PiktoChart

I found out about PiktoChart from a tweet a got from @Edudemic.  They tweet a lot, but there are definitely some good finds if you pay attention.

Piktochart example comparison chart

Click to see Piktochart.com

Piktochart is a great way to visualize pretty much anything.  For a visual learner like me it’s an amazing tool.  The ability to drag and drop with this site makes it super easy to create awesome visuals.  There are many themes and ready-made tools to help anyone make a graphic like the one above.

I think believe this will be a very useful tool for me in visualizing a number of things in my classroom, not to mention it gives me a great idea for a lesson plan/class assignment or project.

21st Century Teaching nuts and bolts

Shelley Wright’s 21st Century Teaching blog post I don’t thing is really talking about 21st century learning/teaching.  I believe it is reexamining learning the way it was done way back in the 16th Century, where knowledge was capped only by a students interest to learn. Like Galileo below…

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I think the real debate I can see here is a teaching being a Guru vs. a Guide to learning.

As a Guru:

  • Students learn what is decided by the teacher what will be taught.

As a Guide:

  • Teacher’s assist students to explore and discover what is most important to learn.

As a Guru:

  • Teacher’s are all knowing, information beyond the teacher’s knowledge isn’t important to know.

As a Guide:

  • Teacher’s (as Shelley Wright described) are co-collaborators learning alongside and giving guidance rather then force feeding information inorganically.

As a Guru:

  • Teacher’s keep learning and assignments into a very rigid box that is easy to interpret and evaluate for the teacher’s sake.

As a Guide:

  • Learning is a process in which discovery information and demonstration of material mastery is up to the student to determine and the teacher to measure appropriately.

Finally…

A Guru asks:

  • What’s the answer, how did you get there and what did you learn?

A Guide asks:

  • Why is that the answer, how else could you come up with that conclusion, and where do you go from here?

As I’ve laid out above, the difference between 21st and 16th Century teaching is mostly the mindset of the teacher and students, with a small sprinkle of technology and worldwide resources available at the click of a mouse.

The hope I have is to be able to apply this teaching technique to children much younger than high school aged kids seen in the article, and not teach kids what to learn, but teach kids how to get excited about discovery.

Billy Madison gif, because it’s a great movie and gifs are fun.

New Kind of Visual

When working on my about me page I liked the idea of visually conveying the most important or interesting things about me.

I used Wordle.net to create a word cloud to make a far more interesting about me page then just listing a bunch of facts.

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For me the words are not the primary focus, and how they look, the way they are positioned, and generally the colors and shapes my words make add to who I am as much as the words do.

My review:

I really like this wordle site, and though I’ve only played with it a little bit, I can see this as a great icebreaker type tool for each student to make during class to help introduce themselves.  Also, wordle can be used as a project enhancer itself, using it for posters or projects that the students have to put together for assignments.  It seems there can be many applications for this site to be used in a classroom setting, and it help merge content with creativity.  Mixing content and creativity seems to always be a difficult thing to do on a regular basis in classrooms, thus making the content lack-luster and boring.  I definitely think I’ll be making use of this site in the future.

A LITTLE BLUE BIRD WHISPERED TO ME…

That I should check out Twitter for its educational and resource possibilities, rather then the simple social networking and popularity aspect.

Either way I hope to meet a lot of fellow educators, network with them, use them as a resource, and eventually be able to contribute my ideas with the masses as well.  Well I would have to be socially popular for it to be for the masses… Oh jeeze, I guess I am joining for the social networking and popularity…

I guess as long as I keep it education and professional development related it should be fine.

So if you wish to follow me and keep me to my noble word, the image above will connect you to me and my educational centered twitter account.

Quest 2 Learn

Quest 2 Learn

My reaction to this particular learning program is of excitement and wonder.  These children are using computers and technology to create games that could possibly revolutionize the teaching industry.  I heard someone in the video say if we teach our children today the way we did yesterday, we robe them of tomorrow.  I think that is very true particularly in this 21st Century world we live in now.

I think that the use of games doesn’t have to be limited to computers.  I have a strong believe that using sports or sport like games can also be a valuable tool for children to learn.  I hope that creative computer gaming can do as one speaker in the video mentioned that games be the means to instruct and test children all at once.

I have experience with playing games particularly video and computer games as I’ve grown up.  What didn’t come to my attention until I saw this video was that all games instruct or teach the gamer how to play and in finishing or “winning” the game the player knows the skills the game has taught you.  Unfortunately, when I think about educational games, they are all very remedial and meant for very small children.  I recall when I was learning to type on the computer I played a game that helped me learn it.  It wasn’t exactly exciting or provocative that I wanted to play it, although it was a game it didn’t really take my attention away from wanting to play real video games or on the computer.

Seeing the innovative things Quest 2 Learn is doing it might be possible for kids to create games that kids would be interested in enough to play to completion and actually learn something useful.

Kindergarten Introduction to History & Social Science

Kindergarten Introduction to History & Social Science

My Learning Standard Focus

My standard of learning focus for this semester is Kindergarten History & Social Science as it specifically pertains to students learning about maps and globes and how it applies to them in real-life situations.  I’d like to find a way to integrate daily activities throughout a school year that would help assist the children in understanding maps, globes, and how they help in everyday life.