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Zoodles: a kid safe mode for every device

What it is: Zoodles makes it possible to have a “kid safe” mode on every device: Mac, PC, iPad, iPhone, iPod Touch and Android.  Zoodles includes wonderful features for technology use in the classroom and at home.  With Zoodles every child has their own “playground” space (login) that they access by clicking on their picture.  A parent dashboard lets teachers (or parents) customize Zoodles to meet the needs of students. Parents and teachers can clearly see where a student spends their time, what their interests are, and what subjects they have been practicing.  Every game in Zoodles has been previewed by experts and is rated based on it’s educational merit.  Parent play-along mode makes it possible for parents or teachers to guide the learning experience.  The interface is focused on kids and is extremely intuitive.  There are no distracting “extras” in the navigation or URLs where students can get sidetracked or lost.  The content in Zoodles adapts to each child’s age and ability level so they are constantly being challenged and engaged. There are thousands of educational games built into Zoodles…students always have something new and challenging to interact with.  Zoodles also gives students access to fun educational videos.  Zoodles is geared for toddler to third grade (8 year old) students.  You can peruse the games included in Zoodles by clicking on the “Games” tab on the site.  There are games for: cognitive development, creative development, life skills, math, reading, science, and social studies. The games and videos in Zoodles are pulled from several places on the Internet.  What makes Zoodles a great tool is the ability to guide students in their learning, easily find quality educational content, scale as a student is ready, and keep ads blocked and hidden. How to integrate Zoodles into the classroom: Zoodles is great for classroom computers and devices in the primary classroom.  It provides students with access to quality learning games and content from the Internet without having to sort through the Internet to get to it.  Zoodles is perfect for classroom computers that are used as learning centers.  For the classroom, create 3-5 different accounts.  Instead of basing the accounts on individual students, the accounts can be based on a learning level.  Through the dashboard, teachers can guide the learning that happens in each account.  This keeps your students on task, learning at their level, and engaged in meaningful activities.  Even if you don’t use the Zoodles interface on your computers for students, it is definitely worth a download as a teacher.  The games and videos are broken up into subject areas and age groups.  This makes it easy to find an activity for any learning that you are doing in the classroom.  Use Zoodles as your guide to find great activities and learning games on the web. Tips: I found Zoodles when searching for a solution for one of the families I teach.  They were looking for a way that all of their kids (2 years old to 8 years old) could use the family computer for fun, safe learning experiences.  This is a great app to recommend to parents who don’t know what they don’t know, but want to provide their kids with virtual learning experiences.  Be sure to recommend it to your students families!  There are premium features that families will LOVE! Please leave a comment and share how you are using Zoodles!

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Apprenticing students in the art of learning

Posted by admin | Posted in Anastasis Academy, inspiration, Middle/High School, Primary Elementary, professional development, Secondary Elementary, Teacher Resources | Posted on 31-10-2013

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I’m of the opinion that the apprenticeship model should be the basis for education.  This is one of the cornerstones of Anastasis philosophy, that we apprentice students in the art of learning.  The goal then, is to teach students how to be learners by modelling what it means to be a learner.  I’m not sure how one can be a teacher and not be a learner.

As a young child, I was apprenticed as a learner.  My parents were masters at encouraging curiosity.  They themselves are inquirers.  They showed me what it meant to passionately pursue understanding of the world around me.  It never felt like school.  As long as I can remember, my parents have owned their own businesses.  When I was growing up, they owned and operated a kitchen remodel business.  I spent summers “playing” at work.  This was my first interaction with using a computer.  I spent hours pretending to talk on the phone to a client and then designing their kitchen using the office Apple IIe.  It was really exciting when I got to use the blue print machine in the insanely scary basement of the office.  Later, my dad started a model rocket company.  He made model rocket kits completely out of wood.  This led to an excitement about physics, making, and entrepreneurship.  My parents involved my brother and I in each part of the process.  I spent many hours sewing bags for the rockets to be packaged in.  When my brother decided that skateboarding was life, my parents started a skateboard company.  This time I learned about screen printing, graphic design, and skate culture.  My families most recent pursuit of passion is at Koostik.  My dad started this company after discovering that he could amplify sound by putting his iPhone in a Styrofoam cup.  He immediately began to tinker in the garage, using his passion for woodworking to create speakers for the iPhone that worked 100% through acoustics.

This was learning at its absolute best.  It gave purpose to all of the things that I learned in school.  My parents taught me how to pursue curiosity, passion and crazy ideas.  They showed me that learning is a life long adventure.

I often get dropped-jaw stares when I tell people that I started a school.  The immediate follow-up questions begin: how did you do it, what classes did you take to prepare you, what professional development on starting a school did you get, where did you find the money?  My answer is always the same, I was raised to do this.  My parents taught me how to do this by demonstrating what it means to be a learner.  They taught me how to do this by showing me how passions and ideas are pursued.  Many that I talk to consider starting a school risky or scary.  For me the scarier thing would be to sit by and watch kids go through an education system that isn’t in their best interest.  The scarier thing is to do what every one else is doing.

I was raised to do this.

My hope for students everywhere: that they would have teachers in their lives who would apprentice them in the art of learning.

Thank you mom and dad for showing me what passionate learning looks like!


P.S.  If you haven’t seen the gorgeous work that my dad does, check out Koostik.  Each of the products is made by hand.  My dad is constantly sending me photos of new ideas he is tinkering with.  LOVE that!  Koostik has a contest that ends TONIGHT where you can enter to win product.  I saw the prize pack in person today.  The photos don’t do it justice.  Everything is gorgeous!  My dad is pretty much the master at choosing just the right piece of wood and working with the grain to really make each piece stand out as a masterpiece.  It is truly (functional) art.  Details for how to enter here.

Koostik prize package!



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