Friday, September 30, 2011

Weekend Reader on Video Games in Education: Sept 2011

Three Qualities That Make Video Games Better Teachers Than Teachers - EdReach [via Twitter]

Game Design Engages Students in STEM - High School Notes [US News] - A few years ago I got to take part in a robotics workshop at UMass Lowell, and while I never got the chance to follow through, I had no doubts about how much it would engage and excite students. I think any kind of entry level programming, robotics or game design you can get kids involved in will have amazing results in the classroom and in their long term participation in STEM majors/careers.

8 other ways gaming is good for your kids [via Twitter]

Cosmic Log - Gamers solve molecular puzzle that baffled scientists - A couple of years ago I wrote about exposing my students to Foldit, the online game that tapped into human ingenuity for science.  Gamers have just made perhaps their biggest breakthrough through a puzzle that will help the fight against AIDS.

Million Moms March Challenge Launches Educational Alternative to FarmVille [Mashable] - I'm really excited that a group with a lot of visibility is pushing for the development of more educational social games.  In a perfect world, I'd like companies like Zynga to step up and help develop and market these themselves.  They know how to combine social connections with the right game mechanics to make addictive, fun games--why reinvent the wheel?  I wrote more on this idea for the Educational Games Research blog last year.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Review for a Test with a Fake Test

One idea that's mentioned but not fully explored in Ten Cheap Lessons is creating a fake test as a review tool.  Essentially you take a set of problems similar to what will be on your test and work them out   incorrectly, purposely making the kinds of mistakes you've seen your students making over and over again.  Your students basically become the teacher, finding the error(s) and the correct answer.

In previous years I've went overboard trying to make this "test" seem authentic, but this year I decided to just be honest and direct.  "All of these problems were solved incorrectly.  All of the answers are wrong," I told them.  "These are the mistakes I've been seeing too many of you continue to make, and I don't want you to make them again on the test."  If you've been reviewing something for what seems like forever, or you simplify have a stale routine, this is an easy way to shake things up.

In the example below (which my students worked on yesterday), you'll see the key mistakes circled along with the correct answer in red.  The student version had no such marks (there was another side to this page as well that I chose not to include).  

Share your versions of this kind of review assignment (along with any other creative ideas you have) in the comments.

Friday, September 16, 2011

Weekend Reader on Social Media in the Classroom - Sept 2011

Why Schools Should Learn To Use Online Services Like Facebook & YouTube Rather Than Banning Them [Techdirt]

50 Reasons to Invite Facebook Into Your Classroom [MindShift]

Tiny Bursts of Learning [Betchablog] - On Twitter as a powerful professional learning tool for teachers.

3 Tips for Teachers Using Social Media in the Classroom [Mashable!] - Written for college, but the 3 tips apply across the board.

Common Sense Social Media Policies in Schools: Working with It Instead of Banning It [The 21st Century Principal]

Monday, September 12, 2011

Make a Music Video, Win $170K in Tech for Your Classroom!

Last year I shared a $75K classroom tech makeover contest from eInstruction.  This year, the company will give away more than $170K in their 2011 Classroom Makeover Contest!

Entering the annual contest is straightforward: "Make a short, creative music video demonstrating how you and your students use technology to enhance learning in the classroom."  There will be winners for three categories: K-5, 6-8 and 9-12.

Here's the winning 9-12 video from 2010 (my favorite of the three).

Entries are due by October 25th.  Read the details and official rules on the official 2011 Classroom Makeover Contest website.  Send in links to your entries!

Friday, September 9, 2011

September Weekend Reader on Cell Phones in the Classroom

Are Schools on the Verge of a Mobile-Phone Revolution? [GOOD]

Cellphones in the Classroom [Cool Cat Teacher] - A slideshow by Vicki Davis (aka Cool Cat Teacher) on figuring out whether cell phones are the right fit for your classroom and how to best utilize them.

A 21st-Century Twist on Current Events Classroom Activities [The Next Generation of Educational Leadership] - Use smartphones, iPads or plain old laptops to make current events truly current.

Class, Turn On Your Cell Phones: It’s Time to Text [MindShift]

QR Codes in the Classroom [Learning Today] - With a smartphone, these codes become amazing interactive tools that any teacher (or student) can create and use.

Related: Read my recent post It's Time for Leaders to Embrace Cell Phones in the Classroom for more on this topic.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

OfficeMax Print Center Coupons for Teachers

OfficeMax recently shared some teacher-focused coupons for their ImPress Print Center that you can print out from this Google Doc.  The first deal has expired (I apologize for not sharing these sooner, but school has already started), but there are two coupons that run through September 24th:
  • $8.99 on 18”-by-24” posters (regular price is $17.98)
  • 50% off on lamination services 
Download the coupons here.  I hope you are looking to avoid too many out-of-pocket expenses, but these should help if you can't avoid it!

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Make Everything a Whiteboard: IdeaPaint Classroom Makeover Contest

IdeaPaint, the dry erase whiteboard paint company, is running a 360° IdeaPaint Classroom Makeover contest.  Just post a video or photo gallery of the space you want to makeover along with a description of why you want to do so, and submit via their online form.

Two schools will have up to 500 square feet of their classrooms professionally painted with IdeaPaint!  Deadline for submissions is September 30thClick through to read all the details.

I'm curious to see your submissions, or any spaces you've already used whiteboard paint to engage your students. Share links and ideas in the comments.