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Showing posts from June, 2014

Make and Print Your Own Badge Stickers

Everyone enjoys recognition for a job well done. Give them a sticker! OpenBadges has a free badge designer that even allows uploaded images.

While developing a DualBoard training plan for teachers, I planned to give out certificates of accomplishment. The basic training is divided into ten sessions, but teachers get busy and might find it difficult to keep coming back to more sessions. How could I keep them interested?

How To Teach Like A Pirate

Any teacher who has found themselves fishing for ideas to keep students engaged will find this book helpful. In his book Teach Like A Pirate, Dave Burgess has developed a catchy methodology that uses PIRATE as an acronym.
This short book (less than 200 pages) is divided into three parts. The first defines the philosophy of Passion, Immersion, Rapport, Ask and analyze, Transformation and Enthusiasm. The second part lays out practice applications for building lesson plans that will hook students' interest. The final part gives instructions and encouragement for educators to keep growing and learning.

What I appreciated was the practical nature of the book. Burgess does not preach down but tries to encourage and excite teachers to passionately pursue their craft. He gives personal experience and practical examples for teachers to borrow, adapt and use. While I don't think this book alone will transform the American education system, teachers can find ways to increase student en…

Conference Room Design

Learning environment can impact the quality of education. While the tech industry has embraced a casual atmosphere, many others businesses remain married to traditional settings.

Last Friday, the Technology Director and I traveled to Turning Technology in Youngstown, Ohio for a day of Dualboard training. The offices were colorful and styled in the open floor plan model. I even spied a ping pong table tucked in the corner. But the conference room was clearly designed to allow creative collaboration.

Discoveries Along Southern Lake Michigan

There's more to Indiana than just great beaches: hiking, history and fishing are also fun activities. Yesterday I took the kids and a friend up to Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore along the southern tip of Lake Michigan.

First we stopped by the visitor center to pick up some maps and a pamphlet for the Junior Rangerbeachcomber badge. One nice thing about this national park is that most of the park is free admission as the park intertwines with urban areas. We did pay $6 entrance to West Beach which includes lifeguards and a bathhouse in addition to great shoreline.

The park has implemented an aggressive reclamation program limiting access to the many sandy dunes that form the backdrop of the shoreline. But there are still several hiking trails available for those who want to climb a sand dune.

Our second stop was the Chellberg Farm for a quick picnic lunch. The farm is well kept and gives a glimpse into the lifestyle of early Swedish immigrants. This is the only national park loc…

Book Review: After the Blue

When people (or aliens) look back at us a hundred years from now, what will they conclude about humanity? As they attempt to reconstruct the way mankind lives, what conclusions would they make?

In his book, After the Blue, Russell Lake gives an interesting insight into human nature. The basic premise follows the good intentions, but severely misguided alien assumptions as they attempt to restore earth to its condition prior to their accidental near annihilation of humanity.

One hundred years after the Gruumsbaggians accidentally infected humans with a deadly virus, they have returned to help the few survivors. Unfortunately their actions often produce unintended results, like forcing men to do the hokey pokey every day after work "to unwind".

One review compared the book to The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, but aside from quirky humor about alien misconceptions and insane repercussions, Blue is nowhere close to its depth of irony. Still, the book was fun to read and…

Searching for Identity In Collapsing Contexts

Teens face the same issues as adults when crafting an online identity, but with greater consequences.

Sometimes I skip book introductions, and at nearly thirty pages it was tempting to skim through this one. But the heart of danah boyd's thesis can be found in the introduction.

While each chapter stands alone, supporting her theories with thorough research, It's Complicated, delivers a compelling and articulate treatise on the social lives of networked teens with a large bibliography to back it up.

Chapter one deals with teens' search for identity in a world that has become both networked and contexts collapsed while their audience has become invisible. While it has been several decades since I was a teenager, going through a job change this summer has revealed a similar identity crisis of my own.

As audiences have become invisible, it is difficult to know who is hearing our messages. While teaching in the classroom, I know exactly who is listening to me - their gender, o…