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Showing posts from February, 2016

Wearable Technology: Will it be big in 2016?

Wearable technology has taken off more recently. I have personally noticed a lot of co-workers, friends, and family wearing FitBit watches. One person I know has the Apple Watch. Is wearable technology going to take off this year? I predict that in the education setting, this is not something that will take off very soon. 
Wearable tech is largely an accessory for other existing technology. For example, you apple watch's communication functions become useless without an iPhone paired with it.
Here are some articles articles about wearable tech. Its origins, and its current drive in the market.

http://techcrunch.com/2016/02/21/wearables-drive-the-component-technology-innovation/

http://techcrunch.com/2015/11/24/tracing-the-roots-of-wearable-technology/

http://techcrunch.com/2015/06/10/a-periodic-table-of-wearable-technology/


20 YouTube Channels for Eductators

I love the digital age we live in. I am constantly on the lookout for EdTech tips and tricks. Many areas of social media make it easy for me to find information from others on what they are doing in the field of EdTech.
This list has a lot of great resources for you if you're looking for videos on EdTech. I also plan to start posting more videos to my YouTube channel as well in the near future.

20 YouTube Channels for Eductatorshttp://www.shakeuplearning.com/blog/20-youtube-channels-for-educators/

Why do EdTech People React Strongly to Skepticism?

Why do EdTech People React Strongly to Skepticism?http://www.learningspy.co.uk/technology/why-do-edtech-folk-hate-to-be-questioned/

This is an interesting blog article that hits home with me personally. I tend to react to criticism fairly. when I agree with the criticism being made. However, in the EdTech field, I do tend to react strongly against those who are skeptics.

I agree that technology is not "THE" answer that solves all of the problems in Education, in fact it creates a huge issue with money, since most technology is not inexpensive. Technology does have the potential to create richer and deeper learning experiences across a vast array of ability levels and personalities. To make technology work, it takes a great teacher to utilize technology in effective and appropriate ways.

For those that say "Technology" is fine for others, but it has no place in "my" classroom, I respectfully disagree. One of my favorite definitions of technology is any de…

What's new in 2016 for Google's Apps?

http://www.bit.com.au/News/415256,5-new-google-apps-features.aspx

This article overviews some of the new features for google's apps that launched this year. I have enjoyed the additional file formats available in Google Docs, Slides, and Sheets.

Overview of the "New" Google Forms

More Information Google Apps Updates Blog: http://googleappsupdates.blogspot.com/

Is Handwriting a Dead Technology?

http://freakonomics.com/podcast/who-needs-handwriting/

I heard this podcast today. Brings up an interesting question to debate. However, I personally do not think that we will stop learning how to write by hand. It is a great jumping off point to learn how the text is written before learning how to type it out.


10 Tech Tools to Strengthen Relationships with Students and Parents

10 Tools to Strengthen Relationships with Students and Parentshttp://www.techlearning.com/blogentry/10380

This article has a compilation of various tools used by teachers to communicate with students and parents.

Tools I've Used (From the list):StudentsEdmodo, Google ClassroomParentsRemind, Google Sites, Our School's SIS Message Center (Skyward)

PARCC - The EdTech Resource Guide

If you are a Techie in a school district participating in PARCC, you are undoubtedly aware of all of the work that goes into making Computer Based Testing work. Here is a collection of resources I have for PARCC testing (some are specific to my school in Illinois).
Parcc Website  - http://www.parcconline.org/
Parcc Manuals and Training  - http://parcc.pearson.com/manuals-training/
Avoset  - Searchable Support Guide:  http://avocet.pearson.com/PARCC/Home
Parcc Technology Guidelines  - http://www.parcconline.org/assessments/administration/technology
Pearson Access Next (Teacher/Staff/Techies Login Page)  - http://pearsonaccessnext.com/  - For Illinois: http://il.pearsonaccessnext.com/  - For Training Site: http://trng.pearsonaccessnext.com/
Setting Up TestNav  - Setup TestNav on Chomebooks:
https://support.assessment.pearson.com/display/TN/Set+Up+TestNav+on+Chromebook  - Setup TestNav on iPads:
https://support.assessment.pearson.com/display/TN/Set+Up+TestNav+on+iPad  - Setup TestNav on W…

Ways to "Spark" Collaboration in Your Classroom

https://www.edsurge.com/news/2016-02-17-7-ways-to-spark-collaboration-and-imagination-in-your-classroom

Trying to get some ideas for encouraging higher level thinking skills in your classroom. This article offers some great advice on getting your students going.

Coding All over the U.S., classrooms are adopting coding as part of the lessons. You do NOT have to be a computer expert to teach (or learn) coding. Coding teaches high level problem solving and troubleshooting skills.

TOOL(S): Code.org

Augmented Reality In my experience, I believe this is one of the most underutilized tools. Augmented reality bring a whole new level of interactivity to learning and engaging multiple learning styles.

TOOL(S): Aurasma

Student Blogging When students create, students have a richer learning experience. Think back to your schooling, and chances are you may still remember many details about a project that you created. Student blogging allows students to create meaningful work.

Check out this student …

Crop and Edit Images in Google Slides

This article gives a good overview of how to edit images within Google Slides.

http://practicaledtech.com/2015/10/18/practical-ed-tech-tip-of-the-week-crop-edit-images-in-google-slides/

Using QR Codes in Your Classroom

QR Code for This Blog
http://www.coolcatteacher.com/qr-code-classroom-implementation-guide/

This article gives some great guidance on how to get up and running with QR codes in your classroom.

Great QR Code Generator (Free)http://goqr.me/
QR Code Reader
iOS (iPads, iPods, iPhones) Android (Phones and Tablets) Web Site (Good on almost any PC, Mac, Chromebook...)


Tips for a Cloud Based Phone System

This is an interesting case where a school district replaced its aging phone system with a cloud-based PBX system. This with the availability of E-rate funding, this may be a good way to go...

http://www.techlearning.com/blogentry/9859

How do Cloud Based Phone Systems Work?

Making a Silhouette in Microsoft Word

I had a teacher ask me about how to make a Silhouette without using something like Photoshop. There are some photo editing tools online that could accomplish this for a fee. However, if you already have Microsoft Word, this may be a quick and easy way for you.

My Instructions:
https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B9k-XXnD1w3mSUw3NnV0Qmh6dUE/view?usp=sharing

Another Source/Method:
http://riverdaletechcamp.weebly.com/uploads/5/3/8/5/53855483/how_to_make_a_silhouette_in_microsoft_word.pdf



Jebbush.com Redirects to Trump...and Other Domain Name Snafus

This article on the Washington Post's website shows some of the domain names that are not owned by the candidates themselves.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/morning-mix/wp/2016/02/17/jebbush-com-redirects-to-trumps-site-but-wait-till-you-see-where-tedcruzforamerica-com-goes/

Jebbush.com - Goes to DonaldJTrump.com

Tedcruzforamerica.com - Goes to a humorously ironic link.

There is even the story of a lady who (years ago) purchased several domain names in case Hilary Clinton decided to run.

10 Ways to Show Your iPad on a Projector Screen

http://learninginhand.com/blog/ways-to-show-your-ipad-on-a-projector-screen

This article offers some great tips on how to project your iPad. This is great for those classrooms that only have one iPad or for teachers/students that want to model for others.

Mr B Tech Blog's New Address - blog.mrbwebsite.com

Hello everyone,

An astounding achievement as my blog has reached over 3000 views this week!


It took over a year to get 2000 views, but only 2 additional months to reach 3000. Thank you for your support!

Mr B Tech Blog has a new web address:http://blog.mrbwebsite.com/ Please update your bookmarks to reflect the new address. This is the direct result of my learning how to use subdomain url forwarding. I have been using the domain name mrbwebsite.com for about 5 years now for my classes and tech training.
The longer I am in the Tech Field, the more I laugh at this video.

Chromebooks: 6 Good Apps for Recording Audio

http://www.educatorstechnology.com/2014/10/6-good-chromebook-apps-for-recording.html

I recently forwarded this list to a couple teachers who were asking how to do an audio recording on Chromebook. Here are the ones that I have used from the list.

Voice Recorder - QUICK AND SIMPLE Online Voice Recorder is a free simple application which records sound from microphone. After recording you can trim the sound and save it to your computer.

Twisted Wave - FOR EDITING
TwistedWave is a full featured audio editor that allows you to: Edit audio files from your computer or your Google Drive, apply effects, save in one of many supported file formats, and export the file back to your disk, Google Drive or SoundCloud.
This is the closest thing I have seen to Audacity (not available on Chromebooks)
http://aboutchromebook.com/audacity-for-chromebook/

Java course for kids, taught via Minecraft

Teaching coding skills to children is being adopted more and more as coding encourages higher order thinking skills.

http://boingboing.net/2015/09/28/an-online-java-course-for-kids.html?utm_content=buffer105a8&utm_medium=social&utm_source=twitter.com&utm_campaign=buffer

This example offers a creative way of teaching Java through Minecraft.

At the beginning of the summer my son Ronan, age 12, and I built him his first high-powered gaming PC. Me being a dad and all, I did so happily, but with one proviso -- he’d have to dedicate time every day to learning a programming language. He was slightly sceptical of this, having taken a few less-than-interesting intro to programming classes in the past. Prepared for this, I recommended that we enroll him in Youth Digital’s comprehensive Java course called Minecraft Server Desgin 1. This got his full attention, as he had dreams of creating his own custom servers and gameplay modes to host Minecraft sessions with his friends.

Technology: The savior of Education?

Check out this story about a Computer Teacher, that had to take a year off for health reasons. Through this time, a startling discovery was made.

http://ilearntechnology.com/wordpress/?p=5581

The trouble is, we have a one-size-fits-all system. We have classes of 25+ students. We have teachers who are overworked and underpaid. We have a limited amount of time. We have limited budgets. The idea of mass education, in some ways, locks us into the one-size-fits-all. Standards and testing have become hallmarks of education. I started to recognize that even if I get the Learning Genome Project built, I still have to find a way for teachers to use it for students. With the current setup, that would mean the very top students in a class, those considered ‘gifted,’ and the very bottom of the class, those considered ‘low,’ would get to use it. The vast majority of students, those in the middle of the bell curve, would never get the individualized plan. Yet, they deserved it just as much.

Mentioned…

10 Ways to Engage Students with Tech

http://www.opencolleges.edu.au/informed/features/10-most-engaging-uses-of-tech-integration/

Some very good tips on engaging students with technology.

In this article is one of the hot topics in modern education, Blended Learning.

What is blended learning?

Blended learning combines the best of both worlds of Face-To-Face instruction and Online Learning. Combining both of these learning methods creates a very rich learning experience.
See this article for further information on Blended Learning http://www.nccsa.org/2015/02/designing-a-blended-learning-program/

Professional Development is NOT Transforming Learning?

http://katielmartin.com/2015/10/05/5-reasons-professional-development-is-not-transforming-learning/

This article offers some good points of why professional development may not be transforming learning. First, everyone (staff, administrators...etc) needs to realize that the purpose of professional development is mainly to improve student learning (via improving the teachers' craft).

In order to have an impact on student learning, there must be a culture for learning, shared vision between all stakeholders, and buy-in across the board.

One way to accomplish goals of professional development is offered in the book School Culture Rewired. If a culture for learning is developed, the other keys to effective professional development will fall in place.

Are we Overblocking the Internet?

http://dangerouslyirrelevant.org/2015/10/its-late-2015-and-were-still-overblocking-the-internet.html

This blog post raises some good points about schools that may be overusing their ability to block pages on the internet. Schools are required to filter the internet via the Children's Internet Protection Act (CIPA). However, how much is too much?

Other articles about the internet in schools that this blogger offers:

Internet Filtering and Blocking Resources26 Internet Safety Taking Points

Zoom In: Pivotal moments in US history Website

http://zoomin.edc.org/
This online website has 18 skill-focused, document-rich lessons that address every era of U.S. history. Each interactive inquiry engages students in reading documents closely, gathering evidence, and writing an argumentative or explanatory essay.

Web Tool: Prepare Students for Oral Presentations

Oral presentations


Have you ever listened to someone else give a talk and wondered how they do it? Standing up and giving a talk in front of people is quite a challenge.

But if you plan it properly and use the clever techniques in this unit, you will find that you can do it.

This activity helps to prepare students for the frightening task of public speaking.
http://www.educationscotland.gov.uk/informationliteracy/secondlevel/tell/MakingOralPresentation/resources/genericcontent_tcm4268616.asp

Windows 10 Overtakes Windows XP

Source of Graphic: https://www.netmarketshare.com/operating-system-market-share.aspx?qprid=10&qpcustomd=0

An event 15 years in the making... Windows 10 now has roughly 11.85% of the PC market, compared to 11.42% still running Windows XP, turning 15 years old this year.

It should be noted that Microsoft stopped supporting Windows XP almost 2 years ago. As a result, Windows XP has become a huge target for hackers, viruses, and the like.

Windows 10 is now the 2nd widest used OS on PCs. However, this is not surprising given Microsoft's aggressive strategy to get people to update those old PCs. See article below.

From: http://betanews.com/2016/02/03/how-to-uninstall-the-windows-10-recommended-update-and-go-back-to-windows-7-or-8-1/

Now that Microsoft is forcibly downloading Windows 10 onto unsuspecting Windows 7 and 8.1 users’ PCs there’s going to be a lot of unhappy customers faced with a new OS they never asked for nor wanted.


Promethean ActivWall

The Promethean ActivWall is now out there.
https://www.prometheanworld.com/Activwall
This seems to me like something out of Science Fiction, but it is now reality. See the video below for more details.


I Missed a Test Form

A colleague of mine came up with this nifty little tool for students to fill out when they are going to (or have) miss(ed) a test.

Link to Google Doc

I missed a Test/Quiz!
If you are going to miss a test/quiz or were sick the day of a test/quiz, fill this form out. Keep the bottom for yourself and give the top to ____(teacher name).
Name: __________________________
Class test/quiz missed in: ______________________
Date of missed test/quiz: ______________
Reason for missing: ⇷☐ Pre-Arranged Absence (must take BEFORE absence)
⇷☐ Field Trip (must take BEFORE absence)
⇷☐ Illness/Other ______________________________ (explain if needed)
Date to be taken: ___________________
Class Hour to be taken: __________ (can also be before/after school or during a lunch) (cannot be during class)





Keep as a reminder for yourself!!
Class: __________________________
Date to be taken: ___________________

Google Apps: Doc to Form & Form Publisher

Did you ever wish that you could create a Google form that could fill in responses on a sheet, other than a spreadsheet?

Well you can with Form Publisher
Form Publisher will make your life easier! It generates Google Docs from a template, using Form responses.



Do you have old tests and quizzes that you created in MS Word and wish that you could copy it to a Google Form?

Well you can with Doc to Form

Doc to Form allows you to quickly and easily create a form from text within a Google Doc.


Re-Post: Tech Tools for Differentiated Learning Parts 1 & 2 - Reading

If I had to pick one field that I consider challenging for differentiation, I would pick reading. My reasoning behind this is based on my personal experience with reading. I never had a diagnosed reading disability, but I was always a slow reader and thus did not enjoy it that much. That is until I took a study skills and speed reading course in college, on the advice of my college guidance counselor. That course helped me tremendously in both general reading as well as taking control of my own learning.

These two posts offer a variety of tech tools to help differentiate reading instruction and learning.

Part 1:
https://21centuryedtech.wordpress.com/2016/01/20/part-1-tech-resources-and-tools-for-differentiated-learning-reading/

Part 2:
https://21centuryedtech.wordpress.com/2016/01/26/part-2-tech-resources-and-tools-for-differentiated-learning-more-reading/



Web Tools: Once Upon a Device - 20 Reading Apps

http://teacherrebootcamp.com/2013/09/05/once-upon-a-device-20-reading-activities-apps/

Some of my favorite ideas from this list were:

Film a talk show featuring characters from the readingRecreate a scene from the storyCreate a CommercialWhich App(s) could you use?WeVideo, iMovie, YouTube, Hangouts On Air...Choose 2 characters and re-create a conversation in text message styleWhich App(s) could you use?NiceNet, Google Classroom, Hangouts, Schoology. Moodle (if available)...Bring a Character to life with Augmented RealityWhich App(s) could you use?Aurasma and Aurasma Studio