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Showing posts from April, 2014

5 Newsworthy Apps for Connected Learners

This post is cross-published atFractus Learning.


The Internet has made news readily available, virtually instantaneous, and interactive. On the plus side, news via the web can provide diverse and global perspective. However, on the negative side, in the rush to be first with a breaking story, there are frequently inaccuracies. Web connected classrooms provide opportunities for students and teachers to read original material, discuss current events, and analyze multiple perspectives in search of truth. There are numerous ways in which readers can access news. Here are five free apps that can bring a steady stream of news, and information to the connected learner. CNNFlipboardNews-360YouTubeTuneIn Radio

For details, read the complete post;Five Newsworthy Apps for the Connected Learner

photo credit: Ines Njers via photopincc

Guest Post - Blogging in the Classroom

This week's post comes courtesy of good friend and colleague, Theresa Christensen, a.k.a. "Grading Girl". A shining example of what it means to be a connected educator, Theresa uses this post to share her passion, and her experience with blogging as an authentic expression of learning.


"RATIONALE FOR BLOGGING: Exuberantly experiencing my own blogging adventures led me to begin blogging with my students over the past three years. Both the Common Core and my school district’s Critical Learning Standards emphasize the need for students to read a variety of text for understanding, write clear, supported arguments and apply knowledge and skills to real-world problems.  I believe writing blogs can fulfill those expectations.


"Blogging provides students with digital writing experiences to pursue understandings in the real world, not just within a classroom."

It’s no longer a matter of earning a grade – it’s a matter of voicing views to a real audience. Moreover, blo…

The Power of Blogging; Cultivating Learning Connections Through Comments

At this time, some educators have a growing awareness of, and experience with, the personalized learning benefits of blogging. Increased relevancy, digital literacy, and conscientious effort for authentic audiences, are just three of many learning advantages that blogging can provide. Among the most powerful reasons for blogging is the opportunity to engage with communities of learners through social networks.




Whether it's in the classroom, or as part of a learning community, cultivating relationships through social connection takes communication from merely the exchange of information to building empathy, understanding, and collaboration. One way to initiate and cultivate a learning relationship is by commenting on other educators' writing. Additionally, responding to comments is not only a nice thing to do, it also perpetuates the learning conversation and relationship.

Social media tools such as Twitter, Blogger, and Google+ form the foundation of my personal learning network…

An Open Apology; To The Students Of My Early Years

After nearly a quarter century as an educator in a large, public high school, I suspected, but was unprepared, for the coming of this day. By complete happenstance, I became re-connected with several of my former students during a Twitter chat. It was a proud moment to know some of my favorite students remained engaged in educational pursuits. While the exchanges were pleasant and interesting, the communication caused me to think back to my early years of teaching and coaching. 



Knowing what I know now, I owe a sincere apology to the students and athletes of my first decade of teaching and coaching. I wasn't excellent, not even close. I wasn't very good at all. I'm sorry.

Way back in 1990, Mr. Freeman hired me to teach social studies at Palatine High School. He was the social studies department chair, a master historian, and the epitome of the "sage on the stage" teacher. Dave, a large man, filled the boards with "burnin' chalk" (history notes), carri…

Three Great Tools for App Smashing

If you are a teacher or student in a 1:1 classroom, then you already realize, particularly if you are using iPads, that there are frequently times when a single application doesn't complete all of the desired tasks. App smashing, a concept recently coined, explained, and popularized by the amazing Greg Kulowiec, is the process of using two or more compatible applications to complete a task, or create a digital product. According to innovative educator, Miguel Guhlin, these are the recommended steps in creating a product through app smashing:
End Result - Begin with the end in mind. What does the final product look like? What purpose does it serve? What message does it convey? A storyboard or graphic organizer helps with the planning of the project. I recommend a Google Doc using the Lucid Chart add on.Apps Smashed - Create a list of apps that will be included in the project. Research and practice with the chosen apps to assess their compatibility, but leave the work details for a l…