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Happy Holidays from Nexed!

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Before powering down for a spell over the holidays, we wanted to make sure to wish everyone glad tidings of comfort and joy for the season. We will be spending precious time with family and friends and refreshing our spiritual browsers, getting ready to meet 2013 head on!

If you find yourself going stir-crazy with the little ones at home and away from the comfortable routine of school, look for our next post sometime before the new year…we may be able to take you down the rabbit hole for a little while on a virtual field trip or two.

Merry and bright days to all! Nexed out.

Thanks to http://neverlandjewelry.com for the Christmas eyeball!

Sheridan College students aboard the Nexed covered wagon

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As promised, we want to keep you up to date not only with the latest and greatest in juicy edtech tidbits for 21st century educators and parents, but also on the progress of Answerables, as it emerges from its embryonic state.

Many of you may have noticed the Sheridan College logo at bottom of the Sneak Peek page about Answerables at nexed.com. We have been working closely with an awesome group of post-graduate students since September. This project was initially funded by FedDev and has focused mainly on the creation of the first integrated gaming ‘Zone.’

We’ve met so many talented folks at Sheridan and they’ve jumped fully on to the Nexed covered wagon lighting out for territories unknown. A big shout-out and high-five to these fine people: Patrick McKenna (project lead), Will Barry, Jeston Silveira, Harsha Chandriani, Selm Pitcher, Young kyu Han, Huy Tran, and Varian Singh.

A week ago, we had a major ‘meeting of the minds’ bringing in both our data base architect and ‘dashboard’ guru for a marathon brainstorming session about connecting all the pieces of this puzzle together to prepare for beta launch in January.

Terrific ideas were brought to the table, things began to pivot, and before we knew it, not only had a couple major changes for the better been suggested, but there was also talk of Answerables going MOBILE. Exciting times indeed!

Stay tuned—MUCH more on this to come!!

Auditions for the Answerables Arcadium

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The holidays are fast approaching. Good times to cuddle up by a roaring fireplace and play a board game“ Nexed-style!

Today we’d like to highlight 4 games and interactivities that we are currently auditioning for the up and coming Answerables Arcadium- our 21st century version of the old-school arcades that so many of us remember from days of misspent youth! We’ve revved up the academia a little since the days of PacMan and Centipede, but the cool factor hasn’t changed a bit!

edheads1Edheads

This first one isn’t for the faint of heart, or the weak of stomach! It comes from a great site called www.edheads.org. They create educational science and math games that promote critical thinking skills. We’re looking at the “Virtual Deep Brain Stimulation Surgery” for our budding brain surgeons to experience first. Better for them to practice a little in the safe confines of a virtual world before being unleashed on the public at large;)! (more…)

Resources for parents & teachers talking with kids about the Sandy Hook Elementary School tragedy

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Though there are times when it seems like there really are no words, we must keep talking. Especially to our children and students who will have so many questions, thoughts and fears they need to express.

Some resources for us all to share…if anyone has others, let us know.

Edutopia has gathered a compendium of resources for teachers and parents who are talking to kids and teens about violence and coping with tragedy.

The Share My Lesson website offers resources from teachers for teachers on responding to traumatic events and promoting safety in schools.

Kottke.org posted a comprehensive list of resources for parents and teachers talking about the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting.

The Crisis Management Institute offers a downloadable guide called “Talking With Children/Students About the Sandy Hook Elementary Shooting”

 

3 awesome Christmas gifts for kids, families & teachers

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With only a couple weeks now until the Jolly Old Elf is set to make his annual visit, we thought we’d give you a selection of a few Nexed-approved holiday gifts. With a range in cost from the always affordable (free!) to the less so…

GIFT AWESOMENESS #1
App: Show Me
PRICE: Free!!!

Ahhh, the Apple App store. So much to chew on here, and so much of it is priced very well for the budget-conscious. But it gets hard to choose what exactly is worth the time to investigate and what is fluff. Because fluff takes up valuable memory ;)

Now, when we say free, we are assuming that you have the fairly costly, but also fairly AWESOME, iPad. The App that we are talking about here is called ‘Show Me; it’s available free and only for the iPad right now. It basically turns your iPad into an interactive whiteboard, which can be written on like any other, either using stylus or finger. You can import images onto the whiteboard and draw on top of them. But the KICKER with this app, and why we have used it at home with our own kids, is that you can record sessions or lessons with voice-over in real time as you draw on the whiteboard. What we like to do is do a full on role reversal”flip the kids and the teachers, and we‘ve seen some pretty AMAZING results. With ‘Show Me it’s all about the sharing, and THIS is what makes it so attractive to the kids. They can see what they’ve worked on, watch it play back to them and then share their Show Me’s with any of their friends through social media or email. Check out my son working on his 3 Times tables! He‘s writing them out ‘old school, but what got him uber-excited was the thought that he could then teach his friends with the lesson he created.

 

eton hand crankGIFT AWESOMENESS #2
Hand Crank Mobile Device Charger
PRICE: $50

Our next suggestion does ramp up the price a little”but it’s coolness factor more than makes up for it! It comes from a company called Eton. Now, we‘ve all seen those hand-crank ‘flashlights, and seen how when our kids get a hold of them they can’t get enough! Well, this is a hand crank mobile device charger. They say that 1 minute of cranking gets you a 30 second phone call or a ‘few crucial texts. And we ALL know how crucial those 3 letter texts can be for our tweens and teens”LOL.

 

kobotapestriesGIFT AWESOMENESS #3
The Arc E-Reader From Kobo
PRICE: $199

Lastly, and this might be more of a whole-family-to- share type gift due to the price, but we HAD to mention it. Firstly because it’s WAY cool, but also because it’s WAY Canadian, born and bred in the Great White North! It’s the newest e-reader from Kobo, the Arc. Kobo has taken it up a big ol’ notch with this reader, and this has brought them into the realm of the full on tablet. But what we really find all that about the Arc are the ‘tapestries. Think of these as your PC’s or Mac’s ‘folders but done tablet-style! Kobo says you ‘Create your own experience! Basically what the Arc lets you do is organize your books, magazine and newspaper articles, websites, music, movies within a specific ‘theme or ‘tapestry. Pretty nifty, huh?

And what we over here at Nexed HQ can see happening in the very near future is putting these VERY affordable tablets/e-readers into the eager hands of a teacher and a classroom.

Imagine a teacher asking their class to investigate, for example, the history of the parliament buildings in Ottawa (as long as we’re talking Canada here, eh?). One group looking for web based articles, another for still images, another for video, another for e-books… and then all groups collecting them together in a ‘Class Tapestry that can then be saved, shared, edited and added to. We think that’s pretty AWESOME, and are super proud that it’s got the maple leaf etched into it‘s back cover (well not really, but you get the idea;)!

So better stay on the ‘good list”plenty of tech toys out there to keep you and your kids creative and collaborating this holiday season and beyond!

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