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Maybe there’s better

Maybe Khan Academy isn’t the best thing in education:

Mr. Khan stated that the purpose of Khan Academy was to have the students watch the lectures at home, on their own, so teachers could do better things in class. How about we get rid of the lectures all together, or use them sparingly in class as an interactive discussion? How about we make sure that students can learn during class time. How about we assign “homework” to students that addresses their interests and needs?

Education’s going mobile

McGraw Hill isn’t the only organization that is banking on the 2012-2013 going mobile:

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Do you feel the earth moving?

Do you feel the earth moving?

McGraw Hill already has a line of five K-12 textbooks for the iPad 2 through iBooks 2 and over 50 iPad textbooks for higher education and the professional market through an app from partner firm Inkling, into which McGraw Hill Education has heavily invested.

All of McGraw Hill’s iPad textbooks come alive thanks to Inkling’s interactive features such as built-in videos, audio, flash cards and 3D models. (Rival publisher Pearson also offers four books with similar interactivity for the device.)

Times they are a changing!

And schools are behind again

Schools are finding themselves on the other side of spending thousands of dollars on interactive whiteboards and now there is an interactive whiteboard that each student can hold in his or her hand rather than 25 students crowding around one.

Who ultimately ends up on top has huge implications for educational technology leaders, who must determine which company is the best fit for their needs, and at a cost their districts can afford in still-difficult budget times. Complicating those decisions are changes in the technological landscape that are raising questions about the long-term educational relevance of interactive whiteboards. Do classrooms really need them in the age of iPads?

And schools are behind again.

GoSoapBox: A way for quiet students to speak up?

If you are wondering whether mobile devices have a place in your classroom, consider GoSoapBox:

I think most people would say that the Confusion Barometer is the most innovative feature. Students can indicate when they are confused with the click of a button, and the teacher sees a graphical representation, showing the trend in the number of confused students over time.

Is that something that would help your classroom?

Would this let students who are more reserved speak up rather than sit back and pretend that they understand?

Have you tried it?

What do you think?

No wonder students are confused

Paul Thomas makes an excellent point here.

Paulo Freire makes a distinction between “authoritarian” (“Do as I say, not as I do” and “Do as I say although I have never done it”) and “authoritative” (Let me guide you to becoming a writer because I am a writer”). And this is where I now see why authority fails.

Thomas cites this attitude in regard to leadership and decision making in schools, but there is another disconnect where this attitude prevails.


Teachers use their phones and mobile devices as time keepers and to stay connect to their loved ones throughout the day at many schools, but have a strict no cell phone policy for students.

Don’t students have lives and loved ones to stay connected to as well? Haven’t we all been in a situation where we needed to be contacted immediately for some reason or another?

And yet the cell phone policy at most schools still remains strictly, “Do as I say, not as I do.”

No wonder students are confused.

Opening Your Classroom

As high schooler, I was taught that websites were not a good resource when writing a research paper. That was 10 years ago and I still hear teachers arguing that same point:

I have tended to be wary of students using websites in research.  My experience has been that students who rely heavily on websites tend to write pretty superficial work, because the websites that they use are pretty superficial.

When website research is not even considered to be a reliable research method, then teachers close their doors to having meaningful conversations about digital literacy. Students are very quick and figure new platforms and apps very quickly, but that doesn’t mean that they don’t need guidance to find reliable academic resources.

Because websites and social media have not been a part of their classrooms for so long, students have come to view them as personal entertainment. In reality, they are holding powerful computing devices.

Let’s open our classrooms and help students see how powerful these devices really are.

Apple Education Announcement Spreading

More and more sites and blogs are talking about the Apple announcement that will concern education on January 19. The only statement from Apple is that the announcement will be about education and textbooks.

While I anxiously await for the announcement, I tend to agree with Ian Quillen who suggests:

The bigger question, according to Mashable, is whether Apple’s new venture—in whatever form—will succeed.

Past evidence certainly suggests it will. Apple already has a wide swath of devotees in education who can fairly be categorized as fiercely loyal. More narrowly, Apple’s most recent game-changer, the iPad, has had greater success proliferating the education market than any other single device by any manufacturer in recent memory. And as Mashable reminds us, the same storyline generally holds true in Apple’s other endeavors, whether it be music, cinema, or telecommunications.

Apple has laid the foundation for the quick and early adoption of whatever they suggest by donating the largest number of computing devices and programs like one to one.

When this breaks, we better all have our running shoes on to try to keep up!

Think Again

After my post yesterday about the influence of twitter for the affiliates, I was reminded that it is in the tension and friction that not only do people feel engaged, but their learning is deep.

So to answer my own question, it’s not unreasonable for mobile users to be expect to click a link on your tweet that leads them to a post that has an affiliate link.


People like to explore. People like to journey to find information and with each click, they are getting closer to achieving that goal.

Yesterday, I slipped into the trap that too many teachers slip into. I underestimated people rather than setting high expectations and creating a meaningful experience that will lead to new information.

Tweeting Affiliates

As a technology teacher last year, I was frequently asked the question, “How does Twitter help?”

Inherent in my teaching colleagues was a time analysis approach to a new idea for their classroom. They wanted to know how much time it was going to take and if the time was going to be worth investing for their students’ learning.

The same is often true of affiliate marketers. The conversation about leveraging social media has been a part of the marketing world at least since 2008 and yet still there are some affiliate marketers are hesitant to use Twitter.

Some affiliates Twitter is just another place to post an affiliate link, but I tend to agree that it is a way to drive traffic to your site or a post.

Maybe it’s the teacher in me, but I am still wondering if there’s not more that Twitter can do for affiliates.

Yes, it creates community.

Yes, it creates interactions.

Yes, it creates conversations.

But considering how many users tweet from their mobile devices, the two step process to get to an affiliate link might cause a drop in traffic.