Looking for Summer Professional Development?

#edtech #edchat #atomiclearning

Have you been wanting to learn more about technology integration but had problems finding the time, or confused about where to start? Are you less-than-enthusiastic about boring professional development that doesn't seem related to what's happening in your classroom? Or do you understand the basics of technology integration, but you would like to see new ideas? Let my friends over at Atomic Learning help!

Watch their blog for weekly posts on technology integration professional development that will make utilizing technology in your classroom simple. From classroom projects to big idea workshops, they'll make sure you have the tools you need to engage your students in the fall!

Need more incentive? Often, professional development on the Atomic Learning website can be used for your state licensing requirements. Make sure to check with your district's staff development team to learn about the requirements.

Don't have an Atomic Learning license? Ask your district administrators to request information about how Atomic Learning solutions can help make tech integration easy.

- Brad

Bringing Social Stories to Life Workshop

#edtech #atomiclearning #edchat

My friends over at Atomic Learning are offering this online training workshop that explores the different technologies you can use to bring new life to social stories in the context of arriving at school. Arriving at school can be difficult for many students with ASD because it's an unstructured time which can be noisy, and there is the opportunity to interact with other students.

As we create our social story, we will explore the different features of Explain Everything, Puppet Pals, StoryBook Creator Pro and iMovie® so that we can compare the features and get a sense for the most appropriate tool for individual situations. You will also have a chance to view the finished story created by each of these apps.

Not an Atomic Learning subscriber, but want to utilize this workshop in your  school? Request a demo.

End of year push for Edtech Badges

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My students are in their final few weeks of school and they are on fire to earn as many of our new edtech badges as possible before we break for summer.

The edtech badges program in our elementary school leverages our Atomic Learning account and the ideals of a flipped classroom and gamification to get our students earning everything from simple word processing badges to more complicated audio engineering and video game design badges.

There has been a lot of talk about student engagement, trust me, not an issue in my school. The problem here is kids wanting, no begging, to work on their badges over the summer.

Should I allow it or not?

Webinar Today: Successful Technology Adoption: Strategies and Stories

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Well I've got the slides and the stories all ready for today's webinar on how the teachers in my building adopt technology into their everyday lessons. In today's webinar you will hear stories how my teachers, who range from innovators to laggards when in comes to technology adoption, find success. Here is the link for more info...



The Dark Side of BYOD

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At first, you might wonder what any of this has to do with technology in schools, but bear with me, it should all make sense by the end.

This past week I was caught by something that Joshua Garcia, deputy superintendent of Tacoma Public Schools said during his acceptance speech at the annual ASCD Conference that was held this past week in Chicago. Mr. Garcia spoke about trying to eradicate racism and elitism in his schools. He mentioned those two words, racism and elitism, together about five times during his emotional acceptance speech for winning the Outstanding Young Educator Award. I think we are all pretty clear on what racism is, but what about elitism and why is it so bad that he paired it with such word like racism?

Elitism is when people of the same social or ethic group, think that they are somehow better, or are more deserving than other people within their same group. They believe they are "The Elite" of their group. Entitlement can be a big part of elitism. Those who feel elite also feel somewhat entitled to getting more than the rest.

So what does elitism have to do with schools and technology?

As much as I love the idea of BYOD, students bringing and using their own technology at school, it does make me nervous in this regard.

Those who know me, know that I teach in a fairly affluent school. All of my kids go home to computers, videos games, and most importantly, Internet access. A lot of the students I teach have their own technology, usually in the form of a mobile device.

But before I go on, I know that some of you are reading my words and are now fighting your own demons. You might be one of the many educators who, because I teach at a school with 0% Free & Reduced, think that I cannot possible have "real" problems at my school. Like somehow a low F & R percentage makes all school and education problems go away, when we know in our guts that it does not (it does make some problems go away - no doubt about it). Some narrow-minded educators have even come up with the cute little term for the problems my students face by mockingly calling them "First-World Problems." Which means they think that my kids are crushed by huge problems that they think go something like this... "I just don't know which new snowboard to get for my trip to Aspen this weekend? My life sucks!" When the truth is that my students do face real problems every day, that in many ways mirror their counterparts in schools with high F & R rates.

I think we all can agree that after the basics of food, safety, shelter and clothing are taken care of, most of the other problems are to the students and the world they live in, as real as it gets. Our worlds might look different, but to young children problems are problems.

My students want to come to school and feel accepted by their peers. But my students used to fight elitism every day, being put down because do don't have the latests and greatest was a real problem. Now don't get me wrong, I work with great kids, but I have had some of these same great kids in my classroom in tears over things that their classmates have said to them about the technology they own.

BYOD could really magnify this problem is our schools. I used to think how great it would be to just have students bring their own technology to school instead of it being provided for them. But as we have dipped our toe into the BYOD pool at our school we have seen this elitism muddy the water. Students mocking other students for not owning the newest and best in mobile technology. And just as ugly as a problem are these same students walking the halls feeling that somehow they are entitled to have the best technology in their pockets when so many other go without.

But is it really the same? To mock someone for what they own or don't own, should carry the same weight as someone being mocked for the color of their skin? Let's stop and just take a quick look and see how the two compare.

Racism: someone who feels superior, makes someone else feel inferior for something that is outside of their control. For example, to tell someone he is not able to enter a restaurant because the the color of his skin (something they have no control of) by a person of a different color is racist.

Elitism: someone who feels superior, makes someone else feel inferior for something that is outside of their control. For example, when a person is told that because they own a piece of mobile technology that so old that only losers own that model (something they have no control of) by another person with newer technology is elitism.

Now of course, elitism is not as serious as racism, but it is strange how similar they are. And I am here to tell you that words spoken with elitism sting to child similar to words of racism.

So before we jump into the deep end of the BYOD pool, I think we need to take a good hard look at elitism in our schools and ask ourselves if this is something we can take on and conquer? So talk to your students and see if this is happening in your school. Talk to your fellow educators and see if something can be done about if it is.

In my school we are working as a team, united in keeping this out of our school. We are relentless, and we work with our students to help eliminate elitism from our school. And I am happy to say that the progress this past year has been amazing. Like racism, once identified, elitism could be taken head-on. Many students didn't even know they were contributing to the problem. They were just having a little fun. They didn't know that they were hurting their fellow students with their sharp words.

BYOD might be a great thing to save our schools, but let's be careful so as to not create a bigger problem than the one we just fixed.

Edcamp Invades ASCD - Shhhhhh!

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Educational heretics unite! Which is what happened yesterday at around 4:00 pm at the ASCD conference in Chicago. While others in Chicago were preparing for an evening of St. Patrick's Day's festivities, that can only happen in the city of Chicago, a group of disruptive educators decided to get together for an impromptu Edcamp conference of their own. Code named: EdcampRogue on Twitter.

Edcamps are these unique get togethers that no one really knows how to classify worse yet, they (The Man) don't know how to control.

This event was put together with about seven minutes of thought, by the usual suspects of stirring of the educational pot; Steven Anderson, Sandra Garcia, and Nicholas Provenzano. They even found a sponsor in Edutopia in that time. With no more marketing than a few tweets, they soon had a group of 30+ educators skipping out of sessions they were suppose to be attending so they could be part of something more. Something that says, I want more than the status quo from a conference, if I want to attend a session on "Why Common Core Sucks," then I should be able to.

Those who attended learned more about the Edcamp model and how to use Twitter more effectively.

And then, without warning, it was over, the crowd dispersed and we all went about our business. Doing the things our administrators think we should be doing when we attend conferences, like attending the prim and proper sessions.

64 minutes of Ed-Conference Heaven gone, but not forgotten. VIVA LA EDCAMP!

Great Presentation at ASCD

#edtech #ascd13 #atomiclearningIf you are going to ASCD in Chicago, I'llsee you there. Don't forget to stop by booth #541 and chat with my friends from Atomic Learning, Susan and Chris about some of their new solutions for schools. Also, be sure to check out Susan's session: Improving Student Learning Through Teacher Technology Training. For a preview of the session, check out this video:


TITLE: Improving Student Learning Through Teacher Technology Training SESSION #: 1450 DAY: Saturday, March 16, 2013 TIME: 5:00 - 6:30 pm PRESENTER: Susan Williams

Mandatory Assessment - Student Motivation Video: TCAP Baby! - Funny

#edtech #edchat The other day I got together with my fellow elementary teachers to film a funny video to help motivate our students to take the TCAP assessment test. The video took off and went viral which caused our school's website server to crash so I had to move it to YouTube today. Here it is...

Why my school uses Atomic Learning - reason 46

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They're always fresh, never stale.

With education reform being such a hot-button topic in our country, us edtech people are being constantly sucked into the mix of reform ideas. Which is why I need to up-to-date on all the latest tech trends and ideas.

I don't know where they have their crystal ball tucked away in their Little Falls offices, but they seem to be ahead of the curve with these new emerging edtech ideas. The other day I needed a case study on a district using PD to implement and differentiate tech instruction, sure enough they had one. http://al.atomiclearning.com/methacton

You can see for the attached photo of the front page dashboard that they cover everything from tech and the Common Core Standards to mobile learning.

Now all I need is a few minutes with their crystal ball to see about tech recommendation that is due on my principal's desk this Friday.

- Brad Flickinger, tech teacher, Bethke Elementary

Edtech Badges - A dream come true.

#edtech #edchat

With my edtech badges program passing the six month mark, I am amazed at how successful it is.

"Mr. Flick, is it okay if I come in a recess today to finish my Online Research Badge?" I am pestered by badge questions like this all the time, my students are hooked on earning badge for tech skills. Crud! I wish I would have thought of this years ago. Each week I write in my teaching journal on how things are going with this program, here are a few entries from the past six months...

September 12, 2012
"I need to make sure that the recognition for earning badges is based on the badges and not the individual. For example the public badge chart should show all the students that have earned the podcasting badge, and not a chart of students with stars for each badge they have earned. The later could publicly show a student as lacking skills, however with the former, it would be impossible to find the student that is lacking skills (this type of tracking will be in my grade book)."

September 22, 2012
"Badges are great, the students are finally getting used to them and some have started to earn them. I told fourth grade that they cannot have the Email Skills badge until the Word Processing badge is done. That was the kick in the pants they needed. Making the badges is a pain, I need to get kids to make them. Now I have time to just work the room. They still are reluctant to use the videos. They seem to still be addicted to being hand-fed education. Breaking old habits seems to be harder than I first thought."

October 5, 2012
"Badges are working! Kids are finally figuring them out. I have begun to make and hand out badges. I think this might work. I have a list on the website of the kids that have earned badges (grouped by badges)."

October 13, 2012
"Making badges and checking kids work has been taking a lot of time, plus I am having kids turn in crap work, and want me to help them make one change at a time - the pain of gamification. I need to figure out a better way. Plus, what do I do about special needs kids like XXXX, how do they "earn" badges. I think I need to start each class with 15 minutes of keyboarding for those who have not earned their keyboarding badge. Get kids that are ahead in badges to make more badges."

October 22, 2012
"I modified each badge for special needs children, it turns out I have more time now to work with these students more one-on-one now that the other students are busy on their own pacing. Students have now been taught that they can only turn in work when it is down, no more bit-by-bit help. I tell then to go back and watch video such and such. Students are finally figuring it out, the independent learner thing. I now have kids make badges, they love to do it. Things were much better this week."

November 3, 2012
"What to do about kids that are waiting for feedback from teacher - grading, email, etc? They need to be able to work on other badges and not in order or you get "bottle-neckers" and "waiters." I've got to figure this out."

November 10, 2012
This past week I broke the badges into levels, now they can work on any badge they want from the same level, no more waiting on me. If they are waiting for me to grade something, they simply move on to a different badge for that level."

January 9, 2013
"The badges are working great! I had a sub this past week and she did great. She said she had never seen kids so busy. All she had to do was work the room and answer a few questions. Should I be worried that the badge might replace me???"

January 30, 2013
"The badge program is cruising on auto pilot. I love being able to have time to truly help students that need it. My "high-flyers" are cruising through the badges and are happy (non-disruptive) because they don't have wait for anyone. A few students have finished all of the beginner level badges and are now working on their advanced badges like photography and video game design."

Reimagining the Classroom: Realizing the Impact of Mobile Devices

#edtech #atomiclearning #mlearning #ipaded

Atomic Learning announces the launch of Atomic Mobilize, a repository of online professional development resources and planning tools focusing on helping educators realize the full potential mobile devices provide in the classroom.Atomic Mobilize includes not only PD and planning tools, but also stories, examples and resources from fellow educators that illustrate how mobile devices can transform education and create highly personalized learning experiences for students. One story that is shared throughout the collection is that of Little Falls Community Schools in Minnesota, and their program known as Project REAL.You can check out a video about this program here... http://www.atomiclearning.com/mobilize


2nd Annual DPS iPad Symposium

#edtech #ipaded #mlearning I am giving two workshops at the upcoming Denver Public Schools iPad Symposium on February 23rd. http://dea.wikispaces.dpsk12.org/2013+iPad+Symposium

iPad Filmmaking Boot Camp where educators will learn how to shoot and edit movies on their iPads. (come with the iMovie app already installed)

Amazing iPad Projects that will Freak Your Students Out! In this fast-paced and very interactive workshop you will see how I use iPads in ways that most students have never dreamed  of. You will see how my students make movies, web-shows, podcasts, music, animations, and much more with their iPads. This workshop is part improv-comedy and part rock-concert as we learn how to do these projects together, so bring your iPad and come and have fun participating in iPad projects that will assess your student knowledge and skills in ways that will have them begging for more. You can't say that about a normal test! (come with GarageBand, Stop Motion Studio and ArtRage installed)

2nd Annual DPS iPad Symposium from Brad Flickinger on Vimeo.