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Technology

More school library dreaming

I'm lucky enough to be involved with our school's library renovation project. I wrote about our first meeting here. Yesterday we met with the architects and we had a chance to see their first drafts.

How e-book reading changes reading behavior

I feel like I barely go through a week without reading about a school or district adopting e-readers for classrooms. Even at home, e-readers are becoming commonplace. Families are spending more time reading books with e-readers, even with their very young children.

Infographics for young kids

There seems to be an explosion of infographics these days! If you're not familiar with that term, an infographic is a visual representation of information or data. A lot of information can be displayed visually, both quickly and clearly (at least most times). As someone who has always been drawn to the visual display of information, I love a well done infographic. And I think they have potential value for the elementary classroom too, although most are designed for older students.

Free online children's books

I recently came across a very long (600+!) list of free children's books online, compiled by Gizmo's Freeware. I'm frequently asked about resources like this, so I decided to take a closer look at a few of the offerings.

Keep them learning until the end of the year

I'm puzzled by conversations and blog posts that start with phrases about how little time is left in the school year. Comments like "there's just six weeks left," "just 43 more days," and posts about the slide into summer. Late spring and warmer weather means more sports, more time outside, more yawning from sleepy kids, standardized tests, and more planning for end of the year activities like school carnivals and fun fairs….but even with all that, there is still LOTS of instructional time left this year. Teachers need to teach until the end.

Scan and learn? QR codes in the classroom

My technology prowess is adequate. Passable. Sufficient. I can manage my own use just fine, and (for now!) can answer most of the questions the girls ask about technology. But there's a ton more out there, and one technology has recently caught my eye: QR codes. They seem to be cropping up everywhere! The new coffee shop here in town has one plastered right on the side of it. And the house for sale down the street has one in the front yard where I might expect to see a For Sale sign. All of this has piqued my curiosity, and prompted me to learn more.

Will we have an earthquake here?

Will we have an earthquake here? Will we have a tsunami here? I know I'm not the only parent or teacher to be asked those questions this week.

The crisis in Japan is so difficult to comprehend, especially for our young ones. Learning more about a situation can provide opportunities to talk through fears and concerns. Here are some resources that you might find useful to share with kids. Some are designed specifically for children, others are not, so be aware of ads or surrounding content that may not be appropriate for your audience.

Two ideas worth spreading

Ideas worth spreading is the tagline for TED, a website that provides "riveting talks by remarkable people, free to the world." If you are not familiar with the TED site, you should go visit it! I've watched some truly amazing talks on there, ones that I think about for days afterward. Here are two new talks I watched recently that have really stayed with me.

World wide waste of time?

I really enjoyed this blog post Kickin it Old School by a teacher reflecting on technology in her classroom. "Give me a library card and a piece of chalk and stand back and watch me work," she writes of her old way of thinking. This teacher's thinking about technology evolved, but she stands steadfast in her belief that the world wide web shouldn't take us away from the "wide world of wonder."

More computer time = lower test scores?

When kids get on the computer, do they spend more time surfing the 'net and less time doing homework and studying? It appears that way, according to this article in Sunday's New York Times.

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"The more that you read, the more things you will know. The more you learn, the more places you'll go." — Dr. Seuss