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Calling All EDUCATORS!

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Calling All Educators

Want to help shape the future of education?

Educators- let’s consider this is your official call to action…or, better yet, to Answerables!

We’ve spent almost 2 years now bringing this to life, creating a new way for us to use technology with our students. A new platform for us to share with them, work collaboratively with them, teach them how to navigate this new world of the Internet and truly claim their digital citizenship.

And now we’re calling on you to be a part of our first Educator Focus Group.

We want to show you what we’ve built and how you can use it. To put all of Answerables’ tools into your hands and then see what YOU come up with. Are you looking for a new way to tutor students remotely? Do you want a class portal unlike anything your students will have ever seen? Do you want to effectively scaffold the Internet experience your students receive through your lessons? Have you ever thought of running your own workshops for kids or colleagues?

The Educator Focus Group will meet in a series of themed and guided sessions in Answerables. These twice weekly sessions will cover a range of topics: ‘Collaborative Web Browsing with your Class’, ‘Remote Tutoring and Office Hours’, ‘Class Portals and your LMS’, ‘Document Sharing in the Cloud’, ‘Gamification and Edutainment’.

Consider it our early Christmas gift to you- PD you don’t have to pay for…and that actually may change the way you’ve been thinking about education for good.

Pretty bold? Ya, we know. We talk the talk. Come join us as we walk the walk :)

Be a part of our Educator Focus Group by leaving a comment here or through hello@nexed.ca, or sign up directly from your Answerables Dashboard under Upcoming Events.

 

Inspiration for the Bullied

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Can’t believe we missed this one when it made its viral rounds in March. And thanks to a neighbour and fellow parent who shared it with me through Facebook. Hey—look at that, score another point for social media being used to elevate rather than deflate us.

It’s a spoken word poem titled ‘To This Day’, written by a man named Shane Koyczan. It is about bullying and if you are in any way involved with children, as a parent or educator, and you have not yet seen it, you really should. And you really should share it. REALLY.

We’re passing along two ‘versions’ to you here. One is the performance he gave at a TED talk, which is incredibly moving—but with a little spicy language, just so you know. And the other is a spice-free, animated version that would be AWESOME to view at home with the kids, or in your classroom- I’d say from Grade 6 and up.

It’s a little lengthy, but if we can spare 10 minutes to watch screaming goats and grumpy cats—we can spare 10 minutes to give ourselves a strong reminder of what far too many of the students in our classes and the children that we are raising, are facing every day.

TED talk “To This Day”

Animated version “To this Day”

 

 

Finally, an encouraging story about kids and social media

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I heard a story today, at a time when stories get told. I have to call it a story because although it came from someone who I trust always to tell me the truth, I was a vice principal long enough to know that there are many versions of stories.

The story was about a middle school student who saw something on Instagram. Not something from a close friend, but a classmate who he ‘followed’.  He saw something that made him think this classmate was not ok. That they were talking about things and considering doing things that concerned and frightened him. The next thing he did was talk to his Mom; and show her what he had seen. The next day (today) that Mom talked to the child’s teacher, who talked to her principal, who talked to that child’s Mom. That child went home early from class today—to have ‘hot tea’.

And the p.s. to the story, again told at a(nother) time when they’re told—an iMessage group was in the process of being formed. And it was going to be a special group that made sure to include a certain someone—who looked like they could use a little chat time with friends.

We hear a LOT about the awfulness that can be kids and social media. And there’s no denying any of it. We need to be watchful and aware of how they’re using it; like we are watchful and aware of every part of their lives. But I betcha dollars to donuts that they’re using it for the better FAR more than they are for the worse.

So, while the vp in me reminds me that stories are just that—I kinda hope this one’s true.

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”

Geocaching: Outdoorsy Family Fun & Exercise meets 21st Century Magic

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Ahhh, Spring. When a Nexed-er’s thoughts turn to—anything NOT covered in slowly melting piles of grey-black specked snow and ice.

As you can probably guess, we’re pretty big fans of the ol’ mobile devices around here, but we’re also fully into treks through the woods, birds birding and bees bee-ing…so here’s an awesome Vulcan mind meld of tech and trees- GEOCACHING!

The recipe? Take one part running around the woods all day as kids- back when spending the whole day outside (except for a quick baloney sandwich break at lunch) was just what ya did, and mix in our 21st century magic devices we have fully attached at our hips and all their GPS-y glory and what you get is something pretty wonderful.

Caches are hidden by players and tagged with their precise GPS location. Usually they are as simple as a weather proof container housing a logbook and some little trinkets for ‘trading’. Using the app you search for any of these that are nearby then hop on a bike or head out on foot and start looking! As you get closer to the cache the app guides you with a compass and hints to within a couple meters of where it’s stashed (often in an old tree stump, or lodged between a couple rocks). Once you’ve discovered it, you open it up, sign the logbook and trade for a trinket or two. Then, the cache is replaced for the next hunters to find.

Needless to say, the kids absolutely LOVE this! We’ve even stashed our own cache in the woods behind the house and we’ll get notified when it gets found by others. All in all, a full on Nexed-approved way to get out of the house and away from the various screens we find ourselves staring at a little too much sometimes these days—just don’t forget your phone ;)

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