Real Project Based Learning: A Big Delivery….Santa Believes in PBL… Do You?

santa_8

Did you know that Santa believes in Project Based Learning? It’s true… in fact I have worked quite hard at finding evidence that supports this conclusion. Recently I was reviewing an outstanding article written for Educational Leadership  based on the  8 Essentials for Project Based Learning. You might wish learn more from this article written by two amazing PBL experts; John Mergendoller and John Larmer at BIE (BUCK Institute). After all, BIE is the premiere organization promoting and providing professional development on PBL for the United States and internationally. Check the provided  BIE link for some great free material on PBL and some awesome PD services offered by BIE. Upon further reflection it occurred to me that not only does Santa believe in PBL, he practices many of its positive attributes at his workshop. By now you are thinking… what is this connection? Let me explain my reasoning by giving you an overview of the eight essential elements in PBL.  Of course I will attempt to show you how I believe Santa has put these elements into his practice.  Before continuing I would appreciate having you take a moment to subscribe to this Blog by RSS or email and follow me at (mjgormans). Taking that moment ensures that we can continue to network, something that is very magical to me. Also, please share this post with others and even provide a re-tweet. Last please check my Booking Page to see how I could be part of your school PD or Conference plans.  May your holidays be filled with magic! – Mike Gorman (http://21centuryedtech.wordpress.com/)

Real Project Based Learning: The Big Delivery….Santa Believes in PBL… Do You? – Mike Gorman  http://21centuryedtech.wordpress.com

It all started on a recent visit I had the pleasure of taking to the North Pole.  It was actually a once in a lifetime experience, one that I will always remember. While I promised Santa I would not divulge secrets I discovered, he did hand me a manuscript and gave me a wink. I could see the amazing sparkle in his eyes as he waited for me to discover a power he was already aware of. I looked at the cover of this torn and faded, yet delightful looking, old book.  I could tell it had been constantly used due to the lack of North Pole magical dust on its soon to be engaging pages.  I spent the next few hours looking through a wonderful collection of written journals. This manuscript was entitled “The Santa Projects”.  How did he know my yearning to learn more about projects?  I then remembered that, of course, I was sitting in front of Santa. He probably had quite a data base of everything I had ever dreamed of or desired from my very first teddy bear. Here was a compilation of all of the important projects ever done at this amazing place… at the top of the world. Here were the projects that Santa had brought to his entire staff in order to engage, motivate, educate, and provide means of collaboration and communication. The first project caught my eye. I couldn’t help but smile as I read each of Santa’s journal entries. Allow me to share one of his projects with you.

The Santa Projects – Project Name – Mission Possible…. The Big Delivery

Need To Know – (An outstanding project is based on a student need to know. It is this desire that promotes engagement and excitement in children. It provides the motivation for learning significant content.)  Santa Notes - It will be important to communicate with all of the elves and various staff my desire to travel the world in one night delivering toys to all of the good girls and boys. We will have a meeting, record everything in Santa Docs, based on what we will need to know to make this mission possible. As we answer these important questions I will mark them off our collaborative list. I anticipate a few questions such as: Given that the earth is rotating… how many hours do we really have?

The Driving Question – (The Driving Question is the key to any effective PBL project.  This question must be direct and open a student centric understanding of what is to be eventually accomplished and learned. While giving the students a sense of mission, it is proactive and open-ended.)  Santa Notes – After working with various teams we have decided that a good driving question could be as follows: How can we devise a plan to deliver presents to all the good children in the world in one night? I know this will be exciting for the elves and I am sure the reindeer will be clamoring to get their hoofs into it. I am certain our journey to finding this answer will not only raise more questions, but will also provide the rigor my staff thrives on.

Voice and Choice – (An effective project must allow for all students to have a voice and a choice. This might allow students to pick an area of study, or may give a selection of various final products to demonstrate learning. This voice and choice allows the project to have individual meaning and relevance to each student.) Santa Notes – I must allow all of the workers at the North Pole to participate in a meaningful way while holding them accountable to the Driving Question. Who knows what contribution each group and individual might be able to come up with. In fact, I have already heard that my engineers are drawing a picture of a sleigh. Not sure I know why, but maybe I will learn from them.

21st Century Skills – (Students must be allowed to use skills that are authentic and provide real world opportunities. Teachers must provide learning opportunities and facilitate important skills including collaboration, communication, and critical thinking. It is important to also asses these skills as part of PBL.) Santa Notes – I plan to utilize team building activities to help facilitate project success. At the North Pole we must realize that in order to pull off this miracle it will involve a collective wisdom from the entire crowd. We will use modern North Pole technology including Santa Docs, Twinkler, and Elfmodo to collaborate. In fact, I noticed the elves are already building a new system “The Magic Net”. It is supposed to connect the North Pole with the entire world of children’s desires. I am not sure why, but I am sure I will learn from them.

Inquiry and Innovation - A good PBL study will allow students to not just come up with answers… but also discover new and amazing questions. This will allow students to think outside the box as they remix, create, and innovate. It assures a final product that shows the learning that was acquired from the initial Driving Question.) Santa Notes – Everyone at the workshop is finding out that there is not an easy answer to our Driving Question. It seems we are getting more questions than answers right now. I have encouraged our staff to use Santapedia and NorthPoleOogle but they say it does not always give the answer… again more questions. I have told everyone to tinker… something they have experience with at the toy shop. They did come up with a new gift they called Tinkertoys which could be a hit. I had to get them back on track. Outside, I have noticed the reindeer jumping from the fir trees and one is even playing with a red light bulb. I know it seems very hectic… but I do feel we might be on to something.

Feedback and Revision – (Students must be allowed to obtain feedback through critiques from their teacher, peers, real world mentors, and themselves. Through this, students must learn to reflect and revise to create a better product as they travel a road of formative assessment.) Santa Notes – I am finding myself encouraging all my workers to reflect and critique themselves and others. This is can be more valuable than always using one of my NPARs (North Pole Assessment Rubrics). In fact, I saw the engineer and elves constantly critiquing each other on what they called OBETB (Operation Big Enough Toy Bag). Perhaps if I do a little check with one of my formative assessment rubrics I will find out what that is all about.

Publicly Present The Product – (Providing students with a public and authentic audience is crucial in the design of a good PBL learning unit. It brings meaning and provides motivation for a final product that represents the quality and rigor that should be expected. This audience can be face to face or could be virtual using the World Wide Web.)  Santa Notes – I am so excited for the workers here at the North Pole. Tomorrow night they will be presenting their plan for Mission Possible…. The Big Delivery to a live audience of the North Pole Geographic  Society, Magic Bag Engineers, Animal Aviator Experts, Portable Light Bulb Innovators, The Association of Sleigh Vehicle Workers, and NEXRAD.  It will all be available on Santa Vision. Having all of these experts in the audience will ensure that all involved will take great pride in their work while demonstrating what they have learned and have now made possible.  I am still puzzled as to why we have invited the Animal Aviator Experts and NEXRAD. Sound like a high flying idea!

And yes, there is an eighth essential element that is covered by BIE. It is quite instrumental to the world of PBL!

Significant Content – (A PBL final outcome should provide evidence that students learned the required content set forth by curricular standards. While the 21st century skills are important… they should complement and be used as  tools for learning this content. The project is the process!) Santa Notes – Wow… while everyone has become better communicators, collaborators, and critical thinkers I see that the important concepts needed to make this project a success have become a reality. All of the workers, elves, and animals understand the important North Pole curricular concepts of magical engineering, animal aviation and linguistics, possibility planning, and bottomless bag technology. Most of all, they have discovered the wonderful skill of miracle manicuring. I really do believe in PBL!

As I handed this precious manuscript back to Santa,  I thanked him for confirming my belief in how powerful a project can be. Upon my return I continued to learn more about Project Based Learning and discovered the power it has for providing authentic and powerful learning experiences for students. This knowledge just might be the very best gift I ever received from Santa. I’m still smiling as I recall the other projects I read about in the wonderful book on my very special visit. Projects with names like the ones you find below.

  1. I Can Get Down the Chimney… How Do I Get Up?
  2. The Big Blizzard… Can We Find a Way to Light the Path?
  3. Conquering the 24 Hour Cookies and Milk Dilemma!
  4. Reindeer… Keeping their Minds to the Ground!

I hope you enjoyed this very special message that Santa shared with me. Please take a moment to share this post with other educators across the world.  Please accept my present to you,  which is another year of postings, by subscribing by email or RSS and follow me on Twitter (mjgormans). You will also find a treasure of resources covering 21st century learning, STEM, PBL, and technology integration for the classroom. Again, take a moment to share this blog and even give it a re-tweet so that other educators can experience the magic of PBL. May you find the peace, joy, blessing, and magic of this very special season… and to all a good night! Mike Gorman (http://21centuryedtech.wordpress.com/)

Booking Info – Time to think about your school or conference needs. Are you looking for a practical and affordable professional development workshop for your school or conference?  I have traveled the country delivering PD relating to technology integration, PBL, STEM, Digital Literacy, and the 4 C’s. I have done 100′s of workshops and presentations.  Check out my Booking Page… Please contact me soon if you have an interest. I  am almost booked through June I am already taking fall dates for 2015 – Mike

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A Special Letter From Santa… 10 Reasons Why Teachers Must Be Magic!

santa2

Welcome to a very magical entry… one that has been a traditional post each holiday season. It is a time of year that I wish to express my gratitude to those wonderful educators that have welcomed me at their schools and conferences and join me at this blog through out the year. I would like to share with all of you a very special letter I found under my Christmas Tree  several Christmas Eves ago. I have made it a practice to put it away, until just a few weeks before Christmas each year, with the idea of sharing it with you! Please take a moment to read this very special letter from Santa! He takes a moment to describe the magic that you as an educator make happen every day! While you are at it, I would appreciate that you take a moment to subscribe to this Blog by RSS or email and follow me at (mjgormans).  Please take just a moment to share this letter by providing a re-tweet, and feel to copy and distribute (please give reference).  In this way you can help spread the magic!  My next seasonal post is… PBL at the North Pole.  May your holidays be filled with magic! – Mike Gorman (http://21centuryedtech.wordpress.com/)

Booking Info – Time to think about your school or conference needs. Are you looking for a practical and affordable professional development workshop for your school or conference?  I have traveled the country delivering PD relating to technology integration, PBL, STEM, Digital Literacy, and the 4 C’s. I have done 100′s of workshops and presentations.  Check out my Booking Page… Please contact me soon if you have an interest. I  am almost booked through June I am already taking fall dates for 2015 – Mike

A Letter From Santa…. by  Michael Gorman (http://21centuryedtech.wordpress.com) ….Twitter (mjgormans)

Dear Teachers,

I have been meaning to write this letter for a long time! It is a letter that I feel is long overdue and with the elves getting all ready for my long ride, I finally found the time! I have been watching teachers for many years and I am amazed at the work they do. I have come to a conclusion that the teaching profession, like my own, must be filled with bits of  magic! Please let me provide ten statements of evidence for my belief.

1.  I travel the world one night of the year visiting all the boys and girls of the world. The teaching profession works with every boy and girl all year long. This equates to each teacher fulfilling educational needs for 30 – 200 children each and every school day. Seems like magic to me!

2. I deliver presents to all the boys and girls. From my Toy Repair Shop statistics I find many of these gifts are broken or no longer garner a child’s interest within months!  Yet teachers find inner gifts in every child. Teachers nurture these inner gifts  until they develop into true presents that will last a lifetime.  These kinds of gifts sure seem like magic to me!

3. I keep my naughty and nice list for every child. Some people believe this job is pretty amazing! Yet when I look at the teaching profession, teachers provide a constant evaluation of all their students! Their list covers all the aspects of developing and learning which they report to children’s parents and to the children themselves! This evaluation is based on a wide variety of observations, data, and student performance.  Teachers will then use this list to help improve each and every student! Wow, keeping track of every student’s ability and prescribing ways to be successful must really be magic!

4. I leave presents to students who are on the nice list and who believe in me. Teachers work with all children because they believe in every student. Teachers continue to do so, even when students stop believing in the educational system’s ability to help them achieve.  That type of persistence has got to be magic!

5. I have operated my workshop using the same technology for hundreds of years and it has worked for me. Then again, I work with children when they are asleep, delivering presents in my own way. Teachers work with children when they are awake and they have spent time learning how to engage children using googles, blogs, phlogs, glogs, prezis, and all these other words I really don’t know! Being able to teach, transform, and accommodate for this new digital generation must really be magic!

6. I have made it a practice to leave coal behind for children who do not make my good list! It seems every year the same children always get the coal. Teachers refuse to leave coal, in fact, they are working hard at leaving no child behind. To work towards a goal of leaving no child behind is a true act of magic!

7. I read the news and I am always so thankful to read all the nice articles about my work. It really does provide me with motivation to keep up my vocation. I read news articles about the education profession and it seems that most articles are unsupportive. Yet, teachers keep working hard at providing success for their students! These teachers must be operating on a little bit of magic!

8. I have thousands of elves, of course the reindeer, and the  community of the entire North Pole to assist me. Teachers work every day, many times by themselves, as they provide new opportunities for their students! Carrying that load alone must be much heavier than my bag of toys. It must really be magic!

9. I receive many a thank you and millions of pictures of happy faces as children open their presents each year. Teachers don’t always get a thank you, or may never see the present get eventually opened. When they do, appreciation may come from decades later!  A thank you that appears after many years must be the result of pure magic!

10. I discovered a light in Rudolph brightens up a dark, foggy, or snowy night so that I can deliver joy to all the children across the world. Teachers provide the light that brightens our world in both the darkest night and brightest day! It is the light of learning and knowledge!  The ability to keep that light burning  bright  must take a quite a bit of magic!

You see, I have found that magic does not come easily! It is made possible only by those who work hard and keep believing, and seek what they know is possible! As you can see, there must be a great deal of magic in the education profession! Please continue to keep this magic alive and know that you are all on my good list! After all, I had to learn all that I do from somewhere! So from across the years I know I have many teachers to thank!   Last, to all teachers across the world… I really do believe in you!

Thanks for all the magic,

Santa

I hope you enjoyed this very special message from Santa. Please take a moment to share this letter with other educators across the world. It will truly help bring out the magic in our profession! Please accept my present to you,  which is another year of postings by subscribing by email or RSS and follow me on Twitter (mjgormans). Think about contacting me to see how I might fit into your conference or school PD plans. (mjgormans@gmail.com)! Again, take a moment to share this blog and even give it a re-tweet so that other educators can experience the magic.  Next post… PBL at the North Pole  (subscribe now) ! May you find the peace, joy, blessing, and magic of this very special season… and to all a good night! – Mike Gorman  (21centuryedtech.wordpress.com)

 

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Bring Focus to Blended Learning with 12 Starting Ideas… Plus a Free ISTE Webinar

blendedclass

Welcome to a post where I focus on some simple ways you can begin to blend your learning. I call them starter ideas. I also want to invite you to a very special webinar on Tuesday, December 9, 2014 at 4 PM EST. First, to ensure you do not miss one of these valuable posts or other resources covering PBL, Digital Curriculum, Web 2.0, STEM, 21st century learning, and technology integration please sign up for 21centuryedtech by email or RSS. As always,  I invite you to follow me on twitter (@mjgormans). Please give this post a retweet and pass it on. Have a great week – Michael Gorman (21centuryedtech)

Booking Info – Time to think about your school or conference needs. Are you looking for a practical and affordable professional development workshop for your school or conference?  I have traveled the country delivering PD relating to technology integration, PBL, STEM, Digital Literacy, and the 4 C’s. I have done 100′s of workshops and presentations.  Check out my Booking Page… Please contact me soon if you have an interest. I  am almost booked through June I am already taking fall dates for 2015 – Mike

As  1 to 1 programs become more popular, educators are talking a lot about Blended Learning. As you might know there are plenty of ways to look at Blended Learning. Feel free to check my past post that focused on this topic. A blended classroom is not an instant event. It comes with time, reflection, and practice. As teacher begin to consider the blended experience I suggest they begin with one simple effort or lesson, and make sure that they focus on the learning target and not just the technology. It is important to always reflect on why the blended experience is being integrated into the learning. In this way an educator can ensure there is a significant benefit supporting the learning because of the blended experience.

Before providing 12 possible starter ideas, I invite you to a very special ISTE Webinar. As you might know I am the president of OLN (Online Learning Network) which is a professional learning network at ISTE. We have the privilege this week to host a very special Blended Learning Webinar with Dr. Kecia Ray, a blended learning expert and President of ISTE. After reading the below pointers please feel free to sign up for the webinar and also share this post with others. Hope to see you at the Webinar and I wish you the best as you become even more focused on your blend.

Bringing Focus To Blended Learning with 12 Starting Ideas

  • Have students participate in an online forum that focuses on discussion of content standards. Develop a rubric that assess online discussion alignment with standards being used. The rubric might include some components of the four C’s such as collaboration and communication.
  • When using the inquiry method… put one of the 5 E’s as an online activity. Remember that the 5 E’s include Engage, Explore, Explain, Enhance, and Evaluate. Many times teachers will flip a classroom with the Explain portion. It is also possible to use any of the others such as engaging the students so they are ready for the exploration in the classroom.
  • Set up a Google Hangout or Skype session with an expert or community member that can help enhance a learning target. Include an online discussion forum to further the event. Always clear any online guests and make sure students understand privacy issues.
  • Include your students in some digital citizenship activities. In order to be part of a blended classroom students need to know the etiquette and expectations of working in the blended world.
  • Take one past successful assignment and reflect how you might bring in a blended opportunity that helps amplify the learning, don’t just substitute for technology sake… reflect on what the technology provides for.
  • Provide an opportunity for your students to publish to the world. Perhaps this could be an art gallery, blog, wiki, video, or their idea. Allow for comments and feedback. Make sure to follow school AUP and remind students about internet privacy and security. A great place to start might be inside your school Learning Management System.
  • Use a collaborative tool in Google Drive beyond a Document. Perhaps it might be a collective spreadsheet, a slide presentation, a drawing, or the use of a form to conduct a survey.
  • Explore a Global Classroom Website such as Iearn or Epals. Is there one possible project you might want to try with your class?
  • Study something collectively with another teacher in your school. Make it simple the very first time and keep it to a couple day activity.
  • Share student productions or creations with another class, or even a community group through a hangout or webinar. A presentation can go beyond the classroom and will provide an amplified learning experience.
  • Allow student to talk with each other during a video clip or short lecture using a back channel employing your LMS (Learning Management System). A back channel is an online open chat room. In fact, have it open during work time or a PBL unit.
  • Talk to your students… what ideas might they have to open up the brick and mortar walls of the classroom.

Welcome To The Webinar

  • Please join OLN at ISTE for this very special webinar with Dr. Kecia Ray
  • Online and Blended Learning Models
  • Tuesday, December 9, 2014, 4:00 PM – 5:00 PM (Eastern Time (US & Canada)
  • Registration Link

Thank you for joining me and I hope you found this information something you can use in your school and useful to share with other educators.  As always, I invite you to follow me on twitter (@mjgormans). Please give this post a retweet and pass it on to someone who will benefit.   To ensure you do not miss a future valuable post or other resource covering PBL, Digital Curriculum, STEM, 21st century learning, and technology integration please sign up for 21centuryedtech by email or RSS. Have a great week… enjoy the Websites! – Mike (http://21centuryedtech.wordpress.com/

Booking Info – Time to think about your school or conference needs. Are you looking for a practical and affordable professional development workshop for your school or conference?  I have traveled the country delivering PD relating to technology integration, PBL, STEM, Digital Literacy, and the 4 C’s. I have done 100′s of workshops and presentations.  Check out my Booking Page… Please contact me soon if you have an interest. I  am almost booked through June I am already taking fall dates for 2015 – Mike

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Free Digital Formative Assessment Tools… Important Thoughts Before Implementing

formative

As you might know there are some amazing formative assessment tools on the web. In this post I wish to share some of those with you, along with some things you should think about before using. First, to ensure you do not miss a valuable post or other resources covering PBL, Digital Curriculum, Web 2.0, STEM, 21st century learning, and technology integration, please sign up for 21centuryedtech by email or RSS. As always, I invite you to follow me on twitter (@mjgormans). Please give this post a retweet and pass it on. Have a great week – Michael Gorman (21centuryedtech)

Booking Info – Time to think about your school or conference needs. Are you looking for a practical and affordable professional development workshop for your school or conference? I have traveled the country delivering PD relating to technology integration, PBL, STEM, Digital Literacy, and the 4 C’s. I have done 100′s of workshops and presentations. Check out my Booking Page… Please contact me soon if you have an interest. I am almost booked through August and am already taking fall dates for 2015 – Mike

Free Digital Formative Assessment Tools… Important Thoughts Before Implementing - Michael Gorman (https://21centuryedtech.wordpress.com) 

Technology and the interactive web provides ample opportunity to gauge student understanding and learning in ways not possible just a few short years ago. Not only can the formative assessment process be engaging, it can also be owned by students. In this post I wish to explore some of those tools that allow teachers to take short temperature reads while involving students in their learning. Before introducing the tools I have several thoughts and ideas that should be considered before using any tool provided on the web. Remember that student privacy is very important and any tool used should be approved by the school district and sanctioned in some way with the District AUP (Acceptable Use Policy. With this in mind you should:

  • Read and be aware of your district AUP (Acceptable Use Policy)
  • Read the Terms of Use and Privacy Statement of all web programs used in classroom
  • Do not sign up students for accounts, or put in an online class list, without checking district policy
  • If a tool states that students not have to sign up… still be sure that students do not leave a digital footprint that leaves an identity
  • Educate and encourage students to practice proper digital citizenship at all times

The sites listed below allow for some wonderful interaction. Please enjoy and use with you students in both an educational and responsible manner. Take a moment to explore the program, learn and reflect on possibilities, and investigate through the terms, privacy, and your school AUP, how they can best serve your students.

Kahoot – This is an amazing formative assessment tool that allows an educator to:

  • Make quizzes
  • Start a discussion
  • Create A Survey

If your students like a gaming environment complete with a leaderboard… then this will be a hit in the classroom. Content questions can be used and teh teacher has access to all results. How do you get started? All a teacher needs is a free Kahoot Account which can be obtained at  https://getkahoot.com/ .The below manual explains how to make an interactive activity with Kahoot. Remember this is a Web 2.0 Tool. It is suggested for students to use nicknames or first names only. Enjoy the tutorial. You can also learn more from the manual.

Infuse Learning – This is a very easy formative assessment tool to get student response and even begin a classroom discussion. After the teacher signs up for an account a classroom is created with a unique ID number. Website to sign up for a free account. Students then go to the student sign in to a page using Class ID along with their first name or nick name. Remember to remind students to never put in personal or self identifying information when answering any question from Infuse Learning. If a teacher wants to use the advanced features and set up a class, they should be sure to follow their district AUP and read the Terms and Privacy policy for teh site.  Infuse Learning can be used to  input in the following formats:

  • Drawing
  • Multiple Choice
  • Open Ended Text
  • True False
  • Sort In Order
  • Numeric
  • Likert Scale

Infuse Learning works on a variety of devices and uses most browsers except Internet Explorer. Watch the below tutorial to see how easy it is to use.

Answer Garden – Welcome to another online tool to allow for Formative Assessment and engage students in discussion. Answer Garden allows the teacher to set up a website that gathers student input and ideas. As students answer a question prompt, their answers appear on the home Answer Garden screen set up by the teacher. Both teacher and students have an opportunity to see what the ideas of the crowd really are. It is simple to use. Since this is a open web tool students should be reminded to not answer with personal or identifying information. No student log in is required. Ways to use Answer Garden:

  • Pose a Driving Question
  • Collect ideas and opinions
  • Look for adjectives that describe a character in a book
  • Use as a polling mechanism… large words most popular
  • Look for number of class that can get a correct answer
  • Incorporate in a Socrative Seminar
  • Align words to an idea, concept, place, or object
  • Compare and contrast using two Answer Gardens
  • Exit ticket of a learned concept
  • Get feedback on an upcoming test
  • Your idea

Answer Garden can also be uploaded to Wordle or Tagxedo to create a Word Cloud. In the area below take a moment to learn more about how to use Answer Garden. Explore these opportunities To Learn More About Answer Garden
Check out this Quick Start Guide
Look at this Demonstration of Answer Garden
Learn more about Answer Garden with these Facts
Answer Garden One Page Direction Sheet

Quizlet – This is a wonderful study tool that allows for self assessment by students. Quizlet has a variety of flashcards, tests, and study games that make learning fun and engaging for students of all ages. It is also be used on any computer at home or school, and on the go using the free mobile apps for iOS and Android. The free account allows teachers and students to create study sets, track study progress, and compete while working collaboratively with others. Note that the free version does include some advertisements. Along with creating a quizlet, it is also possible to find others that just might help from a large database made by others. While class set ups are not required, it should be noted that there are opportunities to set up a class and Terms and Privacy policies should be compared with school AUP if doing so. There are even ways to password protect each Quizlet. Take a moment to explore the following areas of Quizlet.

Socrative – This is an amazing feedback tool that allows the teacher to get some quick formative feedback on student learning, understanding, and reflection. It is based on the teacher creating “Quick Question” activities that can include Multiple Choice, True False and Short Answer They are intended to be quick and easy pulse checks with visuals. Students can use just about any device. It also allows for the student to remain anonymous. In short answer areas students should not post identifying information. As in all of these tools, it is sometimes best to have students use first name only, or nicknames. There are reports that are always available in the REPORTS section found after selecting MANAGE QUIZZES from the teacher dashboard. Reports can be downloaded or emailed after a class completes a Quiz. There is even a game feature. There are other advanced features that allow for class set up and student collaboration if it is appropriate for age of students. As always please be sure to check Terms and Privacy and see where your intended usage aligns with district AUP. Learn even more by exploring the below links:

Thank you for joining me and I hope you found this information something you can use in your school and useful to share with other educators. As always, I invite you to follow me on twitter (@mjgormans). Please give this post a retweet and pass it on to someone who will benefit. To ensure you do not miss a future valuable post or other resource covering PBL, Digital Curriculum, STEM, 21st century learning, and technology integration please sign up for 21centuryedtech by email or RSS. Have a great week… enjoy the Websites! – Mike (http://21centuryedtech.wordpress.com/

Booking Info – Time to think about your school or conference needs. Are you looking for a practical and affordable professional development workshop for your school or conference? I have traveled the country delivering PD relating to technology integration, PBL, STEM, Digital Literacy, and the 4 C’s. I have done 100′s of workshops and presentations. Check out my Booking Page… Please contact me soon if you have an interest. I am almost booked through August and am already taking fall dates for 2015 – Mike

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You Can Still Search Thinkfinity’s Digital Content Resources …. Learn How

resource

I want to share a number of databases of incredible resources for any digital classroom. I know you will find this must read article, one that you will also want to share. First, to ensure you do not miss a valuable post or other resources covering PBL, Digital Curriculum, Web 2.0, STEM, 21st century learning, and technology integration, please sign up for 21centuryedtech by email or RSS. As always, I invite you to follow me on twitter (@mjgormans). Please give this post a retweet and pass it on. Have a great week – Michael Gorman (21centuryedtech)

Booking Info – Time to think about your school or conference needs. Are you looking for a practical and affordable professional development workshop for your school or conference? I have traveled the country delivering PD relating to technology integration, PBL, STEM, Digital Literacy, and the 4 C’s. I have done 100′s of workshops and presentations. Check out my Booking Page… Please contact me soon if you have an interest. I am almost booked through August and am already taking fall dates for 2015 – Mike

As you might know, Thinkfinity from Verizon has some amazing content from a collection of outstanding content providers. You also might know that Thinkfinity changed its format in the summer of 2014. It now provides some outstanding services toward some new and exciting content for mobile learning. There are some great opportunities and it is worth a visit to their new site. Here you can learn about innovative learning schools, some inspirational success stories, and grant opportunities that will allow you to innovate

I have traveled many places where educators have stated how much they enjoyed the Thinkfinity Search Engine. Putting a curricular  keyword into that search mechanism always turned up some great lessons and ideas from their wonderful content partners. With this in mind I thought I would create a very simple search engine that would search those same resources partners listed on the Verizon site last summer. These may have changed and you can still see who the current partners are at the Thinkfinity Site.

In this post, I also hope to help you learn more about some of these great content providers. You can visit them individually, or use the search engine that I have provided to do a search of these sites all at once. Please take a look and be sure to visit both the new Thinkfinity, the content providers below, and the short and simple search engine that I have also provided below. 

The Lesson Search Engine

As stated earlier, I thought you just might want the opportunity to search those wonderful sites in one place that are listed below. This is not a fancy search engine. You may wish to be sure to use search terms that really identify what you are looking for. It is sometimes beneficial to start vague and then begin to drill down. I really do hope it will help you out.  You will do the best searches individually at each specific site. Enjoy the quest for new resources!

Click: Link to Basic Lesson Search Engine

The 10 Sites Included in the Lesson Search

Wonderopolis – Explore this amazing collection of  multi-disciplinary content. You will discover that it aligns to Common Core State Standards (CCSS), the STEM Educational Quality Framework, and Bloom’s Digital Taxonomy. Take a look at the daily Wonder that encourages students’ critical thinking, or perhaps have your students discover a Wonder that connects to  specific themes and student interests.

SI History Explorer – It is time for you to discover the Smithsonian’s History Explorer. This engaging site was developed by the National Museum of American History in partnership with the Verizon Foundation. You will find hundreds of free, innovative online resources for bringing American History into your K12 classroom. History Explorer’s resources focus engaging students with history content using “reading” objects. The learning activities include artifacts selected from over 3 million items in the Museum’s collections.

Science Netlinks – Are you looking for a great science site that connects the ideas of Next Generation Science Science and the literacy and even math components of CCSS. Then you may have just discovered a goldmine of Science possibilities.  NetLinks is an outstanding K-12 science education resource created by the American Association for the Advancement of Science. In just one visit and you will find teaching tools, interactives, podcasts, and hands-on activities.Best of all… it’s free. This could really be you link to some wonderful classroom science!

Change The Equation – At Change The Equation you will find that STEM is their business. Here you you will have the opportunity to allow your students to see STEM connections to the real world and possibly their future occupation. Don’y miss some of the STEMspirations which include Road Trip Nation, STEM is Cool, and iON Future! A click on resources will bring up a host of ideas including advocacy, programs, statistics, and STEM news. It really is a wonderful place to learn how to change you STEM equation!

ReadWriteThink – The mission of ReadWriteThink is to provide educators, parents, and after-school professionals with access to the highest quality practices in reading and language arts instruction by offering the very best in free materials. Not only have they accomplished this mission, they have gone well beyond. The resources at ReadWriteThink can be used beyond the Language Arts Classroom and in fact, can be used in a classroom of just about any discipline. Be sure to check out their outstanding collection of interactives and apps that are perfect for blending technology into the classroom. There are wonderful lessons, organizers, themed units, videos, and PD opportunities. A visit to this site sponsored by IRA, NCTE, and Verizon is a must do opportunity for all educators.

National Geographic Education – As you must be aware, the National Geographic Society has been inspiring people to care about the planet since 1888. It is known to be one of the largest nonprofit scientific and educational institutions in the world. You will find resources that include geography, archaeology and natural science, along with the promotion of environmental and historical conservation.Be sure to look at their educational resources and programs that are a wonderful fit for the 21st century classroom. You will find activities, interactives, videos, lesson, programs, and valuable news. This is a wonderful resource that can serve any classroom and just might encourage a PBL idea.

Illuminations – Looking for a place that really can add up to new ideas in Math education? Then you may wish to visit Illuminations. Here you will find a project designed by the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics (NCTM) and also supported by the Verizon Foundation. Discover the right formula that will connect students with math content and real world understanding. There are lessons, activities, and interactives. It is possible to search by grade level, subject, and CCSS along with NCTM standards.A visit to this site will definitely shine the light on new and powerful Math education possibilities.

STEMconnector – STEM education is a growing educational initiative across the country. Would you like to learn more about a one stop shop for STEM Resources? Then the STEMconnector could be a possibility,  allowing you to link with current STEM ideas.Take a look at the STEM Directory which includes resources across the incredible STEMiverse. Perhaps a glimpse at the latest STEM daily will help any educators connect with the latest in STEM.

Edsitement – You will find that Edsitement really is one of the best places to visit for humanities on the web. This site from the National Endowment for the Humanities provides a wonderful opportunity to explore resources for teachers of social studies, language arts,foreign language, arts, and culture. There are wonderful readings, activities, and lessons. The searchable database provides an opportunity to find content by grade, subject area, and type. A visit to the features area will also provide a wonderful experience for educators looking for new ideas to awaken the humanities.

ISTE – If you are interested in educational technology, then you either are aware, or need to know about the International Society for Technology Educators (ISTE). In this organization you will find  passionate educators, leaders and experts who are committed to expanding the horizons of education technology. This organization sponsors the  ISTE Conference & Expo and the widely adopted ISTE Standards for learning, teaching and leading in the digital age. At ISTE you can learn and be a part of  an association that represents more than 100,000 professionals worldwide.

Enjoy your visit to these amazing educational sites and also be sure to visit the new Thinkfinity and learn about all the incredible opportunities it offers. Be on the look out for a New Search Page that will soon be part of this site allowing you to search a multitude of educational resource sites in specific content areas. It is just another reason to make sure you sign up for the RSS feed and also give this site a tweet.

Thank you for joining me and I hope you found this information something you can use in your school and useful to share with other educators. As always, I invite you to follow me on twitter (@mjgormans). Please give this post a retweet and pass it on to someone who will benefit. To ensure you do not miss a future valuable post or other resource covering PBL, Digital Curriculum, STEM, 21st century learning, and technology integration please sign up for 21centuryedtech by email or RSS. Have a great week… enjoy the Websites! – Mike (http://21centuryedtech.wordpress.com/

Booking Info – Check out my Booking Page… Please contact me soon if you have an interest. I am almost booked through August and am already taking fall dates for 2015 – Mike

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Ten Engaging Digital Education Sites For Any Social Studies Classroom

socst

 

I took some time to look over my past posts and decided I needed to provide Social Studies Teachers with some great resources for their classroom. Rather than get into any one specific Social Studies area, I thought best to find some resources that might work in just about any Social Studies Classroom. First, to ensure you do not miss a valuable post or other resources covering PBL, Digital Curriculum, Web 2.0, STEM, 21st century learning, and technology integration, please sign up for 21centuryedtech by email or RSS. As always, I invite you to follow me on twitter (@mjgormans). Please give this post a retweet and pass it on. Have a great week – Michael Gorman (21centuryedtech)

Booking Info – Time to think about your school or conference needs. Are you looking for a practical and affordable professional development workshop for your school or conference? I have traveled the country delivering PD relating to technology integration, PBL, STEM, Digital Literacy, and the 4 C’s. I have done 100′s of workshops and presentations. Check out my Booking Page… Please contact me soon if you have an interest. I am almost booked through August and am already taking fall dates for 2015 – Mike

Ten Engaging Digital Education Sites For Any Social Studies Classroom  (http://21centuryedtech.wordpress.com/)

If you have performed a recent search you may have found there is a countless number of social studies resources on the internet. In this post the goal was to find ten sites that addressed the area of Social Studies across all the diversified areas found in the discipline. Below, you will find the results of some extensive searching! You will discover a wide variety of materials including readings, OER (Open Education Resources), primary documents, textbooks, lessons, activities,  interactives, videos, audios, and some great blog readings. There is bound to be something for any teacher. Best of all many of these resources will help build a Social Study Classroom e-curriculum while facilitating those important 21st century skills and engaging students! Enjoy your journey!

National Council for Social Studies – While NCSS has an outstanding website loaded with great information, you may wish to take a closer look at the Teacher Library. In this wonderful database NCSS has selected a collection of amazing classroom activities, teaching ideas, and articles from Social Education, Middle Level Learning, and Social Studies and the Young Learner. Educators can browse the collection, or search by historical period and grade level. It could pay off to take a moment and explore the site. Be sure to visit the lesson resources link for some outstanding lessons

Edsitement – The link brings you to the lesson plan page, be sure to explore other amazing areas in the site. The lesson plans can be explored by Art & Culture, World Language, History & Social Studies , AP U.S. History, and Literature & Language Arts. Be sure to explore the Student Resources. These are engaging interactive activities by grade or subject area collected from around the Web. They can be used to support related lesson plans or as standalone activities in the classroom.

New York Times Learning Network – The New York Times has a wonderful selection of articles and lessons that have a wide range of social studies ideas. You will find categories covering regular social studies, civics, american history, global history, this day in history, geography, current events, and economics. The lessons contain wonderful readings, graphics, and ideas to add to any social study class digital collection.

SAS Curriculum Pathways –  This is a wonderful collection of highly engaging lessons plans available for free from SAS Curriculum Pathways in North Carolina. With a collection of around 700 lesson plans as of this publication, the archive allows teachers to search and also browse through multiple social studies categories. The provided link will bring you to the Social Studies area of the site.

Teachers Pay Teachers – On a recent visit to this site there were  close to 80,000 social studies and history resources available.. It could then be narrowed down to almost 10,000 free social studies and history resources. The supplied link goes to those almost 10,000. With this many, it is real possible to find something. Best of all, use the keyword search and narrow it down more. If free is desired… be sure to turn on that filter.

Go Social Studies Go – This is an open education resource with a goal of bring free social studies textbooks to the work. The selection has text, graphics, movies, interactive activities, and other engaging links. Presently there are textbooks for US History, Ancient History, and World History.

Annenberg Learner – Here you will find a rich interactive collection of activities and they can all be yours to discover when you visit the Annenberg Learner  Social Science Collection. Choose from some engaging opportunities that will benefit a wide variety of social studies classrooms. You can pick from Psychology, Political Science, Area Studies/Geography, History, and Anthropology/Archeology.

OER Commons – What a wonderful place to find open educational resources. In fact, the link provided will bring up over 10, 000 resources just in the social sciences. Take some time and do a search for the exact category of social studies desired. There are some great resources that will supplement any curriculum.

Social Studies and History Teachers’ Blog – Discover this wonderful blog that allows all social studies related teacher to find something that just might fit into a lesson. Here you will find some fun reading, and a lot of engaging ideas.

Mr D’s Neighborhood – This is another creative social studies blog filled with valuable resources and information. It’s content is relevant, engaging, and bound to get students excited about learning all those areas that the social studies encompass. Get ready for a lot of resources.

Thank you for joining me and I hope you found this information something you can use in your school and useful to share with other educators. As always, I invite you to follow me on twitter (@mjgormans). Please give this post a retweet and pass it on to someone who will benefit. To ensure you do not miss a future valuable post or other resource covering PBL, Digital Curriculum, STEM, 21st century learning, and technology integration please sign up for 21centuryedtech by email or RSS. Have a great week… enjoy the Websites! – Mike (http://21centuryedtech.wordpress.com/

Booking Info – Time to think about your school or conference needs. Are you looking for a practical and affordable professional development workshop for your school or conference? I have traveled the country delivering PD relating to technology integration, PBL, STEM, Digital Literacy, and the 4 C’s. I have done 100′s of workshops and presentations. Check out my Booking Page… Please contact me soon if you have an interest. I am almost booked through August and am already taking fall dates for 2015 – Mike

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Online Learning for Inclement Weather… 25 Ideas and a Free Webinar

snowday

It seems that cold snowy weather has become a topic in regards to schools and making up days. Technology provides some new solutions, although these solutions must be carefully thought through and well planned. While I do not claim to have the total answer, I do have 25 ideas and want to point you to a free webinar provided by OLN (Online Learning Network) at ISTE. First, to ensure you do not miss a valuable post or other resources covering PBL, Digital Curriculum, Web 2.0, STEM, 21st century learning, and technology integration, please sign up for 21centuryedtech by email or RSS. As always,  I invite you to follow me on twitter (@mjgormans). Please give this post a retweet and pass it on. Have a great week – Michael Gorman (21centuryedtech)

Booking Info – Time to think about your school or conference needs. Are you looking for a practical and affordable professional development workshop for your school or conference?  I have traveled the country delivering PD relating to technology integration, PBL, STEM, Digital Literacy, and the 4 C’s. I have done 100′s of workshops and presentations.  Check out my Booking Page… Please contact me soon if you have an interest. I  am almost booked through May and am already taking spring and summer dates for 2015 – Mike

Online Learning for Inclement Weather… 25 Ideas and a Free Webinar (Read about the free webinar from the Online Learning Network at ISTE after the list of 25 ideas)

At a recent PBL Summit in Estes Park, Colorado I couldn’t help but remember last winter in Indiana as I looked at the snow capped peaks of the Rocky Mountains. The winter of 2014 was one that included lots of snow in the Midwest, and with the snow… lots of school snow days. The district that I work with decided to take the challenge of using e-learning to make up some of those days. I worked with a team of amazing educators in the district to help plan and implement this initiative. Of course… several years of one to one computing did help, but we also learned a number of strategies and ideas that I hope might help your school or district if you plan to look at e-learning as a possible solution for school make-up. I know there is a lot more to consider, but reflection on these may provide a good start. Please let me know if there might be others that could be included. I am also still learning!

  1. Determine if school and district have the resources to use an e-learning experience in such a fashion.
  2. Check any guidelines provided by the state DOE.
  3. Gather input from all district stakeholders including educators, parents, and students beforehand.
  4. Collect student data regarding home internet connectivity.
  5. Determine community wifi access points.
  6. Investigate possible home connect programs for students who do not have access.
  7. Provide labs and access points at buildings in the district and communicate availability to students and parents.
  8. Investigate student special needs and include provisions in individualized learning plans.
  9. Allow extra time on work to accommodate students who may have difficulty connecting on the day off.
  10. Provide building facilities outside of school hours to provide for students that have difficulty connecting.
  11. Attempt to blend lessons as much as possible with learning that would have taken place if school was in session.
  12. Provide training and assistance to teachers regarding the use of the district LMS and blended learning.
  13. Encourage teachers to provide some low tech solutions such as using a video that can be accessed by cell phone.
  14. Emphasize that safety comes first and that no one should venture out to an access point if weather is a problem.
  15. Make a plan for the program, communicate both online and offline,  and be sure that all stakeholders understand the way the program will work.
  16. Understand that student work load may be different online, and a forty minute class may only require half the work time.
  17. Ask that teachers be aware of not providing busy work, instead ensure that work is meaningful and relevant.
  18. Ask teachers to communicate with students after each school day off in order to get a temperature read for future planning
  19. Find examples and encourage teachers to plan lessons that help students understand how to learn in the digital world.
  20. Take advantage of opportunities to promote digital citizenship.
  21. Attempt to set up teacher office hours that provide multiple avenues of connection while also allowing for anonymity in contact information.
  22. Provide opportunities and understanding that allows real blended learning to become a daily practice, not just an item saved for school closings.
  23. Understand that the district may need to make different accommodations for students unable to participate in this type of program.
  24. Evaluate, revise, and reflect on the program on a consistent basis.
  25. Celebrate both large and small successes with constant communication and public relations.

Free Online Learning For Inclement Weather

In conclusion, I also invite you to a very special webinar presented by the Online Learning Network at ISTE. You will learn from some amazing individuals representing school districts across the country. Join the discussion! In this webinar, three districts will share how they implemented online learning options to make up snow days. It is a must attend presentation and you will find more information and how you can register below.

Thank you for joining me and I hope you found this information something you can use in your school and useful to share with other educators.  As always, I invite you to follow me on twitter (@mjgormans). Please give this post a retweet and pass it on to someone who will benefit.   To ensure you do not miss a future valuable post or other resource covering PBL, Digital Curriculum, STEM, 21st century learning, and technology integration please sign up for 21centuryedtech by email or RSS. Have a great week… enjoy the Websites! – Mike (http://21centuryedtech.wordpress.com/

Booking Info – Are you looking for a practical and affordable professional development workshop for your school or conference?  I have traveled the country delivering PD relating to technology integration, PBL, STEM, Digital Literacy, and the 4 C’s. I have done 100′s of workshops and presentations.  Check out my Booking Page… dates are filling! … Mike Gorman

 

 

 

 

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