How Teens Are Really Using Social Media

A lot of kids are using social media these days, and even if that isn’t surprising to you, it may be surprising to you just how many of them are using it and just how much. Leveraging these popular social media tools in the classroom is a no-brainer: everything from Twitter and Facebook all the way to Instagram have found their way into lesson plans across the globe. Whether you’re using all of the social media sites, some of them, or none of them at all, chances are that your students are using them. 

The handy infographic below takes a look at the social media use of teens and tweens: What platforms are they using and how much? What is appropriate for them?

Read More: Category: Links of interest

Why Homework Matters

As an elementary/middle school teacher, I hear constant complaints about the issue of homework. There are valid points against overdoing it and even studies that suggest, in some cases, it doesn’t always help. There’s a big difference between busy work and assignments that are meaningful. Some researchers, like Sara Bennett and Nancy Kalish, propose that homework is a hidden cause of childhood obesity. Others, like Alfie Kohn, believe that the quality and quantity of assignments done at home should be addressed, pronto. So, why do students today still have to do this archaic activity?


Homework: Good or Bad?

Although some teachers assign busy work, that is not always the case. Often times, the assignments students bring home are

Read More: Category: Links of interest

A Ray of Hope … from the past? | DownHouseSoftware


Exploring the universe with lego

Some good news from The New Yorker this week…

First, the (nearly) nonagenarian magazine is opening up a large part of its archives to non-subscribers. A look into this library can be found here.

Second, Andy Borowitz reports that once, this nation actually believed in science. That’s right, these United States supported and the advancement of science as a public good. We have to wind back the clock to a time not so long ago, when science had a convergence of basic and applied goals. The public was rallying behind a space race to the moon (we chose the moon as the finish line because it was the only time we were ahead), while

Read More: Category: Links of interest

Computer Science Teacher: One semi colon away from disaster

At a recent workshop Alexander Repenning said that sometimes teaching programming is “one semi colon away from disaster.” How true that is. Minor syntax issues, especially when dealing with beginners, can make a program look like a complete disaster.

Last school year I had more than a few students come close to panic when a compiler reported dozes, scores or even hundreds of errors. Typically adding a semi colon or a curly brace in the right place made most of the errors “go away.” The words “in the right place” are bold for a reason. At times is seems as though beginners start putting in semi colons or curly braces closely to random locations in hopes of making the errors go away. Sometimes the syntax errors go away

Read More: Category: Links of interest

Take in your environment – Writing Tips using Observation | Starr Sackstein, MJE, NBCT

Observation is a tool that allows the writer to employ his/her 5 senses to convey a message to the reader that engages through imagery.

Observation is a tool that allows the writer to employ his/her 5 senses to convey a message to the reader that engages through imagery.

Nose pickers. Seriously in thought. Masked by sunglasses. Rockers, air drumming or singing really loudly.

I like to watch people while they drive. I’m not a stalker or anything, I just really enjoy observing people while they don’t realize anyone is watching. They are the most authentic moments to capture, free of self-consciousness, no judgement.

Constructing full stories

Read More: Category: Links of interest

10 top tips on how schools can use social media | Teacher Network | Guardian Professional

1. Always keep the school’s vision in mind

Base much of what you say and do through social media on your school’s existing goals and aspirations. Some of the impact you’ll be looking to make will be practical and measurable (parents should get event invitations more reliably than they would via a written letter, for example), while some will be aspirational (championing your school’s ethos and values).

2. Get support from senior leadership

This is critical. Headteachers, deputies and business managers are well placed to speak as the school’s voice with families. Schools benefit initially from going for a single “voice”, even though more than one person may be contributing; in the first year we suggest activity on social media comes from school leadership while

Read More: Category: Technology lInk of the day

How Homework Works In Finland (Hint: There Isn’t Any)

When we talk about how our education system is failing our students, there are a lot of different options presented on how to ‘fix’ it. Everyone has an answer, a promising new way of thinking, a potential magic bullet. Inevitably, we also examine school systems that are working as a part of investigating what to do or not to do with our own.

And one of those that is working and is almost always mentioned is Finland. Their students regularly top the charts on global education metrics despite a lack of homework and more away-from-the-desk time during the school day. No homework is a pretty drastic measure in most people’s minds, so how does it work?

The handy infographic below takes a look at why

Read More: Category: Links of interest

Drew Berry: Animations of unseeable biology | Talk Video |

We have no ways to directly observe molecules and what they do — Drew Berry wants to change that. In this talk, he shows his scientifically accurate (and entertaining!) animations that help researchers see unseeable processes within our own cells.

(Filmed at TEDxSydney.)

Read More: Category: Links of interest

How Technology Is Helping Students Take Ownership Of Their Work

As a teacher who has been using technology in my various learning environments for the past seven years, I pride myself in never doing the same project twice. When I taught high school physics two years ago, I was guilty of doing too much of the work for my students.

I had just begun using iBooks Author so I would spend hours creating fancy units of study for my physics students. If they made an iMovie or a Keynote I would certain bundle that material in the book; however I was still doing most of the hard work. Also, the audience who viewed the book was limited to the four walls of my classroom.

The fact that I did not allow my students to extend and expand their learning beyond

Read More: Category: Links of interest