Sunday, November 22, 2015

Secure Test Taking for State Exams on Chromebooks.

For those of you investing in Chromebooks the video above show you how to use them for secure test taking.  We use TestNav (Pearson) and fortunately this is one of the ones that can be used.   When you secure a Chromebook, the kids cannot get to any other sites except the one you are using for the exam.  

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

China Webquest

George Coe posted this China web quest a couple of years ago (hard to believe my blogs are 7.5 years old) and it is still a great one as it goes through all of the dynasties and has great images as well as a couple of videos such as the one above.  

Syria's War: 5-Minute History

Here's a great 5 minute overview of all the players in the Syrian War from Vox. It helps us to better understand the mess inside and outside of the war-torn country. Thanks to David Houston for sending the link.

Monday, November 16, 2015

Personalized Urls

We normally start my classes with a five question quiz where my students can use their notes from their flipped video to answer the questions.  It serves a few purposes.  First I won't count the quiz grade if the notes aren't good enough as I want the kids to have a repository they can use later (which is easy with the search function in Google Drive).  Secondly the questions are the main points for the day so it tells the kids what their exercise is going to be about.

But to the point.  I very rarely use the LCD in my classroom other than for when I am giving our opening quiz.  But the other day the my LCD lightbulb went kaput.  So I had to improvise by taking the url from the Google Drive document into a Tinyurl which I also personalized.  For example I am doing the fifth and sixth units in my for AP microeconomics called  So I wrote the url on the board and didn't worry that we didn't have a LCD.  It also is nice when kids want to redo a quiz, I just give them the url and we are all set.

In addition there is that allows you to keep a repository or your shortenings as well as Google's shortening.  

Sunday, November 15, 2015

Comparing the World's Major Religions (chart & video)

Above is a great Ted Talk video on the world's five biggest religions and if you need in simpler terms for your kids, here is a chart.  

Saturday, November 14, 2015

My Education Week Column

Along with the interview I did with Larry Ferlazzo last week, he had me write a column in June which he just published in his Education Week column.  Above is a summary of my thoughts, but here is the entire article.  Of course if you want my detailed thoughts and how to implement them, they are in my book: Deeper Learning Through Technology: Using the Cloud to Individualize Instruction

Monday, November 9, 2015

How Does the Internet Work

Most people now have heard about the cloud, but few understand it.  The top video above shows where the actual cables are in the oceans that transport our messages across the Internet.  The bottom one shows how webpages are broken up and transported.  

Saturday, November 7, 2015

Force Fitting Technology into the Classroom

Last week Larry Ferlazzo interviewed me and Susie Boss for his radio show.  Ferlazzo is a leading innovator in tech education, a writer for Education Week and a classroom teacher.  We discussed the topic of which comes first, technology or content.  Perhaps you would be surprised with my answer.   Here is the interview

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Who was Confucius: Terrific Ted Ed Clip

Here, Bryan W. Van Norden outlines Confucius's life and contribution to philosophy in just four minutes.

Saturday, October 31, 2015

Changing the Face of Instruction

I am a member of several Facebook teacher sites and am in the midst of adding to one where a teacher said his administration has banned front of the room teaching.  A number of the teachers are saying how awful that is.  Truth be known I have a few minutes in front of the room, but have mostly moved away from it.  Consider today's lesson in my economics' class

  • The kids watched a flipped video on graphing perfect competition
  • We started with a quiz where the kids had to draw four graphs and could use their video notes. 
  • In my class I won't count the quiz unless the notes are acceptable and occasionally make them redo it - but I always let them redo it and always give full credit even if it is late and most of the work is turned in on time as the kids know I will call parents if 2 or more assignments aren't done in a two week period - and I rarely have to call!
  • Then four different kids went to the board to draw the graphs.
  • Next the kids worked on their problem sets.
  • I walked around the room and answered questions from the previous day's work and the current ones.  
  • Oh I should say that my room is set up in 8 pods of four desks so the kids can easily help each other.  Each group is set up with different levels of students.  
  • Should I add that we have not opened a book this year either so it is not only cost efficient, but videos are how kids teach themselves now.  
  • We took our second test of the year last week and my average score is up 10% over last year's kids. 
  • I use this format (flip video, quiz, interactive, walling around the room) in all of my classes now and wish I had figured this out years ago!  

Friday, October 30, 2015

Standards Based Learning

On the 5th, one of my educational collaborators, Frank Franz, is coming to my school to discuss standards based learning.  In my county, we are slowly moving there and I want my department to start implementing parts of it, if not all of it so we aren't blindsided in 1.5 years when we have to do it.

First off I have never been told adequately what is meant by "mastery," but the video above helps. After all standard based learning says we should be working towards mastery, so best to start with a definition.

Frank's video below is excellent for explaining how his classes are run and while we're at it, he uses it for his flipped back to school night.  It is definitely worth five minutes to look at it.

Finally, here is Frank's dog (literally as he loves his three dogs) and pony show!

Thursday, October 29, 2015

Freeman-Pedia resources for World History

Run, don't walk, to this site, especially if you teach in Virgnia.

Feemanpedia has great resources for each unit in World History and for each unit in AP World history.

In World History, Benjamin Freeman, the site's curator, reviews what the SOLs want you to know, then includes a list of the people the state wants you to know along with video clips for enrichment.

Freeman does the same thing in AP World history but with key concepts.

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

World History Through Songs

Over the years I have put a number of videos up on using songs to teach history.  Well here is another one, Mr. Nicky, who uses popular current songs to teach ancient world history.  Above is his video on Greece. 

30 Ways to Use Chromebooks in the Classroom

Thanks to Stacy Delaney, our school based technology specialist for finding this document titled "30 Ways to Use Chromebooks in the Classroom." Ours continue to be the best thing for my students. When you add in that they now sit in pods of four and help each other, it has been a great start to the school year.  

Sunday, October 25, 2015

EasyBib for Citations

My son is working on his research paper (on how the brain works) and wanted to know how to cite his resources.  The best free source is EasyBib which asks you to input the url, press enter and then you will have the citation.  You can find many free items like this in my book Deeper Thinking Through Technology: Using the Cloud the Individualize Learning.