Monday, January 18, 2016

A Simple Approach To Dealing With Personal Devices In The Classroom

I have long been an advocate for bring your own device (BYOD) in the classroom. I figure that if kids have tools that know well and use well, then there is no reason to restrict them from using them in the classroom.

Key word there: tools, as in apps for learning.

Too many of the teachers who are frustrated with dealing with personal devices often don't take the learning tools approach. Instead of allowing for specific purposes they end up policing. They collect phones ahead of class or insist on no devices being out at any time. Kids at our high school have even started bringing old phones to turn in at the beginning of class so they can still access their working devices.

I'm not naive enough to think that every time a kid has a device out in the library, they are using it solely for a learning activity. What I do know from 20+ years in the classroom that kids for the most part respond well when you give them some clear expectations and put the responsibility on them to do the right thing.

Despite spending a lot of time on this early in the year I too have had some frustration with our students in the library who are taking online classes. Too many are "forgetting" or just seeing how much they can push our guidelines with personal devices. Usually a friendly reminder gets everybody back on track. Sometimes it takes a few reminders.

Here is a new poster adorning our work stations. The kids got a laugh out of the devices I chose but more importantly the "got" the message.

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Go Retro With These 8 Bit Drawing Tools

Screen Shot 2016-01-18 at 10.14.04 AMIf you grew up in the era of Oregon Trail, Galaga, Defender, Blades of Steel, and NBA Jam then you might have a little place in your heart for the nostalgic look of 8 Bit graphics. When your creative juices start mixing with your love of old school games, check out these tools.

64 YourselfUpload any image under 2 MB and convert it to something that looks like it was made on a Commodore 64.

8BitPhotos.comSimply upload a picture and let this site convert it for you.

PixlrIf you want a little more control over how your pixels come out, use the free Photoshop-ish Pixlr. Upload a pic, find the "Pixelate" filter, and tweak until you have it just right.

Screen Shot 2016-01-18 at 10.28.08 AMYou can also create from scratch online with (below) or on the BitDraw - Pixel Art Tool for iOS devices and Android. The basketball player above was made on an iPad with that app.

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Wednesday, January 13, 2016

#GetMoving and Get Your Kids Featured at Discovery Education's NFL Play60 Site.

Here is a great opportunity to utilize some movement lessons and videos to promote healthy living this winter.

Not only has Discovery Education teamed with the American Heart Association to provide fun lessons and videos with a member of the Washington Redskins, they are now giving you the chance to be featured with your students on their new site.

Check out the Discovery Ed blog for details. Larry Fitzgerald, Peyton Manning, and Aaron Rodgers won't be the only stars featured as the NFL revs up for Super Bowl 50. Your class might too.