Tag Archives: Education

5 Reasons Why Teachers Should Blog

20 Apr

A lot of people are hesitant to start a blog because more often than not they believe they have nothing to say. However they often overlook the many benefits that they could get from blogging. Teachers and educators especially have so much to gain from blogging and we firmly believe that all should!

Here are a few of those reasons:

Blogging Helps You Reflect

Teachers often think back on what happened in their classroom and wonder what they could have done better. Blogging can help with that process by enabling teachers to log their actions, procedures, successes and failures, and issues they may have run into.

Reflection and self-evaluation are key components in personal and professional growth.

Blogging Connects You

Blogging provides the opportunity to connect with people from all corners of the world. Allowing you the opportunity to share and exchange ideas with people from all different perspectives. This also that helps us build a global classroom.

 Blogging Allows You To Share your Expertise

Blogging is also a great place to share you own knowledge and expertise with the world. Regardless of what you have to say in your blog posts someone somewhere will learn from it. Everyone learns and grows from different experiences; a blog is a place where you can share that knowledge.

Blogging Motivates You

Blogging provides opportunities for like-minded people to gather together and share their passions. Creating the perfect environment to draw inspiration and motivation from.

Blogging Is A Way To Find Support

Everyone at one point or another in their life could benefit from a little support. Through blogging you can develop a network of other people in your same shoes will most likely be able to answer any question or address any concern that you have. Even in the unlikely scenario where they couldn’t you will at least have a sympathetic ear.

If these reasons aren’t enough to get you excited about blogging Robert Shuetz has a Top 10 list and here are 50 examples of great Teacher blogs.

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Flipped Learning Network

13 Apr

Ever heard of the ‘Flipped Learning Network’? It is a new style of teaching that has been getting a lot of attention lately.

Kari Arfstrom writes about how this new teaching style has helped reach many struggling students. Check out this article for more info on how Flipped Learning has helped students of every age!

Also, make sure to check out Flipped Learning for the latest on this revolutionary teaching style!

Teachers Joining forces via Social Media!

13 Apr

Social Media: How do I be professional about it?

In the new, digital age we live in all types of people are benefiting from utilizing social media sites like Facebook and Twitter to connect with long lost friends, find new information and post about things they are knowledgeable about. Educational professionals are certainly well within the group of sharers of knowledge. It is in your nature as an educator to share the wealth and we at PaperlessEducation appreciate that so much!

Social media sites can benefit more than those who you share your funny stories, interesting facts and the latest new blog with. You and your fellow educators can use social media sites as a tool to create an information network filled with digital classroom activities, cool online field trips, or the info about the latest iPhone app for educators. PaperlessEducation has prepared a few tricks and tips to get this started in your district.

Google +

Many, if not all of you are on Facebook, a lot of you may even be on Twitter. However, something that not too many probably have is Google+. Google+ has a few powerful tools that can be used by educators that may bring more benefits than Facebook.

We suggest you create a private community filled with your schools faculty. In this private community you can create different discussion boards that focus on different aspects of your educational community.

This is a great place to post links to new education articles, what your class will be doing for next week’s fieldtrip or any other educational related content that is worth sharing within the community.

David Lee has created an awesome blog post about how to go about creating each aspect of the Google+ Community. If your interested see what he has to say right here.

Twitter


A few of you may be on Twitter as well! Kudos to you! Twitter is one of our favorite micro blogging sites that we visit on an hourly basis.

It’s a great place to learn about the current events in the world, have a few chuckles and even post something you think is really interesting. As an educator it is imperative that you create a twitter account.

There isn’t a requirement that you post about what you had for breakfast lunch and dinner or even what the weather looks like outside. We would like to see you posting about topics that relate to your specialization or link to a news article that is breaking news about something you are passionate about.

Anyways I’m getting off track. Twitter is a great place for educators to link other educators up with new information that you can use in your classroom. How does this happen?

Well Twitter has a couple features to it that will allow you to instantly find information that you are looking for. You may search for information on Twitter just like Google. Twitter will put the latest, most relevant up to date information at the top after you click search. All you need to do is visit: www.twitter.com/search. Twitter will not only search the Hashtags associated with the tweet, but also the content inside the tweet for the key words you searched for.

The other search feature Twitter has available to you is called a list. A Twitter list is an awesome tool that is perfect for educators. Twitter lists can be as broad or as specialized as you would like. You specify who is on the list, and who is not. As an educator you could create an education list and select all educational Tweeters that you follow to be on the list. By making your list open to the public, and sharing it with others you will be able to build a network of information worth reading and spreadin. Here is a link to an article that gives the four-step process of creating the list.

EdWeb.net

Finally for those of you who don’t like Facebook or Twitter because your students are also using those sites there is a new social media site in town just for you! EdWeb.net is a professional social media site focused on connecting educators with other educators. Technorati.com, a blog focused on current issues caused by technology has a great article of why educators aren’t using the social media sites like facebook and Twitter and why EdWeb.net is gaining more popularity. Check out the article here!

There are a thousand other sites and things that you and other educators can visit and do, we would just like to make sure you know which ones we think are the best! Our next blog post will focus on one of the most important aspects of being a teacher in the digital age. Blogging. You will have to check back next week to find out more about that one though!

If you have questions feel free to comment or send us an email,

-PaperlessEducation

Create Your Own Class Magazine With Flipboard

8 Apr

Have you heard about Flipboard? It’s an awesome app that now can be personalized to create your own class magazine. The benefits to this are endless! David Lee over at David Lee Ed Tech put together this awesome video:

Create Your Own Class Magazine With Flipboard.

Homeschooling Is Stepping Up Its Game.

25 Mar

Schools are becoming more advanced and digital, they are providing different opportunities to students through the use of tablets, online applications and other recent technological advances. Paperless education asks: Will homeschooling parents be able to give their students the same opportunities?
Lets break some stereotypes and erase the traditional image of homeschoolers. These kids don’t have it easy and in many cases they are given more difficult assignments with less time to complete them. They follow the same schedule and are in trouble with not only their teacher, but also their parent if they don’t get their work done correctly and on time.
Traditional knowledge tells us that a homeschooled student will not get the same experiences and quality education as a student enrolled in a private or public institution. Fortunately for homeschoolers this thought is beginning to be something of the past. Technology has created the possibility for homeschoolers to utilize the same materials and gain access to the same pool of knowledge as every other student in the district. This has been the case for quite some time with the invention of the Internet, but has recently been accelerated with the help of websites TheWiredHomeschool.Com and online applications on tablets and iPad’s. Homeschooling parents, and students, now have access to the same programs that traditional teachers are using to teach whole classrooms.

A lot of homeschooling is done through online classrooms like InternetHomeschool.com or EHarvy.org. Students, with guidance from their homeschool teacher, attend school like any other elementary, middle or high school kid, however instead of rolling out of bed and catching the bus, they roll out of bed and log in. We encourage you to take a look at these online schools if you are interested in homeschooling your child. Here is a link to a blog post by the business insider titled 10 websites that make homeschooling easy.

It’s a great place to start if you are struggling with finding unique ways of teaching your student.

The ability to have one-on-one teaching moments day after day, and access to all the same materials and learning programs as any other student is pretty awesome! Plus, you get to teach your child.. who wouldn’t want to have their child as a student? (Okay I’m sure some of you would disagree with me but that’s a whole other blog post) We are super excited to see that even homeschool education is thriving in this digital society. Please post a comment or send us an email if you have questions or updates for us!

Till next time –Paperless Education.

Virtual Field Trips

9 Mar

When I was in elementary school and it was field trip day I was the most excided kid in the world! I would get up early, sneak snacks into the bag lunch my mom had made for me then and walk out the door with a smile on my face. When I got to school I couldn’t wait for the busses to leave – this had nothing to do with the fact that I got to skip Mrs. Myer’s math class.

Unfortunately (or fortunately depending on the way you look at it) students of the future may not get to experience the same feelings I did. It is becoming more and more popular for teachers to take classes on virtual trips instead of actual field trips. Paperless education has done its research and found 3 pretty awesome virtual/interactive field trips that we would love to have been introduced to while in grade school.

Virtual Tour of Mars

Who wouldn’t want to go to mars and back all in one day? There are many sites that give several computer animated tours of Mars. One that I thought was both interactive and informational comes from DiscoveryEducation.com. Will.i.am of the Black Eyed Peas has created a foundation called Will.i.STEAM. This foundation focuses on informing and encouraging young students to explore the related fields of STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, The Arts & Math.) Because of this foundation students have the ability to learn much more than what Mars’ atmosphere is made up of, they get to travel the planet, listen to experts and learn in an interactive way. Visit the site if you are interested!

Africam

Africam is a site that can take students to a whole new world within our own. This site is very unique as it allows viewers to watch video cameras that have been set up in areas that are frequently visited by a variety of safari animals. This includes elephants, owls, cheetah cubs, giraffs and more. Students are able to interact with the site by posting comments, moving the remote controlled web cams and clicking the links for more inforamtion about the safari. This is an overall top pick by Paperless Education.

White House Virtual Tour

This site gives students the ability to view the White House. They can see where our president lives, does business and holds events. Within each stop of the tour there is either a photo or video explaining the room, area or hallway. There are often links sending the reader to additional government sites for more information. Did you know there is a beehive and movie basketball court on the Whitehouse campus? Check out the site and take the tour today!

These are just three out of hundreds of online field trips out there. Paperless Education encourages you to find your own and share them with us and your friends. Our world is becoming increasingly digital; because of this the way we teach and learn will always be changing.

Be sure to comment if you have questions!

Benefits of Paperless Education

2 Mar

One of the main concerns that face schools nowadays is financing. Another concern that people have is how to stay green. If schools change to paperless education and paperless classrooms, both of those issues could be resolved. This  is how…

Financial Positives

Jake Tschida

Teachers are constantly using, and potentially wasting, thousands of sheets of paper a week. If a teacher has to pay for all of this paper, and also the prices of copying, they can see each pay check go straight down the drain. The average student every year uses 360  pounds of paper. Each pound of paper is approximately 100 sheets. This means that, with simple math, each student uses 36,000 sheets of paper a year. Now, if you use more math (of the complicated variety), you can see that a ream of paper goes for about $8/500 sheets (with tax). 36,000/500 = 72 reams x $8 = $576/student per year. Take the size of my graduation class, 861, my school spent $495,936 on just paper.

A teacher in Kentucky has found the answer to all of this spending, she created the paperless classroom. In this classroom the students are all given pda’s (personal digital assistants). The students then use these pda’s to do their homework, take their tests, and download all of their study materials. Education world interviewed Stephanie Sorell to find out more about the benefits of going paperless. So, the real question is, what is holding schools back from trying more paperless education classrooms?

Environmental Impact

Chad Willson

Just one classroom going paperless can have a huge impact on the environment. Using the math from above the average classroom of 30 uses 1,080,000 sheets of paper every year, one tree produces only 8,500 sheets of paper, so it takes 128 trees to produce enough paper for one classroom. Just one class has the power to save 128 trees by making the decision to go paperless.

Also according to Paperless Productivity turning one tree into paper releases 110 lbs of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere, additionally trees convert over 2,000 lbs of carbon dioxide in their lifetime. Going paperless would have a huge and positive impact on carbon dioxide emissions.

Some may think it is too hard, or too much work, or costs too much to turn a classroom into a paperless education portal; but every year more and more schools have found a way to begin the transition. District 97 in Illinois has over 8 elementary schools on track to be paperless. For more in depth info on what steps need to be taken and what the future has in store check out David Wees’s and Kelley Tenkley’s blogs.

Also check out this video of an agriculture teacher in De Soto, Wisconsin that has successfully gone totally paperless.

LinkedIn & Twitter – your secret weapons to landing an internship

19 Feb

Finding a job or internship after graduation is hard to do, especially in this economy. Because of this, Paperless Education proposes that you not only take to the streets to find one, but also hit the social media sites as well! LinkedIn and Twitter are two very powerful social media outlets that allow you to connect with and find possible employers. We have outlined how to use both to jumpstart your career after college.

LinkedIn is a site used specifically for networking in a more professional setting. You can connect with old friends, make inside connections with people working in your industry, and get answers to your questions about specific careers, businesses, and organizations from experts in that field. (Check out this article from CNN Money about Reid Hoffman, the founder of LinkedIn, for a brief history.)

Searching for an internship can seem like a daunting task. And it is, but there are aspects of LinkedIn that make it easier than ever before. Here is a list of suggestions for you to maximize your success finding the perfect internship for you!

  1. Take Your Coat Off, Stay A While. Once you are signed up on LinkedIn, have created a killer list of your skills and expertise, and chosen the most dashing photo of you for your profile picture, take a look around! “Connecting” is the first step.  Find people you know, companies you are interested in, and careers you could see yourself pursuing. You can also join group conversations about specific topics that interest you. By connecting with people in the same fields, you are setting yourself up to meet
  2. Learn Something, Why Don’t You? Doing some research about certain industries or even specific companies can get your foot in the door. LinkedIn has specific Companies tab that is perfect for this sort of thing. You can even message companies you are interested in working with or your past employers to generate a good recommendation for you in the future.
  3. Don’t You…Forget About Me. Don’t forget about it! Check it often and update it regularly. Make sure your skill sets are thorough and your resume is current. By continually updating and editing your profile, LinkedIn will recommend different opportunities to you than it has in the past.

Internships won’t come knocking at your front door just because you’ve signed up for LinkedIn, but they will give you opportunities to connect with them!

Twitter is a micro blogging site that can be used for much more than just posting your feelings. According to Mashable there are several steps you must take to be seen as a serious job candidate.

 

 

 

 

 

  1. Be a thought-leader not a thought-reader: get out there and create content that other people want to read.
  2. Promote yourself and others: don’t be too professional. Twitter is a place to show your personality, interests and share what you think is cool. Link your twitter profile to a personal blog or other more detailed online profile (like LinkedIn) if you want viewers to see your professional side.
  3. Follow the industry you are interested in: add people to lists and join chats get engaged with those who you want to work with. It will pay off.
  4. Companies post job and internship listings on twitter: Follow the company you want to work for!

Below is a list of twitter accounts that post entry-level jobs and internships. Follow them!

@InternMatch

@nyinternships

@MarketjobsUSA

@enternships

@internships

Twitter is a great asset to have while searching for an internship. Remember these tips and you may even land one using social media.

Wikipedia: A Very Credible Source

9 Feb

Wikipedia

wp

If you ask any college student where they go to find information, most will say that they use Wikipedia. If you also ask any college student which website they will not site in a professional school paper, most will once again say Wikipedia.

Why is this though?
 
Some would say that it is the stigma that comes with Wikipedia or Wiki. When Wiki first came out in 2001, it was open to anyone for editing all of the blogs and pages on the site. This brought up a lot of troubles with people trusting the accuracy of the information.

There were always people out there that wanted to change every page on Wiki to have inaccurate information just to be “funny.” In the past 10 plus years the administrators of Wikipedia have done a lot of editing and put in a lot of fail-safes to make sure that things like this don’t happen.

Fail-safes

There are almost 15,000 administrators that are constantly editing all of the pages on Wiki. These administrators are also able to block/ban user accounts or IP addresses from editing pages. How can a company that has more than 15,000 people editing their pages not be a credible source?

Another fail-safe that Wikipedia had is a robot named ClueBot NG. ClueBot NG has a few different jobs, one of these jobs is to search for and delete vandalism off of the pages. ClueBot can also keep track of which users are making these remarks, and if the untrue remarks continue, he (or she, or it) will ban these users.

Wiki also has a page now where they show all of the hoaxes that have occurred on their website.

So what I am telling you is that teachers in schools and professionals in universities are not allowing information attained from pages corrected by thousands of people and a highly sophisticated robot. Some professors are looking to prove the critics wrong.

Joan Strassmann

Joan Strassmann is a professor of biology in Arts & Sciences at Washington University St. Louis. Professor Strassmann decided that for her behavioral ecology course she was going to try something different then just having her students write a paper. Strassmann was going to have them write an article on Wikipedia.

There were a few main goals to this course.

  • First: Joan wanted to make the hassle of writing a paper more exciting: every college student and even most high school students have had to sit down and write a paper. It’s boring, but when you know that thousands of people could be reading this paper… that can make it a little more exciting.
  • Second: Provide useful information for many people. With a normal paper the information is seen by the teacher, the student that wrote it, and sometimes other students in class. If you post this paper on Wiki, thousands of people could potentially read and even site this same paper.
  • Finally:  Prove how difficult it is to bring an article up to Good Article status on Wikipedia.

I bring this question to you, with all of the things that Wikipedia has gone through in the last 10 plus years, will it ever be viewed as a credible source?

(and yes, most of the embedded links are Wikipedia, so there is our opinion)

Social Media & The Classroom

2 Feb
While most of us, as college students, are used to primarily in class classroom environments, with the advances in technology that we’ve seen in the last two decades, we are now able to communicate in numerous ways. Facebook, Twitter, Google+, and Skype are only a few of the possible sources available (literally) at our fingertips to help us learn and create! ‘The Dream Team’ has put together some information about some of our favorite social media sources. We chose the ones we did either because of its increasing popularity, or because it was just plain interesting.


Minecraft

A Mindless Computer Game or Unique Classroom?

There are many different ways that teachers can conduct classes. When tragedy strikes and forces students and teachers to evacuate classes, some teachers become very creative in the methods they use for conducting classes.

After a tornado left students unable to study on campus at Bond University in Australia, a professor came up with a plan to keep the students in his computer games studies program working on their class projects. Professor Jeffrey Brand is currently in charge of Minecraft Uni Project, which allows students to continue studying through a Minecraft Server. Minecraft is a computer game that allows people to create their own towns in an 8-bit looking format; this means everything is made of cubes.

Due to the fact that Minecraft has so many multi-player capabilities, the students and professors were able to log on together and shatter material and ask each other questions. According to the project’s blog, the current students are able to work as if they are in an actual classroom environment. Brand and 11 of his students were able to recreate the entirety of their campus in about a week and proved once again, that my mom was wrong when she told me that gaming would never help with my school work.

Facebook

Social Media King and Classroom BlogSpot!

Facebook

Facebook is an amazing tool that allows millions of people to connect via internet and continue to build their relationships. This unique experience allows old friends to stay in touch from back in High School or college that haven’t talked to each other in years. Our generation also uses it to network and potentially get into our professional careers using its technology.

Classes also benefit from Facebook’s user friendliness by having the ability to connect a class together like we are for this blog. In our Digital Media and Society class (The one this blog was created in!) we use Facebook as a means to turn in a class assignment called the Class Archives. Both students and staff are complaining about programs such as blackboard being too complicated. The mutual understanding of how efficient Facebook is for events and grouping people makes it the perfect tool to connect with your students both now and in the future.

Twitter

Classroom discussions are so boring, why not just tweet about it?

Twitter

Our world is revolving around less face-to-face communication and more online, computer mediated communication. People are communicating through social media now, more than ever. Several social media sites are out there and extremely popular. One social media site that is growing more popular as more people realize its benefits is Twitter. Twitter is an online social media site that allows users to speak their mind using less than 160 characters.

We at PaperlessEducation wondered if Twitter could be used as a medium to connect students and classrooms together. It turns out that we weren’t alone, and there’s boatloads of information on the subject..

study done at the University of North Carolina found that one in every 40 professors are on Twitter, but instead of tweeting about academics they are engaging with their students. Engaging with students over Twitter is pretty awesome, and the next logical step in utilizing Twitter with education is to communicate with whole classes via Twitter.

It turns out OnlineCollege.org published an article citing TweetChat as the solution to communicating with everyone in the class. TweetChat is an application that funnels all tweets with a specific hashtag into a chatroom that is lead by a moderator.

Is this the future of class discussion boards? We at PaperlessEducation think that it very well could be.

Skype

Get Connected Across the World.

skype

With technology nowadays it seems almost anything is possible; and more and more of it is getting integrated into education. Teachers and students all across the globe are using Skype In The Classroom to connect and collaborate with one another. For example a class of fifth graders from a Johnson County Elementary school recently partnered with a school half way across the globe in Kenya, East Africa. The students got to interact and ask questions of one another.
Another way Skype is being utilized is to connect students to famous authors like the middle school from Santa Monica, California that got to Skype with young adult author, Annabel Monaghan. The students, who were in the middle of reading Monaghan’s book, got the opportunity to ask the author herself a series of questions.
Skype is being used more and more in the classroom and it seems that the possibilities seem to be endless.

Whether it be through Facebook, Twitter, Skype or even Mincraft connecting with the classroom using social media can have both benefits and drawbacks. Leave us a comment or ask us a question if you feel the need.

Thanks for reading

– #TheDreamTeam