Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Putting My Feet in the Water

Yesterday I broke out the iPads with my 6th grade.  After 5 minutes I felt like I was a first year teacher on my first day of class in a room full of students who just came back from recess and were ready for lunch.  Yes, it was crazy!  By the time I said "navigate to my website and wait there" they were already elbow deep into Angry Birds or some other game or taking funhouse crazy mirror style photos of me without me knowing it. 

Catch my breath.  Wow, that was wild.

Eventually, we got to the task at hand (course evaluations) and they were impressed that I had imbedded it in my website (thanks Cathy and Lisa for showing me the way).

Later we moved onto Math Bingo and that was a big success.  I saw kids who normally struggle with computation absolutely nail it while playing the game.  Mostly I saw how even the kids with no iPad experience were within minutes flying around with it better than I could after months.  That type of technology really is their native place. 

After just one class I think the iPad can be used effectively for math.  It was fun, it was a break from the norm, but it also gave the chance to practice some important skills in a fun way and allow kids with different learning styles and skills to emerge from the crowd. 

And...I learned a lot about using the iPad.  I learned  that if you swipe with four fingers across the screen you can move between apps.  Didn't know that before yesterday.  Thanks, kids!

I look forward to designing some lessons which incorporate the iPad.  I can also see great applications for challenging students who might finish an assignment or a test early or for a student who might need to use their hands in order to better understand a concept. 

It was just one day and it was a little crazy, but in the end it was worth it!

Tuesday, December 20, 2011


The other day, Steve and I had a brief conversation about the "higher ed bubble" that is getting closer and closer to bursting.  How it is possible to save for college these days, not only for the cost but also because we don't really know what "college" will look like in 10-15 years.

Enter MIT. For many years, they, along we many other universities, have been putting some of their courses online (OpenCourseware) for people to access. Now they are adding another layer to this - M.I.T.x.  M.I.T.x will be a more interactive platform where students can ask questions and respond to other students while taking the course.  In addition, a student can earn a M.I.T. certificate when they show some level of mastery of the content.

Read more about M.I.T.x here -

Preparing our kids for college and the future becomes more of a moving target....

Friday, December 16, 2011


Wow what a day we had! Five members of the TLC took off and spent the day holed up in a conference room at SMCC laughing, discussing, "crying", and working through some of the ideas that we have been in the back of our minds all fall. We talked extensively about scribe blogging for our classes and we all are going to try it come January. We explored the idea of a flip classroom and even discovered a new app that we are all nervously excited about called educreations. Check it out at We finally had the opportunity to sink our teeth into some of the stuff that we have been talking about for weeks. At the end of the day we started to tap into new apps and just play. Our courageous leader supplied the iTunes cards to help us feel free to try new apps and we only broke to grab a yummy bite to eat from 158 - a local spot across the street! Thanks to everyone involved but to the greater TLC gang and to Page!!!

Food For Thought

If the image above is not loading follow the link below and it will hopefully lead to a great info-graphic depicting how pervasive the internet has become in higher education.  This is not news but the graphic is cool.

It is an indication of an ongoing cultural shift in how students access information and how educators utilize the internet.  Of course, many of us already know this.

Technology Literacy will need to be a key component to early elementary curriculum in order for learners to manage the vastness of the internet and their own learning.  What would that look like?  What level should this begin?

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Pros and Cons

I appreciate the following article for the simplicity in which it highlights the positives and negatives of having technology readily available in the classroom.

For me the most poignant idea is how our students interact with text. Their visual field has become so accustomed to a web-like format that many have difficulty comprehending text that stands alone on a page.