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.

Stopping the Cycle of Bad Presentations

#edtech #edchat

Bad presentations seem to be the curse of our modern society. Everywhere we go, every job we have, every meeting we attend, we are surrounded by presentations -- and most of them are really bad. People standing in front reading the bullet points from a presentation full of bad, pixelated images and clip-art.

Here is a website that features unbelievably bad presentations:

http://www.knowhr.com/blog/2006/10/26/unbelievably-bad-presentations/

How have we got stuck in such a bad presentation rut?

Well like most things, we can blame it on education <wink>.

If as teachers we present information in a bad manner, then we allow our students to make the same bad presentations then we are just perpetuating the problem. So as Captain Jean-Luc Picard said in Star Trek: First Contact, "The line must be drawn here!"

We must as teachers become better presenters ourselves and then in turn, accept nothing less from our students. Generations to come will thank us for this. So where do we start?

I recommended to my teachers the spotlight at Atomic Learning called Creating Engaging Presentation (link). Where they start by learning the basics of how to create their own presentations followed by some classroom projects that they can put into practice immediately. In this online course they can do it from any computer at their own time and pace. My presentations started to improve after the very first tutorial -- just ask my students.

So there you have it, I'm just trying to do my part to make the world a better place -- one presentation at a time, your grandkids will thank me.

- Brad Flickinger, Tech Teacher, Bethke Elementary School

Spotlights Shine on Improving EdTech

#edtech #edchat I don't think I am living under a tech-rock but it seems that if I miss a week of logging onto my Atomic Learning account I miss a lot. Today I logged in to discover a new section called Spotlights. I pull the menu down to see the following Spotlights:

  1. Collaborating with a Global Community
  2. Creating Engaging Presentations
  3. Effective Online Teaching and Learning
  4. Evaluating Web Resources
  5. Video Storytelling in the Classroom

Crud, too many great topics that I could use in my classroom today -- so I picked the first one to see what it is all about.

The first thing to impress me were the Goals -- they are broken down into three quick-read bullet points of Identify, Reflect and Plan. I could quickly review them and see if this was the right course for me. It was, so I continued.
 
The course was then broken down into 4 sub topics; Build Your Understanding, Put the Concept into Practice, Reflect and Apply, and Reference Tools.
 
I then watched the intro video by John Sweeney,an  improv guru who explained the importance of this spotlight. I was hooked so the next part was to decide which of the links to follow next. I did a quick refresh of the Flat Classroom idea and then moved on into the tutorial courses on Voice Thread. That is one of the best things about Atomic Learning courses and workshops, you just need to pick the ones hat you need -- no wasting time with material you already know. Respect my time and I'll keep coming back.
 
So what did I get from this? Inspired by what I learned, I went to my Twitter account and sent out a request for a 5th grade class in another country to work with, I got three replies within the hour. That was my "Put the Concept into Practice" part and next week I will reflect on what has happened.
 
- Brad Flickinger, Tech Teacher, Bethke Elementary School
 

Finding Superman in Technology

#edtech #edchat #elearning  The big buzz right now in education is the new movie Waiting for Superman which puts a spotlight on many of the problems with education today. Since I am a geek, and I look at everything though my geeky glasses, I see a lot of the solutions to the problems with education using technology. Today I would like to talk about two problems that are presented in the movie and my technological solutions. Problem Number 1: A Bad Teacher. A high school student I know had a bad Spanish teacher last year. By bad, I mean a Spanish teacher that refused to speak Spanish. She would have the students learn Spanish using textbooks and worksheets, and not by speaking it even though she was fluent in the language.

Tech Solution: Buy Some Apps. By spending less than $10, this student was able to make up for the inabilities of her teacher and buy some Spanish apps for her Smartphone. Apps that not only spoke to her, but also listened to her speak Spanish and compared her spoken words to native Spanish speakers. She also bought a flashcard app that helped her pass off all of her “textbook” work that her teacher assigned.

This is one example of one subject in school, but trusts me, if there is a bad teacher, chances are, there is an app to replace him/her.

Problem Number 2: A Bad School Let’s say a student has more than just one bad teacher, instead she has an entire school that is bad.

Tech Solution: Take It Online. Today there are incredible online alternatives to brick and mortar. Companies like K12 offer a solid curriculum that in most cases is free and sometimes the school district will even provide a laptop.

So perhaps instead of waiting for Superman, maybe we need to download him, or install him, or log-in to him.

Of course I am not saying that all of the educational problems of our country are going to be solved by technology, but a few of them could.