Skip to content

Cherrypal Offers Laptop for Under $100 – PC World Business Center

December 22, 2009

Cherrypal Offers Laptop for Under $100 – PC World Business Center.

Available to the public!  The Cherrypal Laptop for less than $100. If this doesn’t encourage schools to seriously look at more 1 to 1 programs I don’t know what will.  This has the potential to do for American Schools what OLPC has done for 3rd world country schools.  I love OLPC and their mission, but why can’t the XO laptop be available to the American Public on a permanent basis?  What could that laptop do for American Schools?


15 Fixes for Grading

November 20, 2009

15 Fixes for Grading is a book by Ken O’Conner that I have been working through with a book study group as part of my professional development this year.  If you click the link above you will see what it is all about but the big concept here is not mixing a student’s behavior and their grade.

What a student does or does not do is part of their behavior and should be disciplined as such. This should be less than 10% of their grade.

What a a student knows and does not know is part of their grade.

It has made me think about what do the grades I give out mean?  If a student fails and gets a 50% in my class is that because he/she knows only 50% of the information that was taught in class?  Or does that mean that they knew 80% of the information but never turned their homework in on time and never did their bell work.

This year a lot more of the class assignments are for practice.  Students need to practice the skills and using the knowledge before they are assessed on whether they know it.  Would it be fair for me to give their practice while they are still learning the skill a point value?  Maybe, but there will be a lot more points on the assessment when I am evaluating what they have learned and what they have not.

Classroom situation:  you pass out an activity page where students will be practicing calculating density.  The passive aggressive student in my class asks me, “Is this for points?”  as he looks at me and smiles because he knows that some things are “for practice only.”  My response to this has been “everything effects your grade” and nothing more.  For me it has been about my attitude towards the practice.  If I see it as valuable and I present it that way (which it is otherwise we wouldn’t do it) and I treat it that way then they will see it that way. Do football players go to practice and ask the coach “Hey coach is practice today going to effect our team record?”  Of course not!!!  If the athletes all decided to not practice your darn right that is going to effect their record.  On the other hand if they decide to practice and give every day everything they’ve got then it will effect their record in a different way.  I do not give points for eating, sleeping, or bringing your pencil but I kid you not all of those things can effect your grade in a positive or negative way.  There are some things you just do because if you don’t you are not going to succeed.  No not everything you do in class is for points.  In a job you do not always get paid for going above and beyond, you do not get paid for doing your job right.  But, if you don’t go above and beyond you will never get a better job, and if you don’t do your job right you won’t have one for long. Running a class this way is more real life than giving a student points for everything they do.  Besides all of that it lets the teacher get back to what’s really important.  TEACHING





Google Teacher Academy

November 10, 2009

I just applied to Google Teacher Academy.  We’ll see what happens.  I should know by November 18th.  This school year I have done a lot with Google Applications in the classroom.  Even so I know that I am barely scratching the surface on some of these powerful tools.  I’m hoping that I get into GTA so that I can unleash some of the potential of these tools and teach others how to use them.  More about what I’ve done with Google in the classroom is to come.  Here is the video component of my application.  Cross your fingers for me.


Digital Books: Will they make it into k-12 classrooms?

August 16, 2009

Digital Books are becoming increasingly popular. With new technology out such as the Amazon Kindle and the Barnes and Noble iPhone app the major book sellers have jumped on board with digital books.  Sony is also a newcomer to the world of digital book readers with the Sony Touch and Sony Pocket.  Right now e-books are at the point where online music was in 1999.  Authors and book sellers are weighing the pros and cons, copyright is questioned, and the limits of e-books are not yet clearly established.  For now it seems that online music has paved the way for online books.  The precedent has been set.

With all of the new e-book readers out there will schools consider e-textbooks?  Imagine students with one digital reader instead of a book bag full of textbooks.  E-textbooks could be a good thing for K-12 education because new versions of the text would be easier to obtain and less expensive for schools to get their hands on.  Students could have access to the latest versions of the text and links could embedded into the text that would provide students with additional information.  On the other hand a book can take much more abuse than a digital reader.  I can think of a few students right now I would be more than a little cautious handing a digital reader to.  The initial cost of launching an e-book classroom would be a lot more than most schools are willing to spend.  With netbooks out right now and the versatility of the i-pod touch I think the price of e-books would have to come way down before schools give them a a second glance.  Textbook publishers may eventually get on board but I wonder if schools will have to show a interest first.

Are there any K-12 schools out there that are using completely online textbooks or e-textbooks?  What do you think of e-textbooks?  Should schools and publishers jump on board with this?  Or is this an unnecessary expense?

Technology’s role in education during a downward economy

March 22, 2009

Schools have been affected by the downward spiral of the economy. Salaries have been frozen in some districts along with hiring, and purchases. American schools cannot afford to dump the technology budget during these hard times. School districts need to get smarter about their technology spending. In this podcast I discuss the role of open source applications, edubuntu, and dropbox. There are SO many tools out there ready to be used by school technology departments, but it may require them to step out of the box and rethink some things. Virtual classrooms may become part of K-12 future. Missouri is already experimenting with online classrooms with MOVIP Below are a couple videos that offer an interesting perspective on the role of technology in schools.

Cell Phones in Class Part II

February 28, 2009

This is a follow up to an idea in a previous post about students using cell phones in class as a learning tool.  While the idea may be a bit outside of the box it turns out that the idea is in no way original.  In listening to a podcast called twenty minutes for tech. I heard about a teacher in Pennsylvania who uses cell phone technology as a part of his regular class.  The Pennsylvania House of Representatives has passed a bill that will ban the use of mobile technology in classrooms.  This would include everything from cell phones to laptops.  We’ll have to wait and see if this bill passes the state senate.  In speaking about the use of technology the teacher from PA discusses some fantastic open source tools that can equip cell phones for use in the classroom.  Here are some of those tools.

G-cast Say you’re  doing a study of the biodiversity around the school  and you want students to record any observations they make.  Dial a toll free number, know a class password, follow the voice commands and you’re in.  Students can instantly create their own podcast through their cell phone and have a live feed posted on a blog or website.

textmarks Students can text a class keyword to 41411 and receive class updates, such as homework assignment reminders or even a whole assignment.

poll everywhere Let’s say you are in class and want students to answer a multiple choice question.  Previously the only way to have instant visible results would be to use clicker software.  Clickers are all well and good but why not save money and use cell phones as the clickers.  Most students already have them in their pockets anyway.  WHY NOT USE THE TECHNOLOGY THEY ALREADY KNOW HOW TO USE!

Are there classrooms that have used cell phones in classYou betcha.

Anyone out there currently using cell phones in their class? Leave a reply let me know how.

upon request RAFT outline

January 19, 2009

A couple students have asked that I load the outline for the project due Wednesday onto the website. Here it israft-final For extra information that your textbook does not give you look at link#9 in light and sound. In this project students must design an advertisement for a wave in the electromagnetic spectrum.