Apple joining Hour of Code and offering free workshops! #edtech

Apple offers free hour long workshops to teach you how to code!

Today Apple announced that it will be joining code.org’s “Hour of Code” movement by hosting a free one-hour introduction to the basics of computer programming at Apple stores on December 11. During Computer Science Education week (December 8-14th) they will be hosting other workshops.

As a part of the Computer Science Education week, Apple will be hosting designers and engineers in select cities around the world. Pretty awesome! Contact your local Apple store to find out exact details of what your store has planned for the week.

Students at Anastasis Academy have started into an inquiry block about “How We Express Ourselves;” Hour of Code is coming perfectly timed as students can learn about how people express themselves through code.

Apple is also offering free resources for learning to code that you can get started with today. They’ve created a collection of helpful apps, books, podcasts, and iTunes U courses that will get your students coding in no time!

You (the teacher) don’t have to be an expert at coding to introduce your students to it. In fact, it is kind of fun if you are learning and discovering coding together…definitely a bonding experience! Truly, please don’t stay away from spending at least an hour during the Hour of Code just because you don’t feel like you know anything. Explore together and let your students get excited about coding and about teaching you something new as you go. The resources Apple has listed are a fantastic way to get started. Join the Hour of Code yourself for additional information and support here.

I love that coding can hit every level of Bloom’s Taxonomy. It obviously allows students the opportunity to create something digital, but it also causes them to apply concepts/skills/math, analyze and evaluate code and what it is used for, and can help build knowledge and understanding in code and in a variety of subjects that the code is related to. Pretty great when that happens!

Want to continue your own learning about learning? Join us for the 5-Sigma Edu Conference. There is even a session on coding in the curriculum! It is going to be awesome and as an added benefit, you get to see how classes at Anastasis Academy run. Can’t wait to meet you there!

Anastasis Academy hosting the education conference you don’t want to miss!

5 Sigma Edu Con- a truly innovative education conference!

At Anastasis Academy, we are continually considering the assumptions made in education. We regularly seek to step away from those assumptions about how education must look, and dream together. Many of you have seen this dreaming (we do it pretty publicly), and have asked LOTS of questions about how we do what we do.

As a staff, we’ve asked questions about how assessment must look. We’ve asked questions about what a report card looks like and about what their purpose is. We’ve asked questions about how learning space must look. We’ve reconsidered the timing of the school day. We’ve questioned standards and testing. We’ve questioned the purpose of school. We’ve looked at the part that community plays in a school setting. Most of what we do at Anastasis every day looks very different from what most schools look like, and yet, what we do is not so revolutionary that it can’t be implemented in classrooms everywhere. In fact, our larger goal is to help educators everywhere do what we do.

Dreaming is nice, but in order to really transform education (and classrooms) we must go beyond dreaming . We have to learn, iterate and find a way to launch. It is only when all three of these happen that we can truly transform education and learning.

This February, Anastasis Academy is hosting a 3-day conference to facilitate this transformation in education. We chose 5-Sigma Edu Con as the name for our conference. Why 5-Sigma? 5-Sigma is a declaration of discovery. In science, it is used as a measure of confidence in a result. At Anastasis Academy, we are in a continual process of discovery. We call our conference the 5-Sigma Edu Con because that is what we hope for, declarations of discovery. Our goal is to transform education to be the very best that it can be for kids everywhere. We want to offer a conference experience where educators can come together to learn with world-changing thinkers and innovators. This conference will go beyond the typical how-to sessions; we will be hosting conversations where educators can come together to learn, iterate, and launch. There is something for everyone! This conference is for educators (of any level), administrators, and anyone involved in education.

I can boldly tell you this is like NO education conference you have ever been to. Some special features you can look forward to:

  • Tour Anastasis Academy- if you’ve wanted to see Anastasis Academy in action, this is your opportunity! Get a first hand view of the innovative learning that takes place at Anastasis Academy. Our students will offer an inside look at learning, free from assumptions. Tour our space, ask questions, meet our team, and see education re-imagined.
  • Learning Excursions- At Anastasis Academy, we seek to help our students understand that learning happens everywhere, not just within the four walls of our school building. We have reserved February 22 for adult learning excursions. These are opportunities to experience Colorado, think outside the box, and consider different ways of approaching learning. We cannot WAIT to let you experience learning the way that our students do.
  • No last names or titles rule- We all have an inherently unique perspective about the world, teaching, and learning. Yet, when we interact in our society (or education circles) these can get lost as we operate from the perspective that some people’s ideas are more important. We tend to give more weight to people on a stage, those who have been published, and people who hold titles of authority. The truth is, we all have something that only we can contribute to the discussion. We want to create a level playing field where ideas can be shared freely and everyone is comfortable to network. The labels shouldn’t own us. Before our final keynote, there will be a “grand reveal” where we will share our last names and titles.
  • AWESOME keynotes, sessions, and panel discussions: Christian Long will be the opening Keynote and will kick us off for a fantastic weekend of learning, panel discussions will include Team Anastasis and Anastasis alumni, and sessions are being led by incredible educators and thinkers from around the country.

Registration for 5 Sigma Edu Con is now open. Also open, calls for session proposals. You have something to contribute, please consider presenting! Registration and proposal for a session can be found on the 5 Sigma Edu Con website.

To learn more about the 5-Sigma Edu Conference, visit http://5sigmaeducon.com!

 

5 Sigma Edu Con- a truly innovative education conference!

 

Numberphile: a series of numberly videos

Screen Shot 2013-01-28 at 6.34.22 PM

What it is: Numberphile is a series of “numberly” videos by Brady Haran.  This is the same guy behind some other great projects including periodicvideos and sixtysymbols.  These videos reveal some of the mystery behind numbers and math in fun, short snippets!  I could give a long, drawn out explanation about the site…but really, you should go have a look and play a few videos. Or, try out the video below:

How to integrate Numberphile into the classroom: Numberphile can make a math geek out of anyone, myself included!  I don’t tend to geek out very much about numbers or math, but show me pattern and reveal some of the mystery that numbers hold and I am in.  This is what Numberphile does beautifully!  Numberphile would make a fantastic opening for math class.  Start each math class with these short videos to get your brain’s math muscles working.  I’ve watched 3 videos in a row and I am seriously geeking.

Ask students to each choose a different video to watch.  Students can learn a new math “trick” or pattern in math to teach their classmates.  The goal: creatively teach the concept!  They could create their own video, stop motion animation, infographic, story, illustration, etc.  Hold a math day  (3/14 would be fun…pi day) where students get to spend the day teaching one another.

You may assume that these videos are best for older students, not so!  At Anastasis, our 2nd and 3rd graders had a ball learning about Fibonacci and will happily explain it to any who enter their classroom.  Find an area of interest and share the passion!

Tips: All of the videos on Numberphile are YouTube videos.  If you don’t have access to YouTube in your building, try one of these methods for accessing the videos:

  • YouTube for Schools- This is a YouTube that has been created just for schools.  Network administrators must be involved so that they can add this option for YouTube into your filtering system.  This is a completely customizable option that lets teachers and administrators add videos to a playlist that you have predetermined you want students to watch.  Teachers can find videos by Common Core Standard, subject or grade.  Students can watch videos that teachers and administrators have approved or any YouTube Edu video (think Kahn Academy, PBS, TED, Stanford, etc.).
  • SafeShare TV- This site lets students watch YouTube videos without ads, links, comments and related videos.  You also have the option to crop videos and share videos with a unique URL.
  • YouTubeXL- This is a service that YouTube provides that lets you watch videos on large screens without the ads and comments. Neat tip: if you time “quiet” before the YouTube url, it takes you to a safe page where you can watch a YouTube video.  WAY cool and easy to do on the fly!
  • Clean VideoSearch- This site lets students search through YouTube videos without the comments, ads and busy sidebar.  It has additional features like the ability to choose how many videos you want to see on each page in your search.
  • Clea.nr– This service (a browser plugin) deletes all of the obnoxious extras that hang around videos (ads, comments, related videos). You can also search YouTube without all of the extras showing up.
  • ViewPure– This site cleans out all the clutter and gives you just a video.  Bonus: There is a quick button that you can add to your browser so that you can go to a video, click on “Pure” in your bookmark bar and instantly have a clean video.
  • Dragontape– This service lets you drag videos into a timeline and share them easily with students.  This is great for mashing up several videos, or cropping multiple videos into one.
  • Movavi– This is a video conversion service. Wonderful for teachers who can’t or don’t want to access a video directly from YouTube.  Copy/paste the url you want to convert, choose a file type, done!
  • Zamzar– This is another great video conversion service.  Works quickly and easily!
  • SaveYouTube- This site used to be called KickYouTube.  Here you can enter the url and download it to your computer to play offline.

Leave a comment and tell us how you are using Numberphile in your classroom.

Bloom’s Taxonomy Re-imagine & Digital Blooms: different ways to approach learning

I’ve long been a fan of Bloom’s Taxonomy…not necessarily for all the ways it has been pushed into different fads throughout the years, but instead for the way that it helps me (and my students) think about the learning process.  It helps me approach the learning process in a more holistic way, ensuring that I don’t camp out in one way of thinking and evidencing learning for too long.  I think it is human nature to get excited about one way of thinking and suddenly everything we do falls into that.  It can be a little bit like the new car that you purchased, you begin to see that car everywhere because you have a new awareness of it.  I’ve noticed myself doing the same in teaching.  Bloom’s Taxonomy helps me to keep myself cognizant of all the different ways to approach learning.

A few years ago, I created some different versions of Bloom’s Taxonomy for my students.  I wanted them to really think about all the different ways that they can approach learning.  Learning isn’t just memorization.  It isn’t just reading and understanding.  Most traditional schooling has them believing that this is all there is to learning.  One of my goals over the past year is to help students understand that learning is life.  It is a part of everything we do. There is something to be learned in every situation and from everyone we encounter.  There are different ways to learn that give us a larger understanding and help us to make connections.  That is exciting!

You will notice that my images don’t have the traditional Bloom’s pyramid.  That is intentional. Each of these ways of thinking is important in its own right. I have used these with students so that they have an awareness of the different ways of learning, but also so that they can see what options are available to them when they are demonstrating learning.  Powerful things happen when students can make decisions about how they choose to learn. Challenge them to enter into learning in different ways.  A new approach to the same question can bring about amazing new insights.

Are you looking for the full-size poster version of these images?  You can find them here, best of all you will be helping me make personalized education a reality for EVERY child.  The poster options are along the right side of the page.  My favorite is still the Peacock 🙂

 

And the digital version:

 

Breakdown of the digital taxonomy with links:

Remember:

BBC Skillwise- http://www.bbc.co.uk/skillswise/

Spelling City- http://spellingcity.com

Starfall- http://starfall.com

Discovery Streaming- http://streaming.discoveryeducation.com

Lexipedia- http://lexipedia.com

YouTube- http://youtube.com

Gamegoo- http://www.earobics.com/gamegoo/gooey.html

PBS Kids- http://pbskids.org

Understand:

Into the Book- http://reading.ecb.org

Skype- http://skype.com

Treasures- http://activities.macmillanmh.com/reading/treasures/

Book Adventure- http://bookadventure.org

Twitter- http://twitter.com

Apply:

Kerpoof- http://kerpoof.com

PhotoBooth- Software

Scholastic- http://www2.scholastic.com/browse/learn.jsp

Fotobabble- http://fotobabble.com

Google Earth- http://google.com/earth

Analyze:

Read Write Think- http://readwritethink.org

Cool Iris- http://cooliris.com

Wordle- http://wordle.net

Creaza- http://creaza.com

Mindomo- http://mindomo.com

Evaluate:

Shelfari- http://shelfari.com

Wikipedia- http://wikipedia.com

Think.com- http://think.com

Nota- http://notaland.com

Create:

Pic-Lits- http://piclits.com

Kerpoof- http://kerpoof.com

ZimmerTwins- http://zimmertwins.com

Wiki Spaces- http://wikispaces.com

DomoNation- http://domonation.com

Glogster- http://edu.glogster.com

Creaza- http://creaza.com

Voicethread- http://voicethread.com

Kidblog- http://kidblog.org

Wetpaint- http://www.wetpaint.com

edublogs- http://edublogs.org

Stage’d- http://stagedproject.com/

Garageband- Software

iMovie- Software

I have also started a breakdown of apps for the iPad by Bloom’s Taxonomy. This one is a work in progress and has not been added to in quite some time.

 

Are you wondering how you can help me make the Learning Genome Project a reality?  Tweet, blog, send it as a story tip to news organizations, donate, send it to family/friends/colleagues/acquaintances.  Buy the Bloom’s images above in the Poster version.  Thank you for all of your help and support!

Widbook: Online Collaborative ebook Creation

Widbook – Write, read and share! from Widbook on Vimeo.

What it is:  Widbook is a new publishing platform for ebooks.  What makes this publishing platform so neat is the social aspect, it allows authors to collaborate and make suggestions.  Each user also gets their own bookshelf where they can subscribe to other author’s work.

When students start a new ebook, they can choose who can see the book when it is published, choose whether they will accept collaboration for the book, and choose if they want to accept comments for the book.  Actually writing the book is fabulously simple.  All of the onscreen tools are easy to use and intuitive as to their function.  The book can have a table of contents, multiple chapters, and pictures and video embedded right into the book.  When students are finished, they simply save the book and publish it.  The finished book gets a unique url that can be shared.

How to integrate Widbook into the classroom:  Widbook is a fantastic, simple tool for secondary students to use to create ebooks. Students can create individual published works that can be commented on by other students and the teacher.  Students can receive relevant-real time feedback not only from their teacher, but also from other students.  Students not only get practice writing their own works, they also get practice evaluating writing of their peers.

Students can use Widbook to write final drafts of any piece of writing be it an essay or creative writing assignment.  The ability to add video and images easily is wonderful.

Widbook would also be a great place for students to collaboratively create books about their learning.  Each student can add a chapter, or groups of students can create chapters together.  Instead of assigning students a textbook to read for the semester, include them in the creation of a collaborative textbook.  Provide students with a table of contents and put them to work creating a chapter for each topic/unit throughout the year.  At the end of the year, each student will have a book of their learning that they helped to create.  Much more useful than a textbook that one of the Big Six wrote that gets opened only before tests!

Are you having trouble finding a book that matches your classroom learning needs?  Create an ebook that perfectly meets your students right where they are.  Include videos and images relevant to learning.

 

***For younger students be sure to check out BoomWriter!

Tips: Older students who have Facebook accounts can choose to link their Facebook account for easy login (make sure you know your school’s policy on social networking sites being accessed at school, even if it is just to login with).

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

Zen.do: Efficient Learning

What it is: Zen.do is a site created by students with a mission to help make learning more efficient.  Zen.do seeks to provide a solution for managing the overwhelming amount of information that students are asked to learn.  It does so by helping students study what they need, when they need to.  Students begin using Zen.do by taking notes.  As they are taking notes, they add a hyphen between terms (concepts, names, important dates, etc.) and definition.  Students can then study their notes as flashcards, indicating what they know and how important it the information is to them.  Zen.do does the rest, it helps students spend less time studying by reviewing only what matters and what is likely to be forgotten.  In the long-term, Zen.do helps students keep important information at the ready.  The best part of Zen.do: students don’t really have to do anything differently than they are already doing it.  They create notes as they always do and Zen.do takes care of the rest.

How to integrate the Zen.do into the classroom: If you are like me, you remember spending HOURS reading through class notes, creating flash cards, re-reading notes to make sure you hadn’t missed anything important, and then cramming as much as you could prior to a test.  I like that Zen.do takes the focus off the cramming for the test bit and focuses on really learning the material.  Zen.do helps students think about their learning process by making them call out what is important and how likely they are to forget it.

Zen.do is a great solution for students who struggle with studying and finding a way to manage the barrage of information they face.  It breaks down notes into manageable, digestible pieces and keeps them moving forward in their learning.

Zen.do is ideal in a 1 to 1 classroom setting where each student has access to a computer.  If you don’t have access to a computer for each student, consider using a classroom computer for note taking.   Make record keeping a rotating classroom “job”.  As the class recorder, a student would take notes for the class in a word processor (Google Docs would be ideal).  These notes can be accessed by students at home and copy/pasted into each student’s Zen.do account for studying.

Tips: Students can sign in to Zen.do using an email address, Google connect, or Facebook.

Please leave a comment and share how you are using Zen.do in your classroom!

 

Paper Tweeting: Social Media in the Classroom

I’m currently working with an elementary and middle school to roll out a school wide social media campaign.  I have had a lot of questions about this so I thought I would make a video sharing how that decision was made and how we are approaching it.  Yes, I did film this video today…although the calendar says spring, Colorado woke up to SNOW this morning-hence the furry hooded sweater. 🙂

If you don’t have time to watch the video, here are the highlights:

  • This private school decided to roll out a social media campaign to let the local community learn more about the school in hopes of increasing enrollment numbers.  I let the superintendent know that Twitter was not a marketing tool, people won’t follow accounts that are constantly broadcasting information.  That being said, stories are compelling and people will follow accounts that tell a compelling story, and that invite conversation.
  • The most compelling story in a school comes from the students. Letting  students be the voice of the school does a few things: 1. It gives students a place to reflect on their learning. 2. It gives the community and parents an authentic look at what is happening in the classroom.  3. It allows us to model proper use of social media as we use Twitter WITH students. 4. It gives students a sense of pride in their school and a sense of ownership over what they do there.
  • Because this campaign is being rolled out with elementary students, there are some special considerations.  Twitter clearly states in its terms of use that users must be 13 years old or older.  Students don’t have an individual Twitter account; instead, each classroom has an account.  Classes will Tweet using the interactive whiteboard as a class.
  • The administration wanted to make this process as simple as possible for teachers. They asked me to create a Twitter account for every classroom, specialist, and administrator in the building.
  • The administration made this campaign optional for teachers.  This was HUGE, instead of it feeling like one more thing added to the teacher’s already full plates, they got to make the decision to opt in.  Out of 30 elementary teachers 20 are attending our Tweetup tomorrow!
  • The communications manager of the school is running the main School account.  She will be following a list of all of the classrooms tweeting and re-tweet the best of the best.  The main school account will be the “face” of the school on the Internet.
  • The administration is Tweeting as well, they have a unique and different view of the school than the classroom teachers and students do.
  • I created several lists for teachers to follow, there is a list for every discipline and age group as well as a list of other classes and student authors that tweet.
  • I linked every Twitter account with a Facebook Fan page for the classroom.  I turned off all commenting features so that (for now) teachers don’t have to keep track of both platforms.  The Facebook Fan Page will most likely be accessed by parents who do not use Twitter so that they can still receive class updates.

 

Tomorrow I am holding a Tweetup. I BEGGED that this not look like typical tech training.  You know the kind…tired teachers crammed in the computer lab at the end of the day to learn a new tool.  Been there, done that. Unless you are a mega tech geek like me, you just really don’t appreciate those kind of trainings!  I was afraid if we approached this training the way we approach all other trainings, teachers would instantly have to get past that barrier.  Instead, we are meeting at a local coffee shop after school.  I sent out fun invitations and made sure teachers knew that this was a SOCIAL event.  After all, we are talking social media!

Because I know this staff well (I worked with them for 7 years, these are my friends!), I also have the benefit of knowing how comfortable they are with technology.  I suspect that they are pretty typical of school staffs everywhere.  There are some who are very comfortable with new technologies, and some who have trouble filling out a login form on their own.  I didn’t want technology to be a barrier for those who aren’t comfortable with it, so I decided to steal an idea from my friend @mcteach.  She does a paper blogging project with her students where they learn to blog and comment using paper before technology even enters the picture.  I LOVED the idea and thought it could be adapted for my Twitter Tweetup.  I made a video describing my paper tweeting method below.

 

 

Again, if you don’t have time for the video, here are the highlights:

  • I created a paper Twitter wall on chart paper that looks pretty similar to the actual Twitter wall (if I do say so myself).  This will be up on the wall at the coffee shop during our tweetup.  The Twitter wall is blank, ready for teacher tweets to fill it up.
  • I made a name tag for each teacher with their @username.  You know those “hello my name is”?  Yeah, it is that with their twitter handle.  Rule of the day, if you are mentioning someone by name, there must be an @ preceding it 🙂
  • I have a stack of 10 sticky notes for each teacher with their twitter handle and “picture” at the top of the note and “140” at the bottom.  This is where teachers will compose their tweets.  The sticky note messages get stuck to the Twitter wall chart I created.  My hope is that teachers will begin to understand the public nature of Twitter in a concrete way.
  • I have regular envelopes that I have written DM on.  Teachers can use these to deliver DM’s to a friend.  Again, I wanted a concrete way of understanding the difference between a DM (Direct Message) and an @ reply.
  • Since tomorrow is #edchat, I’ll be prompting discussion for our paper tweetup with the #edchat topic tomorrow.  This will give me the opportunity to talk about RT (retweets) and hashtags.
  • In addition to #edchat discussion, I’ll ask teachers to share something that happened in their classrooms today as a tweet, helping them begin thinking about how to use Twitter in their classrooms.
  • I’ll encourage teachers to try a paper tweetup with their students so that they understand Twitter before using the technology.
  • After our paper tweeting session, I’ll let teachers hop on to Twitter and try it out while I am there to answer questions and help with any technical difficulties.  I really don’t want to focus on the tool, but on the connections and conversations that Twitter enables.  Twitter makes it easy to do this because the platform is so simple to use.

 

I think tomorrow will be fun, I’ll be sure to take some pictures and share them! If you missed them the first time around, here is a link to the Twitter posters that I created for the classrooms.

Study Boost: Study with IM or SMS

What it is: Study Boost is a really useful application for studying.  Study Boost makes studying easy and convenient by delivering study content using instant messaging, text messaging, and more.  Study Boost helps students study using their mobile device or a social site using instant messaging.  The web-based application gives users the ability to post, share, and study material with friends.  Students can then take pop quizzes using web-based study cards.  Students can set up timing specifications for pop quizzes to prompt them with a question every hour or numerous questions throughout the day.  Notes can be uploaded to create a batch of study questions.  Students can create a group to share or discuss questions with and even modify and improve batches created by other students to best fit your study needs.  Best of all- it is free.

How to integrate Study Boost into the classroom: Study Boost is one of those tools that would have made my school life more manageable.  Students will appreciate this study platform that helps them learn material on their own terms.  The delivery and quizzing of content can be customized to fit a students needs and schedule.  Let your students create study batches as a class.  Students can work together to create study guides that they can access through IM and SMS.  Invite students to create and share batches with classmates.

Tips: Study Boost requires an email address for sign-up.

Please leave a comment and share how you are using Study Boost in your classroom.

Skype Classroom Directory- Global Collaboration #glolab

What it is: Skype is an incredible tool.  It is a free download that allows you to video chat with anyone in the world (who also has Skype downloaded) for free.  Teachers have been using Skype in the classroom for years now to connect to other classrooms, to connect with experts, and even to introduce their students to favorite authors (Skype an author).  There is a new tool coming for education, a Skype classroom directory.  This directory will connect teachers and help them to use Skype to enrich students’ educational experiences.  The directory will be launching in December (English only) but you can pre-register for it now.  Once you sign up with your Skype account, you will be able to search for other teachers and classes by searching by subject or region.

How to integrate Skype Classroom Directory into your curriculum: Skype Classroom Directory will be a leap forward in connecting teachers and classrooms around the world.  Use Skype to connect your students to others around the world who are learning similar content, for a debate, for an inquiry unit, to teach and learn from each other, to connect with experts, for a global virtual book club, or just to bring some cultural richness into your classroom.

Tips: Yesterday the topic of the first #edchat (a chat on Twitter) was global collaboration.  Skype is an excellent way to collaborate globally.  The Skype directory will be an enormous help in connecting teachers on global projects, right now there isn’t a great way for teachers to connect purposefully for global projects.  As it stands, you send out a tweet request for help and wait for someone to answer.  Yesterday on #edchat I proposed that we come up with a Twitter hash tag to use when we are talking about global collaboration tools or opportunities.  Anyone looking for someone to connect with can just search the hash tag #glolab.  If you are looking for teachers to collaborate use and search the #glolab hash tag to connect.

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