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Blogs I Follow
I stumbled upon this concept while reading Edutopia, Why “20% Time” is Good for Schools for some “flipping classroom” work. It brought me back to a Google visit I had a couple of years ago in Cambridge. I remember how powerful Stephen Vinter said “20% time” was to each and every person at Google. So why not implement it in our classroom?
What is Genius Hour? It is giving students time to explore their passions, their questions and their creativity. As I learned in June when many students came to me asking for their laptop as soon as possible, we already have many students who are pursuing their interests in their own time. But why not foster that inquiry in school?
Daniel Pink defines Genius Hour in the following way, “Each week, employees [students, in our case] can take a Genius Hour — 60 minutes to work on new ideas or master new skills.” (Pink 2011). (See Pink’s Ted Talk about motivation)
Here are some comments that educators who have tried it, made earlier this month. Follow this link to see the impact it can make on all student learning.
Here a couple of videos that inspired me to float this idea through this post.
- Follow Your Passion: Denise Krebs
- TMB Panyee FC short Film: TMB
- Rethinking Learning: MacArthur Foundation
- Why I Hate School but Love Education: Spoken Word
There are many resources out there to get you started. I thought this was a good time to begin thinking about the possibility of adding it to your classroom sometime this year. Let me know your thoughts.
Ed just shared this interesting article from a group we know well EdTechTeacher. Think back to our Wayland RISES training. It is stating the obvious, but sometimes we loose sight of our common sense. I thought it might make you feel like you are in good company.
Last Thursday, we experienced two incidents where people could not find their google documents. It was discovered that these users did not have the latest version of Google Drive loaded on their computer. We were going to ask all teachers to upgrade to the latest version through “Self-Service”, but instead pushed it out to all computers, to avoid any mishaps.
To keep your software up to date without having to depend on a support password, we have initiated “Self-Service”. Most of you are familiar with it for student use and as a means for you to make sure your students have the licensed software that you need for your class. But you can also use if for your computer upgrades.
Self- Service is accessible through Launch Pad. Open it and “log in anonymously”. You access Launch Pad on your Dock, and you can scroll through the windows until you see the Self Service Icon:
Once you select “Self Service”, log in anonymously,
Click on Install for any application you see and it will install the latest version for you.
Check back into self service often for any update that you are looking for. This is the procedure to follow if you wish to get updates without requiring an administrators password. The downside is you have to be at school to access it, and we don’t want you to do updates during school hours 7:30 – 2, unless of course it is an emergency.
Perhaps do an update when you come in to school in the morning and another before you go home.
Mac Tip of the Week
Excerpted from OS X Mountain Lion: Peachpit Learning Series by Lynn Beighley
Why Can’t You Read My PDF?
You can create a PDF from Mac OS X Mountain Lion applications by choosing File > Print > Save as PDF, saving the file to your Mac with a name you assign. Graphics are at full resolution and fonts are embedded. Then you can send that PDF file as an email attachment to someone else, who should be able to read the PDF regardless of the kind of computer or operating system he or she uses. So you might think that choosing File > Print > Mail PDF would save you a step, attaching the PDF directly to the email message and sending it to the recipient, without having to save the PDF to disk as a file first. In most cases, you would be right. This option creates a PDF of the fle, opens Mail, creates a new message, and puts the PDF into the message, ready to send. However, we’ve noticed that people using AOL or PCs often can’t read the files created this way.
If you are interested in converting the documents that you have scanned with your department copier to a document that students can annotate, please make an appointment with Troy to have CS5/CS6 installed on your computer.
As you are aware, the documents that are scanned in through the copier actually create an image which students cannot highlight or annotate easily. The CS5/CS6 package includes Adobe Pro which will allow you to convert these documents to OCR capability. Once converted, you can upload to itslearning and students will be able to annotate with either Adobe or Preview.
Understanding that it requires a lot of work to convert all documents that are already up in itslearning, you may wish to use this tool moving forward right now. You can convert your legacy documents at a later date.
Here is a link to the steps to convert a document to OCR with Adobe Pro. Please come see us for one on one instruction on how to do this and to get the software loaded onto your mac.
Here is a link to a video tutorial that Troy created.