21st Century Skills: It’s More Than Just Technology


“Given the growing ubiquity of [technology] in schools, as well as the increasing numbers of educators advocating for their use, it can seem as though education may have reached a tipping point when it comes to improving students’ 21st-century skills. According to the Partnership for 21st Century skills, these can be categorized as the 4Cs: Creativity, Critical Thinking, Communication, and Collaboration.” — Beth Holland

Beth goes on to share that she has started to worry about the growing presence of what she calls the Fake Cs.

Source: EdWeek

Journey from a Makerspace to a Maker District


This article shares the story of Albermarle County Schools’ experience integrating maker education throughout all the schools in the district. In particular, snapshots of Agnor Hurt Elementary and Albermarle High School are spotlighted. I recommend diving into this article and considering how Albermarle’s experience and ideas can impact your classroom, school, and district. Here are just two nuggets I gleaned from reading this.

“Making shouldn’t be isolated. We want to get away from that idea. Makerspaces and classrooms are one and the same.” — Andrew Craft, Elementary Teacher

“When people make, they get back to the basics of who they are as humans. Making puts the learner at the center of the work — and when that happens with our kids, the content makes sense to them.” — Pam Moran, Superintendent

Source: EdSurge.com

Project-Based Learning Through a Maker’s Lens


“A Maker is an individual who communicates, collaborates, tinkers, fixes, breaks, rebuilds, and constructs projects for the world around him or her. A Maker, re-cast into a classroom, has a name that we all love: a learner. A Maker, just like a true learner, values the process of making as much as the product.

“Making holds a number of opportunities and challenges for a teacher. Making, especially to educators and administrators unfamiliar with it, can seem to lack the academic rigor needed for a full-fledged place in an educational ecosystem. However, project-based learning has already created a framework for Making in the classroom. Let’s see how Making could work when placed inside a PBL curriculum unit.” — Patrick Waters

Source: Edutopia.org

Can Micro-Credentials Create More Meaningful PD for Teachers?


With micro-crentialing educators “can no longer attend a workshop and receive credit for merely being there. Instead, they must take their learning back into their classrooms and try it out, submitting evidence, receiving feedback from peers and refining their approach. They also have to reflect on what they learned through those experiences. Participating teachers then submit these artifacts, which are evaluated before the micro-credential is awarded. If the reviewers feel the educator did not submit strong enough evidence of learning, they can provide feedback and ask the educators to try again.” — Katrina Schwartz, Mind/Shift

Continue reading this article.

Image Source: CollectEdNY

There’s a Badge for That


“Digital badges have captured the imagination of many educators, including those frustrated with current assessment techniques and practices…a simple definition for a digital badge is digital recognition for accomplishing a skill or acquiring knowledge after completing an activity (e.g., a course, module, or project). In the world of digital badges, there are those who create badges, those who attempt to achieve badges, those who recognize badges, and those who seek to know people who have obtained certain badges. Digital badges have arguably taken off in popularity given the increase in massive open courses that are often free and thus do not produce credits. In sum, digital badges have become an important way to demonstrate a shared understanding of accomplished outcomes. Though they may have capital in multiple domains, digital badges are often new to teachers and those who offer professional development. However, there are at least three key areas where digital badges have implications for teachers and their continuing education.” — Richard Ferdig and Kristine Pytash, Tech & Learning

Continue reading the full article.

Image Source: Caller-Times

10 Examples of Innovative Formative Assessment


“Innovative formative assessment strategies are part of the heart of any modern classroom. They provide crucial information about what students understand and what they don’t. These ungraded assessments are also valuable guides for students. It can help them enhance their performance. Teachers can use them to determine if further instruction is necessary.

“Using innovative formative assessment consistently and effectively removes the surprises from getting final grades. When integrated into teaching and learning on an ongoing basis, students can constantly improve and excel. Formative assessment is “assessment as learning”. In other words, the feedback is used to improve the learning.” — Lee Watanabe Crockett 

Click here to view the ten examples.

Image Source: sparkaction.org

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.