Friday, May 25, 2012

6 Technologies that You May Find in your Classrooms in the Near Future?
Meris Stansbury recently wrote an article with eSchool News in which she listed 6 technologies that are on the cusp of entering our classrooms.  This is based upon the latest K-12 Horizon Report that has been produced by the New Media Consortium (NMC), Consortium of School Networking (CoSN) and the International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE) for the past 4 years.

You can download the 2012 K-12 Horizon Report here.

The Horizon Report identifies 6 emerging technologies across three adoption horizons:

1 year or less
  • Mobile Devices and Apps
  • Tablet Computing
2 - 3 years
  • Game-based learning
  • Personal Learning Environments
4 - 5 years
  • Augmented Reality
  • Natural User Interfaces
The K-12 Horizon Report actually contains twice this number of predictions so I strongly suggest that you download it from the NMC website and review it for yourself.  None of these predictions are earth-shaking but they are acknowledgements of the research and progress that have occurred in each of these areas.

What do you think?  Is the Horizon Report correct or do you think that there are some shades of darkness that haven't been considered?

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Wednesday, May 23, 2012

6 Important Resources for Learning Google Apps
I was looking for some instructional resources for using Google Apps and one of my students, Randon Ruggles from Minneapolis, sent me a plethora of them. While I feel that writing this blog is important because I can share information with you. the real reason is so that I can put it someplace where I won't lose it.

This video is great for those who have never heard or understand the concept of an online, collaborative document.
This is an index page of a bucketload of videos. You can access them by the specific app if you look for Learn by App towards the bottom of the navigation column.

This page includes documentation AND the training videos.

Interested in getting REALLY GOOD at Google Apps so you can be certified? Here ia a beautiful set of lengthy modules designed for people who consider themselves  certifiable. It might be helpful for those who have no background in Google Apps to run through a few of these.  They are lengthy, but beneficial if you are targeting an app or only one specific part of an app.  The chapters nicely break them down.

This is a multi-layered collection of documentation for using Google Apps. You can begin by selecting the apps in the left column and then narrow it down the specific activities in the application you want to use.

This includes everything (Blogger, Wallet, etc.) from Google.  It's all there, just click on "Show All Products" and you will see icons for every product. The support is supplied through a Help Center,  Forum Community of other users, or options for contacting support personnel at Google. 

Do these fill your needs?  Do you have other suggestions for resources?
If so, include them in the comments below.

It is ALWAYS good to hear from my readers.

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Thursday, May 10, 2012

Joe's Non-Netbook

We are constantly talking about how our "digital native" students are trying to learn in our 19th century classrooms.  Our Millennials are connected 24/7 except when they come to class are expected to unplug.

Here is a video that I found where Joe is having problems making a book work because it doesn't have the elements of the ebooks he is used to reading.

What do you think?  Is this a problem in your room?

I added this to the posting on May 21.  Just thought that this spoof fit well and didn't have to create a new posting.

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Sunday, May 06, 2012

Assistive Technologies and Universal Design for Learning

Assistive Technologies are "assistive, adaptive and rehabilitative devices for people with disabilities."  They are used inside and outside of the classroom to help people with special needs accomplish tasks. Assistive technologies may be as low tech as eyeglasses, curb cuts, large print, white canes or wheel chairs. They might also involve sophisticated technology which includes speech recognition software, hearing aids, text telephones, alternative keyboards, and Braille displays.

There is a whole community of parents and professionals dedicated to Assistive Technology. Spend some time reading and reviewing their discussions.

Universal Design for Learning is an educational strategy designed to address the needs of ALL learning differences. It is based upon the way that the brain works. It involves providing multiple means of representation, expression and engagement. This means that there are:
  • multiple ways to acquire information (e.g., reading, watching, listening, or doing.)
  • multiple ways to engage in the learning process (e.g., creating projects, exploring environments, or collaborating with others.)
  • multiple ways to demonstrate knowledge (e.g., creating videos, writing papers, and solving problems.)
This 5-minute video provides an easy-to-understand introduction to Universal Design for Learning:

There are many aspects of Assistive Technologies and Universal Design for Learning that educators MUST consider As teachers, we are legally and morally obligated to provide our students with learning opportunities that best accommodate their needs.

IDEA (The Individual with Disabilities Education Act) (article)
Parent's introduction to the Individual with Disabilities Education Act.

Differentiated Instruction and the Implications for UDL Implementation (article)
Explains the basis of Differentiated Instruction and how using Universal Design for Learning can personalize the learning experience for students.

From voice-activated software to customized laptops, technology can change the way disabled students communicate, learn, and play. Consider how you would use these as a teacher (and as a student.)

iPads in the Special Education Classroom
This is a blog run by a special education educator. This page is a treasure-trove of resources. It explains a variety of benefits of using tablets (yes, I know that it is iPad-based, but think "tablet") as computing tools for students. These are from the teacher's, student's and education's points of view. Explore the many resources in the right column as well.

Glenda Watson Hyatt's Blog
Ms. Hyatt has a thriving blog online. She has written a book and consults with educators on using technology in teaching. She also has athetoid cerebral palsy. This means that she has problems with muscular control. Glenda explores the many assistive tech apps that can be used to assist challenged learners like herself.  Watch her video, The Left-Thumb Blogger, to see how she uses assistive technologies to overcome her challenges. Imagine if you can offer this in your classes to your students.

Aimee Mullins: Running on High-Tech Legs (10-minutes)
In this TED archive video from 1998, paralympic sprinter Aimee Mullins talks about her record-setting career as a runner, and about the amazing carbon-fiber prosthetic legs (then a prototype) that helped her cross the finish line. (This a video of a presentation from TED Talks. We STRONGLY suggest that you visit to hear some of the greatest minds on the planet present their ideas and visions.)

photos:, and
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Wednesday, May 02, 2012

TPACKing Your Way to a Wild Learning Experience.

Used w/permission from - rights free
Learning is about more than content or pedagogy or technology.  It involves the uniting of these forces to create a learning experience where content knowledge is presented through technology using a pedagogy that best fits the subject matter.

As if this wasn't enough to boggle an educator's mind, the context within which it is being taught must also be considered.  It is this context that determines relevancy to the student.

This is called TPaCK. TPaCK stands for
  • Technology
  • Pedagogy
  • Content Knowledge
Understanding the Premise: This approach derives from Lee Shulman's work in the 80s when he introduced the notion of Pedagogical Content Knowledge (PCK).  Shulman (1986) says "pedagogical content knowledge is of special interest because it identifies the distinctive bodies of knowledge for teaching. It represents the blending of content and pedagogy into an understanding of how particular topics, problems, or issues are organized, represented, and adapted to the diverse interests and abilities of learners, and presented for instruction" (p. 8).

Pedagogic Content Knowledge by Dr. B -   A good way to learn about PCK is through Dr. Bilash's website. Review her work and watch her two short videos to see the connection between Pedagogy and Content Knowledge.  This may seem simple, but acknowledging the differences in the way a teacher understands content compared to a content expert is revealing.

Adding Technology to the PaCK: Acknowledging the connection between pedagogy and content knowledge, it is time to consider the medium through which this adapted content is presented/experienced. This medium is technology in the broadest sense of the word.  It doesn't have to "plug in." The best way to experience a Van Gogh painting is in the Musee de Orsay museum in Paris. If you happen to be visiting Paris sometime soon, that might be possible. If your future plans involve staying around the house a little more, then there are other avenues available to you. This is where you can use various forms of technology to fill the bill. You could enjoy Van Gogh's The Church in Auvers-sur-Oise through a Post-Impressionism book,  a Jigsaw Puzzlea 360-degree Panorama inside the church,
a tour of the church and town, Wikipedia, even through a unique java-blend.

Whatever technology you select, it is the intersection of Pedagogy, Content Knowledge and Technology within a Context that will carry the message for the learner. It will determine the topic's relevance to the learner and ultimately learners interest in remembering and using the new information.   

The key to the TPaCK method is examining the intersections between the domains. This would include Pedagogy-Content (PC), Technology-Content Knowledge (TC) and Technology-Pedagogy (TP). The most important point is the intersection of all of the domains TPC which we find at the middle of a 3-circle venn diagram.

This Low-Tech video explanation by RoyceKimmons is quite informative. He uses the 3-circle venn diagram to explain the relations of these domains.

 Here are a couple of other videos to help reinforce the concept.
The best place to find out about TPaCK is at   This is an ever-growing website that contains a plethora of possible resources.

Are You Looking for The Source?
Thinking Creatively: Teachers as designers of Content, Technology and Pedagogy by Mishra and Koehler at SITE 08.  This is part 1 of a 3-part sequence of YouTube videos that describe the TPaCK from its creators.

Applying TPaCK to Digital Content
This theory is just great, but what about practical application?  I can't get my head around how to make this happen in my classroom.  I understand that I must teach World War II events using a pedagogy that is relevant to my population of students and that it should be conveyed using technology that is meaningful and engaging with my students.  But is there a formula?

Probably not!

Activity Types
There are, however, Activity Types that have been developed by a group of researchers including Judi Harris, Mark Hofer, Denise Schmidt and Ann Thompson. Activity Types are conceptual planning tools that assist educators in organizing and creating curriculum-based learning activities. Each activity type captures what is most essential about the structure of a particular kind of learning action as it relates to what students do when engaged in that particular learning-related activity (e.g., group discussion; role play; fieldtrip). They have been organized by placing them in taxonomies.

TPACK Taxonomies
Dr. Judi Harris and Mark Hofer wrote a series of articles about using their subject-based taxonomies for TPACKING classroom projects Learning and Leading with Technology.  (It is actually pgs 22 - 34.)

Harris, J., & Hofer, M. (2009). “Grounded” technology integration: Planning with curriculum-based learning activity types. Learning & Leading With Technology, 37(2), 22-25.

You can find a succinct table of the Activity Types arranged by Format of Expression in an article entitled:

Instructional Planning Activity Types as Vehicles for Curriculum-Based TPACK Development (.pdf)
More Specifically: The hierarchies used for 7 different subject areas are found on the William and Mary School of Education Activity Types wiki.  

Here are some examples of how it has been done with a few lessons:

Using TPaCK to Teach Grammar in Middle School

Visit our WikiBook: TPACKing for a Wonderful Educational Trip 
It contains all of the wonderful work completed by the Tech Coordinating groups.
This is a unique way to publish authentic information with your students.

Happy Traveling through TPACK.