TeacherCast: An App worth loving on Valentines Day

TeacherCast

OK, it’s hokey, and it’s a bit of a stretch, but it’s Valentines Day… and if any of you reading have worked in a middle school, you know how much  a draining day this can be…and need an escape.  So, here I write 🙂

Like many of you, I’ve had the opportunity to download and utilize several different apps for the classroom.  While there are SO many to choose, I was really looking for an app that was specific for helping teachers navigate though these apps.  Teachers come to me daily asking about this app and that website.  In times that I have no clue, I (and I now send my teachers to) go to TeacherCast.

TeacherCast is a free app that is truly a one-stop-shop for educators and their needs.  The app works in conjunction with http://www.teachercast.net, which. if you haven’t seen, is on the borderline of educational ridiculousness.  The creator of the site, Jeff Bradbury, has just about everything you could want… and just when you think nothing more can be added… POOF! There is more.

There are podcasts, app reviews. app how to’s, screencasts & movies, a rolling blog, and countless other resources and social media links.  It could be initially overloading, so start with the podcasts – they are laced with information, pro/cons, and wit.

It is evident to me that Jeff is very passionate about helping teachers and those in education learn a thing or ten.  I hope you’ll explore the site or download the app and start and be engulfed in his passion…. after you celebrate Valentines Day with your special someone, of course.  No special someone?  Alas – here’s a special download!  Ok, that was  too much of a stretch.

B-Y-O-D: it’s sink-or-swim time.

byod

I feel like a broken record; over half of my sentence and tweets start with “It’s 2013…” Well, here I am again, IT’S 2013, WHY AREN’T MORE SCHOOLS EMBRACING B-Y-O-D (Bring Your Own Device) POLICIES AND PRACTICES?!? I think I know the answer… but really hope it’s not the answer; FEAR.

I still hear echoes (though much more quiet) about fear of letting kids bring their own devices into schools. The naysayers are still around, and love poking holes… like:

  • It creates a little bit of a IT headache. Who gets on-line?  What is allowed? Viruses?
  •  Teachers do not know every gadget out there, don’t want to know, and need training.
  • A BOE  / Superintendent here and there and doesn’t have policy & regulation in place (or perhaps has it, but it’s buried in scads and scads of other paperwork)
  • [insert your own tale-of-woe or fear here]

I think that there are still many in power (BOE members, administrators, and teachers)  that have a legitimate fear about letting students use their own devices.  There’s an easy way to get over this fear – learn about it. Learn the pro’s – examine the pitfalls – see the impact.  

First, you need to know that B-Y-O-D stands for ‘bring your own device’, meaning students can bring their own laptop, netbook, cell phone, iPad, etc. into school and utilize it for educational purposes.  Schools and students are pushing for this for multiple reasons, but the reasons that consistently rise to the top of every BOYD list include: user-friendliness, more responsibility, and ample resources to use in a class.  This allows more opportunity for everyone to have technology in class, reduces potential damage to district-owned technology, and creates a huge opportunity for teachers and student learning.The rise of the information age is STILL rising, and access / allowance is the first step.

 

I just searched for “BYOD policies in schools” and “benefits of BYOD” – below is what I came up with:

As stated earlier, we can list and list problem after problem. If I recall, we did this too with that thing called the Internet, cell phones, telephones in classrooms, and even installing a school-wide PA system.  If tales of woe fits your pallet, just list them all now.  As you write, you’ll hopefully be countered with every positive educational advancement and see the     B-Y-O-D is just like that.    

Beyond a doubt, going digital is the future of learning and teaching.  While technology is not the end all, be all, it plays a daily role in all of our lives, in and out of school.  It’s 2013 – quit resisting – and join the club.  Your students  the whole reason we’re all here in the first place, will thank you. 

 

 

Changing Education Paradigms

Sir Ken Robinson is one of my favorite educational speakers. He is blunt, he is to the point, and he calls it like it is in the 21st century. In this ‘fast-draw’ video, Sir Ken reminds all of us that 19th century schooling practices are not applicable in the 21st century. Worth a look.