Building the Future: Tinkering and Playful Learning

The following is an excerpt from an article in The Journal by Mike McGalliard and Anne Wintroub. It’s too good not to share. I encourage educators and parents to read and consider the ideas and recommendations presented in the full article.

“Educators and business leaders have more in common than it may seem. Teachers want to prepare students for a successful future. Technology companies…have a vested interest in developing a workforce with the STEM skills needed to grow the company and advance the industry. How can they work together to achieve these goals? Play may [be] the answer.

“We’ve assumed that focusing on STEM skills, like robotics or coding, are important, but the reality is that STEM skills are enhanced and more relevant when combined with traditional, hands-on creative activities. This combination is proving to be the best way to prepare today’s children to be the makers and builders of tomorrow. That is why technology companies are partnering with educators to bring back good, old fashion play.

“In fact many experts argue that the most important 21st century skills aren’t related to specific technologies or subject matter, but to creativity; skills like imagination, problem-finding and problem-solving, teamwork, optimism, patience and the ability to experiment and take risks. These are skills acquired when kids tinker. ” — The Journal

Sources: Image 1, Image 2

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.

Ideas for Using Google Forms in the Classroom

Here’s a compilation of ideas for teachers interested in using Google forms. Click on the following screenshots to view the associated resources.

9 Ideas for Google Forms

Google Forms in the Classroom

Innovative Ideas for Google Forms

Featured Image from Atomic Learning

Breakout EDU: A Quick Introduction

Guest Blogger
Kaylah Holland

BreakoutEDU-logo01(Image Source)

Breakout EDU is one of the newest trends hitting education. Breakout EDU is an immersive game requiring hands-on critical thinking to solve clues. This type of game is completely flipping current education because it requires students to collaborate, problem solve, and think critically.

The CEO, Adam Bellow, says: “There are cheers, there’s frustration, and ultimately, if there is success, it’s that moment of ‘We did it!’ And that is intrinsic. It doesn’t need something else,” he said. “I don’t see kids cheering when they do worksheets” (source).

The video below will explain the basics.

 

How to Get Started

The “Get Started” section of the website lists four steps:

  1. Obtain a Breakout EDU kit.
    1. You can purchase a wooden box for $119 or a plastic box for $89. Both boxes include 1 hasp, 1 word lock, 1 three-digit lock, 1 four-digit lock, 1 directional lock, 1 key lock, 1 UV light, 1 invisible ink pen, 1 small lockable box, 1 USB thumb drive, and 2 hint cards.  
    2. You can also purchase all of these items on Amazon as an open resource kit.
  2. Complete the beta form to obtain the password to access several hundred games.
  3. Facilitate a Breakout EDU game with a group.
  4. Join the community. Breakout EDU offers a facebook and twitter community. The facebook group is extremely active and very useful.

Gaming Tips

I have personally facilitated numerous Breakout EDU games and have a few tips.

  • Use the community: if you have a question chances are that someone has already posted that question on the facebook group and the community has answered
  • Be detailed: read the game instructions carefully well before game day
  • Watch the overview videos: most of the official games have very useful overview videos
  • Play the game before facilitating it to a group of students: often times it can be difficult to see how the clues fit together without actually walking through them first
  • Have extra locks: Locks are finicky (or maybe it is just me) and it can be extremely frustrating when they accidentally get stuck. Have extra locks on hand so that the game isn’t hindered because of one lock getting stuck during your setup

Resources for Breakout EDU

The main resources are the website and the facebook community.

Check out these ten reasons for playing Breakout EDU in your classroom!

Breakout EDU


About the AuthorKaylah Holland

Kaylah Holland is currently a Middle School Instructional Technology Facilitator at Charlotte Christian School in Charlotte, NC. In addition to teaching coding, app development, and robotics; she has a vital role of assisting teachers with the integration of technology into the classroom through ample research, lesson planning, and training. She is currently completing her doctoral degree in the field of Instructional Design and Technology and is in the process of becoming a Google Certified Trainer. She is passionate about building an innovative culture for learning.

Maker Education: A Quick Introduction

Guest Blogger
Kaylah Holland

Maker Movement in Education(Image Source)

Edutopia defines Marker Education as “a unique combination of artistry, circuitry, and old-fashioned craftsmanship” (source). This type of making is not a new idea but, until a few years ago, has not been in education and has been growing in implementation ever since.

What is Maker Education?

Several terms are involved with Maker Education such as tinker, hack, create, modify, build, and invent (source). This basic concept involves changing the traditional lecture style of education to a more engaging hands-on environment where students are learning through active projects. This style of learning does not have traditional assessments but uses the finished product as the assessment; thus, completely flipping the traditional style of learning.

Why implement Maker Education?

The following four mindsets show the benefits of implementing Maker Education into the classroom.

Maker Movement

(Screenshot Source)

Resources for Maker Education

Implementing Maker Education within your classroom does not have to be difficult. Start with one project and allow students to build or create something tangible. You can use Pinterest or Instructables to find handy DIY projects for the classroom simply be searching. You will soon become hooked on the idea and will begin to modify your own lesson plans to include more making.

The following websites are great resources.

Maker Education

(Image Source)


About the AuthorKaylah Holland

Kaylah Holland is currently a Middle School Instructional Technology Facilitator at Charlotte Christian School in Charlotte, NC. In addition to teaching coding, app development, and robotics; she has a vital role of assisting teachers with the integration of technology into the classroom through ample research, lesson planning, and training. She is currently completing her doctoral degree in the field of Instructional Design and Technology and is in the process of becoming a Google Certified Trainer. She is passionate about building an innovative culture for learning.

Flipped Learning: Preparing for the New School Year

Guest Blogger
Kaylah Holland

Flipped LearningImage Source

Flipped Learning is a pedagogical approach in which direct instruction moves from the group learning space to the individual learning space, and the resulting group space is transformed into a dynamic, interactive learning environment where the educator guides students as they apply concepts and engage creatively in the subject matter” (Source).

Why Flip?

Flipped learning allows for a more student centered approach to teaching within the classroom because the majority of the lecture style learning is completed at home; thus, allowing class time to utilize more engaging techniques such as project-based learning, game-based learning, student presentations, discussion, and collaboration. Flipped Learning can also be completed solely within the classroom without requiring students to complete work at home. The main idea with Flipped Learning is simply to allow the teacher to become more of a facilitator of learning rather than the dictator of knowledge.

How to Flip?

The following video from Edutopia will help you understand how to get started.

Examples of Flipped Learning

There are numerous ways to incorporate Flipped Learning within your classroom. The following seven concepts are a good place to start.

  1. The Standard Inverted Classroom: students are assigned any lecture style teaching for homework the night before class so that class time might used for practicing what they learned with the teacher able to give instant feedback.
  2. The Discussion-Oriented Flipped Classroom: lecture style videos, such as TED Talks, are assigned as homework and class time is spent discussing the subject at length.
  3. The Demonstration-Focused Flipped Classroom: teacher records a screencast explaining an activity, math problem, etc so that they students may watch as many times as possible for mastery.  
  4. The Faux-Flipped Classroom: students watch lecture videos or complete assignments via technology at their own pace within the classroom and the teacher acts as a facilitator and supporter.
  5. The Group-Based Flipped Classroom: students learn material for homework and use class time to work together in groups so that they learn from each other through collaboration.
  6. The Virtual Flipped Classroom: classes are offered entirely online and actual class time is not needed.
  7. Flipped the Teacher: students record video tutorials as projects to teach a skill to the teacher thus showing mastery of the skill (Source).

EducationDive showcases the Faux-Flipped Classroom in the article 16 Flipped Learning Uses in K-12 and College Classrooms. A teacher in Florida allows students to complete classwork, take quizzes, and watch instructional videos at their own pace on computers throughout the classroom while she answers questions and provides support to students (Source).

Resources for Flipping

Interested in trying Flipped Learning in your classroom? Checkout the websites below for great information.


About the AuthorKaylah Holland

Kaylah Holland is currently a Middle School Instructional Technology Facilitator at Charlotte Christian School in Charlotte, NC. In addition to teaching coding, app development, and robotics; she has a vital role of assisting teachers with the integration of technology into the classroom through ample research, lesson planning, and training. She is currently completing her doctoral degree in the field of Instructional Design and Technology and is in the process of becoming a Google Certified Trainer. She is passionate about building an innovative culture for learning.

Pokémon Go Automatically Granting Permission to Read Your Gmail

Pokemon Go

The Verge is reporting that “Pokémon Go has become wildly popular in the days since its release last week, but the app may be hiding a serious security issue. In many cases, users who sign into the app through a Google Account are often inadvertently granting broad permissions over all information linked to the account, including the power to read and send emails. At no point in the sign-in process does the app notify users that full access is being granted” (Source). Read more at The Verge.

Perhaps the app developer will correct this issue in the near future.

Easily Turn Video into Engaging Lessons with EDpuzzle

Larry Ferlazzo describes EDpuzzle as “a new innovative site that lets you take just about any video off the web, edit it down to the portions you want, add audio notes and questions for students, and create virtual classrooms where you can monitor individual student work” (Source). Perhaps the best part is that teachers and students can use it for FREE.

To see an example, view Bobby Barber’s EDpuzzle that he uses in his math classroom.

Edpuzzle

Getting Started

The following quick demo will help you begin using EDpuzzle.

Flipped Learning and EDpuzzle

“EDPuzzle is a great resource for the flipped classroom, allowing teachers to create and present innovative lectures in a safe environment” according to Education World. Further, iLearn Technology notes that as “students watch, [the teacher] can check understanding and ensure active watching vs. passive watching. In a flipped scenario, this gives you the ability to completely tailor a lesson the next day based on the formative assessment results you get from homework. This is truly utilizing assessment to inform instruction.”

Educational Connections

EDpuzzle can be used:

  1. In flipped classrooms (as discussed above).
  2. To make lecturecasts, tutorials, video directions, etc. more engaging and interactive.
  3. For compiling data and information about students’ performance, and perhaps understanding, which can helpful formative assessment.
  4. So that students can annotate video reflections, recorded reports and skits, and more.
  5. To allow students to develop tutorials and quizzes about the current topic of study. Putting students in the teacher’s role can encourage higher-levels of thinking.