A Brief Philosophy of Technology in Education

Creating a positive message about students using technology for educational success can be difficult. Showing off students typing away at a row of computers is a nice way to say “look at all this productivity,” but it doesn’t convey something as emotional as a student-led presentation or a teacher’s own voice. I tried to blend both in a recent video that I made for my district, showcasing the thoughts behind the use of technology in education. It’s not perfect, and I had all sorts of headaches with the audio (lots of noisy classrooms), but this is my first attempt to show some of the thought behind our teachers’ instructional methodology when using technology. You can view below or on Vimeo. read more

Every Common Core Standard Related to Technology

I’ve had a LOT of traffic on a Google Document that I created last year while exploring the Common Core State Standards. At the time I created it I was looking for a way to impress upon the teachers in my district that technology standards are now for the first time being embedded within the content standards (at least here in Michigan). Previously, the technology standards were published by the state separately from the core content areas, which created a convenient excuse for many teachers to basically say “well, they aren’t my concern, because they aren’t in my standards.” read more

Write a Poem, Win a Lenovo m90z ThinkCentre!

The special day has finally arrived! Today, April 25th, marks the start of my giveaway contest for a brand new Lenovo m90z ThinkCentre desktop computer. It’s big, it’s shiny, and if you’re the lucky winner you’ll be able to smudge the screen to your hearts’ desire because this thing has touch input! At 23 inches, and a full multi-touch experience, this computer would be great in an elementary classroom as a touch-powered, interactive digital learning center, useful for students with fine motor control problems preventing keyboard and mouse interaction, or as a learning kiosk in a public place within your school building. There are many more uses, but I’ll let the winner decide how they’re going to use it! read more

Come Write Poetry With Me This April!

I’m a terrible poet.

No really, I am. Whether it’s over-using simplistic imagery devices, abusing similes, or providing rather juvenile metaphors that make other novice poetry writer’s efforts seem sublime, I can’t write consistently decent lines of verse to save my life. Which is why I need practice! So much of our educational experiences, including our own and those we thrust upon our students, is building up to the holy grail of reading and writing, the all hallowed “final draft”. We become so fixated on that final goal, it’s often easy to miss all of the tiny little daily writing opportunities that help our students become better incrementally, and emphasize the process and practice over the final product. read more

Calling all Poets!

It’s no secret that I’m a “hit and miss poet”. While I’d like to believe that my expository writing has improved since I started writing on a regular basis via this blog 7 years ago (I’ll let you pass judgement on the quality of my writing), I find that prose and other literary forms escape my realm of competence. Sure, I can turn out a decent poem or two if given enough time to consider meter, verse, and similes that don’t harken back to my grade school days. In fact, I feel that I wrote a rather decent cinquain inspired by this image today. read more

Using Harlem Shake to Teach Physics

I’m not going to pretend that I remember enough about my high school physics to speak intelligently about the difference between  centrifugal and centripetal forces, but I do know a good piece of teachable media when I see it. When you introduce a brick to a front-loading washing machine spinning at several hundred RPMs, you get something both destructive and magical. read more

Photographing the Speed of Light

If you’re the type of geek that stays current on scientific news out of MIT, this is not new for you. For everyone else, the MIT-developed camera that can capture up to one trillion frames a second (yes, that’s a “T”) is mind boggling, yet conceptually clear. In existence for a few years, the Photon Camera is not only quick enough to capture light waves as they travel through space, but it can also see around corners by capturing bouncing light. I was reminded of just how amazing technology like this is when a old 2013 Youtube video from Nova made it’s way across my Twitter feed yesterday. read more

Estimating Sticky Notes – A Video Story Problem

I did a search on YouTube today for the terms “video story problem.” It returned more than 16 million results. Interestingly enough, many of the top results are from people creating video story problems that I’ve never met, have never been in one of my workshops, and have no links back to where they got the idea; and that’s awesome! Loving that so many other educators and students are starting to play with video to help create publicly available examples of the old “learning is messy” adage! read more