New Training Series Helps Educators Flip Their Classrooms

My friends over at Atomic learning recently added a training series that helps educators flip their classrooms. Flipped teaching has become a popular practice in which students learn new content online by watching videos, usually at home, and the classroom time then offers teachers more personalized guidance and interaction with students, instead of lecturing.

This online training series provides educators an overview of what flipped learning is and provides tips and tricks for creating videos for use when flipping a classroom. The training can be found at http://www.atomiclearning.com/flipped-classroom-training.

New Training Series Helps Educators Flip Their Classrooms

My friends over at Atomic learning recently added a training series that helps educators flip their classrooms. Flipped teaching has become a popular practice in which students learn new content online by watching videos, usually at home, and the classroom time then offers teachers more personalized guidance and interaction with students, instead of lecturing.

This online training series provides educators an overview of what flipped learning is and provides tips and tricks for creating videos for use when flipping a classroom. The training can be found at http://www.atomiclearning.com/flipped-classroom-training.

Mini Maker Faire this weekend in Northern Colorado

#ectech

My family and I are so excited for the Mini Maker Faire that is this weekend in Loveland, Colorado, which is about 20 minutes from our house. We have never had a Maker Faire so close to home.

You can get more information here: http://makerfairenoco.com/

Each year we make the annual pilgrimage to San Francisco for the "grand daddy" of Maker Faires. So to have one so close is a big deal. Hope to see you there.

We Stopped to Look at the Stars

Note: I have been asked to include the story of how the Los Quinchos orphanages got started in Nicaragua so here is a story I edited and adapted for my elementary students. Each year my students help to raise over $2000 for this program. - Brad WE STOPPED TO LOOK AT THE STARS

The story of how the Los Quinchos orphanages got started in Nicaragua as told in her own words by Zelinda Roccia, the founder. Translated into English from Italian. Edited and adapted for Elementary Students by Brad Flickinger. Original interview by Francesca Caminoli for “Una città”

I have seen los niños de la calle in Mexico and Guatemala, countries where the problem of street children had already existed for years. However, in Nicaragua, this had hardly existed at all. The Sandinista Government had taken charge of education, health care and of giving a minimum food rations, “la canasta basica”. Only a few children could be seen in the streets, almost all of which were war orphans.

But then governments changed and things started to get worse, especially for the children. The new government had ordered the campesinos to give the old land-owners back their land that had been confiscated and redistributed back to poor farmers. So now the large landowners who had fled to Miami were coming back and taking their land back. When the police couldn’t manage to send the farmers away, the landowners would arrive with their armed gangs and force them to leave. So the homeless farmers fled to Managua and formed the asentamientos , where people live in miserable shacks, built with a few pieces of sheet metal put together with black plastic sheets.

Families would go the city and find nothing. There were very few men (all compas or contras). They had died, or ran away, or disappeared into the frontier, the majority of women were left on their own. They would go around the streets all day long searching for a job, leaving the children alone in these shacks. But more and more children were starting to leave these shacks to live on the streets in hopes of finding more to eat.

So what struck me weren’t all the children I saw on the living on the streets, but three particular children. They were very small and were sleeping in a truck tire. They were really no different from the other children; I didn’t speak with them or interact with them in any way, so I don’t know why those three children unchained a huge feeling of rage. Such an enormous rage, that in that precise moment I decided to quit everything and to do something to help these kinds of children. And the same anger still lives in me today, because since then the situation has gotten dreadfully worse in Nicaragua, and every day the most unheard of things continue to happen.

I returned to my life and job in Italy and for three years I struggled to obtain an early retirement. In the end I made it happen and I returned to Nicaragua in 1991. All alone and with no support and not knowing how to get organized, I started working in the most miserable barrios, such as the Dimitrof, where not even the police dare enter, and in the asentamientos. People were coming from all over Nicaragua with nowhere else to go. I was seeing the most brutal sides of post-Sandinista government.

“What am I going to do?” I kept asking myself.

I wrote many letters, a few friends started supporting me, but of course they couldn’t do much. The large government organizations didn’t know me and they were too busy repairing roads, running hospitals and trying to keep the water and sewer lines working. When I spoke to them of children they looked at me as though I were a bit crazy.

In those early days I lived on a pension. “I could open a comedor” I thought, “what these children need most is food”. They were under-fed, some of them at five or six years old were barely able to walk because of malnourishment. What could I do? They needed help immediately.

Amid these confused feelings I searched for a small house and found it in Ciudad Jardin, behind the Mercato Oriental. It was there that for the first time I became acquainted with the horrible things that street children would do to escape the feeling of hunger and fear. It was two children who made me discover it, Harling and Hormiga. They were six or seven years old, very small and thin.

This is what happened…

By my patio, on the side of the road, was a guayaba tree, a plant which gives fruits that are delicious when they are ripe. I saw them pick up the fallen fruits that had already spoiled. I moved close to them and asked why they were eating them. They told me they were hungry. So, I invited them inside and gave them some bread and butter. They told me they were le pega and lived in the Mercato Oriental, in the Chiesa del Calvario.

This is how the story of Los Quinchos began, with two kids that never were part of the project.

You see, the next day I went looking for them, but I couldn’t find them anywhere. So I started to work with any of the street children. At first it was terrible, they refused any contact with adults; they had ran away from violence in their families and found just as much violence from adults on the streets. They accepted me little by little, seeing how I would stay with them and most of all because of certain specific acts, such as having stood up for them when the police had tried to chase them away from an area with sticks. I never did find the original two boys that I met by my patio. I began speaking with the saleswomen in the market to get them to give them some food, but it began to be clear to me at this point, to really do something I needed a house.

So I met father Jesùs Arguete, the basque priest of the church of santo Domingo, who lent me a house belonging to the church. It was a wreck, with no running water or electricity, and I could only use it during the daytime to feed the children. Hundreds of them arrived but I could only feed thirty or forty of them; when that many had arrived, I had to close the door.

We would stay on the second floor of the house, which had huge windows with no glass. One day a pandilla arrived and started throwing stones at us. All the little ones were frightened and threw themselves into the middle of the room. Peeking from the window I guessed who the leader was: Piri, with his sidekick, Pichete, who wore a blond mohawk just like a Berlin punk. I went downstairs, walked outside and went up to Piri.

“You’re the leader”, I said to him. He swelled with pride.

“Why are you throwing stones at us?” I asked.

“Because we’re hungry!” was his reply.

“But I’ve got nothing left, come and see.”

Piri snapped his fingers and all the others stopped throwing stones; he and Pichete came upstairs and I showed them the empty rice pot.

“There’s food here.” he said pointing to the empty pot.

“What?” That’s how I learned the famous sentence “Aquì està la raspa”. “La raspa” is the crust on the bottom of the pot, a kind of mush. Piri scraped off the entire bottom.

“I’m taking it away”

“Are you going to share it with Pichete?”

“No, I’m going to share it with all the others. I’ll come back every day to take la raspa”

“All right, shake my hand, a jefe’s word says you won’t attack us anymore”

He would come back every day, silently, and go away just like a great chief.

We had shelter here, we could go on somehow, but it was becoming more and more urgent to find our own house.

At a certain point, the community of father Arguete’s church asked him to send us away, they said the kids had stolen the gas caps off the cars while they were at mass. There was a meeting and we were told that we had to go.

I was running out of option when I met an almost eighty-year-old Italian man who owned a pizzeria, he lend us a piece of land where we built a small house. Really tiny, but at least we could stay there to sleep too. I began to realize that the only way to get the children away from la pega and from the streets was to get them away from the city of Managua, to let them live freely, in a real home, without neighbors complaining every day.

During the Christmas holidays I went back to Italy and I went to Padre Balducci’s Community in Fiesole. We had already had contact by letters. Together with a group that had formed in the meantime in Cagliari, they were the first to give me some substantial money. When I got back, I bought half the Finca San Marcos. On February the 7th, 1993, on a radiant night, with all the kids crammed on a little jeep, we arrived at La Finca. I remember that before arriving, we stopped to look at the stars. We had five blankets the Red Cross had given us, our pots and that’s it.

And we’re still here.

 

 

 

Tech Badges Program Year 2 Successful Start

#edtech #atomiclearning  

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Well the kids came back to school and the new and revised tech badges program is up and running smoothly. The kids are excited at the possibilities of earning the tech badges that interest them, after they have earned the required ones, of course.

A few changes for this year:

- I now only hand out badges once a month. So on the last week of each month they get the badges they have earned that past month. Handing them out as they earned them was too disruptive to the class.

- Also on the last week of the month I allow students to work on projects that are one level up from where they currently are. This is to help some of my students that are stuck in a rut -- usually with keyboarding. This once a month chance to work on other projects gives them the motivation they need to kick it into gear and get to the next level.

- I have moved all of my lessons onto the Atomic Learning servers. The students now log-in and get right to work with everything in one place. I would say about 75% of my content is from AL, with the other 25% my own video that I have uploaded to their "custom training" side of things. The nice thing about Atomic Learning is that it is reliable and safe. Sending kids to YouTube for video tutorials can be risky at best. I have had videos that start off nice (on Excel formulas) but the person then drops the F-Bomb about half way through it when a formula doesn't work how he wanted it to. With AL videos I never need to worry about it.

So far so good with this year's launch. Next week they will work on their own badges, so keep your fingers crossed and we'll see how that turns out.

More updates to come...

Brad Flickinger Tech Teacher Bethke Elementary School, Colorado

Summer Professional Development Series: Collaborating with a Global Community

#edtech #atomiclearning SummerPDLogo (2)Are you looking for ways to connect your classroom to the rest of the world? Whether you would like to find internet pen pals (keyboard pals?) or you just want to introduce your students to different cultures and ideas, Atomic Learning's Training Spotlight on Collaborating with a Global Community gives you the tools you need to expand your classroom far beyond the walls of the building.

Mr. Flick's Tech Badges: Take 2

#edtech #edchat As many of you know, last year I tried to flip my tech classroom for 4th and 5th graders and have them earn badges for the tech skills they needed to acquire while still in elementary school. I am pleased to report that it was a screaming success. With that said, there are still a number of things that need to be improved, and that is what I am now trying to do.

Student will use technology to help to improve literacy in Nicaragua.

My tech badge program is a mixture of the flipping model, PBL model, and Challenge Based Learning.

This summer I have been watching a lot of TED videos and they have really got me thinking. Thinking about how I can turn my students into little social innovators, students that care about the world around them and then try to do something about it.

So here is some of the info from the PBL planner that I am using to give you an idea...

Name of Project: Bethke Kids Helping Kids Program

Duration: all year long
Subject: Technology
Teacher: Mr. Flickinger
Grade Levels: 3rd, 4th, and 5th
Project Idea:  Students learn how to leverage technology to help change their world following the theme: "Using technology to make our world better."  In order to do this they have to gain certain tech skills (which will be tracked by earning badges) that will allow them to progress to different levels as they create projects that will be part of the Kids Helping Kids Technology Showcase and Dinner with the proceeds going to help a library program in Nicaragua. This will be a red-carpet event with awards to the top projects.
Driving Question: How can I use technology to make the world a better place, starting with me?
Stay tuned for more updates...

 

Kids Helping Kids Results

#edtech

This past year some my fifth grade students participated in an 80s cover band in which they only played iPads as instruments. They did it as part of a fundraising project to help end child poverty in Nicaragua. There efforts were very successful and this past week I have been in Nicaragua to check on the projects they helped to fund.

One of our biggest concerns was for proper sanitation at an orphanage. On Sunday I visited the orphanage and I am happy to report that they now have a flushing toilet! Watching water swirl in a toilet bowl might not seem exciting to you, but to these kids it is a big step in the right direction to a better, more healthy, life.

To me this is just more proof that many of the problems our world faces can be fixed with some of the simplest of solutions, like how a bunch of kids singing 80s songs can improve life to some orphans thousands of miles away.

For me this started out as just a tech project that I wanted an authentic purpose, but what I got back was so much more.

Brad Flickinger, tech teacher, Bethke Elementary

 

Summer Sale on iPad Boot Camp

#edtech #ipaded #mlearning

I have just posted three iBooks as e-courses for my after-school iPad Boot Camps that I give at my school. In these e-courses I show everything that I do to teach these fun and amazing courses.

  • E-course 1: iPad Rockstar Boot Camp
  • E-course 2: iPad Artist/Photographer Boot Camp
  • E-course 3: iPad Filmmaking Boot Camp

 

These iBooks are on sale for 50% off until July 7, just use the discount code summer13.

http://www.kidtechcamps.com/start-your-own.html

Have a great summer,

Brad Flickinger, tech teacher, Bethke Elementary

 

 

10,000 Free Windows RT Surfaces for Teachers

#edtech #iste13 Honestly, I didn't really believe it until it really happened...

Last month Microsoft announced that they would give away 10,000 of their Surface RT tablets to educators attending the ISTE Conference this year. If you do the math that is well over $5,000,000 of hardware they're giving away. There had to be a catch.

So I filled out the online form, got a simple piece of paperwork signed by my administrator and when I arrived in San Antonio, I stood in line for 10 minutes and was handed a brand-spankin' new Surface RT. Holy crud, it was true!

This give away is part of Microsoft's bold move to gain a beachhead into the classroom, something to give them a leg up on the iPad. The iPad is dominating the tablet world, but other tablets are gaining ground, and this could turn out to be a strong play for Microsoft.

So it will be very interesting to see how this plays out over this next year.

Brad

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Hack Ed 2013 ideas list

#iste13 #hacked13 Yesterday I attended the annual un-conference that is before ever ISTE conference. Over the years the name of this un-conference has changed, I think it started as EduBloggerCon but then last year they changed it to SocialEdCon, which didn't last because this year it is Hack Ed. A name the better suits this crowd of educational heretics.

Here are some of the ideas I got from this year's un-conference...

1 to 1 is big. With most schools now going for the idea of a laptop/computer/tablet per child, the problems that came up during these sessions were all about how to manage all of the hardware. Everything from security issues to bandwidth were discussed.

The Maker Movement is Coming. The ideas of "makers" has been around for at least the past 15 years, but now it is finally getting traction in our schools. With many schools now opting to change their old shops and home-ec spaces into Maker Spaces. Some schools are now giving up some of their library space to be Maker Spaces. Geeks and tinkerers rejoice!

Badges are Going to Be Big. There was a lot of discussion this year around using badges to motivate students to learn more. This is another idea that has been brewing for a while, but is now starting to hit critical mass for acceptance as a viable alternative to grades.

Sorry I can't write more, but I have to get to my next event.

Brad

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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

20130509-205414.jpg #edtech #atomiclearning

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

#edtech #edchat wpid-Photo-Jan-2-2012-954-AM.jpg

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...

http://www.techlearning.com/webinars/0004/understanding-the-technology-adoption-curve-in-education/53652