5 Reasons to Stay Up-to-Date

Why Stay up-to-date?

Staying up to date in this ever changing world can seem overwhelming. Technologies often seem to become obsolete as readily as they are introduced to the market.  However, there are reasons to stay up to date not just in the technology field but in our personal education. Here are five good reasons to keep striving to know more.

 

  • The technological changes are not only something that techies need to be kept informed of. These affect our everyday life and change the face of both education and business.  The advancement in technology is happening at breakneck speed. It may seem impossible to keep abreast of every innovation.  However, general knowledge of the newest mainstream devices and software is beneficial to understand the changing marketplace and make yourself more marketable in your chosen field.

 

Strive to encounter and test out as many new technologies as you can on an ongoing basis.  Even if you do not master them all, you will benefit from the exposure should one of them become commonplace as touch screens and mobile apps have.

 

  • Continuing education helps advance careers and keep individuals highly employable if something should happen with a current employer. Aside from the software that may change your job requirements or how you work; there is always something more to learn to do your job better.  Continuing education enriches your understanding of your field and gives you an advantage in a tough market.  Continuing to grow and learn will not just benefit your resume but your overall achievement in your career.

 

  • Educational practices are ever changing and even those who take a classical approach to education are discovering new benefits and methods to aid all students to learn. Being up to date in the educational field provides new strategies for teaching and deeper understanding of how students learn.  In addition, understanding educational practice and policy allows you to better advocate for the education of the children in your home, state, or country.  It also lends itself to better providing supplements and extracurricular activities to enhance what is being taught and make up for what may be lacking.

 

  • Staying up to date on geo-political news and needs of neighbors near and far is essential to serve the world well. Conquering any crisis requires information. How much harder is it to overcome a problem if you do not even know it exists?  Keep informed of what is going on in the world to the best of your ability.  Use the information you acquire to make judgement calls, protest injustices, and aid worthy causes.  Better informed citizenry leads to more stable nations, accomplished initiatives, and greater aid to those in the most need.

 

  • Being current builds bridges and fuels ingenuity. As the adage goes, “The more you know, the more you grow.” Feeding your brain with the latest studies or newest breakthroughs gives you an advantage to soar higher, more quickly.  Innovative bridges are built in the brain, these in turn become bridges in knowledge, opportunity, and unity.

 

Being in the know not only helps you see how to build a bridge but where it is most needed.  Grow your future, help mankind, and deepen your understanding by continuing to learn and keeping up to date.

 

How do you stay up-to-date?

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Coding for Math

Technology in Education

Tool or Hindrance?

 

It seems that everywhere I look, I see kids with technology. Like many, I have had mixed feelings about this increased presence in the hands of younger and younger children. I paid for my own cell phone as a teen and young adult, but my child has one as part of her every day tools. Granted, she is an avid reader and I have found that the gas and book money I save by being able to check out books and download them to a cell phone covers the cost of the plan she has. It is still a huge difference from when I was young.

Recently, I watched a video on Facebook that equated technology usage to cocaine for children. That is a jarring comparison, especially coming from the After School Special and DARE generation. It caused me to question if there is a way to find harmony between Technology and my children. Can technology be a helpful tool without the harmful effects?

Math and Programming?

 

In my search, I came across a blog by Jonathan Mugan a researcher and author. You can read it here. In his post, Dr. Mugan walks parents and educators through a “how to” in order to use programming to teach our children Math. It seems like fun to me, and I am not all that interested in programming! Disclaimer: This is probably because I LOVE to learn.

This fantastic blog post walks the educator through using Python and how to effectively teach basic arithmetic on up to PEMDAS and Variables. I can see where this could be useful for many kids! It is also an excellent example of technology being used effectively to teach.

 

Back to my child…

 

We had a rough school year and Math was often a struggle. Do you remember the Summer Slide post? This can also be an effective tool in a parent’s arsenal to combat it! I can’t wait to set this up for my mini me to work through. It will break up the usage of the Kahn Academy, which we are on daily and also will provide a new skill. Who knows, could this spark a “First Moment of Lasting Excitement?” Will a new path to software programmer begin?

 

In reality, anything that I can use as a tool to educate could also be abused and turned into a problem. As Dr. Mugan shows with his blog post, Technology can absolutely help with education. In fact, programming to learn Math is Innovative and could be Transformative for many. This could be a child’s “AHA Moment”.

 

So, go check out the blog post and maybe take some time to learn how to program! Consider joining our voyage if you have not already!

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Virtual Field Trips

Virtual Field Trips Part 2 – Making the Learning Stick

Make the Learning Stick

 

On a traditional field trip, teachers or venues often provided scavenger hunts, worksheets, group projects, or memory pages for students to bring home a bit of the experience and solidify what they learned.  Virtual field trips take it a step further by often connecting you to social media groups that extend the experience, games, quizzes, and follow-up projects.

It has never been easier to give your students the world, and have them remember where they went.  When students are engaged, their potential soars.

Be Prepared

While virtual field trips take a lot of the prep work off of the teacher by providing links and apps for further learning, there is still preparations that must be made before embarking on an adventure. One of the chief tenets of teaching, like the Boy Scouts, is “always be prepared.”

  1. Check that all audio-visual equipment and available technology works properly and can sync together to provide a total experience. Flying over the Savanna is amazing but sound would definitely improve the journey.
  2. Click on every link and make sure that it is active and accurate. The Internet is always changing.  The “trip” you want to take may have been created four years ago, which is like ions in the digital world.  It may still be a worthwhile venture, but you want to be aware of what aspects work and what doesn’t.
  3. Make sure all content is appropriate for your study and students. Just as there are always changes, there are pitfalls on the Internet, namely seemingly innocent links that take you to malicious downloads or sites.  Ensure that your trip will be a safe one for your technology and students by previewing all the links and content before introducing them.
  4. Create a list of recommended reading and “surfing” for after the field trip. Make up a follow up activity list with books available from your school or local library, websites with additional information, and/or apps the correlate to the subject matter presented.
  5. Set the stage and the schedule before you depart. Even though there is no physical traveling involved, virtual field trips still need an itinerary and time allotment. Is there a way to clear the whole afternoon for your class?  Do you only have students for 40 minutes? How many class periods will it take to complete the entire field trip and follow up activities?  Are there any supplies, such as colored pencils or astronaut ice cream that would enrich the experience?  Make sure that you treat this trip as you would one that requires permission slips and plan well.

 

Optional Extras

 

If you have the time and resources, there are some fun extras that could really make a virtual field trip come to life.

 

  1. Have a picnic lunch. Ask your class to brown bag it on field trip day and set up a picnic area inside your classroom or on the school grounds.
  2. Add the local flavor and music. Are you going to a foreign land or region of the good old US of A?  Consider having a potluck of local fare.  Hand out recipe options a couple weeks before.  (Please, take into consideration allergies and have all food labelled) While you dine, listen to some regional or cultural music via an mp3 player, computer, or phone.
  3. Set up shop! What is a highlight of every trip?  The gift shop, of course.  Sell pencils and erasers that match the theme of the trip.  Print out bookmarks or activity packets.  Use as a class fundraiser or have students cash in points earned during the regular school year.

 

Can’t Find What You Want? Create Your Own!

 

“Pre-packaged” jaunts are great resources but no one says they are the only way to go.  Create your own tailored to your needs and curriculum. With a little bit of effort and a few clicks of the mouse, you can create memories to last a lifetime.

  1. Consult Pinterest for activities and photos.
  2. Find a relevant video on Please, remember to pre-screen entire video AND the suggestions that pop up at the end. Certain surprises are never welcome.
  3. See if there are any related organizations, tourist bureaus, or foundations with informative sites. These may also be able to provide you with additional literature or free items for your gift shop.

 

Where would you take your students if even the sky weren’t the limit? Have you taken a virtual field trip?  How did it go?

Consider bringing your class or going on our global voyage this October!

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Virtual Field Trips

Virtual Field Trips Part 1

Learning by Doing

 

There is a special kind of learning that occurs when children get to experience a topic rather than just study it. Their eyes light up, their minds engage, and their spirits soar. Using multiple senses make lasting impressions and pique curiosity.  If you want to keep learning fresh, you need to change up how it is done from time to time. The age old concept of field trips meets the new virtual world to create a learning platform like never before.

 

The Field Trip that Comes to You

 

Think back to third grade.  Whether it was five years or thirty-five years ago, you probably remember your annual field trip.  It was the pinnacle of excitement for the year.

With rising costs, budget cuts, and greater demands on classroom time, fitting in a field trip has become more difficult over the years. The sheer price of transportation is often more than can be reasonably met by the school and individual students.

What if you are studying the far away lands of Africa or Australia from your Illinois classroom?  Sure it would be great to experience these lands first hand, but what principal is going to approve that trip? Could you even imagine the fundraising it would require? How does that permission slip work?

Virtual field trips open doors to every teacher in every location!  Now, students in Paris can visit the Smithsonian in an afternoon.  A fourth grade class in Massachusetts can sail around the world and still make it to baseball practice and dinner.  The experience comes right to your locations with the touch of a fingertip!

Come back next week as we explain how to conduct a Virtual Field Trip!

 

For your consideration – If you could take a field trip anywhere, where would you go? Why?

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Hovercraft and Education

Hovercraft and Education

I was recently on Twitter and came across videos of science classes that were racing hovercrafts as part of their lessons. It reminded me of my daughter’s third grade class. Students were divided into small groups and taught how to design a robot. They then got to build the robot and the student groups raced them the last week of school. This was genius! Not only did the children learn about robotics but they had to work as a team and build something.

 

After seeing the Twitter post, I went and looked up more information about students building hovercrafts. I came across a short article in Popular Mechanics.  It is great that a well-known magazine would talk about something (like teaching technology students how to build hovercraft) and a few years later schools from all over are replicating it. Sometimes, we learn better by doing.

 

In some parts of world action is still how students learn the majority of their knowledge. In industrial countries that call to action in the classroom is a key to innovation. Rather than learn about coding software through a book or someone yelling to a student, students get on a computer and code. The difference between these two methods is the first is teacher-centered learning and the second is student-centered. This visual by Paul Curtis offers a better explanation.

 

Who knows if by participating in this learning activity, a future designer for Toyota, Ford or Mercedes is created? Who knows if participating in designing or building a hovercraft or robot is going to spark excitement that lasts a student’s lifetime? Who knows if by participating in this learning activity, a future designer for Toyota, Ford or Mercedes? Previous Global Learn Day presenter, Dr. Terrence R. Redding, shared his thoughts about this when talking about “The First Moment of Lasting Excitement”. You can learn more about that here!

 

This is more of what Global Learn Day celebrates! Education opens doors, it excites us and helps us learn who we are and where we belong. Education builds a bridge to a better future. Across the globe, we are a learning people. We share our previous experiences and hopefully, we learn from them. Education, and our thirst for knowledge, is what helps us to unite and become “One People, One Planet”.

What excites you about learning? What incites you to learn more?

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Assistive Technology – Building a Bridge

Assistive Technology – Building a Bridge

 

In the US and many industrialized countries, a parent has a child and begins to dream of his or her future. That might include what primary or secondary school the child will attend or if and where a child may obtain a higher education. The fear of parents with children born with special needs is that their children will not have the same opportunities as main stream kids. The questions begin with a diagnosis… Will my child need to be in a special school? Will there be a special classroom? Are there colleges that will accept and facilitate my child’s learning? This is a global challenge.

 

Assistive Technology has the ability to bridge the gap in Special Education and help students work towards an even brighter future than might previously have been imagined.  It is even being used in higher education, in schools such as Barnard and the University of New Hampshire. At these universities, K-12 schools and other institutions of learning, TECHNOLOGY is helping students with all kinds of special needs to learn. They can use iPads, text to speech, even a device that will highlight words on the screen as they are spoken out loud. This article talks about Assistive Technology with a little more depth, even highlighting one state that is working hard to make it possible to students.

 

Global Learn Day is a celebration of learning. We believe that education is a basic human right and should be accessible by every person on the planet. It is through education that mankind builds a bridge to a better future, a better tomorrow. In the case of students with special needs, using Assistive Technology allows the world to open up. It recognizes that any person can learn with the right tools. That is the beauty of education, with the right tools, it is available to each of us. We salute those schools and educators that embrace Assistive Technology and aide all to learn as much as possible around the globe.

 

What tools help you to learn? Do you know of someone who is innovating education, creating new ways to help his or her students learn? Let us know!

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