StackUp: Get professional development credit for Twitter edchats

StackUp: Get credit for everything you read and learn online

What it is: StackUp is a really neat new web app that automatically scores online reading and learning. As you work online, StackUp captures data through the free web app and plugin which can be used on Mac and Windows (iOS and Android coming soon). When active, StackUp captures and attributes a score time that is spent anywhere online. It then categorizes it into 60 different subject areas including: news, finance, engineering, fashion, technology, sports, and online classes. StackUp is a metric that can offer insight into the commitment and study of a certain field.

How to integrate StackUp into the classroom: In the increasing digital landscape of the world (and classrooms) it is important to offer the opportunity for students to research and direct their own learning. StackUp offers students a way to share the commitment of learning with teachers and other stake holders. So often, we think about time spent online as “wasted” because, let’s face it, there can be lots of moments of wasted time online. But, the Internet is also a rich landscape for learning and continued learning in areas of passion. StackUp is a way for students to offer proof of this time spent learning so that teachers can appreciate and offer credit for that learning. Often classrooms have certain parameters and reading expectations for students. What if instead, we offered kids the ability to spend time researching, reading, and exploring things that they are passionate about…and then offer credit for it! StackUp could be the catalyst for more independent learning opportunities and studies within areas of passion. One of the things that I find holds teachers back from allowing this type of reading, is the inability to measure whether a student has really spent time on task.

I’ve often lamented about how I wish that the time spent in online education chats and reading educational blogs, articles, and whitepapers counted as professional development and credit hours. Seriously, I rack up the hours and it is always time well spent. As an administrator, I would happily accept a StackUp record of the time that my teachers engage in online material and offer credit and professional development hours for that time. I’ve gotten more out of the connections, chats, and learning that I’ve done with all of you online, than most of the required professional development. This could be transformational for helping tell the story of the learning that we do independently.

Imagine “Stacking” up the learning from a young age in areas of passion, and continue throughout their lifetime giving students another way to distinguish themselves. Tools like StackUp could start to change the landscape of learning and how we decide who the “experts” are. Hint: it isn’t always the person with the most letters behind their name.

Tips: Worried that one of your students might be able to cheat the system and simply open a webpage and walk away? No need to worry! StackUp is built on a patent-pending software system that can detect the difference between a student who just opens a webpage versus the student who is actually engaged.

StackUp doesn’t always have to run in the background and record every single move you or your students make online, it allows users to turn it on or off at any time and delete time spent on a website or in any category…you know, for those of us who spend an embarrassing amount of time on Pinterest. ūüôā

 

Want to really amp up your professional development with the best education conference you’ve ever been to? Join us for the 5 Sigma Edu Conference!

5 Sigma Edu Con- a truly innovative education conference!

E is for Explore: discovery, science, math, art, literacy, social studies and more!

E is for Explore!

 

Happy New Year!! ¬†I have to say, I wasn’t heart broken to see 2012 go and welcome a year of new beginnings. ¬†2012 felt…hard. And uninspired. ¬†I think that is what happens when you see a dream realized and then comes the part where you are in the middle of it, making it work and doing the HARD work. ¬†2012 wasn’t a year I felt particularly creative. I miss that, it is part of my essence. ¬†I’ve been so incredibly busy, just working to keep everything going, that I had nothing left over. ¬†I’m hoping that 2013 is a different story. Step 1: the first post of 2013. ¬†Here is to creativity and passion!

What it is:¬†I discovered a new blog that I am absolutely loving! ¬†It is hard to beat a place where exploration is not only welcome, but encouraged. ¬†E is for Explore is that place. ¬†Here you will find new learning activities and a fantastic collection of ideas from other sources. ¬†There is a handy-dandy index that helps you find just what you need quickly and easily. ¬†I’ve been working on collecting resources for this inquiry unit and E is for Explore has been an absolute treasure trove. ¬†Topics include discovery/exploration, science/engineering, mathematics, art, literacy, social studies and seasons/holidays.

How to integrate E is for Explore into the classroom:  E is for Explore is a great tool for unit, center, and inquiry planning.  I am really enjoying the huge bank of hands-on activities and projects all designed to encourage exploration in learning. The wide range of activities will keep sparking curiosity in a variety of disciplines.

As I plan out inquiry units and gather resources, I am always on the lookout for activities that will encourage students to explore and spark new curiosities. ¬†E for Explore made this process infinitely easier, bringing me an easy-to-search collection of activities, with great instructions, all in one place. ¬†Many of the activities are manageable enough for a center activity within the classroom…great for differentiation and individualization!

I shared E is for Explore with some of our students, they had a great time looking through the science experiments and learning about how to make mini robots and floam.  This would be SO much better than a small tic-tac-toe board for students to choose an activity from.  Students can explore the entire site and choose an exploration that is of interest to them and complete it accordingly.

Tips:¬†My hope is that iLearn Technology does for you what E if for Explore did for me. ¬†Did you know that you can search by keyword (at the top of my website) or through a multi-category search (in the sidebar on the right)? ¬†Choose as many variables as you want and see what you can find! ¬†I categorize every post by keywords, Bloom’s Taxonomy level, Grade Level, Resource Type, and Subject Area. ¬†After 7 years of free resources, I’ve amassed quite a collection of awesome, free classroom tools. ¬†Go ahead, give it a try and see what new fun finds you come across!

Leave a comment and tell us how you are using  E is for Explore in your classroom.

HIP2B²: Science/Math edutainment magazine and videos

What it is: HIP2B¬≤ is an edutainment site that aims to show students that subjects that are generally labeled as “difficult” or “hard” can be fun and are important to our future success. HIP2B¬≤ is a website, digital magazine, and TV show that work to equip learners with vital life skills including analytical thinking, problem solving, and a curious mindset. ¬†The goal is to encourage curiosity in science and math in everyday life. ¬†The magazine is a high-quality quarterly publication that is free to view online, the magazine uses the Issuu platform for the digital viewing. ¬†You can see an example of the digital HIP2B¬≤ embedded above.¬†The TV show can be viewed online, powered by YouTube.

How to integrate HIP2B² into the classroom: The HIP2B² videos and digital magazine are a fantastic way to invigorate a sense of curiosity and discovery in your students.  The digital magazines are really well done, students will eagerly read through them.  Each of the digital magazines is focused on a science or math topic such as mysteries, senses, the environment, technology, origins, animals, safety, food, intelligence, and much more.  Students can view the digital magazines all the way back to June 2007.  Use the digital magazines as inspiration for science and math inquiry.  Students can read through the digital magazines on a classroom computer set up as a reading center, as a class using an interactive whiteboard or projector connected computer, or individually in a lab setting.   Do your students get silent reading time in class? Allow them to use the computers to read through the HIP2B² digital magazine.

In the video section, students can learn about “tricks” of science like invisibility cloaks and floating paperclips or more serious science like nanotechnology and extreme weather. ¬†These videos can be used to introduce a topic or science/math concept or to illustrate a concept.

Are your students working on science and math that encourages analytical thinking, problem solving, and curiosity? Why not have them create their own HIP2B² inspired digital magazine.  Students can put together their own magazine using any word processing or publishing program and upload the finished product to Issuu to share with the world.

Tips: For those of you who don’t have access to YouTube in your building, you can still use these awesome videos in your classrooms with a little bit of pre-planning.  Download and save YouTube videos so that you can show them at school without accessing the YouTube site. UseKeepVid, YouTube DownloaderHD, Kick YouTube, SaveVid, or Zamzar.  Some of these tools will even let you download at school if you know the YouTube url.  The downloaded video should have no trouble playing at school!

Please leave a comment and share how you are using HIP2B² in your classroom!