Clif’s Notes on Education and Technology

Building the Future: Tinkering and Playful Learning

The following is an excerpt from an article in The Journal by Mike McGalliard and Anne Wintroub. It’s too good not to share. I encourage educators and parents to read and consider the ideas and recommendations presented in the full article.

“Educators and business leaders have more in common than it may seem. Teachers want to prepare students for a successful future. Technology companies…have a vested interest in developing a workforce with the STEM skills needed to grow the company and advance the industry. How can they work together to achieve these goals? Play may [be] the answer.

“We’ve assumed that focusing on STEM skills, like robotics or coding, are important, but the reality is that STEM skills are enhanced and more relevant when combined with traditional, hands-on creative activities. This combination is proving to be the best way to prepare today’s children to be the makers and builders of tomorrow. That is why technology companies are partnering with educators to bring back good, old fashion play.

“In fact many experts argue that the most important 21st century skills aren’t related to specific technologies or subject matter, but to creativity; skills like imagination, problem-finding and problem-solving, teamwork, optimism, patience and the ability to experiment and take risks. These are skills acquired when kids tinker. ” — The Journal

Sources: Image 1, Image 2

Watching the International Space Station Pass Over Us


Our oldest and I enjoyed an early breakfast and watching the International Space Station pass right over our home. It’s amazing to see how fast it’s traveling (about 5 miles per second) as it orbits the Earth about 15 times per day.

I’m really enjoying the apps that make it fun and easy to track and learn about the Space Station. I strongly recommend you give one or more of these a try.

Apps I Use

Google’s New Sun Map Indicates Whether Your Rooftop Needs a Solar Panel

“The initiative, which the Mountain View giant initially launched almost two years ago, essentially leverages visual data from Maps and Earth to generate 3D models of the total amount of sunlight that reaches your roof.” – The Next Web

Check out Google’s blog post for full details.

Ideas for Using Google Forms in the Classroom

Here’s a compilation of ideas for teachers interested in using Google forms. Click on the following screenshots to view the associated resources.

9 Ideas for Google Forms

Google Forms in the Classroom

Innovative Ideas for Google Forms

Featured Image from Atomic Learning

Bookmarks for 08/28/2016

  • Allow Anyone to Upload Files Directly to Your Drive

    “Have you ever been in the situation when you needed someone to share a digital file with you but the file is too large to send as an email attachment? Sharing that file with you in Google Drive is a great alternative, but what happens if the person does not have a Gmail or GAFE account?

    Well, it turns out there is a script that automatically provides you with a URL that allows any user to upload a file to a designated folder in your Google Drive. The beauty of this script is that anyone can send the file to your Google Drive without signing in to a Google account! Here is how to set it up (no scripting ability required).”

    tags: EdTech Educational-Technology Organizing

  • “Enter search keywords, or even a link, and we’ll find the first tweet that contains that term.”

    tags: EdTech Educational-Technology Social-Software Web-Apps

  • Speech Recognition in the Browser

    With Dictation, you can use the magic of speech recognition to write emails, narrate essays and long documents in the browser without touching the keyboard.

    To get started, just connect the microphone to your computer and click the Start Dictation button.

    Dictation uses your browser’s local Storage to save all the transcribed text automatically as you speak. That means you can close the browser and it will resume from where you left off.

    Speak in your Native Language

    You don’t have to speak in English as Chrome’s engine can recognize quite a few languages including Arabic, Chinese, Spanish, French, German, Italian, Malay, Indonesian and more. Dictation will automatically determine your browser’s default language and uses it for subsequent transcriptions.

    tags: EdTech Educational-Technology IDT7061 Audio Writing

  • “One feature of Google spreadsheets is there is a function called ImportRange that allows you to pull data out of one sheet and into another. This can be really useful, if for example you have a spreadsheet that you are using to collaborate with others, and then somewhere along the line you want another person to be able to see some of the data in the sheet but not all of it. e.g. if you are using this to track student grades, you could have a master sheet that you and other tutors can see all of, you could then create a separate sheet for each student, and pull through only the data that refers to them (you then share that sheet with the student) and they have a live constantly updating record of what they have achieved etc.”

    tags: EdTech Educational-Technology IDT7061 Video Google Spreadsheets

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

Bookmarks for 08/22/2016

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

Breakout EDU: A Quick Introduction

Guest Blogger
Kaylah Holland

BreakoutEDU-logo01(Image Source)

Breakout EDU is one of the newest trends hitting education. Breakout EDU is an immersive game requiring hands-on critical thinking to solve clues. This type of game is completely flipping current education because it requires students to collaborate, problem solve, and think critically.

The CEO, Adam Bellow, says: “There are cheers, there’s frustration, and ultimately, if there is success, it’s that moment of ‘We did it!’ And that is intrinsic. It doesn’t need something else,” he said. “I don’t see kids cheering when they do worksheets” (source).

The video below will explain the basics.

 

How to Get Started

The “Get Started” section of the website lists four steps:

  1. Obtain a Breakout EDU kit.
    1. You can purchase a wooden box for $119 or a plastic box for $89. Both boxes include 1 hasp, 1 word lock, 1 three-digit lock, 1 four-digit lock, 1 directional lock, 1 key lock, 1 UV light, 1 invisible ink pen, 1 small lockable box, 1 USB thumb drive, and 2 hint cards.  
    2. You can also purchase all of these items on Amazon as an open resource kit.
  2. Complete the beta form to obtain the password to access several hundred games.
  3. Facilitate a Breakout EDU game with a group.
  4. Join the community. Breakout EDU offers a facebook and twitter community. The facebook group is extremely active and very useful.

Gaming Tips

I have personally facilitated numerous Breakout EDU games and have a few tips.

  • Use the community: if you have a question chances are that someone has already posted that question on the facebook group and the community has answered
  • Be detailed: read the game instructions carefully well before game day
  • Watch the overview videos: most of the official games have very useful overview videos
  • Play the game before facilitating it to a group of students: often times it can be difficult to see how the clues fit together without actually walking through them first
  • Have extra locks: Locks are finicky (or maybe it is just me) and it can be extremely frustrating when they accidentally get stuck. Have extra locks on hand so that the game isn’t hindered because of one lock getting stuck during your setup

Resources for Breakout EDU

The main resources are the website and the facebook community.

Check out these ten reasons for playing Breakout EDU in your classroom!

Breakout EDU


About the AuthorKaylah Holland

Kaylah Holland is currently a Middle School Instructional Technology Facilitator at Charlotte Christian School in Charlotte, NC. In addition to teaching coding, app development, and robotics; she has a vital role of assisting teachers with the integration of technology into the classroom through ample research, lesson planning, and training. She is currently completing her doctoral degree in the field of Instructional Design and Technology and is in the process of becoming a Google Certified Trainer. She is passionate about building an innovative culture for learning.

Maker Education: A Quick Introduction

Guest Blogger
Kaylah Holland

Maker Movement in Education(Image Source)

Edutopia defines Marker Education as “a unique combination of artistry, circuitry, and old-fashioned craftsmanship” (source). This type of making is not a new idea but, until a few years ago, has not been in education and has been growing in implementation ever since.

What is Maker Education?

Several terms are involved with Maker Education such as tinker, hack, create, modify, build, and invent (source). This basic concept involves changing the traditional lecture style of education to a more engaging hands-on environment where students are learning through active projects. This style of learning does not have traditional assessments but uses the finished product as the assessment; thus, completely flipping the traditional style of learning.

Why implement Maker Education?

The following four mindsets show the benefits of implementing Maker Education into the classroom.

Maker Movement

(Screenshot Source)

Resources for Maker Education

Implementing Maker Education within your classroom does not have to be difficult. Start with one project and allow students to build or create something tangible. You can use Pinterest or Instructables to find handy DIY projects for the classroom simply be searching. You will soon become hooked on the idea and will begin to modify your own lesson plans to include more making.

The following websites are great resources.

Maker Education

(Image Source)


About the AuthorKaylah Holland

Kaylah Holland is currently a Middle School Instructional Technology Facilitator at Charlotte Christian School in Charlotte, NC. In addition to teaching coding, app development, and robotics; she has a vital role of assisting teachers with the integration of technology into the classroom through ample research, lesson planning, and training. She is currently completing her doctoral degree in the field of Instructional Design and Technology and is in the process of becoming a Google Certified Trainer. She is passionate about building an innovative culture for learning.