The Evolution of Teaching Science


When you were in middle school what was your least favorite subject? Was it Math, ELA, Science, Social Studies, Art, or was it something else? I have often posed this question to college students enrolled in a teacher preparation program. Invariably, the top 2 answers are always Math and Science. Even more telling, Science always wins the “unpopularity contest” by a landslide.

I proceed to continue my line of questioning and ask them why they feel this way. The answers vary but the consensus is that they do not see the point of science. Simply put, it is not relevant to their lives. I then follow up by asking, “What is the purpose of science?” This question usually gets all kinds of responses like to learn about life, machines, chemicals, weather, and other big scientific words. I then respond, “The purpose of science is to learn how things work.”

This in short is the problem with the current approach used to teach science. Much time is spent doling out vocabulary words that do not help the student understand science content. In fact, the use of acronyms and scientific words succeeds in only confusing students more. Many educational experts have stressed the importance of using hands on materials and have advocated for the purchase of Science labs. Unfortunately, the high cost of science materials has been a major obstacle in assuring the meaningful teaching of science. Additionally, many science teachers do not have the pedagogic background to teach science in a way that is meaningful. It is no wonder that many college students avoid majoring in Science programs as science is viewed as bad medicine. Subsequently, only 29% of United States middle school students are considered proficient or above proficiency in the area of Science on the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) exam. Even more disturbing, Middle School students have shown no progress since the last NAEP exam.

In an effort to address this educational crisis, our government and private foundations have devoted money to various grant programs including the Math Science Partnership Grants, National Science Foundation Grants, Toshiba America Foundation Grants, America Honda Foundation Grants, Motorola Innovation Grants, and various Science Scholarships. Thanks to the Math Science Partnership program, school districts across the USA have offered its teachers professional development in the area of Math, Science, as well as Science Technology Engineering Mathematics (STEM). Similarly, other funding sources have given students the opportunity to use state of the art science equipment in a hands-on manner.

However, many of these grant programs have not fostered the paradigm shift needed to transform Science Education in a manner that will address the needs of the 21st Century Student. This is because many of these grant programs are limited in their mandate as they simply require that pedagogues take college level courses in the area of science. However, the grant programs do not require direct instruction with students. In fact, student after school programs are discouraged. Additionally, the audit of these grant programs amount to simple bean counting. Another words, the external evaluators will count how many teachers took 30 hours of course work. However, they will not assess the effectiveness of the given course work. Subsequently, it is no surprise that the elementary cohort of schools showed only modest progress on the most recent NAEP Science Exam.

With this in mind, I propose the following;

1. Require the infusion of technology in all science courses. This is essential as technology gives students access to; virtual labs, science experts via video conferencing, USB Science probes, authentic science data with a computer, real-time computer based models, and other innovative science practices.

2. Require that every science lesson have a hands on component during which the student will perform the science concept, demonstrate the science concept, or create a presentation on the scientific idea in their own words.

3. Provide veteran and new science teachers with the requisite training and resources needed to teach science in a hands-on manner. This initiative would require professional development that is carefully designed to address the knowledge gap that many science teachers have. Similarly, pre-service programs must address the knowledge gap as well.

4. Future Science Grants should directly target the middle and secondary schools. This in turn will ensure that limited funds are directed towards the student population that desperately needs sound science education.

5. Hold vendors and Higher Education Institutes accountable for the services they provide. All too often we direct accountability measures towards the pedagogues but turn a blind eye to the content providers mentioned above. This in turn has resulted in sub-standard professional development services from content providers. With this in mind, professional development offerings given by vendors and colleges should be observed and evaluated. The results of the evaluation should then be made public via the What Works Clearing House web site.

Final Thought- Naturally, it goes without saying that these ideas only scratch the surface of this very complicated issue. However, it is clear that our current practices must change. In short, we must reverse the trend in which a shrinking number of students enroll in science-based programs during their post secondary years. In a quest to address this perplexing issue we must be prepared to invest properly and welcome educational change.

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Innovative Ideas That Make Sense for Those Hungry for Math Instruction

It is a mistake to suppose that requiring the nonmathematical
to take more advanced math courses will enhance their understanding
and not merely exacerbate their sense of inadequacy.
-- William Raspberry

I have a dream. A recurring dream and I don’t think I’m alone. In fact, I just had this dream AGAIN last night. My dream is that I am contacted by someone from my undergrad school who tells me that they discovered there was a mistake in their records and I didn’t actually pass algebra (sometimes this is geometry, but usually algebra) so I will need to go back to school for a semester and take the class or all my degrees will be canceled. I’m shocked to learn this but confirm it is true. So I enroll in the class and once there I struggle with the class and hate it as much as I did when I was actually in high school and college.

What does this mean? When will I ever use this?

That was my math mantra and to my frustration these questions were left unanswered by my instructors and met with rolled eyes from other students who wanted to move on because they had accepted that math had a god-like quality and was not meant to be questioned.

Recently, the PBS News Hour featured a series of YouTube math videos that cover everything from basic addition to calculus. In them, the narrator poses a problem, and walks through the steps to solve it. After just four years, these videos have attracted tens of thousands of students a day, and are used by schools and students around the world.

Yet as popular as the videos are, and, as powerful as they certainly have been for those having difficulty with a concept, it still doesn’t answer those two questions that resulted in my distaste for the subject.

What does this mean? When will I ever use this?

The classes are ideal for the student who has accepted math should not be questioned, but for a student like me where the real learning lies beyond the “how” and into the “why,” such videos are of little value without the answers. Academic studies and anecdotal evidence alike support a simple (and perhaps obvious) fact: students learn best when the instruction is meaningful and relevant. This is particularly true in mathematics where, starting in the middle grades, content becomes increasingly abstract. During my high school and math classes, while I was often the only one to actually speak up, I don’t think I was alone. In hindsight I probably had silent supporters in the shadows too embarrassed to share their frustration.

To take this to a real-world example let’s take the algebraic concept of “slope” which is defined as “rise over run,” “∆y over ∆x,” or “y2 – y1 over x2 – x1.”


What does any of this mean to me? Does any of this make sense? Isn’t this just another procedure/algorithm to memorize? And, “Why should I care?”

My answer to the equation: Nothing; No/Yes; I don’t.

While the aforementioned videos are a valuable tool for differentiating instruction, for me reformatting traditional content for YouTube and the iPhone helps students learn the algorithm better, but the fundamental questions are left unanswered and my annoying mantra still exists.

What does this mean? When will I use it?

These are not just good questions, but critical ones. Like many students, I was led to believe Algebra was an isolated subjected created for the sole purpose of teaching critical and higher order thinking skills out of context. But the reality of what math actually is, that they never taught me in class is that math is:

1) A set of logical tools that we [humans] created to
2) Explore the world around us.

Math skills such as slope were not, as many students might assume, codified in the Big Bang. Divide thy riseth by thy runeth was not the Eleventh Commandment. Instead, at some point in our human development we had a question, we needed a tool, and this is what we came up with. To illustrate this point, here’s another real-world example.

Question: what are percents, and why did we invent them?
Answer: because they allow us to compare things that are otherwise difficult to compare.

In one store, we save $4 for every $10 that you spend. In another, we save $9 for every $25. Where should you shop?

There are any number of ways to approach this. One method would be to compare how much we’d save if we spent the same amount: we could spend $50 in both stores, and save either $20 or $18, respectively.

But what if the numbers weren’t so clean? What if, instead of $10 and $25, the amounts were $12 and $25? Here, the “multiples” approach is a bit more cumbersome, yet the underlying question remains: Where should we shop?

At some point in our history, mankind faced a situation like this and said, Lets just pick some number and compare everything to that. For whatever reason, we picked 100. So now instead of finding a common multiple, we simply ask, How much would we save if we spent $100 at each store.

So when could we use this?

According to the Wheel of Fortune wheel, bankrupt should come up once out of every 24 spins. If in an actual episode it comes up three times in 60 spins, can we conclude that the show is rigged? For every 100 spins…

Babe Ruth got 2,873 hits in 8,398 at-bats, while Ty Cobb got 4,189 hits in 11,434 at-bats. Who did better? For every 100 at-bats…

That’s the logic of the percent. It’s not magic. It’s not ordained. It’s simply a useful tool.

What about slope? A traditional source might ask us to calculate the slope between (16 , 629) & (32 , 729). But if a student is only taught the procedure, what does he actually know, and how long will he remember it?

But what if we instead approached the problem as:
The 16GB iPad costs $629. The 32GB costs $729. How much is each additional gigabyte of hard drive space?

With this simple question, a student might reason:
  • Slope
    If an additional 16GB costs an additional $100, then Apple is charging $6.25/GB.
  • Y-Intercept
    If Apple charges $6.25/GB, then 32GB would cost $200.
    But since the actual cost of the 32GB iPad is $729, the base-cost must be $529.
  • Equation
    The cost, C = 529 + 6.25g
  • Evaluation
    Based on the equation, the 64GB model should cost 529 + 6.25(64), or $929, but it actually costs $829.
    Therefore, iPad pricing isn’t linear.

Of course, this emphasis on context does not mean that math classes should revolve entirely around real-world problems such as Wheel of Fortune, batting averages and the iPad. At its extreme, this would be just as limiting as rote-procedure, albeit in the opposite direction.

Instead, effective math instruction involves a three-step process:

1) contextualize a problem to explore a skill ($/gig)
2) generalize the skill (change in y due when x increases by 1)
3) apply the skill to a wide-range of real-world topics (effect of music tempo on running time, marginal benefit of another piece of Halloween candy).

Unfortunately, teaching too often addresses only the second step. It’s understandable, then, why so many students construe mathematics as an arbitrary collection of meaningless steps; why so many ask why they have to learn it; and why so many absolutely hate it.

Fine. This all sounds good. But don’t teachers already feel overwhelmed by the demands of teaching? Won’t this approach take three times as long? Doesn’t the author get that I have to cover this material before the end-of-year test?

These are legitimate questions. Fortunately, addressing the meaning behind and applications of mathematics has a strange effect: it actually saves time, and allows teachers to cover more material in more depth, and with better results.

The earlier question about saving money at a store? In the “spend $50” approach, we implicitly addressed months of instruction: common multiples; the lowest common multiple; equivalent fractions; simplifying fractions; and ratios & proportions. We then extended this to percents with the “out of 100” step, and could have easily included decimals by asking, How much do we save for every one dollar that we spend?

Likewise, the iPad example addressed most of the topics surrounding linear functions. Yet were any of the steps arbitrary? Was there any place where students would have asked, What does this mean?, or When will I use this?

Of course, this is not to say that rote practice does not have its place in math education. But for students like me, the practice comes after the fundamental questions are answered. The practice is not a substitute for learning procedure or a replacement for understanding. But, practice, after-school tutoring programs and drills-based YouTube videos play a more effective role after, “What does this mean? When will I use it?”has been answered.

In the end, true innovation and lasting progress in math education will come not by repackaging or rebranding methodologies, but by emphasizing meaningful and intentional instruction. And this requires math teach-ers, not simply math do-ers. Once a context is set for the videos in the Frontline special their on-demand nature has a more valuable place.

At its heart math is simple. We would do well to pull back the curtain and remember that.

Math is a tool. It’s a tool that we created—that we continue to create—to make sense of the world. And in our efforts to guide students through math, we can’t ignore the world. We can’t ignore the sense. To do so is to ignore mathematics itself.

I imagine some math teachers, many who grew up just accepting the idea that it was okay to teach math without answering these questions, may agree with this philosophy but feel it would be unrealistic to expect them to be able to answer these questions for all math concepts. Furthermore, they already have a curriculum to follow, standards to meet, and a textbook they use. How could one begin to teach this way???

There is help in a site featured in the New York Times’ Freakonomics blog this month in a post called, “Making Math More Appetizing” The blog explains the site as follows: Mathalicious provides free math lessons, including supporting materials, for teachers and parents. The organization hopes to “transform the way math is taught and learned by focusing not only on skills but on the real-world applications of math, from sports to politics to video games to exercise.” So far, they’ve used the Pythagorean Theorem to determine how big a 42-inch TV really is; used percentages to examine environmental issues; and asked whether music can kill you.

The site is broken down in two ways:


Middle School Math
Algebra II


Fractions, Decimals, Percents
Functions & Equations
Graphing & Plotting
Number Sense & Operations
Probability & Statistics
Ratios & Proportions
Shapes & Measurement

The lessons are written in an ease-to-use, teacher-friendly format which makes sense since the site founder was a public school math teacher and later a math coach who worked with teachers to improve instruction by teaching for conceptual understanding and relevance. This site helps provide the answer for students like me who were hungry for the answer to the questions “What does this mean? When will I use it?” before being able to consume an out-of-context lesson. With a foundation like this, kids may find they no longer need tutors, and the question of "when will I use this?" will be a thing of the past.

This post was written jointly by Lisa Nielsen, The Innovative Educator and Karim Kai Logue, the founder and CEO of Mathalicious, which creates meaningful and real-world math content for parents, students and teachers.
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A Cheap and Easy Student Response System for Students with Access to Computers

Student response systems are a powerful 21st century tool that really provides educators with an insight into the minds of their students in ways never before possible with such ease and efficiency. Readers of this blog and those who've been to presentations or classes I teach are familiar with my favorite system Poll Everywhere. What I love about the site is that it lets you create and administer polls via cell phone texting so there is no additionally technology required. However, in cases where all students/participants have access to computers, QuickieQ might be a better option.

QuickieQ ( offers a polling and assessment system that was built by a teacher for a teachers and has many features that educators might want. First off, QuickieQ seems to offer a wider variety of question types than Poll Everywhere, such as multiple choice, true/false, yes/no, short answer, fill in the blank, essay, ranking, sorting, “check all that apply” with an optional “other” text field, and numerical. QuickieQ also has a confidence indicator that allows the responder to designate how confident they are in their answer. This would make for some great classroom discussions and really allow educators to get a virtual peak into the minds of their students.

QuickieQ allows you to assign point vales to each of the questions and will autoscore multiple choice, yes/no, true/false, short answer, fill in the blank, and numerical questions. The instructor can manual score all question types. Scores can be reported to the responder automatically at the end of a question set. According to the QuickieQ creator a soon-to-be-released update will allow the instructor to email results with comments to the responders.

Another highlight of QuickieQ is its ability to be used without a pre-made question list. With QuickieQ you can create questions easily and quickly during a live session. This would come in handy during a classroom discussion, where the conversation and students may dictate the questions being asked. When using question lists, the instructor can designate the pace that the questions are asked. For example, one teacher I heard of uses QuickieQ in an AP English class, asking one question at a time and stopping to discuss the responses after each question is asked.

Other educator friendly features of QuickieQ include: no student accounts to manage, question list sharing, simple URLs to share with responders, iPod Touch/iPhone formatting, and that it seems easy to learn and simple to operate. QuickieQ has a special, low-cost price for educators and runs $21 per teacher per year for a 35-responder license. QuickieQ is web-only at this time, so there is no SMS option.

At the low cost of $21 per year this is an effective an affordable option for classes where students have one to one access to laptops at home or school. In cases where students don't have access to computers, Polleverywhere or student response systems are a better option.

If QuickieQ seems right for you, watch this video to learn how to get started.

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What Might a 21st Century Literacy Class Look Like? This!

As an innovative educator I often write about fantastic tools that teachers can incorporate into practice. But, what might a 21st century high school literacy class look like? Here is a glimpse into a class I would love to be in if I was a student today.


Sam is a eleventh grader, who has struggled with ELA courses in secondary school. He is accustomed to the cycle of failure after years of low and barely passing grades in elementary school and repeating eighth grade before being allowed to continue on to high school. Although eager to learn and eventually finish high school, Sam has already failed two quarters of English. He is frustrated by the continuing cycle. He often finds himself bored and unmotivated in school which he thinks might have something to do with his less than stellar performance and motivation. He has friends that feel the same way and they notice there are other students in their classes that seem to have stronger educational drive and performance. He's just not one of them.

An alert English teacher took notice of Sam and recommended that he participate in a unique class of students with similar academic needs. He was given a chance to participate in an online credit recovery program to make up the credits lost by failing the two quarters of English. The Credit Recovery Program is an internet based curriculum for high school students. Students work individually and at their own pace using laptops. Each course is organized into units based on each of the 7 standards. Each unit has lessons composed of several different activities. The units and lessons are structured to address varying learning styles and so include audio, video, animations, interactive segments as well as traditional text. Participating students have a teacher/mentor (NYC DOE teacher?) who has been specifically trained in online instruction and can focus on individualizing instruction for each student. Students receive timely feedback on assessments. Sam knows that he must complete all activities and receive a grade of 70 or better in order to move on to the next lesson or unit.

In New York City there are seven English Language Arts performance standards that high school students must meet. They are: E1) Reading E2) Writing E3) Listening, Speaking, Viewing E4) Conventions, Grammar, and Usage of the English Language E5) Literature E6) Public documents E7) Functional Documents. In our online learning credit recovery model students must demonstrate achieving mastery in each area. One area that Sam failed in 9th grade English Language Arts was ELA Standard E1b: Read and comprehend at least four books on the same subject, or by the same author, or in the same genre. In this case study we will take a look at how Sam was able to demonstrate mastery in the 21st century classroom.

The Learning Journey

Sam reports to school at the beginning of the school day and picks up his laptop from the OLC (Online Learning Cafe). Although all 25 students taking a variety of classes report there, they can use their laptops in any of the school's various study spaces connecting to the internet through high speed wireless connectivity.

Sam logs on to his laptop where he has his online bookshelf filled with a variety of texts including contemporary literature (both fiction and non fiction), magazines, newspapers, textbooks, and more. These books were part of the previous unit he completed that addressed Standard E1A. As Sam logs on he thinks, “Wow, if reading was like this before, I probably wouldn’t be taking this class.” Sam’s bookshelf is made possible through a variety of partnerships with entities such as the Public Library, NetTrekker, Book Glutton, LuLu, Blurb, Blogger, and Google Books. Here Sam has a collection of every book he has read since entering the school and all those he plans to read.

Sam is actually excited about demonstrating mastery in this area because as he clicked on the standard in this module his animated teaching assistant explained that this standard is intended to encourage students to invest themselves thoroughly in an area that interests them. He learned that such an investment will generate reading from an array of resources, giving him more experience of reading as well as increased understanding of a subject.

Huh, he thought to himself. I had no idea that this is what we were supposed to be doing when I failed this in ninth grade. The teacher just showed us bins of raggedity old books and magazines and told us to pick one we liked. I didn't like any of em and was left with a bunch of books about Ronald Reagan.

Sam was excited to dive into this work and have a chance to read about things that interest him, but what would he choose??? Sam clicked on the interest survey which he was excited to take. The system has his profile for reading level, grade, gender, and first language, and produced a series of questions. Based on the interest survey, he decided he wanted to do deep reading about curling. He came to this conclusion because his interest profile suggested he select something in the area of sports...perhaps something in which he participates or watches. Following the Winter Olympics he and his dad had become fascinated with the topic and in fact even signed up for a curling league. He thought this would be a great way to find some reading that maybe he and his dad could do together.

When he entered the virtual reading room and typed the topic into the system he instantly got hits based on his profile: reading level, native language, grade, and gender, from all the partner sites along with options of how mastery could be demonstrated. Of the various choices Sam would have to pick four different readings in which to demonstrate such mastery to meet the standard.

Sam selected the following:

Sam realized that he only needed to select four sources, but that didn’t matter. He was really interested in reading all five. Maybe more. He wasn't sure if this was okay though, so he looked to see which of the ELA facilitators was online. He saw Ms. Michelle was online and sent her an IM asking if he could choose five rather than four selections. "Sure!" Ms. Michelle replied with a smile emoticon. You can always choose a bit more and then just select your top four picks to be assessed. That is a smart strategy."

Sam wondered if perhaps he could interest any of the other ELA students around the country to study this topic too. He posted the question on the system message board and hoped someone else might be interested in this topic too as it would be fun to collaborate. He also jumped over to his Twitter account and sent out a tweet: If you're interested in curling, DM me. I have some great materials to read. Sam instantly got five responses to his tweet. He was excited to start building a personal learning network around curling.

Sam was excited to start by taking a look at Sweep Magazine. The digital format was fantastic. Sam immediately thought his dad, who’s in the over-40 crowd, would love that he could zoom in on any text or photos in the magazine. Sam also appreciated being able to select the “Listen” option not only because it was helpful for certain difficult-to-read sections of the magazine, but also because he thought it would be interesting to learn about curling as he was getting ready in the morning for school. Even though he couldn't take the laptop home, he realized he could still listen to it because the magazine had an accompanying podcast he could listen to on his personal iPod. Sam DMed those who tweeted him with a link to the magazine.

All materials have "suggested proof of mastery" which include a student activity as well as a reflection which is what his online teachers reviews and assesses him on using the unit rubric. Students can submit alternate activities for approval and any of the class facilitators in that content area may approve. For Sweep Magazine Sam decided to engage in selecting three articles to share with some friends who might enjoy by posting a link on with an accompanying status update on Facebook. Sam was excited because he knew this would help build his curling-focused personal learning network even more. The post had to indicate something about the article and why he thought those tagged would find it of interest. Sam also had to make at least three comments in response to his friends in each update. These conversations were pasted into Sam's reflection that is shared with the teacher and make up a part of the reflection assessment. The online facilitators read each reflection with the authentic writing samples and provide feedback as well as a grade to students. In many cases this might include tips, tutorials, or one-on-one sessions with the online facilitator to strengthen a particular skill. Students that do not pass are required to engage in the scaffolding activities and resubmit their work. Students that do pass also have the option of engaging in the scaffolding activities and resubmitting their work for a higher grade but this is optional.

Note: As part of the high school curriculum all students learn how to create a responsible digital footprint and Twitter and Facebook are a part of this. In some cases students have set up both a separate personal and student profile. In other cases students have chosen to have one profile only. Sam fell in the later category.

Before the end of the class someone responded to Sam's message on the system bulletin board. Another student said he was interested in reading about curling too. Sam messaged him back with a note expressing his excitement and a link to his bookshelf. Next, Sam shared his bookshelf and assignment selections with his adviser who he was looking forward to connecting with tomorrow during their weekly online Elluminate webinar session.

Here are the other activities Sam engaged in during the semester.

Sam subscribed to the Skip Cottage Curling Blog: Sam selected to comment on at least three entries as part of his activity. Sam challenged his dad to do the same. They ended up in a virtual debate through their comments on the ethics of one of the players. The online conversations bleed into some interesting dinnertime chats and an interesting reflection for his teacher.

Sam borrowed The Curling for dummies book from the public library. His assessment option choice for this book was to write a review that would be submitted on as well as select at least three reviews from others on which he would rate and comment. Of course, this wasn’t as easy as it sounded because Sam kept finding that his Dad had taken the book to work. Eventually they both read the book and commented on one another’s work.

Sam started his dive into learning about curling with a Curling article from Wikipedia. His activity for this reading was to use something he found or learned from his curling study to add to the article. Sam started with the resource section and added in the blog he was reading. Sam also wrote about the ethics controversy of the player he had read about in the blog.

The final reading that Sam did on the topic was How to Get on a Curling Team from Book Glutton. Sam was excited to learn that this book had actually been published on Book Glutton from another student who had taken the course across the country. He wrote the book as part of the E2 Writing standard. In the back of Sam’s mind he was thinking about a book he might publish that could be interesting for other students to read. The activity selected for this book was that Sam had to make at least three comments in the book and reach out to another reader to set up a time to read a passage that he particularly liked together with that reader and discuss it on Book Glutton. Sam loved this activity. He contacted the author and his own father and the three of them had a Book Glutton online discussion on several different passages. Sam was online from school, his dad during his lunch break at the office, and the author from her gym which had wireless internet.

Sam’s goal was to finish two activities per quarter and figured the first four would be the ones for which he submitted his reflection assessment. Sam ended up finishing all five activities in the two quarters and submitted them all. He appreciated the feedback and insight from his online facilitator and hoped she didn’t mind the extra work he was giving her. He IMed her in the chat box to see if it was okay. She said, "Sam, I've been really impressed with your work and would love to read an additional submission."

At the completion of the unit Sam was thrilled. He had developed a terrific community of friends with who he could read, write, and converse about curling. He had started on his curling team and got many of his actual friends involved too. "Hmmm"...he thought. "I wonder when the summer Olympics will begin. I've always been interested in beach volleyball and now I know some smart ideas to get started."
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Luddites & Visionaries in Educational Technology

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100 Video Sites Educators Should Bookmark

Editor's Note: I recently shared A Collection of Classroom Videos to Use in Your Professional Development and More! This post courtesy of The Accredited Online Colleges blog is a perfect suppliment to the on-demand response I received from my PLN.

It doesn’t matter if you’re a veteran teacher or a newbie just now taking college courses — finding new ways to get students engaged in the classroom is always a great thing. One way many teachers are reaching out is with the multitude of material found on the web, allowing them to turn everyday lessons into a multimedia experience. You can find a great amount of helpful material on these sites, including videos to augment your lessons, lectures to inspire students, documentaries to show them how things work, and loads of additional videos to help you become a better, smarter teacher.
Educational Video Collections
These sites are full of videos on a wealth of topics that can help grab your students’ attention.
  1. Teacher Tube: On this site, teachers can post their own educational videos and find videos made by others on virtually every topic out there.
  2. Visit this site to search through a great collection of educational content.
  3. Edutopia: Sponsored by George Lucas, this site contains some great lesson plans as well as an assortment of lectures and inspiring videos.
  4. You Tube Edu: Check out this site to get access to the great content offered by YouTube, but narrowed down to all but educational videos.
  5. EduTube: Here you’ll find educational videos on just about every topic you could imagine.
  6. Classroom Clips: If you’re looking for teacher submitted and approved video and audio content for your courses, give this site a try.
  7. neoK12: This site believes that kids learn better by seeing and doing, and offers a wide range of educational videos and games to help them do it.
  8. Scholar Spot: Designed with both students and teachers in mind, this site has lots of educational content including lectures, animated videos and inspiring news stories.
  9. OV Guide: If you still haven’t found the video you’re looking for, consider paying a visit to this site. It will help you search through hundreds of sites for the best educational content on the web.
  10. Cosmo Learning: This educational site offers videos that can work well for students from grade school as well as those geared towards high school or college students.
  11. Google Educational Videos: Here you’ll find instructions on how to search through Google Videos and bring up only those that relate to education.
  12. Lectr: On this site teachers and students alike can find free lectures from learning institutions around the world.
General Video Collections
These sites do offer some great educational content, but contain other types of videos as well.
  1. Hulu: Hulu carries a lot of everyday, pure entertainment TV shows, but it also streams programs from PBS and National Geographic that can be great for classroom use.
  2. Internet Archive: This site compiles videos from all over the web, giving you access to archives, public domain movies and a whole lot more.
  3. TED: Get your students or even yourself inspired with the amazing lectures posted on this site.
  4. MIT World: Hear from some of the world’s foremost scholars in lectures provided by MIT.
  5. TVO Big Ideas: On this site you’ll be able to hear from some big names in business, politics and activism and get a look at how they feel about some of the bigger issues facing our world.
  6. Big Think: Check out this site from video programming that asks you to truly think about a topic. Not all videos may be appropriate for the classroom, but there are definitely a few that could spark some interesting conversation.
  7. The Open Video Project: If you want access to loads of public domain digital video, go through the archives collected on this high-tech library site.
  8. @Google Talks: Hear from experts in fields like history, technology and business in this impressive collection of lectures from Google.
  9. Forum Network: This PBS site is absolutely full of video lectures from authors, academics and thinkers, but you’ll also find some great free PBS programs on topics that are especially relevant to history, science and technological education.
  10. UChannel: On this site you’ll find video lectures from some of the most prestigious institutions around the world.
Teacher Education
Check out these sites to find some videos that will help you learn more about the subjects you teach and the technology you use.
  1. Academic Earth: Visit this site to see a wide range of lectures and courses from schools like Yale, Princeton and MIT, giving you the opportunity to learn more about your subject matter without spending a dime.
  2. Teacher Training Videos: If you need a little extra instruction on working with technology or students with ESL needs, check out the free content on this site.
  3. iMovie in Teacher Education: This site will show you how you can use iMovie, and by extension videos and interactive experiences, more effectively in your classroom.
  4. Classroom 2.0 Video: Those who struggle with implementing technology in the classroom should check out the videos on this site. You’ll learn how to do a wide range of technological tasks and there are lesson-worthy videos on the site as well.
  5. Atomic Learning: Use the videos on this site to find out how to harness the power for 21st century technological tools for more effective teaching. Most of the content comes at a cost, so you may want to try to talk your school district into sponsoring it.
  6. iTunesU: Take some of the free courses and lectures on this site to brush up on your knowledge of your specialty subject matter or just about anything else.
  7. Videos for Personal Development: Check out this site for a listing of some truly great personal development videos that will help your general teaching skills as well as your technological knowledge.
  8. While you will find a great deal of video content that can be of use in the classroom, the real wealth of this site lies in the great personal development materials for teachers.
Lesson Planning
These video sites offer some great content to add to your lesson plans, and many are geared towards students so they can use them at home as well.
  1. Teachers Domain: Create a free profile on this site and you will get access to hundreds of lessons with accompanying videos, photos and other media.
  2. Meet Me at the Corner: This site offers students educational programming, book clubs, podcasting lessons and even virtual field trips–all great additions to lessons.
  3. WatchKnow: Designed for younger students, this site is home to some great educational videos on everything from inspirational biographies to ESL help.
  4. BrainPOP: While not all the content on this site is free, teachers can still find some great animated videos on a wide range of topics on this site for use in the classroom.
  5. Kids Know It Network: This site contains videos on topics like dinosaurs, biology, geography, history and math that are free to use and share.
  6. Khan Academy: This not-for-profit organization wants people everywhere to have access to educational content, and on their site, you can find instructional videos on numerous topics.
  7. Awesome Stories Video: Use the videos on this site in all kinds of lessons. You’ll find content that ranges from discussing the lives of penguins in Antarctica to the role of African Americans in WWII.
  8. Nobel Prize Lectures: Why not augment a lecture about a famous face in history with a real clip of them giving a Nobel Prize lecture or a documentary about their life? You’ll find both here.
  9. John Locker: Choose a subject like history, science or even sports on this site and you’ll get access to some amazing educational content.
  10. Teachers’ TV: This site is a goldmine for teachers, with videos posted by subject, grade level, popularity and with the added bonus of a special section for professional development as well.
Science, Math and Technology
On these sites, the videos focus on the fields of science, math and technology.
  1. Green Energy TV: Teach your students about the latest innovations in green technologies with free videos from this site.
  2. Research Channel: The programming on this Internet TV site highlights some of the latest research being done in science, technology, medicine and even the humanities so you can educate yourself and your students on the next big things.
  3. BioInteractive: Explore biology with a little help from this site, offering videos and animations that can be a big help in teaching complex topics.
  4. ARKive: For lessons about the natural world, this site is perfect. It contains a wide range of videos on the animal and plant life of Earth.
  5. Math TV: If your students are struggling to understand a mathematical concept, augment their lessons with some of the material found on this site.
  6. The Vega Science Trust Videos: Let your students see potential science careers, discuss important issues and see inspirational figures in the field with videos found on this site.
  7. The Science Network: See interviews with big names in science that touch on important topics like stem cell research, evolution, neuroscience, genetics, learning and more on this site.
  8. Pop Tech: Inspire your students with the videos found on this site, showing individuals who are using science, technology and plain old hard work to change the world.
  9. Channel N: This site is full of lectures and videos on the human brain and psychology.
  10. How Stuff Works Videos: Show your students amazing and instructional videos through the content on this site.
  11. ScienceStage: You’ll find everything from videos of the Hubble Telescope to problems with human nutrition on this research-focused site.
  12. Exploratorium: Check out the webcasts on this site to let your students hear from biologists, cosmologists, physicists and more.
  13. SciVee: Give your students a view into the real working world of science, with this site that allows scientists to post videos of their real-life research for students and other scientists to use.
  14. The Futures Channel: This online channel is full of lessons and video clips on all types of math and science topics, from how to predict the weather to how to build stronger snowboards.
History, Arts and Social Sciences
Here you’ll find a great collection of videos to illustrate the past and help your students see the beauty of the arts.
  1. EASE History: Watch videos about historical events, campaign ads, and cultural values on this historical site.
  2. Kennedy Center Archives: Through this site you can show students performances from some of the most amazing musicians in the world.
  3. The Archaeology Channel: Help your students to explore the history of mankind through the great free content offered here.
  4. Peoples Archive: This site collects the biographies of well-known people around the world told by the people who know it best–themselves.
  5. Steven Spielberg Film and Video Archive: On this site you’ll find an amazing collection of WWII-era footage of the horrors of the Holocaust.
  6. Culture Catch: This site will let you see some of the work being done by up-and-coming artists.
  7. Folk Streams: Use this site to show students documentaries about traditional and folk culture in America.
  8. Digital History: With lesson plans and interactive online experiences for students, the videos found here are just the icing on the cake.
  9. History Matters: This site explores the primary historical documents central to understanding American history.
  10. Social Studies Video Dictionary: Your students can look up vocabulary words in style with this video dictionary.
Video Tools
If you want to share, upload or store your own videos, consider using one of these great online tools.
  1. You can work with colleagues, parents or on your own in real time using this free online video and collaboration tool.
  2. DropShots: Keep your educational video collection private using this hosting site.
  3. Shwup: Store and share all your educational media using this site.
  4. Tonido: If you’ve got your videos stored on your computer, this site will let you upload them to the web and play them in the classroom free of charge.
  5. StashSpace: Create an account on this site and you’ll be able to store all kinds of video content.
  6. Troovi: With this site you can create an account to store all of your educational photos, videos and documents so you’re always prepared to teach.
  7. VidQue Edu: Search through this site for other educational videos even if you’re not quite ready to post your own.
  8. This site is a great social networking forum for students and teachers to share videos.
Network and Program Videos
These video sites are maintained by TV networks, offering videos of their programming for teachers to use for free.
  1. PBS Video: With this site you’ll be able to bring the great content from PBS right into your classroom for free.
  2. National Geographic Video: From nature to ancient cultures, you’ll find videos aplenty on this site.
  3. Nova Teachers Watch Video Online: Using this site you can show clips or whole programs from the television series Nova.
  4. Discovery Education: The Discovery Channel has compiled the videos on this site just for teachers and students.
  5. C-SPAN Video Library: Students learning about government can see it in action through the videos here.
  6. iCue: NBC News sponsors this site that offers great clips of important world events.
  7. History Channel Video Guide: Bring history to life through biographies and historical documentaries found here.
  8. Let your students learn more about famous figures in history using the short clips from the Biography Channel found here.
  9. Educational Internet TV: Check out this site to find out about free educational channels from around the world that you can watch online for free.
  10. BBC Learning: BBC Learning offers thousands of clips that have been pre-edited and selected to work well in the classroom.
Free Movies and Clips
Visit these sites to get access to free documentaries, public domain films and short clips.
  1. Film Clips Online: Here you’ll find short, and legal to use film clips that are perfect for the classroom.
  2. Free Use this site to find some free documentary films for the classroom.
  3. SnagFilms: This site is home to a wide range of both free and pay film content.
  4. Top Documentary Films: Search through the documentaries on this site to find something perfect for the lessons you’re creating.
  5. Movies Found Online: Check out the search tool on this site to find whole public domain films online.
  6. ABC Documentaries: This site offers free documentaries from an Australian television station, including many shorter TV programs that can work well in school.
If you’ve got no clue how to use a technology or want to see how things work in video form, these tutorial-filled sites should be your first stop.
  1. 5 Min: Got five minutes? Then you have enough time to watch one of these great instructional videos.
  2. Wonder How To: No matter what you’re trying to accomplish around the classroom, this site likely has a video to help you do it.
  3. Instructables: Learn how to make some great crafts that can accompany your lessons, play new games, or just figure out how to do something you’ve always wanted to do through this site.
  4. Howcast: If you want to know how to do something, this site is a great place to start looking for instruction.
  5. MindBites: You can not only find great videos on this site, but you may even be able to earn a little extra when others use videos you post.
  6. W3 Schools: Want to create a class website but don’t even know where to begin? This site offers some excellent tutorials on all the programming languages and tech expertise you’ll need.
Government and Organizations
Go through these sites to get great videos and footage from the past and present of American history.
  1. The National Archives: Through this site you’ll get access to multimedia records that are held in the U.S. National Archives — a perfect addition to any history lesson.
  2. National Science Foundation Multimedia: Here, the NSF provides educators and interested learners with videos of nature, interviews, animations and a whole lot more.
  3. NASA e-Clips: Use these short clips as a way of showing students about our world and the universe that lies beyond.
  4. NASA TV: From live footage of space shuttles and space stations to programming geared towards use in the classroom, this NASA site is an invaluable resource for teachers looking to add to lessons about space travel.
  5. Library of Congress Teacher Resources: This site helps bring together some of the best material offered by the Library of Congress for use in a range of lesson plans on American History.
  6. American Memory Motion Pictures: If you prefer to look through the material on your own, this site will let you search through the multimedia material held by the Library of Congress.
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The Three Important Lessons Banning Cell Phones Teaches Kids

In his post “I lost something very important to me” Will Richardson shares three important lessons that banning cells teaches kids. They are:
1-It teaches them that they don’t deserve to be empowered with technology the same way adults are.
2-Tools that adults use all the time in their everyday lives to communicate are not relevant to their own communication needs.
3-They can’t be trusted (or taught, for that matter) to use phones appropriately in school.
I recently had a cell phone enriched lesson plan shared with me (stay tuned, will be posted shortly) by a secondary teacher who is empowering students to harness the power of cell phones in their learning. And guess what happened when he did? They came up with their own list of appropriate use.

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When School Gets in the Way of Learning....Drop Out!

"If we teach today’s students as we taught yesterday’s, we rob them of tomorrow."
- John Dewey

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Elmo is so Happy to See You; An Exploration of Literacy in the Toddler World


Lala Lala. Lala Lala. Elmo’s World. Lala Lala. Lala Lala. Elmo’s World. Elmo loves his goldfish, his crayons too. That’s Elmo’s World!

Hi! This is Elmo’s World. Elmo is so happy to see you…

For parents with young ones this dialogue is very familiar. Many parents might find his high-pitched voice grating. However, you have to admit, the kids love it. In fact Elmo’s World is so well received it practically saved the Sesame Street franchise from extinction. Subsequently, every Sesame Street episode airs a minimum of 18 minutes of Elmo content. Elmo also appears in a number of additional skits throughout the hour-long program. With this in mind, why do our children relate to Elmo so well? Is it his fur? Is it his singing? Is it Mr. Noodle’s silly antics?

More importantly, is Elmo good for your child? Fortunately, Elmo’s World is based on tons of research. The show always starts with his song and salutations. Elmo then introduces the topic that will be discussed and shows a quick video montage of the concept. He then proceeds to ask Mr. Noodles or one of the Noodle siblings for assistance followed by asking children to elaborate on the concept. The topic idea is then reinforced through cartoon shorts and other types of media. Young kids love the Elmo’s singing and use of exaggeration to demonstrate a point. They also love the fact that the show is routine oriented, which makes it easier for learning to take place.

So… can Elmo really help my child? I think this largely depends on your child’s learning style. After all, literacy is a funny thing. Some children are born, start speaking, and never stop. Some children are slightly delayed and some children are well… developmentally delayed. Many of us wonder why does one child start copying the words around him/her and the other one does not? Many educators, psychologists, neurologists, and other so-called experts have postulated a number of causes for this calamity. And so it is. We diagnose the child and try to rule out the more severe problems such as hearing, severe neurological disorders, and so on.

While the diagnostic is an important starting point, it is in fact… just a starting point. Ultimately we must inspire children to get excited about language. How does that work? In short, the text must have meaning; the text must matter. In the great tradition of Froebel and Montessori Elmo’s use of visuals and cute songs can help bring meaning to words, concepts, and language. Like all media materials, it is important that the parent/educator takes the time to review the materials, watch how their child responds to the stimulus, and conduct the follow up activities at a later time.

For example, if a parent were using the potty segment, he/she might want to discuss that word and associated words prior to the video viewing. After the video viewing, the parent might want to ask some related questions, take the child to the potty, or read a book related to the subject matter. The same holds true with Dora the Explorer. Dora’s show is also research based, teaches problem solving, is great for ELL students, follows a sequential pattern, and takes many opportunities to reinforce the lesson of the day. However, in the end the parent/educator/caregiver has to determine if this program helps bring meaning to the text and must conduct the appropriate pre and follow up activities. Luckily Elmo’s web site has loads of resources. The following is a list;

Elmo Brushes His Teeth

100th Day of School (free e-book)

Parent Tips for Potty Training

Healthy Eating

I hope this has been helpful and now its time to sing Elmo’s song.

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Reading 2.0: Where is the Love?

My cousin Laura Nadler Scott just published her first book, Where is the Love?

As described by award-winning journalist and writer Mikey Rox, the "story of little Leni Lovebird reminds us that it's all too easy to take what we have for granted and that often it's what's in front of our eyes that we fail to see. In the end though, we always end up back where we belong: Home. Fitting, too: that is where the heart is, after all."

As I went to the publisher site to check out the book preview, what struck me was that the entire book is available in a beautiful digital format using ISSUU. Which you can view here.

I continued through the publisher site and saw that there were several other books available like this one:

Then I went to the ISSUU site and there are so many free digital publications available there that will become a powerful resource for any innovative educator and their students. What is even most powerful is that with a site like this every student and teacher has the ability to become a published author for free by publishing works such as this one from nine-year-old Dylan Matthew Winger a student who has moved from 20th century "Hand-it-in Writing" to 21st century "Publish-it Writing."

However, just like with Tweeting, perhaps the most powerful transformation in 21st century reading, writing, and publishing is the power of the conversation which is not possible with paper books and rarely occurs with hand-it-in writing. You see books published on ISSUU provide book and magazine authors and their readers the unique ability to have a conversation by providing commenting and rating functionality.

Additionally, the site also provides analytics which give writers insight into their popularity by number of views and also indicates any sites that link to them. This is truly authentic publication that connects students to their audience in a real way. You can see what this looks like in this publication of The Paw Print, a student newspaper from Lonoke, Arkansas.

Here are the comments and analytics showing number of views and who links to the newspaper.

What a terrific way for innovative educators to provide their students with authentic opportunities to engage with a book author and other readers around the world. You can try it yourself by visiting this book on the ISSUU site at this link. After logging on to ISSUU you will be able to rate and comment on any book.

Innovative educators can easily reach out to their personal learning network and find other teachers who might want to share the book with their students. Classes reading the book can contribute to the rating of the book and they can comment and converse with each other, and ideally with the author as well! Innovative educators interested in conversing with this author can friend Laura Nadler Scott on Facebook with a "personal message" indicating that your class is reading the book, will be commenting, and that you'd love for her to respond to some of their questions and comments. I'm sure she'll be happy to do so.
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Teaching Kids to Manage their Digital Footprint - 140 Character Conference Panel Discussion

badge5I am presenting at The 140 Characters Conference in New York City which is taking place April 20-21, 2010 at the 92nd Street Y in Manhattan. This event is the largest worldwide gathering of people interested in the effects of the real-time Internet on business, education, and “we” the people. Some of the other speakers include Ann Curry, NBC News (@AnnCurry), Chris Lehmann, Principal of the Science Leadership Academy, (@chrislehmann), Donny Deustch (@Donny_Deutsch), Ivanka Trump (@IvankaTrump), and MC Hammer (@MCHammer).

I will be a part of the Twitter and Education panel. Specifically I'll be discussing:

1) Teaching Kids how to manage their Digital Footprint
2) Why Social Media Curriculum is critical in schools
3) Technology usage to enhance collaboration and development

In anticipation of the conference I'm writing a post about each topic starting with this one.

Teaching Kids how to manage their Digital Footprint

Teaching kids to manage their Digital Footprint really starts with the adults. Teachers can't teach this effectively if they, themselves have not managed their own digital footprint. It is also important not to confuse managing a digital footprint with being hidden or private. Branding our identities has become more and more important in the digital age and if students and teachers aren't actively managing their digital footprint, then who is? Managing your digital footprint starts with asking questions like: Who are you? What do you stand for? What are your passions and beliefs? The important lesson with managing your digital footprint is that everything we do online should represent who we are and what we stand for and we must have the knowledge that this representation will stick with us potentially forever.

How can we teach students and teachers to celebrate themselves and their beliefs so that their digital footprint represents a picture of someone they are proud to be? I've written about some fun ways to get these conversations going by helping students reflect upon what their digital message says about them. An interesting way to start such a conversation might be with this video which really can get students and their teachers thinking about who they are and what they stand for.

Two questions that can change your life from Daniel Pink on Vimeo.

After watching and discussing the video, for homework teachers can assign a number of fun and engaging activities that students can do at, or away from, school depending on what sites are blocked in their particular school. I like to call these applications "Recap Apps" because they allow students to take a look at a recap of who they have been in their online life. Students using Facebook or Twitter can generate status clouds that recap what their message has been over a specified period of time i.e. 1, 3, 6, or 12 months. The clouds provide the function of a Wordle and allows students to easily visual the dominant messages they have been conveying. After review their clouds students can reflect upon whether or not this message is in alignment with what they want their digital footprint to be and how they may modify their online behavior to ensure they are promoting themselves as the person they want to be. There is also an app that allows Facebook users to recap their year in pictures. The same reflective exercise can be put in place. Do these pictures represent the way I see myself and want others to see me? Another fun app is one that provides a recap of your status updates in a sort of poem card format. This gives another perspective on the digital footprint that students and teachers are developing. Finally, inspired by the show Flashforward, an app has been designed that provides a glimpse into each members possible future. This could be a great follow up activity inspiring conversations about what their future digital footprint might look like.

If you are thinking about attending #140conf NYC, now would be a great time to secure your seat. With the “early bird” ticket costing only US$ 100 for the two day event or $60 for one day. You can register NOW to guarantee youself access to the event. “Early Bird” registration ends on March 6th. The format at the #140conf events is unique. Individual talks are 5 and 10 minutes, keynotes are 15 and 20 minutes and panel discussions are no more than 20 minutes. During the course of the two days more than 140 people will share the stage at the 92nd Street Y in about 70 sessions. To get a feel of the energy you may experience in April, click here to review the videos from the 2009 #140conf NYC. The take aways from this event will provide the attending delegates knowledge, perspectives and insights to the next wave of effects twitter and the real-time internet will have on business and education in 2010 and beyond.


Read more about digital footprints from Cybraryman at

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A Parents' Search for Inspiration to Reach Children with Autism

By Jacob Gutnicki

First Inspiration – First Child

As parents of 2 autistic children, my wife and I have set a few goals for our children. One goal is to assure that they both read proficiently. In trying to achieve this goal, it is incumbent upon us to have our children get excited about reading. With this in mind, we have used a number of methodologies, tactics, and materials to achieve this valiant goal.

In the beginning, we tried teaching our older son his letters. We used picture books that display the word along with pictures and have words sequenced in alphabetical order. It is believed that the picture to word association will strengthen their concepts of letters and words. We also used a variety of phonics-based software, which mimic this approach. Additionally, we employed the use of Leapfrog Books, which allowed him to touch the objects and/or words and hear the words read to him. These combined approaches were yielding limited successes. Naturally, we were eager to crack the code and figure out how to help our older son become more communicative.

One day, I was sitting with my son at the computer. He was introducing me to Thomas and his friends. You know, Gordon, Edward, Percy, Henry, Toby, Mavis, and so on. I started thinking about this little incident and said to myself, “How can he differentiate the subtle differences between Gordon, Thomas, and Edward. After all, these 3 engines are blue and are the same length.” In fact, the only unique differences between these characters were the expressions on their faceplate.

As I thought about this incident further, I realized 2 things.

1- If he could distinguish the subtle differences between Thomas, Gordon, and Edward, he was certainly capable of noting the different features in the ABC.

2- In teaching him the ABC or other content area, it will be extremely important that the medium used are high interest materials.

Epilogue… Approximately, 4 years have passed since the “Thomas incident.” Since this time, our son has mastered his ABC’s, reads books, writes sentences, and is extremely verbal. Through it all, the computer along with engaging applications and web sites has motivated him to read and write. When he installs software, he will attempt to read the directions and ask for help when he gets stuck. He has watched numerous video tutorials to learn how to use programs like Garage Band, iMovie, and other applications. When our son watches a video featuring Sponge Bob or other popular characters he will pause the program and attempt to read the signs being displayed. He will also ask me what keyboard shortcuts I employ to eject CDs or close programs. In short, through the use of technology, being literate has become relevant in his life. After all, you cannot find your favorite train model unless you know how to spell Santa Fe El Capitan.

As his educational journey continues, my wife and I reminisce about this and other early learning moments as it reminds us to not underestimate the importance of finding materials that get him excited about learning. This is why when he tells us about a software program he is using in his school; we always keep an open mind. After all, if Thomas the Tank Engine can teach our son his ABC’s, anything is possible.

First Inspiration – Second Child

Our second child is beginning his journey. Currently, his use of words has vastly improved over the past few months. However, he has many miles to go. With this in mind, we were hoping that lightning would strike twice and that he would also become more literate through technology. Over the past year, I have made various attempts to engage him through the use of technology. For the most part it has been a dismal failure. About two months ago, we started using the Wii with him. This seems to have caught his attention. Our little one often says, “bowling, bowling, bowling.” A few weeks later, I installed a touch screen on his computer hoping that would get him excited. At first, this tactic had limited success. My little one would play with the computer for 15 minutes and would then walk away to do something else. Naturally, I tried putting him on the computer a few more times and achieved similar results.

Then on the morning of February 7th, everything changed. He said, “computer, computer, computer, I want computer.” We rush down to the basement and my older boy started teaching the little one how to use Kid Pix.

Seven days later... The little one continues to ask for the computer. He loves to use his fingers and draw pictures on the touch screen. Occasionally, with a smirk on his face he will lift the mouse and press it against the touch screen. He has also begun to ask for Thomas and Elmo. More importantly, he watches their escapades with great interest, identifies objects they are teaching about, and laughs when the characters do something silly. In the end, the smile on the little one says it all. So… the journey begins again as little digital boy begins to enter the world of technology.

Resources to try with your children

Want to try Thomas the Tank Engine activities with your children? Visit the following web site;
Build an Engine
This activity is a great way to introduce your children to puzzles and basic problem solving in mathematics. When you visit this website you will notice a number of other activities. Many of them are fun, educational, and will certainly delight young children.

Want to spend the day with Thomas? Visit the following web site;
Day Out with Thomas -
If your child loves Thomas this will no doubt delight your child. In short, Thomas and crew take over a train station for the weekend and the family has an opportunity to ride Thomas the Tank Engine. There are many other activities at these events and your child will have a great time.

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