Useful links

 Do YOUR Kids Think that Being Right is More Important than Being Curious? | CTQ #CTQCollab Some good discussion here. “Questions with no clear right answer should be fun to think about and wrestle with.” “Our educational system has failed if it has trained students to think that “there must be only one answer, and the teacher knows what it is, and they have to be the first to guess what it is.”
Detecting Bias, Browsing, Freshness, Backlinks, Red Flags… – ThingLink An interactive fluency model. It is a useful reminder for students about plagiarism, author bias and search strategies. The links to Information fluencey have changed but by going to ythe home page they can be found.

Soundtrap – Make music online Soundtrap allows you to make music online, from any device, with your own instruments or the virtual ones on the site. The free version offers 5 projects, many loops, instruments and sounds as well as other features. It works on Mac, Windows, iPad, Android tablets and phones, Linux and Chromebooks. It allows you to start, edit and collaborate on your recordings and, being cloud-based, wherever you are. You can collaborate with others and share your music on Facebook, Twitter and SoundCloud, as well as Spotify and iTunes. You can sign in with Office 365, Google, Facebook or an email account.

There are premium options with more features and fewer limits.
Did Shakespeare write his plays? – Natalya St. Clair and Aaron Williams – YouTube This is an intersting visual explanation tht offers and interesting way to introduce Shakespeare to students, making it more accessible.
10 of the Most Engaging Uses of Instructional Technology (with Dozens of Resources and Tools) — Emerging Education Technologies Kelly Walsh shares ’10 highly engaging uses of technology in the classroom, along with dozens of tools and resources for implementation’ in 10 of the Most Engaging Uses of Instructional Technology (with Dozens of Resources and Tools). This is a great place to explore for new ideas as the new school year begins.
The Difference Between Doing Projects Versus Learning Through Projects Terry Heick has created a visual comparison of traditional projects versus how current projects can assist in deeper learning. It is helpful for understanding the changes to pedagogy in our schools today.
Digital Content Guide ” The Digital Content Guide has been developed by a group of creative rights holders and creative content industry associations to help consumers find licensed content online across a range of services and platforms. The funding members are: Australian Screen Association; APRAAMCOS; ARIA; Copyright Agency Ltd; Foxtel; News Corp Australia and Village Roadshow.”
Teaching ideas – School libraries – guides at NSW Department of Education “Curriculum and policy support for school libraries – meeting the needs of future learners”
Activity Ideas & Resources – Teen Read Week Links to many ideas to celebrate books and reading
4 secrets to building rapport with students (even when it’s hard to connect) | The Cornerstone “Rapport is a relationship in which the student enjoys working productively with the teacher. It is the single most important facet of a successful educator, and its effectiveness depends upon the character of the teacher and how efficiently this is employed in all interactions with his or her students.”
5 skills students need to be contributing global citizens – Mr Kemp “Educators need to provide students with the behaviors, knowledge & skills to become responsible global citizens who can take action to solve a problem either individually or with others. So what are the important skills, behaviors, and attitudes that students need to become contributing global citizens? Here is a list of the 5 skills (there are many more, but these are the ones this teacher perceives to be most important) they believe students need to demonstrate:”
Teachers Digital Skills Chart ~ Educational Technology and Mobile Learning The chart features some 21st century digital skills that every teacher should be familiar with. For each of these skills they have come up with a collection of web tools that can help develop such skills “
A New Excellent Google Forms Feature to Auto Grade Quizzes ~ Educational Technology and Mobile Learning “Google Forms has recently introduced a new powerful feature that allows teachers to auto-grade multiple choice and checkbox questions.Additionally, ‘Teachers can also add review materials in the form of explanations, supplemental websites or review videos — so students can get quick, actionable feedback. Plus, teachers can get instant feedback on student progress, so they know which lessons need more explanation and what to teach next. We’ve also added a common request from educators to disallow students from sending themselves a copy of their responses.’ We are working on a detailed guide on how to incorporate this new feature in your Google Forms quizzes and we’ll share it with you as soon as it’s ready.”
Arduino or Raspberry Pi: Making The Right Choice For Your Project | YourSpot Good comparison piece explaining the strengths of both . “Arduino and Raspberry Pi are two different boards designed for different applications. The choice of using one completely depends on the type of project one is trying to make or the amount of knowledge one has of electronic components and software languages. “
Free Technology for Teachers: How to Create a KWL Chart in Padlet “A useful way to use Padlet is to have students collaboratively create multimedia KWL (Know, Want, Learn) charts. To provide students with guidance on where to place their notes, I use a custom background on Padlet. The background is a just a screenshot of a three column page that I make in Google Documents (any other document program will work just as well) that is uploaded to Padlet. “
ISTE 2016: 5 Tech Trends Reshaping Education | EdTech Magazine An overview of some current and emerging technological trends that are shaking things up in the K–12 space. These are put under the headings: Big Data, Augmented Reality, The Semantic Web, Extreme BYOD and Transmedia. Interestiing discussion.
6 Must Haves for Developing a Maker Mindset | EdSurge News “Best defined by the research and work of Carol Dweck, Jo Boaler and Eduardo Briceno, growth mindset is the recognition of the brain as a muscle that—with practice, effort, and nurturing—can continue to grow and develop. When you think of an inventor or innovator, past or present, what descriptors come to mind? Creative. Persistent. Curious. Fearless. Passionate. But educators know that most students don’t show up to your class on the first day of school exhibiting these qualities. So how do we provide not only the physical tools but the mental tools to Make? Here, in this post, are the essential pieces:”
9 Excellent Dropbox Features for Teachers ~ Educational Technology and Mobile Learning “Dropbox is a file hosting service that allows you to ‘keep your files safe, synced and easy to share.’ You can use it to upload files, videos, pictures and documents as well as generate unique URLs to share with others. Dropbox has introduced a new suite of productivity features that make creating, sharing and collaborating easier.  Tis post offers a quick round-up of the main features included in Dropbox:”
Minecraft in Education. 30 ideas for using minecraft in the classroom – teachwithict It is well documented how using games in a classroom context can facilitate collaborative learning, promote problem solving and stimulate an engaging learning environment. One methodology that demonstrates all these elements is Game Based Learning. One game that seems to optimise Games Based Learning is Minecraft. inecraft is a sandbox game where players have to build structures, fight monsters, hunt for food and gather resources in order to survive. Because of its sandbox environment, Minecraft is an perfect tool for engaging students and fostering creativity. Due to its open-ended nature, Minecraft also lends itself to a variety of subject areas and some are discussed here..
Why better STEM programs are the key to creating global citizens | eSchool News We live in a society today were facts are at our fingertips through ready access to the internet and search engines. To keep pace, our educational system needs to focus less on memorization of facts and more on how to use facts and how to ask the right questions.
How to Teach Digital Citizenship to All Students – Advancement Courses “In a world filled with blogs, tweets, texts, social media posts, and memes, it’s more important than ever that students understand the norms of appropriate and responsible technology use. No matter which subject or grade you teach, you can help your students live, grow, and work in a technology-driven global community.  Not sure how to begin teaching the many components of 21st century, technology-based learning? The nine elements of digital citizenship are a great place to start.”

99 texting acronyms and phrases every parent should know “By now, texting acronyms like LOL and OMG are pretty pervasive in pop culture; my daughter knew them in preschool, you hear them from the least hip anchors on TV morning shows, and heck, your own parents probably have texted you an LOL at some point. But when you’re the parent of a tween or teen, and you’re keeping careful track of who – and what – they’re texting, it’s good to be able dig a little deeper. Here, 99 texting acronyms and expressions that every parent should know. It’s not complete by any means, but it’s a start. Of course, lots of text speak will vary by region or even school or peer group. This is really just to help you understand that this kind of language exists in the first place. And yes, there will be completely new ones by the time you have these memorized”

Learning in the classroom Some good charts for measuring learning that could be used in most classrooms
Using Scratch in the Curriculum · TeacherCast Educational Broadcasting NetworkbyJeffrey Bradbury “In this episode, Jeff sits down with Kasia Chmielinski to learn how Scratch is being used in over 150 countries in more than 40 languages.  Join Jeff, Rob Pennington, Kevin Donatello, and Sam Patterson as we dive into the Hour of Code and Beyond on TeacherCast Podcast 124.”

Not All Student Engagement is Good Student Engagement Student engagement is a hot topic in schools these days. Students who are bored or disinterested tend to zone out in class, which zaps their enthusiasm for learning—or, so the thinking goes. On the other hand, students who feel inspired and energized in school perform better. Former school principal and education leader Eric Sheninger in a new book out called, “UnCommon Learning: Creating Schools That Work for Kids” says educators should be careful: Engagement doesn’t always translate to learning, especially when it comes to the integration of school technology. Sheninger says the key to a strong technology implementation is to establish clear measures and “observable evidence” that learning has actually occurred—and he outlines several questions school leaders should consider. Listed here are a few of his ideas

Education & Skills Today: How to transform schools into learning organisations? “The OECD-UNICEF Education Working Paper, “What makes a school a learning organisation?” should be seen as a first step towards building a shared understanding of the concept that is solidly founded in the literature and is recognisable to all parties involved, i.e. scholars, educators, policy makers, students and parents.

Based on an in-depth analysis of the literature and informed by a small network of experts, the paper identifies and operationalises an integrated model that consists  of seven over-arching ‘action-oriented’ dimensions which show how to transform schools into learning organisations”
Questions you need to ask when developing a digital strategy | Jisc  “Digital isn’t just a nice to have, it’s a necessity in the modern world. A digital strategy that unifies effective use of technology to enhance teaching, learning and assessment, and makes processes more effective and efficient, is a must for providers to deliver for learners and stay competitive.”
Blended Learning Slides and Resources #iste2016 @coolcatteacher” At ISTE Tom Arnett, Jon Bergmann, Mike Gwaltney, Aaron Sams, Stephanie Sandifer, and Jerry Obermyer all did an incredible job discussing blended and flipped learning. Shell Terrell shared the session on Periscope” links and slides

Useful links

Your Online Presence is a Digital Tattoo, Not a Footprint | The Golden Age of Education Some nice infographics that explain why why we must model and demonstrate how to actively create digital tattoos instead of passively leaving digital footprints.
DERN: Digital Educatioonal Research Network (DERN) “Free Research Reviews – published fortnightly. The latest 2 research reviews are FREE.”
IFLA School Library Guidelines, 2nd edition This is the new edition of the School Library Guidelines, approved by the IFLA Professional Committee in June 2015.
These guidelines constitute the second edition of the IFLA ‘School Library Guidelines’. The first edition of the school library guidelines was developed in 2002. They have been developed to assist school library professionals and educational decision-makers in their efforts to ensure that all students and teachers have access to effective school library programs and services, delivered by qualified school library personnel.
TLT | Australian Teaching and Learning Toolkit What impacts most on student learning. Teaching and Learning toolkit
Rethinking Learning: The 21st Century Learner | MacArthur Foundation – YouTube A thought provoking video about critical and creative thinking from John Seely Brown
Bebras Australia | Digital Careers Computational Thinking Challenge For Students “Bebras is an international student challenge whose goal is to promote computational thinking for teachers and students (ages 8-17 / school years 3-12). Bebras is aligned with and supports information and communication technology curricula across Australia. Bebras Australia is run by NICTA under the Digital Careers program, funded by the Australian Government. It’s a great way to get students interested and participating in information and communication technology (ICT) which could lead to an interest in pursuing a career in the exciting ICT industry!”
ISTE | 9 resources for teaching digital citizenship “In classrooms where digital citizenship is taught effectively, the teachers often share two things in common: They model ethical technology use for their students on a daily basis, and they naturally incorporate conversations about it whenever technology is part of their lesson plan. In other words, they weave digital citizenship seamlessly throughout their curriculum.” There are some resources here to help you ion your task
8 Apps for Testing Student-Created Curriculum Many teachers still create their own lesson plans, activities, and assessments based on curriculum standards and scope and sequences provided by their various educational guiding bodies. Technology can give students more opportunities whilst still allowing teachers to maintain a guiding hand.

Mean What You Say: Defining and Integrating Personalized, Blended and Competency Education – iNACOL “This paper provides a scan of the literature to expand the knowledge base for the field of online, blended, and competency-based education. Authors seek to integrate the core ideas of personalized learning, blended learning, competency education, and standards. The goal of the paper is to explain the nuances of key terms used across the field of K-12 education related to personalized, blended and competency education, and how the ideas integrate in order to create new learning models.”

The right conditions for creativity — The Learner’s Way “Creativity is best served by a culture that values it. Ultimately the sum total of our beliefs, attitudes and behaviours will define our cultural valuing of creativity. Encouraging creativity begins with what we say and what we do to support it but the ultimate success of our endeavours will be measured by the degree to which creativity becomes a part of the culture of a school.”
A Handy Chart Featuring Some of The Best Tools and Apps for Creating Educational Screencasts ~ Educational Technology and Mobile Learning “A screencast is a great way for teachers to create and share instructional videos and explanatory step-by-step tutorials with students. The quality of the video screen captures can sometimes impede the communicative intent of the message. Therefore, knowing what tools to use to create educational screencasts is as important as the content of the screencasts themselves. To assist teachers this curated collection of some of the best screen casting tools was put together. They are divided into four major categories: Web tools, Chromebook apps, iPad apps, and Android apps.”
Using Twitter In The Classroom – From The Perspective Of Students | The Edvocate At the end of the year students were asked to reflect on their classroom highlights. Using twitter in the classroom was one of those. The are some interesting comments
Stories Teachers Share | Free listening on SoundCloud  Katrina Schwartz and Ki Sung at MindShift started a podcast titled “Stories Teachers Share”. It highlightst the many varied and interesting work teachers do daily. It gives teachers the opportunity to help the larger community better understand what it really means to be a teacher.

Letting Students Lead the Learning | An effective way to have students learn about a topic. “Instead of giving them access to that Google Document full of information and instructions, I asked students to investigate RSA animation to find out what it is and how they are created. Then groups worked together to write a project proposal explaining how they were going to execute this project. It required them to think through the purpose, strategy, and process before beginning their work. It asked them to do the work that most teachers do for them.”

Portal 2 Puzzle Maker – Valve Developer Community “The Puzzle Maker (also known as Puzzle Creator or Editor) is an in-game puzzle editor that allows the creation, testing, and publishing (to Steam Workshop) of custom single-player and co-op test chambers. The Editor also adds new lines from Cave Johnson which, altogether, adds a story to downloaded test chambers. The DLC introduces the player to “The Multiverse” which contains an infinite number of Earths, an infinite number of Apertures, and therefore, an infinite number of test chambers.

Puzzle Maker is not intended as a replacement of Hammer, which while more powerful and generalized in nature, is significantly more difficult and time consuming to use. It is possible to export a VMF from Puzzle Maker and open it in Hammer; many mappers do this to add polish or features that are not currently possible using the Puzzle Maker. Some mappers use the Puzzle Maker to quickly iterate through (and test) puzzle designs before building a chamber from scratch with Hammer. It is not possible to load a Hammer VMF file in Puzzle Maker.”
Kids Start Coding Their Vocab | Teacher Tech An interesting approach that teaches coding and gives students a reason to do it. The idea is to practice coding using Google Docs. Links to more how-tos and extra options also in the piece
10+ Tips for Using Brain Based Methods to Redesign Your Classroom | EdSurge News Interesting article. If are you looking to redesign your learning environment, this piece offers some ideas about where you might start.
10 Things Every Teacher Should be able to do on Google Docs | Indiana Jen Google Docs is a powerful word processing tool that many schools are now using. Most of its features are intuitive to use and it can function like of a traditional word processor, it also provides more capabilities that offer teachers many valuable options.
Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.

Useful links

Educational Postcard: We need authentic by Ken Whytock, on Flickr
Educational Postcard: We need authentic” (CC BY-NC 2.0) by  Ken Whytock 

 

6 Reasons You Should Be Doing Digital Storytelling with Your Students | Getting Smart ” Digital storytelling is a blend of video, audio, images, and text to convey stories, information, and ideas. If you are not yet convinced of the benefits of digital storytelling, this post gives you the top six reasons why you should be doing digital storytelling activities with your students.”

Free Technology for Teachers: How to Set a Time Limit on Google Forms

“Post created after a question from a teacher who was looking for a way to impose a time limit on a quiz or test administered through Google Forms. My suggestion was to try using the Google Forms Add-on called Form Limiter. In the video embedded Richard Byrne demonstrate how to install and use Form Limiter.”

Free Technology for Teachers: Choosito – A Search Engine With Reading Level Index “Students who feel overwhelmed by unfiltered results on Google or Bing, could benefit from using Choosito to filter search results. Likewise, students who have trouble refining their search terms could benefit from Choosito’s “related searches” suggestions. Teachers who are looking for reading materials for their students, should appreciate the option to filter results to a reading level appropriate for their students”

The Best Places To Get The “Same” Text Written For Different “Levels” | Larry Ferlazzo’s Websites of the Day… Having the “same” text written for different levels of English comprehension can be a life-saver for a multi-level class of English Language Learners or for a teacher with a mainstream class that includes some students that are facing other challenges. They can be an important tool for differentiation.
Listed here are a few sources where you can get these different versions other than creating them yourself.

10 Chrome Extensions Every Student Should Install | The Thinking Stick A useful annotated list with some good suggestions (for students and teachers).
3 Steps to Becoming a Coding Teacher | Edutopia The are some good ideas here as well as some questions you could ask before beginning coding in your classroom.
Unlocking the Code for Robotics in the Classroom | Edutopia The post discusses five reasons why teachers should consider purchasing robotics for the K-12 classroom.

Kiddle – visual search engine for kids This search engine is powered by editors and Google safe search. Kiddle blocks all explicit content by default so you, as the user, don’t need to change any settings. Creators state that it is not possible to turn off the safe search filter on this search engine. It also has filtering so that in the case of some inappropriate words are present in a search query, the “guard robot” will block the search.
Most search results are illustrated with large thumbnails, making it easier to scan the results, differentiate between the sites, and click the most appropriate results to the query. The thumbnails serve as visual clues and are especially beneficial to kids . The text for the search results is in large Arial font, for easy readability for students.

Trust, Authenticity, and Genuine Digital Leadership | Edutopia “We all have the capacity to influence our profession and the digital tools that we have access to provide us with a forum to reach an audience of educators who are willing to listen and be influenced. If our colleagues are listening to us, we better make sure that we’re genuine and authentic. Those of us who are in a position to lead (which is arguably all of us!) should work at earning the trust of the professionals we may have influence over and these four pointers provide some influence that I hope will be helpful.”

4 Great Google Drive Add-ons for Math Teachers ~ Educational Technology and Mobile Learning  The Google drive add-ons/apps discussed here enable you to solve mathematical equations, create graphs, work on complex calculations, perform basic math/stat operations of cell values in a Google Docs table. They also foffer other options depending on how you want to use them.

Seven Stages in Moving from Consuming to Creating | John Spencer “here are seven stages I see students go through as they shift from being consumers of media to creators of media:”
6 New EdTech Tools for Teachers ~ Educational Technology and Mobile Learning “Some of the things you can do with these web tools include: creating different types of diagrams (e.g flowcharts and organizational charts), solve math problems using Symbolab calculator, design print-friendly Bingo cards to use in class, build and share word searches online, convert/compress and share video files”
SparkNotes: Today’s Most Popular Study Guides Spark Notes is a fantastic tool to help students through difficult assignments and essays in Literature and English classes. The notes shouldn’t be a replacement for reading. Rather, use them as an aid to help you understand the concepts. If you’re reading Shakespeare, for instance, Spark Notes will help you understand the language so you can better understand the story. Spark Notes can also offer study tips or break up the text into smaller pieces to help students manage their workload.
Teaching Students the Skills of Expert Readers | Edutopia “A summary of the seven strategies of highly skilled readers. A brief purpose for using each strategy is provided along with a corresponding protocol. The seven strategies can be used with a variety of texts depending on the discipline.”
4 Student-friendly Tools for Creating Educational Presentations ~ Educational Technology and Mobile Learning “a collection of some very good  tools you can use in class with students to create beautiful presentations and slideshows. All of these tools are web-based and do not require any software download. They are also very simple and easy to use so students won’t have any major problems working on them.”
STUDYBLUE | Find and share online flashcards and notes from StudyBlue. Any subject, anywhere, anytime. Study Blue lets students across all ages and subjects create flashcards to help with the study process. The website will store your flashcards for later use, or for the use of others who might want a more cumulative set of study resources. Study Blue boasts the “largest and fastest growing library of online study materials,” including quizzes, review sheets, and the aforementioned flashcards.
Free Technology for Teachers: 4 Free Tools for Creating & Playing Interactive Quiz Games “This post looks at 4 interactive quiz game tools that Richard Byrne has used with great success in his classroom and or in his workshops.”
Crafting Connections: Four-Star Reading Responses “An anchor chart that shows the progression from a 1-star Post-it note to a 4-star Post-it note for upper elementary students based on the Say Something Post-it Note reading strategy.”
Wacky Books Will Hook Reluctant Readers “Some suggestions for when you have a child who doesn’t want to read, a reluctant reader. Get them engaged in a wacky book or silly story.”
Historical Inquiry: 20+ Creative Ways History Teachers Can use Primary Sources @coolcatteacher  “Historical inquiry helps make history class exciting. History teachers can use primary sources in creative, exciting ways to make history come alive. What is historical inquiry? How can it be used to teach history? How can you use technology, creativity, and exciting projects to teach history? The post explains how.”
How to Determine if Student Engagement is Leading to Learning | MindShift | KQED News  “With or without technology, there always seems to be a great deal of emphasis on student engagement, but the fact of the matter is that engagement does not necessarily equate to learning.”
Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.

Useful links

Recognizing and Overcoming False Growth Mindset | Edutopia “A growth mindset is the belief that you can develop your talents and abilities through hard work, good strategies, and help from others. It stands in opposition to a fixed mindset, which is the belief that talents and abilities are unalterable traits, ones that can never be improved. Research has shown (and continues to show) that a growth mindset can have a profound effect on students’ motivation, enabling them to focus on learning, persist more, learn more, and do better in school. Significantly, when students are taught a growth mindset, they begin to show more of these qualities. However, I slowly became aware that not all educators understood the concept fully. Identifying a False Growth Mindset: It all started when my Australian colleague Susan Mackie informed me that she was seeing more and more false growth mindset. This is when educators think and do all sorts of things that they simply call growth mindset.”

Aligning Assessments with Learning Objectives – TeachOnline “When you are creating a course, strive to design with the end in mind. After you have established a set of measurable learning objectives for your course, work to develop assessments that are aligned with your stated learning objectives. Think of the learning objectives as a set of skills, knowledge, or abilities that your students will be able to demonstrate a mastery of at the end of the course. Then consider the assessments as a way for the student to prove they are capable of that mastery.”

Innovation Is Not a One Time Event | Connected Principals “One of the things that have to really see is that innovation in school is not about a day, a week, or a class.  Although creating those experiences are great, if you look at these characteristics above, how can we promote them through what we do everyday in school?”

Five Ways to Build Your School’s Instructional Brand and Connect with Families | EdSurge News “Although the obvious result of the work discussed in the post is about creating high levels of transparency between the home and school, the byproduct is making your instructional brand clear to the entire community.”

What Your Students Really Need to Know About Digital Citizenship | Edutopia “Digital Citizenship or Just Citizens? There are those like expert Anne Collier who think we should drop the word “digital” because we’re really just teaching citizenship. These are the skills and knowledge that students need to navigate the world today. We must teach these skills and guide students to experience situations where they apply knowledge. Citizenship is what we do to fulfill our role as a citizen. That role starts as soon as we click on the internet. In the classroom, there are two essential approaches in the digital citizenship curriculum that Vicki Davis uses to teach: proactive knowledge and experiential knowledge.
“Proactive Knowledge: I want my students to know the “9 Key Ps” of digital citizenship. I teach them about these aspects and how to use them. While I go into these Ps in detail in my book Reinventing Writing, here are the basics”
“Experiential Knowledge: During the year, I’ll touch on each of these 9 Key Ps with lessons and class discussions, but just talking is not enough. Students need experience to become effective digital citizens. Here’s how I give them that:”

Learning with ‘e’s: Learning from each other  Corneli and Danoff’s approach – paragogy – anyone can teach anyone else, because everyone knows something, but no-one knows everything. Students can even teach their teachers, in an extreme form of flipped learning”

Critical Thinking: A Necessary Skill in the Age of Spin | Edutopia “Fortunately, when students are educated about information-gathering techniques and critical thinking, they have the tools necessary to see through spin and make decisions based on fact, rather than myth or propaganda. Regardless of your subject, critical thinking is one of the most important skills you can teach.”

Tools and Materials – Maker Ed’s Resource Library ““Tools and Materials” contains lists and examples of useful tools and resources in making activities and makerspaces, including suggestions for consumables, hardware, machines, open source software, and other technologies. This category also includes guidance or tutorials on specific tools or skills. The resources in the post are listed in alphabetical order, as a default. They are also organized into subcategories, accessible by the tabs at the top of the grid. When hovering over each box, keywords provide a simple description and glimpse into the content of the resource, which is accessible by clicking on the arrow in the upper right-hand corner.”

2016 Quick Picks for Reluctant Young Adult Readers | Young Adult Library Services Association (YALSA) “The Quick Picks list, presented annually at the ALA Midwinter Meeting suggests books that teens, ages 12-18, will pick up on their own and read for pleasure; it is geared to the teenager who, for whatever reason, does not like to read. The 2016 list features 67 titles and 2 series, drawn from 181 nominations.”

16 Things Teachers Should Try in 2016 [infographic] | Shake Up Learning “This is a list of 16 Things for Teachers to Try in 2016 to help inspire educators to try something new this year. Not expensive and adaptable.”

Culture of Creativity or Constraints? – Curiosity, Exploration, Wonder “There are a few possibilities discussed here that help to create that culture of free creativity and innovation. Educators need to build this culture at a young age and when challenges arise students will have what it takes to innovate. How will we bring about opportunities for students to explore their creativity and innovate?”

Top 5 Emerging EdTech Trends you Must Know in 2016 “The post looks at the top 5 big trends in e-learning and education technology that could change the teaching-learning in 2016 and beyond. There are some key ideas here for online educators as well as for teach-preneurs in E-learning and educational technology.”

The Teacher’s Guide for Using Social Media [Infographic] “Online Colleges created this simple teacher’s guide for using social media below. It provides some specific strategies for applying tools like Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and YouTube to any classroom. It has tips for communicating and curating, and celebrating student work. ”

7 innovative Australian startups bringing education into the 21st century | Ideas Hoist “This post looks at seven startups which look to either fill in some gaps, or improve on old habits across the whole spectrum of education”

10 Epic Tools Busy Teachers Need to Be Aware of A useful annotated list of tools.

What is a Makerspace? | Create, Collaborate, Innovate “Making looks different at different types of makerspaces. However, schools, public libraries, and even artist collaboratives have some universal themes that tie us all together (and owning a 3D printer isn’t one of them.)”

Learn2Earn | Whooos Reading This online, gamified reading log rewards kids for reading and motivates them to read more. After logging their most recent reading, they answer a CCSS-aligned comprehension question. They earn Wisdom Coins for logging their reading and answering the questions, which can be spent in the Owl Store where they buy virtual accessories for their Owlvatar. The reward system motivates kids to read more every day and gives teachers a chance to monitor what students are reading outside of the classroom Different priciing options

Studio Pango | Funny apps for smart kids Young reader are in control with this reading app. It allows them to be directly involved in the story. They are encouraged to explore what’s going on, find hidden objects, move characters from one place to another, and more. The reading levels progress as the student improves so the app allows kids to move onto more complex texts when they are ready.

PlayTales Kids apps | iPhone, iPad, Android Interactive books for kids | Apps for children. This app, available on IOS and Android, gives students unlimited access to classic, new, and educational stories (for a low monthly fee). Because it’s interactive, students are encouraged to dive deeper into the text, whether they’re simultaneously drawing or watching the words come to life with animation.

What Should I Read Next? Book recommendations from readers like you This simple website does one thing: tells you what books to read based on the book you input in the search field. Students can get frustrated when selecting their own reading material, making reading more stressful than it needs to be. Give your students access to this website when choosing a new book; they’ll be excited to see what comes up and feel more confident with their choices.

A Beginner’s Guide To Personalized Learning – “There is a difference between personalized learning and differentiation. Differentiation is a kind of personalized instruction, where teachers adjust process, & product, according to a student’s readiness, interest, & learning style. Planning of the learning starts with the content, and the content remains the same for all students. This is a school and curriculum-centered approach that attempts to amend the delivery of the content to match the student’s needs, strengths, and general readiness.
Personalized learning starts with the learner and asks the question, “What does this student need to understand, and how best can that happen?” This is a student-centered approach, and is built around the idea of recognizing the vast differences in students–not just in terms of literacy or schema, but an authentic need to know.”

35 Digital Tools To Create Simple Quizzes And Collect Feedback From Students “The sites, tools, and apps mentioned here can save teachers time by allowing them to create simple quizzes that can be taken asynchronously, and make polls and forms to collect feedback from students (content-based or otherwise).”

6 Strategies for Differentiated Instruction in Project-Based Learning | Edutopia “Project-based learning (PBL) naturally lends itself to differentiated instruction. By design, it is student-centered, student-driven, and gives space for teachers to meet the needs of students in a variety of ways. PBL can allow for effective differentiation in assessment as well as daily management and instruction.  We all need to try out specific ideas and strategies to get our brains working in a different context. Here are some specific differentiation strategies to use during a PBL project.”

How You Can Become a Champion of Digital Citizenship in Your Classroom | EdSurge News“Why Digital Citizenship is No Longer Just an “Elective” As teachers, it is now part of our responsibility to lead by example when it comes to sound digital citizenship practices. As soon as children have devices in their hands, they should be educated about digital citizenship and their digital footprint. Think about this: even before babies are born, they have a digital shadow, because pictures and other media are shared about them via various social media outlets.”

25 Critical Thinking Apps For Extended Student Learning – “There are many apps that do promote critical thinking–and often extended critical thinking and learning at that. These aren’t clinical “critical thinking building” programs either, but rather often enjoyable exercises in strategy, tactics, and problem-solving thought. In this post there is a collection of 25 of these critical thinking apps. Most are for grades 8-12, but several are for students as young as kindergarten.”

Teens can’t tell the difference between Google ads and search results | The Verge “The familiar narrative of teens and technology is one of natural proficiency — that young people just get technology in a way that older generations don’t. But research suggests that just because children feel at home using smartphones, it doesn’t mean they’re more aware of the nuances of how the web works. In a new report published by the UK’s telecoms watchdog Ofcom, researchers found that only a third of young people aged 12 to 15 knew which search results on Google were adverts, while this figure was even lower — less than one in five — for children aged 8 to 11”

Open Educational Resources (OER): Resource Roundup | Edutopia “Explore this educator’s guide to open educational resources for information about online repositories, curriculum-sharing websites, sources for lesson plans and activities, and open alternatives to textbooks.”

Free Technology for Teachers: How to Get Free eBooks on Your Mobile Device “With the rise and prominence of eBooks have come a number of resources for educators and students to access free content on virtually any device. Using e-readers, tablets, or computers; in conjunction with apps such as Kindle, Nook, iBooks, Google Play Books, and OverDrive; you can access libraries of books for free on virtually any device. By downloading these free apps, you make your device a digital reading device that is not dependent on a specific vendor. ”

Digital Citizenship Resources for the Home | Common Sense Media “You don’t have to be an expert on texting, Instagram, Minecraft — or whatever else your kids are into — to have The Talk. Start by reading up on what’s going on in your kids’ world (for younger kids and older kids). Ask them to show you what they like online, and why. Make sure to listen 🙂 Then, express a few basic expectations, with the understanding that this isn’t a one-and-done kind of chat.

Writing commons – Home “A free, comprehensive, peer-reviewed, award-winning Open Text for students and faculty in college-level courses that require writing and research.”
“Writing Commons is a viable alternative to expensive writing textbooks. Faculty may assign Writing Commons for their composition, business, STEM/Technical Writing, and creative writing courses. Writing Commons houses seven main sections: Information Literacy | Research Methods & Methodologies | Writing Processes | Collaboration | Genres | New Media | Style ”

7 Fun (And Effective!) Reading Websites That Engage Students “A collection of a number of websites that teachers, parents and students can use to help guide student reading selections. The aim : to assist students to find books to that they really like, then they’ll be more inclined to make time in their busy schedules for reading.”

A Collection of Project Based Learning End Products — Learning in Hand “Post discusses products created by students through project based learning experiences, with an emphasis on what students create to express their answer to a driving question than just read a summary of the project.
Gathered here are some samples can be used as inspiration for your class projects. And, critiquing these samples can help students think of ways to make their own productions better.”

Worlds of Learning | Top Ten Makerspace Favorites of 2015 “The most successful makerspaces include tools, materials and resources that inspire and allow for an environment rich with possibilities, allowing all students the opportunity for open-ended exploration.  In addition to tried-and-true favorites such as Spheros, Makey-Makey kits, littleBits, and Legos, there is now such a vast array of makerspace-related products available. As this year draws to a close, we can’t help but reflect upon some of our favorite makerspace things. “

Free Technology for Teachers: Digital Note-Taking with OneNote “Two features distinguish OneNote from other note-taking apps like Evernote. First, notes can be shared and collaboratively edited in real time – much like Google Docs. This includes collaborative handwriting when on tablets. Next, OneNote notes can be opened and edited in multiple locations at the same time. Consider a student taking notes in OneNote on a laptop or Chromebook while inserting photos from their phone”

Resources and Downloads to Facilitate Inquiry-Based Learning | Edutopia “Find information, strategies, protocols, and tools — including resources and downloads from teachers and schools – to promote curiosity and engage students in asking questions, thinking critically, and solving problems.”

10 ways for teachers, students to share links in class | Ditch That Textbook “In a class with technology, links are like digital currency. If you have the right ones to the right places, you can quickly open up doors to great learning opportunities. The key is having them at the right time and being able to deliver them to students.”

Libraries Lend Record Numbers of Ebooks and Audiobooks in 2015 | Digital Book World “2015 was a big year for libraries’ digital efforts, with a record number of readers borrowing ebooks and digital audiobooks. Overdrive, the leading supplier of digital content to libraries and schools, reported Tuesday that, in 2015, readers borrowed more than 169 million ebooks. This marked a 24-percent increase over 2014. There was also a notable spike in audiobook usage, which saw a faster growth rate than ebook library borrowing”

What’s most pressing for K-12 tech leaders in 2016? | Education Dive “Two tech leaders for their thoughts on the biggest ed tech issues, developments, and trends administrators will have to face this year (US). Aso links to further insight in the Education Dive’s recent survey on the state of K-12 ed tech.”

A vision of educational technology | Teaching using Web Tools for Educators The author concentrates on what she thinks is the most important point that should be made concerning the use of technology in class.”If your technology use in your classroom is for Powerpoint presentations and taking notes, you haven’t really understood the potential. If you as a teacher think you need to know it all before letting your students loose, you need to reconsider.

Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.

Teaching code via our “coding club”

We have recently started a junior coding club at our school, after not managing to have a subject put into the year 8 curriculum. It is interesting how to see how each week a few more boys are joining our ranks. It was also great to have some of our year 10 students offer to work with the younger boys as mentors and teachers. It has been many years since I have really worked in this area so it is a big learning curve for me but with the good will of the students we are all learning together  and having fun at the same time.

I thought I would include the infographic below. It sums up some of the questions we had to face when we wanted to introduce coding into the junior curriculum. Sometimes it is very frustrating but in the long run there will be a greater acceptance that coding is a useful skill for all students. It can encourage and develop a range of skills in our students: problem-solving, logical thinking, interpretation of data/information, innovation and original ideas,  abstract thought and creativity. Our students will learn to be creators, not just consumers at the mercy of other developers, or at least better understand the world they inhabit.

I still argue that we should  Teach coding to students, it’s an important skill. (A post I wrote 12 months ago). More articles are being written and research undertaken  that also support this view. One interesting article I read back in August was Coding overtakes French as UK’s most popular second language in primary schools. The headline alone piqued my interest.

So we continue with the coding club and lay the groundwork for all students to have access this most useful way of developing a range of skills. 
Teaching Coding in Classroom

Courtesy of: AssignmentHelpNet

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Learning_is_like_rowing_Web

Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.

Useful links