Newspaper Publishing In School?

I made the decision to follow my god-daughter on twitter after meeting some of her friends at her High School graduation. Interestingly enough,as I begin to follow her, I thought about categorizing the different conversations, tweets what have you and putting together a college of messages for her to create a poster from. Well, a few days later, I ran across a web 2.0 tool that made start thinking about my initial idea as and educational project. is a content curation service that allows it’s members to collect digital information and publish it as a newspaper all based on the topics enjoyed by the owner himself. Now of course I’m thinking of ways this can be used in the classroom and I can’t help but be excited about using this tool in our journalism class. While teaching the basics of news reporting, students can be assigned various topics, comb the web for related information, articles, videos, etc., and then use to pull it all together in wonderful template that actually engaging to peruse. I also though about using this as a staff development assignment for teachers to gather information about classroom management, or technology implementation and publish their papers as a way to share what they have learned.

 The truth is, there is a ton of information out there and I don’t believe it is possible for one person to get to it all. However, working with tools like many people can be reached and not have to search through the massive content of the world by themselves. Here are some links to some trending examples:

Wonderful Wedding and Wisdom

The Patrick Monroe Daily

The Obsession Fitness Daily


Teen Choice Awards Classroom Engagement

ImageOk, having a tweenie in the house brought my ears and eyes to the attention of the Teen Choice Awards on ABC Sunday night. This is the 14th annual show and I never new this existed, mainly because I haven’t been a teenager in eons (that word shows my age). However, after having to unglue my eyes from the tube due to uncontrollable gazing at the massive use of technology going on during the production, I felt obligated to say that this is what today’s classroom should be like. No, Justin Beiber or Zach Efron do not need to visit your class to keep the students engaged, but giving them a choice does.

I have always been a fan of self-paced project based learning mainly because it allows the learning to individualize his instruction based on his individual way of comprehending information. It gives them a choice in what they learn and how they learn it which in turn, makes learning more impactful. The role of the teacher should be to facilitate the process and serve as a guide and mentor in the development stages.

Years ago, when classroom management turned the methodological page to adapt this generation, the rage was about giving students a choice in what the rules of the classroom should look like. Students felt empowered because these where their rules, their consequences, their choice. I’m willing to bet that in classrooms where the teacher patiently facilitated the classroom according to those rules, the success rate was off the chart. That movement has digressed a bit, but that doesn’t change the truth. Why not let them text you an answer, there’s an app for that? Why not let them create a summary of the topic at hand in a 140 character tweet? Why not let them create to demonstrate mastery of a science lesson? Trust me, the reason why so many teenagers and preteens, (not my daughter of course) watched the show and performances was because they were giving a choice of who the winners of the coveted Surfboard award would be. They were also given a choice to how they viewed the show.

So, If a teacher at the end of each week puts out a survey to have students choose what they want to learn the next when, the order to learn it in, the method of delivery and how they will demonstrate mastery, I would be willing to bet that 100% of your students would tune in to watch to see what happens. Oh, and during instruction, give a chance to let you know how they feel. Feedback for the teacher is good too, given a choice.

Can We Say Bye Bye To Document Cameras?

Not too long ago I participated in a very insightful conversation about document cameras in one of my LinkedIn groups, which I am beginning to enjoy using as a viable educational technology networking source, and I was amazed and the information given. The initial questions was centered around finding the best document camera to use on a modest budget. I didn’t know that there are thousands of document cameras being marketed as the supreme educational tool for the classroom. However, the overwhelming response were that many people, teachers and schools are going away from document cameras and are beginning to use iPads as a replacement. So, I begin to do some research and with the help from one of the contributors to the conversation, I found two new tools that would make this not only possible, but a ton of fun.

One of the challenges of using iPads in the classroom so far is displaying content from the teacher’s iPad directly to the projector screen. Many are using Apple TV and using AirPlay to mirror the content directly to the screen. AirPlay lets you show exactly what’s on your iPhone 4S or iPad screen to everyone in the room. You can display webpages, games, photos, videos, documents and even Skype using your iPad and display it on the big board. All this works wirelessly allowing the teacher to roam around the room and keep the students engaged.

At the fraction of the cost, a great alternative is the Reflection App. This app is adding to your laptop or desktop attached to your projector and uses AirPlay to mirror not only your projector, but you can also mirror your desktop onto your ipad. What’s even cooler is you can screen capture your ipad as your a demonstrating a cool concept or game. Now you have an instructional video that can be loaded to YouTube, Vimeo, Viddler, etc. for future educational reference.

The problem is, holding the darn thing in order to use it as a document camera. Where here lies this neet tool called Justand. Justand is a simple yet powerful tool that adds functionality to your ipad as a document camera. As a matter of fact, that what it marketed as, the iPad Document Camera. The following video gives you a brief overview of how Justand can be used with the iPad and the Reflection App.

Make It Take It – Camp Style


The lazy days of summer are a thing of the past. With the ability for kids to collaborate online, Google+ has come up with a fantastic concept for the summer that could blossom into a project based juggernaut for STEM programs across the country.


Introducing Maker Camp on Google+


Maker Camp is a free online experience where teenagers have the opportunity to participate in a different project everyday from July 16 – August 24. For 30 days, 1 project will be given online to complete for a total of 30. Counselors will provide guidance and support for each project throughout the day to help to make sure teens successfully complete each task. At the end of each day, Maker Camp will host a live Google+ Hangout to display successful projects and allow teens all over the world to chime in on the experience. Each day of the week is themed to appeal to every camper’s unique interests:

• Maker Monday

• Tinkering Tuesday

• Weird Science Wednesday

• Theoretical Thursday

• Field Trip Friday

“Now every teen can experience summer camp no matter where they live because it’s online

and it’s free!” Cool thing about it is kids get to talk about their experiences online, and you know how much they love doing that.


Reengaging Students in Research and Reporting

I was having a conversation with a school librarian, excuse me, Media Specialist the other day and we were discussing research projects and how students rarely use the reference materials on the library shelves. With today’s digital child, we both understood, but we were prompted to brainstorm ways to spice up research in schools along with how students would present what they learned. Well, I ran across something that I thought would be quite intriguing, Storify.

Storify is allows a user to curate social networks to come up with a “Social Story” that brings together media scattered all over the web into a comprehensible piece narrated by the logical understanding of the user. Imagine, students would be able to comb various social sites, congregate meaningful tweets, Facebook post, google+ shouts, and put his/her own voice to convey a meaning to it all. Students can embed video and relative stories while adding headlines and text within. What you end up with is a meaningful, real-life, and engaging research paper and presentation in one neatly put together space and you can even go viral with the finish product to accumulate more knowledge. I truly believe that in order to reach today’s student, we have to meet them where they are, I believe this could possibly be a tool that would do just that.