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Posts tagged ‘21st century skills’

“Breathe. Don’t worry about the test.”

I’ve been saying this for years.

Don Gifford, Kansas Department of Education social studies consultant, has been saying it.

And now?

Diane Debacker, Education Commissioner for the state of Kansas, is saying it.

What are teachers supposed to do? Just teach. Breathe. Don’t worry about the test.

What we’re trying to do is change the conversation . . . But we have lived for the past 12 or 13 years with it being all about assessment results, so it’s going to take us a little bit of time.

In an article published in this morning’s Wichita Eagle, DeBacker shared her feelings and suggestions about the new type of test being rolled out this spring. Designed to reflect new Common Core state standards, the new assessments will feature more complex questions and “technology-enhanced” items that require students to enter numerical answers, drag and drop items into correct categories, or highlight portions of text that support a central idea.

The tests will be shorter this year but questions are richer and more complex, designed to better measure students’ critical thinking skills. Read more

Don’t ask what. Ask where.

The Google StreetView cars have mapped over six million miles of road around the world. And depending on your perspective, that’s either a ton (240 times around the equator) or barely getting started (just a tenth of the world’s possible 60 million miles of road.)

An article in a recent New York Time Magazine shared this information along with an interesting commentary on the state of digital maps. Adam Fisher, the article’s author, claims that over 20 percent of searches made using Google are “where” related and growing. It’s no longer just a matter of  searching for the “what” – it’s becoming increasingly important to know the where. The StreetView cars, and the data they collect, are the new Google Search.

And it’s not just where. It’s something called “location-awareness,”  the sort of geographical information that our phones and other mobile devices already require in order to function.

In the future, such location-awareness will be built into more than just phones. All of our stuff will know where it is — and that awareness will imbue the real world with some of the power of the virtual. Your house keys will tell you that they’re still on your desk at work. Your tools will remind you that they were lent to a friend. And your car will be able to drive itself on an errand to retrieve both your keys and your tools.

While it’s not exactly clear how or when we’ll get from what we have now to that sort of future, one thing is clear: Read more

Using Chrome apps to get smarter, faster, stronger

Leap tall buildings. Outrun speeding locomotives. Stop bullets. Save the world.

Okay. Perhaps a bit of exaggeration. While Google can do a lot of stuff, I’m not sure that even the folks at the Googleplex can save the world. But they do have some very cool tools. And until recently, a lot of them didn’t live in the Mac/Apple world.

They lived in the Google Web Store, on the Chrome browser in the PC/Windows world. That’s changed. Mac users can now access the apps and extensions in the Web Store for use on the Chrome browser running on Apple devices.

And my world has gotten better and worse. I’ve been a Firefox browser for years. I did dip my toes in the waters of the Apple Safari option a few years ago and found it clunky. I also tried Chrome and liked it. But Firefox had so many more working add-ons and extensions. So I’ve stayed in my Firefox rut.

With the Google Web Store open to me now, I’m rethinking my options. Safari is also much better now – adding a third option to the love triangle that is my browser decision. So . . . more choices about where I spend my time online. That’s the better part. The worse part is deciding on one.

I’m leaning Chrome.

So today a quick list of Chrome apps that can make you smarter, faster, and stronger. And for you Internet Explorer folks out there in the PC/Windows world, you might want to slip over to Chrome and give it a try. Read more

My new fav iPad app – Oyster: “It’s Netflix for books!”

We all know Netflix. Hard copy DVDs delivered to your door and on-demand, online video streaming. Depending on your account type, it’s basically unlimited access to video content, anywhere / anytime. Pretty wesome stuff for minimal amounts of money per month.

Is it possible to do the same thing with books?

Oyster says yes.

The new app lets you “rent” unlimited books for $9.95 per month and access them on your iPhone or iPad anywhere / anytime. Think Netflix for books. Pretty sweet. Read more

Tip of the Week: 5 Easy Dropbox Tips for Social Studies

I’m sure many of you have heard of Dropbox. The file-synchronization tool lets you access your digital files from anywhere – seriously anywhere. On your phone, tablet, laptop, desktop. Anywhere. It’s also perfect for easy cloud-based backup. And if you haven’t joined the Dropbox bandwagon, well . . . you need to. Because it’s free. Because it’s easy. Because it helps you solve 21st century problems.

But if you’re new to Dropbox, you may not be aware of some of the cool things Dropbox can do. And even if you’ve had an account for a while, I think we sometimes forget some of the tips and tricks. So . . . today? Five of my favorite ways to use it. Read more

Unsolicited WordPress propoganda

Hi. My name is Glenn and I am a WordPress junkie.

It started about six years ago. A friend hooked me up and I’ve been using it ever since. So should you.

If you don’t already know, WordPress is a CMS or content management system. In normal people language? WordPress is a free tool that helps you create quick and easy web sites. And not just quick and easy. Quick and easy with some very cool features.

I use free WordPress software to create the site you’re reading now. I used WordPress to create the Podstock 2013 web site. I use WordPress to host our iPad conference web site. I use it to connect with family and to discuss books. My wife uses it for her classroom and to occasionally maintain a site for posting food and restaurant reviews.

Yeah. So what?

Read more

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