Showing some February love for Digital Learning Day


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

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


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—;)

Auditions for the Answerables Arcadium


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!


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…)

3 awesome Christmas gifts for kids, families & teachers


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…

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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