Category Archives: Technology

Redefining Learning

Written by David Richards, Ph.D.

There is a learning renaissance happening in education.  Today, educators are witnessing a disruptive convergence of access to mobile devices, online content, demands for choice, and increased access to high-speed bandwidth. 

Our new reality includes the fact that teachers are everywhere, content is king, and students are increasingly expecting to learn in an anytime, anywhere model. To be clear, this isn’t about our schools being broken, this paradigm shift is more about redefining our learning which will result in a redesign of our schools.  Meaning – to design learner-centered classrooms, we need to begin our design thinking from the student lens.  This includes tackling tough issues like time, mastery, and student agency. Continue reading Redefining Learning

Top Educational Gift Ideas (Updated for 2018)

It is the gift giving season! What gifts can you give a child to ignite learning? 

I have found with my children that the right toys inspire learning. So together, with other Kent ISD consultants and parents, I have populated a list of educational gifts that we have seen engage our children and students.

I have categorized the ideas, but many of these really could fit into more than one category. I encourage you to read through each list. Please share with other educators and parents! Continue reading Top Educational Gift Ideas (Updated for 2018)

Which tech tools are worth your time and money?

Dear technology tool, you’ve changed. Frankly, you don’t do what you promised you would. My friends say I try someone with more features and a more attractive design. I’m sorry, but we’re done. Mrs. TeacherDo you find yourself perpetually breaking up with your educational technology tools or not even sure that they are worth the investment? Let me share a perspective that may help you determine which tools are worth your time, money and energy.

The Triple E Framework, developed out of University of Michigan by Dr. Liz Kolb, is a simple to use framework that may help you quickly identify what a technology tool can bring to your lessons. Dr. Kolb synthesized current technology and learning research into three E’s: Engage, Enhance and Extend. If I could sum up Dr. Kolb’s work into one statement, it would be this: Continue reading Which tech tools are worth your time and money?

AssisTechKnow – Addressing the Needs of Every Learner

As Michigan strives to become a Top 10 educational state in 10 Years, four focus areas have been identified as key targets.  One of these focus areas, “Learner-Centered Supports”, includes personalized learning, aligned curriculum and differentiated learning.  In order to attain this, all of our students will need to have equitable access to learner-centered education environments that are academically challenging and personalized.

Assistive and educational technology supports are an important component to consider as we work toward more equitable access.  As an educator, how can you learn about the tools and strategies that can help students achieve? Continue reading AssisTechKnow – Addressing the Needs of Every Learner

MDE “Top 10 in 10 Roadshow” Visits GR in April

“We have a tremendous opportunity, working together as a state, to lift student achievement using these goals and strategies. This requires open minds and the will from all involved to make it work.” State Superintendent Brian Whiston

Michigan’s Education Vision is for “Every learner in Michigan’s public schools to have an inspiring, engaging, and caring learning environment that fosters creative and critical thinkers who believe in their ability to positively influence Michigan and the world beyond.” Continue reading MDE “Top 10 in 10 Roadshow” Visits GR in April

Personalized Learning Conference: #PLCON18 Call for Proposals is OPEN!

UPDATE: This conference is being postponed until May 1, 2019. Please save the date. We are still accepting proposals, but it will be for the 2019 conference. We will still be holding the 2018 site visits at Kent Innovation High and Kenowa Hills. Click here for more information on site visits.

Kent ISD is pleased to announce the hosting of the third Personalized Learning Conference on May 3, 2017 and is searching for presenters to share their experiences in this evolving educational practice. Personalized Learning is a model of learning that promotes flexibility within the learning environment to allow students’ needs to drive instructional strategies, assessments, use of time, and materials. Continue reading Personalized Learning Conference: #PLCON18 Call for Proposals is OPEN!

Save Time with Homework Management Tools

Written by Joe Phillips, Design Lab Instructor at Kent ISD

If you are one of the many teachers embracing technology and having your students submit paperless writing assignments, perhaps you have experienced this:

It’s late at night and you are trying to grade your students’ papers before tomorrow’s class.  You search through your e-mail to find the link to the assignment from the first student in your grade book.  You click on the link only to find you do not have permission to view the file.  The student did not share the document with you properly!  You make a note in your grade book, send the student an e-mail about the problem and search your e-mail for the next student.  There must be an easier way!

How I Save Time

For the last several years I have used two tools to help manage and grade digital writing assignments: Doctopus (think octopus for documents) and Goobric (think Google + rubric).  If you have students turn in digital papers, these two tools are essential! Continue reading Save Time with Homework Management Tools

MDE is Offering Free Minecraft Licenses for up to 300,000 Students

The Michigan Department of Education (MDE) is excited to announce a partnership with Microsoft EDU to provide 150,000 to 300,000 free student licenses for the Minecraft Education Edition (M:EE) for one year. This version of the popular open world game, Minecraft, is specifically designed for education, containing features that make Minecraft more accessible and effective in a classroom or after-school program setting. This program aligns to the MDE’s Top 10 in 10 Strategic Plan by enhancing access to effective technology tools that support deeper and personalized learning. The free licenses can be deployed in both Microsoft enabled districts, as well as Google classroom districts. Continue reading MDE is Offering Free Minecraft Licenses for up to 300,000 Students

Top Educational Gift Ideas

It is the gift giving season! What gifts can you give a child to ignite learning? 

I have found with my children that the right toys inspire learning. So together, with other Kent ISD consultants and parents, I have populated a list of educational gifts that we have seen engage our children and students.

I have categorized the ideas, but many of these really could fit into more than one category. I encourage you to read through each list. Continue reading Top Educational Gift Ideas

Twitterpated: Three Ways to Take Twitter to the Next Level

Remember the Rolodex? Educators would exchange business cards with phone numbers, alphabetize them and access their contacts to help answer questions or identify resources they didn’t already have at their fingertips. People with a plethora of names and numbers could have an answer to any problem by the end of the week.

Now, with Twitter, educators use hashtags and handles to reach out to a global community and rarely have to wait more than 5 minutes for unlimited tools that can be used immediately.  Twitter has changed the way educators connect, stay current on trends and research, and how learning is shared with others.

While some teachers and school leaders are still trying to figure when to use # and how it’s different than @, others are leveraging their professional learning network through Twitter in the follow ways: Continue reading Twitterpated: Three Ways to Take Twitter to the Next Level