Google POPS

Last week I had the pleasure of co-hosting a Google Docs webinar with Lainie Rowell and Angela Maiers.  We presented to over 260 educators how to use Google Docs in the classroom. In case you missed it, here is a link to the presentation.  As I continue to grow Google love I am constantly in awe of the ways we can use Google tools to enhance curriculum and instruction.  In addtition to hosting a webinar I also attended the Mobile2011 conference in Phoenix, Arizona.  What a fab-u-lous conference.  One of the highlights was to meet BrainPOP’s Vice President of 21st Century Learning, Dr. Kari Stubbs.  Just when I thought my Google love wouldn’t grow for at least another week…it burst again.

Did you know that you can link your BrainPOP account to your Google Apps account to benefit from the convenience of a single sign-on? Teachers and students can access BrainPOP directly:

You can also Track and Store Student Progress

After completing any BrainPOP graded quiz, students can choose the “Send to Teacher’s Google Spreadsheet” option.  Once they do, the results will be automatically sent to a spreadsheet that will appear among the teacher’s Google docs. Within the spreadsheet, each topic the teacher assigns gets its own worksheet (“tab”), storing students’ first, second, and most recent quiz score along with their names and Google App IDs. A summary sheet is included to help teachers further customize the data. Students will only have the option of sending their answers to their teacher’s spreadsheet if the student has logged in to BrainPOP through Google Apps.  I know…I know…I know…AWESOME!

Just had to let you know.

Googlely Yours,

The Cre8tiv Mind

BrainPop source information: http://www.brainpop.com/apps/googleapplanding/

Are you ready to Goooooogggllleee?

Well, I hope the answer is yes. This evening I will join 2 of my colleagues, Angela Maiers and Lainie Rowell in hosting a webinar: Introduction to Google Docs in the Classroom. Take a moment to view Angela’s blog post about the session and other great Google finds here.

The event information is located below. Please join us for a great Google time:

Event Registration: Click Here to Register

Date and time:

Tuesday, April 5, 2011 4:30 pm
Pacific Daylight Time (San Francisco, GMT-07:00)
Change time zone

Tuesday, April 5, 2011 6:30 pm
Central Daylight Time (Chicago, GMT-05:00)

Tuesday, April 5, 2011 7:30 pm
Eastern Daylight Time (New York, GMT-04:00)

Topic: Introduction to Google Docs in the Classroom
Skill level: Beginner
Lead by Google Apps for Education Certified Trainers – Lainie Rowell, Angela Maiers, Cathleen Richardson

Click here for registration and time zone information.

The Future Belongs to Innovation!

OBAMA: “One thing I never want to see happen is schools that are just teaching the test because then you’re not learning about the world, you’re not learning about different cultures, you’re not learning about science, you’re not learning about math.  All you’re learning about is how to fill out a little bubble on an exam and little tricks that you need to do in order to take a test and that’s not going to make education interesting.  And young people do well in stuff that they’re interested in.  They’re not going to do as well if it’s boring.”

Ohhhh that is music to my delicate ears.  I am so sick and tired of hearing about “The Test!”  We must prepare our children for the world ahead of them and guess what…the future is not determine by bubbled-in choices.  I must give our President kudos.  My mind turns back to the evening of January 25, 2011 when Obama provided us with the year’s first State of the Union Address.  He used the word innovation or a derivative of it 10 times! 

Innovation and creativity are variables many schools across the nation do not enter into the learning equation.  It is time to stop having the conversation about how to become a 21st Century school, teacher, and student.  We are deep into 21C, now we need to figure out how to sustain and move forward.  Our children’s future depends on it.

How many of you have heard of ARPA-ED?  The President’s 2012 budget proposes to create an Advanced Research Projects Agency for Education (ARPA-ED).

ARPA-ED will fund projects run by industry, universities, or other innovative organizations. Projects will be selected based on their potential to transform teaching and learning in ways similar to how the Internet, GPS, and robotics have transformed commerce, travel, warfare, and the way we live our daily lives.  Ok, close your mouth.  Sound interesting?  Let’s delve deeper.

Below are excerpts from the role of ARPA-ED: Winning the Education Future.  Feel free to hum after each one of these statements:

  • Closing the gap between the potential of learning science and technology to improve student performance and its current real-world impact can transform American education.
  • To address the under-investment in learning technology R&D, the President’s FY2012 budget proposes to invest $90 million to create an Advanced Research Projects Agency for Education (ARPA-ED).
  • ARPA-ED will complement and build upon innovative work being done across the public and private sectors, and could catalyze development of:
    • Digital tutors as effective as personal tutors.
    • Courses that improve the more students use them (virtual learning labs)
    • Educational software as compelling as the best videogame.
  • Addtionally, look at these projected outcomes:
    • The Rethinking Curricula
    • Providing Teachers Powerful Tools (i.e.handheld devices).  Aaaahh the growth of mobile.
    • Leveraging Collaboration (a reference is made to the communities built in games like World of Warcraft).
    • Targeting Job Training.  Thank you God!  Take a look at the “Top 60 jobs That Will Rock the Future” website and tell me we don’t need to be preparing yesterday! 

I love the conclusion to the report.  This is what we NEVER talk about when we urge teachers and schools to infuse more educational technology into the classroom.  Our children are bored straight.  Read this quote by author of 2011: A Space Odyssey, Arthur C. Clarke: “If children have interest, then education happens.”  So what happens if they aren’t interested?  I’m just asking.

Conclusion

Leading the world in educational technology provides varied, important, and expanding benefits. It can help position the United States to compete in a 21st century economy, with students who graduate ready to fill – and create – the jobs of the future. Those same students, graduating ready for the workforce, will be better positioned to become innovators, bringing higher quality products to the marketplace which will, in turn, better educate the next generation of students. Additionally, educational technology can offer an expanding market for American exports, as countries around the world seek ways to educate their population in affordable ways. ARPA-ED is thus a key component of the country’s opportunity to out- innovate and out-educate the world, so that America can win the future.

Read the entire document here.

I am excited about the future.  It is time to stop talking about all that is wrong with education and start getting focused and excited about what is to come.  I have already started preparing my son.  Everyday, before he leaves to go to school I look deep into his beautiful brown eyes and say, “Today, baby, you are going to (and then he chimes in) out-innovate, out-educate and out-build the rest of the world!  Words courtesy of our president have now become our mantra.  He will be ready and I pray the rest of our children will be too.

INNOVATE.  CREATE.  DON’T BE TOO LATE!

Innovatively Yours,

The Cre8tiv Mind

Sources:

dotEPUB — Download any webpage as an e-Book

dotEPUB — download any webpage as an e-book

I am about to scream.  I love my iPad and my iPad (hopefully iPad2 within the next hour) loves me too…but today, the love has grown.  A fellow colleague, Sam Parisi shared with me today the most unbelievable site: dotepub.com.  dotepub allows you to turn any webpage into an .ePub on the iPad! 

WHAT?

I know…let me repeat this: dotepub allows you to turn any webpage into an .ePub on the iPad! Now, if I am student who doesn’t have internet access at home I can simply create an ePub of a website I need to read and then…BOOM, I have access at home.  This really works well for anyone, but great implications in the classroom and beyond.

I really like the fact that we are able to promote literacy even through a webpage.  The Common Core are coming at the rate of speed.  We need to start creating more examples of learning like this!  Students having a digital library of ALL types reading material is just awesome.  We have to THINK OUTSIDE OF THE BOOK (website to follow soon 😉

Students can open the ePub in the iBooks and…

  • Tap and highlight any word and get the word defined for you instantly
  • Highligh words and phrases in different colors
    • Maybe highlight symbolism in pink
    • Highlight compound sentences in blue
  • You can also tap on any word and or phrase and create sticky note.

And people don’t understand the power of mobile!  Elation…after a long hard night, this was just the pick me up I needed.  Oh, and did I mention this is all FREE!

ePubly Yours,

The Cre8tiv Mind

Common Core Standards: If you don’t know…find out.

It has been a little quiet around the Common Core camp.  But yesterday, we heard some noise.  It is official!  Idaho makes the 43rd state to adopt the Common Core Standards (including DC…makes 44).  Let’s pause and think about this for a moment.

Beep…pause over.  How do we really feel about the CCSS?  Do you believe they will level the playing field?  Do you believe that education will now be more equitable for ALL children from California to New York? Will children of every race, religion and socio-economic background now get the opportunity to be taught the same content of kids whose zip code dictates a different level in educational equality?

Well, here are my thoughts.  I don’t know that the field will ever be completely leveled, but any attempt to make it so…I am in.  As I travel state to state providing professional development it is painfully obvious why some children excel and some don’t.  We think the standards are basically the same from state to state…they’re not.  We think the way they are unpacked is the same…it’s not.  We think that some teach our children to learn with the standards as a guide and others teach directly to them…you’re right.  It is time to take a look…a long deep look and re-evaluate a lot of things, beginning with the standards we utilize to teach and assess our students.  We have a year to get this right.  The standards are set to roll out in the fall of 2012.  How can we prepare?
Let me give you a checklist of things to do so you will be ready:

  • Watch the Common Core State Standards Webinar so you can speak intelligently about what they are.
  • Know what states actually adopted them and why your state did if applicable (look at the picture insert)
  • Visit the ‘About Standards‘ page on the CCS website so you can learn about:
    • Myths Vs. Facts
    • Key Points in English Language Arts
    • Key Points in Mathematics
    • How the standards came into existence?
    • Who is supporting the CCSS? (take a look…you may be surprised)
    • What companies are endorsing the CCSS?
    • and more
  • Visit the Common Core State Initiative site and view the actual standards.
    • Notice the areas they will cover
    • Notice who they will cover
    • Notice who made them
    • How many states contributed to their creation
    • Look at the Appendices
    • and finally, who “governs” the CCSS?
  • Educate your fellow colleagues.  Download the PowerPoint that details the standards and present at your next faculty meeting or conference.

There were 7 considerations that helped to guide the development of the CCS, know them:
1. Fewer, clearer, higher
2. Evidence
3. Internationally benchmarked
4. Special populations
5. Assessment
6. Standards and Curriculum
7. 21st Century skills

Click here to learn more about these 7 guiding factors.  Now, you can be in the know.  Read up and then reach out…let me know your thoughts.  Will you support them?  If so, let your voice be heard.  Click here to find out how you can let the world know you are a CCS supporter.  And a final FYI, once these roll-out fully in the Fall of 2013…new assessment tests will follow quickly…mmmmmmm.
Standardly yours,
The Cre8tiv Mind

Resources: http://corestandards.org

When we…

I was instantly drawn in when I saw the title of an article on Huffington Post’s Education site.  iPads: Why low performing schools need digital media.  iPads…low performing schools…digital media…I’m in.  As I read these words from author Craig Watkins I literally screamed out loud:

“Technology alone will not change what is happening in low-performing schools. But effective insertion of technology into the classroom might help break the ice that chills the relationship between students and teachers. Rather than spending their time and energy policing mobile phones what if teachers asked their students to pull out their devices to execute a class assignment.” (Watkins, 2001)

Say it again Craig…say it again (next time though, add administrators too!)

The only part of this statement that bothered me was the “what if”.  We can no longer afford to live in a “what if” world.  We must change that to “when we”! 

  • When we integrate technology, particularly mobile devices our children are more engaged. 
  • When we make the integration of these devices purposeful they are less distracted because they are being used properly and aligned with the instruction. 
  • When we take the time to look at our lessons and units and continue to develop them and not just repurpose them our students are not bored with the content and they learn new ways to learn. 
  • When we stop and realize it isn’t about us as educators, but all about the students, they don’t feel disconnected with us.
  • When we resolve that technology will only continue to evolve and we can’t change that and the solution isn’t to block and ban…our children will learn digital citizenship.  
  • When we realize our students learn different, therefore we must teach differently they will become leaders who are prepared for the world that surely awaits them.

Cathleen…it’s not that simple…yes, it is and my buddie Craig says it best:

“The challenges facing low performing schools are complex and yet elements of the problem are easily identifiable. Low performing schools are filled with students who are simply not engaged or interested in learning. In their eyes school is a place where surveillance, harassment, and disrespect are daily occurrences. Inserting technology into an environment like this is a multi-faceted experiment involving not only the reinvention of learning but also the transformation of students’ disposition toward their teachers and learning.” (Watkins, 2001)

WHEN WE!  Who is with me?  We spend so much time talking and not enough time addressing the true needs of our 21st, soon to be 22nd century students.  Simply, when we change our antiquated thoughts…we will see a change.  I leave you with this quote by Clarence Darrow:

“It is not the strongest of the species that survive, nor the most intelligent, but the one most responsive to change.”

Changingly yours,

The Cre8tiv Mind

Check out Craig’s latest book: The Young and the Digital: What the Migration to Social Network Sites, Games and Aytime, Anywhere Media Means for Our Future.

Watkins, C. (2011, January 9). Why low performing schools need digital media [Web log message]. Retrieved from http://www.huffingtonpost.com/craig-watkins/breaking-the-ice-why-low-_b_804117.html

Go Green and Global

“Go Green, Green is the New Black, Sustainability for the Future, Reduce, Reuse, Recycle”. These are slogans and catch phrases I am hearing more and more about each day. It appears the topics of Global Awareness and Sustainability are hot! Therefore, I figured it was time to become more enlightened in these areas. The National Association of Independent Schools (NAIS) hosts annually an Institute for Leadership in Sustainability. This conference always covers many exciting topics like “Confronting Climate Change on Campus” to “Building a Sustainable Dining Program”.  When I attended the last one, conference-goers received a poster outlining 101 Ways to be Green and Global. As I perused the entries I wondered, “what can educators and administrators do to jump on the Green-Global train and ensure that students are aware of these 21st Century themes?”

Standardized tests, curriculum development and lesson plans are on the forefront of most of our minds – where do we find time to incorporate 21st Century themes into core subjects? The Partnership for 21st Century Skills has 4 major themes in its framework, with Global Awareness as number 1.  According to the Partnership, in addition to core subjects, schools must move beyond a focus on basic competency in core subjects to promoting understanding of academic content at much higher levels by weaving 21st century interdisciplinary themes into core subjects. I decided to do a bit of research to see what I could find out about these two topics, but in the area of education.

First, I decided to Google the term, “Global Awareness in Education” and my search returned about 1,040,000 hits. Web sites like Education World and 100 People: A World Portrait topped the hit list. Next, I Googled “Sustainability in Education” and that search returned a whopping 2,360,000 hits! The search revealed Web sites like The Center for Ecoliteracy, Sustainability Ed, and the Sustainability Education Guide. How aware are we as educational professionals of Global issues and Sustainability?

I quickly went into click overhaul. web site after web site provided exciting and fascinating information that instantly introduced me to a new world I had never seen.  The 100 People web site is fabulous. As I entered, several thought-provoking questions jumped off the page at me. What if the global population of 6.5 billion was reduced to only 100 people and all statistics used to describe them remained proportionally accurate? What would those 100 people look like, and where do you fit in? Hmmmm, I don’t know, but I want to find out, so my search continues. It is time that I step up to the 21st Century Challenge and decide to be more knowledgeable about issues concerning our world and share this knowledge it an attempt to make a difference. I want to be a Green and Global citizen.

My next treasure find was unbelievable.  The 2010 Global Education Conference!  The conference was a collaborative and world-wide community effort to significantly increase opportunities for globally-connecting education activities.  It was held ONLINE and it was FREE!  It took place in multiple time zones and multiple languages over 5 days.  Kudos to my friend Lucy Gray for putting this conference together with Steve Hargadon. 

At the end of the day, sustainability is about using less; and global awareness is about knowing more. Therefore, I am boarding the Green-Global train, well, maybe I should call it the Green-Global hike, I don’t want to leave a big Carbon footprint. Will you join me?

Interesting facts and web sites I found along the way:

  • For every ton of paper that is recycled, the following is saved: 7,000 gallons of water; 380 gallons of oil; and enough electricity to power an average house for six months.
  • You can run a TV for six hours on the amount of electricity that is saved by recycling one aluminum can.
  • By recycling just one glass bottle, you save enough electricity to power a 100-watt bulb for four hours.

Also, sustainability is a way of thinking and living. It involves making conscious decisions about how your actions (how and what you consume) impact the environment, your community, people around you and across the world.

Sustainability

  • Reduce: Minimize the amount of things that you use and throw away, if it doesn’t have to be produced in the first place then it doesn’t have to be discarded.
  • Reuse: Most things can be used for different purposes, use what you have to its fullest capacity.
  • Recycle: If you are unable to reuse, recycle.

Click here to make your own “Green is the New Black” recycled T-shirt.

Web sites:

Sustainably yours,

The Cre8tiv Mind

Hotness Website Shout-outs #3

I am loving this blog sequence.  It just confirms for me that there are no shortages of awesome Web 2.0 resources for our children. This should spark some excitement in us all!  Well, here we go, 10 more days and tonight…10 more sites:
  1. Wordia – Brings words to life through the use of video.
  2. Encyclomedia – Video encyclopedia where results can be embedded into a site.
  3. Zooburst – Great site for for digital storytelling, where a user can make an online 3D pop-up book.
  4. Jay Cut – Similar to iMovie that allows users to edit or create a video.
  5. Splashup – Looks like Photoshop and is a great way to edit photos and manipulate layers and effects.
  6. Comic Master – Fun site for digital storytelling that has a drag-n-drop interface.
  7. Knowcase – Create collaborative outlines with this easy-to-use site.
  8. Cloud Canvas – Great site for photo editing and drawing or painting, similar to Splashup.
  9. Magic Studio – Great multi-media site for uploading photos,documents or video and then editing them.
  10. We are Teachers – Social network for educators where lots of ideas and lessons can be found.

Where are my friends from Tennessee who joined me at iSummit?  I need a firecracker sizzle and pop…join me tomorrow…same time…same place.

Infernoly Yours,

The Cre8tiv Mind

Technology tools…are we too addicted?

As I was running to catch my flight this afternoon I flashed back to the night before thinking about how my Fly Delta app on my iPhone notified me that my upcoming flight would be cancelled.  I dismissed the pop up message that appeared on phone and figured it was a technical glitch.  I even called Delta who confirmed my flight was indeed not cancelled.  As I ran (too overweight to be doing this!) to my gate to catch an earlier flight I couldn’t help but ponder…how much do we rely on technology?  And, should we trust technology more.
As much as I am a technology proponent I believe somewhere in the back of mind, I doubt it every now and again.  I decided to make a list of all of the ways I depend solely on technology and my list frightened me.
  1. Directions
  2. My Calendar
  3. My Contacts
  4. Communication (text, email, tweeting, etc.)
  5. Camera
  6. Camcorder
  7. Notes
  8. Scanner
  9. Check my son’s grades and assignments
  10. and on and on

Some of the most important things in my life are entrusted to technology.  I use an app on my phone or iPad for directions.  I use a calendar program on my phone and computer only…no paper.  All of my contacts are stored on my mobile devices and my computers.  I communicate solely with my phone and computer.  I take the most valuable and precious pictures of my children and other events with my iPhone and/or iPod touch…same with videos. If someone ever crashed the Evernote server I would die (used for notes).  I scan all of my sign in sheets/rosters with an app.  I keep up to date with my son’s assignments and grades via a web app and the list goes on and on.

Wow!  I am a tech addict.  Is this a bad thing?  Let me hear from you friends.
Addictively yours,
The Cre8tiv Mind