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Showing posts from December, 2013

Digital Portfolios And Self-Determined Learning

Our digital footprints should not be left to chance. Will Richardson recommends that all students become "well-googled" by high school graduation. As the accompanying graphic suggests, students should build a positive digital footprint as they progress in their education. My contention is this is sound advice for all educational stakeholders. As our lives become more digitized, more connected, and more cloud-based, where should we be keeping our evidence of learning? Where should we be keeping our evidence of professional growth?



"One answer is digital portfolios."
Learners of any age need a place where curated information can get chewed up, broken down, and reassembled into new artifacts of learning. When our children were younger, the refrigerator, their bedroom cork boards, and our under-bed bins, were the final resting places for their shining examples of creativity and learning. To quote Dr. Helen Barrett, "we collect and share what we value". As we mo…

Dedication and One Goal

Family and financial commitments keep me from being able to get out very often. Tonight, me and my friend, Keith Sorensen were treated to a 7 - 2 Blackhawks victory over the Flyers at the United Center in Chicago. The game became exciting and entertaining after a slow start. For me, the real highlight was seated beside me in section 333, row 1, seat 18. Bob Gertenrich, a long-time Hawks season ticket holder, has been to each and every Blackhawks home game since 1966. Don't bother with the math, that's 2,175 games without a miss. It took just a few minutes into the first period for me to realize that I was sitting next to a shining example of living history.

Now 67, and stricken with serious arthritis, Bob stands proudly for the raucous United Center version of the Star-Spangled Banner, and he stands and cheers each Blackhawks goal. He is the picture of commitment and resiliency. He requires some assistance negotiating the stadium stairs, but his spirit is strong, as he stops …

What is Hour of Code?

December 9 - December 15 is Computer Science Education Week. "Hour of Code" is a cornerstone initiative to raise an awareness, and appreciation for programming. The premise is to give all students the opportunity to spend at least one hour this week learning to write programming code. I have long been interested in learning another language. In the past, I assumed that this would involve brushing up on my Spanish, or learning German. Now, I clearly see a benefit to becoming bi-lingual with coding as a second language. (CSL)


Students in the United Kingdom are immersed in coding as part of their regular curriculum from early elementary grades on up. This experience will certainly give their students a competitive advantage in a rapidly changing, technology-rich, world economy. Here are some resources to help you learn more about "Hour of Code". You and your students can get start writing lines of code today!



Computer Science Education Week - Getting Started with "…

Supporting & Securing The 1:1 Household; A Guide For Parents

This evening, amidst the onslaught of holiday shopping commercials, a favorite retailer showed a proud, but sleepy, father urging his two excited daughters to get ready for bed. The girls snuggled together in a fuzzy blanket, along with their iPad, in anticipation of Christmas morning. This scene 's not Cindy Lou Who ("who was no more than two") with her oversized candy cane, but it's pretty close. What Target needs to realize is that conscientious parents don't allow their children to sleep with their mobile electronics, not even to capture Santa in the act of conditional generosity. Much like the Grinch, this commercial dad should have gently taken the iPad away for safe keeping, and overnight charging.





With more schools providing tablets or laptop computers to students, and more families purchasing cell phones, many parents are left wondering how to best support their children's learning, while at the same time, protecting them from the hidden perils of ina…

Tech Time Saver #3 - URL Shorteners

Richard Byrne reminded me earlier this week that URL (uniform resource locator) shorteners are very simple ways to make web navigation more effective and time efficient for you and your students. Here is a comparison of three popular URL shorteners; Google URL ShortenerBitly URL Shortener, and TinyURL.com.





Google URL Shortener - is my personal favorite. Simply copy the original, lengthy URL and paste it into the space provided at goo.gl. Google then creates the short URL that can be copied and pasted as a link into blogs, tweets, or presentations. Google URL Shortener becomes even better when the Chrome browser is partnered with the Google URL Shortener Extension. One click condenses the URL from dozens, to possibly hundreds, of characters down to a randomized assortment of five letters and numbers. In addition, this click provides an option of creating a QR code from the URL. Usage statistics for the shortened URL can be tracked through Google Analytics.


Bitly URL Shortener - is anot…