An edublog about integrating technology into the classroom.
Hot Shot Business
What it is: The Disney website has a lot of engaging and fun content for kids, unfortunately, not all of it is educational. Hot Shot Business is one of the better Disney games I have seen for the classroom. It teaches kids about business and entrepreneurship through a fun simulation game. Students...
What it is:Seesaw is the first truly student centered/driven digital portfolio tool that I’ve seen. What makes Seesaw such an awesome option as a digital portfolio is the way that it empowers kids to build and keep a digital portfolio totally independently with features like QR code login for young students. Students can log their learning using photos, videos, drawings, text, PDFs, and links. Seesaw also has direct import features from lots of popular apps. From the teacher perspective, Seesaw makes it simple to access student work immediately from their own device. Content is easily searchable by student and makes it simple to review student progress over time and keep track of growth. In addition to browsing by student, teachers can use folders to organize work by subject area or project. There is also an awesome flag feature that makes it easy to highlight work that you want to go back to for conferences or follow-up with the student. The built in audio recording and drawing tools mean that students can reflect on what they’ve learned or explain how they reached an answer. Parents are also able to login to see work and give feedback on it (you as the teacher can control who sees what and what feedback can be given. Teachers can approve peer feedback before it is seen by students or parents.
How to integrate Seesaw into the classroom:We’ve long used Evernote as our eportfolio of choice, because it was a simple (enough) entry point and gave students enough flexibility to show what they were working on. With each new release of features, Seesaw is quickly winning me over. This is an app that was clearly created with students and teachers in mind. It has incredible flexibility while equipping with just the right tools and features to make it extra valuable in a school setting. I love the options for feedback that teachers can give, and that all stakeholders are able to login and see what kids are working on. The way that Seesaw enables teachers to give quick feedback to students is incredible. I am also impressed with the integrated audio and drawing features that allow students (even young students) to comment and reflect on their own learning and thinking process. The metacognition implications of Seesaw are awesome!
At Anastasis, even non-digital native assignments get captured in our eportfolio through the camera or video. This means that work “travels” with students from year to year. Future teachers can go back through their progress, but students also have this incredible “bread crumb trail” of learning that they can go back through. It is always fun for us to hear students exclaim over the difference in their writing from day one to day 100. Often the learning process is so infinitesimal that students (and sometimes parents) have a hard time seeing the growth. An eportfolio is a great way to capture all learning so that those baby steps can be seen over time. This has been encouraging for our struggling students especially.
Seesaw supports a variety of platforms making it super simple to use in any classroom environment and particularly in a BYOD setting. Supported platforms include iOS devices, Android devices, Chromebooks, and any computer with a Chrome web browser.
Best of all: Seesaw is FREE!!! If you want to store and organize a child’s portfolio beyond the current year, a Plus account can be purchased by parents for $9.99/year OR a school account.
Tips: Seesaw also has Google App integration, if your school uses Google in Education, they can login with the same Google login they use for everything else!
As it turns out, putting on a conference is a whole lot like planning for a wedding. Months of preparation, sleepless nights, and dreams (nightmares?) that make you begin to believe that the world revolves around this one event. And then suddenly it is here, the big day. The culmination of all of the hard work.
A strange peace comes over you when you wake the morning of the conference. You’ve done all that you can do. If it hasn’t already been planned for, it will just be what it is.
Blink and it is over.
Wait, what just happened?!
You know it was an AMAZING two days and that the connections were incredible, but going back to sum it up in a few words…that is harder.
The crisis of the imminent creeps in (oh yeah, I still have a school to run!) and before you know it a week has passed and you still haven’t put thoughts down on paper.
I’ve struggled to neatly sum up the 5Sigma Conference. What I can say is, WOW. The 5Sigma Education Conference was one of the best professional experiences I’ve had. It feels a little arrogant to say since I’m the one who planned it, but really, what happened last weekend impacted me enormously. It wasn’t what I did. It was the connections with others who are innovative and amazing in their education space. It was the stories told, the laughter shared, it was the discovery that others are doing the hard thing in education and we share the same struggles and joys. In a way, the 5Sigma conference was like being in a foreign country and finding someone from your hometown. Only everyone at the conference was that person.
Anastasis is a very different kind of school. Even the things we do that share common education language (inquiry), look very different here. It can feel a bit isolating, even surrounded by other educators, because we do things that others don’t. 5Sigma was a great reminder that we aren’t alone. That others know the struggles. They also know the deep joy, freedom, and excitement. It was incredible to be able to share that with so many!
I’m still sorting out my thoughts…I suspect they will become several posts. In the mean time, I want to share some words from others who are more eloquent in their reflection of the weekend than I currently am.
This week, the wonderful people at Orbotix sent me a Sphero to try out and play with. HOLY COW, I haven’t had so much fun with a new toy in a long time. The better part of today was spent learning about the Sphero and stealthily “driving” it into classrooms (much to the delight of kids). Sphero is a robotic ball that gets controlled by iPhone, iPad, or android device. I had it rolling all over school this morning…I only wish I had thought ahead to record student reactions (I was using my iPhone to control it and didn’t think about video and pictures). I had so much fun with it, that I brought it home to play and learn some more. It is equally loved by my dogs! 😉
Sphero seems like a simple concept, a ball that can be controlled via tablet or phone. Even though the concept is simple, I have to admit, I’m pretty floored by the way that this little ball moves around effortlessly as if by magic. We have a hallway in our school that includes an incline and it rolled up it without any trouble, like a champ! It is SO much more than a fun rolley ball. There are a slew of apps that interact with the Sphero making it ultra fun and educational. The majority of apps available are totally free to download. There are a few that cost $0.99. Apps include:
Sphero Nyan Cat Space Party- Even if you have no idea what Nyan cat is, your students will. They will think it is awesome.
Sphero Dark Nebula Episode One- A labyrinth game for the 21st century.
Sphero Dark Nebula Episode Two- Defeat obstacles and enemies using your Sphero.
Sphero- the app I played with all day. This app drives Sphero and teaches it (and you) new tricks with basics of coding.
GoGo Mongo- Designed to teach toddlers and primary students healthy eating habits.
Sphero Exile- Arcade-like space-fighter game. But with real life actions!
Sphero Draw N’ Drive- Use your finger on the tablet or phone to draw a shape or path and watch Sphero follow it.
Sphero MacroLab (great for education!)- Learn basics of programming by arranging simple commands and settings in any combination. Save favorite programs and share them with friends.
Sphero TAG- A great tag game when you have access to more than one Sphero.
Zombie Roller- A zombie app. Need I say more?
Sphero Lights- Basically the coolest night-light ever. Keep the Sphero lit even when charging.
Last Fish- Try surviving as a fish in toxic water filled with goo and shadow fish. The goal: survive.
Sphero Macro Draw- Draw using your Sphero robot.
DJ Sphero- Go ahead and be a party rock star with Sphero. Load tracks from your iPad/iPhone music library . Cross fade between songs and speed up or slow down music by spinning your sphere robot. Basically you will be the star of the lunch room.
Astro Ball- An arcade-syle 3D flight simulator.
Sphero Golf- I played this one as soon as I got home. Create a physical golf course and then virtually control Sphero to make it into the holes that you create. Hit Sphero with either a flick of the finger, or (for more fun) by swinging your arms while holding your tablet/phone.
Sphero Cam- Currently Android only. Use the built-in camera on Android to record video with Sphero.
orbBasic for Sphero- This is a great app for learning and practicing program. Students can execute basic programs and create and prototype autonomous behaviors for their Sphero robot.
Sphero H2O- For real, this robot can be played with IN water!! This is a game for a summer pool party.
Etch-o-matic- 21st century toy makes drawings like it is 1965. LOVE this app! Brings me right back to about 1987 when I sat in the back seat of the Jetta on the way to Grandmas. Just like an etch-a-sketch, only better.
Sphero Snake- Classic Snake game brought to life.
Disc Groove- Control your Sphero to avoid being hit by “flying meteors”
Doodle Grub- A new twist on the classic Snake game. Lots of fun.
Sphero Pet- Wishing you had a class pet? Sphero fits the bill well without being overwhelming. Kids can teach it to shake, flip and move in any direction.
Pass the Sphero- A game of dare for multiple players where Sphero becomes a ticking time-bomb. Lots of fun when there is lots of snow and recess has to occur inside.
Sphero Measuring Tape (AWESOME, measuring our Anastasis Academy garden!) Virtual measuring tape. Amazingly accurate. Our kids have been learning Area/Perimeter and using the Anastasis Academy garden as a learning space. Sphero helped verify their calculations.
Sharky the Beaver- Sphero turns into an augmented reality beaver that you can interact with.
Sphero ColorGrab- A multiplayer tabletop game. Sphero flashes colors and you have to pick him up at the right time to earn points. Best indoor recess ever!
Sphero Chromo- Like an old-school Simon game for this little robot. Makes me a little nostalgic for my childhood.
The Rolling Dead- an augmented reality game featuring zombies. Not sure how it gets better than using Sphero as a fireball to shoot virtual zombies. Anastasis Academy backs to a cemetery where the teachers walk/jog after school. I’m pretty sure the Rolling Dead/Sphero combo will be a welcome addition to our exercise.
The Sphero apps the are available to download range from just plain fun, to serious learning capability and augmented reality. There are so many possibilities with this little robot and, it seems, that the apps and abilities of this little robot will only continue to grow. This robot is resilient. It can stand up to dogs, water, outdoors, hills, etc. Truly so magical and amazing!
I dig technology that effortlessly blends real world with imagination and technology. Sphero definitely fits this bill in ways that I haven’t seen before. I’m excited to dig into Sphero Education to try out the STEM lessons that can be used with Sphero with students. I’ll be sure to blog our progress through them! Stay tuned.
What it is: HOLY SMOKES! This is the coolest new tool! I’ve spent the morning building out our Anastasis Tagible page (link at the bottom of the post), and I feel like my head is spinning with possibilities.
Tagible is a brand new video manager site. It allows you to create a completely customized channel for all of your school/classroom videos. Videos can be imported directly from your YouTube or Vimeo channel. Once you set up the import feature, Tagible automatically imports any video that is added to your channel. Best of all, Tagible gives you the ability to tag videos with categories and then tags within that category; videos and customized channels are really easy to create. The channel that you create is easy to share with anyone through social media or it can be embedded directly on your school/classroom website.
Create a one-stop-shop for ALL of your videos that is completely customizable and branded just for your classroom or school.
Tag videos in new ways using categories and sub-tags, this makes it simpler than ever to find exactly the video that you are looking for.
Create customized channels based on categories and sub-tags. Each time a new video is added with a category/tag, it gets automatically added to the channel.
Embed channels on class or school websites. The embedded channel is ALWAYS up-to-date because all content tagged for that channel gets added automatically. (Set it up once and let Tagible do all the work!)
Tag videos under multiple categories and subcategories.
Connect your school/classroom YouTube or Vimeo channel to automatically populate your Tagible channel with content.
Customize your Tagible site with your own backgrounds, color schemes, and logos. (This is SO easy to use, you can even drag and drop images for your background onto the “upload here” buttons!)
Import any video from YouTube or Vimeo (not just your own). Curate video to create a customized channel just for you and your students!
Share your videos easily using Twitter, Facebook, and email.
How to use Tagible in your classroom or school: There are all kinds of video management tools, but Tagible is absolutely the most useable and useful for schools! Video is such a rich way to share learning. Our students are constantly uploading video projects. Tagible would make a fantastic video portfolio. Create a “Team” page for your classroom and then create a sub tag for each of your students. As your students upload video to your YouTube channel, tag it in Tagible with the student name. Now each student can have their own “channel” of their learning journey. This becomes a living portfolio that continually gets added to throughout the year (or years). Record student presentations, class participation, special events, etc. Whenever a video gets tagged with that student, it automatically gets added to their channel. You can share a student’s specific channel with their family, now they don’t have to wade through everyone’s video to find their child! If your students have their own blog or website (Weebly.com or Wix.com are awesome for this!) they can embed their channel directly on it. Now all written, photographed, and video work is accessible in one place.
Create learning channels for your students. Import the videos that your students can access to learn from, or be inspired by. Each video can be categorized according to unit and topic. Students can go through a units “channel” to access all learning videos that you recommended for the unit. This is definitely textbook of the future! I’m excited to utilize this idea for our inquiry units. As the students and I find video, we can add it to our own customized learning channel. This channel can then be embedded in student projects, websites, and shared through social media.
Set up a video learning station on classroom computers. As your students are rotating through learning centers, one of the centers can be video relevant to the learning. The great thing about using Tagible: you don’t have to be concerned about students clicking on “related videos” on YouTube that aren’t yours.
As a school, create a professional development tool for your teachers. Create a professional development category with sub tags like: assessment, technology, philosophy, teaching strategies, common core, etc. Add videos and create channels that teachers can access for on-demand professional development.
Keep your school or classroom websites up-to-date with the latest video content without contacting your web provider or logging in to add new video. Create a category called “Home Page” and create a channel based on the category. Any time you tag any video with the “Home Page” category, the channel will be updated to include the new video automatically. If you’ve embedded that channel on the homepage of your website, all of the video is automatically included, no need to edit the website.
Tagible is a great way to foster a home-school connection. Record student work and share via a unique channel with families. This would be an incredible look inside your classroom for families who don’t get the opportunity to volunteer at school often.
At Anastasis, I’ve created categories for Field Trips, Special Events, Teams (classrooms), Inquiry Blocks, Explore (videos we like), Crave classes, School year, and Student Created. The great thing about the categories is that you can use them to quickly narrow down videos for a channel. For example, we could create a channel just for “Inquiry Blocks” in “2013-2014” school year. Students and families can find exactly the videos that they are looking for all the time!
Are you an educational speaker? Create a channel of your presentations to share with others, and create a channel of videos that you used during your presentation. These can easily be shared at the end of a conference.
If you “flip” your classroom using video, Tagible is ideal. Make it easy for students to access video based on your own customized categories. Your flipped channel can be embedded directly on your blog/website and update automatically every time that you add a video. Create “review” channels that automatically collect videos from a unit or topic so that students can go through the channel to review and study. Invite your students to come up with categories that they would like to be able to search by.
Tips: Tagible is a brand new startup company. They are still working some bugs out of the system, and are regularly adding new features. In the bottom, right corner of the site you have the option to “Send Feedback” click on the portion of the site that you want to send feedback about and let them know about any bugs you find or features you would like to see. You can try Tagible for free, they do have advanced features with monthly subscriptions. Be sure to mention Kelly Tenkely, they may be able to help you out with premium features. Tagible was started by one of Anastasis Academy’s board members and founding families. It has been incredible to watch this thing take shape! Just like the school, it started around this family’s kitchen table.
What it is: Stormboard is a super beautiful virtual sticky note brainstorming and collaboration application that lets classrooms or teams share online whiteboard space. In addition to virtual sticky notes, Stormboard makes it simple to add quality and usefulness to your shared space with photos and video. Each idea that gets added to a Stormboard has a comment thread attached to it, this ensures that everyone’s voice gets heard and conversations about specific ideas don’t get lost. Users can also vote on ideas, this is a quick way to get feedback. Stormboard lets you instantly generate “innovation” reports so that all ideas can be easily captured and saved as a spreadsheet or pdf. Shared space is flexible, you can share both synchronously or asynchronously. Stormboard works on any internet connected device making it ideal for a BYOD (bring your own device) classroom, and seamless regardless of what platforms your school uses.
How to use Stormboard in your classroom: I’ve seen lots of sticky note type applications over the years. Stormboard is hands down the most flexible and the most aesthetically pleasing. It gets all of that without being difficult to learn, it has a really great intuitive interface. Stormboard is a great way to capture learning that happens. In an inquiry classroom, we are regularly brainstorming, asking questions, following bunny trails of important thoughts and ideas, and sharing photos and video. Stormboard would be such an ideal place to capture all of this thought during an inquiry unit. I love the way that it threads conversations so that everyone’s voice gets heard and captured as it relates to an idea.
At Anastasis, our kids are constantly discussing big ideas. Stormboard would be a great way for the students to take notes and capture those ideas all together. As they go through literature, research, current events, science experiments, etc. they can capture all of their ideas, quotes, related images and videos in one place. When it comes time to write a report, reflection, summary or do some design thinking with their learning, students will have all relevant information in one place that THEY created together. This could be huge! Our Jr. High has been going through a book chapter by chapter throughout the year. So many of the discussions they have should be captured, the deep thinking is truly awesome! Stormboard would be a great place for this to happen. Learning and thinking process recorded.
Stormboard would also be perfect when you are implementing design thinking in the classroom. It is the perfect place for the ideation and research phases of the project to be captured.
Students can use Stormboard to work collaboratively with others in their class or with other classes in their school. It would also be a great tool to use with a collaborating school. Because it has options for sharing synchronously or asynchronously, it can be used with schools in different time zones around the world for collaborative projects.
Teachers can use Stormboard to collaborate on units or lessons with other teachers, make plans for new team undertakings, or just as a place to share or capture ideas.
Classrooms can use Stormboard on classroom computers OR on an interactive whiteboard or projector-connected computer to capture learning each day. This would make a cool living “textbook” where students could gather materials, resources, share ideas and conversations. Each day assign a different set of students to be in charge of the record. If you have a one to one device situation, each student can collaborate in this process together. At the end of the day, download the PDF or innovation report and save it. What a cool yearbook of learning and insight into your classroom.
As a school, plan new initiatives with your administrative team. We are currently dreaming of our own building (right now we lease space). This is the perfect place to share that dreaming with all stakeholders and capture conversations and thinking along the way.
I think it is awesome that Stormboard works on all devices, but also provides the option of downloading your work. This way you aren’t SO reliant on a tool that if it disappeared, all would be lost.
Tips: Stormboard is free to use. However, the free account is limited to 5 collaborators at a time. I’ve got my fingers crossed that when they see the awesome way that educators are using Stormboard, they will consider offering a free education account with enough for a class or two to collaborate. For $5/month/user you can add as many as you want. For $10/user/month you get unlimited users and unlimited administrators.
One of the byproducts of starting your own model of education: the old systems constantly fall short. They start to feel forced, frustrating and tired. The hard part is that SOMETHING is needed, but what others have in place isn’t it.
So you start dreaming. You try to leave assumptions of what it “should” be like behind. You work to imagine something new and different. Something that fills the need in the right way.
It seems like every corner we turn we have to reinvent. Anastasis needs a way to organize and keep track of student information…easy! We will hunt down a student information system, there are a million to choose from! [This is the part where we hit a brick wall.] There may be a million student information systems to choose from, but none of them fits our needs. None is flexible enough to use the way we need to use it. They make assumptions based on a system that we aren’t a part of. So, we come up with our own solution. We mash-up tools that were never designed to do what we do with them. We make them bend to our will. Eventually, I’ll just create my own solution (The Learning Genome Project), and it will do just what we need it to because it was designed apart from the assumptions.
The most recent challenge: redesign the report card. This may seem like a simple task. It has been anything but simple! This has been going an ongoing challenge for us. We redesigned the learning experience from the ground up. We don’t give grades, at least not in the traditional sense. So then, how do you help parents come to understand everything that happens in the 8 hours that their children are with us every day? How do you show them the richness of learning, the uniqueness of their child, without reducing it to a score in a handful of “essential” areas? How do you change a culture who seeks validation that their child is “smart” based on a piece of paper that comes home four times a year? How do you help them really understand the difference in philosophy if the reporting looks the same?
This is a challenge because what makes us learners is so wonderfully complex. It isn’t only about math, reading, writing, science, social studies and art. At Anastasis, we are in the business of helping students “Stand Again” (the Greek translation of Anastasis), to become fully alive in who they are as unique individuals contributing to the fabric of the world. Our reporting has to reflect this. Obviously, your typical report card isn’t going to cut it. We’ve looked high and low for a ready-made solution. It doesn’t seem to exist.
On Wednesday mornings, we have a late-start for our students. This gives the staff great time to come together and tackle these daunting tasks. We talk often about all of the incredible things that we see in our learners every day. We wonder over the phenomena of parents just wanting to know what their grade would be…you know, if they had one. What they are really asking is: “is my child going to be okay? Are they going to do well in life?” The grade they are seeking doesn’t really answer those questions. As teachers we know that if a child is in an emotionally hard place, or doesn’t have the attitudes and habits of learning built up, they won’t perform to the fullest in math/reading/writing/science/social studies. It isn’t about them just knowing their math facts, they also have to have the spirit of risk-taking, the discernment to know which operation to apply to a problem, the perseverance to stick with a problem they don’t immediately know the answer to, etc. We want SO much more for children than for them to recite math facts by memory. We want them to be fully ALIVE as learners. We dreamed, we made list after list of what we want graduating students to look like. We drew pictures. We laughed (a lot). We got frustrated that it wasn’t simpler.
Over the last week, I’ve taken those notes, scribbles, drawings and lists and drew up a report card. It looks very little like any report card you’ve probably seen. It isn’t perfect. I suspect it will go through some evolution. Our main objective is to help communicate that we are teaching amazing, unique beings. In the center you will see my crude version of the Vitruvian Man. I love the blend of disciplines that daVinci revealed. There is a sort of perfection in the overlap…it looks a lot like life. We stuck with the Greek theme, and used ethos, pathos, mythos and logos to help us describe different parts of a child. In true Anastasis fashion, we made up our own Greek-inspired word, Pneumos, to show the creative force…the “life-breathed” spiritual aspect of a child. Below is our re-imagined report card. I’m still working on the second page that includes definitions of each word listed in our circle. In addition, we use standards-based-grading and a variety of rubrics. Our standards-based-grades are a little different (surprise!), our goal is forward progress through learning, standards gives us a framework for this to happen. We don’t stick within grade levels. Sometimes second grade students are ready for fifth grade standards. We say, “have at it!”
We are really working toward changing a culture. I like to think of it as dance lessons for zombies. As a culture we seemed to be immersed in systems. We take them for granted and let them dictate our every move. Systems can be good, they can bring order and rationality. But they can also stifle and keep us from really living. They can make us look a whole lot like zombies. We are working to make learning look more like life. We are working toward helping learners “stand again” in who they were created to be. To dance.
Today @lancefinkbeiner shared this video with me. It is too good not to share! Now…how to make this the reality of what learning is really about in schools. I can’t tell you how often in education that the answer for why something is done is, “we are preparing kids for…” For example, we give 3 hours of homework to elementary students because we are “preparing them for middle school.” In middle school we give additional homework and weekly tests because we are “preparing them for high school.” High school has it’s own set of ridiculous standards in preparation for college.
My question: when are we preparing kids for life? When are we preparing them to engage in the world around them? When are we preparing them for healthy relationships with others? When are we preparing them to ask good questions and seek answers? When are we preparing them for what to do with failure?
The problem for preparing kids for the next system they will encounter is that the next system isn’t really the goal. That goal is this imaginary place we call “success” and “perfection”. Neither exist. How do we prepare kids to live honest, meaningful lives? THAT is what I am interested in preparing for.
Schools often talk about professional development as if it is the key to a successful school. I’m not convinced more professional development is the answer. I think it’s all about culture. When you have people who come together around passion, who enjoy each other, who have a common mission: that changes everything.
Our teacher handbook doesn’t look like most. It was inspired by creative companies like Valve and Apple. We are a group of rebels here. Our handbook had to reflect that.
We are on a mission to humanize learning. We are on a mission to make personalized learning available to EVERY child in the world. Please help us spread the word. Donate, tweet, blog, and email others about the Learning Genome Project.
*** If you need the cliff notes version of this post, skip down to the Call to Action section!
Last year I had a “hunch” about learning…specifically about curriculum. That hunch turned into a full fledged idea and a mission to do better for kids. Everywhere. Along the line I met some truly incredible people who taught me things I didn’t know how to do before. Like wire framing (thanks @ianchia), and pitching ideas (thanks @houseofgenius), and how to go about picking up programmers (thanks @toma_bedolla). Now I’m ready to share the culmination of all this work with you.
This isn’t just a post to tell you about what I’m doing, it is a call to action for everyone (yes, even you). It is a request for you to join me in this mission in whatever form that may take.
I have a vision: to make personalized learning a reality for EVERY child.
“The problem with curriculum and textbooks is that they complete thoughts. Curriculum and textbooks give the impression that learning has an end. That when you have made it from cover to cover, the job is done. I know in my own schooling this was true, I thought that school was teaching me what was important and that anything outside of the curriculum wasn’t important or relevant to my life…wouldn’t they have included it otherwise? How did curriculum get this way? Well, people realized that there was no possible way to cover every facet of learning, so they stripped it down to what they thought was important. The problem? What is important to you may not be what is important to me. What’s more, something that is very important to me may have been cut all together so I don’t even get the chance to know that it is important to me. Humans tend to like things that are definable, we like things that we can put into a neat, orderly box and carry out in a predictable way. It feels safe and manageable. This is what led me to the following hunch:
What if curriculum was more flexible? What if curriculum/schools/learning looked more like Pandora. If you aren’t familiar with Pandora, it is an online radio station that plays the music that it thinks you will like. You type in an artist or song and it creates a customized radio station just for you. It is remarkably accurate. Pandora almost never gets it wrong for me. It is like they have a direct line to my brain and can predict what song I would like to hear next. When it is wrong, I can give the song a thumbs down and it apologizes profusely for the error and promises never to play that song again on my station. The other thing I love about Pandora: I can have multiple radio stations. Because sometimes I really couldn’t think of anything in the world better than Frank, Dean, and Sammy; but other times I also want a little Timberlake, Whitestripes, or Bangles. What if curriculum looked like that? What if learning happened as a result of typing in one subject or topic that a student was enamored with and a completely personalize learning journey began playing out for them? What if students were led through a journey that was completely customized? What if they had several stations mapped out for them?”
I believe this is possible. I believe it is within our reach to create a completely personalized learning experience to every unique child. I believe that we can honor humanity instead of treating our kids like widgets in a factory. I believe that teachers should be teachers, focused on the needs and development of the child instead of teaching the masses through scripted curriculum.
The Learning Genome Project will empower teachers and parents to become engineers of learning by providing each individual student the exact content they need, at the exact moment they need it. The Learning Genome will enable students to explore the process of inquiry, experimentation, discovery and problem solving. Instead of learning how to pass the next test, we will enable students to construct meaning and learn how to transfer that meaning to new life context. At the hub, the Learning Genome is a platform that aggregates resources and, using a series of algorithms, provide recommendations of the BEST resources to meet the individual learning needs of a specific child. The Learning Genome creates those serendipitous moments of finding just the right learning tool to meet the needs of children at the right time.
Much like Pandora finds that perfect piece of music, the Learning Genome will find the perfect piece of learning material to aid the student in learning. The key to the Learning Genome’s success is crowd sourcing. I will be drawing on educators around the world (that’s you!) to help me tag curriculum, books, lessons, videos, apps, websites and other educational content. This collection of tagged content lives in the centralized “cloud” and wil allow users around the world to find and access materials that best suit student needs. By gathering information about the individual student’s learning style preferences, multiple intelligence strengths, social/emotional levels, interests and passion, the Learning Genome can help teachers to create customized learning maps for each individual. This portion will be free. Every child deserves a unique learning experience.
In addition to the Learning Genome Hub (the aggregate), the site will include a complete Student Information System, planning tools, e-portfolios, e-learning, individual learning plans, assessment and blogging tools. All of these will work seamlessly together for you go-to for learning and planning.
4. Tweet about this project…a lot. Let’s completely take over the Internet with tweets about the Learning Genome and taking over education for kids! Please make sure to link back to the indiegogo campaign so that others can learn about it! Use the hashtag #standagain (because after all, we are helping children “stand again” in their learning)
6. Mention us on Facebook and like us on Facebook!
7. Did I mention spread the word? Seriously, that is SO helpful! You never know who might see that tweet and drop a couple thousand (or more) to make this project go!
8. Time is of the essence. I have 40 days starting NOW to make this happen. eeek! I need your help!
So, what are the perks to helping with this project?
$5 gets your name on the Learning Genome Change Makers page. You are changing education. That makes you a big deal. I want everyone to know what a big deal you are! I know many of you don’t think that your $5 can do anything. Wrong. According to my cluster map, I have hundreds of thousands of visits to this blog. If each of you pitches in…we all win fast!
$10 Remember all those cool Bloom’s Taxonomy posters I made? This campaign is now the ONLY place you can get them. These are 8.5″ x 11″ versions of the poster.
$30 Learning Genome beta tester. You get the inside scoop and ability to play before ANYONE else. I know, pretty cool.
$60 EXCLUSIVE A full size large-format print of my Bloomin’ Peacock mailed to you. That awesome little Peacock looks even better large. Did I mention this is the ONLY place you will get a big version of this?
$500 Even more EXCLUSIVE you get all of my Bloom’s re-imagine posters in the large format. Perfect for your classroom, library or as a gift to your favorite teachers.
$1000 My Searching for daVinci webinar for your school. What better way to spend your professional development dollars than learning how to create a daVinci like culture of learning at your school? Worth it!
$5000 For my corporate friends who want to see their logo in lights as a company that supports education and changing the world. If you have an education company, The Learning Genome Project will be the place to be seen.
We have $85,000 to raise. It sounds like a big number. We can do it together. I figured if I am going to lean on crowdsourcing to transform education, the funding should be crowdsourced too. How awesome will it be to join together as an education community to say, together we transformed the way learning is done. We changed things for every child in the world. Yeah, it’s big.
What it is: Want to see something really super cool? You can create your very own app for multiple mobile platforms in, I don’t know, 7 minutes flat! Seriously. Conduit Mobile makes it incredibly easy to create your own app out of a blog, class website, wiki, etc. and publish it to share with others. It honestly could not be easier. Type in the URL you want turned into an app. Click go. Customize and tweak to your hearts desire and publish. That. Is. It. Holy cow it is easy! You all are going to look like super geniuses when you turn your classroom blogs/wikis/websites into mobile apps that parents and students can access easily from anywhere. Better yet- turn your school website into a mobile app and then you will be super genius of the school. That is an impressive title. Once your app is published, you have the ability to send push notifications to your app users (field trip reminders anyone?). You can also easily track the analytics of who is using your app. You can even enable advertising to earn revenue in accordance with your apps installation and performance. It never hurts to have a little extra mail money around for all those classroom supplies we buy!
How to integrate Conduit Mobile into the classroom:Conduit Mobile makes it easy to meet your students and families where they are-on mobile devices. Make classroom content and news easily accessible by running your site through Conduit Mobile-it does all the hard work leaving you an app for Apple devices, Android, Windows mobile, bada and Blackberry.
Do your students have blogs or wikis that they have created? Help them publish their hard work into an app. I’m thinking this would be a really NEAT way for our Jr. High students to turn their blog ePortfolios into apps that they bring with them to high school interviews. Now that would be impressive! It is so easy to do, there is just no reason not to!
As a school, publish your school site as a mobile app where parents can get quick-at-a-glance information, review policies and get the latest news.
Tips: To publish your app to the various app stores, you will need a developer certificate. These differ depending on the app store you are aiming for. Conduit mobile even makes this process easy, walking you step-by-step (with pictures) through the process. Once you are connected to each app store, you can publish as many apps as you would like. If you have a class full of students who would like to publish a mobile app, it may be worth creating a class developer license that everyone can use to publish.
Please leave a comment and share how you are using Conduit Mobile in your classroom!