This was taken at twilight on at the end of a beautiful Sunday by using My Stop Action app. The ability of these apps to make it so easy to create quality products still amazes me. This makes it possible for students to spend less time on the technology and more time on discovering and demonstrate knowledge and skills.
This Popplet was created for a PD session on the use of personal devices in classrooms. By no means is it an exhaustive list of activities that incorporate students’ devices–just a few suggestions. Pick one and start!
I am always interested in reading the quotes that people put in their email signatures. It seems to be a way to define yourself, a logo or mantra. I have never been able to choose just one quote because I feel like a different person each day. So I have just a plain name, title and contact information in my signature. I’m looking for a good quote though. Any suggestions?
The quotes below are gleaned from the last two days of emails.*
“The illiterate of the 21st century will not be those who cannot read and write, but those who cannot learn, unlearn, and relearn.” Alvin Toffler
“A pessimist sees the difficulty in every opportunity; an optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty.” Winston Churchill
“Everyday, everywhere, our children spread their dreams beneath our feet. And we should tread softly.” Sir Ken Robinson
“There are two means of refuge from the miseries of life: music and cats.” Albert Schweitzer.
” Education is a social process. Education is growth. Education is not a preparation for life; Education is life itself.” John Dewey
“I am convinced that the best learning takes place when the learner takes charge…” –Seymour Papert
“Happiness does not come from doing easy work but from the afterglow of satisfaction that comes after the achievement of a difficult task that demanded our best.” ~ Theodore Isaac Rubin
‘Believe nothing, no matter where you read it, or who said it, no matter if I have said it, unless it agrees with your own reason and your own common sense.’ Buddha
Sent from my iPhone
*I have not verified these quotes…just copied them from the emails.
These poetry contests might inspire the next Earle Birney or Margaret Atwood…
Canada Writes Poetry Prize
Sponsor: CBC Books
Deadline: May 1, 2012
Prizes: First Prize $6000 + publication, 4 Second Prizes of $1000 + publication
Format: Poetry, 400-600 words
Open to: Canadians of all ages, $25 entry fee
Kisses and Popsicles Spring Poetry Contest:
Sponsor: Pandora’s Collective
Deadline: May 15, 2012
Prizes: Varies between $30 and $100 depending on age, and publication
Format: Poetry, Maximum lines is 50
Open to: All countries, all ages (3 age categories), $3-$5 per entry
Refugees and Human Rights Child and Youth Poetry Contest
Sponsor: COSTI Immigrant Services
Deadline: May 16, 2012
Prizes: 3 First Prizes of $200.00 each. 3 Second and Third Prizes of $100.00 each.
Topic: Refugees and Human Rights
Format: An original poem 24 or fewer lines
Open to: Canadian, Grades 4-12, no entry fee
Looking for authentic writing opportunities for your students? Here are some contests and other opportunities to give them real life exposure. They are in order of deadline. The last two are contests for teachers!
Our Canada Magazine
Sponsor: Reader’s Digest
Prizes: Free year subscription and publication
Topic: True life Canadian stories, humorous anecdotes, pictures and more
Format: up to 600 words
Open to: everyone
Hilroy Spread the Word Environmental Award
Deadline: May 18, 2012
Prizes: $5000 RESP
Topic: Environmental Action
Format: “Like” Hilroy on Facebook, then submit essay-max 250 words, and picture
Open to: Canadian Students (10-18) who need to be nominated through Facebook by someone 18 or over
Teacher Talent Contest
Sponsor: Teach Hub
Deadline: April 30, 2012
Prizes: $1000 for First Prize, $500 for Second Prize, $100 for 3rd, 4th and 5th
Topic: Teaching or any other talent
Format: Videos up to 5 minutes
Open to: American teachers
Instructables Education Challenge
Sponsor: Instructables, Autodesk Inc.
Deadline: June 4, 2012
Prizes: MacBook Air and VGA adaptor for First Prize, other prizes available
Topic: Project Based Learning activities
Format: Videos, Photos and/or Guides
Open to: Teachers in USA, Canada, UK, Australia, Belguim, China, The Netherlands
Yesterday I watched a TEDx video from Jeff Jarvis who said that students do not need to “memorize in the age of Google”. Why would you need to memorize things that can be looked up in a moment from a device we carry in our pocket? I have often heard and agreed with this comment in the past. While “rote” memorization is generally a thing of the past, I am now rethinking the idea that students do not need to memorize. Students need to remember enough basic knowledge to be able to innovate. They also need to be able to critically examine data they find on the Internet—this requires background knowledge and experiences.
Google is apparently increasing our ability to remember how to find information on the internet or stored on our computers. Recent studies of post secondary students have shown that they remember less information when they know that they will have access to the information in the future. However, they were better at remembering how to find the information a second time than those who were told they would have no access. In addition, we are developing a shared memory with our social network and the “web” similar to how “one partner in a married couple might be better at remembering birthdays, while the other might specialise in bank details. Together, they have a ‘transactive memory’, a collective store of information that each can draw upon.”
However, are we able to access the best information? Google does not provide the same search results to different people, even with identical search terms. The results are filtered by algorithms based on which browser you use, the past searches you have made, where you are, and which computer you are using, along with over 50 other “signals”. For example, one person might type in the word “Egypt” and the search results on the first page would be factual items like Wikipedia, travel sites, and the World Factbook. Another person with the same search using only “Egypt” might get items on the riots and crisis in Egypt of 2011 along with the factual information. This personalization is happening in many other places on the Internet like Facebook and many news sites. We may be getting information that suits our preferences, but are we getting the information we need to understand our world and differing perspectives? Until there is some sort of Internet news “watchdog” that ensures objectivity or civic responsibility, our students need to be able to remember enough factual information to judge the reliability of the information they are receiving.
Creating new ideas also requires an abundance of background knowledge and experiences. We can get the students to research an issue before brainstorming solutions. However, in order for students to write about that solution, they need to have a large vocabulary. You can think of an idea and search for a word to match that idea, but it is doubtful that you will always be successful. Memorizing the periodic table seems illogical, but students often do not know what they will do after high school. They may want to become a pharmacist or a bioengineer. In that case, they will need to memorize at least the first 20 elements of the periodic table. You can have a periodic table in front of you at all times (on paper or device), but will you be able to make any significant discoveries if the information needed is not readily available in your mind? I believe creativity requires knowledge and experiences from many diverse subjects in order for the mind to be able to transcend the obvious and create something new.
Regardless of whether we think Google is destroying our mind’s ability to remember or not, it’s here to stay. Personal devices are only going to increase in number and functionality. That’s why it’s important to teach our students how to access quality information. They need to be able to critically examine both their search results and the sites they visit. It’s hard to be critical of someone else’s ideas without any background knowledge—memorized or at least familiar. That being said, I am not suggesting that students memorize lists of vocabulary words, multiplication tables or elements. It is not the simple memorization of facts that will improve our students’ ability to innovate and think critically. Authentic, rich tasks create experiences and connections that deepen memory. These tasks also increase students’ problem-solving and communication skills. Teachers need to design learning opportunities that help students remember or “memorize” knowledge to ensure their success as citizens of the 21st century.
Majesta Trees of Knowledge Competition
Get outside! Up to 10 schools across Canada will win $17,500 to transform their school’s property with an outdoor classroom. An additional $2500 is provided in the form of technical advice and teaching resources from Trees Canada.
- Deadline is January 27th.
- Application includes essay or video, landscape plan, project description and viability and community support
- Get more details here: http://www.majestatreesofknowledge.ca/
CDW Teaching with Technology
Do you have a good story to tell about how you use technology to achieve student success in your classroom? The Teaching with Technology Contest has four ways to enter:
- Send them a story (two winners of $5000 in tech products)
- Send them a video (one winner of $5000 in tech products)
- Just enter your name! ( The sweepstakes winner gets $5500 in tech products)
- Tweet ur tech story-unlimited entries (You can win $500 in tech products)
- Deadline is February 29, 2012
- Get more details here: http://teachingwithtechnology.ca/
My friend Christine went to Costa Rica last Christmas for a family vacation in the sun. Before she went, though, she gathered school supplies from everyone (other teachers at our school, neighbours, family) to bring to a local school near her hotel. Her seven year old son insisted that he didn’t want a toy for Christmas; he wanted to give the children at the school more school supplies.
They were very happy to personally meet the teachers and students at the school. Surprisingly, the school was completely empty of supplies so everything was greatly appreciated.
This year Christine’s family is going back to Costa Rica and she has even recruited Walmart to donate supplies. They have amassed 150 lbs of supplies!
Christine made all her own connections with the local school in advance. However, if you are like me and wouldn’t know where to start, thankfully someone else does!
You can go to www.packforapurpose.org and easily find how to “make a impact on the lives of children” wherever you are travelling in the world.
The Pack for a Purpose motto is “Small space, Little Effort, Big Impact” because they suggest that if everyone sets aside only 5 lbs in their luggage for local needs and is able to drop it off at their hotel, then it will make a big impact.
What a fantastic idea! This would also be an excellent part of the planning for any overseas school trip. I know I will be checking out their website before I pack for my next trip!