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Wednesday, April 18, 2018

Supercharge Student (and Teacher) Financial Literacy With #PowerofEcon Day on April 26



Subtitle: Sponsored by Discovery Education and CME Group

From the Cool Cat Teacher Blog by Vicki Davis

Follow @coolcatteacher on Twitter

Managing money can be a challenge for many adults. It’s not always easy for people to keep debt down, pay bills, and manage finances effectively. Consequently, many schools are implementing financial literacy programs. If you haven’t done this yet, or even if your school already has such a program, your teachers and classes will want to join #PowerofEcon Day on April 26. These free activities and a power-packed Twitter chat will energize and provide support for your financial literacy discussions. The Twitter chat will be live at noon Eastern Time using #PowerofEcon. To prepare, help your students create questions to pose to the featured economist. As a result of this celebration, we hope these resources will help teachers and students get excited about economics.

#powerofecon economics education

Celebrate the Power of Economics with the #PowerofEcon chat on April 26. Your students can ask questions of an economist and more. Use Twitter to connect to other classes tackling financial literacy education.

April is Financial Literacy Month

The power of economics is in play everywhere, and April is the month to embrace it. Think of #PowerofEcon Day for finance and economics as what Pi Day is to Math class.  This is our day to celebrate and discuss financial literacy.

Sponsored by Econ Essentials from Discovery Education and CME Group

On Thursday, April 26th, celebrate Financial Literacy Month by boosting your students’ understanding of personal finance on #PowerOfEcon Day.  With this in mind, Econ Essentials is providing free, standards-aligned resources for your use.

Created by CME Group and Discovery Education, Econ Essentials is designed to help high school students learn economic principles through the use of real-world examples.

Join the #PowerofEcon Events on April 26

Get ready for an action-packed day of economic discussion with classrooms across the country on Twitter @DiscoveryEd with the #PowerofEcon hashtag:

  • 10AM: The Power of People examines the three-part mini-documentary series from Seeker Stories. This series features people shaping the impact of economics on the world as we know it. As an illustration of the importance of financial literacy, Seeker is a global showcase of people who are making a difference in the places where they live. Teaching Tip: You’ll want to bookmark these videos and use them in your courses to make every day a #PowerOfEcon Day.
  • 12PM: The Power of Possibility features an interactive live chat with CME Group’s Chief Economist, Bluford Putnam. Notably, your students can pose their economic questions for him to answer. I look forward to joining in the conversation as well. Teaching Tip: Just use the hashtag #PowerofEcon at noon ET on that day. Have your finance classes create and pose questions during this time as well.
  • 2PM: The Power of Content dives into interactive learning modules on finance, fuel, and the food system. Econ Essentials has some excellent units to help students understand these concepts. Teaching Tip: If you’re in a 1:1 environment, split the videos up and let students discuss, share, and compare highlights.
  • 4PM: The Power of Futures takes your economic learning to the next level by exploring investment concepts. This more advanced course from Econ Essentials helps students understand investing, hedging, and speculating. It includes quizzes, a game, and some infographics for you to use and explore as you teach about investment. If you play a “stock market game” or do any other investment-related activities, this module is for you. Teaching Tip: If you’ve already had some investment experience, have students explore and share the infographics or check out the quizzes in your classroom.

How You Can Participate in #PowerofEcon

Using #PowerofEcon, you and your students can tweet out what you’re doing to learn about financial literacy and the power of economics. Be sure to include #giveaway for a chance to win a gift card.*

And get your finance and financial literacy classes to join the Twitter chat at noon. Even if you’re not in class, students can give you questions to ask the economist. This will be a fun, exciting opportunity for classes to connect about financial literacy and understand how Twitter chats work!

#PowerofEcon free financial literacy resources

Join the Twitter chat at noon ET on April 26 and all day long for free financial literacy resources.

How Econ Essentials Can Help Your Students All Year Long

Econ Essentials has interactive learning modules that help students understand real-world economic principles in action. The videos by Seeker Stories are a fantastic tool for illustrating the principles of real-world finance. The Power of Futures will help your students understand investment. So, even though we’re sharing this content on April 26, these incredible resources are available to you all year long.

Let’s celebrate economics, finance, and investing on April 26. I’ll see you on the #PowerofEcon hashtag on April 26 and at the Twitter chat at noon that day!

Information on Bluford Putnam, the Economist in the Twitter Chat

If you want to share the bio of Bluford Putnam, the economist who is the expert for the #PowerofEcon Twitter chat, here’s the bio to share with your students.

Bluford (Blu) Putnam has served as Managing Director and Chief Economist of CME Group since May 2011. He is responsible for leading economic analysis on global financial markets by identifying emerging trends, evaluating economic factors and forecasting their impact on CME Group and the company’s business strategy. He also serves as CME Group’s spokesperson on global economic conditions and manages external research initiatives.

Prior to joining CME Group, Putnam gained more than 35 years of experience in the financial services industry with concentrations in central banking, investment research and portfolio management. He most recently served as Managing Partner for Bayesian Edge Technology & Solutions, Ltd., a financial risk management and portfolio advisory service he founded in 2000. He also has served as President of CDC Investment Management Corporation and Managing Director and Chief Investment Officer for Equities and Asset Allocation at the Bankers Trust Company in New York. His background also includes economist positions with Kleinwort Benson, Ltd., Morgan Stanley & Company, Chase Manhattan Bank and the Federal Reserve Bank of New York.

Putnam holds a bachelor’s degree in liberal arts from Florida Presbyterian College (later renamed Eckerd College) and a Ph.D.in economics from Tulane University. He has authored five books on international finance, as well as many articles that have been published in academic journals and business publications.

Disclosures

* Recipient shall not accept this gift card if accepting such gift card is prohibited by any policies or procedures with which such recipient or recipient’s employer is required to comply.

Disclosure of Material Connection: This is a “sponsored blog post.” The company who sponsored it compensated me via cash payment, gift, or something else of value to include a reference to their product. Regardless, I only recommend products or services that I believe will be good for my readers and are from companies I can recommend. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

The post Supercharge Student (and Teacher) Financial Literacy With #PowerofEcon Day on April 26 appeared first on Cool Cat Teacher Blog by Vicki Davis @coolcatteacher helping educators be excellent every day. Meow!



From http://www.coolcatteacher.com/supercharge-student-teacher-financial-literacy-powerofecon-day-april-26/
via Vicki Davis at coolcatteacher.com. Please also check out my show for busy teachers, Every Classroom Matters and my Free teaching tutorials on YouTube.

Bringing Literature to Life in Open Sim



Mary Howard on episode 293 of the 10-Minute Teacher Podcast

From the Cool Cat Teacher Blog by Vicki Davis

Follow @coolcatteacher on Twitter

Mary Howard’s students build and learn in Open Sim, a virtual world like Second Life. From building architectural constructs to understanding the Diary of Anne Frank, literature comes alive in this virtual world.

On April 26, celebrate PowerofEcon on Twitter with Discovery Education, CME Group, and their Econ Essentials Program. We’ll have free resources available for downloading. To join the celebration, tune into the Twitter chat with me, fellow teachers, and the CME Group’s chief economist on April 26th at noon Eastern Time, using #PowerofEcon.

Visit www.coolcatteacher.com/econ for more information and remember to tweet out your pics about how you teach your students using #PowerofEcon.

Listen Now

***

Enhanced Transcript

Bringing Literature to Life in Open Sim

Link to show: https://ift.tt/2JWcxRi
Date: April 18, 2018

Vicki: Today we’re talking with Mary Howard sixth grade teacher in New York State. She was a finalist for New York State Teacher of the Year for this year, 2018.

Mary, you are bringing literature to life in Open Sim.

You and I were actually talking before the show. I used to do some work at Open SIm, and people really pushed me toward Unity. I found it to be really hard.

What is Open Sim? It sounds like there are still people using it, huh?

What is Open Sim, and is anyone still using it?

Mary: Yeah, there’s still quite a few educators, especially out in the trenches, using Open Sim.

Sometimes it’s a hard concept to describe. It’s a virtual environment.

We hear a lot of talk now in Ed Tech circles about how we can get these students engaged and speak a language that they’re speaking. Really an Open Sim (simulator) is a great way to do that.

We bring these students into a virtual world. They have an avatar, and the avatar walks around this virtual world. Then I incorporate my curriculum through the virtual environment. It’s really exciting stuff!

Vicki: So educators, think about (how) some people host their own Minecraft servers. This is in some ways like Second Life. It looks a little bit more realistic than the pixelated Minecraft types. A lot of really cool things you can do in Open Sim, even though some people have pushed toward Unity.

So what are you doing with Anne Frank and teaching literature in you Open Sim world, Mary?

Mary: Yes! Well, the students have this world that they go into. The platform is held at a server with our local district.

Like you described, just to give people a little more of a background, it’s really great for middle schoolers, because by the time they’ve hit sixth and seventh grade, a lot of them have moved on beyond Minecraft, or they really can’t get their heads around the fact that a teacher is using Minecraft.

I always say to the students, “It’s like Minecraft on steroids. We’ve gone away from the pixelation, yet we still have the power of the building and construction,” which really speaks to students’ creativity.

Open Sim is like Minecraft on steroids

So in the program that I use, the Anne Frank house was actually re-designed in the virtual environment for the students to visit. So they go into a reconstructed Anne Frank house.

They read, of course, the companion novel that goes along with it, and they’re able to sort of “see” and visualize what’s going on in the novel.

Yet they’re also able to build and construct their own reflective pieces within the virtual environment. In one case, a student actually built a World War II bomber and placed that in the Anne Frank Museum that’s in the virtual world.

So, there are just so many ways to be more hhands-onwith the novel when you’re using a virtual environment.

Vicki: What are some of the things that students are really taking away, that you couldn’t get from just a class discussion about Anne Frank?

Mary: Well, it’s really an engagement practice.

The virtual environment group that I work with — this Open Sim group — I actually don’t do the Anne Frank house.

I do an extension off of that, which came from the initial project. It was a three-year project. Several teachers began the Anne Frank that’s actually in our seventh and eighth grade curriculum in our building.

But then I began the project in this Open Sim environment with “An Era of the King.”

So you sort of have to imagine the Middle Ages and Medieval Times, which is the curriculum that I teach.

Teaching the Middle Ages in a virtual environment

It’s great to teach the Middle Ages to begin with — you have your knights and kings and queens and castles — but it’s even better when you can bring them there!

So I had thirty kids in the computer lab. They’re all in there as an avatar, wearing Middle Ages clothing, walking around a Middle Ages village.

Then of course, the curriculum is gamified, so they have different levels of challenges that they have to engage in — which are knowledge based — in order to learn the curriculum, but also succeed in the virtual world.

So when you asks questions about what do the students get out of it? It’s just this whole package of things. It’s taking curriculum, making it engaging and exciting. and putting it at a level where the students are genuinely coming from nowadays

Vicki: So you’ve been using this for a while. Are there any mistakes you’ve made in the past?

Are there any mistakes we can avoid?

Mary: Oh goodness, yes! (laughs)

That conversation could even be longer than the successes. (laughs)

Vicki: (laughs)

Mary: I think that just comes with technology. People ask me, “How do you do all this tech stuff?”

And the first words I say are, “Be fearless.” You have to just be willing to let it go and be willing to understand that mistakes and accidents will happen.

Our first experience, the very first time… I was so excited to get these students in the Open SImulator. We sat there on laptops in a classroom, and I tried to get all 25 students online at the exact same time.

We overloaded our system. No one could get on. Everybody was raising their hands and kind of whining, “It’s not working. It won’t let me in.”

It was just one of those high stress moments like, “Oh no. This is an absolute disaster.”

And those are going to happen.

As you know as a tech person, you really have to be fearless and just understand, it’s going to happen. But you can’t break the children.

Vicki: (laughs)

Mary: (laughs) They’re going to be fine.

Vicki: And, it’s a learning process. I remember one thing I had learned is to try to get the kids in ahead of time to create their avatars, just because that tends to put some strain on things, and you know, it just takes time to learn this stuff.

So what have you done right, Mary? What’s one of the big things that you’re like, “Yes, this has made a huge difference.

What is your favorite project, where you knew you totally got this right?

Mary: Oh, I love that question!

Well, I think my favorite project was that we did in the virtual environments is a project combined with our local community. We have a Darwin Martin house, which is a Frank Lloyd Wright build here in Buffalo. There’s a huge Frank Lloyd Wright connection in Buffalo

I worked with a local BOCES person to set up an opportunity for the students to actually build in the style of Frank Lloyd Wright.

We gave (the students) (virtual) land, and we gave them an opportunity to learn about the architectural principles behind Frank Lloyd Wright.

Then we took them on a field trip to the Darwin Martin house.

As we were walking around the Darwin Martin house after spending a couple of weeks discussing the architectural principles and researching Frank Lloyd Wright and what he does, seeing and hearing ten year olds say things like, “Look at that abstract design,” or “See how he incorporated this central hearth in this home.”

Hearing that language manifest itself right on site, but then going back to the virtual environment when we got back to school, and seeing the excitement that the students had, designing and creating homes in the Frank Lloyd Wright form…

It was just the most magnificent and rewarding project that I think I’ve ever done with students. It’s just a really exciting thing to see what the students could build and design when you let them go, and let their creativity blossom.

Vicki: OK, Mary, to all the teachers listening to you… Give them some encouragement to try something virtual.

I mean, there are so many ways you can do this. There’s Open Sim, of course there’s Minecraft.

Some people are doing the Google Expeditions, and that’s great. But we need to understand here the differences. They can actually build. They can sandbox. They can create.

Mary: Yeah…

Vicki: There is a difference between experiencing something and creating something.

So, what’s your pep talk to teachers for utilizing this type of immersive technology?

Why should teachers try something like Open Sim?

Mary: I think we spend a lot of time saying that our equipment can’t handle it, or our tech department can’t handle it, or our filters won’t allow that to happen.

And I also say, “Be that rogue teacher.”

You know, be the lady in the corner of the building that has all the cats, because if you are that person, you take the lead.

Your tech department will find a way to make these things happen. And once it happens, the explosion in creativity is so worth it.

We spend a lot of time gnashing our teeth over using technology as, “Oh, I have to INSERT that into my curriculum. Or I have to add that onto my curriculum.”

And it’s really a paradigm shift.

You have to realize that it IS the curriculum.

It is going to generate all of that critical thinking, and all of that inferring, and all of those (things like) “tolerating ambiguity” and all of those buzzwords that we have that we want our students to do.

This one element happens.

If you get out there and explore and make it happen, all of that other stuff that you’ve been worried about with your students?

It falls into place.

Vicki: That is great advice for us, remarkable teachers!

Now get out there it make it happen!

Mary: Yeah! (laughs)

 

Transcribed by Kymberli Mulford: kymberlimulford@gmail.com

Bio as submitted


Mary Howard is a sixth grade teacher in Western New York State and was a finalist for the New York State Teacher of the Year for 2018. She considers herself a FEARLESS educator and an early adopter of many EdTech initiatives. Mary attempts to create a culture of inquiry in her classroom and hopes to build future innovators Her blog, http://www.yoursmarticles.blogspot.com features many of her EdTech pursuits including an Augmented Reality Sandbox that she uses in her classroom, makerspaces, coding as well as the use of Virtual Reality/Virtual Environments in her classroom. Mary is also a specialist in engagement, and uses digital tools to engage students and ignite their learning. She has presented throughout New York State and numerous other conferences including MACUL (Michigan) and at ISTE Philadelphia, Denver and San Antonio.

Blog: http://www.yoursmarticles.blogspot.com

Twitter: @mrshoward118

Disclosure of Material Connection: This is a “sponsored podcast episode.” The company who sponsored it compensated me via cash payment, gift, or something else of value to include a reference to their product. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I believe will be good for my readers and are from companies I can recommend. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.” This company has no impact on the editorial content of the show.

The post Bringing Literature to Life in Open Sim appeared first on Cool Cat Teacher Blog by Vicki Davis @coolcatteacher helping educators be excellent every day. Meow!



From http://www.coolcatteacher.com/e293/
via Vicki Davis at coolcatteacher.com. Please also check out my show for busy teachers, Every Classroom Matters and my Free teaching tutorials on YouTube.

Tuesday, April 17, 2018

Open Badges in Elementary School



Amy Cooper on episode 292 of the 10-Minute Teacher Podcast

From the Cool Cat Teacher Blog by Vicki Davis

Follow @coolcatteacher on Twitter

Some elementary classrooms are using self-directed badges for competency acquisition by students. In today’s show, Amy Cooper talks about how this is done, the advantages, and insights on student motivation.

open badges in elementary school (1)

On April 26, celebrate PowerofEcon on Twitter with Discovery Education, CME Group, and their Econ Essentials Program. We’ll have free resources available for downloading. To join the celebration, tune into the Twitter chat with me, fellow teachers, and the CME Group’s chief economist on April 26th at noon Eastern Time, using #PowerofEcon.

Visit www.coolcatteacher.com/econ for more information and remember to tweet out your pics about how you teach your students using #PowerofEcon.

Listen Now

***

Enhanced Transcript

Open Badges in Elementary School

Link to show: www.coolcatteacher.com/e292
Date: April 17, 2018

Vicki: Today we’re talking with Amy Cooper, who’s at an elementary school in Minnesota.

And Amy, you’re working with digital badges or open badges in elementary school. Help us understand. What are open badges, and how does this work with elementary kids?

What is a digital badge and how do students earn one?

Amy: Yes! So a digital badge is a visual representation, such as you would see a Girl or Boy Scout badge, except it carries metadata with it. So you would see who issued the badge, the date the badge was achieved, artifacts related to the badge — that might be a student’s visual representation, voice interaction (the student could talk about their achievements), or pictures to show a hard or soft skill learned in school.

Vicki: So how do they earn these badges?

Amy: Badges can be earned as a complement to what’s currently happening in the classroom, or to replace grading, so there are a variety of ways to use badges in the classroom.

What are you finding out about using badges?

My research focuses on how badges can be used to attain foundational skills, such as in reading, and how the badges can move the students forward intrinsically.

The teacher will look at the goals or standards they have for their state or their school, and they’ll partner with the student to see where the student is and where they’d like to go. The teacher uses the badges according to where the student is.

Let’s say in kindergarten, the student was trying to learn Letter Sounds. The student and teacher would meet and work to gain the skills on the letter sounds and then could show their knowledge with that metadata that’s attached to the badge.

It really serves as a very motivating, transparent goal path. The student is able to see what they’ve achieved, what they’ve mastered, and where they’re going and what they’d like to achieve.

Vicki: I guess the part that intrigues me — of course extrinsic motivation is a motivation that comes from outside of you, and intrinsic is the holy grail of motivation because that comes from within us — but a badge is obviously an extrinsic reward. It’s something they are given by someone else.

Extrinsic or intrinsic motivation?

Are you saying that if you use badges for a while, eventually they can go away, and they’re more motivated to still read, even when the badges go away, or not?

Amy: Yeah, well we look at badges from kind of the seminal work of Dweck and people like Vygotsky and Piaget, in how we look at learning. We look at badges as not just a sticker, or a representation of something. It’s more about, “How can we use the badges to scaffold learning, to have the student self-regulate their learning, and self-guage where they are, where they need to go, and what they’d like to learn.” So the badge kind of helps push that in and implement that continuum of learning for the student.

Vicki: OK. So it’s helping them learn, but are you noticing a change in intrinsic motivation as a result?

Amy: Yes. We’re noticing that the students are saying, “Oh! This is my goal. This is what I want to go after. I want to learn…” The students will explain, “I want to level up. I want to move to the next level.”

They’re able to just get a grasp on that, rather than your typical grading and assessment that happens where the teacher says, “Well, you need to get here.”

The student is able to say, “I’m here. And now I want to reach this goal.”

That does become what we have seen is very intrinsically motivating fo the student.

Vicki: So choosing the different goals they want to meet next, out of say, twenty or thirty opportunities to level up.

Amy: Yes.

Can you provide an example?

Vicki: So give me an example of what they might choose. I mean, are they, like the kindergarten kids. “OK, I’ve got the letter A badge, and now I want the letter B badge.” Is that kind of what they’re doing?

Amy: They might go for a greater goal, or they might say, “Now I know these sight words. I would like to be able to read this book.”

Or they’re choosing specific letter sounds. Or maybe for them, that doesn’t feel right, right now, and they want — perhaps they just go for a cooperating with their peers badge, if that’s where they’re at. And how can they use cooperation or different aspects to pull that into reading.

So, it’s kind of a more of a holistic view, but taking whatever it is that they are working on or feel strong enough about to reach those foundational skills.

Vicki: So what tool are you using to assign and track the awards?

What tool are you using?

Amy: Credly Online creates an option to create badges and attach all of the data to those badges that they’re earning.

So a teacher can easily say, “This is your letter sound badge, along with that, here’s a picture of…” The student was working on this specific task, or the student to show their learning through a video enhancement. Or maybe it is some sort of a graphic organizer or some type of picture they want to display on there.

But that can all be created through programs like Credly or Mozilla. There are a number of free programs online that teachers are able to access to do that.

Vicki: OK. So you’re tracking on Credly.

Can you think of, Amy, an example of a student — of course no names — that this has really changed and improved their ability to read?

Has this made an impact on any particular student?

Amy: Mmm-hmm. I have one student in particular that struggled with comprehending in second grade nonfiction text. So, it just… wasn’t very motivating to the student.

So we began pulling in… I said, “Well, is there a specific badge you would like to use, based on a fictional character, because that’s the genre that you’re really interested in right now?”

And so the character was based on a series of bears. At one point, we said, “Well, is there any part of this where you badge on top of the fiction books and create a nonfiction meaning.”

So the child began making that selection and was able to really strengthen their area in nonfiction reading because they wanted to move to the next level. They had mastered fictional reading opportunities, and wanted to move to nonfiction.

Where might a teacher begin?

Vicki: Hmm. OK. So Amy, if a school or teacher is looking at using badges, how do they start?

Amy: They might start by just saying, “This is one skill I’d love for my students to master. I’m going to focus on this one specific skill,” whatever that might be.

And then they can go on Credly. It’s a free signup. And you would go in there and say, “OK, we’re working on this skill.”

Let’s say you’re doing an animal project. The student would choose a specific animal or area the student is interested in, and the teacher could assign begin creating badges that meet each student’s specific need for that project or whatever skill of mastery or opportunity they feel they would like to open for their class.

Vicki: Amy, are there any resources that will help a teacher kind of understand the 1-2-3s of getting started?

Amy: Sure. Mozilla has a great amount of resources on there. You could just do a Google search for “open badging in Mozilla” and it will bring up how to start issuing a badge, how earners receive a badge.

  • Open Badging: https://openbadges.org/

Mozilla takes the teacher through a very sequential process of how to go about starting the badge process.

Vicki: Excellent. We’ll put those in the Shownotes.

Teacher, open badges and using badges in the classroom are something that a lot of teachers are really getting some interesting and awesome results with. You need to take a look at some of the best practices that are out there –it has been around for a little while — of the right way to do this.

Amy, thank you for sharing with us. We will include some information in the Shownotes so that our listeners can learn more.

Thanks!

Amy: Great. Thank you so much.

Contact us about the show: https://ift.tt/1jailTy

Transcribed by Kymberli Mulford kymberlimulford@gmail.com

Bio as submitted


Amy Cooper received her Bachelor of Arts from the University of Minnesota. She earned her Master’s degree in Language Arts from the University of Minnesota. She is currently a doctoral candidate in Professional Leadership Inquiry at Concordia University, Portland, Oregon.

Her dissertation seeks to understand how digital badges positively impact intrinsic motivation in the area of reading at the elementary level. Amy has fourteen years of experience working as an elementary educator.

Twitter: @amycooper100

Disclosure of Material Connection: This is a “sponsored podcast episode.” The company who sponsored it compensated me via cash payment, gift, or something else of value to include a reference to their product. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I believe will be good for my readers and are from companies I can recommend. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.” This company has no impact on the editorial content of the show.

The post Open Badges in Elementary School appeared first on Cool Cat Teacher Blog by Vicki Davis @coolcatteacher helping educators be excellent every day. Meow!



From http://www.coolcatteacher.com/e292/
via Vicki Davis at coolcatteacher.com. Please also check out my show for busy teachers, Every Classroom Matters and my Free teaching tutorials on YouTube.

Monday, April 16, 2018

Infographics in Education with Eileen Lennon



Eileen Lennon on episode 291 of the 10-Minute Teacher Podcast

From the Cool Cat Teacher Blog by Vicki Davis

Follow @coolcatteacher on Twitter

Infographics are powerful communication tools. Today, infographic pro, Eileen Lennon, shares how she uses infographics, creates them, and why they’re such a powerful tool.

On April 26, celebrate PowerofEcon on Twitter with Discovery Education, CME Group, and their Econ Essentials Program. We’ll have free resources available for downloading. To join the celebration, tune into the Twitter chat with me, fellow teachers, and the CME Group’s chief economist on April 26th at noon Eastern Time, using #PowerofEcon.

Visit www.coolcatteacher.com/econ for more information and remember to tweet out your pics about how you teach your students using #PowerofEcon.

Listen Now

 

***

Enhanced Transcript

Infographics in Education with Eileen Lennon

Link to show: https://ift.tt/2FZyP2b
Date: April 19, 2018

Vicki: So I was talking to my friend, Lisa Nielsen, about her blog, and she has this amazing woman, Eileen Lennon who creates these infographics that get shared like crazy!

So Eileen is on the show with us today, to talk about these powerful infographics and how she uses them to communicate.

So Eileen, how did you get started using infographics to communicate?

How did you get started with infographics?

Eileen: Actually, it was Lisa. She had spoken to a bunch of the students in the city system and asked what would speak to them, what they would want as material to learn about digital citizenship. And they said actually, infographics was what they respond to the best. They don’t want to read books or brochures. They wanted to look at things.

So she started with infographics, and she asked me to help her. So I started with her, creating the social media guidelines for the New York City Department of Education.

Vicki: OK. So, how do you create these infographics?

How do you create your infographics?

Eileen: The website I use is Piktochart. They have a lot of templates, lots and lots of templates, and I get an inspiration from one of them, and I go from there.

In my head, I have an idea that I want this to look like something, and then I just find a template that is close enough to that, and I go from there.

So they give you a starting point — someplace to start from.

Vicki: Now you’ve got to have great content, though, right?

I mean, doesn’t it take a lot of time to research to get the good content for these infographics?

Where do you get your content?

Eileen: That’s where Lisa comes in. She writes incredible articles and blog posts, and then she sends me the blog post. Then I cut as I need to out of it so that it makes an interesting infographic.

Vicki: How do the students respond to these infographics?

Eileen: They love looking around in a classroom at something that’s relevant and visually appealing.

It’s not the teacher’s handwriting plastered all over the walls. It’s something aesthetically pleasing to the eye, and if you’re sitting there staring at a wall for 45 minutes, it’s kind of nice to be staring at something a little more prettier than that.

Vicki: You’ve also gotten an incredible response from educators, because didn’t you make a graphic for some things that George Couros has done? It’s gotten an incredible response. Tell us about that one.

Tell us about your most popular infographic to date

Eileen: (laughs)

Yes. I read his book, as most people have. I was very impressed. It was a profound change in how I was thinking about things. So I realized that if I was going to keep that in front of me, I needed to have it in front of me as an infographic.

I created the infographic really for myself, but I did want to put it on my blog and things like that. I reached out to George and said, “Is it OK if I do this?”

And he said, “Oh, absolutely! I’m going to use it now, too!”

So he pushed it out even more than I did, and now I’m getting people all over the country “liking” that infographic since then.

It’s even gone past that, that he wrote a blog post about how I did ask permission, and I didn’t steal his material, because that had happened to him very often.

So that I asked permission, I cite my source, and took it and recycled it to something that I could use on my wall. So now I come into my room every day and I see almost a little book report I did for that book, reminding me what I need to do in my classroom every day.

Vicki: You know, Eileen, you remind me of what Sylvia Duckworth has done.

Eileen: Yes!

Vicki: I kind of feel like you are to infographics what Sylvia is to Sketchnotes. What do you think about that comparison?

Eileen: Absolutely. I don’t want to step on her toes. She does amazing stuff.

I’m trying to stay in my lane.

Vicki: (laughs)… which is infographics.

But here’s the thing. We all have ways to share visually, don’t we?

Eileen: Yes. Yes, we do.

And I just found that… I have an art background, so this was helping me “scratch that itch” too.

I was able to be a designer and spread my thoughts about teaching a little further.

Vicki: If a teacher wants to start using infographics, either themself or with their students, how do they start?

Where might a teacher start with designing infographics?

Eileen: I would think that even just going into Google Slides or PowerPoint and just facing a small slide first would be easiest and the least intimidating way to go. Take a quote, take an image, and put it all together on a page so that it looks good.

When you start feeling comfortable about the type being this size, and relating it to the picture, then you’re starting to get a sense of design.

So that’s one piece. Then you add another slide to that, and keep working toward a bigger and bigger piece.

Then you can move over to the infographic courses that are online. Piktochart is one of them. Easely is another one, and also Canva. You can choose any of those, and then they have templates so that you wouldn’t feel so intimidated to use from that point on.

But I would say, start with just a slideshow kind of almost index card image to play with, and then grow from there.

Vicki: It’s really easy to end up with a tacky infographic.

Eileen: (laughs)

What pitfalls would you avoid?

Vicki: Do you have any design tips, since you have a design background?

Eileen: (laughs) Yes.

I call it the Ransom Note School of Design.

Vicki: (laughs)

Eileen: Keep your typefaces to about three. You have your heading typeface, an accent or like a caption, and your body text. You don’t need any more than that.

And also colors. It’s not a coloring book. You’re trying to send a message out, and it’s not supposed to hurt the eyes. So keep it to a uniform color so people can recognize the blue is always the headline, or the green is always the captions. You want to give them some visual clues about the information you’re giving to them.

And, don’t cram it all into a menu design. Give the eye a little space to move around. Have one basic focal point as your “catch” and then let the eye drift around the page to find the other information in order of importance.

Vicki: Now just because you use pictures and have text on there doesn’t mean it’s an infographic.

Eileen: (laughs)

Vicki: What’s the purpose of an infographic? (laughs)

Pictures and text alone do not make an infographic. What does?

Eileen: An infographic is to convey a message. Either doing that with actual graphics or with type depends on what you’re trying to say.

But a graphic is always really important on an infographic. It lends some professionalism to it, and you can cram a lot of information into a little graph. So it always helps to have an actual graph on your infographic.

Vicki: You have been doing this for a while. What are some of the top mistakes that you think that educators or or their students make when creating infographics?

What are the top mistakes that new designers make with infographics?

Eileen: They try to cover too much. They put a lot of type on a page.

It’s supposed to be a piece of art, a design. Don’t put paragraphs. Bullet points are really the only way you should go.

And trying to get everything to scream at the same volume is also a big one. Let one thing be what catches your eye, and then as your eye wanders, let each thing be a little bit less important, so that the eye almost knows goes where to go next.

Vicki: Obviously, you’re proud of the infographic that you did for George’s book, Innovator’s Mindset.

Do you have another infographic that you think, “OK, I’m really proud of this…” ?

Do you have another infographic that you are really proud of?

Eileen: Lisa’s blog post recently about school safety. She had gone into a church and reflected on all the things the church was doing to make people feel welcome, and wanted to take some of those ideas and concepts and make schools do the same thing.

So I was thinking of an infographic I could make with a church theme to it. I was thinking of stained glass, and one of the templates on Piktochart had a stained glass feel to it.

That one spoke to me immediately, and it has a peaceful… It got the mood that I was looking for, and not just the information I wanted out. I really like that one.

Vicki: As we finish up, are there any resources that you go to for ideas for your infographics?

What resources would you share for new designers to get inspiration?

Eileen: Like I said, the templates in all three of those websites are really where you can begin and end with inspiration. They have templates for every — education, business, Sweet 16s. They have different categories that you can scour, but they really do provide quite a bit of resources on the sites themselves.

Vicki: Eileen Lennon is an expert on infographics. We are going to be linking to a lot of her resources. Of course Lisa Nielsen does share a lot of these on her blog as well, and we’ll link to that as well.

But I think it’s and important message for us to remember that — people like to say a picture’s worth a thousand words — and you know, an infographic may be worth even more, because it has so much content.

But we are more likely to read things that are more graphically appealing, in today’s modern era.

So if we want to get our message out there, we need to be able to create infographics or Sketchnotes, as we’ve had Sylvia on the show before.

We need to make it appealing and get that message out there. So check out these infographics, and I hope you’ll try it out in your classroom.

Contact us about the show: http://www.coolcatteacher.com/contact/

Transcribed by Kymberli Mulford kymberlimulford@gmail.com

Bio as submitted


Eileen Lennon is part of the team that developed the social media guidelines and resources for the NYC Board of Education. She is Microsoft, Google, and CommonSense certified and moderates the monthly #NYCSchoolsTechChat. Eileen has also guest moderated national Twitter chats such as #EdTechChat, #growthmindset, and #connectedTL. She has presented at various technology conferences, including the NYCDOE Tech Summit, EduCon, and the Tech & Learning Summit. Ms. Lennon was awarded the NYCDOE Excellence in School Technology Award at the annual NYCDOE Tech Summit in July 2016 and the Most Innovative Use of Social Media Awarded at NYC Technology Forum in November 2017. She teaches technology at the Nathaniel Hawthorne Middle School 74 in Bayside, Queens.

Blog: http://mslennonblog.blogspot.com/

Twitter: @eileen_lennon

Disclosure of Material Connection: This is a “sponsored podcast episode.” The company who sponsored it compensated me via cash payment, gift, or something else of value to include a reference to their product. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I believe will be good for my readers and are from companies I can recommend. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.” This company has no impact on the editorial content of the show.

The post Infographics in Education with Eileen Lennon appeared first on Cool Cat Teacher Blog by Vicki Davis @coolcatteacher helping educators be excellent every day. Meow!



From http://www.coolcatteacher.com/e291/
via Vicki Davis at coolcatteacher.com. Please also check out my show for busy teachers, Every Classroom Matters and my Free teaching tutorials on YouTube.

Friday, April 13, 2018

5 Ways to Bring Computational Thinking and STEM Together



Stephanie Zeiger on episode 290 of the 10-Minute Teacher Podcast

From the Cool Cat Teacher Blog by Vicki Davis

Follow @coolcatteacher on Twitter

STEM and Computational Thinking go together. Today’s guest is a PhD, Biomedical engineer and STEM Teacher. Stephanie Zeiger helps us see the potential of STEM and computational thinking.

Legends of Learning has awesome free science games and activities to celebrate earth day on April 22. coolcatteacher.com/earth Check out their NGSS aligned Science games for grades 3-8.

Listen Now

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Enhanced Transcript

5 Ways to Bring Computational Thinking and STEM Together

Link to show: http://www.coolcatteacher.com/e290
Date: April 13, 2018

Vicki: Let’s talk about bringing computational thinking and STEM together with Stephanie Zieger. She works with science and coding at a school in Nashville, Tennessee.

So, Stephanie, what is our first way to bring computational thinking and STEM together?

Stephanie: Well, first, thanks for having me on your show. I was very excited to get contacted by you to talk about this because I’m super excited about it.

The first thing I want to say is that as teachers, you need to know that STEM and computational thinking are not exclusive. In fact, the way scientists and engineers approach problems is very similar to how a computer scientist thinks.

Scientists and engineers approach problems like programmers do

So, for example, when we look at the engineering design process… First, you’re going to identify problems, you’re going to do the research and know what your constraints and criteria are, and that’s going to be something you do whether you’re designing an airplane or an app. You might need to learn some concepts to understand the problem better, but it’s very similar.

Identify problems and do research

When you go and you imagine and brainstorm to think of those solutions, you might need to break down the problem into more manageable parts before you imagine how to even solve it. This is actually called decomposition in computational thinking.

Decompose the problem before brainstorming

Next, you get to plan. Just like an engineer or a scientist, you’re planning out your experiments or designs, you’re going to design an algorithm when you are programming. That’s a step by step way to solve the problem.

Design the algorithm or create your plan

Then last, when we get into the create, test, and we redesign You get to test your design and learn what’s working, what general concept you figured out and what needs to be modified. To redesign, you have to look for those patterns, analyze the data, and figure out what’s responsible for the result. This is similar pattern recognition and abstraction computational thinking.

Create and test and analyze results

Finally, my favorite thing is when you’re coding, and you run that program and it doesn’t work, and you have to debug, you’re actually have to be learning from failure. We know as science teachers, that’s definitely something you’re doing in the science and engineering field.

Debug and modify

Vicki: Wow. So have we already gone through all five now? (laughs)

Stephanie: (laughs) We haven’t!

Vicki: (laughs) OK, so we’ve gone through four. So let’s back up a second.

So first of all, you said, STEM and computational thinking are not exclusive. So some people think, “OK, now we’re going to do science. Now we’re going to do engineering, Now we’re going to do math. And then we’re going to do coding.” So you think all of them can kind of come together, right?

Stephanie: Right. Definitely. I think with the right project design, you can actually incorporate all of these together.

We’ve had some experience with that, and what we’ve found is that it tends to get the students more excited about what they’re doing in the science class. It also really helps them feel like they can change the world when it comes to using STEM and computers.

Vicki: OK, so give me one example of bringing these together, Stephanie.

An example of computational thinking and STEM together

Stephanie: So, in one instance, one of my favorite projects we do has to do with an electricity unit in our seventh grade. We ask students to develop an interactive toy. They are “hired” (laughs) by Mattel — which is just to get them excited — to design an interactive toy.

So students work as mechanical and electrical engineers to learn about circuits, like series and parallel, current and voltage. Then they design a toy that’s going to incorporate a push button, an LED, or a motor.

What we found was that our students were like, “Oh yay! My button works! And the LED works!” But they really want a more interactive toy that does a little bit more than light up or spin. So we took the project to the next level and added in what’s called physical computing.

Now our students are using Arduinos to actually light LEDs in patterns, spin a motor to a certain degree that they want so they get more control over their toy, or actually just even play a song by changing the frequency of sound waves using a buzzer.

So the excitement of this project just grew exponentially. Our students are even more excited when they finally get through that trying things out and finally get a working toy that incorporates Arduino.

Vicki: That’s incredible. And what age are the kids?

 

Stephanie: This was in a seventh grade class.

Vicki: Excellent. OK, so you’ve given us an example of how STEM and computational thinking come together. That’s a fantastic example. It’s obvious that the kids have to do number two, which is planning things out.

Then number three, which is testing and learning and figuring out how to modify.

Let’s park for a second on number four. Now here is a frustration that I see a lot of teachers — or I guess a misstep — that a lot of us make. I did it at first, too. We feel like we have failed as a teacher if it doesn’t work the first time. Do you agree or not?

Stephanie: I do not agree. Are you talking about if the student’s project doesn’t work the first time?

Vicki: I’m saying that sometimes teachers tend to to feel like a failure if the student project doesn’t work the first time, but that’s not really how we should feel, is it?

Stephanie: No. Definitely not. Having been a scientist and an engineer in my previous life before teaching (laughs) I have to say that there’s more failure than success in these fields.

What you want is for student to be like, “OK. That didn’t work, so let’s see what went wrong. Let’s step back and work through it, and see how I can redesign and build a successful prototype.”

We really want to push the process, not the product. We want — even at the end of the project — we want the students to really reflect on where they started and where they ended up. They can see where they’ve grown in their learning.

As a teacher, we don’t want it to work out perfectly, because that’s no fun. The fun part is when we actually teach our students how to persevere and problem solve when things don’t work.

It’s no fun if it works out perfectly the first time

That’s where debugging comes in with computational thinking, and where in science and engineering it’s just a natural part of those types of jobs.

Vicki: Well, and I’ve seen teachers who’ve done things like, “OK, design a building, and I’m going to cause an earthquake to happen. See if you can keep it from falling down.” Or putting some stress on it, so it’s an actual competition for it, I guess, to hold up in some way.

Stephanie: Right. We do a bridge project with some of our students in our classroom. We intentionally make the bridge fail. We put on as much as we can until it breaks. The reason we do that is we want them to go back and redesign and figure out how they can improve it. That’s a very important part of the process.

I would encourage teachers to find ways for students to have projects that aren’t always going to work out perfectly, and then help model to them how they problem solve and work through that. Students tend to think failure is a bad word. In my line of work, I actually think it’s a great word. (laughs)

Vicki: So is that our fifth, to help model how to problem solve, or is it something else?

Stephanie: Well, I had some more, but… (laughs)

Vicki: OK! Give us some more!

Stephanie: (laughs) Alright!

I did want to point out that part of when you are modeling… so let’s just model… I always give an example for computational thinking. When students can realize how much STEM goes into computer generation or animation or games, they can use programming to design their own animation of a STEM concept, such as how to get to a rocket’s velocity or angle of projection accurate so that it can make it to the moon.

There are resources like code.org, CS Discovery’s curriculum, or MIT’s Scratch program that can be really useful for teachers to create a project that allows the students to express their creativity while using programming and modeling to deepen their understanding of the scientific concept.

We’ve applied this across several projects, including one that’s been done in our history classes, where the students actually wrote code to model Greek mythology (laughs) as they were learning about the gods and goddesses.

Vicki: Awesome. So we’ve talked about a lot of ways to bring computational thinking and STEM together.

Stephanie, let’s finish up with a short 30-second pitch on why these two things belong together. Why do computational thinking and STEM belong together?

Stephanie: So computational thinking and STEM belong together because they’re really going to complement each other in helping your students become more STEM knowledgeable. I want to encourage teachers that while you can see the benefits of computational thinking, you might be overwhelmed to know even where to start.

So reach out to the Computer Science Teachers Association. Membership is free! They have great resources. Just jump in. Step out of your comfort zone. Be the student, and just try to program. You’ll be amazed at how much you grow in your learning, and the new perspective you’ll have about your students as they’re learning STEM concepts.

Step out of your comfort zone

Vicki: I totally agree, because I know when I first helped kids make video games in Scratch, it scared me. I know when I first helped kids make apps, it scared me. When we first got Arduinos, it scared me.

Stephanie: (laughs)

Vicki: It’s kind of scary and nerve-wracking, but these are things you can do. So get out and try and experiment and be a creator along with your students.

Stephanie: Yes. I completely agree with that.

Contact us about the show: http://www.coolcatteacher.com/contact/

Transcribed by Kymberli Mulford kymberlimulford@gmail.com

Bio as submitted


Stephanie Zeiger is an engineer and scientist that has embraced bringing the world of STEM to students of all ages. She has undergraduate degrees in nuclear engineering and a PhD in biomedical engineering where she first learned to code. As a research assistant professor at Vanderbilt University, she became involved in many STEM educational outreach programs and found a passion for teaching science. Today, she is an instructor with the Vanderbilt Programs for Talented Youth and a Harpeth Hall School science teacher where she teaches and develops STEM curriculum including multiple coding classes that emphasize computational thinking.

Disclosure of Material Connection: This is a “sponsored podcast episode.” The company who sponsored it compensated me via cash payment, gift, or something else of value to include a reference to their product. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I believe will be good for my readers and are from companies I can recommend. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.” This company has no impact on the editorial content of the show.

The post 5 Ways to Bring Computational Thinking and STEM Together appeared first on Cool Cat Teacher Blog by Vicki Davis @coolcatteacher helping educators be excellent every day. Meow!



From http://www.coolcatteacher.com/e290/
via Vicki Davis at coolcatteacher.com. Please also check out my show for busy teachers, Every Classroom Matters and my Free teaching tutorials on YouTube.
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