What is the best part of being an educator?

Chris Lehmann says:

The coolest thing about being an educator is and should be that you get to spend your life with amazing young people every single day. And if you do it right, you get to view the world through their eyes and listen as they explain their views of the world to you and to their classmates.

When we do that, we learn about how many different views on the world there are, and that, no matter how smart you may think you are as a teacher, the kids bring ideas and intelligences and experiences that are every bit as powerful and important — and smart — as your own. And when we listen with an open mind, an open heart, and a true excitement for those ideas and experiences, we model social learning in the best possible way – by learning from our students.

Read the full post here at the Practical Theory blog.

One Heck of a Teacher Pep Talk for Aug/Sept – from @loveteachblog

Depending of where you live, you are either in the middle of summer or within a couple of weeks of starting school. Either way, read this letter now and read it again on your first day back:

This will be the most difficult, challenging thing you will ever do. It will push you to your limits as a person. It will almost break you. There are times when it will feel like life has sucker-punched you, then offered you crutches, then taken the crutches and is beating you over the back with them while laughing hysterically.
Teaching will also be the most beautiful thing that has ever happened to you.

Read the entire post here.

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.

Educational and Addicting Geography Puzzle Games for iPad

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There is a fun series of free geography puzzle games called Enjoy Learning that I find simple, stable, and addictive. I tried the two apps most relevant to me: Enjoy Learning World Map Puzzle, and Enjoy Learning US Map Puzzle. Each game is based on the same premise: locate states, regions, and countries and slide the cut outs on to the map. Each map starts blank and you drag and drop pieces of fill in the puzzle.

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There are different levels of difficultly which would be great for differentiating among students. Also, every game is timed, so there is significant replay value as you try to beat your (and other students’) best scores. That repetition would be great for reinforcing student learning.

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I could see using this as a short transition activity, game break, or maybe even a reward activity. With a small group, I could imagine developing a larger competitive game around the puzzle.

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There is some banner advertising at the bottom of the menu pages, but not the game, which is much less intrusive than so many free games. I recommend these apps for any age group in school, or even for adults just to pass a few minutes doing a brain activity. Without hints on large world maps, the puzzle can be quite challenging.

Enjoy Learning World Map Puzzle (Free) Minimal advertising

Enjoy Learning US Map Puzzle (Free) Minimal advertising

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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.