Thursday, January 12, 2012

The School That Launched 1,000 iPads

Patrick Larkin is the principal of Burlington High School in Burlington, Massachusetts. His school has one of the most forward-thinking policies regarding cell phones and tablets. This year his school put iPads in the students' hands. Patrick and his team have constructed an FAQ sheet with links about their program. You can find that document here as a Google Document or by visiting Patrick's blog and downloading the document as an ePub file.

Applications for Education
If your school is considering a 1:1 program with iPads, take a look at what Patrick's school has done. While the resources on Patrick's blog deal with iPads, many of the FAQs offer good information that applies to any 1:1 program.

Infographic - Multitasking: Your Brain on Media

This is an interesting infographic from Rasmussen College. Multitasking: This is Your Brain on Media illustrates the increase between 1999 and 2009 in media consumption among people eight to eighteen years old. The infographic illustrates not just the increase in media consumption but also the device through which that media is consumed. The most interesting aspect of the infographic is the effect on the brain of multitasking with media.

Applications for Education
If you don't allow students to use iPods during a study hall period, you've probably heard plenty of pleas from students to change your mind. This infographic might help you explain to students why you don't allow them to use iPods during study hall.

H/T to Cool Infographics

The 2012 Google Science Fair Opens

The 2012 Google Science Fair opened today. This year the science fair will accept entries in thirteen different languages. 90 regional finalists will be chosen from entries all over the world. Fifteen of those regional finalists will be selected to go to Google's headquarters to compete in the finals. This year's finalists will be competing for college scholarships, internships, and trips to the Galapagos islands.

The Google Science Fair is open to students thirteen to eighteen years old. Students can compete individually or in teams of two or three. Entries must be submitted by April 1st according to the guidelines found here.

Here's the video from last year's final event.

Stage a Space Race in Socrative

Earlier this week I had the opportunity to introduce a group of high school teachers to the free Socrative student response system. The response from the teachers was overwhelmingly positive to the point that one math teacher stayed with me for an extra twenty minutes just to brainstorm more ways to use Socrative in her classroom.

Socrative is a free service that allows teachers to post questions to students during a class and gather feedback through responses submitted from cell phones, tablets, and laptops. Socrative gives teachers a virtual room in which they gather responses from students. Students sign into a teacher's virtual room by simply visiting the Socrative website and entering the room number distributed by the teacher.

There are a variety of ways in which teachers can pose questions to students and gather their responses. The simplest way to pose a question is to simply ask verbally or post it on a whiteboard and then telling students to submit their answers. Teachers can also create quizzes ahead of time, store those quizzes in their Socrative accounts, and then make the quiz go "live" in the virtual room when they want students to take the quiz. Teachers can activate an instant feedback option so that students know when they have answered a question correctly or not. A fun way to use Socrative is to host a team "space race." A space race is a competitive format for quizzes. Space race can be played as a team or individual activity. Each correct answer moves a rocket ship across the screen. The first person or team to get their rocket across the screen wins. I've included below, a video of space race being used in a classroom.

Applications for Education
Socrative is a great alternative to expensive proprietary clicker systems. I really like that students can respond from any Internet-connected device without the need to install any apps or send text messages from their phones. Check out the Socrative blog for more ideas about how to use it in your classroom.

Videos About the Electoral College and the Presidents

The US History Teachers Blog brought my attention to this video, How the Electoral College Works. The video, embedded below, gives a nice overview of the Electoral College. The video isn't perfect, I wish the producer had included that the number of Electoral votes a state receives is tied to the number of Senators and Representative it has. Instead the video simply stated that the number of Electoral votes is tied to population. Overall, it's not a bad summary of the Electoral College.

Another good video overview of the Electoral College can be found in Common Craft's Electing a US President in Plain English. The video can be viewed on YouTube, but cannot be embedded unless you're a subscriber to Common Craft's service. (Disclosure: I have an in-kind relationship with Common Craft).

Here are two short, fun videos listing the Presidents in order.
The "classic" US Presidents music video is the Animaniacs Presidents song. Unfortunately, it's a bit dated now as it ends with Clinton.

Here is a Flocabulary-style rap of all 44 Presidents. It's a clean rap and even if the chorus might drive you nuts, your students might like it.