Sunday, November 17, 2013

The Uncommon Common Core

The Common Core is certainly the next 'phase' of education.  There has been much discussion about it, but probably not enough.  It isn't on the tip of anyones tongue outside of a few faculty members who are aware at my institution.  In my class for education majors, I am open to hearing what the students think about it and, for the most part, they are somewhat uneducated in the change.  For one, it is out of their hands and their current, immediate goal is to get that teaching certificate and degree.  Also, no one else is talking about it besides me.

Sunday, November 10, 2013

I listen to a lot of audiobooks due to my 30min (or more) ride into campus, and then back again to get home. Today, while doing the regular routine of cleaning house, I began a new book. So far, the book is interesting. It’s focussed on what we envision as ‘extraordinary’ and ‘special’ traits that leads to success in ones field may sometimes be the affect of some other, seemingly unrelated parameters. Of course, the chapter that I am in is discussing academic success, so I am riveted and may not be able to do more than this post until the chapter is completed. However, none of the above is what I am writing this post about.

Far too few posts...that's what full time work does

If you have looked here the last 2 months, you'll notice very few posts.  It's not that I don't think about posting or have posts I want to generate.  Instead, it's just the desire to have my free time be a bit more free.  Work is, as you might expect, attempting to fill my days for far too many hours, so this is what had to be put aside to achieve normalcy in the off-time.  I hope that changes soon.

Thursday, October 3, 2013

A Flaw in STEM??

Here's a recent article concerning the flaw in all the schools trying to improve the STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) skill sets of their graduates.

Good Read

Study Advice from a Basketball Player

The amazing thing about studying is that in no other endeavor would you try to improve your abilities like they do their academics.  You'd never think of getting better at tennis by watching others play tennis, or just hitting that passing shot one time, or claiming you hit can hit the shot when your friend actually did.  No, you'd hold the racquet and you'd hit that shot over and over and...until it was you who could and will hit that shot when the time comes.  But, no one reminds us that to learn we must practice after we get to the point of being able to do until the answering or understanding is natural, obvious, fast, and part of how our mind processes information.  So, study like you are training.  Study like this guy trains.  At just double nickel, he can dunk!

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Profiling in the Classroom

While the above video, another great Ted Talk, is not specifically about the classroom, it's worthy of discussion if only because we, as educators, can help sway the discussions from preconceived notions and looks to one of personality, action, and who-they-are.

The Cloud Part of Education...Build a School in the Cloud

You never know where your next blog post might draw inspiration.  In the case of this post, it was a reply to an email to my friends James, Mike and Wayne concerning the above Ted Talk.  I highly recommend watching Sugata Mitra's presentation and his compelling argument.  My friends sent the link to me as part of our ongoing email conversations about the world, education and business...4 people on two continents having a go at trying to make sense of those three words via email is a hoot, by the way.  What follows is my response, just copied and pasted, to the email that reminded us of Mitra's Ted Talk...

"Reinventing Schools..."

Here's a simple post to make sure you read this interesting article from Mind/Shift.  Hope you enjoy...Read Me!!

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Super Nova...A Link to Helpful STEM Information and Ideas

Nova, the TV 'station', has been around for long time producing quality educational science programming.  Their website is useful and worth sharing for all you educators who need a little science pick-me-up.  Check it out...

Super Nova!!

Sunday, September 8, 2013

The Role of Praise in the Education System

Am I Training My Dog To Sit?

I had a wonderful companion for 13 years.  A chocolate lab who was the most loyal and undemanding friend in my life.  Of course, I trained him to be a good boy, to listen when I had a command, and to socialize properly.  It was fun training him, as it built a connection between that little fur ball of a puppy and me.

While training him, I chose not to use treats to reward him.  Oh sure, he got a nice treat at the end of most training sessions, but not during the session (well, sometimes he did, but rarely).  Mostly, he and I trained by me giving him love and attention.  He heard my happy/good-job voice and learned what it meant.  He also heard my harsh "No!" and learned what that meant.

Kudos to Teachers

Here's a nice little article to remind all you teachers of your worth in this world...even if you are underpaid and under-appreciated most of the time...Read Me!!

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Need A Tablet with a Stylus?

The M1400
I've been using a tablet pc since 2003, starting with my Motion Computing M1400.  That first machine was a screen only, using USB or BlueTooth to connect to a keyboard.  It was heavy (by today's standards) and large, but it amazed those who saw me use it in the classroom.  Still, everyone said the same thing, "What good is that without a keyboard?"  I'd argue about using it on my lap by interacting with just the pen and they would just scoff at me.

Is the Samsung Galaxy Note 3 a Teacher's Dream?...Update

Samsung released a ton of new products yesterday, most notably it's latest version of the Galaxy Note Series.  These are cell phones with large screens and stylus for note taking.  Gottabemobile has a great review of some of the more interesting qualities of the new note.

While at ISTE 2013, I ran into least 10...K-12 teachers who use the Galaxy Note II as their cell phone and absolutely love it, IN and out of the classroom.  I was surprised by their IN use at all, and asked them why and how they used the Galaxy Note in the classroom.  I paraphrase a few comments made be to me at ISTE:

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

A Good Read...

Here's a link to a great article about how some top minds would change STEM education.


 Personally, I didn't read one idea in that article that was anything new, and NEW is what is exactly needed.  Students are different that they used to be and the people we ask these types of questions to are still immersed in their remembrances of education gone by.  Whatever the answer is, it would be made by someone who watched the following video by none-other than Sir Ken Robinson.

Without thinking outside the box (heck, not in the same room as the box), we'll continue to do what we've always done...put a band aid on the problem and see incremental results that only work a short while for a few of the students out there.

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Textbooks Be Gone...It's Time To Pronounce them Dead!

There are few aspects of the earliest school paradigm still hanging on.  Most notably are the rectangular classroom with a front where the teacher hangs out, grading scales, the design of schools in general, and our good friend the textbook.

The goal of the textbook, in my opinion, is to be a presentation of the topics/concepts/skills in someone's words other than mine.  A second version of the material is important, because not every student will get an idea from being in my class and experiencing my presentation of the topic.  The text is one other voice available to my students.  The more voices my student experiences, the better the chance that one will actually hit home and spark long term learning about the topic.

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Studying Attitude Graphic...

A few days ago, I found the interesting graphic above.  Today, I posted it on my course blogs (yes, each of my classes gets a blog of its very own).  Feel free to use the idea in your classes.  It's truly about attitude.  Maybe our students need a 'study attitude' that is just like a "game face" we often hear about.  Well, that's my hope and intention with the posts, at least.

The post was titled "Something To Think About..." and it showed the picture above followed by these few sentences:

  • It’s OK to not get a concept at first.
  • It’s not OK to give up if you don’t get it at first.
  • For example, would you stop playing a video game after the first time your player gets killed?
  • Think about it!!  Study with the passion you play games (be them video or sports or …) and you’ll end up winning!!

Wunderlist in EDU...Report 1

While not a formal report and I lack any real data, I do have some initial readings on my attempt to help train my students to study using Wunderlist.

The students have enthusiastically embraced the use of the To-Do list application.  I have made use of the app 100% voluntary in my introductory chemistry course (second semester college chemistry for science majors).  75% of the class requested an invitation to the class To-Do list.

The Shop Around the Corner...

So, I have to admit that I am a fan of Jimmy Stewart and Tom Hanks.  Both are fine actors with what appears to be fine character.  These two actors also share a movie based on the same premise:  communication is the key to falling in love.

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

On Nathan Fillion, Google, Knowledge and Understanding

Here's an interesting video on information and knowledge, with references to Nathan Fillion (without the video, my title is rather cryptic).
So, what's your feeling on the matter?

Sunday, August 25, 2013

A Shared Viewpoint

Here's a nice blog post that is on par with my thoughts (Mindshift).  The author of the article and myself both see a need to experiment with the classroom, technology, and pedagogy involved.  Trying to fit todays tech and learners into the classroom and pedagogies of the pre-mobile world is a huge waste of money and money.  Moreover, we're not producing better students that are ready for college, let alone the workforce in our current model.

3D Printers: Are they just the first step toward a Star Trek Replicator?

First it was the cell phone.  Now it's the replicator.  What was in Gene Roddenberry's water that made him such a visionary?  For all I know, the guy never invented any real object, but he did invent a world of ideas that have a knack for turning into real objects that make other people money (funny read, here!)

Case in point, the 3D printer (or, replicator wanna-be).  I was amazed at ISTE 2013 when I watched the 3D printer do its thing.  If it hadn't been time for lunch and I hadn't been hungry and tired, I would have watched the printing process for an hour.  Instead, I walked away amazed and vowed to write a post about the experience should I ever have my very own blog.  Being true to myself, here is that article.

While the 3D printer is an amazing, plastic object creating device, it was at ISTE and the premise is that the printer will become a part of the education process.  Can we make ball-and-stick models of molecules with it?  Wouldn't it be cool to show off the geometry of a molecule, but what a rather expensive rout to accomplish something that a molecular modeling kit does equally as well (and is reused for years and years).  Doe the printer make real perfect geometric solids for geometry class and are these required to be made anew each class?  I don't know, but right now I am not seeing the need for these in schools.

But, hold the presses.  It's just about the time I make a statement like the last sentence of the paragraph above that an inventive teacher uses the contraption to better the classroom.  I hope it does happen and that we find some great ways to use this technology.  But, without that killer pedagogically sound reason for having a 3D printer per school or per classroom, I wouldn't spend the money.

I'll end with a clear statement that I do not believe we are moving toward the world of a replicator.  In Star Trek, they invented a "device" known as the 'Heisenberg Compensator' to allow their replicator to overcome the uncertainty principle.  Well, that's not going to happen any time soon (probably never) so don't hold your breath or buy stock in any replicator companies.

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Not Much About Ed, but....

I read lots of tech articles.  Today, one of my favorite blogazines has an article that hints at something many have mentioned before (Read Me).  The article is about movies, and how getting older and learning more make the movies less enjoyable.  Move over Sir Ken Robinson, this guy has said exactly what you have said but in a different way:  being educated kills your creativity.  OK, not quite the same and not really what the article is about, but it is interestingly true that becoming more educated almost enhances your "skeptical button" to where it's pressed continuously during stupid sections of movie, tv, blogs (like this one), etc.*

Project Idea for Students

Can't say I know the age limit of such an idea, but here's a little student project that gives a little game to your classroom.

In my physical chemistry class, the students will be broken into four 4-person teams about half way through the semester.  At that time, their assignment will be to design a game (video or other) that would need to include the material from class.  Each team will have a schedule to keep and forms to force them to keep track of who is doing what.  In the end, the teams will present their idea and a vote from the class will choose the best idea (no, they cannot vote for their own idea).  I think some of the students will really get into it and come with story boards, plots, twists, examples.  Should be a great way to make them make connections.

Have you tried anything like this?

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Is Apple Selling Product Because of iTunes Store?

The question currently being asked in an interesting blog post on Gottabemobile  is whether iTunes store is the reason that Apple will continue to be a player in the phone industry.  The author argues that Apple is behind the other phone makers and hasn't been progressive lately, so the only reason to use them is the ease and structure of the music/app/movie buying experience in the iTunes Store.

Sunday, August 18, 2013

What's in Your Bag...Bag Edition

Just saw a post on Gottabemobile concerning back-to-school computer bags.  All of the bags listed in the article look great (except maybe the one that had all the camera compartments).  However, I was amazed that a few of my favorite bags weren't mentioned (I was even compelled to comment about it on their site).  Here's a little added discussion to the above article...

Saturday, August 17, 2013

Going Green with Your Syllabi

Just a note to all of you readying to print the entire syllabus for each student this fall.  You don't have to, and I recommend you don't.  Why print what can be emailed and posted to the LMS or Webpage or Blog?

Instead, summarize the key points in a "mini-sylli" on one page.  By key points, I mean the where and when of class, your contact info, URL's for obtaining other class info and the FULL syllabus, and key dates.

You can expound to your hearts content in person that first day of class, going well beyond the mini-sylli.  In addition, write away with great prose on the full syllabus that you post online.  But, be sure that you don't change the syllabus as the semester goes on in any major way...students will keep the old pdf version or print out a hard copy on their own for comparison, later, should you make changes.

The key is that you can save time and money and resources by not printing that syllabus in full.

Friday, August 16, 2013

Put Your Problems "in the Wild" to Create Better Learners

"Hey, can any of you guys do #4?"

I've been to zoos and seen lions before.  As fortune would have it, I have twice in the past 3 years been to South Africa and experienced a safari.  On my safari's, I also saw lions.  Let me tell you here and now, there is a world of difference in the two beasts when confined or in the wild.

  • The zoo lion is right where I expect, when I expect it.  I chose to go to the lion cage and, to no one's surprise, I encountered a lion.  I also know the lion is fed regularly and is therefore not really looking to waste energy trying to get to me.  I feel safe that the lion is also unable to get to me even if it wanted to.  This is a dependable situation where I know exactly what to expect and to do.  While there, I am in awe and have fun and am relaxed.  Yea for the lions!!

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Apple Updates App Store Policy for Kids Apps

Apple has fixed up the app developers policy so that apps targeted for those 13 and under are not created with behavioral advertising.  In addition, apps must fit into age categories now and cannot link out of the app without parental approval.  Even more is listed here in the article by the Guardian.

If you are a teacher, this makes things a bit easier on you, too.  Less worries about what you might want your students to use at school or home, as you'll have age appropriate help from the developer.

Active Learning Spotlight...POGIL

I am a huge fan of active learning.  I believe that active learning strategies use class time for more than just a transfer of information from the instructor to the students.  In active learning classrooms, students get practice at the content as well as other skills that are all about life.  That said, I am going to try and post about an active learning style about once a month.

First up is Process Oriented Guided Inquiry Learning (POGIL).  As a disclaimer, I use a lot of POGIL in my classrooms and have facilitated numerous POGIL workshops in the US and a few in South Africa.  Thus, I am a bit biased about this particular model.

Graphing Experimental Data...A Video Tutorial

Video Tutorial on Graphing

For those of you teaching high school or college math/science, graphing data is an important skill.  Last year, I created a video tutorial (16 minutes) to help my students and thought I would share it with anyone reading Holistic Ed.  Enjoy and feel free to share it with your friends if you find the video useful.  I recommend enlarging the video a bit to get the best view :)

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Let's Talk About Grades...Part Uno

"How many A's did you get, my boy?"

From an early age, we are all asked about our grades and our favorite subject at school.  Everyone wants to know and, later in your education career, the grade seems to becomes the goal of going to school (instead of learning being the goal...but that's a different topic).  Did you ever wonder where these grading scales were invented and how they evolved over time?  Well, we all should, since these darn grade things have been held over our heads for years and we need to understand something in order to kill it! (that last remark should be in quotes, but I don't remember the movie or book that I experienced it).

A Quote to Start Wednesday...

From BrainyQuote!!

Tell me how you get your students to discuss ideas.  I'd love to hear from you and maybe steal an idea or two :)

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Sprint Gets It...

Just saw a commercial for Sprint that takes the view I've been expressing for a while...students are connected, understand being connected, and enjoy being connected via their mobile devices.  And being constantly connected digitizes their life.  Sprint is selling this by saying "students are connected 24, 7" in their latest Galaxy S4 commercial.  It's simple, Sprint gets it!

Teachers, take note...your students expect information to come their way all day, so don't be afraid to stretch the course beyond the class time.  Get connected teachers and you might find an interested audience out there at, say, 7pm.

By the way, this very post was written on my phone immediately after watching the video.  

Pinterest and Lesson Plans? Maybe...

Just read this quick post on Endagdet about Pinterest pushing to get more teachers using the site in education.  Interesting and creative stuff...Click Me to see!!

Blended Learning for College...Worth a Try

For the past few years, the concept of a 'hybrid' online course has been the most palatable for most of the university instructors I have met.  Online courses were all the rage and the main talking point for administrators and government officials at the time, owing to the idea that the online courses would increase revenue by being less expensive per student (a misconception at best).  A hybrid course used online resources but kept most of the traditional classroom character.

At ISTE 2013, I heard mention of "blended learning", which turns out to be similar if not the same concept.  The definition of blended learning, as I learned, is a classroom that is partially contained on the web.  That is, not all of the learning is done in the classroom and there is an expectation of portions of the course being completed via the internet.  In my field (Chemistry), the most common implementation is a web site for course materials and announcements coupled with an online homework system such as OWL, Mastering Chemistry, Sapling, etc.

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Inexpensive tablet just got less expensive...A BYOD Bonus!

Is your school moving to a BYOD model?  Well, here's a low priced tablet that has decent specs.  Must say, this would work for most kids and costs less than a pair of jeans!!

The Hisense Sero 7 tablets are now going for the remarkably low prices of $79 for the LT version and $129 for the Pro version, according to their press release today (read me!!).

RSA Animate Style as a Classroom Project...Yes, Thank You!

I don't know about you, but I am mesmerized by the RSA Animate series of whiteboard animations.  I watch them over and over.  I certainly feel as if I retain more from these types of video tutorials.  Maybe it's the cartoon images or maybe it's the difference in timing between the audio (normal speed) and the drawing (fast speed), but that is not important.

In my search for how to make one of these as a research project for a student, I came across this great YouTube video.  If you are a K-12 teacher, you should watch the video below and possibly consider where in your curriculum you could insert such a project.  Enjoy!

How to make an RSA Animate style video with you class

News Flash: Not all educational apps are good for children

The Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood has publicly stated what I think many of us have thought:  Educational apps are sometimes just games. But, they went further and have stated concerns that the same apps may actually be hindering childhood development.  I'm sure the story is just getting started.

Also reported in the story is the recommendation of the American Academy of Pediatrics that children under 2 not use media for learning.  I have to say, it had not occurred to me before, but developing eyes and the screen may not be the best thing.  Also, I would want my children to interact with me to learn and experience and everything...that has to be best for the bond between the child and family.

Here are links to four different articles on the story:  New York TimesGottabemobile, CBS Detroit, San Jose Mercury News.

Which Way to a Better Education...and Future: Part 2

In 2007, an article by Distance-Education.Org proposed that college education was due for a whirlwind change and it would be led by distance education.  The author, Jennifer Williamson, does a great job of making predictions that make sense and are realistic.

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

A Cheesy Post About Creative Lesson Planning

With apologies to the Eurythmics, the above distortion of their lyrics is very clever.  When I see something like this, I once again ask myself how I could use this in my classroom to grab the attention of the students at the beginning, midway, or completion of a class period.  That's my question of you today...

How could you use this very picture in your class?  Tell me about it in the comment section.  Even if you're not a teacher and you've just stumbled upon the Holistic Ed Blog, give it a try.

Here's where I could use the picture in my general chemistry sequence.  I would use the picture to depict a "Spectrum", which is really the possible types or values associated with something.  When speaking of light, we end up speaking of the electromagnetic spectrum that consists of radio, microwave, infrared, visible, ultraviolet, x-ray and gamma rays  By realizing that all of those types of cheese represent a particular portion of the spectrum of cheese, maybe my students will remember that radio waves and x-rays simply represent a small portions of the electromagnetic spectrum, meaning that both are a type of light!  I could see playing the song as the students enter the classroom and then showing them the picture above via the projector.  From their, the conversation would start and they would have something real to connect with a positive vibe about this particular class.

A Funny Truth

Saw this today, and I do find it relevant and close to reality.  I've made a similar comment to friends and colleagues before, with only a few complaints.  The most common counterargument I've heard is that, since we have all been through schooling, we all understand what it takes to teach.  Recently, I had a friend who topped this very counterargument by saying, "With that logic, all convicted criminals have been through the justice system.  Do we call them lawyers?"  It was nice that someone had my back :)

Which Way to a Better Education...and Future? Part 1

If you haven't already read it, check out the Aug. 3, 2013 Wall Street Journal.  In that edition, you will find an excellent article about the "The $4 Million Teacher".  In short, Kim Ki-Hoon has become famous as an educator in much the same way that Salman Kahn has:  by using the internet to deliver educational offerings. The last paragraph of the piece is very telling, to me...
"No country has all the answers. But in an information-driven global economy, a few truths are becoming universal: Children need to know how to think critically in math, reading and science; they must be driven; and they must learn how to adapt, since they will be doing it all their lives. These demands require that schools change, too—or the free market may do it for them."

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

A Couple of Quotes to Start Your Day...

Today, I was sent the same quote by two different sources:  a college friend and an ex-student.  It's good enough to share and would certainly get Sir Kenneth Robinson to nod enthusiastically.
"We think we understand the rules when we become adults, what we really experience is a narrowing of imagination."--David Lynch

Friday, August 2, 2013

Study Training...A Case for Wunderlist

As I was writing about the Art of Studying in my previous post, I urged instructors to train students to learn in smaller chunks by redefining studying.  My urgings included ideas on how you could inspire students to study properly.  One model that popped into my mind about 5 minutes after making the post is to schedule study efforts using a calendar or To-Do list App, such as Wunderlist (my choice of To-Do List).

If you haven't used Wunderlist, then you are missing out on a great, free app that can be used as a To-Do List, Reminder App, Note App and Project Management App.  It's available on just about any platform:  Windows, Apple OS, iOS, Chrome and Android.  So, if your students have access to smart phones or tablets or computers, then you can use Wunderlist as a 'reminder' or 'nudge' app.  Each list you create can have as many items on the list that you desire, and each item can be assigned a due date and/or a reminder.  But wait, there's more!!  Yes, each item can be given notes and subitems.

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Looking for a Tablet? Here's a Little Help!

Engadget has come out with a nice review of the currently available tablets.  Whether you are looking for your personal use or for the classroom, you should find the "Tablet Buyer's Guide" a good read.

However, missing from the guide are the hybrid style tablets that would suite education just fine, such as the Asus Tai chi or the Samsung ATIV (5 or 7 model).  The hybrid style also has an attached or attachable keyboard to allow the unit to act as a laptop.

Also neglected is the offering from Dell that is currently being advertised so well...

A Different Approach to "Study Habits"

Is the art of studying broken?  I think so.  It is my contention that what students view as studying is not conducive to learning and certainly doesn’t train them to master what they are trying to learn.  They therefore put off studying because they don’t know why they are studying and they find studying boring.  To fix the issue requires a redefinition of studying that will change student habits and oblige educators to alter aspects of their expectations.

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Tributree...Finally, social media about the good in you and me

Is Tributree the next, great thing in social media?  That I cannot say.  However, the premise is very interesting and might well be perfect for education.  In short, you nominate someone for tribute in your Tributree community, and that tribute should represent a positive moment, action or achievement that others in the community should know about.

Monday, July 29, 2013

Digital Office Hours: My next, new thing!

With the summer vacation coming slowly to an end here in the southeast, I need to spend a few moments each day preparing for fall semester.  And that means looking for things to try for an improved student learning experience.  I have plenty of ideas in terms of pedagogy, but I am rethinking my office hours strategy a bit.

Digital Office Hours

This fall, I will institute "digital office hours" (DOH) at least one night a week, but more likely two nights.  The idea is to use some collaboration software of some sort (yet to be determined) like GoToMeeting and allow students to email, text (yes, I'll have a phone for this), or log in to ask questions.  I currently expect the DOH to be in the evenings, lasting a half hour or so and possibly another full hour in the morning of a day when I have no classes on campus.  And, I will continue to hold my current office hours.  My main reason for trying this method is that it corresponds to my idea that students are digitizing their lives into smaller chunks (I mentioned this concept in my early post about blogging for the classroom) and thus might need an office hour chunk later in the day.

Has anyone tried DOH, besides Homer Simpson?  If so, please share you experience with us by leaving a comment.

Nexus 7 vs. iPad Mini

From the picture above, Homer and Marge appear to be confused and unsure about their upcoming tablet purchase.  The salesperson is doing all that is possible, but the stalemate continues:  Nexus 7 or iPad Mini?

The team at have a great article today comparing the Nexus 7 and iPad Mini (read here).  While the article is very clear and uses the specs of each unit to compare for a general audience, there are some educational aspects worth noting, as well.

Friday, July 26, 2013

Would you use a joke to initiate a class discussion or topic?

As a physical chemist who was a research spectroscopist, I enjoyed the meme above.  However, would you use humor like this (or in any other form) to begin a class?  Here's what I mean.  Imagine you walk in to a physical science, biology, chemistry or physics class and your teacher displays the meme from above using the projector.  Some students giggle, some don't get it, some aren't paying attention, and some are too cool to respond.  I personally think a little humor (especially if it is not offensive) will make the lesson, whatever that less is, be more memorable.  At the very least, students are jarred away from whatever was on their minds as they travelled to your classroom.  That, in itself, should make them better learners.

Give it a try.  I certainly will (and do).  I promise that the next time I teach light to students, this will be the first thing they see.  By the end of the class, I'll show it again and see if they laugh a little more.

$30M from LAUSD to pay for iPads. Good or bad idea?

Engadget is reporting again on the LA School Districts purchase of iPads for its 640,000 students.  The going price per iPad + curriculum materials, they report, is $678, which somehow is accounted in the 30 millions reportedly being paid for the devices.  I'm sure you've read about the purchase or heard about it in the news.

I own an iPad Mini and once had an iPad 2.  iPads are, without a doubt, amazing devices because they are so easy to use, secure, elegant, light and have a ton of available apps.  But, do iPads produce significant enhancement to the education of these children to warrant such a purchase?  Let's try to get an answer by making a little Pro/Con list.

Thursday, July 25, 2013

What's in your tech bag-o-tricks?...Hardware edition

As educators, we all utilize technology differently.  If you're like me, you have developed your own go-to set of tech for your classes and might be a bit set in your ways.  For that reason, it might be good for us to share what we have tucked inside our tech bag-o-tricks and how we use it.  Maybe we'll get some good ideas :)  

Today, let's keep the discussion to hardware and leave software to a different day.  For my part, I will share not only my 'personal' tech gear that I find useful but what is available on campus that I may or may not use.  In the end, the picture of a yeti will become reasonable, I promise :)

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Coming Soon...Geek Week on YouTube!!

An Engadget post that will help you get your geek on!!  Look for new YouTube channels that might help you find that one video to explain that one geeky thing.

Geek Week!!

One Man's Use of Blogs as a Teaching Tool

A few years past...

I first decided to use a blog to teach my general chemistry course.  Prior, I had used my own website created using Dreamweaver and the university address given to me for a web presence.  One of our IT people asked if I had thought about using a virtual world in my classes or a wiki.  Being somewhat open minded, I looked into those methods as information management tools.  Neither gave me a warm and fuzzy feeling, but the idea of a blog did.  After searching and finding other education blogs, I gave a course blog a try.

Read on to find out how I used blogging for that first class and why there's a picture from Friends in this post :)

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Blogs and the classroom, I'm for it. How about you?

As the title says, I am all for using blogs as a tool for teaching a class.  Let's talk about a few of my reasons for using a blog for each of the courses I teach.

The Digitized Lives of Students

Back in the days when I went to school or college, my day was chopped up into fairly large time blocks:  study for 2 hrs, go to class for 3 hrs, meet friends for a meal for 1 hr, workout for 2 hrs, etc.   If I wanted to call someone, I would go to my dorm room or apartment and make the call from a phone connected to the wall.  I would also hope the person I was calling was home and, if not, that they owned an 'answering machine'.  Library time to look up information or find a book was scheduled and included going to the library.  So, I roughly had 6 daily items the divided my day.

Sunday, July 21, 2013

First Post...setting the tone

Welcome to Holistic Ed...the blog!!

It's here that I'll share thoughts, ideas, rumblings, articles, experiences and announcements concerning education.  In addition, your opinions will be asked and utilized in discussions (we all have different experiences and skills, so it behooves us to hear from as many minds as possible).

That's all for a first had to happen.  So, onward we go :)

Disqus for Holistic Ed