Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Favorite Apps For Learning On The Go

I spend a great deal of time on the go. From working with all the schools in my district to traveling to far off lands to work with teachers, I sometimes feel like I am disconnected from my learning. And that bums me out!

There are a few apps (and some sites too) that I rely upon to keep me updated with whats happening and to teach a me a thing or two as well.

Here are a few of my favorites.

Zite-A lot of folks reading this have probably heard of Zite. But just in case you haven't, Zite is a curated magazine type app that delivers content to you based on your interests and feedback. When you create an account the app asks a couple of questions about what you'd like to see. They have thousands of sources so just a few key words and you will be greeted with hours of reading and learning. You can also choose to bring in your social feeds from Twitter and Facebook too to further the reach. I have a couple Education phrases along with Leadership and some technology stuff as well.

Flipboard-Similar to Zite, Flipboard looks and feels like more of a magazine. You can subscribe to your favorite sites with a simple search (or RSS feed address) and you can search what others are curating too. I will often times go into Flipboard and do searches to see what others are reading. That really helps me expand my learning. One board you will want to check out is FieldFlips from They have lots of great education topics curated for you.

Podcast App-The popularity of podcasts seems to come and go. A few years ago loads of folks were listening and creating their own. Then the excitement seemed to wane but now they are on the rise again. I like hitting up the Podcast store in iTunes and seeing whats new in the Education, News or Tech categories. I can be walking through an airport but still feel like I am learning something new. #Edchat has its own podcast where you can hear a break down of that week's chat. But I also like the NPR Technology podcast and one of my favorites is the Get-It-Done Guy, which is full of short productivity and life hacking tips.

Lifehacker-Speaking of life hacking, I am a huge fan of Lifehacker. While it isn't an app, it is a pretty awesome website with tons of advice for, well, hacking your life. They have everything from design tips for presentations, to ideas for cutting the cord from cable or satellite, to what to do when you don't feel like working any more. I can always spend 5-10 minutes (but most of the time, way more) there and learn something pretty neat.

TED Talks-I've written about the power of TED talks before and their app is no different. All of the talks are available there along with short spinets which are great when you don't have the time to watch a full talk.

Twitter-Of course I have to list Twitter. But when I am on the go I spend a lot of time with Lists. Lists help me organize tweets into specific categories. So I have a list for tweeters I don't want to miss, policy folks, funny twitterers, etc. Lists are a great way to not feel like you have to be tied to Twitter all the time.

There are lots of options out there to keep up with learning. What are some of your favorites? Leave some suggestions below.

Happy learning!

photo credit: Daniel Y. Go via photopin cc

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Get Your MOOC On!



Massively Open Online Course.

Wikipedia defines MOOC as "an online course aimed at unlimited participation and open access via the web. In addition to traditional course materials such as videos, readings, and problem sets, MOOCs provide interactive user fora that help build a community for students, professors, and teaching assistants (TAs)."

Simply, a MOOC is a online class you take that might have 100's or 1000's of people are participating at a time. They can be a great way to learn new skills while connecting with lots of other people with similar interests.

The Friday Institute at NCSU has developed 3 MOOCs that might be of interest to you.

Coaching Digital Learning | Cultivating a Culture of Change was developed by the Digital Learning Collaborative team at the Friday Institute, led by Verna Lalbeharie, Senior Program Director. Beginning March 10, this course is designed for educators and professionals who guide the integration of digital learning to support and enhance student learning (i.e. instructional technology coaches/facilitators, media specialists, mentor teachers). It will allow participants to learn what it takes to coach educators to integrate technology effectively; explore relevant frameworks, strategies, tools, and resources; experience opportunities for personalized application of new learning and job-embedded practices; and develop and share an Instructional Technology Coaching Action Plan to support their school/district's digital learning culture. For more information about this course or to register, please visit

Division and Multiplication of Whole Numbers: Bridging to Fraction Understanding is the second in the “Mathematics Learning Trajectories for the Common Core” MOOC-Ed series. This professional development series focuses on learning trajectories as a framework for interpreting and implementing the Common Core State Standards in Mathematics (CCSS-M). Funded by a grant from the Hewlett Foundation to provide free professional development to educators around the new CCSS, this is the first of four courses that will be released throughout the year.

Division and Multiplication was developed by the GISMO Research Group at the Friday Institute, led by Dr. Jere Confrey and Dr. Alan Maloney. Beginning March 17, the course will introduce a learning trajectory approach to students’ multiplicative reasoning, exploring a stronger conceptual basis for multiplicative reasoning, so that multiplication and division of fractions is an extension of multiplication and division of whole numbers. It is recommended for elementary and middle grades mathematics educators. For more information about this course or to register, please visit

Registration will remain open until the end of Unit 2 for the Planning for the Digital Learning Transition (DLT) in K-12 Schools MOOC-Ed. In collaboration with the Alliance for Excellent Education, the DLT course will help participants understand the potential of digital learning in K-12 schools; assess progress and set future goals for their school or district; and plan to achieve those goals. The course is intended for school and district leaders, as well as any others involved in planning and implementing K-12 digital learning initiatives. For more information about this course or to register, please visit

To learn more about MOOC-Eds, please visit

Have you participated in a MOOC? Have a suggestion for another MOOC? Leave a comment or two below!

photo credit: IlonkaTallina via photopin cc

Sunday, February 2, 2014

Digital Learning Day Is Coming! #DLDay

Digital Learning Day is coming Feb 5. Here is what you need to know. 

What: Digital Learning Day is a nationwide celebration of innovative teachers and common-sense, effective applications of digital learning in America’s schools that support teachers, improve learning, and provide options for students to achieve at their highest potential. Digital Learning Day materials and resources support educators at all levels as they navigate the shift to more robust digital learning environments to achieve higher standards for students.

Who: Anyone is encouraged to participate. There are activities for teachers, students, administrators and more!

Where: While all the activities are digitally-based, there is opportunities for face-to-face conversations on what digital learning is and what it means for students.

What Else? There are tons of free virtual sessions that you can take part in on topics ranging from demonstration of digital lesson plans, to discussions on the policies surrounding digital education. Also, on the Digital Learning Day website there are loads of lesson plans, activity ideas and more to do more on DLD! If you plan on doing something, anything, for Digital Learning Day, please take time to head over to the DLD website and add your event to their map.

What are you planning on doing for Digital Learning Day? Leave some suggestions below!