After spending a couple hours this evening troubleshooting some irritating WordPress header issues caused by WP Super Cache, I think I have it properly installed and configured. This post is going to be the test to see if my web server can avoid a crash after I click the publish button in WordPress and share the link on social media. I have QUITE a few posts that I’ve been wanting (and even NEEDING, with the K-12 Online Conference almost over now) to share, but there hasn’t been any point in writing new posts if each of them would crash my server.
Here’s a lesson learned: There is great value in using a free blogging platform like Blogger.com or a commercially supported platform like WordPress.com or SquareSpace. When you self-host a WordPress website, the technical support your hosting provider can or will give you is limited and may not be sufficient to help you troubleshoot all the problems you’ll encounter. I’m still very glad to be using WordPress (I’m still maintaining something like 30 different installs across different domains now) but I’m more aware than ever of the “limits” of my own technical expertise and troubleshooting abilities. I continue to try and develop these further, but sometimes my need for technical help outstrips my “geek quotient.”
Hopefully “WP Super Cache” will be my rescuer tonight and solve my server instability problems!
WP Super Cache To the Rescue originally appeared on Moving at the Speed of Creativity on October 30, 2014.]]>
I based my mastery grid off the versions used by my friend and colleague, Amy Loeffelholz, who teaches STEM at our other grade 4-5 elementary in Yukon, Oklahoma. Please use and share this with others!
Mastery Grid with Openly Licensed Icons originally appeared on Moving at the Speed of Creativity on October 23, 2014.]]>
Whenever a student suggested a different dimensional possibility, we worked out the perimeter calculation together. For this reason, we have some correct “24 block perimeter calculations” and some that are incorrect. I could “feel” many light bulbs going on for several students during these conversations, as they compared their perceptions of this challenge (multiplying adjacent sides of a quadrilateral to calculate area) with the actual way we need to compute perimeter. This is the second day of a three day MinecraftEDU geometry building challenge, which is briefly summarized in this four slide Google Presentation. This slide below shows the three elements of the building challenge, and today we focused on part 2 which involves perimeter.
The other reason I think today’s lesson went so well is that I changed the MinecraftEDU world and world settings we’re using for the challenge. Instead of building in “Creative Mode,” which can be really distracting for experienced Minecraft students because many will try to put on armor, get potions, and work with other advanced blocks or objects that are entirely unrelated to our classroom challenge, this time we’re working in “MinecraftEDU mode.” This is not “survival” or “creative” mode, it’s kind of a hybrid. Students must mine for resources, but I started them out with some wood, wooden tools and torches. Student work in “MinecraftEDU mode” has been FAR more focused and on task than in past lessons, and I think I big reason is we are NOT in “Creative mode.” I also think the “Group Building Areas” MinecraftEDU world we’re using (FREE, hat tip to Kevin Jarrett) is a major positive, since it’s allowing students to work in segmented / separated areas (fenced off from each other with special MinecraftEDU fence blocks students can’t cross) with just a single partner. This has facilitated collaboration and minimized both griefing and off-task behavior as some students often “get into each other’s business” when we’ve used other worlds that are wide open in terms of where students can go.
I was absolutely thrilled with the quality of conversations I had with multiple student groups today, not only in our pre-MinecraftEDU building discussions in our classroom before we went to the computer lab, but also IN the computer lab as students were showing me their corrals. Most student groups had to make modifications because they did not initially get the “perimeter must be 24″ measurement correct. This is fine and welcome, however, since it shows how they were not yet grasping the perimeter concept and it gave them opportunities to fix their “builds” and try again. Every group got it right, but some had to try two or three different times. That’s STEM! Iterative construction to achieve a goal!
I totally love it when students are able to grapple with math concepts like this in a concrete, meaningful context – and MinecraftEDU has provided that for us this week. I’m energized by today’s lesson and can’t wait to share it again with my other six classes tomorrow!
Check out more of my MinecraftEDU lesson ideas and resources on my STEM classroom curriculum wiki. Thanks to encouragement from Ben Wikoff (@bhwilkoff) in his 2014 K-12 Online Conference keynote for the “Stories for Learning” strand, I’ve also started recording 6 second stories at school of things I’ve learned. This week much of my new learning has focused on MinecraftEDU! Check out and subscribe to my new Vine channel to see more.
Great STEM Conversations About Perimeter in MinecraftEDU originally appeared on Moving at the Speed of Creativity on October 22, 2014.]]>
I also challenged OKCPS board members to visit ClassenSAS and celebrate the “jewel” which the school is within our city, providing many Oklahoma City students from around our district with outstanding educational opportunities. I specifically mentioned how one of the students my wife taught last year at Positive Tomorrows is attending ClassenSAS as a sixth grader this year. I sense some of our OKCPS board members have misconceptions about ClassenSAS. It’s a wonderfully diverse school filled with talented students from all walks of life, and deserves more support from our board members.
Public comments are limited to just three minutes in OKCPS. Many thanks to the OKCPS board for providing this opportunity for input by parents like me at the board meeting, and for considering my requests.
Comments to the Oklahoma City Board of Education: Oct 20, 2014 originally appeared on Moving at the Speed of Creativity on October 20, 2014.]]>
The three requirements for student teams in this Geometry building challenge this year will be:
One of the technical challenges of facilitating this lesson is that I use two different computers as MinecraftEDU servers, and this year neither of them are physically located in the computer lab we’ll be using. One of these computers is a Mac Mini running OS 10.8, and another is a Dell running Windows 7. On Wednesday before I left school for our two-day fall break, I figured out how to use free software to control BOTH of these computers remotely from my Apple laptop, so I can save each class’ MinecraftEDU world and open a fresh / clean version of the world for each class on day 1 of the building challenge. After the first day, I’ll have to save/close each class’ world and open the last-saved version of the next class’ world. I’ve learned from experience that following a consistent file naming syntax is very important to streamline this process.
To remotely control my classroom Dell desktop computer running Windows 7, I use free Microsoft Remote Desktop Connection Client software. By entering the IP address of my computer along with my school district domain login credentials, I’m able to have full access to the computer via my Apple laptop anywhere in our building when I’m connected to wifi. This includes the ability to open and save MinecraftEDU server worlds.
Last year I kept the Mac Mini I also use as a MinecraftEDU server in our computer lab, so I didn’t need to remotely control it, but this year I’m keeping it in my 2nd classroom which is our “Maker Studio.” MinecraftEDU is one of the five different stations or centers currently available in our Maker Studio. Since this computer isn’t physically located in our computer lab, I need a way to remotely control it just like I can with my desktop Dell.
I knew Apple Remote Desktop is commercial software available which I could use to do this, but that’s software our IT Department uses and I don’t have access to it. Thanks to a Google Search for “free mac remote control”, however, I discovered some articles (like this one) which explained how to use the freely provided “Screen Sharing” Mac app for basic remote control functionality on a single computer.
Step one was to enable “Screen Sharing” on the Mac Mini (acting as a MinecraftEDU server) from System Preferences – Sharing.
Second, on my Mac laptop I opened the “Screen Sharing” app. It’s available in System – Library – CoreServices. I dragged the icon to my dock so I’d be able to readily launch it when needed next week.
Third, I logged into the Mac Mini from my Apple laptop, after entering the computer name and my local admin login credentials.
Armed with these two apps, their correct configurations for our school LAN and my userIDs/passwords, I should be ready to remotely open and close MinecraftEDU worlds from our computer lab next week!
If this post is helpful to you, please let me know via a comment or tweet to @wfryer. Happy computer remote controlling!
Free MinecraftEDU Server Remote Control Options for Mac Users originally appeared on Moving at the Speed of Creativity on October 18, 2014.]]>
Paper slide videos are one of the media products I help teachers learn to create during day 2 of iPad Media Camp. It’s an ideal BYOD media project since it just requires a digital device with video recording capabilities, along with paper and colored markers. As a good assessment should, these videos provide a helpful “window” into where teachers are with their thinking about integrating technology tools into instruction. It can be very challenging to help teachers “think outside of the box” of traditional instructional goals and methods when it comes to technology integration. Several excerpts from these videos would be great to use with the SAMR framework, evaluating the level of technology integration the identified learning tasks highlight. Quite a few are at the “substitution” level.
All the referenced resources, including my presentation slides, from this October 9th workshop in Wichita, Kansas, are available on my Google Sites handouts wiki.
Paper Slide Video PD Reflections From Wichita originally appeared on Moving at the Speed of Creativity on October 17, 2014.]]>
Next Monday week 1 of the conference will start, with ten fantastic presentations in the strands “Stories for Learning” and “Games and Gamification.” Week 2, starting October 27th, features presentations in the strands “Passion Driven Learning” and “STEAM – Science, Technology, Engineering, Art & Math.” All presentations will be linked on the official conference schedule as they “go live” at 8 am Eastern time each day. Follow @k12online on Twitter as well as the official conference hashtag, #k12online14, to stay up to date on the conference as these presentations are shared over the next two weeks.
This month is also Connected Educator’s Month, and you can follow the Twitter hashtag #ce14 as well as visit connectededucators.org to get involved. This year’s Connected Educator Month themes include Blended Learning, Collaboration & Capacity Building, Diversity, Inclusiveness, and Global Education, Educator Professional Development & Learning, Leadership For Change, Student Agency, Student Voice, and the Maker Movement, and Whole Community Engagement (Parents, Teachers, Students, Community Members).
Steve Hargedon’s website “The Learning Revolution” also includes a wealth of free PD events and opportunities focused on and related to connected learning.
It’s a great month and a great time to be a connected educator!
Igniting Innovation with the 2014 K-12 Online Conference originally appeared on Moving at the Speed of Creativity on October 16, 2014.]]>
As you may notice from the individual eBook covers above, I have also officially renamed the Mapping Media Framework to “Mapping Media to the Curriculum: show what you know with media.” There are several reasons for this change. Ever since I started working on this book series, I debated the value of specifically including “Common Core State Standards” in the title. While I know that specific title and focus has opened the door for the book to be used by several different university course instructors and professional development workshop leaders, I also understand it has limited the perceived relevancy of the texts and framework for international educators as well as teachers at private U.S. schools who have not (and will not) adopt Common Core. The repeal of Common Core in my home state of Oklahoma in the summer of 2014 was a dramatic example of how politicized this “standards movement” has become. From the beginning, I wanted to create a digital literacy framework and resource for student digital portfolios which would transcend changes in both technology tools as well as educational / political fads. The “Volume I” book and eBook of this series will retain the title “Mapping Media to the Common Core” for the time being, but I will be revising it as well in upcoming weeks.
In addition to updating the book/eBook descriptions on the “About” page of Mapping Media, I have also added sidebar graphical links to the respective eBook chapters on the Interactive Writing, Narrated Art, Radio Shows, 5 Photo Stories, Visual Notetaking, and Narrated Slideshows / Screencasts pages of the Mapping Media website. I did this using the free “Dynamic Widgets” WordPress plugin. It allows specific widgets to only display on specified pages or posts within WordPress. I also added links to the eBook chapter versions in the sidebar of this website, using the free Datafeedr Ads WordPress plugin.
If you use any of the Mapping Media books / eBooks or the public website in courses or professional development workshops you lead, please let me know via a shout-out on Twitter! This past summer I’d intended to write and publish “Volume 2″ of Mapping Media, but ended up just writing an introductory chapter on digital portfolios (which I published freely/openly as a resource page) as well as the chapter on “Quick Edit Videos.” I have not published that chapter yet, and still need to / plan to write the rest of the five chapters which round out the 12 products in the Mapping Media Framework. I’m going to attempt to write the chapters on “eBooks” and “Simulations & Games” over the winter holidays this year. I’ll publish them also as separate eBooks, as well as a combined “Volume 2″ of Mapping Media. I haven’t decided yet on pricing, but will likely stick with $2.99 for individual chapters and $9.99 for the combined volume. Amazon REALLY wants authors to offer eBooks at a maximum of $9.99 each, and uses financial incentives on Kindle Direct Publishing for that price point. I will likely acquiesce.
In addition to the changes to Mapping Media I’ve already mentioned in this post, I have also decided to discontinue bulk ordering rebates / discounts for my books and eBooks. I worked with several groups and instructors in the past couple of years who took advantage of those discounts, but the time and effort required in facilitating this didn’t end up being justified financially. The prices of my eBooks are very reasonable and affordable relative to other authors and publishers, so I’m opting out of discounts at this point.
I still could add my eBook chapter “singles” to the online storefront I maintain and pay for ($18 per month, I think) with e-Junkie.com, but I’m not sure if I will or not. When I published “Playing with Media” in 2011 that e-Junkie store was the primary outlet for the multimedia version of the eBook, since I could not get Apple to approve it for sale on the iBookstore, but I now have relatively few sales on that site and probably not enough to justify the monthly expense. This is something I’ll evaluate in more detail in advance of the “Write Well, Sell Well” Writer’s Conference in Oklahoma City in 2 weeks, where I’ll be presenting several sessions on e-publishing. I hope to finally update and re-publish “HopScotch Challenges” before the conference, since there have been major updates to the HopScotch for iPad app in the past year and I’ll be teaching a WWSW conference workshop about publishing eBooks using the Creative Book Builder app. I used CBB to write and publish the “HopScotch Challenges” eBook. I also plan to FINALLY update “Playing with Media: simple ideas for powerful sharing,” but will do that after I write the remaining chapters / volumes in “Mapping Media.” Applying the advice and wisdom of Greg McKeown’s fantastic book, “Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less,” I’m working to “prune” commitments and activities in my life so I can focus more on writing and making my “maximum contribution” professionally in several areas related to multimedia, social media, and digital storytelling.
If you have any questions or would like further details about anything I’ve outlined in this post, please let me know with a comment or tweet.
Having the freedom, from an intellectual property standpoint, to make the changes I’ve outlined in this post to my books and writing projects is something I value highly. I do not regret my decision to self-publish, and do not expect to publish any of my future books with a “traditional” publisher. Being a self-published author continues to be both an illuminating and challenging experience, and I hope by sharing my learning journey with others to encourage even more people to pursue this publishing path.
For more resources and links relating to ePublishing and eBook writing, check out my handouts wiki page for “Creating MultiMedia eBooks,” which I continue to share at various conferences and events and update with new resources.
Mapping Media Vol 1 Chapters Available as Separate eBooks originally appeared on Moving at the Speed of Creativity on October 13, 2014.]]>
These are some of the links I saved from the webinar, which were shared by participants. This was an excellent session and I learned about several new resources I’m anxious to try with my own students in digital storytelling projects!
Classroom 2.0 Live webinars are held almost every Saturday. Join via a laptop/desktop computer or an iOS device running the free Blackboard Collaborate app.
Digital Storytelling Resources from Classroom 2.0 Live (Oct 2014) originally appeared on Moving at the Speed of Creativity on October 12, 2014.]]>
These are some of the questions I’m hoping we discuss:
What are your favorite digital storytelling examples and/or projects? (share links if possible!)
What iPad videography apps for digital storytelling do you like and recommend?
What audio-only digital storytelling tools do you like and recommend?
What are the pros and cons of different websites for sharing digital stories online?
What tools, apps, and techniques do you use for storyboarding?
What web-based digital storytelling tools do you like and recommend?
What green-screen digital storytelling apps & resources do you like and recommend?
What advice do you have for teachers wanting to do digital storytelling projects with students in the classroom?
What tips do you have for oral history projects using digital storytelling?
Many of the apps and resources I recommend for digital storytelling are included in this list.ly list.
FREE Open Mic Webinar on Digital Storytelling: Saturday Oct 11, 2014 originally appeared on Moving at the Speed of Creativity on October 10, 2014.]]>
I recorded this on my iPhone 5S and combined/uploaded the videos with the free YouTube Capture app for iOS. YouTube Capture is one of the primary apps I help teachers learn to use on Day 2 of iPad Media Camp, which focuses on creating “Quick Edit Videos.” OTA / EncycloMedia was a great conference this year! Thanks to all the organizers, sponsors and presenters who made it a success!
OTA – EncycloMedia 2014 Participant Reflections originally appeared on Moving at the Speed of Creativity on October 8, 2014.]]>
EdCamp = Free Personalized Professional Development (co-presented with Tammy Parks – @tparks)
Create Multimedia eBooks in a 1 iPad Classroom
Practical Lessons for Elementary STEM Integration (co-presented with Amy Loeffelholz – @AmyLoeffelholz)
EdCamp, eBooks & STEM (OTA – EncycloMedia 2014) originally appeared on Moving at the Speed of Creativity on October 6, 2014.]]>
Advice for Church Digital Oral History Projects originally appeared on Moving at the Speed of Creativity on October 5, 2014.]]>
Give to my classroom by October 1, 2014 and your donation will be doubled thanks to DonorsChoose.org. Just enter the code INSPIRE on the payment page and you’ll be matched dollar for dollar (up to $100). A donation of even $5 would be awesome!
If you chip in to help my students, you’ll get awesome photos and our heartfelt thanks.
Applying STEM Skills with Robotic Sphero Balls (Donor’s Choose Project) originally appeared on Moving at the Speed of Creativity on September 24, 2014.]]>
In the next couple of weeks (by midnight, Friday October 3, 2014) record a 30 – 60 second video of yourself with your smartphone or tablet. Share why you love EdCamps and recommend EdCamps as PD for other teachers. Post your video to YouTube, and make sure you set the video to either PUBLIC or UNLISTED, not “private.” Then submit this Google Form to share the link to your video.
I’ll compile / aggregate the submitted videos into a YouTube playlist, and also create a combined video using some or all of the submissions to share during the OTA / EncycloMedia session. Please forward this post and request to other educators you know who have attended an EdCamp so we can get their input / ideas as well! THANKS!
Fall 2014 EdCamp Oklahoma Video Project originally appeared on Moving at the Speed of Creativity on September 23, 2014.]]>
This labeling process may be most obvious at middle or high schools, but it continues later into adulthood. Students at school are seen by peers, parents, and themselves as jocks or athletes, geeks or nerds. Growing up in the 1980s in Kansas, we called the country-music loving kids who drove pickup trucks and wore cowboy boots “the ropers.” At my wife’s high school in West Texas, they called them “the grits.” We may not label people in such limited ways in adult circles, but I think many people still label and have a desire to label none-the-less.
I may have blogged about this previously and just can’t find the post this evening, but in the past several years I’ve been particularly irked by the tendency of people in my church to identify me as “the technology guy.” I guess whenever something you do stands out as SO different from the norm, it’s understandable for people to define you by that behavior. This can be true of attributes as well as behaviors. However “normal” this may be for people, and even if you “cognitively recognize” this is normal, it still can be irritating. I don’t view myself, in my own identity, as “a technology guy.” Certainly I use a lot of technology on a daily basis for a multitude of purposes, and I certainly share a lot on Twitter as my TweetNest archive reveals, but I don’t think of myself as someone who is fundamentally defined by my use of technology. Yet unfortunately, that is what many people “see” when they interact with me, so that is “the box” the choose to mentally place me into. “Wes is the technology guy.”
I’ve found there’s really not much of a point in trying to discuss or refute this with people who put me in this “box” verbally. People don’t understand. They judge based on what they see, and what they see is so little. To have this perception challenged is like questioning their assertion that the sky is blue. “Yes of course it’s blue. That’s what I see.”
I am not “the tech guy.” I’m a father. I’m a husband. I’m a teacher. I’m a follower of Jesus. I’m someone who loves relationships and conversations. I’m someone who enjoys having deep conversations about interesting questions, especially with my own children. Yes, I often enjoy helping people resolve technical problems, but that’s not because of an overriding love of technology: It’s because I love relationships and I love helping people. If someone wants to generalize about me, I’d much rather hear them say, “He’s a relationship guy” rather than “He’s a technology guy.” But people don’t usually do that.
Here’s the moral of this story: Please don’t equate competency with identity. Just because someone is good at something, don’t assume or even verbalize to them that a single behavior defines them as a human being. Maybe it defines part of their identity. That perspective avoids over-generalization. Just as we shouldn’t assume we “know someone” because of their skin color or their ethnic group, we don’t “know someone” enough to label them just because we have observed something about their behavior.
The biggest revelation I’ve had in recent years regarding identity and how we both develop and maintain our own came from Michael Wesch, in a presentation he shared at the Heartland eLearning Conference in Edmond in February of 2013. My text notes as well as the recorded audio from that presentation are available. What Mike said, that I’d never heard or thought deeply about previously, was that our identities are less the things we PROJECT outwardly to others but rather, the things which are REFLECTED BACK to us from others we’re around. He shared this in the context of almost “losing himself” in Papua New Guinea when he was there doing anthropological research. I think when people call me “the tech guy” I experience cognitive dissonance at this, because that is not the image of myself I see when I look in a mirror. Yet it is the “box” many people see when they look at me, so that is the perception and understanding of my identity which they reflect back at me.
Have you experienced anything similar to this? Am I being hopelessly naive to encourage others to not “equate competency with identity?”
Don’t Equate Competency With Identity originally appeared on Moving at the Speed of Creativity on September 22, 2014.]]>
(cross-posted from EdCampOKC.org)
2nd PLAYDATE PD Event in Oklahoma: Saturday October 4th! originally appeared on Moving at the Speed of Creativity on September 21, 2014.]]>
It blows my mind that it’s possible to teach and share like this.
I posted the recorded audio from the session to my “Fuel for Educational Change Agents” secondary podcast channel. In the session I introduced participants to the use of the free “YouTube Capture” app for trimming videos, making video collages by combining clips, adding copyright-friendly music clips to videos, and publishing to YouTube. I also introduced the basics of using the iMovie for iPad app. I created a Google Doc of referenced links for the session, which included the “Quick Edit Video” page of Mapping Media, and the “Quick Edit Videography” webpage from my August 2014 iPad Media Camp curriculum wiki.
A full list of the 14 different workshops I offer via videoconference through the CILC is available, including my newest addition: “Minecraft and MinecraftEDU in the Classroom.”
I’ve videoconferenced for workshops to Alaska previously, so Friday wasn’t the first time for this, but it’s still pretty amazing. Maybe someday this kind of thing will seem “normal” and “like old hat,” but at this point it still seems a LOT like living in “The Jetsons” television show.
Teaching iPad Videography From 3800 Miles Away originally appeared on Moving at the Speed of Creativity on September 20, 2014.]]>
This is the “short” description I included tonight for “Minecraft and MinecraftEDU in the Classroom:”
Learn how Minecraft and MinecraftEDU can be integrated into your curriculum. Invite your students to create simulations of places, events, and concepts in the engaging and creative environment of Minecraft. See examples of student-created Minecraft projects and learn how to get started with MinecraftEDU.
This is the longer description:
Minecraft is a “sandbox virtual world” offering opportunities for students to create simulations of places, events, and concepts in the school curriculum. MinecraftEDU is a customized version of Minecraft designed for educators to provide more control and limits when using the software in the classroom with students. In this session, we will view examples of student-created Minecraft simulation projects as well as teacher-created lessons. These will include projects addressing social studies, math, and other content area standards. This session is geared toward teachers of upper elementary and middle school age students, but Minecraft and MinecraftEDU can be readily used in other grade levels. Basic use and configuration of MinecraftEDU server and client software will be demonstrated and explained.
I included two different websites as resource links for teachers to use before and following the CILC videoconference: The MinecraftEDU curriculum page on my STEM website and the “Simulations and Games” page of Mapping Media to the Curriculum. The latter includes several different student-created Minecraft examples. I’ve been using MinecraftEDU in my classroom the past year, and am AMAZED at the levels of engagement and “flow” which students experience when they are creating, building, collaborating, and exploring in Minecraft. I have NEVER seen the levels of engagement and flow at any school, anywhere, which I regularly observe with MinecraftEDU in my classroom. Minecraft is such a powerful and open-ended “sandbox” world for student creativity and expression that I think it borders on professional misconduct to ignore it entirely. Since I’m integrating MinecraftEDU as one of five centers/stations in our STEM classroom “Maker Studio” this year, I have students every day (usually four per class) creating, building, collaborating and learning in MinecraftEDU. It’s awesome!
The ways two of my own children (Alexander and Rachel) were able to demonstrate and model creativity, critical thinking, and problem solving using MinecraftEDU this past summer at the “Create, Make and Learn” week-long STEM institute in Vermont were truly amazing. I was a first-hand witness to the power of student voices and perspectives in professional development to transform adult/educator perceptions about things like “Minecraft in the Classroom.” One participant in particular was initially very negative about the value of Minecraft to enhance student learning prior to the session they helped out with, which was led by Kevin Jarrett. Afterwards, the same teacher was ENTHUSIASTICALLY convinced Minecraft is a very powerful, engaging, and potentially beneficial environment which can be leveraged to support student learning in MANY ways.
I recorded videos of both Rachel and Alexander presenting in the CML14 workshop on Minecraft.
My search of CILC professional development offerings tonight didn’t turn up any existing sessions on Minecraft or MinecraftEDU. Hopefully the videoconference I’ll be offering will “open more educator eyes” to the positive potential for Minecraft and MinecraftEDU to be used inside and outside the classroom to support student learning!
For more about Minecraft, check out Alexander’s October 2012 presentation for the K-12 Online Conference, “Creating and Playing in Minecraft.”
Minecraft and MinecraftEDU in the Classroom originally appeared on Moving at the Speed of Creativity on September 17, 2014.]]>
Last spring I facilitated a STEM unit on “Water Bottle Rockets” for my 4th and 5th graders, and this coming Saturday (at EdCamp Stillwater) I’ll be finally returning the Pitsco launcher which I borrowed from 8th grade science teacher Lisa Seay at EdCamp Tulsa in March. Since I still have the launcher and our days are still warm, I decided we’d build or reconfigure leftover water bottle rockets from last spring and launch them for our first day of Maker’s Club today. It was a lot of fun and I think the kids enjoyed it. Here’s a video of our launches, shot in 60 fps slow motion with my iPhone 5S. I combined the videos in iMovie on the iPhone, exported it to the iPhone camera roll, and then uploaded it with the YouTube Capture app (free) using provided copyright-friendly music. Next week I think students will work in our new Maker Studio!
Starting Off Makers Club with Water Bottle Rocket Launches originally appeared on Moving at the Speed of Creativity on September 16, 2014.]]>
Please plan to join elementary STEM teachers Amy Loeffelholz and Wesley Fryer on Saturday, September 13th at 11:30 am Eastern / 10:30 am Central / 9:30 am Mountain / 8:30 am Pacific online (via a Google Hangout) to talk about STEM lesson ideas, Maker Studio lessons, and lots more “back to school” updates as the 2014-15 school year has started. Please RSVP for the Google Hangout if you plan to attend or might attend. (That way the event can be added to your Google Calendar.) Check out past archives of our almost-monthly webcast on http://STEMseeds.org. (We hosted five “shows” last spring when we started STEM Seeds, and also hosted a 2 day STEM PD workshop in June.) We hope you’ll join in our STEM conversations on Saturday! (Note: Time has been updated to start 1 hour later than originally announced. Google Hangout time is updated too!)
Join Free @STEMseeds Webinar Saturday Sept 13th at 10:30 am Central originally appeared on Moving at the Speed of Creativity on September 10, 2014.]]>
Long Term Sub Needed: Positive Tomorrows of Oklahoma City originally appeared on Moving at the Speed of Creativity on September 10, 2014.]]>
Today after school, I created my own sample catapult using these materials. Today I noticed many of my students were replicating a very simple catapult model they found via a Google image search, which can’t produce a very LONG projectile launch. I decided I needed to make my own model to both discover some tips for achieving longer distance launches as well as confirm the supplies I’ve provided are adequate for the challenge I’ve given students. Here’s what I came up with.
Rather than launching marshmallows, which I’ve seen some lesson plans of other teachers include, I’ve used a single kleenex/tissue and some duct tape to make small, soft projectiles we can launch. These are easy and cheap to make as needed, and also are soft enough that if they’re inadvertantly launched at another person (accidentally or on purpose) they shouldn’t cause any injuries.
The main thing I discovered creating my catapult model today is that I need to obtain more THICK rubber bands. I have a ton of small / thin rubber bands, and while they are fine to use like a “rope lashing” to connect popsicle sticks they are not strong enough to launch projectiles across half the distance of our classroom. I’m going to pick some thicker rubber bands up this evening and offer to trade up to two of my students’ thinner rubber bands (if they want) for thicker versions.
I’m also going to discuss and explore the “Engineering Design Process” with my students during days 3 and 4 of our catapult unit, and encourage them to revise / iterate on their initial designs to obtain better catapult launch results. This is the version of the process Kevin Jarrett (@kjarrett) has used with his elementary STEM students.
So far our first real “building” project in STEM class this year has gone well, and I’m looking forward to the next few lessons. Since we’re using a “maker studio” lesson cycle, I’ve divided my class in half and will be repeating this lesson with my other students after this initial cycle. It will be interesting to track and graph our catapult launch results between group 1 and group 2. I predict I’ll be able to guide students toward better initial designs in the second iteration of this lesson cycle!
Something else notable happened today during one of my morning fifth grade classes, which I briefly documented on that class’ KidBlog website. One student build the best “Rube Goldberg” project anyone has made yet this year in class. Do you notice anything different or notable about this project?!
Sample Popsicle Catapult for STEM Class originally appeared on Moving at the Speed of Creativity on September 8, 2014.]]>
I also love Apple and iOS devices, but I enjoy subscribing to podcasts with apps and software programs which are created by third-party developers. I’ve used Apple podcatcher software over the years, but for different reasons I’ve found third party apps better fit my needs and workflow. One example is the support Pocket Casts provides for creating and sharing podcast episode links, and links to specific timestamp locations in podcasts. It has been challenging to subscribe to some podcasts at times, however, which are only listed on the iTunes Podcast Directory. The RSS / “subscribe” link to many Apple iTunes podcasts isn’t directly provided in the webpage preview of the podcast, however, and not every podcast website provides those links either.
Fortunately, it’s possible to copy an RSS subscription link for a podcast within iTunes. I learned about this possibility a few weeks ago thanks to a tweet from @pocketcasts. This StackExchange post includes details too. Here are the steps to copy a podcast RSS link from iTunes:
Copy Podcast RSS Link From iTunes originally appeared on Moving at the Speed of Creativity on September 6, 2014.]]>
Here’s the basic idea of my classroom Maker Studio: For each STEM unit cycle, students are either in the “Maker Studio” or the “Lesson Lab.” My 9 classroom tables are numbered, so either students at ODD or EVEN tables are in the Maker Studio at one time. Students self-select a different “maker project” while they are in the Maker Studio and spend 2, 3, or 4 consecutive class meeting times (depending on our unit) building a project. I described the Maker Studio to my students as “like recess where you MAKE something.” Maker Studio involves free choice and unstructured exploration time, but also involves my “teacher expectation” that students will not only MAKE things but also document their learning with media so their creations and learning can be shared with others. These are the five different projects we’re initially using in Maker’s Studio:
I told my students at the start of each lesson today that I was both nervous and a little scared, but also very excited, to be FINALLY starting “Maker Studio.” This is a major instructional experiment in our STEM class, and while I think it’s going to work, I hadn’t done it before and so I wasn’t sure how things would turn out. One of the key pieces I’ve been mulling over the past couple of weeks is the method I’d use for students to self-select their Maker Studio center choices. This is what I came up with: Individual class sheets that I used to record each student’s choice today, after I gave students (at ODD classroom tables to start) a chance to draw numbers from a tub so they could select their preferred centers. Not everyone got their first choice, since I limited each center to a maximum of four people, but I think everyone got their first or second choice.
Don’t misunderstand me: There was plenty of messiness to our lessons today and quite a few surprises. Our Sphero 2.0 robotic ball’s battery ended up lasting for just my first 4 classes, so the last 2 classes had to skip that center altogether. I’m planning to purchase a second Sphero and use 1 for the first 3 classes, and another for the second 3. Several students struggled to cooperate and work in their groups (this always happens, of course) and a few were quickly bored at their centers. These were girls who selected the “create music” center, highlighting (I hypothesize) the inexperience many of our students have with unstructured exploration and creation time.
Messiness just comes with the territory here, however, and overall I was VERY pleased with how things turned out on day 1 of Maker’s Studio. Students in the “Lesson Lab” (I have two side-by-side classrooms) started a 3 day unit on building and launching catapults, which I learned about from Amy Loeffelholz last June when we co-led a 2 day STEM Seeds PD Camp for other teachers. My day was capped off by a VERY creative and fun initial green screen video, created by a team of fourth graders.
This is not the most polished or profound student video you’ll ever see, and it’s mostly silly, but I LOVE LOVE LOVE how these kids were able to start getting an idea of what they could do and create with a green screen and the Do Ink Green Screen iPad app. Our initial day in the Maker Studio was mainly about learning PROCEDURES, choosing to work cooperatively in our groups, and learning the basics of each center’s activities. These students succeeded with creativity and fun. That’s a recipe that’s hard to beat in school.
I love to teach STEM in Yukon Public Schools!
1st Day of STEM Makers Studio: Success! originally appeared on Moving at the Speed of Creativity on September 3, 2014.]]>
Do you, your students, and members of your family know about the MAKER movement? According to the English WikiPedia:
The maker culture is a contemporary culture or subculture representing a technology-based extension of DIY culture. Typical interests enjoyed by the maker culture include engineering-oriented pursuits such as electronics, robotics, 3-D printing, and the use of CNC tools, as well as more traditional activities such as metalworking, woodworking, and traditional arts and crafts. The subculture stresses new and unique applications of technologies, and encourages invention and prototyping. There is a strong focus on using and learning practical skills and applying them creatively.
If you live in the heartland of the USA, an opportunity to experience, participate, and learn about the Maker Movement is coming up in Manhattan, Kansas, on Saturday, September 20, 2014. According to the informational flyer (available in PDF or MS Word format) for the Aggieville Mini Maker Faire:
UFM Community Learning Center is working with the Aggieville Business Association to organize a Mini Maker Faire as part of Aggieville’s 125th Birthday Street Fair and Dance on Saturday, September 20. This celebration will be a great day full of activities for the whole family, including a kid’s carnival, a giant donut birthday cake, antique car show, ice cream social, historical events, and local entertainment groups performing on an outdoor stage, all followed by an evening street dance. It’s Aggieville’s way of saying, “Thank you!” to the community that’s supported it for 125 years.
Several members of our family attended the Mini Maker Faire in Tulsa, Oklahoma, in September 2013, and we all attended the Maker Faire in Kansas City this past June. Both events were awesome! I love how ecclectic and diverse Maker events are, and how passionate the people are who are there to share what they MAKE. If you can find your way to Manhattan, Kansas, on September 20th, definitely plan to make the Mini Maker Faire part of your day. More information including a downloadable application to participate (MS Word format) is available from www.tryufm.org. UFM is a fantastic community education non-profit in Manhattan which hosted the July 2014 iPad Media Camp I led for area educators. I learned about this upcoming Mini Maker Faire from Michael Wesch when we were in Manhattan that week, and I’m excited to see the marketing for this event is now in full swing. Please help spread the word about it via social media!
Mini-Maker Faire Coming to Manhattan, Kansas September 20, 2014 originally appeared on Moving at the Speed of Creativity on September 1, 2014.]]>
This past summer our school district IT department erased all the iPads used in classrooms like mine to update iOS firmware and install Lightspeed “mobile manager” software to (among other things) track and facilitate app volume purchases. The process of re-installing and reconfiguring my cart of 19 iPads in my STEM classroom was time consuming, but ultimately beneficial since it allowed me to be more selective in the apps I chose to install and make available for students. Previously, there were a large number of games as well as non-STEM related curricular apps on the iPads. The apps were not consistently organized into app folders either, so it could be challenging for students to find apps. (I taught them to use “spotlight” in iOS, but that searching process can be more time consuming for 4th and 5th graders than simply clicking an app icon on the home screen.)
On my personal iPhone and iPad, as well as my class iPads, I’m a fan of organizing apps so everything is available in 1 or at the most 2 screens. When I had my apps scattered over more iOS screens, I found I rarely scrolled through them to find apps. Having everything on 1 or 2 screens means all apps are at most two swipes or touches away after pushing the home screen button. In addition to “home” screen iPad apps, I organized all my STEM class apps this year into the following categories:
To document and share these 70 apps I chose to include on my STEM iPad cart this year, I created screenshots of each iPad folder and uploaded them to a Flickr album. I also created a linked List.ly list of the apps, which I’ve embedded below. The creative apps I’ve included, which support creating and sharing multimedia artifacts for digital portfolios, are also included within my “Mapping Media” digital literacy framework. For additional app lists, check out the “App Recommendations for Mobile Devices” list complied by EdTechTeacher. Hat tip to Beth Holland (@brholland) for sharing that link earlier today.
70 iPad Apps for Elementary STEM originally appeared on Moving at the Speed of Creativity on August 29, 2014.]]>
Start of School Reflections (Fall 2014) originally appeared on Moving at the Speed of Creativity on August 28, 2014.]]>
I asked a few other people to record short videos responding to the three questions I’m addressing in my keynote about “Igniting Innovation.” Each person is uploading their video to YouTube. To get those videos from YouTube onto my iPhone and into iMovie for iOS, I’m:
In earlier versions of iMovie for iPhone and iPad, the app was “pickier” about the video formats it would accept and let you insert into mobile iMovies you created. It may still be picky, and I’m just getting lucky with this HD formatted mp4 video file format from YouTube. Whatever the case, I’m QUITE excited this method is working to accept mobile video contributions from others. I think this is as easy or easier than using DropBox or another cloud-based file storage option for sharing the video files. I tried to share videos with another Oklahoma teacher a few months back for a similar “crowdsourced” video effort, and we had problems with video files shared via DropBox files we never resolved. Since YouTube transcodes videos which are uploaded, I don’t think it will matter what kind of smartphone or mobile tablet people use to contribute their videos to my pre-conference keynote.
If you’re not planning on participating in the FREE K-12 Online Conference this year, make your plans now and help spread the word! Even if the pre-conference keynote turns out to be a flop, I know the rest of the conference is going to be FILLED with awesome presentations by wonderful teachers and educators! The proposal submission deadline has been extended till September 2nd for two of the strands, Gamification and Games as well as STEAM. Please consider submitting a proposal and/or personally inviting someone you know to submit a proposal.
Create an iOS iMovie Video Collage with YouTube Contributions originally appeared on Moving at the Speed of Creativity on August 24, 2014.]]>
To change your WordPress.com site tagline, log into WordPress.com and visit your blog’s DASHBOARD. Then click SETTINGS – GENERAL in the left sidebar.
Next, change your TAGLINE at the top of the page and click SAVE CHANGES at the bottom.
If you see WordPress.com sites (or self-hosted WordPress sites) with the generic tagline, please share this post with the site authors so they can customize their site tagline!
Change the Tagline of Your WordPress.com Website originally appeared on Moving at the Speed of Creativity on August 24, 2014.]]>
There is also a task manager in Gmail that is OK and handy since it’s built in, if you’re already using Gmail. This 4 minute video is a good intro to Google Tasks.
Wunderlist, Nozbe and Gmail Tasks have free mobile apps you can download and use too. Here are the iOS app links:
Do you have a favorite to-do list or tasks website / mobile app? What features do you particularly like about the solution you use?
Trello is another option @mikekaechele recommends.
To-Do and Task Manager Options originally appeared on Moving at the Speed of Creativity on August 18, 2014.]]>
I learned several important things in this process. Probably the most important is why the YouTube Capture App is not available for Android, but it is for iOS. On Android devices, the YouTube app can be used for uploading, deleting, and making edits to “meta information” on YouTube videos. On iOS, the YouTube app can only be used for viewing videos and adding them to playlists. The YouTube capture app is essential in the toolkit of an iOS videographer, in my opinion, because it allows for flexible uploading to multiple YouTube channels well as some basic video editing.
While the WeVideo Android app does support some very basic video editing techniques, it pales beside the power of iMovie on an iPhone or iPad. The WeVideo app does not support the Ken Burns effect for panning with a zoom in or out of still images, as iMovie does. It also does not let authors change the fixed zoom of a still image used in a video. I also found it awkward to change the selected YouTube video channel for uploading. Unbeknownst to me, my default channel selected in YouTube was not my primary one, so the WeVideo app initially uploaded my video into the wrong channel. I had to delete it in the YouTube app, change my selected channel in my account settings within YouTube, and then upload it again from the YouTube app. I really like and prefer the way the YouTube Capture app for iOS allows users to not only select a Google account but also the channel that is desired. This can be done within the YouTube app for Android, but there is no indication when using the WeVideo app and uploading which channel the video will be sent to.
There are time and space limits on a free WeVideo account, so this app may not be a great choice for the classroom if you and your students will be editing and uploading many videos over the course of the year. The app is free, however, and I am pleased that the visual effects do appear a bit fancier than those obtainable using the YouTube Creator Studio web-based video editor.
Low export resolution is another significant limitation of the free WeVideo Android app. Unless you pay, you can only export your video at 480p resolution. That resolution is still OK for web viewing, but as video goes high definition it will become a more glaring limitation. Free iOS apps like YouTube Capture support video uploads to YouTube of up to 1080p.
I will write more about this later in a separate post, but I am NOT using this Nexus 7 Android tablet because I am switching platforms entirely. I have wanted to become more familiar with Android based media creation options, because I want to have a more informed opinion as an avid iOS user and educational technology workshop presenter. I was pleased last week to be able to create a multimedia ebook on this Nexus tablet using the Book Creator app. I found it to be very comparable to the iOS version. My experiences with video editing tonight, however, suggest that the Android platform appears to have a long way to go to catch up with iOS for mobile videography.
This post was mobile blogged in the Chrome browser on a Nexus 7 Android tablet.
First Android-Edited Video: WeVideo App originally appeared on Moving at the Speed of Creativity on August 15, 2014.]]>
For more information, directions, and ordering details for both the required infrared pen and Wii remote, visit WiiTeachers.com. The website includes a link for a discounted version of Smoothboard software also.
Wii Remote Interactive Whiteboard for $60 originally appeared on Moving at the Speed of Creativity on August 15, 2014.]]>
Remove distracting Apple TV icons originally appeared on Moving at the Speed of Creativity on August 13, 2014.]]>
Learn About Lightspeed Mobile Manager originally appeared on Moving at the Speed of Creativity on August 13, 2014.]]>
Our school district IT department formatted (erased/wiped) all our classroom iPads this past summer and installed a “mobile manager” profile on each one of them. Among other things, this will help them keep track of apps which have been and will be purchased and installed on district iPads. As a result of this, I need to setup my classroom iPad cart all over again with all the settings and previously installed apps. Today after setting up 16 of my 19 iPads, I recorded a short video documenting these steps. The main setting changes I made were to:
I finished these configuration steps for my 19 iPads this afternoon, so tomorrow I’ll sync them to the Macbook laptop on my classroom cart to restore/install all my iPad cart apps. Unfortunately the way the older 30 pin iOS dock connectors plug into the iPads on my cart, I can’t tap to release the lock screen to click the TRUST button now when they are plugged in… so I’m thinking I may have to initially sync them out of the cart.
Lots more configuration steps required here than we’d have with Chromebooks. Hopefully once I get access to the mobile manager login for my iPads, I’ll have more management options than I did last year and this re-installation / re-configuration process will feel like it’s worth the work.
Setting Up an iPad Cart [VIDEO] originally appeared on Moving at the Speed of Creativity on August 12, 2014.]]>
One of the best ways to get updated on Google tools for the classroom is to attend a Google Summit. These are now offered by different groups including the EdTechTeam and Educational Collaborators. The EdTechTeam is bringing a Google Summit to Oklahoma City next year, February 21-22, 2015, at Bishop McGuinness High School. My top recommendation for a face-to-face event on Google Tools is to attend a summit like this!
Many of the resources from past summits are available online. I shared 4 presentations at the EdTechTeam’s Google Summit in Richardson, Texas, this past June (in the Dallas area) and links to ALL the session resources are linked from this Google Site. My sessions (and resource links) were:
I’m currently in Visalia, California, and am co-presenting a full-day workshop tomorrow with Carol Anne McGuire for Educational Collaborators in Woodlake Unified School District just outside Sequoia National Park. We are presenting a full day of PD introducing teachers to “Google Apps for Education,” or GAFE. Most of the resources for this two day workshop series were created by Julene Reed. All the resources the four of us are sharing with teachers in Woodlake are available on a Google Site.
Google Summits and GAFE workshops are great ways to learn about Google tools, but they don’t offer the chance to get “certified” as a Google Teacher or Trainer. In May, Holly Clark wrote an excellent post for Edudemic explaining the differences between these programs. The Google Teacher Academy requires teachers to submit an application and a 60 second video, and are held around the world just a few times per year. Because of the large volume of applications and the limited number of slots for Google Teacher Academies, my perception is that it’s harder at this point to be accepted and become a “Google Certified Teacher” than to go through the process of becoming a Google Certified Trainer.
To become a Certified Google Trainer, teachers (or anyone else) can take free online courses from Google and then take a series of five online tests, which cost $15 each. At this point I’m a Google Certified Teacher (#gtaco 2009 in Boulder, CO) but not a Google Certified Trainer. The summer application to become a “Google Certified Trainer” is open until August 15th, and I have applied.. It is a worthwhile program to complete, and there are a number of teachers who have obtained “certification” in both programs. Once you’ve completed these training modules you can request to have your name listed in the official Google Education Trainer Directory.
2 final ways to learn more about Google tools (as well as other educational technology resources and strategies) are to attend an EdCamp and participate in the K-12 Online Conference in October. Both of these professional development opportunities are FREE. All Oklahoma EdCamps (future and past) are now listed on www.edcampOK.org. Upcoming EdCamps and PLAYDATE PD events in Oklahoma (also listed on this subscribable Google Calendar) include:
The FREE K-12 Online Conference starts in October, and will feature 40+ recorded video presentations (like TED Talks, 20 minutes or less each) over a three week timeperiod. The call for proposals for #k12online14 is still open, by the way, and closes August 15th. I’m sure many presenters will address the use of Google Tools in some form or fashion in their presentations this year! Some may even focus specifically on Google apps / GAFE. Please plan to participate, and consider submitting a proposal!
Whether or not you’re an Oklahoma teacher, hopefully this information about Google training and learning opportunities is helpful! You can also follow the Twitter hashtags #gafesummit, #gafe, and #googleEDU to stay up to date!
Google Training and Learning Opportunities in Oklahoma originally appeared on Moving at the Speed of Creativity on August 7, 2014.]]>
One semester when I was working on my doctorate, tuition was increased something like 30%. This was crazy. But no one was protesting in the streets. Street protest isn’t something that’s “done” in West Texas, I guess, but it certainly would have been warranted. I guess everyone just figured “the kids will get more financial aid” and we’ll keep enjoying collegiate football and basketball… which seems to be the primary focus of many community members whose children or grandchildren are not currently enrolled as university students. The degree to which athletics have become the focus and almost the “Raison d’être” of colleges is shocking, depressing, and apparently inevitable at least in Division I schools. This opinion is not coming from someone who abstains from enjoying college sports – I love going to college football games with our family, and occasionally other sports. Sometimes educational reform conference speakers will opine about Rip Van Winkle and how comfortable he’d be to wake up in a K-12 school today. That’s not a fair allegory for educational change in MANY K-12 classrooms today (like mine, for instance) but it could never apply to collegiate sports and sports culture on many university campuses. Collegiate as well as professional sports have “been around” for decades in our country, but the financial side to sports in 2014 is radically different from what it was 20 or 30 years ago.
For the past several years, my wife and I have been encouraging our children to start visiting colleges and universities to get a better idea of where they might want to go after high school, what they might want to study, and how different universities compare. Our kids are very smart, and by world standards our family is very wealthy… but by college financial standards, we’re “middle class” and won’t be paying full price for any Ivy League schools with cash. Our kids also won’t be qualifying for Pell Grants or Oklahoma’s Promise.
I’m convinced kids start forming perceptions VERY early about where they want to go to college. I’ve been conducting informal interviews with people about their own college experiences, as well as with parents about their own children’s decisions to go to university, for several years now. Some of my most interesting conversations about this have been on airplanes. A few years ago, I talked with a dad whose two sons had both played Division I football, one at Michigan and another at UTEP as I recall. One of our drivers in Chicago last week (when I was presenting about “Creating Multimedia eBooks” for EdTechTeacher) told us about his experiences going from a huge south-side high school to the University of Alabama, and then to Arizona. I’m fascinated not only by stories of recruitment and collegiate sports experiences (which unfortunately often include injuries) but also by the process of “visioning identity.” I knew early in elementary school that I wanted to go to the US Air Force Academy. As a 4th grader, largely because of Labor Day family traditions gathering for KSU football, my youngest daughter confidently proclaimed she wanted to go to Kansas State University for college. I’m convinced the EXPERIENCE of spending time on a college campus can be pivotal in shaping our imaginations and the ways we “program ourselves” to formulate our identity about who we are, where we want to go, and who we want to become. We live in a culture devoid of many rituals and tribal markers which defined people in earlier times. Collegiate colors, attendance at football games, and college fight songs have become our “rites of passage” and cultural identity markers. I see these things happening, I study how they “happened” to me along with others, and am intrigued by the role both our experiences and our choices play in these processes.
The cost of a college education now figures prominently in all of this. I want my own children to be able to go to any university they want to attend, but I have no idea how this will practically work from a financial standpoint. We’re not a big sports family, we’re much more into community theater, jazz band, Scouts, technology and church activities. Our kids ARE smart, and I’m sure they’ll qualify for some scholarships, but there’s no way to predict at this point how we’re going to get our three children through college as a middle class family.
Thanks to the recommendation of Michael Wesch, this summer enroute back from Vermont our entire family visited the College of Wooster in Ohio. (I should write a separate post about all the reasons why Wooster is amazing. My son was particularly impressed and I think he’s going to apply there in a year.) We also visited Webster University in Saint Louis the next day before getting back to Oklahoma. Last week we visited Columbia College in Chicago with just Sarah. Together and separately, we’ve toured or had other on-campus experiences at Kansas State, MIT, Harvard, Northwestern, The University of Oklahoma and Oklahoma State University in the past four years. This fall we’ll visit my undergraduate alma-mater, the Air Force Academy, because two of our kids don’t have any memory of going there when they were very little.
We’re going to keep visiting colleges, because I know usually “the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree” and I don’t want my own children limited by the experiences, opinions, and perspectives of our family. There are more CHOICES today open to them than I can comprehend. No, they can’t “do anything” or “go anywhere.” There are physical and financial limits. But many of the historical “limits of discovery” to college and to paths in life SHOULD be less than they were for my wife and I. Most kids don’t start dreaming about going to a particular college just from pulling up its website on the Internet. Real experiences, when you visit and DO things on a college campus, as well as when you can visit with people who have graduated from there or work there now, are what become the fodder for dreams and the subconscious mind which shapes young identies night after night. “Putting on the colors” and name of a school plays a big role too. That’s why I’m buying a college shirt for any university we visit together as a family. When you “put on the colors,” you’re declaring yourself to be “part of the tribe.” That’s a powerful thing. Often parents “do this” for and to their children at early ages. This isn’t a malicious thing. It is, however, a powerful thing. In doing this, we rhetorically ask our kids, “Will you follow in our footsteps?” “Will you join our tribe?” For those who don’t, the penalty can be harsh, even though it’s sometimes talked about in joking terms. Hearing the banter in Roanoke, Alabama, this week between Auburn and #RollTide Alabama fans was case in point. I hear this from Oklahoma and Oklahoma State fans at our elementary school every week we’re in session. Tribal identities run deep.
As was the case with my post last night, “Free Play and Our Overscheduled Lives,” I have more questions than answers. But I also have some links. This summer’s college visits with our kids have been a bit of a needed wake-up call for me to accelerate my own book writing projects, as well as a larger “Dave Ramsey style” DVD and workbook professional development series idea I’ve been considering for my “Mapping Media” digital literacy framework for the past year. Dad had better get SERIOUS about generating extra income for these smart kids running around our house who have been visiting all these amazing colleges. (It would have been good to have the same clarity of savings needs about 20 years ago, but…)
This past spring I heard the NPR report, “Tough Lessons On Debt For College Students.” If you missed it, give it a listen or read the transcript. Getting our kids through college debt-free is potentially a very real goal for our family. “Yes, we want you to graduate from college. But we also don’t want you to graduate and be saddled with a crippling debt load.” Some of the stories I’ve heard of continuing college debt from other teachers at my elementary school last year were absolutely heartbreaking. No one should be crippled with debts like this.
Add to that NPR article of assigned reading from me two more articles. I’ll warn you that these are related to the topic of college costs, but more disturbing for different reasons. They also bring up a host of “other issues” which are probably not often discussed in “polite company,” but should be. The articles are:
These articles and issues go beyond the span of school / educational technology / leadership issues and topics I blog about here most frequently. The March 2014 presentation I shared at a friends’ church in Oklahoma City, “Managing Digital Footprints – For Grandparents” is the most recent I’ve shared which crosses over family, school, church, ethics, social media, and economic lines. I don’t have my thoughts fully collected after reading these last two articles today to write a cogent response or reflection other than this: We live in a VERY different day not only with respect to college costs and the information landscape, but also in regard to the spotlight the choices of our children and we ourselves make. When we say “there are a world of choices for you” I think many people (myself included) still have a small conception of what that means. In some cases ignorance a good thing. In others, it’s unfortunate.
While there is much to be enthused about in our “brave new world” of digital connections and possibilities, there is also a lot about which we should justifiably be distressed.
Distressed Over the Rising Costs of College (and other things) originally appeared on Moving at the Speed of Creativity on August 7, 2014.]]>
Free play is nature’s means of teaching children that they are not helpless. In play, away from adults, children really do have control and can practice asserting it. In free play, children learn to make their own decisions, solve their own problems, create and abide by rules, and get along with others as equals rather than as obedient or rebellious subordinates.
Peter Gray’s words remind me of danah boyd‘s descriptions and analysis of the over-scheduled lives of teens in her recent book, “It’s Complicated: the social lives of networked teens.”
Our family has been “guilty as charged” when it comes to encouraging our children to participate in a wide variety of after-school activities. With the start of school this week and the establishment of new schedules for the fall, I’m wondering how I can find more time for free play in my life (even as an adult) as well as how my wife and I can encourage our kids to participate more in free play.
These ideas are closely tied to the need we have to limit screen time and spend more unstructured time in natural spaces. I don’t have answers here, but I definitely have lots of questions.
I started two Pinterest boards this evening on this topic, “Play is Important” and “Go Outside.” For more of my related thoughts, read my post “Book Review: “It’s Complicated: The Social Lives of Networked Teens” by danah boyd. I found Peter Gray’s quotation above in Jessica Lahey‘s June 2014 article in The Atlantic, “Why Free Play Is the Best Summer School.” Follow her on Twitter: @jesslahey.
Follow Wesley’s board Play is Important on Pinterest.Follow Wesley’s board Go Outside on Pinterest.
Free Play and Our Overscheduled Lives originally appeared on Moving at the Speed of Creativity on August 6, 2014.]]>
Instead of all those steps, I simply created a new list on my free List.ly account. I Googled and copied the link to each company or individual’s Twitter account, pasted it at the bottom of my new list, and pressed return. DONE. Each sponsor’s name, Twitter channel graphic, Twitter description, and Twitter link were auto-magically inserted into my list. Then when I finished with all 24, I copied the embed code for the “list format” embeddable version. I added this to the sponsor page and a new post on the EdCampBA site.
Consider using List.ly next time you want to create a hyperlinked and shareable list for an event or other purpose. It’s quick, free, embedable and good looking!
Create Embeddable Twitter List with List.ly originally appeared on Moving at the Speed of Creativity on August 5, 2014.]]>
“Nothing could be more absurd than an experiment in which computers are placed in a classroom in which nothing else has changed… Computers serve best when they allow everything to change.”
Give a listen to what Wesch says about constructionism and PLAYING with technology. (Yep, sounds a lot like “Playing with Media,” doesn’t it?!) This entire lecture is fantastic and one of the best I’ve seen and heard in a LONG time, so I encourage you to watch it all… but at least watch this segment about constructionism versus instructionism, Papert versus Suppes, and “Dial a Drill” (1970) as the predecessor of Khan Academy.
This reminds me of the tragic and saddening words from the July 29, 2014 article, “Why Hoboken is Throwing Away All of its Student Laptops.” In 2009, the district invested a windfall of federal stimulus money into netbooks without (apparently) a guiding vision and plan for how these computers would be used to transform teaching and learning in the school district. The article’s author elaborates:
Michael Ranieri, a junior at Hoboken’s high school, aspires to be an electrical engineer. He said when he did use the computers for schoolwork, it was mostly for word processing and internet browsing. He would write an essay on the laptop for English class, for example, or research information using Google. “We didn’t really do much on the computer,” said Ranieri. “So we kind of just did games to mess around when we had free time. I remember, really big, was Crazy Taxis that we used to play. If we found solitaire on line, we used to play it.” Ranieri said he was relieved to be free of the stress of keeping track of his laptop. Families had to sign papers agreeing to be financially responsible if the computers were lost. Every week Ranieri roamed his classrooms looking for his. “It was usually under my desk in English class,” he said.
Virtually school, every student, and every teacher is eventually going to go “one to one” with digital learning devices in our schools and in society. I say “virtually” because there are many hold-outs today for 1:1 learning, and not all of them are avoiding digital learning technologies for budgetary reasons. Some of our close family friends send their children to “The Academy of Classical Christian Studies” in Edmond / north Oklahoma City, where their educational philosophy rejects digital screens for younger students entirely because of a focus on “classical education.” Memorization and cursive writing are among the skills which are emphasized instead. This is an expensive, private school, and parents are opting out of computers entirely for their children in elementary grades.
Amidst the clamor of voices around the repeal of Common Core State Standards in my home state of Oklahoma, we hear very little about constructionist learning theory and truly revolutionary, transformative pedagogy. Michael Wesch’s reminders of Seymour Papert’s educational philosophy, standing in stark contract to the “instructionist” mandates and laws from government agencies as well as (sadly) many adults (including both parents and teachers) is like cold spring water shared with someone dying of thirst in a hot desert.
Bring forth thy “constructionist” spring water. I want to drink deeply from that well. So do my students. Bring on the school year. Bring on STEM. Let the “making” begin!
Michael Wesch on Seymour Papert and Constructionism originally appeared on Moving at the Speed of Creativity on August 5, 2014.]]>
Today a new medium of communication emerges every time somebody creates a new web application. Yet these developments are not without disruption and peril. Familiar long-standing institutions, organizations and traditions disappear or transform beyond recognition. And while new media bring with them new possibilities for openness, transparency, engagement and participation, they also bring new possibilities for surveillance, manipulation, distraction and control. Critical thinking, the old mainstay of higher education, is no longer enough to prepare our youth for this world. We must create learning environments that inspire a way of being-in-the-world in which they can harness and leverage this new media environment as well as recognize and actively examine, question and even re-create the (increasingly digital) structures that shape our world.
As we prepare to return to our classrooms in upcoming weeks in the United States, let’s consider ways we’re going to help our students MOVE in their learning to become more “knowledge-ABLE” citizens. Michael challenges us to move beyond critical thinking, to help our students learn to utilize and leverage media tools to not simply consume and pass tests, but to engage with the challenges and problems of our world which need their attention, energy and creativity. I’m thinking of ways my students are going to “map media” to our curriculum as content producers, as well as projects we can engage in together in our STEM / Maker classroom.
Thanks to Amanda Pratt (@acpratt) for sharing this video via Twitter.
Catch up with Michael’s more recent thinking this summer, “Learning as soul-making,” in this recorded presentation at Pasadena City College in June 2014.
Moving Students From Knowledgeable to Knowledge-ABLE: Michael Wesch at TEDxKC originally appeared on Moving at the Speed of Creativity on August 2, 2014.]]>
I understand a committee of Oklahoma educators convened by the Oklahoma State Department of Education last year recommended removal of references from the “Next-Generation Science Standards” to both climate change and evolution, because of the perception that Oklahoma voters would not support the teaching of these ideas in our public schools. With the repeal of Common Core State Standards in June (which do not include science) a great deal of confusion has ensued over Oklahoma academic standards. I am very interested to see what directives my own school district will provide to teachers regarding academic standards when we return to school in a little over a week.
Just as it was ignorant and silly (as well as tragic) for the Catholic Church to persecute and confine Galileo when he postulated the sun was the center of our solar system in the early 1600s, it is similarly ridiculous for Oklahoma elected representatives to refute the consensus of the scientific community with regard to climate change and evolution today.
As discussions over academic standards in our state move forward in upcoming months, hopefully more informed heads will prevail and we can fully adopt the Next-Generation Science Standards without silly amendments.
In addition, I hope Senator Inhofe’s “reign of error” will draw to a close sooner rather than later, and we can elect a senator to replace him who will not be as ideologically tied to the oil and gas industry. For specific details, I encourage you to look at the public record statistics compiled by the Sunlight Foundation about donors to the political campaigns of Jim Inhofe. I have met Jim Inhofe personally and think he is a nice guy, but he is tragically misinformed and misdirected when it comes to some of the most important scientific issues of our day like climate change.
This situation with Senator Whitehouse responding to Senator Inhofe on the floor of the U.S. Senate is a case study in how I WISH our Congress worked and functioned. Senators SHOULD listen to each other and be willing to reconsider their opinions and positions based on the ideas and evidence presented by colleagues. It would be wonderful, and an act of inspiring enlightenment, if Senator Inhofe would reconsider and change his views on climate change. Given his record of book publishing as well as campaign finance / contributors, however, that outcome seems extremely unlikely.
Please Senator Inhofe, listen carefully to the reasonable words of your colleague, Senator Whitehouse, and acknowledge the reality of climate change. Yes, I know the oil and gas industry is very important to our state, and those working in the fossil fuel industry do not want us to broadly transition away from oil and gas for energy production. That transition will happen eventually as new technologies make alternative fuel options viable, but we do NOT need our elected leaders to intentionally obstruct that transition in the ways you attempt to do by denying the reality of climate change. On a personal level, you should know that your stand on climate change turns younger and middle aged Oklahoma voters like me against you when we go to the polls.
It’s not too late to change your view and position on climate change.
Hat tip to Addicting Info for sharing this video link.
Sheldon Whitehouse responds to Jim Inhofe on Climate Change originally appeared on Moving at the Speed of Creativity on August 1, 2014.]]>
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Podcast418: Jennie Magiera’s Inspirational Keynote From EdTechTeacher Summit July 2014 originally appeared on Moving at the Speed of Creativity on July 31, 2014.]]>
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Podcast417: Mobile Digital Ethnography, Place-Based Learning and Inquiry originally appeared on Moving at the Speed of Creativity on July 30, 2014.]]>
Creating Multimedia eBooks (July 2014) originally appeared on Moving at the Speed of Creativity on July 28, 2014.]]>
In the video watch for my daughter Sarah, who makes a dramatic pass behind me wearing her sunglasses, and then comes by again sans-glasses for a second appearance. It’s her first time to Chicago and she’s pretty impressed with Michigan Avenue!
Hands On with the Amazon Fire Phone originally appeared on Moving at the Speed of Creativity on July 28, 2014.]]>
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Podcast416: Reflections on Create, Make & Learn 2014 originally appeared on Moving at the Speed of Creativity on July 21, 2014.]]>
First, promote cradle-to-grave media literacy education in every classroom and community; every thinking citizen must be taught how to “read and write” across multiple media platforms, in keeping with the most enlightened of the Framers’ emphasis on public education and the importance of virtuous citizenship. Students should know how to use a video camera as well as a pencil, and a blog platform as easily as a textbook.
Amen to these perspectives! These are reasons we need to “play with media,” “map media to our curriculum,” and become Storychasers!
Technorati Tags: cml14, create, learn, make, media, vermont, video, pencil, textbook, VtEd, play, storychaser
Use Video Camera Like a Pencil – A Blog Like a Textbook originally appeared on Moving at the Speed of Creativity on July 18, 2014.]]>
Shelly has become an iMovie and iMovie Trailer-making machine this summer! She’s posted six more videos in the past 3 weeks (all created on her iPad with iMovie) to her teacher YouTube channel!
Technorati Tags: cml14, education, maker, stem, vermont, makered, generator, burlington
Create, Make and Learn 2014: The iMovie Trailer originally appeared on Moving at the Speed of Creativity on July 17, 2014.]]>