Don’t Make Me Think!

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I wanted to post some thoughts about Steven Krug's book, Don't Make Me Think, which is a popular seller about web design. More and more teachers and educators are asked to design digital content, and although this book focuses on web design, all of its content is applicable to designing and building digital content for education. Educators are often asked to build digital courses with little to no training, and that is often a recipe for disaster. The solution, of course, is to learn how to … [Read more...]

Crossing the Chasm in Education

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You can get a lot of reading done when your six-hour flight to Florida turns into a twelve-hour adventure, thanks to Delta. On my flight to FourSight training last week, I ended up spending four extra hours in Detroit, which was bad. The good part was that I was able to finish Geoffrey Moore’s book, Crossing the Chasm. I read through the content keeping in mind two things: our school district’s Innovation Initiative and how digital learning is spreading through the United States. In that light, … [Read more...]

Tips for Building Awful Digital Content! Tip #2

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Let's continue with our series to help people build awful digital learning resources. Today we'll provide another powerful technique: the textbook! Tip #2: Use a textbook. Refer to it all the time. Remember, it’s important in awful digital design to totally ignore the potential of digital resources when building your course. This is one of most challenging things to do when building boring online content, because after all, you’re building your course on the Internet, which contains the … [Read more...]

Tips for Building Awful Digital Content! Tip #1

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I attended the iNACOL online learning conference a few months ago, and I heard a lot of discussion about good digital course design. And I know there are lots of people out there who are making good content. But for every good digital course or unit I see, I see so many MORE  classes that have the design aesthetics of the Mother Alien from Alien II and the functionality of a the toiletpaper on the head invention. So it’s clear that there are many more people out there making really bad online … [Read more...]

FourSight, Innovation, and Education

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I just arrived back from two days of FourSight Certification Training and thought I’d share a little bit of the experience. I got some initial exposure to FourSight’s work at a workshop at the State of Creativity Forum this past November in Oklahoma. That was enough for us to pursue the full certification course so we could deploy the assessment in our district's Innovation Initiative. At heart, FourSight’s Certification training teaches people how to administer and debrief their FourSight … [Read more...]

Caine’s Arcade & Innovation

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If you haven't heard of Caine's Arcade yet, check out this 10-minute video on a 9-year-old boy and his cardboard arcade. In short,  filmmaker Nirvan Mullick stopped into Caine's dad's auto parts store in Los Angeles to buy a door handle, spotted Caine's cardboard arcade, and transformed that into a film that captured the nation's attention and started an educational movement about creativity and play. We have a few principles that guide our innovation efforts in our district. One of them … [Read more...]

Ineffable Sadness

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As parents, we gladly sacrifice so much of who we are for our children and their future. As educators, we give our lives to impacting kids positively, to helping them believe in themselves. We take so much care and effort to help kids grow and be safe. We care about the tiniest details of happiness. We are mindful of all our words, because we know that a misplaced word can ruin a kid’s day or week, or lead a kid to lose faith in themselves. By instinct and training, the idea of creating pain … [Read more...]

Gov. Mark Dayton’s Vision for the Future of Education

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Sometimes the contradictions in life smack you right in the forehead. This morning I was doing some work and casually watching my Twitter stream fill up with articles, comments, and debate about the potential of Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) to revolutionize access to higher ed learning and provide high-quality instruction to thousands of people who normally can't afford it. At some point I checked my email, and in there was an email from a colleague, with a quote from our Minnesota … [Read more...]

Read & Write Chrome Extension

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If you work with students who struggle with reading and writing, Read & Write is a very cool and free Google Docs extension for the Chrome browser, which can be used on either Macs or Windows. The main feature of the extension is that it will read the content of a Google doc out loud for students. Here's a helpful YouTube video from Karen Janowski explaining how to set it up and how to use it: If you don't have Chrome on your computer, you can download it free here. I've played … [Read more...]

World Language Learning Tech Tools

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World languages present some unique challenges for teachers attempting to use digital resources, flip their classrooms, and teach online. Emilia Carrillo (@spanish4teacher) has organized a collaborative effort to put together a solid collection of tech tools geared specifically to learning and teaching world languages. As of now, there are 26 tools in the publicly accessible Google presentation, but the list is growing! There is definitely something useful for everyone in the list. Got a tech … [Read more...]