tools to explore, including this one about integrating STEM into the curriculum. The NGS Navigators podcast did an encore of Jay McTighe and Dr.Judy Willis talking about Upgrading Your Teaching: Understanding by Design Meets Neuroscience
A bit about accessibility. I noted an interesting article and a great resource shared online by Dodie Ainslie over at BT BOCES in NY state. Dodie shared an excellent resource to help access learning through #Chromebook and #Google accessibility features. She said to feel free to share and adapt. I really appreciate having all these tools listed in one handy slide deck. Thanks @djainslie! Just click on the image below to make a copy for yourself. (File>Make a Copy)
Edutopia shared a nice article on Developing Executive Function back in January. Don't you just wish that we could go through a checklist and miraculously all have perfect executive function? This article is aimed at the middle school student and walks you through setting up priority lists with students. The with is important, not for the students. Here's the article and here's the video
And last but not least esports.
I have seen several articles of late raving about the importance and popularity of esports. Within the last year this has become a hot topic. Since the first and last video game I played was pong, gotta say, not up on this topic. But- if you are into video games, or even if you're not, you need to understand a bit more about esports. Here to help you out..
EdTech Magazine with the recent article: Fact or Fallacy: Why Esports Are Here to Stay in K–12 Schools Tech & Learning University also ran an article about esports in highered.
Audio in Google Slides...almost
According to Google, by the end of November, all users should have the "insert audio" capacity. I just checked my accounts. My personal account- Yes! I can insert audio. My school account- nope. I expect that it will roll out soon. Here is a quick video from Richard Byrne to show you how to do it ( when you actually have the magic button).
Scientific Method or Engineering Design Process?
I truly had not given this conundrum much thought until this summer when Kathy Renfrew, The Science Lady, and I were chatting at an edcamp and Kathy was pretty adamant, saying that scientists use EDP, not scientific method. I don't know if all scientists do this or those in a particular field or academics vs lab or field based, etc... Then, just the other day I saw this infographic that Vivify STEM shared online, showing the differences between the two methodologies and it got me wondering again. Here's the infographic from Vivify STEM. What do you think? Is this a binary choice? What do "real" scientists use?
Links to Share
The Age of AI
Wes Fryer shared the link to this article/video series recently and strongly recommended it as a must read. I haven't watched all the episodes, but wanted to share the link, as it is interesting and important information for all to begin to wrap our heads around. Is AI a threat or does it offer wonders not yet imagined? Here's the blurb that came with this installment: "FRONTLINE investigates the promise and perils of artificial intelligence, from fears about work and privacy to rivalry between the U.S. and China. The documentary traces a new industrial revolution that will reshape and disrupt our lives, our jobs and our world, and allow the emergence of the surveillance society."
KQED published a downloadable guide The MindShift Guide to Understanding Dyslexia"This MindShift Guide to Understanding Dyslexia is meant to serve as a primer to: • Better understand, recognize and identify dyslexia • Discover new tools and teaching strategies to support dyslexic students in improving their reading skills • Be aware of resources that can support dyslexics of every age"
Closing the Gap- Resource Directory
As always you will find many resources here. However, the key to finding the right resource is SETT- Student, Environment, Task, and then Tech... and this is not a one and done deal. The student will change, the environment and required tasks will change- so the tech will have to change as well.
I got this in an email today from Steve Hargadon and Library 2.0. This looks like an excellent mini-conference- just 3 hours of learning, tomorrow, Wednesday 10/30/19 3-6 EST. Free and it will be recorded as well. It's not just for librarians! Check it out!
"We're excited to announce our third Library 2.019 mini-conference: "Emerging Technology," which will be held online (and for free) on Wednesday, October 30th, from 12:00 - 3:00 pm US-Pacific Daylight Time (click for your own time zone).
Tomorrow’s technologies are shaping our world today, revolutionizing the way we live and learn. Virtual Reality, Augmented Reality, Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning, Blockchain, Internet of Things, Drones, Personalization, the Quantified Self. Libraries can and should be the epicenter of exploring, building and promoting these emerging techs, assuring the better futures and opportunities they offer are accessible to everyone. Learn what libraries are doing right now with these cutting-edge technologies, what they’re planning next and how you can implement these ideas in your own organization.
This is a free event, being held live online and also recorded.
I've been meaning to share this link for a while now. I love this site, SmARThistory, https://smarthistory.org/. It reminds me of Google Arts and Culture, but is easier, at least for me, to navigate and seems to have been curated with educators in mind. I like the collections, the images, the videos and they even offer free books that you can download as pdfs. Here's a couple of videos to watch from the beginner course: Introduction to the Visual Arts, informative and funny. Do check out the web site for a lot more!
While I am in my social studies folder, have you used Facing History.org? This is their mission statement, "Facing History fosters empathy and reflection, improves students’ academic performance, reinvigorates teachers, and builds safe and inclusive schools."
Aimed at secondary school teachers and students, I found a nice mix of material- some for students, other for professional development for teachers. You can check out their recent course (microcredentials offered), Teaching with Current Events: Practicing Media Literacy and Understanding Human Behavior by clicking on this link. They also offer a lending library of materials, as well as a large section on teaching strategies. I like the database, which sorts by subject, media, lesson, featured collection and much more.
I recently attended Edcamp Worcester and tried out a site that was new to me, called Ever Fi. It has some good units to try out. I'm not quite sure what you would call this sort of digital platform. Here's their blurb- "EVERFI empowers educators to bring real-world learning into the classroom and equip students with the skills they need for success–now and in the future. Thanks to partners who share this mission, EVERFI’s online resources for teachers are available at no cost."
So, for example there are courses in finance for K-12, courses focused on wellness, on SEL, etc. It's free. A teacher I met from central MA, really likes it and demo'd it for all. It is worth checking out. The one unit I am particularly interested in for K-6 age is The Compassion Project- aimed at grades 2-4. They even have a financial literacy course for grades 4-6. If you teach middle or high school there is a far greater selection of courses to choose from. Whether you use some of this for bell work, or an intro to a subject or as a mini course on its own, it is worth your time to check it out.
These last couple of weeks I have been inundated with science professional development, science in the STEAM lab and over the weekend, computer science PD. What could be more fun? I really enjoyed learning more about Project Lead the Way recently. Our students, grades K-6 at HES, along with middle school students at Hopkins, all participated in the Massachusetts STEM challenge. I worked with grades 3-6, on Zero Energy Waste, making and testing solar fans. The curriculum was robust, with a solid 10 hours that could be worked into a gen ed classroom easily. I enjoyed, and from the sounds of it, the students enjoyed, making and testing our solar fans. I hope to have our school begin to participate in the PLTW program.
I also got to test out the NICERC curriculum for microbits. I love using microbits in the STEAM lab. They are inexpensive, versatile, easy to use and can be integrated into the curriculum. I hadn't tried out the NICERC curriculum (it's free) and found it easy to follow. It is an NGSS based curriculum, and is phenomena driven. Here's their blurb. "We’re the National Integrated Cyber Education Research Center (NICERC). We offer grant-funded cyber, STEM, and computer science curricula and professional development to K-12 educators at no cost. Our goal is to empower educators as they prepare the next generation to succeed in the cyber workforce of tomorrow." The focus is 3 fold- STEM, computer science and cyber science.
I spent most of the time working in the STEAM fundamentals program: "STEAM Fundamentals is a project-based, hands-on curriculum designed to engage students in real-world applications. In each module, students study natural phenomena and investigate fundamental concepts while developing social, observational, descriptive, and higher-order thinking skills. Each module develops concepts in a logical and practical manner that students can relate to and teachers can easily implement." Right now they have units for 2nd and 3rd grade, with 4th and 5th coming soon. We played around with the force and motion for 3rd grade. We also spent time with the STEM EDA curriculum. This one is aimed at middle school, grades 6-8. The modules are well-developed- and fun. Did I mention that it's free?
Want to check it out? You do have to sign up to request access.
Looking for free STEM lesson plans for K-5? Snoopy may have something for you from the Space Foundation.
As I look at all of the amazing resources for students and educators that are online today, a couple words come up regularly, regardless of age group, regardless of discipline- choice and empathy. When I look at resources for digital design or STEM- first thing on the list- empathy; and the same thing happens when I look at ELA resources. They are all about choice and empathy, not just the subject matter. The two resources I have been looking at are ostensibly for "History" or "Global Culture". Both seem to me to be about people, empathy and the choices we make, even when we don't actively make a choice. Check them out, see what you think.
Facing History and Ourselves
The intro states: "Through rigorous historical analysis combined with the study of human behavior, Facing History’s approach heightens students’ understanding of racism, religious intolerance, and prejudice; increases students’ ability to relate history to their own lives; and promotes greater understanding of their roles and responsibilities in a democracy." I embedded a few of their intro videos below, but do check out all the resources available on theweb site.
Global Oneness Project
I love the stories on theGlobal Oneness Project web site. The imagery compliments the rich stories about culture, about climate and more. This is from the site: "Committed to the exploration of cultural, environmental, and social issues, we offer a rich library of multimedia stories comprised of award-winning films, photo essays, and articles. Companion curriculum and discussion guides are also available. All for free.
We aim to connect, through stories, the local human experience to global meta-level issues, such as climate change, water scarcity, food insecurity, poverty, endangered cultures, migration, and sustainability."
Ideas to Share
Matt Miller at CUE
GAfE 4 Littles
NGSS put out a new newsletter the other day with lots of resources to teach the new science standards, especially focused on ESL/ELL learners. Check out the link to see more.
Chrome Extensions: Productivity
This week I whitelisted a few more chrome extensions for our students. As most are aware, having too many extensions up and running can really suck the life out of performance, so it is best to use something like Extensity to manage them.
The extensions I added are Save to Google Keep, Internet Abridged and Reader View.
Google Keep is becoming more and more robust, a great place to take quick notes, an easy way to collate ideas and save to Drive; it has the ability to OCR text in images, etc... I have been using it more and more of late and like to be able to right click on a web page and Save to Keep. I can add labels as I go.
I was trying out new summarizers. When looking for resources, I tend to skim through articles to weed out the fluff before settling in to actually read something closely. Summarizers can be tricky, as I am never sure of the algorithm used and so many times, they simply don't work. This one, Internet Abridged, seems to work and the summaries actually makes sense to me vs. some I have tried which seem to simply leave out 50% of the words.
Another extension added this week is Reader View. For many who regularly use iPads you are used to seeing those little lines that indicate a web page can be viewed in Reader View- cleaned up, minus all the distractions. Now, you and your students can do the same thing in Google Chrome. Try it!
Some of the other extensions I recommend include: OneTab, SpeedDial2, and Mercury Reader, along with AdBlock and TextHelp's Read and Write for Google Chrome. . Honestly, I do have at least 150 extensions, but I regularly use a very small percentage and leave the rest off until I need them.
Science Games That Give You Superpowers
H/T to Fred Delventhal for sharing Larry Ferlazzo's post on this science games site. It does appear that Legends of Learning is really free.
"Over 1000 curriculum aligned science games for elementary and middle school students within the Legends of Learning adventure. Legends of Learning is always free for teachers and students in school." Here's a review of the site.
Fake News- again...
Here's another resource, new to me, Mind over Media, from the Media Education Lab. I first met Renee Hobbs years ago at Educon in Philly. She is an internationally-recognized authority on digital and media literacy education. Ten years ago we all thought that the CRAP test would be all the students needed to help them verify web sources. Needless to say, times have changed as evidenced by Alec Couros' recent article for EdCanNetwork: How do we teach students to identify fake news? In a world where it is increasingly dangerous to simply trust what we read and see...
Global Collaboration Week
It's here! All week! Online! Free!
Look at the flyer below and check out all the ways you can participate!
New From Google Teacher Tribe
Kasey and Matt are back with more great tips. Listen to the podcast, download it to your device and listen on the way to school. One tip that I really like is the new sidebar on Google with Save to Google Keep. Try it! Check out the show notes here for clickable links.
Googley STEAM Resources
Deb Norton presented a great selection of some of the lesser known Google tools. Some of these experiments I had seen before, but some were new to me. One app that I didn't realize the potential of is the Google Arts and Culture app. Using the app, you can access Google street view and virtually tour some of the greatest museums on Earth. I can see our HES students loving Meme Buddy and Mystery Animal and all of the wonderful AI experiments.
Please click on the image to see her slidedeck. Thanks Deb!
Great Green Screen Resources
Several teachers have asked about using GreenScreen videos in the classroom. Tricia Fuglestad has pulled it all together! Check out her great ideas below. We have a green screen in the STEAM lab, which is pretty portable, as well as a small box for stop motion animation. We also have the DoInk Green Screen app on the ipads in the STEAM lab. One other resource is Camtasia Studio software, which is installed on the PC in the STEAM lab.
Science Resources for ALL
I attended an excellent webinar presented by Tia Cooper recently. She showed so many amazing science resources- for all ages. I asked her if I could share them on the blog with everyone, and she very graciously said yes. Connect Create and Collaborate - a 30 minute webinar with more than 30 resources shared! Click on the image to check it out.
Coming soon for Read & Write for Chrome...
We are so fortunate to have a district subscription to Read and Write for Google chrome. It is a phenomenal tool for all, not just for students who struggle with reading/writing. If you haven't looked at it lately- check it out! The updates below will be rolling out over the next several weeks- so keep an eye out.
I have only read about these upcoming changes, but would love to see a new spelling and grammar checker and the Data Desk for Google Classroom certainly has me curious.
Celebrate World Oceans Day 2017
World Oceans Day 2017 is right around the corner, coming up on June 8th. This is a wonderful opportunity for you and your students to explore and learn more about the oceans and the creatures that inhabit them. The theme of this year's World Oceans Day is "OUR OCEANS, OUR FUTURE", with the main conservation focus on plastic pollution prevention and cleaning the ocean of marine litter. Exploring By the Seat of Your Pants has lined up some excellent Google Hangouts with marine biologists, explorers and institutions around the world. The hangouts will take place on June 8th-between 8 am and 4 pm EST, lasting 20-30 minutes each. There are more being added all the time and if you act quickly, you may snag a camera spot. Remember these are streamed live on YouTube, so you and your class can simply watch them live or check back later for the recordings, if the times don't work for you. Snag one with the Google Form or an email: email@example.com
Check out the wonderful resources on World Ocean Day 2017 from the Octonauts. www.worldoceansday.org/octonauts and so much more... plastic pollution, media, etc. http://www.worldoceansday.org/resources
Spongelabs has put together a nice selection of resources for World Oceans Day. You can access the lesson with all the media resources here. Click on the lesson and the media listings will be on the left side.
The United Nations is also celebrating World Oceans Day by connecting it to the celebration of the Ocean Conference to be held from 5 to 9 June in United Nations headquarters in New York. You can check out even more resources here.
EdTech Team has a great pdf with 8 ways to celebrate World Oceans Day. You can read more about it on their blog here, and download the pdf here. One of the very cool exhibits to visit is the Ozeaneum. This is a display on the Google Cultural Institute site. Ozeaneum shows off the exhibit of rare original animals and plants.
and even more ...
Follow the hashtag #worldoceansday to find many other great resources.
Upcoming Free PD
This week brings some great free resources your way with a webinar from CAST on UDL:
UDL Stories from the Field http://castprofessionallearning.org/free-udl-webinars/ Tomorrow, Wednesday, April 26 from 3:30 - 4:30 p.m. EST.
EdTechTeam is sponsoring a live webinar on Tuesday May 6, featuring the new Google Earth
LIVE Webinar LINK
Google Earth News
Many of you have probably heard/read about the great new changes in Google Earth. It is now accessible online- like on chromebooks. I have not tried this at school with a class of students and have no notion of how the bandwidth holds up. But it is good news. You can get the gist from EdTechTeam's blog post here. I wanted to share a couple of the blog posts and videos that have been posted about this change and that you may find helpful.
First- Richard Byrne's video overview
One thing that Richard notes is that it is hard to create tours in the new online version- but he followed that up today with a blog post about GE Teach Tour "a free tool that you and your students can use to create tours to play in the new web version of Google Earth." See his full informative post here.
Google Lit Trips on Chrome: Another interesting post about using the new Google Earth came from Eric Curts. Eric will explain in detail in the video below and in a great step by step tutorial on his site- how you can now use Google Lit Trips on chromebooks. Check it out below and be sure to vist Control, Alt, Achieve to get the full picture.
You have to try Voyager!
This is the coolest thing I have seen in awhile. Remember way back when you could find your house on Google Earth? You thought that was cool, right? Bet you spent a lot of time just spinning the globe around, checking things out. Voyager is way cooler. They have created these fantastic lessons- cooler than lit trips (sorry). Before you click on the links- know that you will be sucked in, so get your "work" done first. But, as you immerse yourself in Voyager, imagine what you can do with this tool with students, what they can do... It is really fantastic. Check them out here. Here is the NY Times article about it.
Solar Eclipse Resources
I attended an excellent webinar from WGBH Education on the upcoming solar eclipse. This will not be an total eclipse for us, and it will be just before school starts up again. So, if you are interested, you will need to plan ahead. PBS Learning Media has you covered with a solar eclipse toolkit
You can get more information here.