Wednesday, November 18, 2020

Why #MakerEd?

Now, more than ever, people need to find things to do with their time. There is a whole generation of people that went through school without learning to build and make things as part of learning. I imagine that these people are restless with the various lockdowns across the country. 

For me, and many others out there, making things has helped pass the time. Building things out of wood or coding items for a Raspberry Pi, micro:bit, or something else has given me an outlet while stuck in side keeping my family and strangers safe. Knowing how to make things and sharing that with my son and with people online is important to me because I want people to learn and create. 

As a teacher, it is so important to me that students leave my class with the sense that they can make things on their own if they have to. Whether it is coding a game through MakeCode or building in Minecraft, I want to empower them to build what they want, when they want. MakerEd is so important because it is giving a generation of students the tools to create. We have a world filled with consumers and we need more creators. MakerEd is how we, as teachers, help shift the dynamic. 

Please consider exploring what MakerEd and Project Based Learning looks like for your learning environment and make some moves to embed it into your classes. These are not just skills to master a curriculum, but skills that will help student be well rounded people. 

Monday, November 16, 2020

How are you doing? #EdChat

These four simple words. "How are you doing?" can make all the difference in the world. Teaching in person during the pandemic has led to an increase in anxiety in me and thousands of teachers around the country. Medication and therapy helps, but having someone who takes the time to ask, "How are you doing?" can be a life saver to many people. I have been very blessed with friends who have sent me texts to check in on my mental health and those mean the world to me. My lowest of lows can be overcome when I can exchange a few texts with friends. Think about your teacher friends and consider checking in with them. Stay connected, now more than ever. 

Teachers are not the only ones that need to hear these four words. Checking in with students to ask this simple question can lead to very important conversations. Before the pandemic, these four words asked to students led to an outpouring of emotions that they had been carrying for days or weeks and just waiting for someone to care. Reminding students that you are there for them if they need someone to talk to is still important. It stinks that we have to carry our emotional baggage all day and then try and help students lift the load they carry. Each teacher needs to do what they think is manageable. It is not easy, but these are not easy times. 

I hope you will take a moment after reading this post and text someone to ask them those four words. We always say we can do it later, but don't do that here. Open up your message app and send them those four words and let them know you are there for them. 


Monday, November 2, 2020

Win a #ISTE20 Conference Registration!


I’m excited to partner with @ISTE to give away a ISTE2020 Conference registration. Here is how you can get a chance to win. 


STEP 1: Follow me on Twitter @TheNerdyTeacher


STEP 2: Tweet a throwback photo from a previous ISTE. Bonus points if it is a photo with me in it!


STEP 3: Tag me in the photo or in the tweet. 


STEP4: Use #ISTE20


 

Contest Rules

NO PURCHASE OR PAYMENT OF ANY KIND IS NECESSARY TO ENTER OR WIN.


The contest is sponsored by ISTE (“Sponsor”) and is governed by these official rules (“Official Rules”). By participating in this contest, each entrant agrees to abide by these Official Rules, including all eligibility requirements, and understands that the results of the contest, as determined by Sponsor and its agents, is final in all respects. The contest is subject to all federal, state and local laws and regulations and is void where prohibited by law.


This promotion is in no way sponsored, endorsed or administered by, or associated with, Blogger, Google, my school, or Twitter. Any questions, comments or complaints regarding the promotion will be directed to Sponsor, not Blogger, Google, my school, or Twitter.




ELIGIBILITY


The Contest is open to legal residents of their respective countries where not prohibited by law, who are eighteen (18) years of age or older at the time of entry who have internet access and a valid email account prior to the beginning of the Contest Period. Sponsor has the right to verify the eligibility of each entrant.


 


CONTEST PERIOD


The Contest begins November 2, 2020 at 9:00 a.m. PDT and ends at November 9, 2020 at 11:59 p.m. PDT. (“Contest Period”). All entries (submissions) must be received on or before the time stated during that submission period. Sponsor reserves the right to extend or shorten the contest at their sole discretion.


 


Account must be public to win.


 


WINNER SELECTION


All eligible entries received during the Submission Period will gathered into a database at the end of the Submission Period. One (1) winner will be chosen at random by ISTE staff and will be announced on or after November 10, 2020. Announcement and instructions for prize will be sent to the social profile supplied on the potential prize winner’s entry. Each entrant is responsible for monitoring his/her social accounts for prize notification and receipt or other communications related to this sweepstakes. If a potential prize winner cannot be reached by Administrator (or Sponsor) within fifteen (15) days, using the contact information provided at the time of entry, or if the prize is returned as undeliverable, that potential prize winner shall forfeit the prize. Upon the request of the Sponsor, the potential winner may be required to return an Affidavit of Eligibility, Release and Prize Acceptance Form and IRS W-9 form. If a potential winner fails to comply with these official rules, that potential winner will be disqualified.


 


PRIZES:


One (1) ISTE 20Annual Conference registration and accommodation will be awarded to one (1) qualified entrant. Travel to the annual conference remains the winner’s own expense and option. Accommodations are not applicable for change or substitution. Terms and conditions may apply. Incidental expenses and all other costs and expenses which are not specifically listed as part of a prize in these Official Rules and which may be associated with the award, acceptance, receipt and use of all or any portion of the awarded prize are solely the responsibility of the respective prize winner. ALL FEDERAL, STATE AND LOCAL TAXES ASSOCIATED WITH THE RECEIPT OR USE OF ANY PRIZE IS SOLELY THE RESPONSIBILITY OF THE WINNER. The winner may not sell or transfer the ISTE 19 registration or accommodations.


 


ADDITIONAL LIMITATIONS


Prize is non-transferable. No substitution or cash equivalent of prizes is permitted. Sponsor and its respective parent, affiliate and subsidiary companies, agents, and representatives are not responsible for any typographical or other errors in the offer or administration of the Sweepstakes, including, but not limited to, errors in any printing or posting or these Official Rules, the selection and announcement of any winner, or the distribution of any prize. Any attempt to damage the content or operation of this Sweepstakes is unlawful and subject to possible legal action by Sponsor. Sponsor reserves the right to terminate, suspend or amend the Sweepstakes, without notice, and for any reason, including, without limitation, if Sponsor determines that the Sweepstakes cannot be conducted as planned or should a virus, bug, tampering or unauthorized intervention, technical failure or other cause beyond Sponsor’s control corrupt the administration, security, fairness, integrity or proper play of the Sweepstakes. In the event any tampering or unauthorized intervention may have occurred, Sponsor reserves the right to void suspect entries at issue. Sponsor and its respective parent, affiliate and subsidiary companies, agents, and representatives, and any telephone network or service providers, are not responsible for incorrect or inaccurate transcription of entry information, or for any human error, technical malfunction, lost or delayed data transmission, omission, interruption, deletion, line failure or malfunction of any telephone network, computer equipment or software, the inability to access any website or online service or any other error, human or otherwise.


 Legal Things:


INDEMNIFICATION AND LIMITATION OF LIABILITY


BY ENTERING THE SWEEPSTAKES, EACH ENTRANT AGREES TO INDEMNIFY, RELEASE AND HOLD HARMLESS SPONSOR AND ITS PARENT, AFFILIATE AND SUBSIDIARY COMPANIES, THE TWITTER PLATFORM, ADMINISTRATOR, ADVERTISING AND PROMOTIONAL AGENCIES, AND ALL THEIR RESPECTIVE OFFICERS, DIRECTORS, EMPLOYEES, REPRESENTATIVES AND AGENTS FROM ANY LIABILITY, DAMAGES, LOSSES OR INJURY RESULTING IN WHOLE OR IN PART, DIRECTLY OR INDIRECTLY, FROM THAT ENTRANT’S PARTICIPATION IN THE SWEEPSTAKES AND THE ACCEPTANCE, USE OR MISUSE OF ANY PRIZE THAT MAY BE WON. SPONSOR AND ITS PARENT, AFFILIATE AND SUBSIDIARY COMPANIES DO NOT MAKE ANY WARRANTIES, EXPRESS OR IMPLIED, AS TO THE CONDITION, FITNESS OR MERCHANTABILITY OF THE PRIZE. SPONSOR AND ITS PARENTS, SUBSIDIARIES, AFFILIATES, ADVERTISING AND PROMOTIONAL AGENCIES, AND ALL THEIR RESPECTIVE OFFICERS, DIRECTORS, EMPLOYEES, REPRESENTATIVES AND AGENTS DISCLAIM ANY LIABILITY FOR DAMAGE TO ANY COMPUTER SYSTEM RESULTING FROM ACCESS TO OR THE DOWNLOAD OF INFORMATION OR MATERIALS CONNECTED WITH THE SWEEPSTAKES.


 


PUBLICITY


By participating, each entrant grants Sponsor permission to use his/her name, likeness or comments for publicity purposes without payment of additional consideration, except where prohibited by law.


Tuesday, October 27, 2020

Hovercam Solo 8Plus For The Remote Learning Win #EdTech

One of the hardest parts of doing remote learning is allowing the students to see what you are doing in a way that mimics, as closely as possible, what they might see in the classroom if they were there in person. The camera in your computer is nice for showing your face and you can screen share, but the teachers that need to show physical objects are left holding it up to the camera and hoping that the camera can focus long enough for students to see what you want them to see. Well, the new Hovercam Solo 8Plus is here to solve these problems. 

I was sent a demo unit to test out in my space and I was blown away at everything it could do. As a makerspace director and someone that needs to show lots of physical objects, having a good camera that can really showcase the details is important to me. Out of the box, here is what the Solo 8Plus has,


Few wires is so important for teachers. They can get in the way and they make it tougher to be mobile. One cable that powers and connects to your computer makes it so much easier. Also, installing the software you need is an easy as plugging into the port. 


The port on the left is used when you plug into your computer for the first time to download the software. If you are on a PC, a prompt will appear and you can follow the steps to get the correct software. For a Mac, you need to go to the Finder and open the document camera to access the files to download the Mac software. The entire process took less than 2 minutes. Once the software is downloaded, you just plug the cord into the port to the right and you are ready to go. For Chromebook use, there is a Google Chrome extension you can download

The box also contained a green screen mat which is perfect for anyone looking to do some green screen work. It fits nicely on the desk and my space is ready to get to work. 


As you can see a bit above, the zoom feature is amazing. I'm showing off the new micro:bit v2 here. I am able to get up close and personal with the device to really show all the aspects of the updated micro:bit. I have good lighting in my space, but if I needed more light, the Solo 8Plus has lights on the top that you can turn on as needed. The 13MP and 4K really make a difference. 

One of the other things I love most about the Solo 8Plus is the Picture in Picture option. The camera uses your webcam to place an image on the top right of the screen. This is perfect if you are recording your screen for a demo for class or something similar. 


Lastly, I want to point out the Zoom integration. You can log into your Zoom account or join another meeting. For teachers that are using Zoom for their remote learning, this is huge. If you are not a Zoom user, that is still ok because you share your screen from the other video apps and the image is perfect. I couldn't be happier with the quality. 

As of now, the PC software has more options than the Mac version. The digital whiteboard and annotation features are amazing and you can check them out here. I am hoping that those useful tools will be coming to the Mac version soon. In the meantime, I can use the Google Chrome app for the annotation. 

Overall, this is an amazing document camera that will get lots of use during our remote learning phase, but also, lots of use when students are all back in the classroom. I recommend you consider the Hovercam Solo 8Plus if you are in the need of a top notch document camera.