Monday, October 31, 2011

Middle School App Developers!

Check out the attached article.  Apparently the Girl Scouts may have to come up with the a new badge for "App Developer."  Grace, age 12, and Lindsey, age 13 developed an app to help their teachers grade tests more efficiently.  I wonder if they can come up with something to help with my golf game?

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Out With Textbooks, in With Laptops for an Indiana School District

Check out this article in the New York Times about the Munster School System in Indiana and their complete textbook/laptop transformation.  In the words of a seventh grader:

“With a textbook, you can only read what’s on the pages — here you can click on things and watch videos,” said Patrick Wu, a seventh grader. “It’s more fun to use a keyboard than a pencil. And my grades are better because I’m focusing more.”

Or how about the words of the District Director of Instruction and Assessment:

Ms. Stafford, 62, has long planned to retire in 2013, and noted in an interview that it would have been far easier for her, and many others in Munster, to stay with print textbooks for another few years. But when Indiana made multimedia an option, she felt she had no other. “This wasn’t a technology initiative — this was a curriculum initiative,” Ms. Stafford said. “The best programs out there needed the technology required to implement it. It was time.”

No offense Ms. Stafford, but I'm glad to see old dogs (like us) can learn new tricks.  You go girl.

You can read the whole piece at:

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

The World According to Steve Jobs - 7 Core Principles

Talk about sage advice from a true visionary.  In, The Innovation Secrets of Steve Jobs, author Carmine Gallo outlines Steve Jobs' 7 core principles:
Principle 1: “Do What You Love” – Jobs followed his heart his entire life, and that, he says, has made all the difference.
Principle 2: “Put a Dent in the Universe” – Jobs attracted like-minded people who shared his vision and who helped turn his ideas into world-changing innovations.
Principle 3: “Kick-Start Your Brain” – Innovation does not exist without creativity, and for Jobs, creativity is the act of connecting things.
Principle 4: “Sell Dreams, Not Products” – [People who buy Apple products] have dreams, hopes, and ambitions. Jobs built products to help them fulfill their dreams.
Principle 5: “Say No to 1,000 Things” – Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication. . . Innovation means eliminating the unnecessary so that the necessary may speak.
Principle 6: “Create Insanely Great Experiences” – Make deep, lasting emotional connections [between the innovation and customers]. 
Principle 7: “Master the Message” – You can have the most innovative idea in the world, but if you cannot get people excited about it, your innovation doesn’t matter.
 To read more go to:

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Steve Jobs' Vision for Teachers

I came across this article written by two educators, Patrick Ledesma and Laura Reasoner Jones.  Read their take on Steve Jobs' contributions to the field of education.  He was about so much more than IPod, IPad, and IPhone.  I don't know what to call it, I-Imagination, I-Innovation?  Who in the world is going to fill his shoes?  Or at the very least, who is going to keep the Apple rolling?  Look around your classrooms.  The next Steve Jobs is likely sitting right there in front of you.  What are you going to do today to foster his or her creativity, curiosity, inquisitiveness, and imagination?  No pressure....

Friday, October 21, 2011

Maryland GT Conference Presentations

As promised, here are the Power Points from our morning session at this year's Maryland Educators of Gifted Students (MEGS) Annual Conference in Baltimore.  Our next presentation will be at the Chicago Metro Association for the Education of Young Children annual conference in Chicago this January.  We'll also be presenting at the Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development (ASCD) Annual Conference in Philadelphia this coming March. Thanks for all of your positive feedback on our work, or should we say the work of our children.

Harry Walker's Opening Segment:"

Jen Pfeiffer's segment on Internet Searches:"

Kay Antley's Fifth Grade Inquiry Project:"

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Have You Met Siri Yet?

Naysayers, say what you will, but my newly hired Personal Assistant, Siri,  is pretty amazing.  She's not perfect, but neither is any assistant I've had in the past.  What a cool final chapter in the Book of Jobs. This is down right scary technology and I am so thrilled to have it in my pocket.  Did I mention the 4S is super fast?  Almost fast enough for me.  Still waiting in line at the Apple Store?  Hang in there.  It's well worth it.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Maryland Educators of Gifted Students Conference

Our IPod Team will be presenting this coming Friday, October 21st at the annual Maryland Educators of Gifted Students Conference (MEGS) Conference - Cultivating Creative Minds.  The link for the conference is -  This year's conference is being held at Catonsville High School in Baltimore.  If you are in attendance please stop by and check out our session entitled, "IPods and Inquiry-Real Questions in Real Time."  If you are interested in checking out our work, I will be posting our conference presentation on Friday afternoon or evening.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

The One-To-One Institute - Who Knew?

I recently stumbled across the website, "One-To-One Institute."  In their own words:

"One-to-One Institute grew out of Michigan’s successful, statewide one-to-one initiative, Freedom to Learn.  One-to-One Institute is a national non-profit committed to igniting 21st century education through the implementation of one-to-one technology in K-12 settings.  Our mission is to transform education. We believe that by personalizing learning through universal, uninterrupted access to technology students will take ownership of their learning and maximize their potential."

That's what I want to be when I grow up....

Check them out at:

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Engage Me!

Who can we count on to make the best case for increasing the use of technology in our classrooms?  The students of course!  Check out this video with messages from the kids at The Robin Hood School in Birmingham, England.  Share this video with anyone who has any decision making powers in your school, district, state, or country.  If we don't listen to them, they won't be listening to us very much longer....

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Ready or not....

Are you ready for the kid in this video?  Are your teachers?  Lets hope so, because ready or not here they come....

Check out "You can't be my teacher."

Friday, October 14, 2011

Implementing a One-to-One or BYOD Program

I ran across this article in School CIO and thought I would share with folks who are in the process of planning (or thinking about, or hoping to or praying for funding in order to) a one-to-one mobile computing program or a "BYOD" program.  Check it out.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

A New Kind of Textbook Experience? IPads in Vegas

The Clark County school system in Las Vegas is rolling out an IPad project to enrich and individualize the Algebra I experience for 1150 high school students.  While I am not familiar with the Algebra application they have purchased, it does sound intriguing.  I can't believe more publishers haven't jumped in yet to get a piece of the IPie.  Hopefully what happens in Vegas spreads across the country.  Stay tuned...

Ode to Steve Jobs

While credited with changing the world, and rightfully so, these words shared by Steve at a commencement speech at Stanford capture what I choose to remember most about his amazing spirit.  What if we could all live our lives in this manner?  Most people don;t know that there are angles who's job is to make sure you don't fall asleep and miss your life.  What's holding you back? 

Steve Jobs - "Your time is limited, so don't waste it living someone else's life.  Don't be trapped by dogma - which is living with the results of other people's thinking.  Don't let the noise of others' opinions drown out your inner voice.  And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition,  They somehow already know what you truly want to become.  Everything else is secondary."  

To view his entire address click here:

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Teachers Evaluate IPads

So how do early adopter teachers feel about IPads in the classroom?  I wasn't surprised to hear the range of opinions about how teachers viewed the integration of IPads into their classrooms.  It's a shift in thinking and in practice, unfortunately for some a quantum shift.  Three things really bothered me.  Te article is listed under the heading "Gadgets and Games" - Really, gadgets?  Second, the author talks about a "fad factor" - Really, you mean this might all go away? Third, to the teacher in Arlington who is quoted, "The community we have here, you have reading levels that are very low."  I hope you are able to hang on to your job.  Your community (including your principal) should be up in arms.  Lots of folks have commented on the piece.  What you are you thinking?

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Am I Old or What?

So the other day, one of my third graders had misplaced her jacket and came up to me inquiring where she could find the "Lost and Found." We had recently moved our Lost and Found to a small booth in the hallway that used to house a pay telephone, years since removed.  I told her to look in the room down the hall where the pay phone used to be.  She look up at me with a confused look and said, "Mr. Walker, what's a pay phone?"  Were the days before mobile technology really that long ago?  Uh, yes.

Saturday, October 1, 2011