All posts tagged: Featured

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Tammy Dunbar: Sharing Test-Taking Tips With Sway!

by Tammy Dunbar Expert Educator Columnist, USA One year when I was teaching a First Grade class and we were nearing the end of our week-long standardized testing, one little student was so stressed out that he wrote an inappropriate word on his testing booklet. When I showed it to my principal, she sighed and said, “At least he spelled it right.” No one enjoys standardized testing. Not students. Not teachers. Not administrators. Is that a number two pencil? Did the students bubble things in clearly? Did they put the right answer with the right numbered question? Erase those stray marks, please! The new Common Core-aligned Smarter Balanced Assessment is administered online, which brings a whole new set of difficulties and challenges. Wait! The volume isn’t working. Did you turn it up before entering the secure browser? What’s that flashing on my screen? My screen went blank in the middle of my test! What do I do now? But we know testing – in some form – is necessary, and we know we must do …

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Tammy Dunbar: Add New Spark to Your Class with Newspapers!

by Tammy Dunbar Expert Educator Columnist, USA Teachers need fact-based, non-fiction content. We need lots of it. And we need it now. The adoption of the new Common Core State Standards paired with the lack of approved curriculum and funds have pushed many educators to be creative in finding appropriate, timely reading material. That critical reading material also has to allow students to demonstrate independence, build strong content knowledge, comprehend as well as critique, understand other perspectives/cultures and use technology & digital media strategically and capably. (From the CCSS English Language Arts Standards.) Thanks to the Newspapers in Education program, teachers and their students can “read all about it” in daily digital editions of their local newspaper. And the cost is a teacher’s favorite “F” word: Free! Most large local daily newspapers participate in the NIE program. All a teacher has to do is contact their local newspaper and ask about it. We have been lucky to participate in The Modesto Bee’s NIE program for almost 12 years. My students have access to a daily …

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Matt Harris: Encourage Those in Your School to Share

by Matt Harris Expert Educator Columnist, Singapore I have discovered that TED talks are a great companion on long walks. I often listen to them for inspiration as I walk to school in the mornings (I live in Singapore, so I can walk to school year-round). The other day, I was listening to one from a volunteer fireman in the US who tells a great story about helping people and giving back to his community. Watch the video here <LINK> I drew inspiration for a number of things that are now on my blogging and vlogging to-do list to discuss. One of them in particular, really stuck out for me in a profound way – Don’t Wait. I won’t go into a ton of detail here as I hope to share more about this topic later and on other platforms. But the gist of it is don’t wait to share the gifts you have to give. In the EdTech sense, don’t wait until you are an expert or you have that next job or you …

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Innovation Hunter: Hot Potatoes and Cool Learning

by Mark Sparvell School Leaders Program, Microsoft in Education Hello leaders and learners! Continuing my journey across the globe and capturing the voices, images and insights from some of our amazing Microsoft Innovative Expert Educations and the leaders in the inspiring Showcase Schools. If you haven’t been following my journey on twitter, might like to add @sparvell to your follows. HOT POTATOES AND COOL LEARNING Location: Silverton Primary School, Victoria, Australia Distance from home: 13266 miles Silverton Primary school has a very long history with Microsoft as an Innovative School, World Tour School, Global Mentor School and now, proudly, Showcase School. Silverton school is situated in an diverse community with lower than average mean incomes and higher than average unemployment…yet Silverton shines bright in national testing results and the school, staff and principal have received multiple recognition for excellence at local, state, national and international . Silverton are experts at hosting visitors, people travel from across Australia and globally to visit this high performing school which defies expectations based on social or economic context. What …

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Tammy Dunbar: Learning on the Edge of Chaos

by Tammy Dunbar Expert Educator Columnist, USA Successful learning is less about what’s memorized and much more about having the ability to make the right connections. But should teachers be the ones making all those connections for their students? At the CUE 2015 Conference, TED Prize winner Professor Sugata Mitra spoke about creating a “Self-Organized Learning Environment” or SOLE. As he points out, it’s often called “learning on the edge of chaos” because it requires an educator to truly be the “Guide on the Side” rather than the “Sage on the Stage.” Sugata postulated: What would happen if we presented our students with goal-oriented challenges that allow them choice and provide opportunities to solve problems on their own? In a remote village in India, he placed a computer and track pad in a Hole in the Wall three feet above the ground to see what would happen. What Sugata discovered, as he outlined in his 2013 TED Prize winning talk and at CUE 2015, is that if children were allowed to work in groups to …

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Meenakshi Uberoi: Dubai Global Forum – Melting Pot of Leaders in Transformation of Education

by Meenakshi Uberoi Expert Educator Columnist, India Microsoft’s Global Forum in Dubai was a great ‘melting pot’ of leaders in education and policy makers who are driving transformation in education and supporting students to be equipped for work and life. It was an honour for me to participate as a speaker in 3 sessions, namely, ‘Concepts & Contexts of Deep Learning’; ‘’Learning Design for Impact’ and ‘Technology Enriched Instruction’ and I am thankful to Microsoft worldwide & Microsoft India for entrusting me with such a great opportunity. As a self-reflection, I would like to share some insights and perspectives gained on the first day of the event. Vibrant and welcoming opening remarks of Eve Psalti put the event in the right perspective and top gear. Next came the powerful words from Anthony Salcito – ‘Expect More, Do More, Be More’ – to set the tone and lay out expectations for the event. The 2-day event was abuzz with insightful discussions, new pedagogies to adapt and availability of impactful resources for thoughtful integration of technology to …

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Becky Keene: Try Something New!

by Becky Keene Expert Educator Columnist, USA Have you ever noticed that kids seem to have a better handle on trying something new than adults? I think anyone who’s watched a child learn can see that children can switch between pieces of information very quickly, and they can soak up new pieces of information like sponges. I was at a school last week helping students get started with Office 365 accounts. Our goal was to have each of them login, create a new document in Word Online, and then see how to access it from any other device. As I got students going (by typing in a URL – yuck; then pinning it to their Start screens – hooray), there were a few students at a table who were, I thought, a little off task. As I walked around to help, one had music streaming and another had a game open. The third boy was drawing with his finger in an app. “Hey boys,” I started, “Let’s go ahead and minimize those so you can …

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Mohammed Khattab: Top 10 Mistakes Teachers Make When Using Technology and How to Avoid Them

by Mohammed Khattab Expert Educator Columnist, Qatar Design the lesson so that technology works in the lesson.  Do not build a lesson around a piece of technology. Start with the outcome or lesson in mind The technology is secondary Build a great lesson first and then think of how to integrate tech Have the students “publish” the work instead of “handing in” the work.  This way students will take more ownership in what they are doing. Tie into CCSS requirement to publish student work Blogging, Tweeting #Comments4Kids Mistake – not connecting with experts.  Field trip around the world Use Twitter search to locate, then connect via Skype Do not buy into the “digital natives” hype.  Age doesn’t matter.  It’s the person’s experience.  Students that are comfortable with technology can help students that are not. Kids don’t always know how to use technology as well as we think they do OR may not know how to use tech tools for learning Always back up your data. Desktop on computers are not backed up.  Keep more important …

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Kemi Olurinola: The Forgotten Technologies

by Kemi Olurinola Expert Educator Columnist, Nigeria Early definitions of instructional technology focused on instructional media – the physical means via which instruction is presented to learners. Over the years, many attempts have been made to define this field because new ideas and definitions have affected the practices in this field. One definition of interest to me is that produced in 1970 by the Commission on Instructional Technology established by the U.S government. …. Instructional technology means the media born of the communication revolution which can be used for instructional purposes alongside the teacher, textbook and blackboard…………(Commission on Instructional Technology, 1970) There are two points I would like to focus on in this definition. The media born of the communication revolution: this would depend on the present communication revolution in different countries. According to Marsden et al, those of us in the developed world live in an environment where information is literally everywhere. In addition to physical media such as newspapers, books, and magazines, invisible signals carry data to our smartphones, tablets, and laptops. The …

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Floyd Chanda: New Beginnings at Libala Secondary School

by Floyd Chanda Expert Educator Columnist, Zambia As an MIEE 2015, many thanks to the team that came to train us in December, 2014; that is Mr. Phil Oduor from Kenya and Mr. Victor Ngobeni from South Africa. Personally, I benefited a lot and learned that for ICT to be effective we need to have the basics of knowledge and equipments so as to function. However, I also learned from them that you can also improvise so as to effectively build and share knowledge. Above all, teaching using the Microsoft education applications as an effective and easy way of reaching out to learners. However, for me and my school we are on the preparation stage. We just finished fixing the computers for our school lab and two other sister schools. We are now currently on setting up the computer lab as shown in the picture below. Finally, we believe we are on track given the new curriculum in our country Zambia has made ICT and Computer studies compulsory. Thanks for the Microsoft educational applications that …