Wednesday, November 30, 2011

21st Century ABC's

Well, with all the talk about 21st Century Skills, it was only a matter of time before someone updated the  ABC chart.  For you tradtionalists, "A" still stands for "Apple."  Check it out.  I'm not a big fan of "cute", but couldn't resist posting this."

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Evaluation Rubric for IPod/IPad Apps

Given the popularity of the Evaluation Rubric for IPod & IPad Apps I created last year, I am putting a direct link to a PDF of the rubric on my site (not that you shouldn't visit Tony Vincent's Learning in Hand site - it's great!).  While originally designed for IPod apps, of course it works with IPad apps as well.  In fact any mobile technology apps, including android apps, can be evaluated using this rubric.  Thanks for all of the positive feedback on this tool.  It's pretty much gone viral."

Monday, November 28, 2011

MIssIssIppI - A state with so many I's was bound to adopt IPods and IPads

Here is a story about several school systems in Mississippi who have adopted IPods and IPads.  While several have gone all in in terms of adopting the use of mobile technologies, it's interesting to hear one school system's leader who is still "looking into piloting the implementation of IPods in areas that we feel will benefit the students." While some kids are using the latest technologies everyday in one district, another district right next door talks about the use of technology to reach and engage students as being part of "the future educational experience."  No, you're wrong!  It's part of their current educational experience, just not for the 7 1/2 hours they are in YOUR schools.

Friday, November 25, 2011

Top Mobile Devices (Besides Apple, of course)

Melissa Delaney sent me the following link for readers of our blog who might be interested in their mobile device reviews.  It looks like everyone is still trying to catch Apple.  No small task!  You can read their reviews here: 

On a side note, I'm thinking about purchasing some wireless low end tablets (less than $100) and having my kids test drive them.  Anyone with suggestions, please email me at  All I am looking for is an easy to use interface and surfability.  I'll keep you posted.

Happy Black Friday.  It's crazy out there!

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

How Young is Too Young?

Here is an excerpt from a report entitled "Zero to Eight:  Children's Media Use in America"  The report is  complied by Common Sense Media. 

COMPUTERS. Computer use is pervasive among very young children, with half (53%) of all 2- to 4-year- olds having ever used a computer, and nine out of ten (90%) 5- to 8-year-olds having done so. For many of these children, computer use is a regular occurrence: 22% of 5- to 8-year-olds use a computer at least once a day, and another 46% use it at least once a week. Even among 2- to 4-year-olds, 12% use a computer every day, with another 24% doing so at least once a week. Among all children who have used a computer, the average age at first use was just 3 ½ years old.

MOBILE MEDIA. Half (52%) of all children now have access to one of the newer mobile devices at home: either a smartphone (41%), a video iPod (21%), or an iPad or other tablet device (8%).
More than a quarter (29%) of all parents have down- loaded "apps" (applications used on mobile devices) for their children to use. And more than a third (38%) of children have ever used one of these newer mobile devices, including 10% of 0- to 1-year-olds, 39% of 2- to 4-year-olds, and 52% of 5- to 8-year-olds.  In a typical day, 11% of all 0- to 8-year olds use a cell phone, iPod, iPad, or similar device for media consumption, and those who do spend an average of 43 minutes doing so.

Here is where you can find the full report:

It makes for some interesting reading and further supports the fact that we need to be doing a heck of a lot more with technology in our schools. 

Monday, November 21, 2011

Alternatives to IPads?

So as much as I am pretty much an AppleGuy, I'm starting to wonder, are there cheaper "tablets" out there that we could be using to supplement our IPods and IPads as we all have to deal with our incredible shrinking budgets?  I found this comparison online.  I'm thinking about test driving a few.

On a related note, Kobo just announced a $99 e reader.  The drawback - ads!  I put up with them to get Pandora (also because I'm cheap and refuse to pay for the ad free version).  I don't know, maybe the ads won't distract the kids too much?  They are pretty good at filtering out information given how overloaded their worlds are.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Results From a 4 year 1-to-1 Laptop Initiative

Here's some more ammo for innovative folks trying to convince those not so innovative decision making folks about the benefits of providing access to technology for every student, every day, all day.  Check out this interview of the Chief Technology Officer from the Mooresville Graded School District in North Carolina: 

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Steve Jobs Is In The House!

Okay, it's not really Steve Jobs, but you have to check out this sixth grader, Tom Suarez, from Los Angeles, who might just be Steve's clone.  What a remarkable kid. You absolutely have to check out this short video of a Ted presentation he recently did.  Tell me it doesn't give you the shivers.  Enjoy.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

I'm Famous, Well Sort Of...Journal of Special Education Technology Article

Not one to toot my own horn, (yeah right!), I just had a piece published in the most recent edition of the Journal of Special Education Technology (JSET) volume 26 #4.  It's entitled, Evaluating the Effectiveness of Apps for Mobile Devices.  If you are a TAM member, check out the article online.  If not, I will try to post it in the coming days.  EmBedit is not being very cooperative tonight!!!!

Monday, November 14, 2011

So Technology Can Even Make Latin Interesting?

Apparently it's true.  Check out this link to see how a role playing/alternative reality game is helping students learn how to speak Latin.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Looking for Funding? Got Ammo?

In these tight economic times, data that demonstrates the connection between technology use and student achievement is sorely needed.  I came across the following piece that contains a number of "studies" with varying degrees of empirical"ity".  All of the articles/papers address the use of technology in reading and writing. If you are in the process of trying to secure funding, one or more may provide you with some ammo.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Bring Your Own Technology (BYOT) - What are we waiting for?

Check out this recent article in edweek.  BYOT is gaining momentum and beginning to move beyond forward thinking schools and into larger districts.  I can't wait, or should I say my kids can't wait.....

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Middle Schoolers + IPods = Increased Engagement

A middle school in Conway, South Carolina is using Ipods to increase student engagement.  Guess what?  It works.  You can read the short piece below.  I think the notion of increasing student engagement is a given at this point.  To all of those folks our there using mobile one-to-one technology, we need to do a better job of providing data to support the impact these devices are having on student achievement.   While money is getting tighter, my hope is that when the Common Core finally gets rolled out, folks that make technology purchasing decisions will understand even more clearly how important it is to connect kids with the type of technologies they have access to everyday outside of school.

Friday, November 4, 2011

Never been to the Vatican? Well, step right up....

Check out this very cool website.  One of the issues we face with our students, many who come from poverty, is a shortcoming in their background knowledge.  It's not an achievement gap, it's a background knowledge gap. Technology has the potential to somewhat even the playing field in terms of taking kids to places they might not ever get to visit, or seeing things they might not otherwise see in their lifetime.  How can you grasp the vision and the magnificence of Michelangelo without visiting the Sistine Chapel?  I was fortunate enough to visit Rome last summer with my wife, but most of my kids will never see it.  Or maybe they might....  It's just a click away.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Got Travis? Transforming Education as We Know It

Have you had a chance to meet up with Travis Allen?  I've had a chance to meet and talk with him at several technology conferences in the past year and have been inspired by his message and his desire to truly transform education.  He is the President of "ISchool Initiative" based in Kennesaw, Georgia.  You can visit his website at  Check out a youtube he posted about his initiative at: