Join Us in Celebrating Digital Learning Day on February 5th!

Can you imagine education without technology?  In order to prepare the next generation for college and for their place in the workforce, it is very important that students and teachers embrace the benefits that modern instructional tools can provide.

This is why thousands of educators answer the “call to action” and join the celebration of Digital Learning Day each February.  A national event designed to allow educators to gather virtually to share and discuss the successes and challenges that they are experiencing with integrating digital tools in their classrooms.

To help build this awareness and to promote enhanced instruction with modern technology tools, join us by participating in national Digital Learning Day which is scheduled for February 5, 2014!  The online event will feature demonstrations, interactive lessons, presentations, resource sharing, tips, and even tricks designed for classroom educators that possess a passion for incorporating powerful digital tools into their lessons.

Here are some ways you can participate…

I hope to see you participating and making a difference with digital learning on Digital Learning Day!

-Doug Caldwell, EdS, is an instructional specialist for the eMINTS National Center.

Time to Register for the 2014 eMINTS Conference!

It is that time of year again, when educators from near and far make plans to attend the annual eMINTS National Center Conference.  This exciting event takes place Feb 26-Feb 28 at the Stoney Creek Inn in Columbia, MO and is designed for anyone who is passionate about learning, teaching, and connecting with technology.

register2014_cropped

If you have never before attended this conference, please accept this invitation.

eMINTS teachers, trainers, technicians, and administrators  are looking forward to meeting old friends and making new ones. They are preparing session workshops and designing their materials, selecting activities, resources and choosing strategies that can be taken back and used by participants almost immediately and in practically any learning environment.

The Keynote speakers will be Dr. Alex Repenning – “‘Excuse me, I need better Artificial Intelligence!‘ Igniting Students’ Intrinsic Math Motivation through Game Design” and Dr. Wesley Fryer – “Mapping Media to the Common Core”.

There are also two brand new opportunities that take place during the conference this year.  On Wednesday afternoon, there is a pre-conference 2.5 hour session called the “eMINTS Academy”.  During this session, eMINTS Instructional Specialists will be showcasing several custom PD offerings.  Actual activities from those recent and upcoming sessions will be delivered to participants.

On Wednesday and Thursday evening, the eMINTS community will gather to have the very first Camp eMINTS”.  This event will have a guest speakers, group sharing, games and resources that will be sure to allow attendees to help build professional relationships.

Both the eMINTS Academy and Camp eMINTS are free!

To register and find more information, visit http://www.emints.org/conference-2014/

Doug Caldwell, EdS, is an instructional specialist for the eMINTS National Center.

FUNdamentals of Learning: An Intel Webinar

We have often talked about PLN (Personal Learning Networks) in the blog but I thought I might share a specific site that you may want to add to your PLN.  It is the Teachers Engage site from Intel.  This is a community of educators K-12 and the focus is transforming learning with the integration of technology.  It is free to register and provides many helpful ideas and tools to use in the classroom.

There are discussion boards, webinars, unit plans, and various communities you can join to meet your particular interests and needs.  The resources that are provided are excellent and there are so many of them.

I mentioned webinars, an example of one of the webinars you should attend is tonight, Aug. 7th at 6:00 Central time. Doug Caldwell, Debbie Perkins, and Julie Szaj, all eMINTS Instructional Specialist, will be presenting a webinar called The FUNdamentals of Learning.   In this webinar, they “will present on websites that help teachers and students get, become, stay engaged. Focusing on middle school-aged resources, they will show tools and have participants brainstorm classroom uses with an emphasis on back to school planning.”

If you are interested in the Teachers Engage or just want to check out a webinar, come and join them tonight and see if maybe Teachers Engage is a site you might want to add to your PLN.

Terri Brines is an eIS and Cognitive CoachingSM Trainer for the eMINTS National Center.

Edutopia Hartville Profile: Meet the eIS…Doug Caldwell

Yesterday Edutopia featured an article in their “Schools That Work” Section about the eMINTS implementation in Hartville, Missouri.  Tonya Wilson’s and her 6th grade students were the stars. The article and video both give a glimpse of Tonya’s classroom and how eMINTS has transformed not only her teaching but her own learning as well.

In the video Monica Beglau, Executive Director, and Doug Caldwell, eMINTS Instructional Specialist, share what makes eMINTS successful in both improving teacher effectiveness and raising student achievement. The keys to the success of the program lie in its continued professional development spread throughout the year being relevant to the teaching, connected to the learning, and supported by face-to-face coaching.

Doug Caldwell, the eIS featured in this profile video provides that support and more. The Instructional Specialist at eMINTS take on several roles in the eMINTS organization.

Doug Caldwell, eMINTS Instructional Specialist

Doug lives in Lynchburg, Missouri, (pop. 75). He has been with eMINTS for 12 years and has trained countless teachers. While working at the eMINTS National Center he wears many hats. Not only does he facilitate eMINTS Comprehensive Professional Development sessions he also visits teachers in their classrooms to help them implement what they are learning through coaching, consulting, and collaborating. Doug is a Senior Trainer for the Intel program, presents at local, state, and national conferences, supports district technology staff as part of the eMINTS4Techs program, provides custom PD including training for veteran eMINTS teachers, and serves on various committees. He does all this with his ever present easy going  attitude and smile on his face.

Tell us about your connection with eMINTS. What eMINTS program/s have you participated in? Who is/was your eMINTS Facilitator? What eMINTS accomplishments are you most proud of? And if you haven’t had the opportunity yet to become part of our eMINTS “family”, what might be the most appealing part to you?

The eMINTS National Center is a non-for profit organization that has provided comprehensive research-based professional development services to educators since 1999.

Reflecting with Wordle?

Do you practice what you teach?  I certainly hope so.  Here are some ways that I have used Wordle lately to assist with reflections and self-assessment.

  1. Vision Plans or Mission Statements- Do you mean what you say?
    If you are a school employee or a member of just about any organization, there is probably a series of documents that reveal the “vision” or “mission” of that group or your classroom.   Here is a way to revisit these documents to see how they compare with the reality of practice.  Paste the text or upload the documents into Wordle to find out which words are most frequently seen in the document.  Do the most common words located by Wordle really represent what the plans are for that building or classroom?  Does something need to be changed?
  2. Organization WebPages- Are you saying what you mean?
    You probably maintain some web resources that are used for communication. Perhaps it is a website, blog, wiki, or moodle.  Use Wordle to “check” to make sure that your ideas are depicted in the frequency of words that you are using. Just copy some text from your site and paste into Wordle.  Do these words represent your beliefs about education or technology? Do you believe in something that you aren’t actually communicating?
  3. Delicious Check-What kinds of resources do you value?
    Maybe you use a social bookmarking site to store and share great web finds.  I use Delicious.  During the course of a school year, I will add (on the spot) sites that peak my interest that I want to find later or share with others.  There happens to be a nice connection between Wordle and Delicious.   To make a Wordle of your social bookmarking tags, just visit Wordle Create and then enter in your Delicious username in the query box at the bottom of the page.  Are the things that you value about the web the largest words in the Wordle? Or, are you bookmarking a bunch of sites with marginal educational value?
  4. Community Check-What do your students or co-workers believe about you?
    If you want to know how others perceive you, your class, or if you want to identify recognized personality traits in a group here is the fun way to do that.  First, have each member bring open a blank Wordle text box on their computer screen.  Then have them start a sentence pattern.  (Mrs. Jones is helpful, math class is challenging, Tommy is kind, etc.)  Have each member then rotate around the room, visiting each station, and adding another sentence that follows the pattern.  (Mrs. Jones has compassion, math class makes me happy, Tommy helped me, etc.) When the rotation is complete, just press “submit” to see a Wordle generated about that person, class, or teammate.  The topic will the largest word in the visual and surrounded by the “traits”. This type of Wordle can be easily displayed on a wall, on a desk, or on a classroom webpage or class moodle.  Are the words that define you or your class how you perceive yourself? Is this what you had in mind?  Do you have traits that others depend on that you didn’t know about?

Now that I have you thinking about some reflective uses for Wordle, here are some other resources you might also enjoy:

Top 20 Ideas for Using Wordle
http://thecleversheep.blogspot.com/2008/10/top-20-uses-for-wordle.html

Guess the Wordle Activity Page
http://projectsbyjen.com/GTW/

Other Places to Make Word Clouds:
http://tagcrowd.com/
http://www.tagxedo.com/
http://www.imagechef.com/ic/word_mosaic/
http://tagul.com/
http://worditout.com/
http://wordsift.com/
http://www.tocloud.com/

Doug Caldwell, EdS, is an instructional specialist for the eMINTS National Center.