Tag Archives: ideas


What if US currency featured science instead of people?

There is a lot of news this week surrounding the usage of Harriet Tubman on the new $20 bill in the United States. But did you ever wonder what US currency might look like if it featured scientific achievements instead of people?
Well, it might actually look a little like this rendering I recently discovered on imgur.
As you can see below, the individual bills are artistically designed to showcase things like astronauts, agriculture, buildings, environmental science, and more. There aren’t a ton of explanations on each bill but there is enough information to spark an interest.
I am of course not saying that US presidents and other noteworthy figures shouldn’t be on currency, just that it might be interesting and a fun new way to educate others about scientific achievements. That being said, I imagine this might be fraught with controversy for numerous reasons. Similar to the controversy around pretty much all other large-scale decisions, this one is likely never going to happen.
But it’s nice to dream. After all, that’s how most of these scientific achievements got started in the first place!

What would YOU put on your currency if you had the choice?

Share your thoughts with @DailyGenius and we may just make a rendering for you!

Read More

55 Google tips for heading back to school

Just about everyone has officially gone back to school here in the U.S. So what better time to brush up on your education technology skills than right now? Before students are deluged with homework, exams, and social anxiety (good ol’ high school…), it’s a great time to take a step back and really dive into how web tools can make this school year a bit better.
Since Google is one of the most popular options for just about everything edtech (controversial statement, I know, but it’s a popular option to be sure!), I wanted to share a fun graphic filled with Google tips for heading back to school. Is it marketing and promoting Google’s own products? Yes. do millions of students use Google products every day? Also yes. Therefore, it’s worth checking out, methinks.

See Also:  How to use Google tools in Project-Based Learning

The graphic below is a static version of the Google tips (created by Google, obviously). Click the image or this link to view the interactive version that presents more information for each tip.
Below the graphic, you’ll find the tips spelled out for your convenience as well!
google back to school

55 Google tips for heading back to school

  1. Translate foreign languages without leaving your doc
  2. Divvy up the work for a group project
  3. Drop a video into your presentation
  4. Email your whole class with just one address
  5. Turn in Word, Excel, and PowerPoint assignments even when you’re using Docs
  6. Never sleep through class again
  7. Don’t miss important emails from teachers and classmates
  8. Make edits on the way to class
  9. Say no to hackers. Actually, we’ll say it for you
  10. Make sure your roommate isn’t reading your email
  11. Translate languages you don’t even recognize
  12. Snooze without losing your place
  13. Look up new words without looking up from your doc
  14. Do research in a language you don’t speak
  15. Amp up your selfies with code
  16. Host movie night whenever, wherever
  17. Look sharp for your homecoming date
  18. Master the art of group projects
  19. Free music for studying and partying
  20. Show your History class what it’s like to see the Pyramids
  21. Take a field trip from your laptop
  22. Read textbooks that translate themselves
  23. Save your most needed translations for language class
  24. Had a fun summer? Cue the collage
  25. Check if it’s game on or game off. Get the forecast fast
  26. Learn to code nearby
  27. Do homework on the go
  28. Hack photos and PDFs to say what you want
  29. Go ninja on identity thieves
  30. Keep your sources straight with easy footnotes
  31. A complete spreadsheet with less typing
  32. Run your own research study
  33. Ditch the note-cards and present with confidence
  34. Get your whole team’s info in one place
  35. Find a good time to host a study group
  36. Pretend you’re always this organized
  37. Study and compare images for Art History
  38. Get inspiration for your next paper
  39. Keep track of all your classes
  40. Keep off the freshman 15
  41. Never miss that weekly study group
  42. See your plans (and due dates) for the week at a glance
  43. Got a lot of research? Use a lot of tabs
  44. See who changed what in your group project
  45. Keep your selfies to yourself
  46. Never miss a homework assignment
  47. Back to school pranks? Lock your device to stay safe
  48. Work without interruption. Or WiFi
  49. Check your school and personal email in one place
  50. Hit the books where you want to, not just where there’s WiFi
  51. Take turns taking notes with Google Docs
  52. Create a password haters can’t guess
  53. Have a research question? Just ask
  54. Computer meltdown? Your files are safe online
  55. Avoid long-term relationships with textbooks
Read More

Just how big is the US education market?

Whether you’re a teacher, student, parent, or tech startup, you probably should know the answer to this question: just how big is the US education market? Is it a billion dollars? A trillion dollars? Somewhere in between? More importantly, you should know the size of the different grade levels within the US market if you’re looking to get involved in just about any way, shape, or form.
So we thought it might be a useful time to highlight the answer to this tough question since it’s relevant to just about anyone living in the United States. The question pops up at education conferences, tech conferences, parent-teacher conferences, and everywhere else education is the topic of conversation.

Answer This Question Before Scrolling

So before you scroll down for the answer, ask yourself if you know the answer? Do you know how big (financially) the US education market actually is? Do you know the market size of the different grade levels?
A trillion dollars? That much? Think again.
It’s actually higher than that, believe it or not. According to Jeff Silber and a slew of other online research, the current education market is roughly $1.3 trillion dollars. That’s because it includes more than 100,000 schools, salaries, chairs, desks, tables, pensions, etc. It makes up about 9% of the US Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and is second only to healthcare.

Identify The Size Of These Markets

Ok, so you weren’t completely correct on the overall number. Let’s try to get a bit more granular. What are the sizes of the different grades that comprise the US education market? Write your answers on your computer screen or smartphone screen in permanent market right here: ________________

  • The Early Childhood Education Market
  • The K-12 Education Market
  • The Higher Education Market
  • The Adult Learning Market
  • Tutoring / Test Prep
  • Online Education
  • Textbooks (print and digital)

Really? You think that’s the estimated size of the K-12 market? Interesting. Anyway, let’s look at the best numbers I could find while doing a little poking around with Dr. Google:

Answers: The Size Of The US Education Market

  • The Early Childhood Education Market is valued at roughly US$70 billion
  • The K-12 Education Market is valued at roughly US$670 billion
  • The Higher Education (universities, colleges, etc.) Market is valued at about US$475 billion
  • The Adult Learning Market (continued education) is about US$55 billion.
  • The Tutoring and Test Prep market is only about US$1 billion. Pretty small, really.
  • The Online Education market is about US$20 billion. A bit bigger than expected.
  • The Print and Online Textbook market is about US$8 billion. Quite sizable.

Let’s Put It Into A Larger Context

So the US education market is huge. But how big is it in your state? Here is a handy interactive guide from U.S. News and World Report that will help clarify the size of the education market on a state-by-state basis.

Curious About International Education?

You should be! Here’s a handy chart that explains the per-pupil spending among many countries based on GDP.

Read More

How I'm using the Apple Watch in the classroom

It was last Friday afternoon when the whispers began. “What on earth is he doing?”, one teacher says. “It’s like I’m watching Get Smart”, said another. While one student was a little more blunt, “Mr Hamilton has gone crazy”.

Strange things happen in the last two lessons of the week. Probably not a great idea to push some boundaries with tech during this time! But hey, if we expect our students to take risks, shouldn’t teachers take risks as well?
Teaching is a complex profession with many tasks and responsibilities. Knowing our students is an integral part. Identifying their individual learning styles, strengths and areas that require attention. How we gather this information is often a time consuming and overwhelming job.

“Some of the most powerful and authentic data we can collect in the classroom comes from the daily interactions we have with our students.”

Teacher/student conferences, observations, informal chats about learning. Simple questions like “what don’t you get?” or “explain what you have done there?” These methods allow teachers to tap into the minds of students in a way that standardised testing can never do. Consequently, this data allows educators to plan a more effective learning pathway for the individual students in their class, catering for the specific learning needs of each unique learner.

“The problem is, I never have the time to record this invaluable data! As I move from student to student the information is lost.”

How I’m using the Apple Watch in the classroom

So with this in mind I started exploring ways in which I could use technology to capture these ‘learning interactions’. Enter the Apple Watch. Using the dictation function and an App I was able to create a detailed Google Sheet of student observations with 3 touches on the Apple Watch.

This is incredibly efficient for me as a teacher. It allowed me to collect data without having to return to my laptop or mobile device. When the class was over I was able to sort and analyse the data and share with other teachers via the Google Docs environment. Quite simply, I was able to spend more time on planning effective learning experiences for each of my students. It made a big, often overwhelming experience, small and achievable.
I think Gina Bellman said it best when she so beautifully articulated:

“I love those connections that make this big old world feel like a little village.”

Paul Hamilton is Head of Learning Technologies (Primary) at MFAC, International Keynote Speaker and founder of iPad Monthly.

Read More

5 ways to truly create a culture of innovation in your school

Schools and organisations which say they are looking to innovate and find new models for education are just as often to be found resorting to re-naming their head of IT as ‘Head of Innovation’ and sticking motivational posters on the staffroom wall which talk about ‘impossible is nothing’, but offer nothing more than flim-flam.

5 ways to truly create a culture of innovation in your school

So, when you’ve still got to deliver high grade exam results, how do you start to create a culture which delivers new ideas and new ways to implement them? Well, you could do worse than follow these:

1) Be obvious about innovation

Start demanding of your team that they look for ways to innovate. Make finding new routes to educational excellence part of the core of the organisation. Talk endlessly of reinvention and even, if you must, talk of disruption. Just never stop banging on about it – and make sure everyone knows you mean it.

2) Set aside time

Google, famously, set aside time in their workers’ schedules for them to think about things other than their jobs. Easier said than done in education, but it’s vital to set aside thinking time to find ways to do things better – even if its only finding 15 minutes at the end of a staff meeting for one of the team to showcase a new response to an old problem.

3) Don’t micro-manage innovation

Creating the space for innovation is great – but don’t dive in too early and try and make it part of your school’s brand. Adopting new ideas for the sheer kudos of it, without thinking about how they can be properly integrated can kill an idea for ever. Staff will grunt ‘we tried that once’ every time an idea even vaguely similar crops up. So allow time to test theories and think through ideas and the ways in which they can be adopted.

For ideas as to how to deliver that, try Intuit’s Catalyst Toolkit, a guide that was made available to all employees and the public and which includes self-serve ingredients for cooking up innovation.

4) Measure success

As Tony Blair used to say, ‘What’s right is what works’. The only true test in this environment is educational outcomes – and that’s playing a long game. Measure the improvements that new ideas are supposed to bring. In the end, that’s how well students do, but there’s lots of things to measure ahead of that (consumption, understanding, attendance) which are pretty strong indicators as to whether you’re on the right track.

5) Give rewards

Rewarding innovation is vital, but financial incentives will create division in the staffroom. Give ‘worthless’ rewards insteads – have ceremonies where you note the strides individuals have taken, but reward them with low-grade prizes. Validate their invention, but don’t create disharmony amongst those who are still at the coalface and delivering your core work every day.

If you can get some of these embedded, you’ll be on the way to new approaches to old problems, and modernising the way you improve students’ prospects.

rethink innovation

Source: Mia MacMeekin

Read More

Why parents and teachers should let students fail

If you talk to enough entrepreneurs, they will tell you (often repeatedly), that they have learned to fail (‘and fail fast’), and that failure has taught them more than success. It’s almost as if that failure is the point of what they do, rather than an obstacle on the way.

Allowing for the exaggerated nature of this reverence for failure, this isn’t a life lesson that school kids get. Failure remains something that isn’t tolerated in schools. Failure is not seen as inevitable, failure is the doorway to punishment.

Parents Letting Students Fail

Now, parents will be grouching that they don’t want failure for their nippers, and this isn’t to say that schools should encourage new ways for pupils to knack up and should encourage them to get low marks in exams and fail to deliver homework. But do schools look at failure in a healthy way? Or even at different levels of progress?

Everyone learns at different paces, but throughout school life pupils are ranked on their progressions in relation to each other, not in terms of their own improvement and learning ‘journey’. And in that way, schools punish those who meander on their way to mastery, teaching them life lessons about work and experience that they will never come across again.

So, while a pupil may face the wrath of a teacher for failing to understand a maths concept on the first pass, any employer worth their salt would show a bit of patience, invest time in the employee.

Students And The Workplace

Quite simply, hierarchy and punishment, the keystones of the pupil/teacher relationship are not represented in the workplace any more, not since the 19th century factory model faded from our economies. If school is meant to prepare people for the work environment, then schools need to reflect modern work environments – different paces of progress, specialisation and flatter management models, as well as a wider range of skills.

Not hierarchy and single points of authority.

The failure to embrace failure is, of course, another sign of that failing.

Read More

How to grow your professional learning network using social media

The idea of connecting with other educators, school leaders, and parents online is a great one. But figuring out where to start can be a challenge. Currently, about 80% of U.S. teachers are on social media and using it to become better at their profession. In an effort to make sure these teachers are making the most of their time, we wanted to put together a handy visual guide that will help you grow your professional learning network (PLN) using social media.
These tips and ideas are simple and there’s a big reason for that. Instead of giving you 50-100 different ways to use the social networks, we wanted to start small. Teachers have basically no time to learn 100 different ways to use Twitter so why not instead offer our best tips in one simple-to-use visual.
The below visual offers 1-2 different ways to grow your PLN by connecting with other educators as well as digital publishers. In other words, it’s important to enhance your PLN by talking to more than just teachers. For example, you might discover an all-new video style that you really like and would love to use in your classroom. This may not have been found by just chatting on Twitter with fellow teachers. Instead, you can go on YouTube, discover new videos, and then message with the creator of the video. Let them know you’re a teacher and love their video – see where the conversation leads. I’ve done this a few times and it always ends up somewhere tremendous. The video creator loves hearing from a fan and will offer you tips on how to make your own video that is similar. What’s better than that?
There are a boatload of ways to use social media to enhance your learning network, of course. This guide isn’t exhaustive and is instead mean to be a jumping-off point where you identify a social network you’re currently using or not yet on – then take the time to see if it can help grow your learning network in new ways.

Want to keep learning? Follow @DailyGenius on Twitter or like us on Facebook!

How to grow your professional learning network using social media

Here’s a goal: pick one of the social networks below that you’re not currently on. Create an account and give it a couple weeks. Use it regularly. Make an effort to connect with others and share your thoughts, pictures, etc. You never know what might happen. Worst case scenario? You made a few new connections you might not have normally made. Good luck!
learning network social media
Thumbnail credit: Alan Reeves via Flickr cc

Read More

45 ways to stop using the word 'very'

Think you’ve got what it takes to take on a very engaging and very interesting task? It’s very hard and very easy to slip up. Okay, you ready?
See if you can stop using the word ‘very’ when speaking to others.
Why? You ask? Because it will challenge your mind to dig deeper and utilize a sort of secondary vocabulary that better explains what you’re really trying to explain. In other words, you can swap out the word ‘very’ with more fitting words that get your point across.

45 Ways To Stop Using The Word ‘Very’

It’s challenging but would be an absolutely worthwhile undertaking for a classroom or anyone else looking to up their vocabulary. Check out the visual below for a few examples to help get you started on this challenging but rewarding task. It’s from the Writers Write website which has a bunch of other fun projects and lessons that are great for primary and secondary classrooms.
In case you didn’t know, this is from the film Dead Poets Society which features this fantastic quote:

“So avoid using the word ‘very’ because it’s lazy. A man is not very tired, he is exhausted. Don’t use very sad, use morose. Language was invented for one reason, boys – to woo women – and, in that endeavor, laziness will not do. It also won’t do in your essays.”
N.H. Kleinbaum, Dead Poets Society

stop using word very

Read More

These 8 tips will seriously help you get more out of Twitter

Twitter can be an incredibly powerful tool for teachers, both in and out of the classroom. There’s definitely a reason that it is high on the list of most popular social media sites (second only to the Almighty Facebook).  You can choose to use Twitter with your students to give their classroom work a boost, and you can use it for your own professional development.
But regardless of how you’re putting it to use, we have a few tips to help you get the most out of using Twitter. If you’re a veteran Twitter user, what would you recommend? We’d love to hear what you think! Leave us a note in the comments below, mention @DailyGenius on Twitter, or head over to the Daily Genius Facebook page and drop us a line there!

How To Get More Out of Twitter

Build Your Profile

It may not seem like a very important step, but don’t underestimate this one. You don’t have a lot of characters to tell potential followers about yourself, so use them wisely.  Tell people about yourself, indicate a few interests, and set your tone here. You don’t need to get super personal if you don’t want to, but you do want to make it seem like you’re a real person.

Upload a Photo

This could easily qualify under the previous item, but I find it worthy of its own mention. Whether or not you choose to upload an actual photo of yourself (probably the most useful), you need to put at least something here. In the same vein as mentioned above – you’re trying to give people the idea that you are a real person behind that Twitter handle you’ve chosen. If you’re not using a real photo of yourself, try to keep what you do use appropriate and keeping with the tone and theme of what you’ll be tweeting about the most.

Familiarize Yourself

There’s a handful of Twitter terminology that may be confusing to you if you’re newer on the Twitter scene. Understanding @ and # and the difference between a RT and a mention will be useful as you interact with others.

Use Hashtags

Hashtags are one of the more useful tools Twitter offers to help you personalize your experience and make what you see on Twitter as relevant as possible. In the edtech world, you can search hashtags such as #edtechchat, #edchat, #edtech, and more. Do some searching and figure out what is most relevant to you, and use those relevant hashtags as you tweet related things.


There are a lot of great folks sharing on Twitter, but there are even more lurkers. If you’ve been lurking, step up and interact with people. Something I hear often is “But I don’t have great stuff to share”. I’d argue that you probably do, but you don’t need to start there. If you find something is useful to you – tell the person who shared it! Strike up a conversation, you never know what you’ll get out of it.

Don’t Limit Yourself

A number of people I’ve talked to have told me they don’t like to connect with people on social media that they don’t already know in real life. Part of the beauty of Twitter and other social media platforms is that you can connect with people you might not otherwise be able to if you were just waiting to happen upon them in real life. Don’t limit yourself unnecessarily – you may widely expand your teaching, social, and professional interests by connecting with other like minded people!


Twitter chats can be a useful way to connect with people and get a lot of useful information. There are tons (and tons! and tons!) of different chats, so do a little digging to find the ones most relevant to your interests. Twitter chats that have a lot of participants can get hairy (so many tweets happening so quickly), so feel free to use a tool to help you manage your favorite chats.


For many people, this is the hardest part. Don’t be afraid to share what you have to say (and be open about the commentary you may receive, both good and bad). If you’re nervous about sharing your own thoughts, writing, or materials, start by sharing articles you’ve read that were interesting or useful to you and retweeting other user’s tweets.

Read More

Classroom of the future: could these wild special effects become reality?

classroom of the future idea

Students will apparently use the current version of Google Drive in the classroom of the future?

I absolutely love this video. It’s beyond impressive. It was chosen for the 2014 White House Student Film Festival and for good reason: it obviously took a ton of work, insight, and imagination. It’s under 3 minutes long so you should seriously watch the entire thing.
There are a lot of innovations in this video and I wanted to detail a few that I think are particularly interest. I also wanted to get some feedback on if you think any of these could actually become reality. Weigh in by mentioning @DailyGenius on Twitter, join us on Facebook, or do it the old fashioned way – leave a comment down below!

 Attributes of the Classroom of the Future (Maybe?)

  • Instead of iPads, students will have tablet and phone-sized pieces of glass that can do heads-up display and projection
  • The classroom walls will be able to present information and even respond to haptic feedback (like a giant touch screen)
  • That simple piece of glass can also act as a laptop with a keyboard as well as a screen. You’ll have to watch the video to see what I mean.
  • The entire whiteboard and teacher’s table will be like something out of Tony Stark’s basement. Lots of pushing, pulling, and twisting of various projections.
  • Students will appear extremely bored despite having incredibly powerful projection computers. Seriously. This technology exists and you’re only using it to project an old-fashioned piece of tech? If you could project anything … you’d project a laptop?
  • Any surface is a writing surface! It’s like finger painting everywhere with digital ink!
  • Apparently everyone will be using the current version of Google Drive to take notes.
  • Gamification will play a critical role – look at all the badges awarded for learning in this video!

Side Note

Who knows if this type of stuff is even remotely possible – but one thing is clear: teachers would have to prepare their classroom lessons well in advance considering it takes advantage of the third dimension and involves high-tech presentations. Think you’re up for it?

For more information about the White House Film Festival, where this short film was screened, visit http://wh.gov/filmfest

Read More
1 2 3