Family time over the holidays can be a wonderful thing. And if you’re lucky, you’ll get to spend time with nieces and nephews, or grandchildren, while their parents are busy cooking, tending the fire, and generally bustling around entertaining you and others.
So get ready! Here’s a helpful list of interactive apps to share with the children in your life over the holidays. The list was created by four Harvard Graduate School of Education students at the Harvard Family Research Project--Karen Dunham, Laura Alves, Chalatwan Chattrabhuti, and Babe Liberman—who want to get word out. Check out their list of educational apps (PDF) in these categories. (All are free or inexpensive.)
The choices will take you from an Alien Assignment (Fred Rogers Center), to “Creatures of Light” (American Museum of Natural History), to WordGirl Superhero Training (PBS Kids).
Which apps appeal to you? What others would you add to the list? Let us know!
As teachers we’re always on the alert for tech tools that will benefit our students—from creating podcasts, to writing and creating images, to honing study skills. But what about our well-being? After all, we are easier to be with and more effective when we’re channeling our higher selves—rather than that stressed-out imposter who sometimes stands in for us.
Here are some apps for you to take a look at--for you. Yes you! Carve out a few minutes of your busy day to take a look. Maybe one or two will inspire a few New Year’s Resolutions. That’s what I’m thinking anyway. . .
Maybe you truly want to work out, but getting to the gym before or after school is tough. But what if you could turn your smart phone into a personal trainer. Check out Nike+ Training Club, and choose a workout according to how much time you can spare (15 minutes? 45 minutes?). You can also work toward a long-term goal. Reviewers have given Nike+ high marks for cardiovascular endurance and working up a sweat (read: burn calories) (free; some workouts call for dumbbells).
Another highly-rated workout app is Fitness Buddy. This is for you if you’re into building muscle and strength training. You can try out 300 exercises and full exercise routines before deciding whether you want to invest (99-cents and free to begin with).
This is a tough one for me, especially when life gets super busy and chocolate frozen yogurt seems more appealing than trying to whip up a kale salad. But for the past few months I’ve been using MyFitnessPal, an app that not only helps you count calories and keep a food journal, but also sends you email messages on topics such as workout routines you can do in five minutes and slimmed-down recipes for the foods you crave (turkey, apple, & chutney sandwich, anyone?). It’s helping me think in new ways.
Getting Your Head Together
When life gets frantic, why not take a few minutes to meditate your way back to a calm and focused state? Let a Tibetian Buddhist monk be your guide, teaching you various techniques. With Headspace you can try 10 free tutorials to set you on the path to serenity. After that you can pay a monthly or yearly fee to continue ($13; and $96 respectively).
Similarly, the Mindfulness app is all about brining you an inner calm through guided meditation. The goal? Meditating for 20 minutes a day to help you be “more present” in your life ($1.99).
What apps have you found that has made your life calmer? Healthier? More joyful? How has a positive frame of mind impacted your teaching? Let us know!
In our roles as international consultants, Nic and I recently gave a talk at the Learning & the Brain Conference in Boston, USA. I was there in person and Nicole provided her part through the magic of video(filmed from the UK). The title? “TechnoTeaching: Digital Literacy in the 21st Century.”
We loved having the opportunity to connect with so many smart and creative TechnoTeachers from all over the U.S., Canada, and other points on the globe.
Here’s one of the themes we presented: Finding yourself on the TechnoTeaching (TT) continuum. The idea was to give people a chance to reflect on where they are in the TT curve, where their colleagues are, and how everyone can step up their practice.
As far as what it means to be a TechnoTeacher, I explained about three key continuum elements - skills & tools, content, and mindset—and how, ideally, all three work together. In fact, we think this synergy is the single most important goal for teachers becoming TTs. For skills & tools, TTs uses a variety of edtech and other digital tools with ease. They help students learn the skills and acquire the necessary tools. For content, TTs integrate technology in a deliberate manner to engage student with the curriculum—a type of engagement would not be possible without the tools. And mindset—this is key. It’s all about a teacher’s worldview. TTs, I explained, embrace the use of technology and are willing to take risks. They are willing to take part in continuous learning and reflection for one major goal: helping students become global learners.
I hope this message was clear, and that it helped people deepen their understanding about their own skills & tools, content, and mindset.
So, here are our prototypes based on real teachers in real classrooms.
Three Prototypical TechnoTeachers: Which One Are You?
Meet TechnoNO! Melissa. Here’s a quick thumbnail sketch (above) for Melissa (much more in our book on all 3 prototypes—their dreams, fears, and how they learn to challenge themselves as teachers.
Next we presented TechnoMaybe Zayid.
Last, we presented TechnoYES! Jasmine. She is our rock star. Except that Jasmine needs to screw up her courage and take on a leadership role. In a nutshell, here’s Jasmine.
So, reader, while we had time to set the stage for this type of discussion, we didn’t have enough time to compare notes with the audience. We also didn’t get to hear their views on the skills & tools, content, and mindset of our TTs and themselves. And ours was the last talk after three intensive days, so people were a little fried. . . understandably. But maybe some of our TechnoTeachers who follow our blog will write in to tell us about the characteristics of the teachers they work with—and where they themselves are on the TT continuum! So, which type of TT are you?
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This is where Jules and Nic will post articles, links to interesting sites and things that we think our TechnoTeachers will like.