Tuesday, March 5, 2019

MACUL 2019 Conference is fast approaching!

The MACUL 2019 Conference is at the Detroit COBO Conference Center on March 20-22, 2019. On Thursday, Mar 20 at 10a, Dr. Jones and Dr. Copeland along with one or two of their undergraduate students will be presenting their 360 Degree Video projects. If you are at the Conference, please stop in their session and say Hello even if you can't stay for the session.

Just so you know, it is not too late to register for the conference. For more details, go to https://maculconference.org/.

Monday, February 11, 2019

Technology helps fund projects

Teachers around the country are using technology to find additional funds for their classrooms. Some of those avenues to funding, such as Donors Choose, have been around for a couple of decades.
Two weeks ago, I had the opportunity to meet Oliver Hurst-Hiller and Kirk Smiley of Donors Choose (https://www.donorschoose.org/). Their organization supports teachers by inviting them to make modest proposals for such items such as specialized technology, books, alternative seating, and more. Using an interactive web site, potential donors review these proposals and select the ones they wish to fund in whole or in part. For the past 20 years, over 54 thousand of these projects have been fully funded.
Recently I was surprised with a gift of a card I could use to make a $100 donation through the Donors Choose page. By simply typing in Saline’s zip code, I found a number of proposals by teachers within fifty miles. One proposal, the only one for Saline, had been made by a teacher at Saline’s Alternative High School. After reading her proposal, it was a thrill to help one of Saline’s newest special education teachers, Ms. Courtney Brothers.
Her proposal, Flexible Learning for All!, had the goal of helping her young adult students by creating a classroom they felt comfortable in. Not only was her instruction differentiated, but she believed the classroom needed to be as well. Some of her students required physical assistance and a variety of sensory inputs so her plan was to add specialized furnishings to their classroom.
Within hours of donating the $100 to her project, I was delighted to see that others from around town were also donating various sums of money. Within three days, her project was fully funded, months ahead of schedule.
During my days as a teacher, there were several mini-grants I had applied for. Some I received and some I did not, but I think I certainly would have tried Donors Choose.

Courtney Brothers and her student, Dani.

Friday, January 4, 2019

Teacher Education Network Newsletter

ISTE Teacher Education Network (TEN) publishes a monthly newsletter. I have been impressed by the scope of these newsletters for a couple of years now.

This month's newsletter covers the new alphabet of technology in teaching: AI, VR, AR, for example. If you don't know about those acronyms or are not sure, check out their January 2019 newsletter.

Image source: public domain and modifiable

Saturday, December 22, 2018

Coding Fun

I am teaching an overview of Emerging Technologies for Teaching next semester and just wanted to share an excerpt from one of the modules.

My friend from New York just sent me a link (actually she tweeted it to all her many Twitter friends). Check it out and watch her robot (and a couple of sharks) dance to Cheap Thrills by Sia.

By clicking the "How it Works" button at the bottom, you will be able to create your own and join code.org (Links to an external site.)Links to an external site. along with millions of teachers around the world who are bringing coding to children (and adults) of all ages.
Here is the code for this particular dancing robot show.
Of course, this is in Blockly, if you want to see the real JavaScript code behind the curtain, so to speak, it looks like this:
var dancer1;

whenSetup(function () {
  setBackgroundEffectWithPalette("sparkles", "rave");
  makeNewDanceSpriteGroup(2, "SHARK", "row");
  changeMoveEachLR("SHARK", MOVES.DoubleJam, -1);
  dancer1 = makeNewDanceSprite("ROBOT", dancer1, {x: 200, y: 200});
  changeMoveLR(dancer1, "rand", -1);

atTimestamp(6, "measures", function () {
  changeMoveEachLR(sprites, MOVES.Dab, -1);

atTimestamp(8, "measures", function () {
  changeMoveEachLR(sprites, MOVES.Roll, -1);

atTimestamp(10, "measures", function () {
  changeMoveEachLR(sprites, MOVES.Clown, -1);

atTimestamp(4, "measures", function () {
  changeMoveEachLR(sprites, MOVES.Drop, -1);
Once you click "ReMix" you will be prompted to join code.org. Please do so.
You will then be able to modify the code for the dance, change the song, change the characters, change the dance, and more. Be experimental and click the drop-down boxes to modify the types and numbers of characters. With a few clicks, I added 8 dancing dogs under a disco ball being led by a moose in a jacket. 
Dance Moose
Play around with the code and SHARE your resulting dance with me. The level of complexity is up to you and, just remember, this is what students today are learning how to do. Blockly is the gateway to JavaScript.
Have fun.

Monday, December 17, 2018

NewseumED...a great tool to teach students to be critical consumers of news

During winter 2018 and fall 2018, I signed up for a free virtual webinar for my undergraduate students. The virtual webinar was hosted by NewseumED and the topic was Fighting Fake News: How to Outsmart Trolls & Troublemakers for grades 6-12 and higher ed. Since we are in Michigan and NewseumEd is in DC,  it was done virtually. My students gained so much from the webinar. During our follow-up discussion, many talked about how much they learned about identifying fake news and indicated that this is something they want to implement in their future classes.

You can book a virtual visit with NewseumEd for your students. They have numerous topics. Just go to their site.

PSST...I learned about the NewseumEd site at a session that I attended the MACUL 2018 Conference. The 2019 MACUL Conference is in Detroit MI March 20-22, 2019.

Friday, December 14, 2018

Proud Graduate

What a surprise it was to run into Rebecca Pietrowski (EDMT Class of 2014) who is now working at EMU as an Instructional Designer. She guided a few colleagues through the latest tools for improving the look and feel of Canvas courses. Well done and welcome to EMU.

Rebecca (left) with EMU's John Breunger

Monday, November 26, 2018

Coding for Kids

I've been learning how to do simple programming using some of the devices students are using in classrooms today. Below, I learned how to create a thermometer using a little device called a Microbit.  

Here is a video I made when I finally got it to work. Next step, create something using the compass and the built-in accelerometer.

LTEC Program Update

It is with heavy hearts that we inform you that as of Fall 2018, the LTEC/COLT graduate programs have been shelved and we will no longer be ...