Teaching students to be prepared for the modern world is a hard task. Teaching using technology can be default because it is ever changing. Adapting to those changes can be a challenge. But as you can see from the picture above many great tools have been created for us to use in our lessons. I try to adopt at least one new tool a year to help with education. You also have to have a good clear vision when adopting new tech tools. You never want to have your students feel that they are on tech overload.
I like to see a blend of online learning with a mixture of book and classroom instruction. This way we can reach all types of learners. Some students will learn better at a self-pace while others strive to keep pace in the classroom. Using a good mixture of both will keep all of the students engaged on the subject matter.
I do believe in digital notes. How many times have you wanted to refer to a note to find you left it in the office or classroom? With digital notes and using a tool such as Evernote or Google Keep, I can always have my notes on every device I carry. Besides, it is easier to carry my phone in my pocket then carry around my paper notebook.
Not to sound like some kind of a nut or even like I am crazy. You have to admit that your vehicle somehow becomes part of your family. We buy a vehicle and we take out loans for 5 or more years we know this object will be there to get us where we need to go. Maybe you traded a car that you used to take your wife to the hospital to deliver your first child? Then you used it to take that child to their first county fair or other event in your area. It feels weird to me because we traded our truck for a car. My wife reminded me that I have not owned a car for almost 20 years, I have been a truck man. The real truth is that we didn’t use the truck to haul stuff any more and it was mainly used to drive back and forth to work. So looking at the economics of the whole thing it makes sense to have a car and save gas not to mention the added expense that a truck brings. So in the end I know it was the right decision and we know that vehicles are inanimate objects anyway. Just remember when you trade your car or truck in you are also handing over years of memories.
Will retail stores become a part of history? There was a time when I was young that we would shop in a local town. All of the stores were lined up on both sides of the street. On a nice warm day you would find shoppers walking from store to store maybe eating ice cream cones and chatting to one another. Then came the shopping malls. Someone had a great idea to put all of those stores under one roof. Now if it was raining or even cold and snowy you would find shoppers walking through the halls. The malls killed off the local town shopping and many of the local mom and pop stores went of our business. Then came this little thing that everyone fell in love with, the Internet.
The Internet when it was young brought us news and resources to find information. Then a few people came along with a bright idea. They felt they could sell products to people and ship them to their front door. I think this plan really worked because of one main factor, TIME. People are working more and just don’t have time to go shopping anymore. Now you can go online find what you want and have it shipped to your house without ever leaving the comfort of your home. Well it has caught on to the point the malls are beginning to close down. Stores are closing at a rapid pace look at the big retailers, K-Mart, Sears, Macy’s, Dick’s and many others are closing their doors. Even though people are saving money online it is costing jobs all over the place.
I guess we can never go backwards. To tell the truth I do both, I shop online and also go out to the malls. My wife loves to shop or just look around. I enjoy watching people and chatting to new people at the malls. When was the last time you ever met or talked to someone on Amazon?
Traveling at least by car has never really been my thing. Don’t get me wrong we have done a ton of it over the years even taking our children on many car trips. But in today’s fast paced world and everyone trying to get somewhere as fast as they can makes you wonder if it is safe anymore? We were on a highway yesterday doing 60 in a 55 zone and there were people trying to run over us. Then you get moving in the fast lane and you find a person driving 10 miles under the limit in the fast lane. Then we have the distracted drivers. Remember when our parents taught us to drive? Both hands on the wheel, hand over hand, eyes scanning everywhere all the time. Today you see more people looking down towards their lap, ie’ SMART PHONE then watching the road ahead. I am writing this in the hopes that someone will read it and think, “I could save a life today by paying attention!”
Today’s technology workers have to be vast in what the can handle. The day has long past to just be a simple computer repair person or even a networking guru. Working for school districts has transformed the way I look at technology and how I approach each day. When you work for a profit company you may begin to get a little rusty because you are working with one system or another and you don’t get to invest time with many forms of technology. I always instruct my staff to learn about all forms of technology because the students and teachers that we assist deserve the very best from their tech teams. Not only do we watch over servers, network switches and Windows computers we also get involved with Smart Boards, Macs, iPads, Tablets, Video Production and Education software. We are the experts that people rely on daily to enable them to teach and learn. Microsoft Office is a great tool and has been around for a long time but Google and G Suite has been taking over schools by storm. So we as technology motivators have to curve our way of thinking and assist in finding new and better cost effective ways to educate the young people of today. iPads are very predominant in education and we must know how to push apps out to the teachers and students while still securing the devices. A very good school technologist will never stop learning and investigating new ways to help the district educate with technology while keeping an eye on the budget to make it cost effective for everyone.
As you can see the World of Technology is always changing. And I have worked for a profit company where you don’t get to see innovation because making money is the key to their success. But in education we innovate with Technology all the time to show students that technology is changing and we get to help show them the new World they will be stepping into.
When you set a Good Reads Challenge it gives you a goal to get some reading done throughout the year. So how do you reach your goal? First set a little time aside each day to put your feet up and grab your book and relax and read. I have found that you can give yourself an hour after work each day to steal a little time for yourself. Another tip I can give you is to always carry your book with you. I have found that by reading on my Kindle and by using the Kindle app on my smart phone I always have my book with me. Better yet the book will use whisper sync and keep all your devices up to date on whatever page you are on. Stephen King once said, “You can read in chunks or you can read as a marathon.” All Mr. King is saying is read. I talked with one older women once who I found reading and I asked her, “What is the best time to read?” Her response, “All of the time. The only time you should never read is when you lay down for bed.” She went on to tell me that your body knows it’s time to sleep, so don’t waste your time. The main tip I can give you is to read. If we just watch TV and movies you will miss out on so many great works or writing.
I am once again deep into my college courses. As I talked about in my last post that colleges now offer online course work you can go back to school even if you are working full time. Pictured above is my class room in my kitchen. I don’t have to go out and get in my car and fight traffic to get to a classroom. I can open an iPad and read my course work where ever I may be. I then use a laptop and EverNote to take my notes and write my papers and projects to submit to the professor. I find myself at times doing course work early in the morning or late into the evening. Attending online classes allow me to work on my free time without fighting to make a class on time. I must say this type of learning does take dedication and devotion to learning. You are still giving up your time to attend but it’s on your time. I spoke with a high school teacher the other day and she feels that in another 20 years there will be no more brink and mortar schools? I disagree. I told her when you are young you need the structure that the classroom provides. I have heard of many young people trying online learning and felling because they can’t give up their free time on their own. Not to say that this is everyone. We did go to a graduation party where the young girl completed her high school requirements using a Cyber School. Online learning works for me, but if you are not sure look at your life style and that will dictate which type of learning you should choose.
College today is created not for just the young men or women coming out of high school. They are now creating online courses that allow you to attend college courses even if you have a full time job. There are a lot of colleges out there online so the choice is really up to you. I am taking courses online and really had to do some research on which school to choose. I started with price per credit, then went to looking up reviews from current and past students. I knew I didn’t want a college that is all online because I don’t feel they hold the weight once you get your degree. I wanted a college that has a campus. I also knew I wanted a college that I could study on and off campus. So if you are older and working a full time job don’t think you can’t further your education. And as I found the best time is now to increase your knowledge.
It’s funny that people today pay for something and don’t even know what they are really getting for their money. This is why I wanted to bring you a little insight into Amazon Prime. When I ask anyone if they have Amazon Prime they say, yes I love the free shipping. Then I tell them that they get more then just free shipping they always ask what? I have to admit when I first signed up for Amazon Prime I thought it was only free shipping also but then I did a little digging.
First is something I use every time I sit at a computer. Amazon streaming music service https://music.amazon.com/stations. What is the streaming music service? If you ever used Pandora and thought it would be better without all the commercials, you will love Amazon’s streaming music service. It is just song after song. You can still create your own stations and play lists. You can also choose from many stations already created. And best of all no commercials and it is included with your prime membership. There is an app for about every device you own.
Do you have a Nexflix account? If you are like many people today you would say yes. Well if you have Amazon Prime you also get their streaming movie service. https://www.amazon.com/Amazon-Video. There is a lot of free movie content and some Amazon only features that you will find on their service. I have to admit it is not as good as Netflix. I think it is still very young and needs some work on the free content. There is however a lot of new movies available for rent on the service. One misconception with this service is that you need an Amazon Fire Stick to watch the content. You can watch on your computer, tablet or Apple TV and even Roku box.
The final information I want to give to you about Amazon Prime is not everything for sell on Amazon is included in the free shipping. Make sure you watch when you are buying anything that is says PRIME. If not you might be buying from someone who is going to charge you for shipping. And if you don’t have Prime you might want to wait until the Christmas season. It seems to me that they always have a special price to get you started.
If you have a Kindle E-Reader or even if you just have the Amazon Kindle app then you might want to read this post?
I have been reading for years. Sometimes when you are at one of your local discount stores you might be walking by a book rack a cover might catch you eye and the next thing you know it is in the cart. In today’s Internet world we find ourselves browsing online book stores. I choose Amazon mainly because I have a Paper White Kindle Reader and it just makes it easy to download the books from their site. I have also bought a lot of ebooks just from browsing. But what if, just what if you don’t want to keep tossing money at books? You still want to read but you find it a good idea to watch your spending. So how can you read and not spend a dime?
It is really easy to find something to read for FREE. Log onto Amazon and in the drop down menu choose Kindle Store. Next in the search box type FREE. Now you will find a large selection of books that are FREE, that’s right no charge at all. Why is this you might ask? Well you will find self published works from people you never heard of, Steven King was once unknown until someone gave him a shot. And besides once you start a book if you are not getting into the story or if it is poorly written stop reading it. I on the other hand can’t do that, once I start I finish the book. Another reason this is done is to get you into a new series. The author will put up the first book for FREE and if you want to continue with the story you might have to pay $3.99 for the other volumes.
At the end of the day FREE is good. It gives you a chance to find new authors that you never heard of and it just might put you into their court. I have found many new authors that I really love reading all of their work. Do I still buy books? Of course I told you at the beginning that I am a long time reading. I really enjoy getting lost in a good book. And I do have my list of well published authors that I read.