Rethinking Ed Tech? MIT Blossoms story at Slate

Ed-tech enthusiasts who think they can do an end run around teachers will find that teachers are still the ultimate arbiters of what’s welcome in their classrooms: Witness the interactive “Smart Boards” introduced with such fanfare into America’s schools, now functioning as so many expensive bulletin boards.

Ed-tech proponents who think that technology can “disrupt” or “transform” education on its own would do well to take a lesson from the creators of Blossoms, who call their program’s blend of computers and people a “teaching duet.” Their enthusiasm for the possibilities of technology is matched by an awareness of the limits of human nature.

Read the whole article at Slate.

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How to Add Tons of New Fonts to Google Drive Documents!

This is a very simple, yet awesome discovery I had recently. I love Google Drive and all of the document features. I really think they are on par with Microsoft Office. By default, Google Drive only gives you a few fonts to choose from, but there are many more that can be revealed. Below is my first Ed Tech video tutorial that shows you how to access the other fonts. This should be the first of many more!

MillionShort: An Engine to Search the Uncommon

I recently heard about an alternative search engine called Million Short. The site allows you to search the internet by keywords, like any other engine, but Million Short lets you filter out popular search results, up to one million. They do offer several increments of filtering, which allows you to start small and dig deeper if necessary.

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The site could be useful for things other than researching conspiracies and winning bets. I could see students and teachers using it during research to help discover lesser known sources, or to help find a more diverse selection of sources of information. To paraphrase the subheading of the website: image what you’ll discover!

What do you think of this tool? Do you see any other uses for students or other internet users?

Newsy Website for Current Event Assignments

Newsy is a site I just heard about that produces videos for the biggest news stories of the day. They compile information from various news outlets to report their stories, including links back to the original articles and a transcript of the video. If you like to have your news delivered in video form, this could be a good site for you to use. It also could be a great resource for teachers and students who are reading article or research about current issues. The videos could act as an introduction to a topic, provide background information, or just be an alternative source for information. From what I have seen the videos are very professionally produced and comprehensive in coverage. This is not a source for cutting edge, investigative, or breaking news. I see it more as a supplement to discussions of current events.

They also have mobile apps for every platform.

Have any teachers used Newsy with their students?

http://www.newsy.com/

Misguidedly Teaching of Intellectual Property – Propaganda?

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This is kind of scary, but glad there are people and media outlets exposing the absurdity:

“Wired examines a “near-final draft” of intellectual property curriculum that’ll enter California elementary schools this year. “This thinly disguised corporate propaganda is inaccurate and inappropriate… It suggests, falsely, that ideas are property and that building on others’ ideas always requires permission,” says an EFF attorney consulted for the story. “The overriding message of this curriculum is that students’ time should be consumed not in creating but in worrying about their impact on corporate profits.” Thanks to the Creative Commons’ Jane Park, some open curriculum alternatives.”

Via Audrey Watters. Read the entire Hack Education News here.