Tag Archives: guide


How to deactivate or delete your Facebook account – or just hide its irritations

Facebook can get pretty tedious, very quickly. The ‘enthusiasts’ sharing the same viral videos, the same ‘inspiring’ quotes and the same fake outrage at some political pronouncement or other. It can drive the most patient of social surfers to the brink.
If that’s you, you have three choices – moderate your own feeds, deactivate or, ultimately, delete – and go and do something else with your time instead.
Try moderating first. Take out the irritating content and people, before pressing the Big Button.
Look at your friends list. How many of them do you actually know or even want to hear from? Give yourself a basic principle – ‘unfriend’ people you never speak to and wouldn’t recognise if you saw them in the street. Take out the ones you added in the day when you thought having a lot of friends was important, and fed your ego.
Remember too that you can block people (and applications) you’re not so keen on. You might also want to use the sort of utility that edits your newsfeed for you. Social Fixer, for example, lets you hide other people’s posts by keyword, author, or application/provider and can hide viral content, if you’re keen on having different conversational prompts than the rest of the world.
It may still be getting too much for you, but before you press the Big Button, consider first, the slightly safer option of deactivation. This isn’t quite so drastic – more of a flounce than a deletion.  To get it done, just log on,  go to the Settings menu and click Security in the menu on the left. This will bring up the Security Settings page. Click on the text at the bottom, where it says “Deactivate your account”.  You’ll absent yourself from Facebook, but you can still change your mind…
That may not be enough. The time may come when you want to erase your Facebook life.
Facebook will help, there’s a page for that: How do I permanently delete my account?, where they also advise you to download a copy of your Facebook data (since it’ll be lost when you delete, and you just never know…). You can do that by logging into Facebook, clicking the down arrow, and selecting Settings. Click the bottom entry that says “Download a copy of your Facebook data”.
If you’re ready to take the plunge and do the Big Delete, then log on and go to Delete my account page and, as you’d expect, choose the button that says “Delete my account”.
Once that’s done, no-one can see your Facebook information (although it may linger on Facebook servers for a while), but any messages you’ve sent to other people will remain in their accounts. Your ghost will linger.
But you will be free.

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The Teacher's Guide to Using Pinterest in Education

Five or so years ago when it launched (way back when, in technology terms), Pinterest entered a social media market dominated by text. Quite simply, it brought an unprecedented visual aspect to social media which users enjoyed, though it was a fairly basic platform. Fast forward to today and you’ll find a plethora of new features that can make it particularly useful in your classroom.

Read More: How to Use Instagram In Your Classroom

So how can making boards and pinning photos be a useful tool for teachers? Pinterest offers a number of different options for teachers both for professional development and for student work. Tons of teachers (and other folks, too) are using this tool  – there are countless boards devoted to lesson plans, classroom ideas, and more. There are purportedly around 100 million active users as of December 2015 – and as with many web-based tools, the more people there are contributing to a platform, the better stuff there will be for you to use (even if you have to sort through some garbage to find it!)   To get your wheels churning, we’ve collected a few of our favorite ideas below.


Pinterest Basics

If you’ve never used Pinterest before, fear not – it isn’t hard! Signing up for an account is easy and free. Do note that if you want your students to sign up for accounts and use the platform as part of your assignments, the ToS require users to be at least age 13. You’ll start by creating a couple of boards, which you can organize however you’d like (by theme, idea, project, etc). When you ‘pin’ something using the PinIt Button, you are adding that image to your board. When you ‘repin’ something, you’re pinning another user’s pin to one of your boards. When you pin or repin any item, it will be linked back to the source, so you don’t need to worry about noting where you found something! You can search other user’s pins via the Pinterest search function on the site or in the app, and like and/or comment on any pins you find. Additionally, you can follow specific boards or users. When you do, pins from those boards and users will show up on your feed when you go to the home page.
Now that you’ve got the basics down, we’ll move on to our favorite uses for Pinterest in education.


Pinterest can be an amazing source of inspiration. On the teaching side of things, you can create boards devoted to specific projects, lesson plans, or general ideas that you’d like to incorporate in your classroom. Many teachers use Pinterest as a spot to save ideas that they come across online but don’t have time to delve deeply into or want to integrate later on.
If you’re getting your students involved, they can create boards for inspiration on certain projects, either by searching other users’ pins, or by finding their inspiration elsewhere on the web and collecting it on a board in Pinterest. You can also have your students use a specific phrase in their pin descriptions (sort of like a hashtag, but without the #), so that you can find the pins easily later on.

Learn and Discover

Since it contains a wealth of pins on just about every topic out there, browsing and searching existing pins can be a great learning and discovery tool. If you search or browse through relevant topics and keywords, you’ll find that you come across many things you may not have even known existed. Don’t discount browsing – if done with a little bit of method to the madness, it is much, much more than a time-waster!


Students working in groups can collaborate on boards and group their inspiration, ideas, progress, and final work all in one place. Since multiple users can pin to the same board (here’s how to add multiple users to a board), it makes a great platform for collaboration. As the teacher, you’ll be able to see who contributed what and when, which can be useful in determining if everyone is contributing in reasonable time (which is sometimes an issue!)


Once the work is done, have your students showcase their work on different boards. There are a number of different options here: each student in a particular class could pin a piece of their work to a board, multiple classes or groups could collaborate on a board, or you could even host a contest between students, groups, classes, or schools!


Whether you’re recommending books for students to read, websites for them to check out, places to go, or ideas for projects, create a board! Your students can peruse your recommendations at their own pace and go back to them whenever they want!

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The Teacher's Guide To Using YouTube In The Classroom

Forget the cat videos, YouTube has matured into one of the biggest resources for educational content ever. While it may not be as organized as Khan Academy, it’s likely got what you need if you do a little digging. You can find videos that make the subject of your lesson more applicable to students’ everyday lives. You can teach students video production and editing skills through projects and upload the videos to your classes YouTube channel.
There’s tons of reasons YouTube should be a part of most classrooms:

Spark Lively Discussions

Engage students by showing a video relevant to their lives. Video clips can bring in different perspectives or force students to consider a new viewpoint, helping to spark a discussion. Through video you can keep class exciting and new. Students will be eager to talk about chemical reactions after seeing this video:

Organize Your Video Content For Easier Access

  • Playlists are YouTube’s way of allowing you to organize videos on the site: a playlist is a series of videos you put together – they don’t have to be videos you uploaded, and you get to choose the order.
  • When one video ends, the playlist plays the next video without offering ‘related videos’, thus creating a curated environment for your students.
  • Therefore, by creating playlists of videos you can select which YouTube videos you want your students to view.
    • Playlists live on your channel, are discoverable in search results (if you want them to be), and can be embedded on your blog or class site.
    • Create a playlist of videos for each school unit so students can review them when looking to learn more about a topic or need to review for an upcoming assessment.
  • Great playlists include videos that…
    • Hook your students into a lesson.
    • Provide real-world context for lessons.
    • Help provide cultural relevance for your students.
    • Provide remediation for concepts yet mastered.
    • Provide alternative viewpoints.
    • Provide visual context (chemical reactions, primary source videos).
    • Review previously taught content.

Archive Your Work

Capture and save projects and discussions so you can refer back to them year after year. This will also help you save time as you can assign old videos to your new students.

  • Record critical parts of your lesson so you can review how you taught that lesson in previous years.
  • When absent students ask what they missed, send them a link to the video and they’ll never fall behind.
  • You can even customize who sees your videos by adjusting the privacy settings. Use this great video to learn how to privately share videos with other YouTube users:


Encourage Students To Dig Deeper

  • Give students the option to dig deeper into a subject by creating a playlist of videos related to that concept.
  • By creating playlists of relevant videos you allow students to pursue their interests without wasting their time searching for information (or finding potentially objectionable content).
  • Create a playlist of primary source video content for a history topic you’re teaching.
  • Watch this video to learn how to make a playlist in YouTube


Help Both Struggling And Advanced Students

Videos (or playlists) can help supplement in class teaching for struggling students. Students can review them at home so you’re not forced to teach exclusively to the middle 50%. YouTube user piazzaalexis uses videos like this to address misunderstandings and allow his students to review difficult concepts.


Review For Upcoming Exams

Turn test review and flashcards into easy-to-watch videos so students can hear your explanations as they study.  Create a “test review” video students can use to study the night before the big test:

Create A YouTube Center In Your Classroom

Divide your class into groups and have them rotate through different stations. At the YouTube station, introduce students to new information, allowing you to help students practice their newfound skills. When working in stations or centers, have students use your YouTube channel to complete an assignment, freeing you up to work with small groups of students.
Use this video to learn more about creating classroom centers. The teachers uses literacy centers as an example:

Add Quizzes To Videos

Create a Google Form that students complete after watching a video. You can use this quiz to get instant feedback on what they’re learning. To learn how to create quizzes using Google Forms click here. Embed your quiz on a class blog or site so students can watch a video and complete the quiz at the same time:


Create Interactive Video ‘Quests’

Use YouTube annotations to create “Choose your own adventure” style video quests.

You can also create a video guide. This example guides students to different videos about chemical reactions.

This video explains how to add annotations to your videos:

Students Can Become The Teacher

If your students watch a video of the basic concepts at home you can focus in class on applying those concepts, working collaboratively with their classmates rather than simply listening to you lecture.
YouTube user Rmusallam asks his students to prepare for class by watching the introduction to new material at home. That way when they arrive at school they’re ready to apply their learning. Through this method he has dramatically increased his instructional time:


What If YouTube Is Blocked?

Many teachers (still) cannot access YouTube in their classrooms. Never fear, FreeTech4Teachers is to the rescue with 47 Alternatives To Using YouTube In The Classroom. There’s plenty of other options on that terrific list. There’s also this approach from Tony DePrato on managing video without YouTube.
And finally…
How do you use YouTube in the classroom. Share your best tips in the comments below.

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Education Work

How to use your iPhone as a laser pointer

I struggled to keep up with classwork during my time in school. I managed to compensate by working extra hard after class and by seeking out assistance whenever possible. One of the biggest problems I faced during my time in classrooms was simply trying to understand where a teacher was pointing. They rarely used pointer sticks unless it was for a large map or something akin to that.

Instead, I was left scratching my head trying to understand what exactly was being discussed. I’m no moron, mind you. I can hold my own in terms of academic discussions. So I’m going to go out on a limb and say that I’m not the only one who gets a bit lost in classrooms where teachers are gesturing and pointing at aspects with little regard to a student’s ability to follow along. I remember many times I was left more confused than informed.

Then something changed.

I took an art history course at my college (university to our non-U.S. readers) where the teacher used a laser pointer to point out key elements of a painting, statues, etc. It was instantly easier to understand what key element was being discussed. I didn’t get an A+ in the course but I did manage to get an A in it thanks in part to the newfound ability to focus on things with laser-like focus. See what I did there? Lasers? Anyone? Is this thing on?

Carrying around a laser pointer is a pain in the butt. It needs separate batteries, good ones cost quite a bit of money, and you may lose it.

What if you could use your iPhone as a laser pointer? What if there was a super sweet deal that let you get the iPin iPhone laser pointer for 23% off? For just 5 days as of this post’s publication, you can get an iPhone laser pointer for $42.99. They’re normally $56, by the way.

Click here to check out the deal. Limited time offer (5 days as of the publishing this post)

Want to learn a bit more about how it works? Check out this video:

About The iPin iPhone Laser Pointer

The same laser pointer that you chased your cat with as a kid comes in handy these days as a professional presentation tool. Rather than deal with batteries dying, and keeping track of yet another gadget, iPin conveniently beams a powerful red laser right out of your iPhone. This expertly-engineered device fits directly into your headphone jack, and the award-winning app gives you complete control over your audience right from your phone screen.

“Designed strictly for safe work purposes like highlighting information during a presentation, the iPin sips power from your iPhone but shouldn’t drain its battery.” Andrew Liszewski, Gizmodo

  • Enjoy the power of a laser pointer without carrying a bulky gadget around
  • Never deal w/ replacing batteries
  • Get wireless presentation control straight from your phone
  • Turn on & off w/ the built-in switch, so there’s no need to unplug to make a call
  • Seamlessly fit it right inside your headphone mini jack


  • Compatible w/ iPhone 3GS or later (NOTE: not compatible w/ iPhone 6 Plus or 6s Plus)
  • iPod Touch 4G or later
  • iPad
  • NOT compatible w/ iOS devices purchased in the European Union or conforming to EU volume limit regulation

Designed for iPhone cases less than 2mm thick


  • Free shipping
  • Ships to: Continental US
Expected Delivery: Nov 8 – Nov 15


  • Size: 1.9 cm
  • Weight: < 1 gram


  • iPin Laser Pointer for iPhone
  • Earphone Clip (for storage of iPin Laser)

Click here to check out the deal. Limited time offer (5 days as of the publishing this post)

This deal features an affiliate link that gives the Daily Genius team a small portion of the profit from any sale made. There is no additional / extra cost to you and we only choose deals based on their value to the Daily Genius community. Not all links for Daily Genius Deals are affiliate-based and we will disclose them when they are. Thanks for understanding!

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Get 50% off all-new 'Social Media In Government' course

Whether you’re a civil servant, running a country, or want to learn more about social media in government, have we got the course for you. It’s one of the brand new options for you on Skills Genius, our new online learning platform designed to build skills for civil servants, educators, the military, and more.
So if you’re involved in civil service / government work, should you use social media? That’s the question Jimmy Leach is answering in ‘The Beginner’s Guide To Using Social Media In Government.’
The common arguments against using social media are that (a) your citizens ‘aren’t ready’ for this yet and (b) those who do use social media do it for trivial reasons – that social media is habitually used for personal and low-key messaging.
The second part of that argument ignores the fact that any instrument of creation, from the pen onwards, is only as trivial as the person using it. A pen can be used to write shopping lists – or a novel: the message, and so the medium, can be as serious or as trivial as you like. But don’t blame the audience for being trivial if you haven’t tried to raise the level of debate yourself.
And, in terms of digital readiness, the fact is, that wherever you are, if the use of digital tools in your market has not yet hit a tipping point… it will. And more likely sooner rather than later. What’s more, the early adopters will often be the key influencers – journalists and business who will inform their political classes.
This course does a shallow dive into the many reasons to get more familiar with the critical role social media plays for civil servants and governments in general. It should take you just under an hour to finish.
Want 50% off the course as a thanks for reading all the way down here? Use the coupon code GOVHALF to get half-off at checkout! Click here to check out the course to get started.

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How Skills Genius aims to help educators, non-profits, civil servants, and more

I love to share. I’m very forthcoming about who I am, what I’m passionate about, and what my goals are. For example, I have been recently asked to consult on education, technology, and where the two paths intersect. I’m asked on an ongoing basis about ‘best practices’ and ‘top tips’ for making organizations perform better. That’s when I realized that I should probably share some of this knowledge with my peers. That’d be you, wonderful Daily Genius community.
So here’s the deal. I have started compiling what I’ve learned from my experiences into quick, effective, and affordable online courses. A few fellow professionals are also building courses and they’re designed to help those in education, non-profits, the military, civil servants, and more. These are people wildly under-served by the world of online learning.
That’s why we’re building Skills Genius.
The Skills Genius platform was born out of necessity. Over the past few years, Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) have popped up around the world. They promised high-quality learning for everyone and were being touted as the future of education.
We’re starting small and offering very quick free and low-priced courses. The free ones are just the meat of what you’ll need to learn. The premium low-priced courses (about $9 each) are video-centric and let you get some deeper learning going with the aid of a trusted instructor.
In time, we’ll be adding some truly engaging courses and partnering with some wonderful folks to make that happen. Stay tuned!
Then, it turned out fewer than 15% of all students actually finish a single online course. So MOOCs pivoted to become a place to learn coding and similar skills designed to help people get high-paying jobs or build new apps.
This major shift left extremely important people out of luck unless they wanted to learn to code. That’s why the editors of Daily Genius, education experts (and liberal arts graduates) located around the world, built Skills Genius. It’s an online learning platform that features short (30 minutes to an hour in length) courses that are fun, engaging, and easy to complete.

So, Why Should I Enroll?

skills genius screen welcomeYou’ll find totally unique courses taught by subject matter experts. This isn’t just another site with courses on how to code or build an app. You’ll find courses that focus on the under-served but vitally important categories like education, non-profits, and the military. We’re expanding these libraries to start and will add on more in the near future!
You can get 1-on-1 live video call support from the teacher. Got a question that isn’t answered by a classmate? Want to have your teacher give you a personalized answer to your specific needs? Skills Genius uses a Hybrid Online Learning Model (HOLM) where you can opt for as much personalized live support as needed. It’s a great way to take your understanding to the next level. Since this live support requires personalized attention, there is a small added fee for this service. At some point, the goal is to integrate into all courses but, for now, thanks for your understanding.
Discounts are available for groups, non-profits, universities, military, and many others. These discounts will work on absolutely every course no matter who teaches it.
You can even request a course. Your course will be created by a subject matter expert. You won’t find that ability anywhere else online.

How Is It Different?

skills genius course betaSkills Genius helps those who serve. Simply put, it’s an online learning platform filled with courses you won’t find anywhere else. That’s because it’s tailor-made for those in education, non-profits, and the military.
Better still, Skills Genius utilizes a Hybrid Online Learning Model (HOLM) developed by the online education specialists behind Daily Genius. This pedagogy has been tested and proven to be an effective way to truly deliver information you’ll actually use.
Our hybrid model incorporates asynchronous online learning modules that you can take on your own schedule. It also includes optional real-time 1-on-1 personalized learning where you collaborate with the teacher. This means you have the opportunity to ask questions, network, and develop a relationship with the course teacher. To be frank, it’s a rare opportunity to work alongside individuals who know what you should (and shouldn’t) be doing right now.
The Skills Genius platform is simple to use for course authors and students alike. Authors can easily message students, adjust lessons, track learning progress, and more. Students can monitor their progress with ease, ask questions to fellow students, and a lot more. We’ve worked to create the best online learning experience currently available. You can even download the unique desktop app for incredibly quick access to your courses and learning.
So what do you get if you enroll in a course?

  • Unlimited access to the course plus all future updates to that course
  • The ability to ask and respond to in-course questions
  • Manage your learning with cutting-edge analytics
  • Earn badges and certificates (*coming Winter 2015)
  • Access web app designed to help you learn anywhere
  • The ability to teach a course for the Genius Skills community (earn industry-leading 90% commission)
  • Earn affiliate revenue just for sharing what you’re learning
  • Take and re-take quizzes to test your understanding anytime
  • Get members-only news, guides, deals, and tips via email
  • So much more – this list would go on too long!

Why Should I Enroll?

Because you’ll become the go-to person with the skills that pay the bills. Plus you’ll do all your learning while saving time, money, and having some fun. What could be better than that?!
Best of all, there’s no hidden agenda. Your course author wants to help you learn how to grow your startup. Simple as that. Since Skills Genius thoroughly screens all potential teachers, you can rest assured you’re learning from trusted experts.

Who Should Take A Course?

If you’re looking to grow your professional skill-set and are involved with education, non-profits, civil service, and / or the military, Skills Genius is for you. You’ll learn the skills in demand by all companies, schools, non-profits, governments, and more.
Courses are designed with the Hybrid Online Learning Model (HOLM) which means we work closely with authors and students to ensure you learn on your own schedule but also get personalized 1-on-1 interaction with your course author(s).

Can I Teach A Course?

We have a queue of more than ~450 applications right now thanks to the wide media coverage of the new Hybrid Online Learning Model (HOLM) being employed on Skills Genius.
That being said, we are always looking for subject matter experts who can truly help others. This isn’t your typical online teaching opportunity, though. You’ll need to hold 1-on-1 video chats with students, promptly respond to students, and update your courses on a regular basis. Think you’re up for it? Click here.

Want 50% Off The First Course?

We will be adding courses on a regular basis but – since you read all the way to the bottom of this post, take 50% off one of our first courses by using the code DGHALF on ‘How To Build A Landing Page That Really Works
Click here to check out Skills Genius and enroll in one of the free starter courses!

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Apple or Google: Which professional development program is for you?

It’s not especially easy to quickly demonstrate your education technology skills when you’re not in the classroom. Sure, you may know how to effectively integrate Google Chromebooks or Apple iPads while simultaneously leveraging a project-based learning approach to STEAM subjects, but how do you actually convey that when chatting with colleagues or others?

It’s not easy.

That’s why many teachers are turning to professional development from the major tech companies like Apple and Google.

Since their names are both synonymous with education technology at this point, it’s no surprise they both boast some fantastic learning opportunities for teachers around the world. Anyone can apply and work to earn the certification, but there are a few things you should know. That’s why I really enjoyed seeing this visual guide to the key differences between the Apple Distinguished Educator program and the Google Teacher Academy.

As you’ll see, one of these programs may fit your needs and expertise better than the other. Since there’s no real way to determine which option is best, I wanted to lay out as many of the differences as possible.

I did want to give a shout out to my friend Adam Webster who is an Apple Distinguished Educator and can answer just about any question you may have about the program.

Okay, so let’s dive into the basics of each program.

About The Google Teacher Academy

The Google Teacher Academy (GTA) is a free professional development experience designed to help primary and secondary educators from around the globe get the most from innovative technologies. Each GTA is an intensive, two-day event during which participants get hands-on experience with Google tools, learn about innovative instructional strategies, receive resources to share with colleagues, and immerse themselves in a supportive community of educators making impact.

“My biggest takeaway wasn’t a new tool or trick, though we learned great ones, but it was the reminder of what’s possible with shared energy – that creative spark we hope to capture and recreate for our students.”
– Gretel Patch, Google Certified Teacher, Nepal 2013

Approximately 50 innovative educators from around the world are selected to attend each GTA based on the merits of their online application. Applicants include classroom teachers, curriculum specialists, technology advocates, librarians, administrators, professional trainers, and other education professionals who actively serve the world’s primary and secondary teachers and students. – via the GTA website

About The Apple Distinguished Educators Program

Apple Distinguished Educators (ADEs) are part of a global community of education leaders recognized for doing amazing things with Apple technology in and out of the classroom. They explore new ideas, seek new paths, and embrace new opportunities. That includes working with each other — and with Apple — to bring the freshest, most innovative ideas to students everywhere.

In her quest for authentic content, Noemi Trainor, Founder/Principal at The Varmond School in Mexico, is spearheading a curriculum revolution throughout Latin America. With iPads at their fingertips the faculty is able to customize learning for every student and provide interactive, bilingual-based curriculum using Multi-Touch books created in iBooks Author.
– Noemi Trainor, ADE Class of 2012

There are now more than 2,000 ADEs worldwide, from the United States to China, New Zealand to Turkey. And they gather every year at ADE Institutes and education events around the world as well as online in the ADE community to collaborate on solutions to the global education challenges of today and tomorrow. – via the ADE website

The Key Differences Between Apple and Google Professional Development Programs

Now you know the basics of each program. Nice! It’s time to check out this handy visual guide from Where Learning Clicks to get a better look at how the two programs differ.

apple google professional development

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It’s time to review the ‘Teacher’s iPad Checklist’

There are a lot of horror stories about implementing education technology using iPads. The Los Angeles Unified School District situation is still being resolved. They had big goals and lofty ambition but ultimately fell short. Why is that? What could have been done to prevent this from happening in Los Angeles or perhaps in your school?

The answer to that question is complicated. But it’s worth figuring out. Your friendly Daily Genius editors set out to answer the broad ‘what’s the best way to start using iPads in education?’ question by examining our past blog articles, social media discussions, and by conferring with colleagues.

What resulted in this effort is something we’re calling ‘The Teacher’s iPad Checklist‘ which is a simple take on effectively implementing iPads in the classroom. While the checklist is useful, it’s clearly not exhaustive and is simply meant to be a starting point for teachers walking the treacherous path of education technology integration.

So how do you use this checklist? Basically, use the abbreviated descriptions as a jumping-off point with which you can explore. For example, the first step is to ‘master best practices’ which may seem broad but ultimately that means you need to participate (actively!) in professional development, research how other teachers are using iPads, what Apple recommends, the top apps in use, etc.

Each step should take you at least a month to truly accomplish. So while it’s a simple ‘checklist’ there’s a lot more effort and time behind each item. Be sure to explore Daily Genius, Edutopia, Twitter, and chat with friends as well as colleagues to truly get a well-rounded understanding of what it’ll take to launch iPads into the classroom.

The Teacher’s iPad Checklist

  • Master best practices
  • Confer with colleagues
  • Test apps before deploying
  • Share your experiences
  • Try little-known apps
  • Teach digital citizenship
  • Read edtech blogs
  • Try BYOD first
  • Get all accessories
  • Create privacy policy
  • Refine your process
  • Flip, BYOD, or 1:1 your class!

ipad checklist

Thumbnail image by Leon Lee via Flickr cc

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9 things tech-savvy teachers do on a regular basis

There are a few key things that tech-savvy teachers do on a regular basis to stay ahead. These edtech teachers are looking for new ways to innovate, refine, and deploy new learning strategies and goals. Does this sound like you or someone you know? Check out the visual we whipped up to help explain what we’re talking about.

How We Determined These Qualities

To determine which items should be included in the below visual, we did a little legwork. We asked our colleagues, friends, and then did some digital hunting. We chatted with a variety of professionals, students, teachers, and administrators to find out what the best of the best do on a regular basis to stay ahead of the curve.

We discovered some simple but incredible things.

Because of this research, we’re going to actually be creating a few more visual guides on what the ‘best’ professionals do to stay sharp and on top of their game. There’s a lot going on behind each listing you see below, to be sure, but that doesn’t mean you can’t use this as a starting point for enhancing your abilities and becoming a tech-savvy teacher in a short period of time.

Hopefully, you are already doing a handful of these things. Hopefully you’re doing more than half of them. If you tinker with new apps, try out new software, and go to conferences on a somewhat regular basis, then you’re golden. You’re doing something great.

Using Tech-Savvy Teacher Skills To Help Others

The key to making these qualities help others? Sharing your understanding and earned skills with others. You’re strongly encouraged to discuss interesting apps, web tools, and other education technology with your friends, colleagues, and students. Find out what they think in an informal setting. Chat about Edmodo in the teacher’s lounge. Ask your students what they think of Evernote. Find out what your family and friends are using to save some time and money in their lives. The results might surprise you and lead you down an entirely new path that brings some exciting new education technology into the classroom.

Think you’re up for the challenge of becoming a tech-savvy teacher? The following nine items were mentioned by the followers of @DailyGenius on Twitter and also subscribers to the Weekly Genius newsletter. You’re encouraged to check out either of those but feel free to share the traits, qualities, and characteristics you think the best teachers should have down in the comments. We can always make another graphic that’s updated.

tech-savvy teachers daily genius

9 things tech-savvy teachers do on a regular basis

  • Research, try, and buy education technology
  • See which tools work best for students
  • Discover what global colleagues are doing
  • Thoroughly test products and trends
  • Identify goals and key performance indicators
  • Visit conferences and see what others are saying
  • Share thoughts on social media, blogs, and more
  • Deep-dive into analytics to see what’s working
  • Constantly researching, testing, and learning

Thumbnail via opensource.com on Flickr cc

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The IT approach to education leaves pupils over-protected

It’s almost a theological battle – the digital guys versus the IT people.

From the outside, there’s plenty of people who assume that IT and digital are the same thing – both a bit nerdy, both spend a lot of time on computers.

But there is a fundamental difference between them, and it’s one which determines the nature of how your school uses EdTech, and that, in turn, helps decide how pupils are equipped for using digital tools in their school work and, later, their professional lives.

To put it (over) simplistically – the IT people like a project; the digital people prefer constant change. The two don’t have to be wholly incompatible, but its an approach which can cause a clash. An IT project is predictable – when it is delivered well, it will have a launch date, a budget and a lifespan. We will know what devices it will work on and we will know what level of support we can commit to, in order to adapt to the more extreme of the changes in the wider world. An IT project might last for 3-4 years and it will be recognisably the same at the end of that period as it was at the start. It brings stability, and thus the ability to plan and budget accordingly.

A ‘digital’ world view is simply that the world is constantly in flux and that you may as well try to keep up with it. Projects are much shorter, more unpredictable and will continue to change. Any digital project that makes it to a 4 year lifespan will be almost unrecognisable by the end of that. Digital projects will change the tech, the platform, the supplier multiple times. It will be based on the idea that so much changes over an 18 month period in the world of technology that planning for the long term is useless.

In education, the IT guys are in the ascendancy. A risk-averse culture that is common in public service industries (and education counts, even when privately supplied) likes to plan for the long-term and likes to remove variables. The best example of that might be the reliance on the virtual learning environment – a controlled space where nothing unapproved can intrude. In many ways it makes sense, and gives the institution charged with the child’s welfare, a measure of control.  Good intentions and a perfectly respectable outcome.

But it’s not how the real world works, and it’s not how it works the minutes those pupils walk outside of the school gate, when the filters are off, on their own devices at least, and the internet is there to be explored. They will find some horrors, for sure, and ISPs can do more to protect. But the full-scale censorship of the traditional school IT approach means that pupils don’t learn how to do their own filtering. They will be fascinated by much that is inappropriate, but they also need to learn to make their own judgements on whether content is appropriate – and also whether it’s true, balanced, useful and applicable.

In short, it helps them make sense of an increasingly digital world and how they actually use tech – for their amusement, for their education and, in future for their work – this more fluid approach usually means that work/leisure/learning is done through a variety of sources and tools. Different sources of content, and different tools to use them. Essentially, the front page of a digital life is Google,  not a VLE.  Content from everywhere, and the tools might be a bit of Gmail here, a dabble with Dropbox there, maybe connect through a social platform, maybe aggregate through Pinterest.

While some say that pupils, in an age of Google, don’t need to learn facts, just skills, then the key skill is the ability to analyse and understand those facts, and work out the veracity and importance of information put in front of them. By putting filters between children and content, they don’t learn how to judge the quality of what is in front of them since everything put to them is ‘good’. If you’ve never seen ‘bad’ content, why would you assume it exists?

It’s admirable for the IT guys to want to have a world which is on-budget and to look for ways to protect children from the worst excesses, but hide them from everything and they’ll never know how the digital world really operates.

Thumbnail via Ryan Tyler Smith on Flickr cc

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