Friday, November 2, 2012

Words Matter - and Zombies are Cool, Too

As a language-geek, and a staunch believer that WORDS MATTER, this is a selection of language-focused items I've encountered this week, and absolutely love in conjunction with one another.

The Good Stuff:

Video from YouTube: "Beware of Nominalizations

The full lesson is on TEDEd:

Then I found Buzzword-o-Matic:

After showing Buzzword-o-Matic to my colleague, @edtech2learn, he sent me a one-line email response: 

"I'll see your Sparkreactor and raise you: "

My Thoughts:
I imagine this being an excellent lesson for pre-service teachers. In our increasingly over-complicated culture, this serves as a reminder that being concise and clear is always preferred.

When we "jargonize" our lives, we simultaneously give unclear messages, thereby confusing our listeners or readers. What can also happen is we make our listeners or readers feel stupid. 

The Point: 
Don't make people feel stupid. They never learn that way.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Inspired Educator: Pixar's Story Rules

As I was reading through recent tweets, I came across a Mashable article, "Pixar Story Rules Legofied". Legofy anything and I'm in.  

It occurs to me that connections with learning and teaching can be made, and I've included my humble thoughts below each image/Pixar Story Rule. 

The coincidences that get us into the most trouble or difficulty in teaching often creates the grandest learning opportunities.

'Nuff said.

If you can't make the learning meaningful, it's just words.

Challenge students (and yourself). It's the only way for anyone to get outside of their comfort zone and LEARN.

Just like real-life (you know, what we're preparing students for).

Just because a lesson is fun doesn't mean there is learning.

Don't procrastinate...start thinking about best methods and approaches the time you get to the day of the lesson, the project,  the presentation, it will look nothing like your original idea, and that's a good thing.

Don't allow anyone (including yourself) to become passive. Opinions can and should change with new or different information, but opinions are NECESSARY for learning what works and what doesn't work.

Simplify your life. And find every way possible to streamline your workflow. Your psyche will thank you for it.

Give students a reason to care.

Focus on the meaning first and let the connections between units or projects evolve organically. Then, ask students to identify the themes and patterns.

Don't get bogged down in what's wrong with your students, classes, life - make a list of things that will not happen in the future as a result of your experiences so far. You just might be surprised at the result.

Monday, April 2, 2012

In Bed With YouTube and Sites - 365 Learn (2)

Yes, I know that the word is "embed", not "in bed"...but it was punny and I couldn't resist.

One great find I had tonight was how to embed a YouTube video, set to begin at a particular second within the video, in a Google Site.

When you'd like to try this yourself, follow these steps:

1. Click Share below the video

2. Click Embed

3. Check Use Old Embed Code

4. Edit the Embed Code - delete the respective (for your chosen video) part crossed out below

<object width="560" height="315"><param name="movie" value=";hl=en_US&amp;rel=0"></param><param name="allowFullScreen" value="true"></param><param name="allowscriptaccess" value="always"></param><embed src=";hl=en_US&amp;rel=0" type="application/x-shockwave-flash" width="560" height="315" allowscriptaccess="always" allowfullscreen="true"></embed></object>

5. Then, replace it with the time you'd like your embedded video to begin. Note: the time to begin will be in seconds. So, if you want a video to begin at Minute 3 and 27 Seconds, use the following formula: 3*60+27.... = 207

Your embed code should now read like this (with the number highlighted representing whatever time you'd like your video to begin)

<object width="560" height="315"><param name="movie" value=";hl=en_US&start=207"></param><param name="allowFullScreen" value="true"></param><param name="allowscriptaccess" value="always"></param><embed src=";hl=en_US&start=207" type="application/x-shockwave-flash" width="560" height="315" allowscriptaccess="always" allowfullscreen="true"></embed></object>

6. Copy your embed code

7. Go to your Google Sites page and click on the html editing button

8. Paste your embed code wherever you would like it placed, kind of like what I'm about to do here...Enjoy!

As always, thanks for reading!

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Three Lessons Learned at CUE 2012 (This Year)

I attended the CUE Annual Conference for the second year last week and was reminded of three important lessons: 

1. Sitting in the front row of presentations...and your life...allows you to fully engage with the best presenters and some of the most engaged participants. You also get to make sure you can take pictures of important ideas, like this in Marco Torres' Keynote:

2. Put yourself out and learn something new - you're in Palm Springs, after all! Think of your time at CUE, or any conference, as a chance to embrace your inner-geek and try attending a session that you might not attend otherwise. If you're an Art teacher, go to session about using Math; if you're a High School Administrator, attend a session about the cool project an Elementary Teacher is using in his or her class (like Robert Pronovost or Lisa Highfill).

3. Last, and most importantly, collaborate. I think people used to call this networking, but I never felt very able at "networking" - it seemed fake, political and forced. But collaboration? I can do that. Mostly because I'm nosey and I want to know the cool things other people are doing. Fearlessly join in on activities, like PhotoWalks and PhotoSafaris.

So collaborate. Learn. Lead. And when you come back from CUE and you're missing the 80-something-degree weather, share share share. Share on your newly-created blog, share links to your notes and talk about how your experience just may change how you impact students' lives for the better.

Here's a link to the shared Google Doc that we crowdsourced to add session notes from all across the Conference. The doc also has a link to the LiveBinder and Diigo lists. One-stop-shopping! Yay!

As always, thanks for reading!