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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?

Students in Grades 5-10 wanted for our virtual focus group

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Wanted:  Brave scouts ready to light out for the territory!

We are looking for students from Grades 5 to 10 who are interested in taking Answerables for a spin and giving us feedback about their experience.

Our goal is to get student opinions on version one of our Answerables virtual environment. Participating in the group is easy and should take about 30 minutes. We send participants a test package by email on February 5th, then participants:

  • Download  Answerables v.1 to their desktop or laptop computer (PC or Mac)
  • Customize their Ansible avatar
  • Tour through Answerables v.1
  • Give us their opinion about their experience in an online questionnaire  by February 20

EVERYONE who completes a questionnaire will be entered into a draw to WIN a brand spanking new Kobo Arc! AND of course, they’ll also earn bragging rights by being some of the first users to experience the awesomesauce we’ve been cooking up over here!

If you’re interested in taking part send us an email to hello@nexed.ca or click here to send us a shout-out.

Be sure to give us your email, your name, and if you’re an educator or parent signing up on behalf of a kid tester, please let us know that too!

Chips—check. Dip—check. Kids ready to change the face of their own learning—check!! Let’s get this party started!

Technology tools to teach social skills to kids on the Autism Spectrum

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We know that the good folks at Model Me Kids www.modelmekids.com have been doing some great work for a while now, developing high quality, engaging videos that teach social skills to children on the Autism spectrum.

But what we’re REALLY liking is their most recent piece of software that has come with a significant pivot- something we’re ALSO big fans of over here at NXHQ. It takes advantage of a tool that is quite literally staring us in the face every day- the much maligned webcam. With Model Me Interactive a student can first watch a video modeling, for example, a simple conversation between two peers, then use the webcam on their computer to observe and record themselves ‘practicing’ with their virtual buddy. When they’re ready they can press play and watch how it all comes together on the big (well depending on the size of your monitor) screen!

So as well as providing a great service and tool for kids with ASD, it goes to show that sometimes the best ideas don’t come from developing completely new technologies, but from recognizing more innovative ways of using what we already have. Hmmmm, sounds familiar—;)

Back to school symphony – try this at home!

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Can you hear that? If you’re like us over at NXHQ, it’s the sound of quietly starting that second leg of a long journey, one foot in front of the other, in the calm morning air. And while there is MUCH to be said for the sounds of children’s laughter, happy chatter and constant questions—there is also MUCH to be said for—.

John Cage’s 4:33

‘Everything we do is music’- John Cage

Enjoy getting back into the routine everyone!

Virtual Field trips: no-fuss family travels

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Well, we ended 2012 with a bang and are rounding up the wagons to keep right on trucking into 2013! Happy New Year to all! Hope the holidays have been merry and bright, but if your HQs are anything like ours, the kids are getting a little squirrely—maybe more than a little—as we move on past the festivities into the decidedly less festive Januar-ities.

We thought we’d try to lend a hand with a little dabble into some of the fantastic virtual ‘field trips’ that are available out there. And these ones DON’T involve: entrance fees, removing your children’s shoes at the airport, or SCUBA gear rental charges. Just a quiet spell with you and yours, and the words ‘Hey, wanna see something really cool I found—pull up a chair—maybe a hot chocolate first?’ (more…)

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