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Bring 3D into the classroom — free! Video contest for educators!

16 Apr

Many of you know that I directed the pilot for the world’s first 3D document camera at our elementary school a couple of years ago.  The 3D Ladibug document camera is a fantastic learning tool; I saw great results with attention, learning, and behavior when using it at my school with teachers and students.

Ladibug Video ConferenceRight now, Lumens Integration, Inc. – the creator of the 3D Ladibug – is hosting a video contest for educators.  This contest gives educators the chance to showcase their best practices and innovative ideas with document cameras in four categories…. and possibly win some great prizes:

Ladibug Video Contest Prizes

Those who would like to compete in the contest need to complete a 1-5 minute video featuring a Ladibug document camera by May 1, 2013.  What’s interesting is that on the contest website they offer to loan a doc cam to any educator for 30 days, so that all teachers have a chance to compete.  Even though it has to eventually be returned, it’s a great opportunity for teachers without a digital camera, video camera or doc cam to use a powerful tool for demonstrations and media creation with their students for that month, too.

I know that, as educators, you are already putting so many hours into planning impactful learning experiences that will make a difference with your students.  So, if you are interested in 3D or document cameras, this looks like a great way to get some recognition for all of that hard work… and bring cutting edge technology into your classrooms in the process!

Filling the Mindtool-Box:

18 Feb

Bright, independent, critical thinkers.  Of course, that’s what every teacher wants  to have filling their classrooms.  As it turns out, there are strategic ways that we can use technologies to encourage the development of these thoughtful learners.

According to David Jonassen (2006), Mindtools allow students to create models of their cognitive connections. In Meaningful Learning with Technology, Jonassen and others elaborate on the Mindtool concept, stating, “When using computers as Mindtools to model phenomena, students are teaching the computer, rather than the computer teaching the student… learning with Mindtools requires learners to think harder about the subject-matter” (p. 193).  As a Mindtool, concept maps specifically provoke, and then aid in modeling, the cognitive connections that students are making.  Used effectively, concept maps provide an adaptive framework for students to use to identify and model connections and relationships between knowledge and ideas.

Jeff Hawkins

In the interesting TED Talk, How Brain Science Will Change Computing, Jeff Hawkins (starting around minute 10) talks about intelligence as the ability to recognize patterns and connections, then using that recognition to make predictions about novel situations.  In my experience, I have seen that concept maps help develop such intelligence by giving our students frameworks for developing and organizing their thought patterns.

Want an easy way to give this a try? allows students to have a free account where they can create and save up to 3 concept maps at any given time.  The application is incredibly easy and intuitive to use. | brainstorm and mind map onlinePlus, it gets better! Bubbl allows students to work collaboratively on the same concept map (sheet).  Students can “share” their concept maps with the other students to cooperatively work on brainstorming and research activities, provoking the type of reflective and deliberative thinking perfect for meeting Common Core standards!

Here are a few ideas for getting started!

  • Collect research with source links on a social studies topic.
  • Brainstorm ideas for writing a narrative story.
  • Analyze a text and organize observations.
  • Model the relationships between key concepts/vocabulary in a science unit.
  • Identify the cause and effect relationships of various variables on a public policy.
  • Compare and contrast the styles of a set of artists or authors.

And if you are a current Bubbl user or you decide to give it a try, I would love for you to share your ideas, success stories, or an example in the comments below! Happy mapping!

Howland, J., Jonassen, D.H. & Marra, R.M. (2011). Meaningful learning with technology (4th Ed.). Columbus, OH: Merrill/Prentice-Hall.
Jonassen, D. H. (2006). Modeling with technology: Mindtools for conceptual change. Columbus, OH: Merrill/Prentice Hall.

The Florida Society for Technology in Education

28 Jan

This year I have the distinct honor and privilege of serving on the Board of Directors for the Florida Society for Technology in Education (FSTE). This passionate group is committed to creating a rewarding community of educators and educational stakeholders, providing high quality professional development and advancing the field of educational technology in Florida. Educators, schools and corporations can join FSTE to gain access to this incredible network and other ongoing resources.

This week, FSTE will have a presence at the FETC National Annual Conference in Orlando, FL. Several of the Board members and I will be presenting and speaking on topics from technology centers to iPads to global collaboration and more. Plus, FSTE will hold its annual membership meeting and reception on Thursday at noon. Click here to find out the full details or RSVP for this fun and informative event.

To learn out more about FSTE, you can also visit our newly relaunched website at or stop by the FSTE booth in the second floor concourse near S230 in the Orange County Convention Center during FETC. We would love to share with you about this great organization… and get to know you better, too!

#FETC Countdown — Sign up for Hands-on Workshops!

21 Dec

The 2013 FETC Conference is quickly approaching!  Here are three great reasons to sign up for a workshop at the conference…

1.  You deserve to treat yourself this holiday season! You’ve been putting in long hours grading papers and making hands-on lessons for months… and its time to reward yourself for all your hard work.

2.  It’s the perfect way to get a boost of creative energy to start the New Year!  Don’t just hear about new tools and ideas at FETC.  By attending a workshop, you will dive firsthand into the world of education innovation.  Hands-on and BYOD workshops let you try out tools and projects with expert support on deck!  Dig deeper into cutting-edge applications and inspiring topics… and see how they relate to your students, classroom and school.

3.  There are over 125 workshops to choose from, ranging from Web 2.0 to mobile learning and everything in between.  

FETC_2013_Presenter_BadgeI will be presenting the following 4 workshops… and would love to see you there!
Powerful Technology Centers for Elementary Students: Monday, 8-11am, WMA011
Create the Ultimate Technology Project – Today!: Monday, 4-7pm, WME044
Transforming Technology Integration for the New Learner: Tuesday, 8-11am, WTA069
Doc Cam Magic: Cutting Edge Visual Tricks: Wednesday, 8-10am, WW1098

Click here to see the full list and details for all of this year’s amazing workshops.  Consider starting off 2013 by registering for a professional development experience that will leave you wanting more!

#GlobalEd12 Wrap-up & Link to Session Recordings!

17 Nov

The 2012 Global Education Conference has come to an end.  What a great week of ideas and networking!!

One of the greatest things about the Global Education Conference is that they record all of the sessions, allowing the momentum of the conference to stretch throughout the year!  In case you would like to catch some of the great sessions you may have missed, here is the link to all of the session recordings.  My session, “It’s a Small World,” on Elementary Global Collaboration can be found here, as well.  (If you saw a powerful session that you would recommend us viewing, please share that in the comments below!)

And just because the conference is over, doesn’t mean that the opportunities to connect and participate in global learning are over.  By joining the GlobalEdCon community at, you can connect with other educators, as well as create or join global projects all year long. and also offer free global communities, featuring ways to connect with other educators on transformative projects throughout the year.

Lastly, this conference could not happen without the leadership of Steve Hargadon and Lucy Gray.  I encourage you to follow Steve and Lucy on Twitter and/or send them a message to thank them for all of their time and effort to make this fabulous event happen.