Tuesday, August 31, 2010

What Twitter Has Done for Me

I know many of you probably roll your eyes at the mention of Twitter. I mean after all, what could you possibly learn or share in 140 characters or less? 

I felt the same way as most of you. I signed up for a Twitter account and saw tweets from people I know that were taking their dog for a walk in Cental Park and I know it sounds terrible, but I just really don't care!

After a year or so, I began to read about personal learning networks (PLN's) and I began to understand what Twitter can actually do for you professionally. Let me first explain that a PLN is all about using web 2.0 tools (i.e. blogs, wikis, Twitter, Facebook, etc.) to create a connection with others which extends your learning and increases your reflection as a part of a global community. An important outcome of this is that it increases your opportunities to ask questions and to receive help compared to your normal daily face-to-face interactions.

I hope you will think about creating a PLN, if you haven't done so already, and if you have, I hope you will include me in your PLN by following this blog or by following me on Twitter (@CareerTechTest), Facebook, or LinkedIn.

To get a better understanding of what I'm talking about, PLEASE read the following blog post entitled:

What Twitter Has Done for Me (you may have to scroll down to see the beginning of the post) and create your own PLN!

Friday, August 27, 2010

www.StandardsLearn.org - The Portal to Online Standards and Conformity Assessment Education

I just wanted to let you know about StandardsLearn.org. They provide free, online self-paced courses that introduce standards and conformity assessment activities.

This web resource is sponsored by the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) and provides easy-to-use, self-paced educational tools for everyone who wants or needs an introduction to standards and conformity assessment activities. The courses provided on StandardsLearn.org highlight the value and importance of standards and compliance programs at home and around the globe. For a full list of current courses, please click here.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Build Your Own Website on Google

I'm sure many of you are aware of how easy it is to create your own website through Google. All you have to do is create a Google account and select "Sites" as one of your free products. What a great way to produce a class website or wiki. It's also a great project for your students.

Here are some of the features:
  • Single-click page creation
  • Dozens of pre-built templates
  • Customizable look and feel
  • Settings for accessing and sharing information
  • And it's free!
And one of the best things is that you can take your website with you wherever you go. Just login to any pc and make your updates. It's as easy as that.

Play the intro. video from Google for a quick preview:

Please respond back and share your new or existing sites and who knows, maybe you’ll see something new and exciting from the CareerTech Testing Center in the near future!

I also wanted to thank Carrie Snyder-Renfro of Oklahoma Centennial High School who reminded us to blog about a neat way for students to create their own websites!

Monday, August 23, 2010

Pulse of the Nation: U.S. Mood Throughout the Day Inferred from Twitter

Here is an amazing video created by researchers from Northeastern University and Harvard University who are studying the characteristics and dynamics of Twitter.

The team took a sample of over 300 million tweets originating in the United States, between September 2006 and August 2009, and mapped them based on the “location” line in users’ Twitter profiles. They also analyzed each tweet for mood, based on a word list that values “affective norms in English words.” The relative size of each state shows how many tweets are coming from that area, and the color indicates mood. The video cycles twice and it represents an average over a whole week (The relative size of each state shows how many tweets are coming from that area, and the color indicates mood.).

The results are fascinating as a number of interesting trends can be observed in the data. "First, overall daily variations can be seen with the early morning and late evening having the highest level of happy tweets. Second, geographic variations can be observed, with the west coast showing happier tweets in a pattern that is consistently three hours behind the east coast."

Watch the video below or click HERE:

I also wanted to remind you that you can always follow the mood of the CareerTech Testing Center on Twitter @CareerTechTest

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Top 20 Resources for a Successful Testing Program

In the spirit of the upcoming college football season I thought we would create a top 20 list for the best resources for a great testing program (a poll of "1" is fair isn't it?).

Please take some time to review the list presented below and never hesitate to contact us at the CareerTech Testing Center if we can assist you in any way. That's what we are here for!
  1. Why Do We Test Students?
  2. 5 Keys to Creating a Successful Testing Program
  3. Tips on Building a Successful Testing Program
  4. Helpful Hints for Testing Liaisons
  5. How Secure are Your Passwords?
  6. Assessment Security and How to Reduce Fraud
  7. What Happens When a Student Cheats?
  8. Before He Cheats - A Teacher Parody
  9. Free Skills Standards!
  10. Free Guide: "The Secret of Writing Multiple Choice Test Items"
  11. Understanding the Numbers
  12. Understanding the Numbers - II
  13. Understanding the Numbers - III
  14. Understanding the Numbers - IV
  15. Limitations of Test Scores
  16. Reporting Test Results to Parents
  17. 10 Questions Every Parent and Student Should Ask About Testing
  18. Study Tips and Skills
  19. Test Anxiety
  20. The Pygmalion Effect: Are You Guilty?
I hope you and your students have the BEST YEAR EVER! J.T.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Beloit College Mindset List for the Class of 2014

I just wanted to let you know that the Beloit Report for the class of 2014 has just been released. It's written with college freshman in mind, but I would also keep this in mind for your high school students as well.

There are 75 items on this year's list and it is meant to remind teachers about the cultural differences between themselves and the incoming freshman class. Just think of the blank stares you might get when you discuss how Fergie is on the verge of bankruptcy.  They will rush out of your classroom and start downloading more Black Eyed Peas songs from iTunes in an attempt to help her out and not even realize you are referring to a princess.

Wait a minute...

Kurt Cobain is now on the classic oldies station?

Clint Eastwood is better known as a sensitive director than as Dirty Harry?

Czechoslovakia has never existed?

And Beethoven has always been a dog???

Suddenly, I'm feeling very, very old...and I'm not so sure I like this list after all.

See the Mindset List for the Class of 2014

Beloit College has published the Mindset List every August since 1998. It provides a look at the cultural touchstones that shape the lives of students entering college this fall. The list is created by Beloit’s Keefer Professor of the Humanities Tom McBride and former Public Affairs Director Ron Nief and it has become a catalog of the rapidly changing worldview of each new generation. The Mindset List website at www.beloit.edu/mindset, the Mediasite webcast and its Facebook page receive more than 400,000 hits annually.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Do Learning Styles Really Exist?

I just wanted to share a video I found from Daniel Willingham, Professor of Psychology at the University of Virginia (Dr. Willingham is a cognitive psychologist interested in the application of what's known about the mind to K-12 teaching).

In this video, Dr. Willingham discusses visual, auditory, and kinesthetic learning styles and believes that most learning involves a blended approach. He states that:
Most of what teachers want students to learn is not visual, or auditory or kinesthetic information...it's meaning based...Most of what you learn at school is meaning based.

It's true that some people have a better visual memory than other people and other people are better at learning auditory material than other people are, but that fact isn't really all that important for teachers because most of what teachers want students to learn is not particulary viual or auditory or kinesthetic. Most of what teachers want students to learn is based on meaning. The second point concerns the particular prediction of the theory. The important prediction of the theory is not that some people have better visual memory than other people. The prediction is that those people with a good visual memory will always learn better if you present things visually. But, that idea is clearly wrong when you've got something that you want students to learn that's especially visual like the shape of a country on a map. Everybody needs to see a visual presentation, not just those people that have really good visual memory.

Good teaching is good teaching and teachers don't need to adjust their teaching to individual student's learning styles.

You can also watch the video HERE.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Project Lead the Way

For those of you that haven't heard the news yet, Robin Schott is leaving the Oklahoma Department of Career and Technology Education and joining Project Lead The Way.  Robin has served the Oklahoma Department of CareerTech as the Associate State Director for Research, STEM, Innovative Initiatives, and Federal Programs and she has also been a great proponent of the things we are trying to accomplish with this blog and other forms of social media. Although she will be greatly missed, we are excited about her new career at PLTW and for all of the opportunities for learning and sharing that will come her way. We wish Robin the best as she will serve PLTW as the Market Development and Relationships Regional Director for Oklahoma, Texas, Kansas, Arkansas, Missouri, Arizona, and Louisiana. Please contact her if you are interested in PLTW.

I hope most of you are already familiar with PLTW and are PLTW schools, but if not, here is a brief summary of Project Lead the Way:
PLTW prepares students to be the most innovative and productive leaders in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) and to make meaningful, pioneering contributions to our world. PLTW partners with middle schools and high schools to provide a rigorous, relevant STEM education. Through an engaging, hands-on curriculum, PLTW encourages the development of problem-solving skills, critical thinking, creative and innovative reasoning, and a love of learning. The PLTW middle and high school STEM education programs give students a brighter future by providing them with a foundation and proven path to college and career success in STEM-related fields. STEM education is at the heart of today’s high-tech, high-skill global economy. For America to remain economically competitive, our next generation of leaders must develop the critical-reasoning and problem-solving skills that will help make them the most productive in the world. PLTW sparks the ingenuity, creativity, and innovation within all of our students.
Click HERE to learn more about how to bring a PLTW program to your school!

Congratulations Robin Schott!!!

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

5th Grader's Moving Keynote

I originally posted about Dalton Sherman's moving keynote for the Dallas ISD in September 2008, but I thought I would share it again as a reminder of how important every educator's job is!  And, yes, this includes everyone that assists in getting a student through their day of school.  Take a look or another look if you have seen it before and I promise that you will feel even more motivated about the great work that you do!

(Dalton was a 5th grader at Charles Rice Learning Center when he made this presentation.)

Now how many of you could speak before 20,000 people???

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

11 Techy Things for Teachers to Try This Year

Have you set the goal of trying something new in your classroom this year?

Richard Byrne of Free Technology for Teachers made a great post highlighting eleven tech goals that you should set for yourself.

Please take a look at Richard's post and I promise that you can do any or all of these things. He also provides suggestions and links to different examples.

Here are his eleven tech goals for the year: (Click HERE for the entire post)
  1. Build a Blog or Build a Better Blog
  2. Build a Wiki With Your Students
  3. Build a Website
  4. Create Videos Without Purchasing any Equipment
  5. Create Maps to Tell a Story
  6. Try Backchanneling in Your Classroom
  7. Join a Social Network for Your Professional Development
  8. Use an Online Service to Save Your Bookmarks
  9. Get Your Students Searching More Than Just Google.com
  10. Have Your Students Create Podcasts
  11. Eliminate Inbox Overload

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Tapping Virtuality To Attract and Train 21st Century Teachers

When Pamela Whitehouse heard about Teach WV, West Virginia's plan to attract new K-12 teachers and update professional development approaches, the WVU instructional technologist wanted to get involved. She and her team are building spaces in virtual worlds (i.e. Second Life®) where teachers can experiment with new ways of engaging students.
Click HERE for the rest of the article in the Journal.com by Denise Harrison.

Web 2.0: Cool Tools for Schools

I found a great educational wiki that I wanted to share with you. Web 2.0: Cool Tools for Schools provides a plethora of web 2.0 resources that are divided into 18 categories and an additional page for "Teacher Resources."  The 18 categories include:

 Take a look and I think you will find some great resources!
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