How to Manage Educational Assets More Effectively

WaspWP200x300A robust asset management system should allow users to detail and retrieve relevant asset data whenever needed. Unfortunately, many schools and districts continue to use tracking methods that are outdated and cumbersome, resulting in lost time and money.

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Transforming learning with physical spaces

Physical environments have a large impact on student learning, research says

learning-spacesSchool leaders implement new technology initiatives and update teaching and learning goals regularly, but sometimes, the actual physical learning spaces in districts are overlooked.

Today, more and more research points to the increased student achievement and engagement resulting from redesigning learning spaces to be more flexible and collaborative.

Redesigning physical learning spaces can contribute to “brain-friendly learning,” said A.J. Juliani, education and technology innovation specialist in Pennsylvania’s Upper Perkiomen School District, during an Alliance for Excellent Education webinar on learning space design. In a brain-friendly classroom, “the space is flexible [and] mobile. [It’s] a place where students can get up and move around—where learning processes occur.”

(Next page: Experts and educators weigh in on learning space design)

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How music can inspire strong student writing and discussion

ELA teacher Nathan Garvin describes how he uses music to elicit ‘creative, deep, and original writing’ in his classroom

music-student-writingOn the first day of school, I give my students a pep talk. My goals for the year are laid out. I tell them I expect them to leave my class better writers and more careful readers. But beyond that, and more importantly to me, I want them to leave as better people.

I want them to walk away as young adults who are able to problem solve, empathize with others, think out of the box, and be prepared to contribute to society. I put my usual sarcasm aside for a day and get all inspirational. It’s my Michelle-Pfeiffer-in-Dangerous-Minds moment.

There’s another goal, however, that I don’t tell them. It’s part of a diabolical year-long mission. I call it musical indoctrination. My taste in music is pretty much the exact opposite of theirs. They like bad music; I like good music. I have one year to plant the seeds that hopefully will bloom into a more refined musical palate. I do this by using songs I like in class.

Music is a natural fit in the English/Language Arts classroom. You can find narratives to discuss and poetry to analyze. Themes, mood, tone, and plenty of other literary topics are also set to music. Words alone are powerful, but when combined with the right music, students are able to connect with them on a deeper level. It can also inspire them in their writing.

Pitch-perfect journal prompts

One way I use music in my classroom is for journal writing prompts. I want my students to love writing. My hope is that they’ll enjoy writing the longer essays I assign, but we have to build up to that point. Students typically come into my class carrying some kind of emotional baggage from prior writing experiences. They say it’s just not something they do well or that they’ve always hated. So I start with smaller journal writings that will build confidence. My goal is to cultivate a love for writing over time.

(Next page: Garvin’s favorite journal prompt—and how he uses a learning management system to facilitate discussion and reflection after this exercise)

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Build learning networks with eduClipper

edu-clippereduClipper is born out of the educational need for teachers and students to have a better platform to explore, share, and contribute resources and materials to help enhance teaching and learning of both a formal and personal nature.

Founded by an educator and educational technologist, Adam Bellow, eduClipper aims to make it simple to help students and educators save time, build personal learning networks, and begin to shift the culture of assessment to be more holistic and include the wonderfully amazing work that students and teachers are creating in the classroom.

eduClipper has been built with special consideration for teachers, students, and schools, and is always open to ways that we can work to improve.

Create clips and organize them into clipboards that show off the great work you can do or resources others can learn from.

Using eduClipper’s groups feature, teachers can more easily differentiate instruction and send resources to a particular group of colleagues or students while providing others with different resources.

Groups of learners can also collaborate on eduClipboards together to create authentic groupwork or allow user-interest or need-based collaborations.

eduClipper makes it easy for teachers to create virtual classes for their students. These classes allow teachers to provide assignments, create differentiated groups, and so much more.

eduClipper gives teachers lots of controls and options to make the platform open and safe for students at the same time.

eduClipper allows teachers to create dynamic assignments using providing their students with eduClips to serve as a reference or resource. Students then create new work, attach it to the assignment and the teacher is notified and can provide valid feedback to them by recording a video or audio clip, presenting them with a badge, written feedback, or a plain old grade.

Being part of a class automatically creates a class portfolio through which teachers can create assignments for students and students can track their work throughout the year. But we don’t think just storing work is all that helpful, we encourage our users to share the best work they have done as part of a portfolio that can be open to feedback from their peers or the world.

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TechSmith Fuse Helps Chiswick School Compile Video Content in Mere Minutes

TechSmith eSN 200x300Renaldo Lawrence needed a more efficient way to help teachers communicate with parents of students at his school. Using Camtasia and the accompanying TechSmith Fuse app, Renaldo and his teachers are able to create informative videos to be used in interactive eBooks and digital magazines that show parents exactly what their child is learning at school. By doing so, Renaldo and the teachers he supports have greatly enhanced the flow of information between the school, teachers, and parents.

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Key strategies for tablet success

Educators outline approaches to supporting tablet implementation for teaching and learning

tablet-strategiesIt seems tablets are in more classrooms, in more districts, each day. But as experience shows, simply purchasing and distributing tablets doesn’t mean students will be more engaged with their learning, and it doesn’t guarantee teachers will embrace tech-enabled instruction.

Implementing tablets and leveraging the tools to support teaching and learning goals might be easier with the right approach, according to Doug Fisher, professor of educational leadership at San Diego State University and teacher leader at Health Sciences High; Nancy Frey, professor of educational leadership at San Diego State University and teacher leader at Health Sciences High; and Alex Gonzales, technology leader at Health Sciences High.

These three educators have devised a model they call the gradual release of responsibility (GRR) model, which imparts both instructional strategies and technology tips for educators planning for, deploying, and integrating tablets into classrooms.

(Next page: The GRR model in action)

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