Steven Pinker's new book, The Sense of Style: The Thinking Person’s Guide to Writing in the 21st Century, is now out for pre-order and looks like a great addition to these essential books on writing…
Make your own printable, smart beehive to track colony health and promote international bee recovery.
The open source equivalent of Microsoft’s Visio is ready to make flowcharts, organisational charts, diagrams, and more – all of which can be saved out to multiple formats.
Evernote lets you capture anything you see on your screen, save it to the app, and automatically sync it with online and mobile versions. You can save notes everywhere, access them anywhere, and make them as public or private as you want.FocusWriter
Distraction-free writing tools are in vogue, but some hide too much. FocusWriter keeps things you need (like tabs and tools) when you take your hands off the keyboard, but hides them again when the writing starts.
LibreOffice is an excellent choice for anyone who wants a free alternative to Microsoft Office. It includes a word processor, spreadsheet, database, presentations, and apps for maths and drawing. For the full details on this one.
Pencil is a unique open source diagramming tool that can be used as a standalone application or as a plug-in for Firefox. Either way, the results are the same. It offers built-in stencils, or you can make your own, with easy links between pages.
Looking for the open source equivalent of Adobe InDesign for designing publications? Scribus comes as close as possible, with all of the professional tools, including built-in colour separation and colour management.
It’s smaller than OneNote and not web-reliant, like Evernote, SpringPad or Simplenote. This little note taker is better than relying on wayward text files because it links your notes together, as needed, for easy access.
Create a task in Wunderlist’s excellent interface and you’ll instantly be able to share it on all your mobile devices and computers. Wunderlist will help you get things done, and you can invite others to join you in your tasks.
Cross-platform yEd (pronounced “why-Ed”) is a “diagrammer” or “graph editor” that will import your spreadsheets for data and let you create diagrams and charts with drag-and-drop ease. You can then export them to several graphics formats.
Apple will reportedly release refreshed versions of its iPad Air and iPad Retina series. According to recent information, the company plans on releasing a new A8 mobile processor and enhanced TouchID features on the tablets. Likewise, prices of previous iPad models may go lower over the next few months in preparation for the new stocks. There are also reports suggesting Apple has been prepping the market for its 12.9-inch slate offering. What can people expect?
Shelly Stephens, a seventh-grade language arts teacher at Coal Ridge Middle School, no longer uses paper to give her weekly grammar tests. She creates the test on a Google form, and her students use the iPad minis they all received at the end of January to take the quiz. Stephens can give the students feedback within five minutes, she said, and review problems areas immediately, instead of the next day or later…
Psychologist Jerome Bruner
on the art of “effective surprise” and the 6 conditions of creativity…
If games, wildlife documentaries and virtual strolls in the park aren’t enough
to validate virtual reality for you, try this one: educational motivation. School children in Ireland have been using a open source version of Second Life
to learn coding, 3D modeling and to create virtual spaces of recent field trips. Their most recent project: recreating the monastery of Clonmacnoise and exploring it with an Oculus Rift...
“Constructivism says that people learn by making sense out of the world – they make meaning out of what they encounter” - Reiser & Dempsey
The theory that resonates the best with my teaching practices and philosophy of learning would be the constructivist model. Supporters of constructivism understand that learners make meaning and are able to learn only when they are allowed to apply that new knowledge to what they already understand. That knew knowledge must be connected to their external world. This means that the learning process is an active process, it’s one that must be authentic, collaborative and reflective. What I love about this theory is that the learners need to take a primary responsibility over their learning. This “ownership of learning” is something I strive to show to every one of my students.
Benefits of the Constructivist Learning Theory
- The method behind constructivism (being active and having a real connection to the world) is a theory currently supported by the scientific community:
The brain innately seeks meaning through seeking patterns. The patterns give context to information that may otherwise be discarded as meaningless (Coward 1990). Freeman (1995) suggests that it is the making of familiar connections (relevance) and the locating of conforming neural networks (pattern making) that are critical to the formation of meaning. For younger children, learning that is hands-on, experiential and relevant enables patterns to develop. Relevance helps children to make personal connections between what they already know and the work they do in class. Relevance can be created through linking with prior learning and experiences, and context and pattern making may result from the use of universal concepts and core organizing principles (Jensen 1998). [LINK]
- Current research behind how we learn is showing us that we must be active and we must link new knowledge to already existing knowledge.Constructivist teaching focuses on problem solving and critical thinking, placing it high up on Blooms taxonomy. This also helps to prepare students for success in the real-world, since they will face situations where they need to synthesize, evaluate and solve problems.
But it’s important to remember that constructivism, like all the other learning theories, is not without drawbacks or flaws.
Downside of the Constructivist Learning Theory
In order for students to take charge of their own learning they must be mature and prepared to handle that level of responsibility. Before I assign any form of student-led assignment or project, I always ask “Are my students prepared to take on this form of work/responsibility?” Unmotivated or immature students would fail under a constructivist approach to teaching.
Constructivist Learning Theory & eLearning
Constructivist learning can be applied to the development of multimedia materials by making sure the content creator is creating activities that require full student participation, and that have a firm grounding in real-world applications. In her essay “A Constructivist Approach to Online Teaching and Learning”, Julie Carwell focuses on the importance of collaboration between students in the online setting:
Constructivist learning also incorporates collaborative elements. This can easily be accomplished by the discussion board, but I try not to lean too heavily on any one mode of delivery. While group projects are not always favored by students, they have great value in many classrooms, including those on the Internet. There are many things that can go wrong in a group project, which I need not elaborate on here. As with any element of online instruction, much advanced planning should be done to diminish any negative effects of group work on students who favor online learning. The instructor should build in as many collaborative opportunities for group work, including but not limited to face-to-face meetings, private discussion forums for groups (even giving points for everyone making an initial post in their forum), and encouraging the use of virtual chat components such as instant messaging and the component in content management systems like Blackboard. This instructor attends the first such chat for each group. Other group management and grading tools used may be identical or similar to those used in a traditional classroom.
There’s certainly no shortage of fitness tracking devices on the market. Whether you’re looking to monitor your heart-rate or keep track of the calories you’ve burned, there’s most definitely a sensor or wristband you can slap on to help optimize your workout. With cardio-focused trackers in abundance, the team behind Gymwatch is looking to muscle in on the burgeoning wearables market with a sensor that measures strength and motion, meaning it could prove more useful for those looking to gain weight rather than lose it…
Hemingway on how to become a good writer…
|—||Pixar filmmaker Andrew Stanton|