Perseverance quote by Martin Luther King

Education and Tech News Today 02.03.2014

Can tablets make you a more effective teacher? (Free webinar I'm doing.) Test LiveMinutes for synchronous notetaking and link to Evernote or Google Drive. Your science classes will be fascinated by the Amazonian Entymology Mystery (great way to teach scientific method) and do you know the Oscar movies nominated this year? Three (3) Contests for classrooms and one heartwarming video of music teacher Penny McLemore winning an award are worth a look.

If you're struggling to keep going, read today's quote from Dr. Martin Luther King – I'm printing it and putting it beside my monitor today because I need it. These is a hard time of the year as we are working so hard. (Hat tip

For technology in the classroom: a free non-Powerpoint Jeopardy game building site, 250+ free art books to download (hat tip Richard Byrne), Adobe adds 3D support to PhotoShop CC. I share an Apple iPad Camera kit that lets you load pics and connect to your favorite podcasting mic. If you have Windows, you need the free Live Essentials – especially Live Writer. If you're a blogger on any platform, you need to read how to link your writing to your Google Author Profile.

In technology news, read about Artificial Intelligence and Google and about Google's purchase of Nest and what it means for your home. Heard of phablets? Manufacturers like HP are planning to get them out. A new survey on teachers and social media (we want to use it but are unsure how) and dire predictions for the death of Facebook.

And if you want to understand some of the best applications for Google Glass look at the Google Glass Firefighter app with the devices. Finally, Windows 9 is coming in 2015 and Microsoft is trying its best to make it nothing like Windows 8? (I love Windows 8 myself, never understood the complaints except for the nasty “run from desktop” glitch that makes it hard to download apps.)

Finally, Allen Fort wrote a piece in the Atlanta Journal Constitution that anyone who wants to understand schools in rural America should read. Rural schools are some of the hardest hit in economic downturns – please try to understand and get the heroism of educators who live and work in schools who have cut everything to the bone except the huge hearts they have which keep going even though it is hard.

Thanks for taking the time to read my blog. I Hope you'll test the new Speakpipe feature I have on the side of my back pages- it is a very cool way to connect with your parents and students. Let me know if my blog is loading faster – I've been doing some things behind the scenes to handle the volume that is hitting this blog nowadays. I'm not sure it is there yet, but it has improved (at least for me) but I'd love to hear from you.

Have an awesome week. Don't give up. Keep going! Teach and rock that classroom – the kids need you.

;-) Vicki

Teach with Better Results

  • I've been asked to talk about how Tablets Can make you a more effective teacher on May 7 – it is free so you can register. They have other sessions (one with Jon Bergman in June on Blended Learning) and a Special needs session April 9 – if you're into Windows 8 (like me) you can hit the best Windows 8 apps on Feb 11.

    As with anything – it is how you use the tablet or device that makes you better. Rubbing Einstein's head won't make you smarter – when he was alive – it would have been how you interacted with him. Let's learn how to interact.

    tags: education webinar tablets free

  • LiveMinutes

    Interesting app and way for students to collaborate on projects together. You can take notes together and send to Evernote. Plan activitties and more.. This is a very interesting collaborative tool. You can have 5 people or less on one workspace for free and can connect with Google plus (for you GAFE people.) I wish we had this sort of thing for coordinating college projects. If you have evernote, this might be a boon for you.

    tags: education evernote productivity news apps.

  • Oscar nominations: Complete list of of 86th annual Academy Award nominees | Fox News

    Here's the full list of Oscar Nominations for those of you (like me) who need to get a little pop culture into your life. These are the things many of our kids talk about so they become important to me.

    Nominees for best Picture: American Hustle, Captain Phillips, Dallas Buyers Club, Gravity, Her, Nebraska, Philomena, 12 Years a Slave, and the Wolf of Wall Street.

    Many of these are a bit dark (understatement) and thus may not be something I choose to watch, but we can at least be familiar with the themes and what they are.

    tags: education popculture Oscar news

Contests for Teachers

  • Made By Milk | Carton Construction Contest

    Fun! A Milk Carton Construction Contest! This is something you can do with all students (and win $5,000 in the process.) This is a fun one to share with elementary teachers.

    Evergreen Packaging is challenging school age children to become more eco-friendly with their nationwide Made By Milk Carton Construction Contest. For the past 3 semesters, students have been using their creativity to build art creations from recycled school milk cartons based on specific themes. Schools have the chance to win up to $5,000 for their creations.

    The Spring 2014 contest theme is “Stories,” and entries are being accepted now until April 16, 2014.

    tags: education contest elemchat news recycling upcycling creativity elementary

  • McLemore Named Meridian's Teacher of the Year

    I could watch teachers get awards all day long – watch this music teacher, Penny McLemore, music teacher at Meridian High School win & be wise – I can just see on her face a lifetime of sacrifice and shock to be noticed. And that, my friends is the nobility of teachers. They do it because they love the kids. When they get noticed it is so wonderful but nothing is more wonderful than the legacy written on the lives and hearts of thousands of faces when the music of your life resonates with your students. Congratulations Penny McLemore and Principal Victor Hubbard who nominated her.

    tags: education news teachers

Technology for Your Classroom


  • Download Windows Live Writer 2012 – Scott Hanselman

    If you have a PC and want to write offline and then upload, Windows Live Writer is your option. It is actually a very powerful (free) tool for blogging. Here's a blog post about why Scott Hanselman uses this app for his blogging. I've used it off and on but am using it even more now that I have a Surface Pro. I used to draft on my ipad in Blogsy but the biggest issue I had was adding links and full compatibility with wordpress – I can do it all on my Surface Pro using Windows Live Writer. This post links to the app and the why-to from this blogger. It works with wordpress, blogger, and more.

    tags: education blogging windows surface livewriter microsoft wordpress

Tech News that People Are Talking About

  • Meet the Man Google Hired to Make AI a Reality | Wired Enterprise |

    Artificial Intelligence and the “deep learning” movement are hitting it big time: big bucks and big influence on our future. Geoff Hinton is working for Google to help improve voice recognition, image tagging and more. Microsoft, IBM, Baidu (search enging in China) and others are getting into AI. This is part of education as AI and learning tools can be greatly impacted. Read and share this article if you're an education or technology futurist. Fascinating.

    tags: education news education_trends edu_trends Google AI artificialintelligence science

  • Google's forays beyond the search box – Tech News | The Star Online

    Welcome to your new Google smarthome – not smartphone – smarthome. They've bought a smart thermostat maker – I can imagine all kinds of cool things with Google Glasses, Droids, and other Google integrations with this. This interesting article covers many of the things Google has gone into besides their traditional search box/ advertising model and it tells you about the future of our world as a major giant positions for the Internet of Things which moves far beyond our screens into the air we breathe.

    This will impact our schools beyond what we understand as our surroundings become smarter and able to be controlled remotely in ways we can't really understand today. These are trends I'll be discussing in my Intro to Computer Science classes.

    “Google Inc announced plans to acquire smart thermostat maker Nest Labs Inc for US$3.2bil (RM10.54bil), signalling the Internet company's intention to expand into a broader array of devices and bringing valuable hardware design expertise in-house. ”

    tags: education edu_trends Google smarthome internet_of_things

  • HP reenters smartphone market with two huge handsets – Tech News | The Star Online

    Phablet is the new term – a portmanteau of phone and tablet – these larger devices really look more like the devices held by star trek officers. ;-) HP is back in because I guess they realize the future is in the palm of users hands. Increasingly our handheld device is becoming our major device and finding just the right size is the holy grail of manufacturers who are fighting for market share.

    tags: education news technology hp phablet edu_trends

  • K-12 Teachers Uncertain About How to Connect with Students and Parents via Social Media, Reveals University of Phoenix Survey – University of Phoenix

    So, teachers think it would help but are afraid to connect to their students and parents via social media.

    “The survey finds nearly half (47 percent) of all K-12 teachers and 58 percent of high school teachers believe that participation in social media with their teachers can enhance a student’s educational experience. Despite the perceived benefits, only 17 percent of K-12 teachers encourage their students to connect with them via social media and only 18 percent have integrated it into their classrooms. Adoption is only slightly greater for high school teachers, with 21 percent encouraging their students to connect with them via social media and 19 percent incorporating it into classroom learning.”

    tags: education social media trends news

  • “Infectious disease” Facebook will lose 80% of its users by 2017 |

    So, this one Facebook won't like – people are moving away from Facebook in droves… supposedly.. as it goes the way of Myspace. We'll see.

    I think one thing that is cRAZY is the algorithms Facebook has been using. If you put a link to something OUTSIDE of Facebook, for example, it is less likely to be seen on the timelines of your friends and get “liked.” If you don't like the things people say, you hear less from them and if you like the things crazy Old Uncle Jack says, you get more. If you click through, you get more of that. While this predictive algorithm is interesting, it can cause an echo chamber so you don't feel like you're really hearing from everyone and it is the same old same old. I find myself looking specifically for certain people and liking something on their page just so I can see them more — it shouldn't have to be so hard.

    tags: facebook education news social media

  • Fighting fires with the help of Google Glass –

    Fire fighters will be able to see where they need to go without having to look down at their phones using a new app developed for Google glass. There are many in the security professions who would benefit from being able to keep their eyes on the scene and not looking down as well as video capture as needed. This firefighter developed an app for that. Very interesting.

    tags: education news safety google glass

  • Windows 9 coming in 2015, will try its hardest to distance itself from the Windows 8 train wreck | ExtremeTech

    Windows 9 is coming in 2015. Many think Windows 8 was a trainwreck. I think one thing all companies should realize is that as the market matures, the older people who have been using Windows (or any other program for a long period of time) not only want to know HOW to do things the new way but WHY they should. I know many who would be happy to pay for and keep a Windows XP interface for a long time. I understand why the surface style was needed for surface devices but many would be happy with an older system using a traditional windows view.

    tags: education news windows

Insight into Education Policy and Edreform

  • Rural Schools: They are driving students to success in Pinto,… | Get Schooled |

    Superintentendent of Quitman County Schools, Allen Fort, nails it with this article about being a superintendent of a rural school in Georgia. When budgets get cut by the state, rural schools hurt the most because their falling tax revenue means they get cut on both ends. Many rural schools are struggling and it is a shame what is happening in many of them. He talks about one of the biggest problems in rural schools which is a problem for all of us in an increasing way:

    “A rural school in way too many students’ lives does play the role of in loco parentis. In these buildings, the teachers, janitors, secretaries, lunch room workers, paraprofessionals, and bus drivers help them gain knowledge and understanding of the value of an education, acquire social skills and aspire to succeed, and in many, many cases they do.”

    You should take the time to read this past Sunday's AJC to get an understanding of the state of education in Georgia for indeed many other states have similar issues. I thought the whole piece done by the AJC had many different viewpoints – it was a great read.

    tags: education Georgia edreform problems rural

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Vicki Davis

Vicki Davis is a full-time classroom teacher and IT Director in Georgia, USA. She is Mom of three, wife of one, and loves talking about the wise, transformational use of technology for teaching and doing good in the world. She hosts the 10 Minute Teacher Podcast which interviews teachers around the world about remarkable classroom practices to inspire and help teachers. Vicki focuses on what unites us -- a quest for truly remarkable life-changing teaching and learning. The goal of her work is to provide actionable, encouraging, relevant ideas for teachers that are grounded in the truth and shared with love. Vicki has been teaching since 2002 and blogging since 2005. Vicki has spoken around the world to inspire and help teachers reach their students. She is passionate about helping every child find purpose, passion, and meaning in life with a lifelong commitment to the joy and responsibility of learning. If you talk to Vicki for very long, she will encourage you to "Relate to Educate" or "innovate like a turtle" or to be "a remarkable teacher." She loves to talk to teachers who love their students and are trying to do their best. Twitter is her favorite place to share and she loves to make homemade sourdough bread and cinnamon rolls and enjoys running half marathons with her sisters. You can usually find her laughing with her students or digging into a book.

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The Cool Cat Teacher Blog
Vicki Davis writes The Cool Cat Teacher Blog for classroom teachers everywhere