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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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Google Classroom… Where Does It Fit… Ten Steps To Help Determine

googleclassroom

 

Many of us may have taken some time learning and working with a new Learning Management System… and then… along comes Google Classroom. In this post I will attempt to help you reflect on how Google Classroom could compliment what you are already using. I will also provide 10 steps to reflect on when determining how  Google Classroom might fit existing parameters.  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 January and am already taking spring and summer dates for 2015 – Mike

By now you probably have learned about the entry of Google Classroom across the country. At the very same time you might be finally getting use to the LMS  (Learning Management System) your school district has adopted.  Before you you throw out the old and/or run from the new… you might just want to take a breathe, sit down, and consider how both might have a place in your 21st century classroom. 
As in all technology integration, it really comes down to purpose of the tool you are using. Chances are your LMS (Learning Management System) has a wonderful place by now in your classroom. Is there a reason for something new? This provides an opportunity to weigh in on both your LMS  strengths and weakness. Is there something you wish it could do? Are there are things it can do, but do not seem streamlined? Are you already using Google Apps and Drive but wish things could flow just a little better?

Next… you may wish to read about and become more familiar with Google Classroom. What might be one thing it allows you to do that your LMS does not? Perhaps there is something that will make productivity easier.  This might be the perfect opportunity for you, or a team of teachers, to put the information regarding your LMS and Google Classroom on a Venn Diagram. After careful and collaborative study you and your peers might find one item you might wish to adopt from Google Classroom. In fact, that one item might just save you time and allow you and your students to be more productive. If there are other items, put those on the back table… focus on the one. 

Next, consider what you might need to do to make that one item possible. Does it involve a new link in your LMS?  Do you need to build, or better yet… have your IT Department build, a class set up in Google? Also, note that you can have students opt into a class using a code. You might also want to  give a new set of directions to your students. Could this be posted on a LMS and authored collaboratively? 

If you find that one thing, you can now make a plan and involve others if possible. Give it a test run and be ready to evaluate. In your evaluation, consider if it worked as you wished, increased productivity, and provided a valuable resource. Next consider if it should  it be continued, and what refinements are needed? 

There really is a wonderful chance that you will find new success. Be sure to celebrate your success and take some time away before trying one more step. As technology progresses there will always be a new possibility. Our job as educators is to decide how it works with what we already have. We must also consider if it provides our students the best learning experience possible. If we can do this collectively we will  be able to do so much more. Last, take a moment to enjoy the fruits of your labor and relax before trying the next possible application that Google Classroom might allow for.
In the space below I have provided some steps you may wish to think about while deciding if a new tool such as Google Classroom should be piloted. Of course, you may already be a Google Docs District… which may help with one or two steps. Remember that Google Classroom may actually not replace that LMS you are feeling so comfortable with… but it just might enhance it. 

10 Steps To Consider

1. Study and research Google Classroom
2. Determine the abilities of Google Classroom and the current LMS. (Venn Diagram could help)
3. Decide on one tool Google Classroom offers that could add to productivity
4. Determine what needs to happen to make that one tool work
6. Inform and prepare for student implementation
7. Test this one item
8. Evaluate and determine usage and possible refinement
9. Continue to practice and enjoy the new productivity
10. Enjoy, relax, and allow time before taking another step.

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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Ten Ideas To Move Classroom Technology Closer To Blended Learning

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Welcome to a post where I reflect on the idea of blended learning. In this post I will attempt to provide 10 ideas that can turn simple technology integration into a blended learning environment. 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 January and am already taking spring and summer dates for 2015 – Mike

There has been a lot of discussion as to what blended learning really means. Most of us have come to realize that it probably involves the classroom and technology. In fact, the 1 to 1 programs across the nation emphasize the technology as an important component of classroom instruction. Yet, is emphasizing technology in the classroom really Blended Learning? The answer is… maybe! A closer look needs to be taken in order to see how the technology is being used.

As we employ the 1 to 1 experience, we need to ask two important questions. Is the 1 to 1 and the device about using technology, or is it about a more meaningful and engaging learning experience? Spending a day online for individual research can be a wonderful simple integration of technology experience, but might not be a true blended learning opportunity. Asking students to research and then collaborate with each other online in a collective experience takes this integration and provides more of a blended experience.

The blended learning experience allows technology and the online experience to breakdown the traditional classroom allowing important transformation. One might wonder where on the spectrum of simple integration to blending learning a possible learning activity might be. I would like to share a lens of ten ideas that educators may wish to look at as they reflect on their 1 to 1 activity and classroom learning experiences that use technology . Sometimes it is just a simple tweak to bring out the wonderful possibilities of blended learning. Please feel free to read my ideas below that might allow you to use classroom technology to bring out a richer and blended learning experience.

Use Technology to:

  1. Reach beyond the classroom walls for learning opportunities, collaboration, and audience
  2. Create a student driven/centered learning environment
  3. Allow for collaborative experiences in and out of the classroom
  4. Permit student control over learning, allowing for important voice and choice
  5. Provide opportunities for remixing of information leading to innovation and creativity
  6. Give opportunities for personalized and differentiated learning
  7. Promote convergent and divergent thinking  in order to promote inquiry and critical thinking 
  8. Encourage student invention of new products and possibilities to demonstrate learning
  9. Exploring authentic and real learning experiences.
  10. Establishing opportunities for anytime/anywhere learning

As we continue to explore technology facilitation and 1 to 1 learning experiences it is important that we understand the blurred line between simple technology integration and blended learning.  While simple technology integration is a wonderful step, it is important to reflect and refine our practice and allow our classrooms to provide opportunities for real authentic blended learning experiences.

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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Essential Connections of STEM, PBL, and Tech Integration… What Would Dewey Think?

dewey_stem

 

Welcome to a post where I bring together three of my favorite areas of educational transformation. As I deliver workshops across the country I am reminded of how much we need to prepare STEM educators with regards to process of delivery. After all, STEM (or STEAM) is so much more than content. How can Project Based Learning and technology integration work to create a process for STEM? It is so important in education to remember that it is not the final product, but the journey, that allows for the learning to take place. 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 new school year 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. Remember that I have limited dates since I also still provide PD for my own district. Please contact me soon. – Mike

Essential Connections of STEM, PBL, and Tech Integration… What Would Dewey Think?      Michael Gorman at (https://21centuryedtech.wordpress.com)

“Give the pupils something to do, not something to learn; and the doing is of such a nature as to demand thinking; learning naturally results.” – John Dewey

It has been exciting to work in both the STEM, PBL, and technology integration field. In fact, I have an opportunity to provide professional development across the country involving all three. As a long-time advocate of STEM education, technology integration, and more recently Project Based Learning (PBL), I can’t help but see how these three concepts really do complement one another. These initiatives  take on three important roles to make a wonderful classroom learning environment for students. STEM (or STEAM) includes those all important content standards that have often been taught isolated from each other.  PBL provides an important process and pedagogy that allows for the integrated delivery of this content. Technology integration acts as the conductor, glue, and amplifier allowing for increased productivity and learning opportunities.  Both STEM and PBL depend on a student need to know and inquiry, which allows for higher level learning. Technology integration provides tools to drive  this process. Additionally, they all facilitate and promote important 21st century competencies.  STEM includes the integration of the curricular areas of Science, Technology, Math, and Engineering. This integration allows for connections and an authenticity that is essential to both PBL and STEM.  Technology  provides the necessary conduit to the real world, breaking down the walls of the classroom and creating a real-world blended learning environment.

Best practice behind the disciplines of STEM are changing. The Common Core State Standards, and other state high quality standards (that have opted out of CCSS), place a strong emphasis on scientific literacy involving student writing about process. These standards also demand that students understand concepts in depth while making relationships to real world applications. It is no longer acceptable to just find the answer to a math equation. Students must be able to apply their math skills to the real world.  The Next Generation Science Standards promote the kind of application found in engineering and technology, demanding formulation of a problem that is solved by design thinking. These standards state, “Strengthening the engineering aspects of the Next Generation Science Standards will clarify for students the relevance of science, technology, engineering and mathematics (the four STEM fields) to everyday life.”

PBL, with its emphasis on authenticity, connections, inquiry, and process, is able to provide these disciplines a necessary pedagogy.  It allows students to own their learning while promoting the inquiry of science, resourcefulness of technology, design principles found in engineering, and application of math. Integrating the subjects encourages student innovation, promotes authentic learning, and allows students to see connections with their community and between content areas. It’s true; PBL can be the delivery method as well as the connector of separate content areas. While it is optimal to blend classes together, it is entirely possible to provide a STEM environment through teacher awareness of outside discipline areas and collaboration with other educators on school schedule.

I began with technology integration at the start of my career integrating the use of scientific recording equipment, cameras, compasses, and archaeology tools to teach content area skills in the outdoor environment back in the 70′s. I tell this story because it is important to remember that tools are the foundation for technology integration. Today there are so many additional tools that can be used.  It wasn’t until the advent of the Apple II that I started using a computer in the classroom, and at that point I discovered another amazing tool. Today’s computing devices provide both an opportunity for students to learn and inquire, as well as to produce, publish, and connect to the real world. It is the technology integration that provides the ability to amplify the content of STEM and the process of PBL. Through this amplification our students become engaged and can enter a flow, allowing for authentic and exciting learning opportunities. While the computer is important, one must think beyond the device!  Imagine what John Dewey would do with all of the technological possibilities of today!

As I reflect on my STEM practice, I am aware of the integral way PBL facilitates student learning. One of my favorite STEM projects involves a spin-off of a Rube Goldberg study. Sixth graders work in collaborative teams to design a system utilizing necessary scientific elements, while incorporating detailed constraints. They learn significant science content relating to systems and simple machines, and math content involving measurement and scale. Student teams communicate, debate, and tinker using the process of revision and reflection.  Design thinking is evident as students carefully plan using programs such as SketchUp to put thoughts on paper, and later transfer their ideas to a real working model. Technology is incorporated which includes hammers, glue guns, and, of course, the computer to produce engineering designs, learn content, and connect with the real world.  Excitement swells as they  test their contraptions with mentor engineers on that last day but, more importantly, engagement and learning are evident through the entire process.

I often use the program West Point Bridge Design to promote mathematics and physics skills with seventh grade students. Working in collaborative contractor teams, students uncover the STEM content area in order to design a computer simulated bridge. They answer the Driving Question, “How can we build a working bridge at the lowest cost possible?” Through a formative learning process students experience the rigorous math and physics found in engineering while practicing 21st century competencies.

In another STEM project that incorporates a national competition called Future City, eighth grade students use science and math to design a future city using the popular simulation SIM City. They later transform their creation by designing a model of a city built using mathematical scale. Engineer mentors provide the important guidance and public audience that leads to real world connections.

The connection between STEM, PBL, and technology integration  can be further seen through an examination of PBL’s Eight Essential Elements that are promoted by BIE, the BUCK Institute for Education. I also encourage you to browse the projects at BIE. When you find a project that encompasses multiple STEM subject areas, you may have found your next STEM opportunity. Also, look for future posts that include some PBL and STEM ideas.

The famous educator John Dewey said, “Give the pupils something to do, not something to learn; and the doing is of such a nature as to demand thinking; learning naturally results.” This practice is at the very center of PBL and STEM. As we look at the Next Generation Science Standards, the Common Core State Standards for math and literacy, and the other high quality standards adopted by states outside of the CCSS,  it is clear that PBL, STEM, and technology integration are a natural and essential connection.

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/

Get ready for more information on STEM resources as part of this series, and also an examination of differences between Project Based, Problem Based, Inquiry Based, Challenge Based, and … Design Based Learning. But first, take time to sign up and follow me on twitter (@mjgormans). –  Michael Gorman (https://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… Please contact me soon if you have an interest. It is not to early to think about planning PD for the next school year …. dates are  already beginning to fill!

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Back To School 2014…10 Amazing 21st Century Lessons From An Almost Analog Native

analog

Thanks for joining me as I share my back-to-school post. While I do not have my usual listing of resource links… I believe I have something that will make you smile and remind you why you are an educator. I hope you enjoy this story and its ten timeless educational lessons. This post is a reminder that teaching truly is an amazing art. Let’s all keep up the wonderful painting and please pass these lessons on to others.  Please take a moment to subscribe by email or RSS and also give me a follow on Twitter at mjgormans.  I promise you will find some great information coming your way through out the school year …So Sign Up Now and please take a moment to share and retweet this article. Your effort is appreciated… Please enjoy! – Mike

Booking Info – Before reading the article please take some time to think about your new school year 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. My summer was booked and my 2014/15 calendar is beginning to fill! Remember that I have limited dates, since I also still provide PD for my own district. Please contact me soon. – Mike

Back To School 2014…10 Amazing 21st Century  Lessons From An Almost Analog Native

It was a normal first day back to school. The building was still quiet and still. I could sense there was an air of extreme excitement and anticipation in the air. I sat at my desk and pondered the reality of a new year wondering about the new faces I would greet.  I already knew that all too soon I would be waving good bye to another group I had come to know so well. It is amazing what the short period of a school year brings to both educators and students.  Suddenly awakened from what was either my deep reflection or possibly a type of relaxing nap that only the whisperings of being another year older can bring, a panicked voice was heard at my classroom door.

He was a brand new teacher dressed as one who just might enlighten the downtown business club, yet he stood with the glazed eyes of a student still waiting for that moment of enlightenment. I had seen it all before, perhaps even in the reflection of a distant mirror over thirty-four years ago. He was summoning me to his room, not that I regarded it as his… at least not yet. You see, I had great respect for the educator who had been a part of the four walls that this soon to be teacher was leading me to. As he led me through the doorway of his new headquarters for dissemination of information I couldn’t help but notice a peculiar feeling of past warmth that was missing. It was a indescribable void, covering a large aura which had been in place for nearly fifty years.

As he motioned for me to look at the archaic blackboard behind the new, still packaged, and not yet plugged in interactive whiteboard I couldn’t help but smile. There, still written with chalk that  had the smell of fresh dust, were the words “A Message from an Analog Native”.  Then I heard the young teacher’s voice asking how he might  get rid of the words. He pleaded that, after all, he saw no button to push to dissolve the print. I smiled and walked to the board and picked up the eraser. I cleverly planned to display to this obviously digital native, one of this school’s first such inductees, the magic of an eraser. I even had my strategy for providing a professional development moment on the use of chalk. After all, improper use of chalk can lead to an annoying screech that will send most students diving under their desks. As I held up the eraser I walked to the board and began to perform the ancient teacher ritual of erasing a black… not green,board. Amazingly, it did not work out the way I had planned. As I observed the pupils of this brand new teacher’e eyes grow large, I turned to the board and took a step back in awe. Not only were the words not disappearing… but new words were beginning to appear underneath. It was now quite obvious that we were both extremely engaged in the lesson that was about to begin. I have recorded for you the amazing script that came before my eyes that very day.

A Message from an (almost) Analog Native

Welcome to your new classroom. I am sure you are going to explain and teach in a way that I might never understand. You see, I come from a day of filmstrip projectors that beeped, ditto paper that left my fingers blue and the students enjoying the scent, bells that really did ring out a mechanical melody, 16 millimeter films that, if in color, amazed the kids. In fact, if these films were shown backwards it provided bonus entertainment. In recent years I have heard words that are so strange to me. These words include foreign terms such as twitter, blog, wiki, Skype, web 2.0, clickers, and interactive whiteboards. I have heard all this talk about 21st century skills and I am not even sure if I can tell you what they are. So there you have it. I am not one of those digital natives, nor am I a digital immigrant! I may not even be an analog native or immigrant. So, even though I do not know all the new terms, I thought that I might give you a list of ten items I feel just might ensure success no matter what century it is.

The Ten Timeless Lessons From an Almost Analog Native

  1.  You come to school to serve your students…. put them at the center of their learning. Find great books, integrate fascinating projects, and include engaging resources.  As you do this, always remember that students must be at the center of their learning.
  2.  As you teach you will come upon some amazing tools…. use them to amplify real learning. My very first full sized erasable blackboard was wonderful and I was amazed by the pull down map. I remember the very first time I used colored chalk and our very first classroom set of encyclopedias. Imagine having almost all the knowledge of the world in your classroom. Please remember that tools are only as effective as those who use them. You will be introduced to amazing new tools. Make sure these tools become the servants and not the masters of your teaching.
  3. Realize that every student is truly gifted and it is your job is to find that special gift and make the student aware of it. Each gift is different and will ultimately lead that student to an interest and vocation that they find great pleasure in while contributing to society. They may even come back some day and thank you for revealing that gift to them.
  4. Learning does not just happen in the classroom so open your students to the world by introducing them to experts, authors, cultures, and multiple disciplines. Teach them to become lifetime learners who will embrace learning beyond the classroom and beyond their school experience. It seems this world is ever changing and, in order to keep up with things, they may need to someday be their own teacher.
  5. Allow your students the experience of searching for success allowing multiple attempts, occasional failure, and eventual triumph. Learning does not always need to be graded, but must always be guided. Remember, it is not always the destination, but in most instances… the journey. Allow your students those journeys with multiple opportunities and outcomes.
  6. Encourage cooperation, teamwork, and healthy competition as yo teach your students that the thoughts and contributions of many can be so much more powerful than just the contribution of one. Emphasize true discussion and listening, and allow for discourse. The ability to work, plan, and play together has been, and always will be, an important skill.
  7. Promote thinking that is outside what many might consider the box allowing your students to have their own ideas, play with possibilities, and invent what doesn’t exist. Not everything in life can come from your textbook. Remember, what we believe as facts today could change in twenty-five to fifty years. It seems that information probably doubles every hundred years. I suppose that might even speed up a bit as time goes on.
  8. All of us learn best by doing so allow your students to not just hear it or read about it but provide them with real life experiences and allow then to do it. Guide them as they are doing so they are learning relevant content and gaining new skills. Give them some say in what they are doing.
  9. Remember your humanness and always have a sense of humor and be yourself. Remember that teaching is a people business. Enjoy the laughter, the stories, the victories, the accomplishment, and the small (but really big) moments that can only happen in a real live classroom. Some say that someday robots or some kind of two way wireless radio will take over education. I truly think this will never happen because teachers will always show that the human element is essential. A smile from a real person sure beats that of a  robot or a distant person on a wireless radio covered in distant sounds of static.
  10. Always remember that you teach children… not subjects such as science, history, arithmetic, ciphering, citizenship, reading, English, and shop. You see, it is the teaching of children that convinced me to get into this amazing business… and it is the reason that most great teachers have a hard time giving up a classroom like this.

Please take good care of this classroom. It never was mine, only one that I was allowed not just to educate children in, but so much more. It was a classroom in which I was allowed to perpetuate a culture of learning for almost fifty years. You see, not all of these ideas were mine. I found them on an old slate lying in a back closet when I first entered this room. I was so happy I had a pencil in hand, because no faster had I made my copy than the words on the slate disappeared. I think I may have made a few changes. I know I will have a chance in my retirement to read about some of these new tools and even learn about these 21st century skills. It will probably give me a chance think about what I might have done to make learning in my classroom even better. When I find out… I might even send you a message. Until then, please take care of this old classroom and, more importantly, take even more care with those children who will enter tomorrow and thereafter. I know you will perpetuate the culture of learning that has permeated these four walls for more years than even those I taught.

You know… there wasn’t much to say. I looked at the new kid who seemed even more ready to teach. His eyes appeared already a few years older. As we both stood there we saw the old blackboard magically erase and turn a clean dark shade of black. I picked up the eraser that I had dropped during this unusual encounter and handed it over to the new guy. He opened the closet door and threw it in. I heard a gentle thump as it landed on something that may have been a slate. Together, we both unpacked and plugged in his new interactive whiteboard. He carefully positioned it so he could still see a portion of that old blackboard from his desk. We both knew why. As I walked out of the room that day I couldn’t help but think about the history that just might occur in that old classroom in the next fifty years. But, I had plans to make and students to get ready for as I was incorporating many of those new 21st century skills I had been reading about all summer. I was so excited about providing so many new opportunities for my students. After all, this is a new era for new techniques and strategies.

Thanks for joining me on this wonderful journey of 21st century (and even before that) learning. Join me in future weeks as together we continue to explore several more posts devoted to the Flipped Classrooms, Project Based Learning, Assessing 21st century skills, technology integration, web resources, PBL,  digital literacy, and the common core.  I enjoy learning from all of you. Also remember to subscribe to this blog by RSS or email and follow me on twitter at mjgormans. I also appreciate your sharing of this post and any retweets. Keep up the amazing work,  have a great week, and a enjoy this wonderful brand new school year. Welcome to the Future! – Mike Gorman

Booking Info – Before reading the article please take some time to think about your new school year 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. My summer was booked and my 2014/15 calendar is beginning to fill! Remember that I have limited dates, since I also still provide PD for my own district. Please contact me soon. – Mike

 

 

 

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