4 great online tools for the Hour of Code

Global day of coding coming in December

4 great online tools for the Hour of CodeDecember 8th – 14th, students and educators around the world will be taking an hour to try their hand at computer programming. With coding being in such high demand, the #HourofCode is designed to jump-start an interest in computer programming in schools and find a way to work this new literacy into the classroom.

The #HourofCode website offers an educator how-to section, but we thought we’d share what we’ll be using come December.

Here’s 4 great online tools for the Hour of Code.

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How does data-mining affect edtech?

New podcast ep: “How does data-mining affect edtech?”

The 21st Century Classroom podcast by the Tarrant InstituteWho’s looking at your students’ data?

Tarrant Institute professional development coordinator Susan Hennessey joins research fellow Mark Olofson in discussing some of the issues around corporate data-mining and how this potentially affects students and educators’ choices around edtech tools.


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Monster Physics and the importance of careful consideration

Science Saturday, with Tarrant Institute research fellow Mark OlofsonThis has been a very interesting week for me, trying to write a post for today. The task actually seemed pretty straight-forward. Audrey had passed along an app for me to take a look at: Monster Physics. A number of folks seem to be thinking about it from an education standpoint. At first blush I was put off by it, and wrote half of a pretty critical post. But every day that has gone by, I have found my position changing. It was a very interesting process, and a good reminder that when we try to think more laterally (a skill the game encourages) our understandings change. So today’s post is about Monster Physics, but its also about the importance of reflection in education, especially in a technology-rich environment where new apps, opinions, devices, and ideas come so fast it can be difficult to give them the time they deserve. Let’s take a look at the app. Continue reading

4 edtech podcasts you should be listening to

Besides ours, of course :)

4 edtech podcasts you should be listening toIn case you’re just tuning in, podcasts are having something of a renaissance. People are finding themselves on treadmills or trapped in cars on their commutes back and forth to work and soccer practice or just out for a long walk with the dog after dinner. And in this do-more-be-more-right-now world, podcasts represent a great way to make use of that time by sneaking in a little PD.

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The Problem with Genius Hour

Shouldn’t every hour be a genius hour?

the problem with genius hourAnyone paying attention to education in the US lately has seen the proliferation of the “Genius Hour.” Presumably inspired by Google’s 20% rule, through which employees of the search engine giant spend a day a week on projects of their own choosing, many schools are adopting a model described by best selling author Daniel Pink as “60 minutes to work on new ideas or master new skills.” By setting aside an hour of instructional time, schools enable students to connect, construct or create, without the constraints or distractions of business-as-usual. What could be better than that?

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Innovative learning shared at Nashville conference

Music City learns a thing or two about Vermont ed tech

Innovative learning shared at Nashville conferenceHalf of the Tarrant Institute staff and a special guest headed to Nashville last week to present at the Association for Middle Level Education Annual Conference. We set out to share with middle grades educators from around the world the incredible, tech-rich teaching happening in Vermont schools. As we always conclude after visiting national conferences, Vermont really is on the cutting edge. Here’s a roundup of our presentations about learning management systems, authentic assessment and augmented reality.

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Leveraging Google Calendar in the Classroom

leveraging google calendar in the classroomInspiring collaboration between teachers, students and families

The free suite of tools through Google Apps for Education have certainly inspired collaboration and connectivity between teachers, students, and families.  Christ the King School (CKS) recently started exploring the possibilities within the GAFE domain, and not being a 1:1 school, wanted to begin with a tool that could easily be used without individual devices.  They leveraged Google Calendar as a professional and classroom tool; instead of just meetings and appointments, CKS decided to use Calendar as a way to think about student organization and student/teacher/family collaboration.

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Molecules in Augmented Reality

Science Saturday, with Tarrant Institute research fellow Mark OlofsonOne of the challenges in science is to help students make connections from concepts to their real world. This can be a particular challenge in the field of chemistry. We talk about atoms, molecules, chemical reactions… but how does that connect with the things we see every day?

Augmented reality is one way to make connections from the abstract to the real world. We’ve seen Aurasma in use in the science classroom before. This free app allows students to create content that becomes an overlay on the actual item. The “aura” is triggered through image recognition. Students can overlay videos, web content, or images on their trigger images. Allowing video and web content means that Aurasma is a great candidate for “app smashing.”

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Personalizing Vermont’s education system

Move to implement PLPs reflected at two local conferences for educators

Personalizing Vermont's education systemFall in Vermont features two amazing local conferences for educators: VT Fest and the Rowland Foundation Conference. And at both these events, one of the hottest topics was personalized learning.

As Vermont moves to implement Act 77, Flexible pathways to secondary education completion (pdf) there ‘s a lot of discussion on the best way to implement personalized learning plans, or PLPs.

Luckily, some schools are already diving right in.

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How to app-smash Aurasma with Chatterpix

Give book characters a voice in reviews

How to app-smash Aurasma with Chatterpix A great way to bring book covers to life with augmented reality is through the AR app Aurasma. But for some students who are shy about actually appearing in videos for book reviews or trailers can app-smash the Chatterpix app to give voice to their favorite characters from books.

It’s a great way for students to think about elements of storytelling such as point-of-view, summation, showing vs. telling

Besides, it’s just fun!

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