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Leadership Day 2009

Dr. Scott McLeod of the blog Dangerously Irrelevant put out a challenge for all edu bloggers to write a post related to effective school technology leadership.  Below is my contribution to Leadership Day 2009: I have found that the biggest hinderance to effective school technology is not a lack of funding, resources, or technology.  The biggest hinderance has been teachers who are unwilling to learn something new.  For me, “life long learner” describes the ideal teacher.  There are many reasons teachers find not to learn to use technologies to increase student learning.  They may be overwhelmed with duties and tasks currently being imposed on them by administration.  They may have lesson plans that they created 20 years ago that they have become so attached to they can’t imagine adjusting or scrapping them.   They may have inadequate technology support so even when they do use technology, it never works properly and they throw in the towel.  They may believe that they don’t have time in the curriculum to add “one more thing”.  They may believe that they don’t have time in general to learn something new.  All of these issues need to be addressed, but at the heart of every teacher needs to live one thing.  A desire to learn.  Excellent teachers need to be constantly learning, and modeling that learning process to the students they teach.  They must be willing to adapt their lessons and teaching as the world changes to properly prepare the students they teach.  For effective school technology implimentation, administrators need to change the culture of the school.  They must nurture and encourage teachers as learners.  They must ensure that teachers have the proper support so that when they do learn to use a new piece of technology, it is working consistently.  I believe if administorators truly transformed the school into a rich learning environment for teachers and students, the technology use would naturally begin to fall into place.

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NASA Space Place

Posted by admin | Posted in Fun & Games, Interactive book, Interactive Whiteboard, iPod, Language Arts, Math, Podcasts, Primary Elementary, Science, Secondary Elementary, Teacher Resources, video, Websites | Posted on 14-01-2010

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What it is: NASA has hundreds of excellent educational resources online.  NASA Space Place is another awesome site for elementary kids to explore science and space.  The Space Place has fun online games, animations, projects, and fun facts about Earth, space and technology.  Space Place Live is an animated talk show where all the guests are real scientists and engineers who work on space and Earth missions.  Students can find out what it is like to work for NASA, how the scientist or engineer got started, and what they like to do for fun.  There are currently 7 episodes that students can enjoy topics include: solar wind, satellites, weather, space missions, telescopes, engineering, the birth of stars, Mars, robots, and black holes.  Even though the show is animated, the experts involved are the actual experts.  NASA Space Place has a variety of on and offline games with everything from scrambled pictures, to world puzzles, crazy quizzes and board games.  Students can learn more about weather, space, satellites, the environment, (and much more) through game play.  There are a variety of projects and experiments on the site with step by step directions for students.  These are great for the classroom, science fair, or at home on a rainy day.  Space Place makes finding games, animations, and projects related to your curriculum easy arranging the site by subjects.  Use Space Place when you are learning about planets and the solar system, stars, galaxies, and black holes, laws of the universe (light, motion, gravity), the Earth, and space technology.  Space Place has several storybooks that can be viewed on or offline.


How to integrate NASA Space Place into the classroom: Because of the wealth of resources on this site, there are a variety of ways to use it in your classroom.  The animations are a neat way to bring expert scientists and engineers into your classroom.  Share an animated video a week as your students explore the solar system and universe.  The games reinforce learning, use them as a center activity on the classroom computers as they relate to your curriculum.  Many of the games encourage exploration and trial and error (these are my favorite kind of learning games for students).  Students can explore the Amazing Facts section of the site and then complete the trivia game to test out their understanding.  In the project section, you will find experiments and science crafts. Choose some of these to complete as a class or assign each student a different project to test and share with the class.  Projects would also make an excellent stop during science fair time.  Use the Space Place Storybooks as animated flipbooks online as a class with a projector/interactive whiteboard, or print them out for your classroom library.  The books could be used as an online reading center on your classroom computers as well.  These stories are sure to capture your students imagination!


Tips: Be sure to check out the educator page on NASA Space Place, it is packed full of good ideas, newsletters, printable images of space for bulletin boards, space related articles, math related articles, printable posters, and podcasts to download.  With the renewed push for STEM education, there has never been a better time to include sites like NASA Space Place to excite and engage your students.


Leave a comment and share how you are using Nasa Interactive Timeline in your classroom.

Comments (1)

Fun way to learn about space.

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