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Edtech

Connect 2014 Contest

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Screen Shot 2014-03-30 at 3.10.32 PMConnect 2014 is Canada’s National Learning and Technology conference, taking place this year in Niagara Falls on May 8th and 9th. It’s where over 2000 attendees will meet to explore how technology can be used to enhance teaching and learning. Needless to say, we thought we had something to add to the conversation, so we’ll be there exhibiting and presenting in May.

But, as good fortune would have it, we managed to snag an extra ticket for the conference! Due to our well honed bug tracking abilities during the sign up process for the conference, the good folks at Connect offered us up a free ticket worth $250. This is where you come in!

As we ramp up for the event, we thought it could add to the excitement to run a contest for educators who might like to go to the event on our dime! What we’re looking for is for educators to add a comment to this blog post letting us know how you would use Answerables in your various educational settings: the classroom, ESL support, private tutoring, tutoring centre. Now, we’re not looking for white papers here, something longer than a tweet, but nothing more than a paragraph. Be as innovative as you like- those of you who have gotten to know Aswerables in the last little while know that there’s a whole LOT it can do!

We’ll be accepting comments as entries to the contest until Thursday, April 17th. Then we’ll spend the Easter weekend pouring over them and announce our lucky winner on Tuesday, April 22nd. And just so you know, the prize is the ticket to the event only, not accommodation. We’d offer to share a room but we snore ;)!

Looking forward to hearing what you have to say and seeing you in Niagara Falls at Connect!

A Few of the ‘Crazy Ones’

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This time last week we were at the Paris airport, scraping together our last few Euros for REALLY expensive ham sandwiches and getting ready to roar back home. Good times in Dublin and at Web Summit, and it’s taken this long to comb through all the business cards and re-connect with the folks we met over there.

There were over 800 startups in the Alpha Village (or ‘Startup Alley’, as one investor put it). And while we couldn’t chat with all of them, we did make a point of meeting up with as many of our fellow ed-tech-ers as we could.

Today’s blog was meant to be a ‘Top 10’…but we couldn’t narrow it down- so here’s a ‘Top 17’ list for your reading and browsing pleasure. In no particular order, of course…

CLOUDPAGE http://cloudpage.co  create and publish a ‘stand alone’ webpage

FRUGOTON http://frugoton.com iPad games for toddlers

GRADQUIZ http://www.gradquiz.com helping connect university grads with top notch companies

THOUGHTBOX http://www.thoughtboxlearning.net  creators of ‘gameful learning’ apps

GLOBED http://globed.co  e-learning solutions and childrens’ literature online

CAMARA http://camara.org using technology to improve the education of children in disadvantaged communities worldwide

EDUONGO http://eduongo.com   allows educators to create and launch their own online academy or programme and share with colleagues and students

BOOKBOON http://bookboon.com  download free eBooks and textbooks

IQPOLLS https://iqpolls.com  live web-based audience response service

CHOREMONSTER https://www.choremonster.com  making chores fun by engaging and rewarding kids through a suite of web and mobile apps

TYROCYCLE http://www.tyrocircle.com  a social learning platform for students and professors in post secondary education

EDSPIRE http://www.edspire.co.uk  a beautiful, inspiring and award winning blog born out of the tragic loss of a child

APON http://www.apon.com   gives educators the ability to transform print materials into interactive media and repackage it as a native app, all without the aid of programmers

EXAMTIME https://www.examtime.com  changing the way students learn by providing free study tools for students and teachers

CODERDOJO http://coderdojo.com volunteer led, open source, global movement of free coding clubs for young people

RIFFSTATION http://www.riffstation.com learn guitar chords and solos from any mp3 by slowing down, isolating and looping the guitar track

In the next few posts we’ll be showcasing some of these great companies and discuss how we’d like to partner with them using ANSWERABLES! If you know of an Ed-tech startup we haven’t mentined here that is helping blaze the trail, feel free to comment below.

 

 

Who’s up for a Chat?

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Hopefully you’ve heard, but we forgive you if you haven’t, Answerables has moved into Open Beta! Close to 2 years in the making; we’re putting it out there for you to try out for free, and feedback to us on how to make it even better. So, if you missed the memo, head over to the Aswerables dashboard, sign up and download it,  and see what all the fuss is about! You can even do it right now if you like…this blog’s not going anywhere ;).

But if you ARE still reading, we’re going to be highlighting some of the awesomeness that’s been integrated into Answerables for your user experience pleasure in the next few blogs.

Today we’d like to introduce you to our voice and video chat, courtesy of a couple of cutting edge technologies: WebRTC by Google and OpenTok by TokBox.

WebRTC was developed by the good folks at Google, who then put it out ‘open source’ (which means free to use, which is always good). The RTC stands for ‘real time communication’. Basically, it enables web browsers to allow for real time communication between users.

We then took something called OpenTok by TokBox , mixed and stirred, and the next thing you know…after a few weeks of fancy footwork by our resident geniuses…voila! Voice and video chat that’s really been turning some heads with our first sets of users; it seems they haven’t seen anything quite like it. Perfect :)

Picture this. Your avatar wanders over to a set of backpacks on the floor (we call them Compacks). You click on one and it appears on your back. Click on the video chat button on the compack and you appear on a small screen- above your head to others, but on the compack as well so you can make sure your hair looks good ;). Click on the microphone button and you have voice. Cooking with gas!!

For educators this has got to get those cylinders firing: online face to face tutoring; after school ‘office hours’ from home; running a ‘live’ classroom portal; meetings with colleagues for PD sessions.

And for students…well, we know of at least ONE who wants to show Vince Carter’s Top 10 dunk videos to his friends, and provide live commentary to them as he does it!

Hey, sign up…maybe you’ll get an invite!

Inspiring kids to create their own literary masterpieces

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Most days when I pick the kids up from school it’s bathroom, snack, then flop on the couch for a half hour of tv or iPad, or both, before settling in to homework time around the kitchen table. But the other day, my 11 year old surprised me by dusting off the kids’ ancient and massive (but still fully functional) laptop, and sitting at the kitchen table right away, forgoing snack and sofa. “What gives?” I asked.

What GAVE  was….http://www.bitstripsforschools.com

 

Alouette 1, Back on the Air

Alouette 1, Back on the Air

He and his class had been turned on to this by their awesome teacher, who had taken the time (and swallowed the expense) to set up her whole class (all 30 of them!) with Bitstrips. It is basically a way to create comic books online—my son prefers to refer to them as ‘graphic novels’ ;) It’s super easy to use, gives them lots of choices in terms of characters, backgrounds and props- they can even import their OWN photos or use the copyright free Flickr Image Search. Basically all the tools necessary to create some top notch comics—sorry, graphic novels, to either print out or share online with the other kids in his class.  No push to Facebook or Twitter yet—it’s actually kinda nice to know that somewhere, someone DOESN’T feel they need to get all their content into our massive social media karmic wheel.

And it’s also nice to know SOMEONE was inspired by our Chris Hadfield post a while back—cause now he’s full on into NASA and even obscure, lost in space Canadian satellites—

Check out  “Alouette 1, Back On the Air”

Showing some February love for Digital Learning Day

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We’re almost done with the doldrums of the Januaries and it looks like the first few weeks of the Februaries are gonna give the last couple weeks of 12/12 a run for their money in terms of festiveness and frivolity! We start off with Groundhog Day on the 2nd (over here at NXHQ we think that Wiarton Willie is about as cool as a rodent can get), then a little bit o’ lag until Valentines’ on the 14th (who doesn’t need another heart shaped box?), and you barely have time to recover from your choc-over before the 18th hits with Family Day (EVERY day is FAMILY day).

But dread no longer that Groundhog to Valentines’ lag—make way for DIGITAL LEARNING DAY!  On February 6th those of us championing the effective use of technology by our students and children in our schools and homes are taking it to the streets—well, to the classrooms and living room coffee tables anyway; the streets are a little chilly right now ;). Educators and parents, if you’re not already involved, go have a looksee. It’s about remembering we’re not using technology for technology’s sake. We’re advocating its proper integration into our kids’ lives because being able to navigate it will be a GIGANTIC part of their future AND because when it’s used right, by the right folks (and we know that we have them front and center), it can truly engage them, and allow them to collaborate, discover and LEARN.

Steve Jobs displaying the Apple iPad Image: Matt Buchanan

Steve Jobs displaying the Apple iPad Image: Matt Buchanan

Have a chew on this—it always blows our minds when we think about it—the first iPad was released April 3rd 2010!!  A little less than 3 years ago. WhaWhaWhat? What’s going to be out there when our kids head into the great wide open in another 5 or 10? We don’t know—but we know they have to be ready for it. Let’s kick it off on the 6th!

All in favour?

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