How Teachers Will Change the Future of Tech | Edudemic

Some food for thought as we take a well-deserved break. Here is a little taste:

This means that teachers can have a profound effect on whether their students embrace technology, in the classroom and beyond. The way that teachers present technology skills will also affect what kinds of technological thinkers their students become. Teaching coding as a stand-alone skill is a great way to train future computer programmers. Integrating technology into other subject areas such as history, English and the arts will teach students to use creative, technology-based problem solving skills in many areas. Both are great skills to have.

We often write about how technology can help teachers, but sometimes it’s useful to take a step back and consider how teachers influence technology.


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In Honour of Spring Break: Top 10 Travel Apps

March Break is fast approaching and I know a lot of us have travel plans. Here are some apps that might make your voyage that much better!

Don’t plan your next trip without these useful travel apps that can be used on all smartphone devices.


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I was leaving the last session when I thought I would pop in to see this documentary. I had nothing else to do and the day was almost over, so I thought why not? I grabbed my bag of cheesy popcorn from the back of the room, sat down and spent the most entertaining hour and half ever. Cyber-seniors was a small program (program might be overstating it)  started by a group of Toronto teens. They would go into the senior residences and teach the seniors how to use the internet allowing the seniors to connect with their family. It was hilarious, moving and made me want to start a program here at Traf like this.

Here is the trailer:

One of the ladies participating in the program got enamoured with cooking videos on youtube. She decided to make her own:

Relevance: I think it would mostly be relevant for community service hours. Or as a discussion on empathy.

Curriculum connections: Extra-curricular (community service)

How to Use The Now Habit to End Student Procrastination | Edudemic

Wow. I click on these articles, looking for something to share but really only expect to see the same old ideas recycled again and again. And then I read on and am totally shocked to read about some good tips. In these dark days of winter, when the routine feels like yet another heavy layer of drudgery, I am totally going to sue the “Unschedule” idea. (You must read on to know what this!)

I also like the second regarding managing worry. I know I do this unconsciously- ask myself what is the worst that can happen and then figure out how to deal with that worst case scenario. But I like the idea of having it written down.

The Now Habit is a book by Neil Fiore PhD, who is a licensed psychologist, which explores a topic that teachers are far too familiar with: procrastination.


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16 of the Best Financial Literacy Resources for 2015 | Edudemic

Just in time for tax time… This article provides some great articles as well as lesson plans on incorporating financial literacy in the classroom.

Money is a necessary tool & can lead its untrained users into negative situations. So why then isn’t financial literacy a requirement in more US schools?


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OLA SUPER CONFERENCE SPOTLIGHT: Creative thinking: A 21st Century Success Skill


This is one of the best , thought-provoking sessions I attended. The speaker, Gerard Puccio, a professor from Buffalo University, gave a brief description of what he means by creative thinking, how it is more and more important in the knowledge economy and how schools are not preparing their students for this world.

I was most intrigued by his discussion of “deliberate creativity.” He talks about the different steps in the creative process: how it has to begin with divergent thinking- brainstorming, etc. Then must move on to convergent thinking, developing the idea, pruning it. Editing it. He talked about how where most people go wrong is by crossing the two- going all convergent (“that could never work” etc.) when you are in the divergent phase. This resonated with me as a writer as I have learned over the years that sometimes you have to practice ignoring the constant editor in your head and just get the ideas down, typos and crappiness and all.

Here is a Ted Talk by Gerard Puccio on Creative Thinking:

Here are his 4 phases of deliberate creativity:

  1. Clarify: Identifying the challenge.
  2. Ideate: Generating ideas.
  3. Develop: bringing ideas to life.
  4. Implement: Give ideas legs.

HIs divergent guidelines:

  • defer judgment
  • Go for quantity (eg. hemingway always wrote down 100 titles at leats before choosing which one he wanted to use.)
  • Make connections
  • Seek novelty

His convergent guidelines:

  • Use affirmative judgment
  • Consider novelty
    (don’t dismiss things out of hand)
  • Check your objectives
  • Be deliberate

He also gave a very useful guideline to thoughtful feedback. It is called the POINT system:

Plusses: strengths, good points, etc.

Opportunities: What if thinking

Issues: Weaknesses, trouble spots, minuses (phrased in “how to” How might”, etc.)

Overcome issues through New Thinking:

  • prioritize concerns
  • generate ideas to overcome Main concerns.

Relevance: Extremely relevant to all aspects of school life.

Curriculum connections: Cross-curricular

Additional resources:

Powerpoint presentation

International Center for Studies in Creativity (you can get a degree in this!)

 Gerard Puccio’s books

Innovation Design In Education – ASIDE: Design Principles For Students As They Create Visual Projects And Digital Stories

More and more of students’ presentations are visual these days, from the now old school powerpoint to the newer infographic. Teaching our students about good design is becoming more and more necessary (lest you have to look at bright green backgrounds with fuchsia comic sans font taking up the whole page). The following info graphics practice what they preach about design- they are simple, elegant and get to the point.

When assigning a project with a visual component, why not use these info graphics as a sort of checklist?

Innovative design crosses over all aspects of education. The American Society for Innovation Design in Education, or ASIDE, seeks to infuse curriculum with new approaches to teaching and thinking. Integrating the design of information into the daily conversation is an essential part of the teacher’s toolkit and the purpose of the ASIDE blog. The underpinning of innovation and educational design is based on looking at the information available and communicating meaning for a world of learners. Thinking like a designer can transform the way children learn. ASIDE’s goal is to bring together as much information, resources and supportive scholarship in one place for teaching and learning.


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