Sunday, May 4, 2014

Project Based Learning - An Explanation and Model Rubrics

Last week I had the privilege to work with Tony Vincent to lead a workshop about project based learning. Two of the resources that we shared during the workshop were a video explanation of PBL and set of rubrics from the Buck Institute for Education.

The following video, produced by Common Craft for BIE, explains BIE's essential elements of project based learning.


BIE offers rubrics for assessing critical thinking skills, collaboration, presentation, and creativity and innovation in project based learning assignments. The rubrics are available with or without Common Core alignment. You can download the rubrics as PDFs or Word documents.

Guest Bloggers Wanted!

Once a year I put out a call for guest bloggers and share those posts for a week. This year, I'm going to run those posts on May 19th through 24th. Over the last five years I've had some awesome guest bloggers share their knowledge and experience with us. If you would like to be a guest blogger please read on and complete the form below.

I'm looking for guest bloggers who can share current (2013/2014) of their experiences of using technology in their schools. Guest bloggers should be current classroom teachers, teacher-librarians, technology integration coaches, or school-level administrators. I would like to share stories of trying new things (apps, websites, strategies) and what you and your students learned from the experience. If you can tell the story in 600 words or less, that's a bonus. While I cannot pay you for your post, I will include links to your blog or website as well as a short bio about you. Past guest bloggers have reported still getting traffic to their blogs more than a year after their posts appeared.

Please note that the last time I put out a call for guest bloggers, more than 100 people responded in 48 hours. I wish that I could publish all of the posts, but I simply cannot do that. I'll select 25 to 30 posts at the most. 

If you are a representative of a company, please do not complete this form.

Saturday, May 3, 2014

The Week in Review - Ducks in the Desert

Good evening from the Free Technology for Teachers World Headquarters in Woodstock, Maine where I've just returned from a quick trip to Phoenix for the Grand Canyon University Core Academy. At the GCU Core Academy Tony Vincent and I facilitated a day-long workshop on using technology in project based learning. Thank you to GCU, Alicia and Mike Roberts, and all of the active participants who made the day possible.

In case you're wondering about the "ducks in the desert," I snapped this picture outside of restaurant in Phoenix because I was surprised to see a mallard in the desert.

Here are this week's most popular posts:
1. Methods for Projecting YouTube Videos Without "Related" Videos
2. Photograph Math - #mathphotoaday
3. Chalkup - Distribute & Grade Assignments in Google Drive Without Using Scripts
4. Science is Fun - Ideas and Resources for Hands-on Science Lessons
5. An Introduction to the New Google Drive iPad Apps That Offer Better Offline Support
6. Show Students How Much of the World Lives Through "The Places We Live"
7. 8 Overlooked Useful YouTube Tools

Would you like to come learn with me this summer?
Click here to learn more about the Practical Ed Tech Summer Camp.

Please visit the official advertisers that help keep this blog going.
Practical Ed Tech is the brand through which I offer PD webinars.
IXL offers a huge assortment of mathematics lesson activities.
Class Charts provides a great way to record and analyze student behavior information.
Typing Club offers free typing lessons for students.
Discovery Education & Wilkes University offer online courses for earning Master's degrees in Instructional Media.
MasteryConnect provides a network for teachers to share and discover Common Core assessments.
ABCya.com is a provider of free educational games for K-5.
The University of Maryland Baltimore County offers graduate programs for teachers.
Boise State University offers a 100% online program in educational technology.
EdTechTeacher is offers professional development workshops in Boston and Chicago.
StoryBoard That is a great tool for creating comics and more.
Fresno Pacific University offers a wide variety of technology courses for teachers.

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AnswerGarden - Embed an Open Response Feedback Tool Into Your Blog

AnswerGarden is a neat service that allows you to embed a open-ended feedback tool into your classroom blog or website. With an AnswerGarden embedded into your blog your students can simply type responses to your question and see their responses appear in a word cloud.

Creating an AnswerGarden is a simple process that does not require you to create an account. To get started go to the AnswerGarden homepage and click "create AnswerGarden." On the next screen you will enter a question or statement for your students to respond to. To share your AnswerGarden with students you can give them the link or embed the AnswerGarden into your blog as I have done below. Optionally, before sharing your AnswerGarden you can turn on moderation of responses and set an admin password.


What is the best thing about teaching?... at AnswerGarden.ch.

Applications for Education
AnswerGarden could be a great tool for taking the pulse of your class. You could create AnswerGardens on which students share a word or two that they think summarizes a lesson or a reading passage. AnswerGarden could also be good for having students quickly share an opinion on a question.

World Mapper Offers Unique Ways to Look at Mapped Data

World Mapper offers a unique way to look at data sets. World Mapper hosts a large collection of over maps displaying all types of scientific, economic, historical, and demographic data. World Mapper uses density-equalizing maps to display each country and continent differently based on each data set. For example the birthrate map displays countries with a higher birthrates as larger than normal (standard projection) when compared to countries with a lower birthrate which displayed smaller than normal.

World Mapper
 makes hundreds of the maps available PDF files that can be used to create posters for your classroom (click here for a land area map). World Mapper also makes available, as pdf files, the data sets used in the creation of each map.

Applications for Education
World Mapper maps provide students with a different way to look at data. Raw data sets alone don't tell a story nearly as well as a visual representation of the data