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ISTE 10 Recap: From Add-on Technology to Essential Technology: Constru

One of the sessions I attended at the ISTE 10 conference was Elliott Soloway and Cathie Norris’s entitled: “From Add-on Technology to Essential Technology: Constructing 1-to-1 Aware Curriculum”.  It is hard to go wrong with a session by Elliott Soloway, his humor is contagious. I was interested in this session because I am currently working on a proposal for a 1-to-1 iPad pilot program and study for next year.  I came away with some new perspectives on mobile technologies that I will share at the end of the post.  To begin, here is the gist of the session: “Within 5 years every child in every grade will be learning with mobile technology, it will be bigger than the Internet”- Elliott Soloway There are 7 billion people on the planet and 4 billion mobile devices. The greatest challenge we face as educators is to teach ALL kids.  We need to teach kids “brain jobs” not “back jobs”.  This is 21st Century skills and content. “Right now looking at all the school data is just like moving deck chairs around on the Titanic.” – Elliott Soloway Mobile technology is the game changer. In Singapore, Nan Chi Primary school saw a significant increase in tests scores after introducing smart phones in the 3rd grade science classroom. In a classroom using 1 to 1 mobile devices, not a single child failed to turn in a single homework assignment all year.  Why did that happen? Because they are engaged. Time on task = success The tools have to be used as essential tools, not supplementary.  Supplementing with technology doesn’t move the needle.  Essential means that technology is in hand 24/7 students have complete access to the tool.  Essential means that students are actively engaged in doing and creating.  That doesn’t mean that there aren’t other tools being used. Most things can be done on a mobile phone device. Mobile devices connect students to the real world.  Learning doesn’t end when school does. When you look closely at the studies that show that technology has no impact, you will see that it is because technology was used as a supplement. Technology should be like oxygen, invisible but essential. Mobile devices like the cell phone are ideal because the cost of the device is $0 and what you pay for is the connectivity.  It is a cheap solution. It is about the kids, not the technology.  Let them use their own tools. Mobile devices are growing at a rate of 50% a year, this is the fastest growing technology.  We used to tell teachers to get on the technology bus, now we have to say get on the technology bullet train because it is moving! Elliott mentioned that he doesn’t think that the iPad has a place as a learning device.  His reasoning is that it isn’t what kids are using.  He argues that kids are using cellphones and mobile devices, that the iPad isn’t natural for them. Elliott was an excellent presenter.  He made some great points about using cellphone technology in the classroom.  I have to disagree with his assessment that the iPad isn’t a good device for kids.  While I like the idea of using cellphone technology and just paying for connectivity, it isn’t what every classroom needs.  The conclusion that I kept coming to is that no classroom situation is the same.  While an inner city school with low access to technology and resources might benefit best from a smart phone for learning, it might not make the same sense in a suburban school with more ubiquitous technology access.  In a poorer neighborhood you will find homes that lack wireless Internet access, putting an iPad in the hands of those kids might not be as successful as giving them a cellphone that they could use to access a cellular data network.  But in a wealthier, suburban neighborhood where wireless Internet is around every corner, an iPad is the perfect device.  What I realized is that there can be no one-size-fits-all approach to education.  One solution isn’t going to solve the education problems of the world.  We need to look at each population and each classroom and choose the solution that makes the most sense for that instance.  Education has to be tailored to the individuals, not the masses. Soloway is right, we keep trying to make the data tell us a new story.  Policy makers implement new standards and tests as a way to save education.  But that is like moving deck chairs around on the Titanic.  Sure things look different, but it is still a sinking ship.  We need to cut our losses and build a new ship all together.  That new ship should be tailored to fit the needs of the students who are boarding it.  For some that means mobile phone technology, for others iPads, and for some netbooks.  I can argue all day long for the benefits of the iPad in learning but when we get right down to it, the reason I hold that view is because it is perfect for the student population I work with.  It makes sense in our situation.  That may or may not be true of you. To learn more about the session visit here. Ten Ways to Boost Learning with Technology

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Interactive Advent Calendars

Posted by admin | Posted in Fun & Games, Interactive book, Language Arts, Math, Primary Elementary, Secondary Elementary, Social Studies, Websites | Posted on 01-12-2009

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What it is: It is December!  This means the beginning of Advent along with the anticipation and excitement that it brings.  The Internet is full of interactive advent calendars that you can use in your classroom to teach about how the Christmas season is celebrated all around the world.  These advent calendars reveal fun facts, interactive activities, and stories.

Santa’s House Advent Calendar- This advent calendar tells a fun story.  Each day reveals another secret about what goes on inside Santa’s home on the 24 days leading up to Christmas.  In each picture, there is a little mouse hiding.  When students click on his ears, he jumps out.

Picture 1

Christmas Around the World Advent Calendar- Each day students click on the date to reveal a fun fact about how countries around the world celebrate Christmas.  The facts are accompanied by great illustrations and pictures.  This site shows up very small inside my Internet browser (Firefox).  To remedy this problem, click on “view” in your menu bar and choose “zoom”.  You may need to zoom in several times.

Picture 2

Christmas Mice Advent Calendar- This calendar tells the story about a mouse family who celebrates Christmas.  Each day a little more of the story is revealed.  Each picture includes some animation.

Picture 3

Santa’s Advent Calendar- On this advent calendar, each day reveals a new song or activity for students to complete. There are some fun Christmas themed mysteries to solve, stories to read, and activities to work through.

Picture 4French Carols Advent Calendar-  This is a French advent calendar.  Each day contains a new French Christmas carol sung by children.  This advent calendar would be a fun one to include in a study of Christmas around the world.

Picture 5

Christmas Around the World Advent Calendar Quiz-  This advent calendar tests students knowledge about how other cultures celebrate Christmas.  Each day students are asked a question and given hints to help them answer.  When the answer is revealed, students can click on links to learn more about the Christmas celebrations in that country.  This site also includes great activities and teaching resources for Christmas.

Picture 6

Christmas Advent Calendar- Follow the adventures of Zac the elf as he tries to find a Christmas present for Santa.  Each day a little more of the story is revealed.

Picture 7

Christmas Activity Advent Calendar-  This advent calendar has fun little games and activities to play each day.  The games and activities are quick and easy to complete, building mouse and keyboard skills.  This advent calendar would be a good one for the classroom computers as a center activity.

Picture 8

How to integrate Interactive Advent Calendars into the classroom: The season of Advent is always filled with eagerness and expectancy. Build some of that anticipation into your school day by allowing students to unlock a new secret on the advent calendar each day.  Use these advent calendars with the whole class on an interactive whiteboard or projector, or set them up as a quick center activity that students can visit.  Use the advent calendars that reveal a story to practice looking for foreshadowing clues, using context clues to guess what will happen next, or as story starters for students own stories.  The Christmas around the world advent calendars are wonderful for teaching students some of the history of Christmas and the way that other cultures celebrate the familiar holiday.

Tips: Each of these advent calendars has some fun goodies and hidden surprises, find the one that best fits your classroom needs.

Leave a comment and share how you are using Interactive Advent Calendars  in your classroom.

Comments (8)

Here is an Advent Calendar for teachers, created by Mary Fraizer, Tech Integration Specialist in the Buhler, Ks School District. Check it out and Join the fun.

This Countdown to Christmas wiki, an advent calendar for teachers, is my Christmas gift to you this year. I hope you experience the thrill of clicking on each page as a new link becomes active each day and seeing something new (or maybe something old) that you’ll be able to use in your classroom and in your home!
You will be able to respond to each topic by clicking on the Discussion Tab on each page. Please share how you might use this in your classroom. We’ll learn so much from each other by sharing in this manner!
Join the wiki and you’ll be able to upload photos of any of your projects. You should see the words Join This Wiki in the upper left hand corner. Further instructions are on the first page of the wiki.

These are great! Thanks for sharing! :)

Very useful, thanks. I always wonder if there’s a tool out there to make these interactive advent calendars?

thanks for the great selection of calenders i use them at the start of the day with my year 7 class, problem is they get toooooooo excited!!!! thanks again.

[…] Tenkely has written a post on interactive Advent calendars which would be great to use with children on an IWB on the countdown to […]

[…] iLearn Technology » Blog Archive » Interactive Advent Calendars “The Internet is full of interactive advent calendars that you can use in your classroom to teach about how the Christmas season is celebrated all around the world. These advent calendars reveal fun facts, interactive activities, and stories.” tags: Christmas, interactive, calendars, advent, technology, ilearn […]

Awesome collection of calendar. Thx 4 ur posting

These are fantastic activities; great for both interactive whiteboard and also individual classroom computers. Definately part of my classroom work for December!

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