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You'll find practical classroom strategies and tips from real educators, as well as lesson ideas, personal stories, and innovative approaches to improving your teaching practice. If you have any thoughts or comments about these blogs, please don't hesitate to let us know.

Matt DavisFebruary 3, 2014

The 2014 Sochi Winter Olympic Games are right around the corner (they start Feb. 7), and students likely are getting excited to watch Team USA compete. Although just about every subject can incorporate the Olympics in some way, this resource roundup focuses primarily on the STEM subjects. Here are some of our favorite STEM resources that incorporate the Winter Olympics.

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Josh WorkFebruary 3, 2014

"I'm not very tech savvy" is the response I usually hear from teachers that struggle with technology. Whether it's attaching a document to an email or creating a PowerPoint, some teachers really have a difficult time navigating the digital world. As schools around the globe begin to embed the use of technology in their learning environments, these teachers can be left feeling frustrated and marginalized by the new tools they are required to use but do not understand.

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Peter AdamsJanuary 31, 2014

Every teacher I've worked with over the last five years recalls two kinds of digital experiences with students.

The first I think of as digital native moments, when a student uses a piece of technology with almost eerie intuitiveness. As digital natives, today's teens have grown up with these tools and have assimilated their logic. Young people just seem to understand when to click and drag or copy and paste, and how to move, merge and mix digital elements.

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It's no secret that I am a passionate advocate for using video in the classroom. When used well, videos can help students make connections to people and ideas beyond their usual frame of reference. That's why I've been really excited to see a wave of new (and mostly free or low-cost!) tech tools recently that enable teachers to take favorite clips and make them more valuable for educational use. Whether you use videos to flip your classroom or you just appreciate the power of video to engage kids, maybe one of the tools in my playlist below will help you go deeper in 2014.

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Suzie BossJanuary 31, 2014

Sixth-grade teacher Diane Gilbert was curious about introducing Shakespeare to her gifted and talented class at Kelly Mill Middle School in Blythewood, South Carolina. Many of her students read well above grade level, but would they be able to understand the Bard's plays? "Most hadn't had much exposure to Shakespeare," Gilbert says, beyond the sonnets they had read in class.

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Andrew MillerJanuary 30, 2014

Recently NPR did a story that had the general title The Online Education Revolution Drifts Off Course. And yet the article was focused solely on MOOCs (massive open online courses). Let's be clear that MOOCs are just one part of the so-called online learning revolution. (Don't forget blended learning, the flipped classroom, etc). The story was a strong critique on MOOCs and their effectiveness. For instance, the article cites one case at San Jose State University in California:

But by all accounts, the San Jose experiment was a bust. Completion rates and grades were worse than for those who took traditional campus-style classes. And the students who did best weren't the underserved students San Jose most wanted to reach.
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Andrew MarcinekJanuary 30, 2014

"OK, Glass . . . reform education." (If only it were that easy.)

I've been lucky to be a member of the Google Glass Explorer Program for the past month, and this device has my attention. I was skeptical of Glass upon first hearing about the new technology, but as it developed, I began to see the potential not only in education, but also for the contemporary consumer. At this juncture, Glass is limited and very expensive. However, it has potential in what we do as educators.

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Vicki Davis @coolcatteacherJanuary 30, 2014

This is our first year of Bring Your Own Device (BYOD), and boy, did the students bring it. They brought it all! We have iPads, Surface RT and Pro, iPhones, Droids, Chromebooks, Macs, and PC laptops. Here's my current thinking. Please share yours in the comments section below.

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Lori DesautelsJanuary 29, 2014

Feeling Felt

Over the past few weeks, I have learned deeply. My students were paramount teachers as I was privileged to share a part of their interior worlds, their "private logic" that is a culmination of accumulated beliefs, experiences, values, thoughts and feelings. This inner world is often kept tucked away unless an environment is created that allows for feelings of safety and an untainted sense of belonging. When any child or adult enters into a space that accepts, inspires and affirms their "ever-changing personhood," we have finally found the key that unlocks the door to extravagant learning! What is that key? That golden key is connection, nothing more.

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Suzanne Acord, PhDJanuary 29, 2014

As summer approaches, do you find yourself daydreaming about how you will spend your long summer months as a civilian? I enjoy enriching the minds of students for ten months, but as summer draws nearer, I yearn to act as the learner, preferably at someone else’s expense.

A plethora of travel opportunities await educators each summer. Fellowships, workshops, seminars and service travel can provide you with intellectually stimulating learning opportunities while on the road. If you plan to take advantage of the many travel options available to teachers, you'll need to explore your options and get started on your applications -- pronto. Deadlines are quickly approaching, and invitations are competitive.

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