Where do we teach email?

Where do we teach email?

You know how somedays you look through your PLN feeds and you can’t find anything really interesting? That was yesterday for me…but then there was today…. Here’s one…. Google Embeds Engineers as Professors A great article on how different tech companies are taking different approaches to get minority students at all levels more involved in tech related fields. Google’s approach is interesting….taking some of their engineers and using them as professors…is Google trying to tell us something about the professors that teach these courses? Is what is being taught not what tech companies are looking for? Maybe…..but then I started reading this article and I can’t help but be frustrated by what is being taught at a university level that should be being taught in elementary through high school. Let’s start with this: They taught introductory courses, but they also trained students on everything from how to send a professional email to how to make it through a software engineering job interview, which can involve a lot of time solving coding questions at a white board. Two questions for you to ponder: 1. Where are we teaching students to “send a professional email“? Isn’t this a skill that can be taught? Should be taught starting in elementary school? Our society today is an email society….so why is there no where in any school curriculum a place where email writing (for a variety of purposes and audiences) is being taught to students? What does this need to REPLACE in our writing curriculum? 2. Solving questions on a white board and being able to talk through the process with others. Do we have students talk through the process of solving their problems? “Please make sure you show your work” is not the same as “Can you please solve this problem for us and explain what you are doing as you do it…what are you thinking, where might you get stuck…what do you do when you do get stuck? Two questions I’m asking myself today. Actually the first question I have been asking schools lately. Everyone agrees we should be teaching students to send emails, to write emails for a variety of audiences but I have not found a school that is REPLACING this type of writing in their curriculum. It’s not even replacing the skill really…it’s changing the medium. Write a letter to mom and dad or write an email to...

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10 Ways to Use Google Maps in the Classroom

10 Ways to Use Google Maps in the Classroom

Google Maps has been out for 10 years now. Digital maps…starting with Mapquest has been out since 1996 (technically 1993 but mapquest was the first main stream map most people remember). For those of you keeping track that puts us almost 20 years into the digital mapping word. 20 years we have been using digital maps and yet for some reason digital maps have not replaced (there’s that word again) mapping in our schools. In 2007…8 years ago now….Apple put a map in our pocket. Fast forward to 2015 and almost everyone has a digital map in their pocket. Pilots now fly with iPads, ship captains now navigate with GPS and digital maps. Truck drivers now drive via digital maps and GPS location. So basically every professional that needs to use maps is using digital maps. I’m not saying we need to stop teaching how to read a paper map…but really…that should be 10% of the mapping work a student does not 99%. With that in mind here are 10 ways you could use Google Maps in the classroom. 1. Latitude Longitude Scavenger Hunts You remember learning about Latitude and Longitude right? Well, in a paper map world it’s a place that is “kind of there” where your two fingers meet. In a digital world it’s a specific location. This allows us to do some fun stuff and learn about Latitude and Longitude at the same time. What do these three places have in common? 24.007233, 38.210118 31.204263, 121.281686 46.986944,-123.812859 Then maybe you have students go to the opposite hemisphere from where these places are and see what’s there. Is this math looking at x y axis and how we divide our world? Or is this social studies and looking at landmarks? Or is this English and we have the settings of the books we have read? Or is it History and we’re comparing and contrasting battle sites. In a digital mapping world Latitude and Longitude mean more than where your fingers meet…it’s a very exact location. Google Sightseeing blog: View some of the great images from around the world 2. Earth Picker Earth Picker is a fun and addicting game. If you click on the link kiss the next 30 minutes of your life goodbye. The game reminds me a bit of Carmen Sandiego back in the day. Only in this game you need to be able to “read...

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Replacing Skills

Replacing Skills

I haven’t been blogging here much as my time has been spent working with teachers in their schools, Learning2 and COETAIL…which I love! Replace is my new word of choice when talking about the skills of technology.  I have done the word dance on this blog. Going from integrate, to embed and now to replace. However, I think it’s just the progression of adoption of any new way of thinking any new skill set as we reach a new level. A level where we need to start replacing the skills we use to teach with new skills that must be taught. The standards haven’t changed….the tools and skills have and we need to make sure we’re updating the skills to match the needs of our students. Here in Washington State our new state assessment is done on a computer. Typing has finally become more important than cursive writing. It must replace cursive writing and maybe even most writing done by students. Many schools are now complaining that students are doing poorly on the test because they don’t have the computer skills needed to even navigate the test software. So now we need to replace navigating a book with navigating a website. I wonder in how many schools these skills have been replaced? I have been focusing my trainings on this idea. A standard is a standard I say….but the skill and tool to reach that standard has changed. Let’s look at a couple of examples. Maps: Digital maps are replacing paper maps in our society as a whole. From your captain on an airplane to your captain of a ship. We’re relying on digital maps more and more. With pretty much everyone walking around with one in their pockets today I’m wondering why we are not replacing the paper mapping skills with digital mapping skills? The skills are different. A paper map doesn’t zoom, a digital maps doesn’t have longitude and latitude lines. A paper map defaults to North being at the top. A digital map can be changed to either North as being up or the way you happen to be facing. A paper map you kind of know where you are, a digital map you know exactly where you are (within 30 feet and if you have GPS of course). If you still want to teach the skills of a paper map….I don’t have an issue with that. But I do hope...

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