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The Power of the PLN and education karma

Okay, here is the deal, I know this is a highly unusual post and request from me but bear with me for just a minute while I explain the importance of what I am asking.  At the bottom of the post I talk about a really cool new tool worth checking out. I am working on a rather large educational project that will make it possible for every teacher to customize and tailor curriculum and learning for each of their students without putting a huge burden on teachers.  I have met some wonderful entreprenuers and business minds as I have worked on that project.  One of those brilliant people is @Toma_Bedolla.  Yesterday Toma and I were talking about this big project and I was trying to convey the powerhouse that is my personal learning network.  People outside of this network don’t really understand how it works or how it can make a difference in the world.  Toma could see that I have a lot of followers on Twitter and that I follow a lot of people on Twitter, what he couldn’t see is incredible support system that it is.  We don’t just follow each other. We make changes happen. We pull together and network and brainstorm and collaborate and discuss and encourage.  People who don’t use social media this way have a hard time getting it. As we were wrapping up our conversation yesterday Toma mentioned this little contest he was involved in, a contest to get more fit.  Not education related per-say but I thought…what if I could use this contest to help someone outside of the PLN and outside of education see just what a powerhouse my PLN is?  What if by winning a contest (and subsequently $10,000) I could show someone outside of the PLN why it is worth investigating more, why it is worth investing in?  This is where you come in.  I’m hoping that I can get all of you to vote and help Toma out.  The problem?  The site is a PAIN to vote on, seriously, they couldn’t have made it more confusing.  But…it is really just 4 steps and if you know the secret (which I will tell you) it is a piece of cake.  Here is a hint I use on ALL websites that I sign up for that I’m not sure I really want to sign up for (education or not).  Use an @tempinbox email address.  You can type in anything you want before the @tempinbox.com and it will keep you from getting on lists you don’t want to be on.  To confirm the email just go to www.tempinbox.com, type in the preface you used infront of the tempinbox extension and you can click the confirmation in the email. Here’s the simplest way to vote: 1. Register for a free account at Precision Nutrition: http://on.fb.me/fZBnXk (sign up with that tempinbox.com account if you want) 2. Click the link sent in the confirmation e-mail. (If you used my Tempinbox trick go to www.tempinbox.com to confirm). 3. Scroll to the bottom to click Vote at: http://www.precisionnutrition.com/s2b-winners-2010 4. You will be redirected to the poll where you can vote.  Vote for finalist #8. Toma is only 146 votes out of the lead for the $10K first prize…  I’m pretty sure my powerhouse PLN can make that happen! I’m a big believer in helping each other out in any way we can, it creates some great education karma. Now, for the part of the post where I share a really cool tool:  Toma is the brains behind a new website called How Tru.  You’ll have to take a look at the site to really feel its full impact but I have to say-this could be HUGE for education.  Toma describes it perfectly, everyone has a credit score…none of us had to do anything special (other than borrow money) to get that score. A credit score gives us a way to verify whether we can trust someone financially.  How Tru scores will give us a way to begin to verify a persons veracity online.  The ultimate in digital footprints.  The tool has a few implications for education: 1. It gives students and teachers a way to begin verifying the veracity of content. 2. It gives everyone a way to track their digital footprints and the footprints of those they follow.  Pretty cool!  I’ll write a full post as soon as the site is “officially” launched with my ideas of how it can be used in the classroom. Thank you to all who helped and feel free to spread the word! Now back to our regularly scheduled edutech content

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Day of Play: Mechanical Bulls, Time Machines, Dancing and Mustaches

Posted by admin | Posted in Analyze, Anastasis Academy, Apply, Create, education reform, inspiration, Middle/High School, Primary Elementary, Secondary Elementary | Posted on 08-10-2012

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Maybe you have heard of Caine’s Arcade?  It is a little movement, started by an 8 year old.  This video will restore your faith in humanity and inspire you big time!  It inspired us at Anastasis Academy, so much so that when the second video came out, inviting us to a Day of Play, we were all in.

On Friday, Anastasis held our own Day of Play.  We collected boxes (lots and lots of boxes), tape, markers, pipe cleaners, glue, aluminum foil, rubber bands, tubes, scissors and paper.  Then, we let the kids at it.  There were no parameters, no specific rules or directions.  The goal for our students was to dream as big as they could. It is amazing what happens when you invite kids to dream and build apart from any rules or expectations of what the end goal is.  Our students (k-8) gathered in our big “all in” room and built to their hearts content.  The amazing part: no two ideas were the same.  We had plink-o, a fortune teller, a minecraft adventure, a time machine (complete with crystal), ski ball, tilt the ball, an old-school computer made of new parts, a hotdog/snow cone stand, dance dance revolution, ferris wheel, tanks, and a mechanical bull.  You read correctly, a mechanical bull.

The students spent about 3 hours dreaming and building.  Some had plans they created the day before, others came in with a blank slate.  After all of the building (and a break for lunch) we gathered to play each others games.  It was SO much fun!  Students even created their own prizes that could be won (mustaches and uni-brows anyone?).

The casual observer might have watched this all go down and seen chaos or a waste of time.  A closer look would have revealed the rich learning taking place.  The problem solving, critical thinking, discovery, planning, rich conversations, kids working together, designing, creativity.  Have you ever seen those words describe a worksheet? A lecture?  This was such a RICH learning experience in so many ways.  Best of all: it built and fostered a culture of working together, learning from each other and enjoying each other.  That is no small feat.

I saw genius today. I am SO proud of these kids, they truly are geniuses.  Two of our students (different classes and ages) built a tank together.  The tank shot rubber bands and launched a “cannon” water bottle.  These boys decided that the rubber band shooter and cannon should have a “safety” just in case something slipped so that they wouldn’t accidentally shoot anything.  The way they worked this out was truly brilliant.  The cannon water bottle was held in place by a popsicle stick safety.  The rubber band shooter was attached to pipe cleaner that kept the rubber band from releasing unless the safety was off.

Our youngest kids built and manned a hotdog/snow cone stand.  My favorite part of the stand was the signs that they created for it.  One of the signs read “Snow cones choose a color: limeade, raspberry, blueberry, grape.”  I love that it said choose a color, not choose a flavor.  SO stinking cute!

A dance-loving student created the cardboard version of dance, dance revolution.  She created a dance mat with different colors on it.  Then, she climbed behind her box and flashed construction paper colors. When the color showed up, the player had to step on the matching color on the mat.  Periodically, she would hold up signs that said things like, “you are on fire” or “fail”.  Brilliant!

Check out our Day of Play below:

Personalized learning should be available to EVERY child, every day. The Learning Genome Project makes that possible.  Please help me spread the word and contribute!

Comments (1)

[…] to create iPad styluses out of sponge and wire for less than 10 cents.  Last year we held an all-school day of play (highly recommend that!) and marshmallow/spaghetti tower challenge.  This year we have some fun […]

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