Showing posts from November, 2015

Guided Gaming Leads to Learning

I just believe that this is what play should look like when done through technology. -Rachel Fondell Rachel Fondell , a 6 th grade humanities teacher, has something in common with Zach Lankow, a 9 th and 10 th grade religious studies teacher. While they both have a passion for reading, for working with their students, and for teaching their content, the commonality that is most striking is their willingness to give their students the freedom to play. They both use iPad games, which are traditionally seen as distractions by many educators, as a tool for learning and creating in their classrooms with their students. Click here to listen to the podcast. Recently, Zach told his story to the editors at EdSurge. His students use Minecraft to build safe havens during the unit when they are studying the story of Noah’s Ark. They have to think about the details of the story, the message it is meant to convey, and which elements of survival need to be considered. His proje

How Mobile Devices Made a Difference in Theater Class

Mobile devices are integral to educating students in all content areas at all grade levels. I’m certainly not asserting that tablets and smartphones are exclusively the way to educate our children. But when our society uses them to communicate, do business, and share our personal triumphs and sorrows every minute of every day, shouldn’t our children be learning to do these same things in school? If academics are meant to help children participate in the world around them, they need to be proficient in the technologies used to participate. Brit Christopher, a middle school theater arts teacher and accomplished performer and director in her own right, understands this. This is a snapshot of how iPads provided creative opportunities for her students. She calls it “TheaterTech”. In my 6th grade Theater Arts classroom, we spend a lot of time on live performance and social interaction. My tests and quizzes typically have both written and practical sections, and my students are used

Guest Post: Stripping Away

by Doug Robertson I’m losing control of my classroom. Every day, every lesson, I lose a little more control. I’m stripping away the excess of my teaching. Trimming the fat. Every year of my teaching career I change things, and I’m finding that those changes often result in less rather than more in my room. Everyone remembers their early career as a teacher. You cling so tightly to your classroom. At least I did. Everything had to be controlled because I had very little actual control. I had no confidence in my teaching skills (rightly, new teachers are, through no fault of their own, roundly bad) so I tried to control everything else. Anything that could have a rule or a procedure had one. We practiced. We drilled. We worked on those procedures until I felt like every student could do them in their sleep. How do we get drinks? How do we line up? How do we sharpen pencils? The discipline plan was spelled out to the letter, with eventualities and hypotheticals sketched and p

Are You Media Literate? Are Your Children?

The inaugural Media Literacy Week in the United States kicked off yesterday. By following #MediaLitWk on Twitter, Facebook, and other social media platforms you can find articles, lesson ideas, and inspirations from media literacy experts and scholars. While Canada has been observing Media Literacy Week for a decade, the new emphasis on digital citizenship in the U.S. makes 2015 the perfect year to draw more attention to media literacy education as well. The thing is, media literacy is not just for children in this digital age, it is a skill all of us should continue to develop. Larry Magid , CEO of ConnectSafely and technology journalist, talked with Michelle Ciulla Lipkin , Executive Director of the National Association of Media Literacy Education  or NAMLE, about how media literacy is a skill that all of us need, especially during election season. They discussed the fact that, due to the availability of information and creation tools online, we are all consumers and publishe