February 14, 2018

Tech Tuesday for April 18, 2017

Odds and Ends

How did I hear about Lennox Middle School?

I first heard about Lennox Middle School while listening to a story by Malcolm Gladwell. The story is called “Carlos Doesn’t Remember” and it is the fourth episode of Malcolm Gladwell’s podcast Revisionist History. Carlos is a gifted student from Lennox. Yet despite his incredible intellect, Carlos faced tremendous challenges that threatened his chances of completing high school, not to mention attending college. His dad was mostly absent and his mother was unstable and ended up in jail. Carlos and his younger sister bounced around the foster care system. Carlos does have one thing going for him though. A non-profit called YES Scholars works to identify poor, but gifted students like Carlos who might not otherwise graduate high school or go to college. YES finds ways to support these students. For Carlos, that meant helping him get a scholarship to an elite private school that can challenge him academically.

One of the challenges for a program like YES is that you have to find the smart kids by 4th grade. If you wait until 8th grade in a city like Lennox, 80% of the boys are already gang affiliated. Oh, and Lennox doesn’t have a high school, so students that do make it past 8th grade have to cross a gang line to get to the high school in the next town.

Why doesn’t Carlos remember? Gladwell observes that not remembering has become a coping technique for Carlos: keep his head down, take care of his sister, get good grades, and don’t remember any of the bad stuff.

So, how does this relate to technology? Well, technology delivered this audio story to me in the form of a podcast. I used my phone to play the audio. I used bluetooth to connect my phone to my car stereo so I could listen while driving. In this situation, technology was a tool that was used for my learning. I learned a lot about Lennox and Carlos just buy listening to the story. But it also inspired me to going beyond just that story. I used Google Maps to look up Lennox and searched the Internet to discover more about YES Scholars. I’d like to encourage you to listen and subscribe to the story on the Revisionist History website. In the next newsletter, I’ll explain more about podcasts, how you can listen to them, and how they can be used in education.

App Pick of the Week
Word Cloud Generator
Word Cloud Generator is an add on for Google Docs. It will scan all the words in your document and make a world cloud based on the most used words in your document. Here’s how to use it: https://www.bettercloud.com/monitor/the-academy/how-to-create-a-word-cloud-in-google-docs/
Google Tip of the Week
Chromebooks in Health and Physical Education
This fantastic website is a great resource with information specifically designed for health and PE teachers using Chromebooks. Even if you don’t have Chromebooks in your health or PE class, many of the apps and tools will work with whatever devices you do have.  In addition, this website is great for teachers of any subject because great teaching techniques are not limited by a certain subject or technology.

What I’ve been training on

Google Drive

Yep, we’ve had Google Drive here before, but some things are so good they are worth repeating. Check out my 8 Google Workshops here.

Teachers Using Technology

Do you know of a great use of technology by a Westfield Teacher? Share your own technology tip with me or nominate another teacher!

Teacher of the Week: Lynda Horner, Language Arts Teacher at WMS

Tool: Deck.Toys (https://deck.toys)

Technology Items:
  1. Computer/Chromebook
  2. Web browser
  3. Google Drive
  4. PDF and PowerPoint Documents
  5. Images and Embedded Videos
Lynda uses Deck.Toys to create student-paced interactive lessons. Desk.Toys allows you to import your custom lessons including PowerPoints, PDFs, and Google Documents. Due to it’s flexibility, it can be used at any grade level. Lynda likes how Deck.Toys engages the students and motivates them to complete the activities and challenges. The setup is much like a video game or digital breakout. Students complete activities/challenges in order to "break the locks" with codes. Students can work individually or in teams. Here is an example: https://deck.toys/a/mygoXGNNQ
Connect with Lynda:  Twitter:     @wmshorner         hornerl@wws.k12.in.us

Access the archive of past newsletters in this shared Google Drive Folder.
WWS Tech Tuesday Newsletter Archive

Access our Google+ Community here.