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Flipboard and Pocket: Cool content management & collaboration

Who doesn’t love #METC16? Two thousand tech savvy educators all in the same place in beautiful downtown St Charles, Missouri.

(Full disclosure. Haven’t left the conference center / hotel. Am assuming St. Charles is beautiful. I do know that St. Charles was the jumping off point for Lewis, Clark, and the rest of the Corps of Discovery. So . . . it’s awesome from the get-go.)

I’m here in beautiful downtown St. Charles to lead a conversation about using the very cool Flipboard app as a teaching and learning tool. It’s a hands-on session so it’s gonna be a good time of discussion, examples, and working together as we all get smarter.

Still new to the Flipboard universe?

The idea is simple. Much like Pinterest, Flipboard helps you find, organize, and share a wide variety of websites and articles. But unlike Pinterest, it does a much better job of displaying all of the goodies you find. You literally flip pages in your different magazines and boards to read all of your saved content. Originally designed as an iPad app and later an app for Android, Flipboard recently added a web version.

So you can access Flipboard in a variety of places, with or without an account. You can set up boards to automatically add new content or create your own magazines that require that you add your own content. You can use Flipboard for your own learning, share individual bits of content, or share entire magazines with others. You can invite one, or two, or many others to help you add content to those magazines. Other users can ask you to contribute to their magazines.

An example of a couple of boards that automatically update? The Huffington Post and the awesome Mental Floss board.  A few examples of personal magazines are my Historical Thinking magazine and Cyndi Danner-Kuhn’s Technology for Teaching and Learning.  You might like Best Education Magazines or Best Flipboard Topics for Teachers.

It’s not as hard as it might sound but just in case you get a little stuck, I’ve posted some tutorials and helpful tools below to help you get started using the tool. But start thinking first of what Flipboard can do before you worry too much about which buttons to push. And then head over and check out my Using Flipboard in Education magazine for even more goodies.

flip in ed mag

Here are a few ideas that we played with today: Read more

Google geo tools and elementary kids (that work for everybody)

I spent part of this morning spending time with Donnie Piercey. Donnie teaches grade school kids in Kentucky and is a Google genius. And he’s a social studies guy. And he uses Google mapping tools.

So when I ran across his session here at #metc16 titled Google Geo Tools for the Elementary Classroom, it was a sign. A great session with some great ideas. Get all of his goodies at this sweet Google Doc.

A few highlights: Read more

Integrating technology. Yes. It’s different than simply using technology

I’m spending part of  today getting ready for my METC presentation next week.

(The not so subtle self-promotion? My session on using Flipboard and Pocket as content management tools is next Wednesday at 9:45 in Junior Ballroom A, Lower Level. I’m sure once it’s finished, the presentation is gonna be great. Fingers crossed.)

And as part of my presentation prep, I’m exploring what it really means to integrate technology. I started with the idea that just because teachers or their students use technology as part of teaching and learning, doesn’t necessarily mean that they are actually integrating technology into what they’re doing.

That idea morphed into the next: Read more

Happy Birthday Jayhawkers!

She was once called the Great American Desert, a title mistakenly given her by temporary passers-through. She’s always been home to huge herds of North American bison, vast expanses of seven foot tall Big Bluestem prairie grass, forested hills, hawks, bobcats, coyotes, the Arkansas and Big Blue rivers, Cottonwood trees, a ton of deer and antelope a-playing, and not just a few amazing people.

Indians. Cowboys. Explorers and Pony Express riders. Politicians. Artists. Aviators, scientists and writers. Reformers. Populists. Pizza makers. Farmers. Lots and lots of farmers.

Kansas turns 155 today. And it’s her people that make her who she is. Read more

What should your kids know?

It really is the ultimate question, isn’t it?

What do our kids need to know and be able to do? Our Kansas state social studies standards and the NCSS national framework provide some great guidelines. Both of those documents emphasize a balance between process and content, trying to move people away from a simple checklist of people, places, and dates.

But our state ed guy continues to use the phrase:

We don’t care what you teach. Your kids will not be tested on specific content. Your kids will be tested on their ability to make sense of and use evidence. You and your district need to decide the content.

He does qualify that by saying that the content needs to fit the state’s broad K-12 scope and sequence. So an US History 8th grade class needs to focus on the period between 1800 – 1900, for example. But within that 100 years? Do what you want. But that can sometimes be a bit scary for classroom teachers.

We’ve trained our teachers over the last ten years or so to focus on very specific bits of social studies data. So when we tell them that they can teach whatever they want with a focus on social studies process skills, they start to freak out:

Just tell me what I’m supposed to teach!

If I could teach whatever I wanted to 8th graders? I’d ditch the War of 1812 to spend more time on Reconstruction and Populism.
Read more

Save the Last Word for Me discussion strategy

I spent some some last week with a group sharing strategies around the blended learning concept. It was compelling conversation, I walked away smarter, and had the chance to meet some interesting people.

But one of my biggest walkaways was a strategy that the forum’s facilitator used to jumpstart the discussion.

He called it the Last Word. Others in the group used the term Final Word. No matter what it might be called, I thought it was a perfect fit for strengthen the speaking and listening skills of social studies students. So if you’ve used Last Word, post some comments on changes you’ve made or things you like about it.

New to Last Word? Read on, my friend. Read more

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