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Technology

Educational technology near and far

Do you feel like you just got caught up with the iPod Touch and the iPad? You probably have accounts on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn, and can find your way around the App Store with ease. You're good, right? Well, not so much, if you take a look at the 2013 Horizon Report K-12 Edition. For the fifth year in a row, the New Media Consortium collaborated with others to identify technologies that have "potential impact on teaching, learning and creative inquiry."

Digital tools for writing and publishing

Children today are writing more than ever. But what are they writing? Is it all as ephemeral as the latest text and the next tweet? Or are they writing anything enduring?

Well. Yes and sometimes. While some of what they write disappears into the ether, it turns out that many children are writing their own eBooks. And there are several resources that can help them publish and share their ideas.

Let's check out a few together.

Sharpening your skills this summer and organizing them, too!

Last weekend I broke out my beach towel for the first time this year … it felt oh so incredible! I LOVE the smell of summer! Growing up in Southern California, I truly relish the summer sun, knowing that our two months off fly by. Every year, as I am taking down bulletin boards and filing my piles of papers away, I always have one thought: "this is the summer I will organize myself ahead of time, and plan like there's no tomorrow!" Anybody else have those thoughts (thumbs up)? I feel like organizing for the next year is two-fold.

Digital natives: getting connected with the Common Core

There are many pressing issues we face in schools today — one of the biggest is student engagement. We have to change with our ever-changing society. Students in the 21st century are communicating with cell phones, iPods, G-chat, social networks, video games, Skype, webcams, flip cameras, and self-published web pages; e-mail is just a small component of our students' communication toolkit.

Digital tools for kids with special needs

You might think that with all the talk about customizing digital tools for young children with individual needs, we'd hear even more about specific technologies that can help. I was mulling this thought over the other day when I discovered an unread Marshall Memo on my coffee table from a couple of weeks ago. I love the Marshall Memo, especially since Kim Marshall takes the time to read 44 journals every week and report back on the big take-aways. Sometimes I put it aside to read the New Yorker or click around on the Huffington Post, but it's a mistake.

Reading aloud with kids around the globe

What if your students could share a popular work of children's literature with other students around the world? Fourth-grade teacher Jan Wells has blown the lid off her small school in Meriden Kansas (population 813) by taking advantage of (free) projects offered by the educational community on Edmodo that allow her to do just that.

Using technology to support parents

We recently wrapped up our 5-webinar series on Parent Engagement. We developed the series to support charter members of the Grade-Level Reading Communities Network, a key community-based effort of the Campaign for Grade-Level Reading. We've archived the entire Parent Engagement Webinar Series so now it's a free, permanent resource for all.

Can Twitter be a helpful tool for teachers?

I confess. I've had a Twitter account for over a year, but I'm just really getting started. I've been following several cool, innovative educators for several months. But I've also been following media gurus, such as Arianna Huffington, Tina Brown, and Anderson Cooper. Oh yes. And Steve Martin. President Obama. And Close Reads Café. So, you could say I'm a little all over the place and you'd be right.

Matching media to the curriculum

I came across a great website, Mapping Media to the Curriculum, that could help teachers and students demonstrate what they have learned using digital media. By asking the simple question, "What do you want to CREATE today?" teachers can choose from a graphic menu of options, including Interactive Writing, Puppet Video, Simulation, Geo-Map, and others.

What about a wiki?

All of you teachers out there? Have you ever set up a wiki for your classroom? If so, how did it work out?I've been thinking about the potential of wikis ever since I interviewed a second-grade teacher for the book I'm co-authoring.1 The teacher, Golriz Golkar, who teaches at the Lycée Français in San Francisco (a French immersion school), is big fan of wikis. "I was so excited about creating a wiki for my classroom. I was able to set it up in one weekend after I attended a workshop," Golriz said. "Parents love it too. They ask to join the network.

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"Books make great gifts because they have whole worlds inside of them." — Neil Gaiman