Welcome to Jennie Magiera's Technology in Education Blog:

Redefining the (digital) Classroom

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Monday, August 25, 2014

1M Views: THANK YOU!

Hello friends,

On March 30, 2011 I embarked on this journey to start chronicling my trials, challenges and successes leveraging technology in the classroom. I remember sitting on my bed, laptop glowing, wondering what to name this blog. The Prince song 1999 was stuck in my head so I figured, yeah... why not? As I wrote that first post, I had no idea if I had anything to say or contribute to the conversation, if anyone would read this blog or if I would have time to post.

Now... 158 posts, 600 comments and 3 1/2 years later, I am so glad I took the advice of my good friend Carrie Kamm and started Teaching Like It's 2999. It has been one of the most powerful reflective practices of my career and has led to much constructive feedback, new collaborators and friends and mostly has allowed me to share my students' work and voices. I encourage everyone to start your own blog... even if you think you have nothing to say, or you'll never post... you just never know....

Today this blog hit 1,000,000 views. As a thank you to you -- my readers and friends, I am giving away ten Google Play App Cards with a free copy of the Android versions of Explain Everything, Book Creator and Star Chart Infinite -- three amazing apps that I love using with students.

The first ten readers to fill out this form will get an app card in the mail! Please note, you must have an ANDROID tablet... these apps won't work on an iPad or a phone.

Thanks again for your readership and support. I look forward to more exploring and sharing in the future!

With big smiles and much gratitude,
Jennie :)

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Making a Homemade Stylus: A Great Electricity Activity!

As more of our students are using touchscreen devices, teachers are realizing there is an added cost in peripherals... i.e., apps, headphones and styluses. These costs can quickly add up, so finding simple low-cost solutions is quite helpful. Below is a quick way to create your own stylus with 3 household items in just a few seconds! Plus - BONUS - it makes an awesome science activity... scroll down for more.

- Q-Tip
- Small cup of water
- Tin Foil

  1. Cut a strip of tin foil so it will wrap around all of your Q-Tip except the tip of the cotton. 
  2. Get your Q-Tip and wrap a large strip of tin foil around it so only the very tip of the cotton pokes out. The tin foil should be touching the cotton tip.
  3. Wet the cotton tip (damp, not completely soaked) and use!
Optional: If you want a longer stylus handle, you can push it through the empty shell of a ballpoint pen! Just wrap the tinfoil around the outside of the pen, and again - make sure the foil touches the tip of the cotton.

Note: You do have to hold the stylus by the tinfoil. You also will want to keep a wet sponge in the middle of your student tables so they can re-dampen their cotton -- think like an old-school inkwell! (Ironic, no?)

Why does this work? 
Most modern smartphones and tablets have something called capacitive touch screens. This means that they work because of a distortion in the screen's electrostatic field... basically it has to do with electrical current! While pure water is an insulator water with even the small amounts of salt can be conductors. Since humans are a bit salty ;), we make decent conductors.

This is also why we have to take off our gloves when using our phones. Since the glove material is non-conductive, it won't "complete the circuit" and activate the screen sensors to operate the touch screen. The wet Q-Tip connected to the tinfoil (a conductor) makes this stylus work. This is why the tinfoil has to touch the cotton part and why you have to hold the tinfoil and not just the bare plastic or paper handle.

Science Activity!
I plan to use this activity when exploring electricity and insulators/conductors with my innovation team students this year! I will give them several different materials and let them experiment with building their own conductor-friendly styluses... perhaps they'll iterate on this idea and come up with something better. I hope to share the results here. If you do the same, please also post your results!

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Apply for the Digital Innovation in Learning Awards!

EdSurge and Digital Promise have partnered to create the "Digital Innovation in Learning Awards" (DILAs if you prefer a fun acronym). This program will honor powerful examples of innovative teachers, administrators, and ed-tech organizations. 

There will be five awards each in three categories: teachers, administrators, and organizations (both for-profit companies and nonprofit organizations). The "Creative Director" award for teachers, for instance, spotlights teachers who are inspiring their students to create high-quality multimedia projects. The Administrator "Open Door Policy" Award will elevate administrators leading the way in collaboration, communication, and sharing their schools' practices with others. And for organizations, the "Mindful Data" Award will celebrate a company or nonprofit that has exemplary data management policies.

All finalists will be invited to the Digital Innovation in Learning Awards Gala in November, co-hosted by EdSurge and Digital Promise and held in Silicon Valley. Travel and accommodation costs will be covered for winners.   

You can either nominate yourself or nominate a person or group who inspires you. I'm honored to say that I'll be a board member and judge for these awards. I look forward to seeing many amazing videos and applications soon :)!

Below is a list of the different awards you can nominate someone or apply for yourself (no nomination needed). Applications and nominations are now open and available at awards.edsurge.com. The deadline for completed applications is 11:59 PM on October 1. Find out more details about the DILAs here.


The First Annual Digital Innovation in Learning Awards

This award recognizes a teacher who...
“Busting Boundaries” Award
Inspires students to work in-person or virtually with peers in different geographic or cultural communities
“Community Counts” Award
Engages the whole community, including students, parents and local stakeholders, to make learning relevant
“Creative Director” Award
Leads students in producing creative, high-quality, relevant, substantive multimedia projects
“Sharing is Caring” Award
Shares resources freely with peers and professional communities, actively contributes to a community of practice and continuously evolves their personal learning network
“Teacher Trailblazer” Award
Implements a unique, innovative idea involving action and student agency that leverages the power of education technology

This award recognizes a school/district administrator who...
“Administrator Trailblazer” Award
Implements an innovative, unique school model that develops student grit, creativity and agency, or otherwise fosters authentic learning in an unconventional way
“Open Door Policy” Award
Shares what’s working and what’s not with other schools, visits schools and welcomes visitors, facilitates open collaboration between charters and district schools and publishes resources for free public use
“Power to the People” Award
Empowers teachers, students and other administrators to take on leadership roles and participate actively in change management
“Walk the Walk” Award
“Leads by example” by demonstrating their own meaningful use of technology
“We Are Family” Award
Engages parents and caregivers by offering them educational opportunities at school or by providing resources that enable learning outside of school

This award recognizes an edtech organization that...
“Better Together” Award
Includes various stakeholders, including students, teachers, parents, and community members, in product/initiative mission and implementation
“Crystal Clear” Award
Discloses privacy policies with clear, detailed descriptions of how user data is used and who owns it
“Listen & Learn” Award
Responds quickly to reported problems, employs a successful feedback mechanism for users and incorporates pilots and user feedback in product or initiative development
“Mindful Data” Award
Manages, translates and delivers data to users in a manner that is understandable and actionable
“Research @ Work” Award
Thoughtfully uses academic research to shape development of a product or initiative  

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

PD is Not a 4-Letter Word and Teacher IEPs

A few weeks ago I gave an Ignite talk at ISTE. Afterward, folks wanted to know where they could review some of the ideas I had mentioned. So... I went through my slides and tried to type out basically what I said for you below! Here it is (approximately), with the slides. (Side Note: I hope to turn this into a longer presentation someday! Because... I love PD!)

Additionally, one of the ideas I mention in the talk above is Teacher IEPs, aka Individual EXPLORATION Plans. This has been getting quite a few follow up questions so I've written this quick post about the concept, and how to make it your own!

Thanks for reading!

Monday, June 2, 2014

Some Upcoming Webinars!

Hello friends! This summer, I am collaborating with McGraw-Hill to put in a few free webinars to help you get powered up on EdTech! See below for the listing - hope to see some of you there :)!


Top Tips for Getting to Know your Digital Device This Summer
Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Join Google Certified Teacher and Apple Distinguished Educator, Jennie Magiera, as she provides some of her favorite tips and strategies to help you get better acquainted with your mobile device (tablet, smart phone) over the summer.

You’ll learn:
- Simple things you can do every day to increase comfort with tablets and digital devices
- Where to go for advice and support from the ever-growing ed tech educators’ community- Creative digital project ideas you can try yourself over the summer and share with students in the fall!

So You’ve Got New Classroom Tech - Now What?
Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Summer’s almost over and it’s time to start planning your ed tech strategy for the fall. Join Jennie Magiera to learn how to strategically integrate new technologies into your classroom environment and adjust your teaching habits to provide maximum benefits for you and your students.  

You’ll learn:
-          How to create and stick to a plan for incorporating new ed tech into regular classroom activities.
-          How to set effective policies and guidelines to manage student access and use of new classroom technologies.
-          Ideas for creative projects and activities to introduce students to new digital learning tools.

5 Engaging Digital Icebreakers for Back To School!
Wednesday, August 06, 2014

Get the 2014/2015 school year off to a strong start with fun digital activity & project ideas to engage students their first day back and beyond!

You’ll learn:
-          5 easy, fun digital activities to engage students returning from summer break
-          Where to find more quick & easy activity ideas to try in your classroom
-          Tips for keeping all students involved and included

Inspiring Digital Project Based Learning (PBL) for K-12 Math & Science
Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Digital Projects can extend the student learning experience outside the walls of your classroom and even across oceans. Join Google certified teacher and Apple Distinguished Educator Jennie Magiera to get inspiring Project Based Learning (PBL) ideas using the latest educational technologies.

You’ll learn:
-          Inspiring digital project ideas to extend K-12 math and science learning
-          How to incorporate elements of digital PBL as a part of regular classroom routines
-          Where to find other educators and classrooms to connect with for shared and collaborative digital Project Based Learning initiatives!