Monday, July 30, 2012 a virtual communication tool for higher education

If you thought the discussion board on Blackboard was somewhat limited or that your online class was limited because you could not talk to your students, or that your flipped  did not allow for any meaningful exchange, then you might consider “join-me.”  It includes virtual meetings and  free screen sharing.  Here is their education blog and here is their site. The video makes it look incredibly easy.

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Why Students Should Learn to Write for the Public

In this very interesting clip, New York teacher Ileana Jimenez, talks about the importance of encouraging kids to blog or write for public so they feel their writing has some weight and see their work in a larger context than the classroom.

100 Days to Go Comparison

This is a fantastic look at Carter-Obama and similar statistics with 100 days before their re-election campaigns ended.  It comes down to the fact that if the economy doesn't pick up soon, Obama is out. Look at the numbers and let your students see if they agree.  

The Mobile Wave

The Mobile Wave is a new book by Michael Saylor (above briefly discussing it) that looks across the spectrum of the world for a good over view of where mobile devices are going to take us.  The cool things include how we will be able to set our home to open for a delivery, have our key delivered to us virtually, help third world fishermen and, of course, education.  Each chapter is a broad overview which, if you know a great deal about it you will probably find some fault - such as his saying that one teacher could teach thousands when we all know that lectures need to be short and lead to interactive teaching.  Nonetheless the book helped me with my thinking of where education is going and why I am glad I finally got a smartphone a few months ago and am learning how it can be an integral part of classrooms.  

If you love technology and want to help shape the future of teaching, this is an important and very quick read you might want to read. 

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Effects of the Supreme Court’s Health Care Decision

From the NY Times "The Congressional Budget Office estimates that the limits the court placed on the expansion of Medicaid may reduce the number of people added to the program by 2022 by six million. This and other changes resulting from the court decision are estimated to save the federal government $84 billion over 11 years."

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Analysis of All Swing House Seats

Nate Silver started four years ago to cover the presidential race to do what no other poll was doing, predict the electoral college vote which matters a whole lot more than any national poll.  Well, now he does House, Senate and a ton other other races.  Here, for example is his current analysis on the House of Representatives.  He has the Republicans with a solid 230 and the Dems coming in at 180.  Now this number will change between now and November as Silver aggregates polls and weighs them depending on their size and accuracy in the past.  This leads to a nice discussion of what it is about our electoral make-up that the overwhelming majority of House seats rarely change (incumbent advantage say political scientists, rather than gerrymandering). 

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Marzano Wiki

Robert Marzano is a consultant whom is nationally know for his cooperative grouping of students.  Here a wiki dedicated to digitizing the ideas in his book Classroom Instruction that Works.  Here, for example, is the wiki on cooperative learning.  

Sunday, July 22, 2012

EDTEC Cheat Sheet

Mark Gleason, a primary school teacher, posted this graphic on his blog along with some comments about the difficulty of understanding technology buzzwords and whether we need as many technology-based systems as outlined in the graphic. Check out the graphic--it does have all the buzzwords and includes most of the major technology initiatives like flipping, gaming, digital story-telling, and MOOC.

Netvibes Instead of iGoogle

Google recently announced that they are jettisoning their iGoogle page in November 2013.  I can't tell you how much I depend on that page as I am always on Google and it makes for an easy way to see my news feeds.  I have, though, found a close equivalent called Netvibes.  It looks almost the same and allows almost all your feeds.  It also allows you to set how many stories you can see.  The only thing I can't do is delete my gmail e-mails.  One can also set pages so they are private or public or have one or more of each.  Now, of course, you could stick it out until Nov 2013 and see what else is on the horizon.  Here is also a video on how to set up Netvibes

Friday, July 20, 2012

Hear Me in Webinar on Integrating Technology in the Classroom

I will be participating in a webinar next Thursday the 26th of July 26th from 2 to 3 pm.  It will be part of a program of the Alliance for Excellent Education here in Washington, D.C.  My job will be to discuss the 
learner-centered instructional model driven by high-quality digital learning and the effective use of technology that provides a more personalized, rigorous, and collaborative learning environment for each student.  You can sign up for the free session here

Thursday, July 19, 2012

SonicPics (Podcasting with Iphone or Ipad)

This is a neat app   for the Iphone or the Ipad in which you can essentially turn pictures into a custom slideshow with narration much like you might do with Screencast-O-Matic. You can publish your recorded slideshow to You Tube.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Universities Reshape Online Education

This is an interesting article about "the seismic shift" in online learning that may reshape higher education. Coursera is the year old company that is bringing together the consortium of universities. They expect to offer over 100 free online courses in the fall but admit that there is still a lot to work out. Will students ever get real college credit for the courses? How will they deal with cheating on the online assignments or assessments? My thanks to my colleague, Feff Feinstein, who sent me the link to this story.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Cut and Paste on an iPad

When I need to figure something out I go to youtube (or sometimes my 8 year old!).  Right now I wanted to know how to cut and paste and the short video told me how to do it on the iPad. 

Educreations and Flipping the Classroom

Educreations is a website that allows you to create a nice movie either on the web or with an iPad or iPhone app.  I did the little one above is literally three minutes.  Here is how you can do it.  Now, you can use this site to create short videos (or long ones) for your class.  You can add pictures from your own photos, get something from Dropbox, the web, etc.  You can also record, as I have done above (sorry the sound is low), and write at the same time.  

Monday, July 16, 2012

Meaningful Learning

Memory Retention and the Forgetting Curve
Brought to you by: Online Colleges
I have long had a rule that my students must "touch" our learning at least five times before their final exam.  To add to this I strive, as much as possible, to have my students learn through interacting with the materials (ie I facilitate and they do and therefore learn better).  Finally, as stated above, good learning involves connecting as much as possible to the learner.  When we do my reviews of the year, one thing that students repeatedly state they find helpful is when I connect the learning to their own lives.  All of these thoughts are reflected above.  

Friday, July 13, 2012

Apps To Use In The Classroom

This has been a great week as one of the things I have is work with a team of six others on coming up with apps that one can use on smartphones and tablets.  We started with a long list of several hundred and knocked it down to 76 and finally to 25.  While the list was initially meant for social studies teachers, it so happens that only about 5 are content specific.  So the list starts with items such as Mobile Mouse which lets you move around the classroom, to a QR reader (and maker), ways to make whiteboards with audio, video, images, our favorite flash card maker, ways get to get students to write easily get their homework down, a collaborative video maker and more.  I have highlighted some of these devices and will continue to do more, but if you wanted to play around with some great apps this summer, I hope you'll like our list

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Free Wifi on Your Smartphone

With unlimited data plans on the way out, one thing you want to do is set your phone up so it gets free Wifi when it is available so you do not add to your data plan when you are using apps.  So the video above lets you see how to do this. Watch it and save money! 

New Hard Hitting Ads

The top advertisement is from the Obama campaign with their new theme of Romney avoiding paying taxes when he worked with Bain Capital.  On the bottom is the super PAC American Crossroads advertisement going for the juggler as it explains how Obama has not been helping women and in particular Hispanic ones. 

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

QR (Quick Reference) App

One of the apps I have been working with this week are QR (quick reference) scan codes.  The film above shows you how to use it and some uses for it.  Here are some additional uses for it in the classroom.  If you want to download it to your Android device, use this link and go here for the Apple ones.   In a nutshell if you do not have enough laptops for your students, you could make a QR code (it takes two seconds).   Then, for example, you could use a PR code to link to a reading for the day or a quiz or even to homework.  The last item is nice because not all the students like to write it down or even type it on their phones, so they would just scan it and go.  You could also change the assignment without changing the QR code.    

Monday, July 9, 2012

Presidential Cash Haul

In light of Romney easily surpassing Obama this month in fundraising, you might want to look at the NYTimes fundraising page which lets you see where the money is coming from, in what size donations, the total spent and the total raised (Obama is still far ahead and way ahead in swing state spending).  The page also has the senate races. 

Bloom's Taxonomy and Apps

This summer I am fortunate to be working on several projects.  Two of them are question writing for my count's database and finding apps to use in the classroom.  That is why Kathy Schrock's "Bloomin Apps" is perfect for me as it lists each level of Blooms and the gives you clickable links for the apps you can use in the  classroom.  I have been doing a lot of searches to find my apps, but this one I found on Android4schools

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Inside the Obamacare Court Case

This is a fascinating look into Roberts' decision to go with the liberals for the Obamacare case. 

White House Situation Room

Today my family and I were able to have a real thrill by getting a personal tour of the West Wing (including the Oval Office) by one of my grad school friends who works there.  While we were not able to go in the situation room, we did walk right by the door.  Above is a great video about it. 

Super PACs

Here is a lengthy article on super PACs and why the Democrats are behind (remember Obama was initially against them) and what they are doing to catch up.  Here is a short video on the subject as well. 

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Community Trumps Content

After I posted "Flipping History Without Video," I did a little research on the author, Jeff Utecht. He sees the change in technology as a revolution rather than an evolution with students being the change agents.

Here is his TedX talk about how important it is for teachers to understand the "connectedness" of the generation in school today who understand that their world is all about being connected. Utecht is an international educator and educational technology consultant currently in Bangkok.

Google Chrome on Your Phone

Today when I went to a very HOT swim meet to watch my son swim in a few races.  To get there I used the Chrome to Phone app on Google Chrome.  Well now that Google Chrome as a phone app I don't even need that as I can just turn on my phone and I am on the same page on the phone as I was on my laptop (or my iPad).  

Flipping WITHOUT Video

Jeff Utecht, who writes "The Thinking" argues persuasively in this excellent post that the flipped history classroom does not have to involve video. "In fact every time I have helped a teacher flip their classroom in the high school it has never involved videos. Instead it involves students actively finding information, making sense of it, and then coming to class ready to discuss with the teacher what they have learned, what questions they have and, what it is they still don’t know/understand."

In this essay, he outlines a history lesson on Thailand and Southeast Asia. He explains the process of coming up with an essential question and then sub questions to focus research. He posted the entire lesson and offers some feedback from students and parents who push back because they expect the teacher to tell them the answer in a lecture or power point. You can see the entire lesson and rubric when you scroll down to the bottom of the page. You can even copy his blog rubric in Google docs as I did here.

Friday, July 6, 2012

Google Translate Apps

This summer I am working with a large number of ESOL students, many of whose parents do not speak English.  It used to be that you had to go to Google Translate to do it.  But now you can put an app on your phone.  The really cool thing is that you can translate on your phone and then have it speak to you in the other country.  Here is the Android app. Here is one for Apple products. 

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Beethoven’s Ninth on a Spanish Plaza (video)

This will make you smile while we suffer in the heat on the east coast, although it has little to do with history. It is a carefully orchestrated flash mob organized by one of Spain's largest banking groups and already has almost 2,000, 000 views on You Tube. As Trent Gillis observed in his blog, On Being, "the production is lovely and highly produced, but it’s the fascination and pure joy of the passersby that makes the moment quite magical."
A very interesting graphic and analysis of Agreement Groups in the US Senate.

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

History Resources just updated their list of the the 100 most powerful search engines. They include a number of categories (general, meta, databases and archives, journals and books, science, math and technology, and you guessed, history.) I've listed a few of the links below but if you go to the site you can find all of them. Some are really good.

General Search: Iseek. Edudemic described it like this: "targeted search engine, designed especially for students, teachers, administrators, and caregivers. Find authoritative, intelligent, and time-saving resources in a safe, editor-reviewed environment with iSEEK." I treid it and really like it.

History: History Buff: online newspaper archive with free primary source collection.

Genesis: "A dataset with descriptions of women's history collections from museums, libraries and archives in the United Kingdom and a Guide to sources that provides access to a wide range of international web resources on women's history."

History and Politics Outloud: "a searchable archive of important recordings through history, particularly politically significant audio materials."

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

A Brief History of Money

New Yorker writer, James Surowiecki, traces the history of money in this brief article for IEE Spectrum. It's quite good and a nice tour through history. Did you know, for example, that it was the small kingdom of Lydia that introduced the world "first standardized metal coins, or that in the 13th century Kublai Khan switched China to paper money.

Deleting a Class in Remind101

Now that the school year is done (and starting over for those of you who are teaching summer school), you may want to know how to delete your classes on Remind101.  Here are the instructions for doing so.  Then you can create new ones in the fall when you start up again.   You can also just delete the students and parents and keep the class if you prefer. 

Worksheets for the ObamaCare Videos

If you find the videos here helpful for background on Obamacare, you you use this sheet as a viewer guide for part one, part two and part three

How Does the Internet Work

Former Senator Ted Stevens famously called the Internet a series of tubes for which Jon Stewart gave him a hard time.  The truth is that it is just that, a series of tubes, relay stations, data centers (where the "cloud" is kept).  Above is a short video showing how far you travel when you look at a url. If you want to read more information there is a great new short book called Tubes that you can read. 

Monday, July 2, 2012

The Cloud and Where Are We Going in Our Classrooms

This is a short video that defines "the cloud" and looks at the uses for it.  The best part is that the reporter, near the end, asks what will we be using the access the cloud in a few years - a laptop or something else.  One of the reasons I promote teachers coming up with interactive assignments that include links, video, e-books, etc. is that I believe we are only a few years away from Internet devices being cheap enough that very few students will be without them (and hey, they may even roll up and fit in your pocket).  So the more you can get your students on the cloud and you working on it as well, the better prepared you will be to take your students to a completely digital world! 

Learning Styles

Click on the picture below to make it bigger. I like this graphic as it tells you the personality of each person to make it easier to identify them.
What Type of Learner Are You?
Compiled By:

PRI President in Mexico

In the spirit of adding AP Comparative items, here is a link to a great article and just as super video on the new president of Mexico and the reasons why, after 12 years, PRI has been returned to office.