Things I found Feb 18, 2015

Things I found Feb 18, 2015

More than 106,000 free digital textbooks are being used to teach STEM in schools
More than 100,000 teacher-created digital textbooks are now available online through the CK-12 Foundation’s free STEM content and tools platform. The 106,000 digital texts, or FlexBooks, come from the roughly 30,000 schools using CK-12’s free and open digital resources. CK-12 is launching two new tools in addition to its new content.

Study: Large online literacy achievement gap exists
Today’s students may be skilled at texting and social media, but many are unable to perform online research and distinguish accurate information on the web, according to a new study. Further, there is a large achievement gap in online reading ability between students in economically disadvantaged districts and their peers in wealthier schools.

Where Career Tech (CTE) Meets STEM Education
When writing about technology – the T in STEM – I‘ve yet to mention Career and Technical Education (CTE), and some of my savvy readers have pointed that out. Okay – I‘ll admit to thinking of CTE as a mostly high school curriculum.

Teachers, Stop Being Scared of Cellphones
Screens are everywhere these days, in the restaurants, on the subways, in front of our faces. The only ones we seem able to control are those little screens on our tablets and cellphones, but bring those things into a classroom and who is in control, the student or the teacher? In March, New York City is lifting the ban on cellphones in school. The long outdated policy’s end has been met with skepticism and outright hostile resistance. Why? Well, as a teacher in a computer lab I’m very well aware of the power of the screen, the beautiful blue screen my students seem entranced with when I’m trying to run a lesson, and that’s just the login screen.

How can teachers capture and keep the attention of the students in their classrooms if they aren’t in control of the screens on their phones? Of course, that’s only one issue that has teachers resisting this step into the 21st century; the other issue is teachers don’t realize they themselves have the power to make those little screens conduits into the minds of their students.

Why mentors need to stop trying to fix black and brown students
Black and brown students need good schools, great teachers and professional opportunities – not personality mechanics. We should place more energy in fixing what makes schools unattractive rather than creating mentoring programs that attempt to bang square pegs into round holes. Last week, I signed on to be a mentor for a new school-based program …

Why U.S. teens are more sleep deprived than ever
U.S. teens are getting sleepier: Many lack even seven hours of shut-eye each night and the problem has worsened over two decades, a study found. More than half of kids aged 15 and older would need to sleep at least two hours more each night to meet recommendations for adequate rest, heightening concerns about theimpact on their health and academic performance.

Getting over your resistance to using a password manager
Do you still use the same password on multiple sites? Or perhaps you keep a list of all your passwords on paper, or in a file on your computer? If so, I‘d like to suggest that it’s time to finally give a password manager a try.

Welcome to YOUniversityTV, the College and Careers Portal
The nation’s leading producer for informative and entertaining college video tours

Tools for Close Reading
Several teachers have recently asked about tools to help students with close reading on digital devices. Close reading requires careful, focused attention to the text, a different reading strategy than is usually employed with reading online content. While tools like highlighters and post-it notes are useful for close readings of print text, those same tools don’t work with digital content.
John James Audubon’s Birds of America | Audubon
John James Audubon’s Birds of America is a portal into the natural world. Printed between 1827 and 1838, it contains 435 life-sized watercolours of North American birds, all made from hand-engraved plates, and is considered to be the archetype of wildlife illustration.

Book Trailer Resources
Links for creating Book Trailers, including royalty-free images, audio, and video, as well as image editors.

School Is About More Than Training Kids to Be Adults
Years ago, as a junior-varsity baseball coach, I was once stunned by a player who had to remind me that he and his teammates-the people I was training-were only kids. I had just finished giving a pretty typical speech to my team, telling them that, over five years, I had 16 players who went on to play in college or professionally.

Gestures and pictures ‘boost foreign language learning’
A new study reinforces the multisensory theory of learning that says people learn more easily when several senses are activated at the same time. Using an artificial language they developed for research, scientists ran experiments to show people memorize foreign language terms more easily when – as well as reading and listening – they see pictures and express their meaning with gestures.

Boost your vocabulary | Explore the web | – Learn a language while you browse the web. Collect new words. Language learning your way. Available in: English, Spanish,

iPad as the Teacher’s Pet (PDF file)

Critical Gaps Linger in States’ Policies on Postsecondary Readiness, Says Report
Despite what it calls the notable progress by states in helping more students reach college- and career-readiness in recent years, there is still much work many states must do to turn a high school diploma into a meaningful accomplishment and not just a “ticket to nowhere.” – Free SAT Test Prep
Watch hours and hours of in-depth, high-quality SAT and ACT instruction from some of the best instructorsin America for FREE at!

Google Earth Pro Is Now Free
Over the last 10 years, businesses, scientists and hobbyists from all over the world have been using Google Earth Pro for everything from planning hikes to placing solar panels on rooftops.

60 Videos of Practical Ed Tech Tips
Last fall I started to put together a playlist of how-to videos that I have created. I called the playlist Practical Ed Tech Tips. In the videos I provide demonstrations of how to use some of my favorite educational technology tools and services.

8 Free Apps and Web Tools for Staying Organized in the New
The start of a new year is a great time to think back and reflect about what really worked for you and whatisn’t quite cutting it. When it comes to staying organized, there is no one-size-fits-all.

What is Genius Hour?
Genius hour is a movement that allows students to explore their own passions and encourages creativity in the classroom. It provides students a choice in what they learn during a set period of time during school. It’s not easy to determine where the idea was originally created, but there are at least two events that have impacted genius hour.

MIT OpenCourseWare | Free Online Course Materials
MIT OpenCourseWare is a web-based publication of virtually all MIT course content. OCW is open and available to the world and is a permanent MIT activity.

2015 Youth Media Award Winners
Each year the American Library Association honors books, videos, and other outstanding materials for children and teens. Recognized worldwide for the high quality they represent, the ALA Youth Media Awards,including the prestigious Newbery, Caldecott, Printz, and Coretta Scott King Book Awards, guide parents, educators, librarians, and others in selecting the best materials for youth.