The Hour of Code is coming.
Most schools don’t teach coding. Most schools don’t even try. Perhaps teachers and administrators don’t know how valuable teaching code can be or perhaps schools think that teaching coding is difficult, expensive, would require new positions, or would take away from the current curriculum.
The Hour of Code is a great opportunity to highlight the values, benefits, and ease of teaching coding and impact a few lives at the same time. Students at any age can learn to code. Kindergarteners through high school are all welcome to join Code.org for free and begin to learn to code. It’s fun.
Please check out Code.org and consider joining the hour of code. You don’t need to know how to code. Host an event this year and consider starting a coding club at your school.
A few years ago I was approached by a seventh grader to start a computer programming club. I tried to explain to him that I wasn’t the person to start the club for various reasons including knowledge and time. Thankfully he didn’t take ‘no’ for answer and kept after me until I gave it a try.
My club started with MIT’s free Scratch Programming language which is highly visible, yet remarkable in what can be created. We moved up to several other online coding education options before focusing on Code Academy.
Help! There’s a Google Glass in My Classroom!
No there isn’t, but there could be any day.
Would you welcome your student or colleague wearing the Google Glass device that went on sale to the public yesterday, or would you be cautious and maybe voice your reservations?
Google Glass is appearing in select classrooms across the country, largely in part to Google’s Glass Explorer Program. Teachers use the glasses to share experiments, give tours, video student projects, and a host of other activities live via Google Hangouts or collect them for later viewing in YouTube. As more apps for the wearable device are developed for education the possibilities will be endless.
Some schools have created Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) programs that allow students to take their own technology to school, rather than having the school provide laptops and other devices for them. The programs are popular gaining momentum. Will Google Glass be a welcome addition to the BYOD programs?
Today, 2nd April, is World Autism Awareness Day. I am always impressed to see how schools and teachers address autism, but there is always so much more we can learn and do.
I was a link today by Francesc Sistach about a great list of apps to address autism. Here is what Francesc sent Wired Educator:
iAutism publishes an exhaustive list of iPad, iPhone and iPod touch apps that can be purchased today at special discounts or even for free.
It will be the fourth edition carrying out this initiative that has served not only to users that didn’t know the existence of these discounts, but also to encourage many app developers around the world to celebrate this day reducing the price of their apps.
iAutism, which was founded in 2010, is a web devoted entirely to the use of smartphones and tablets for people with autism and other special needs. iAutism publishes in-depth reviews of apps and other resources of interest.
The app list can be found at http://www.iautism.info/en/2014/03/30/free-or-discounted-apps-world-autism-awareness-day-2014/
I have been using Edmodo now for two full years with my students, and I love it. Edmodo has made some great updates too, which is always a welcome surprise to users.
For the past two years I have primarily used Edmodo to for collecting assignments and grading them using Edmodo’s awesome annotate feature. As a middle school English teacher, I love being able to have my students submit their work to Edmodo and grade it with comments online. What a great feature! I have used the quiz feature a little bit to make sure students are doing their readings, and Edmodo has been great for allowing my students to share their work with their families at home. Sometimes it is difficult to send a student created video or digital project home, but Edmodo has simplified that, and allowed for great commenting features for a genuine audience.
Now I am starting to use Edmodo a little differently. My administrators have encouraged and required more Formative Assessments in my plan like Exit tickets. I have found Edmodo is not only a great way to provide formative assessment for me as a teacher, but the students enjoy it as well.
Thanks to some technology tools for educators, snow cancellation days don’t have to be a complete loss of teaching time with your students.
Teachers have been integrating fantastic sites like Schoology and Edmodo to give students voices and allow them to interact with lessons in new and meaningful ways. Now teachers are using many free tools like these and more to keep the learning going even on a snow day.
I use the following tools weekly when we have school and they have been incredibly helpful recently when school has been cancelled to help the learning continue:
Edmodo: Edmodo is a learning management system that creates a walled environment for your students to share their work, add to the discussion, check and complete assignments, take quizzes, and so much more. I love it. I was able to have a book discussion with many of my students during our recent vacation and school cancellations. I even had some students turning in work over the break. Students can access it via a web browser or through an iOS app. Edmodo is free. It looks a little like Facebook which the students love.
iTunes University: Create your own virtual classroom with iTunes University. I can’t get over the power of iTunes U. Every teacher should work on posting a unit just for snow days. Students can complete work while school is gone. I love iTunes U. Free.
As educators we set high standards for our students and we motivate them to become their best. We share and encourage resources to improve the lives of our students. We care passionately about their current and future success.
I encourage my students to create resolutions for themselves each year, and I always set resolutions for myself. (This is a slightly revised post from last year.) This year I want to encourage you to try on these ten professional resolutions:
1) Blog: I want you to create your own blog. It could be a personal blog, one for your students, or maybe one for you colleagues. Share the accomplishments you and your students are experiencing. Share with us what you have learned. Perhaps you can help us solve a problem. Archive your best work. I wrote an article awhile back on specifically why I want teachers to blog.
Boinx has added updates to two key applications, just in time for the holidays.
Wired Educator recommends you adding these to your virtual shopping cart for Christmas.
iStopMotion 3.5: iStopMotion is a great stop-motion application that includes an onion-skin image layer that allows you to see and plan for your next shot. It now allows for Canon DSLR optics. This is a free update. iStopMotion is one of Wired Educator’s all-time favorite applications for the MacBook and iOS devices. Simply a pleasure to use and include in digital story telling projects with students and personal use. Any educator or student on break for the holiday should be working on a iStopMotion and short animation and send Wired Educator what you made. We will post the best on our site and try to get you some attention with the creatives at Boinx.