Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Quixey: A Search Engine for Apps

Do you ever get tired of shopping for apps by looking at the following categories: "Featured," "Categories," or "Top 25?" If so, give Quixey a try and just answer the following question, "What do you want to do?"

Quixey is a search engine for apps that uses Functional Search™ to allow users to find apps by simply describing what they want to do. They work with the world's largest mobile manufacturers, carriers, search engines and app stores, to power their app search.

Quixey gathers data from across the web including blogs, review sites, social media outlets and more, to learn exactly what each app can do. Other search engines incorporate only the description from the app store and since Quixey researches what each app can do, they can more easily match your query to apps that meet your needs. Try it and let us know what you think!

Monday, February 27, 2012

70 Jobs for 2030

(From Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, John Hughes, 1986)

Cameron: I don’t know what I’m gonna do.
Sloane: College.
Cameron: Yeah, but to do what?
Sloane: What are you interested in?
Cameron: Nothing.
Sloane: Me neither. … What do you think Ferris is gonna do?
Cameron: He’s gonna be a fry-cook on Venus.
So if you don't want to be a fry cook on Venus or in Bikini Bottom with SpongeBob SquarePants what about some of the following occupations listed by The World Future Society; an organization served with making those predictions. In their recently released special report (PDF) these were among some of the 70 specific jobs predicted for 2030.
  • Amnesia surgeon (my personal favorite)
  • Astro-farmer
  • Astro-teacher
  • Augmented reality architect
  • Autonomous vehicle operator
  • Avatar relationship manager
  • Bio-botic physician
  • Bio-botist assistant
  • Bioregenerative integrator
  • Chef-farmer (agri-restaurateur)
  • Clone rancher
  • Digital archaeologist
  • Digital identity planner
  • Drone dispatcher
  • Energy harvester
  • Environmental health nurse
  • Exobotanist
  • Exozoologist
  • Extinction revivalist
  • Global system architect
  • Grassroots researcher
  • Holodeck trainer
  • Mobile biomass therapist
  • Personal care coordinator
  • Plant psychologists
  • Robotic earthworm driver
  • Robotician
  • Smart car interior advertisement sales representative
  • Smart car interior designer
  • Smart road designer/engineer
  • Smart road sensor control monitor/analyst
  • Space junk hauler
  • Space junk recycler
  • Space resource reclaimer
  • Space sweeper
  • Telecop
  • Wiki writer
Can you envision today’s high school or college students carrying out jobs like these? How do we train students today for many of the high-tech jobs of tomorrow? The answer continues to get more difficult with the rapid advancements in technology, but I believe one of the best solutions is Oklahoma's CareerTech system. Their ability to meet and adapt to industry's needs within a short time frame as we face these unprecedented challenges is something that is unique to CTE. Staying abreast of these shaping forces will help us to support students in identifying and acquiring the abilities and skills they need to succeed in this very different and amazing world. I don't know about you, but it makes me excited for the future!

Friday, February 24, 2012

The Spangler Effect and Sick Science Videos

I was reading Richard Byrne's Free Technology for Teachers Blog this morning and was introduced to a couple of YouTube channels that I really, really like. The Spangler Effect and Sick Science are both creations of Steve Spangler Science and the primary difference is that the Spangler Effect videos are approximately fifteen minutes in length and the Sick Science videos are short (three minutes or less) science experiments.

All of the videos that I have watched are great for the classroom or at home (with parental supervision) and are great ways to pique a child's interest in science! (or an adult's interest...)

Please view Free Technology for Teachers for more great educational ideas!

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Who is Cheating on Tests?

A quick review of articles on the internet show 40% to 95% of students admit to cheating at some point in their academic career. Then there is the huge standardized test cheating scandal in Atlanta where teachers were caught bumping up student's test scores (there are other similar stories as well). I then made a quick search on YouTube and found the following:
YouTube search results:  How to cheat in school - 7,640 results
                                     How to cheat on a test - 31,000 results

I then asked myself, "Am I the only one that didn't cheat in school?" Should I pull out my old high school yearbook and contemplate which 4 out of 10 friends were cheating their way through high school and college? Or should I just send them a direct message on Facebook or conduct an anonymous online poll to gather a more truthful response? Do students get a "high" on cheating or are they just lazy? I really like the student responses on some of these articles where they state that they cheat because "Everyone else is doing it"? Isn't that what all the stereotypical drug dealers tell the kids in the movies? "Take some drugs kid, everyone else is. It's the cool thing to do."

Before I completely get on my "ethics" soapbox, take a look at the video below of a professor's response to his class following a major cheating incident at the University of Central Florida (In 2010, 200 out of 600 students obtained access to his 700 test question item bank and used the information to take their midterm exam):
The CareerTech Testing Center recommends that all testing liaisons and instructors compare results and look at trends in test performance. We also look at results and analyze statistical trends and abnormalities, but it often takes a combined effort to detect cheating.

Additional reading:

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Inside Story Flashcards: "The World's Most Interesting Way to Learn Words®"

I have to admit that I've spent too much time on Inside Story Flashcards, but I'm hooked.

Intially, I was skeptical of their claim, “The world’s most interesting way to learn words,” but I found myself looking at word after word.

What makes these vocabulary flashcards so great is the accompanying pictures and the fact that you can click on a speaker icon for audio of the word. Students (or you) can choose words at four different levels of difficulty : Basic, Easy, Medium and Hard. Students can also choose to hide the definition if they are wanting to quiz themselves. They provide online flashcards and free printable flashcards for offline use. (Other flashcard sets are available for purchase.) The only issue I have with the site is that I want a search box so I can search for words instead of having to scroll through the list.

Inside Story Flashcards could be a great resource for ESL students and special education.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

A New Look at Maslow's Hierarchy

Photo appears courtesy of Abraham-Maslow.com
I read a thought-provoking article in Education Week that I wanted to share with you entitled, "Maslow's Hierarchy Hits Home" by David Ginsburg.

We are taught Maslow's Hierarchy in college, in what seems like class after class, and we are all familiar with it's concept, but Ginsburg asks you to compare where you are at vs. where you think an individual student is at in the hierarchy. Sometimes we think we know why a particular student acts in a certain way, but did we honestly try and figure out "why" they are acting that way? Do we then try and help the student develop a plan to overcome that issue?

Here's what Ginsgurg wrote about his early struggles as an urban teacher:
Just six weeks in, and with my classroom already up for grabs, insult and injury came when I was decked by a stray elbow while trying to break up a fight in class. As it turned out, though, this physical blow was far less staggering than the emotional one I sustained just five minutes later. On my way downstairs for an icepack, I looked out the window and saw a young man's body in a pool of blood. I never felt more hopeless.

The big question, then: How did I restore hope? And the answer begins with Abraham Maslow. More specifically, his hierarchy of needs, which comes up in one education course after another. But did you ever think it would have real implications for you in the classroom? I didn't--until I told a colleague how hopeless I felt, and he replied, "Maslow's hierarchy." (Please read the rest of the article by clicking HERE)
Reflecting upon Maslow's Hierarchy will help you consider how a student's needs and lives differ from your own and how this is the beginning step in addressing their needs. As the author thinks of Maslow's Hierarchy from an instructional point of view, I hope you will also think of it from an assessment point of view. Establishing rapport with examinees will help you understand their needs and to allow them to perform at their highest level. Take the time to talk to examinees and ask how their day is going. If you have concerns, postpone the assesment and talk with instructors to discuss the best time for testing.

Also read:
"Establishing Rapport with Examinees"
"Tips on Building a Successful Testing Program
"Test Anxiety"

Thursday, February 9, 2012

2012 Horizon Report: Emerging Technologies to Watch for in 2012 and Beyond

The 2012 Horizon Report has just been released and it provides a glimpse into the future of classrooms and educational technology. I think that all educators and administrators should use the report as a resource when planning for a student's current and future needs. (The Horizon Report has been published since 2002 and is the result of collaborative effort fostered by NMC (New Media Consortium).)

The three main areas to the Horizon Report are:

1. Technology Trends and Timeline
2. Key Trends
3. Challenges

This year’s Horizon Report identifies mobile apps and tablet computing as technologies expected to enter mainstream use in the first horizon of one year or less. Game-based learning and learning analytics are seen in the second horizon of two to three years; gesture-based computing and the Internet of Things are seen emerging in the third horizon of four to five years. (Please read the report in it's entirety by clicking HERE)

Time-to-Adoption Horizon: One Year or Less
  • Mobile Apps
  • Tablet Computing
Time-to-Adoption Horizon: Two to Three Years
  • Game-Based Learning
  • Learning Analytics
Time-to-Adoption Horizon: Four to Five Years
  • Gesture-Based Computing
  • Internet of Things
Key Trends Role of Educators is undergoing change in light of an abundance of resources and relationships
  • Blended learning via online programs, hybrid learning and collaborative models are taking hold
  • Working and Learning are anytime, anywhere activities
  • Cloud computing is becoming more common and IT decentralized
  • Classroom learning is becoming more active and challenge based
  • Student work is becoming more collaborative as work and learning organizations are moving to collaborative and collective models of work
Significant Challenges
  • New Metrics for evaluation are needed in a web centric classroom
  • Digital Media literacy is an important skill in all professions
  • Traditional models of education are giving way to new modes due to economic pressures and student need
  • Resistance to change and new technology by educational institutions
  • New publishing modes such as social networks are challenging traditional research and scholarly resources putting pressure on libraries and schools to support new modes of curating scholarship
I hope you will read the 2012 Horizon Report and let us know your thoughts!

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Is it Time for #CTEchat?

Is it time for a #CTEchat on Twitter?

Would educators, administrators, and other stakeholders in career and technical education find value in a weekly #CTEchat on CTE issues? 

If you aren't familiar with what I am suggesting, Twitter chats are a great way to stay connected with people with similar interests. These are people that you follow or are followed by on Twitter and they become the foundation of your personal learning network (PLN).

There are numerous education chats that you can join to find out about new methods for teaching, tech resources, and even jobs for teachers. Most chats are held on a weekly basis and they provide an opportunity to converse and shared with like-minded educators. I frequently follow the #edchat discussion as well as #lrnchat. Another great issue with Twitter chats is that you can always go back and review the transcript of a chat if you miss the regularly scheduled time (Twitter keeps the discussion there just like an archive)

Check out the following collection created on the Online Colleges Blog to find a list of Twitter chats that are great for all kinds of educators (just not any for CTE education):

20 Terrific Twitter Chats for Every Kind of Educator

I also hope that you will follow us on Twitter: @CareerTechTest

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

The "Power" of a Teacher

I found an article, written by Lauren Delgado, in the Jackson County Floridian that I wanted to share with you. It demonstrates the lifelong effect that one teacher can have on a student. It's not just about the reading, writing, and math, but those moments that we can influence an individual in a positive way. I hope you will read the article in its entirety:
Student Thanks Teacher Decades Later

About 31 years ago, a first-grade student decided to cheat on her spelling test. The “why” behind that decision was complicated. Her parents had been arguing back then and eventually divorced. She felt she hadn’t studied enough, so she put a list of the words on her lap.

The test began. The teacher began walking around the room, and on one of those rounds, the little slip of paper fell to the ground.

Instead of severely punishing the girl (corporal punishment was legal back then), the teacher sat her down while the other kids went to recess and had a long “adult” conversation about doing the right thing.

(Click HERE to read the rest of the article)
Have you thanked a teacher lately?

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Reinventing Education...The Khan Academy and Stanford University's Artificial Intelligence Class

You've probably already heard plenty about the Khan Academy, which has contributed to the online education of millions, as well as the free online courses being run by faculty at Stanford University, Peter Norvig and Sebastian Thrun. An Introduction to Artificial Intelligence attracted some 160,000 inquiries, of which 25,000 or more have made it through to its conclusion. If you are not familiar with these projects, you can see Khan, Norvig and Thrun discussing the implications of their work in Reinventing Education - a thought-provoking forty-five minute YouTube video.

I think they demonstrate the incredible progress that has been made toward massively scalable education. I am a believer that you can teach math and science to millions at practically no cost using videos and quizzes (and a hybrid approach would be my preferred avenue), but can we make similar gains in the teaching of other skills? Could a hybrid approach also work in some CTE courses?

Watch Reinventing Education below:
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