MindMapper app for the iOS is an excellent fully functional mindmapping application. The fact that it is currently Free makes it even better.
|MindMapper iOS App|
|MindMapper iOS App|
“With all these online searching aids at our disposal, we should be committing to teaching our children accurate and creative searching techniques that are applicable across every discipline.” Alan November, Who Owns the Learning: Preparing Students for Success in the Digital AgeOur students hold within the palms of their hands and with their laptops, access to all of the world’s information, updated continuously and free, yet like Alan November indicates, I am not sure we consistently teach our students “accurate and creative searching techniques” that they can use in all content areas and in multiple contexts, to validate information. As educators, we still too often leave students to their own devices when sorting through online search results. Also, we only critique their sources when we evaluate their end products, instead of helping them in-process. But in our 21st century classrooms we desperately need to employ specific activities and teaching strategies designed to foster our students' abilities to critically validate online information.
“One in four teens are “cell-mostly” internet users, who say they mostly go online using their phone and not using some other device such as a desktop or laptop computer,”Smartphone adoption among American teens has increased substantially and our students have “pervasive mobile access to the Internet.” Because our students now have this “pervasive mobile access” the time has come to pull the plug on cell phone bans entirely. Instead of keeping cell phones out, we need to get our students engaged in using them constructively. Where else are they going to learn about the potential for good or ill of mobile technologies?
“If time is not fixed, there are lots of possibilities to make schooling more responsive to the individual needs of students and teachers and more economical to operate.” Frank Kelly, Ted McCain, and Ian Jukes, Teaching the Digital Generation: No More Cookie-Cuter High SchoolsWhy do high schools keep the same master schedule from one year to the next? One of the most difficult lessons I have learned as principal of an innovative high school is that there is no law or policy that prescribes what the school’s master schedule should look like from year-to-year. In fact, innovative high schools see schedule-flexibility as a must in order to fit the schedule to student needs, rather than fit students to a schedule. This is my fourth year in my current position, and the master schedule has changed every year, and it looks like it will change again this year. Our master schedule is truly responsive to the individual needs of our students and our staff and that is how it should be.
|1st Period (Semester-Long Class?||7:40-9:10|
|2nd Period (Year-Long Class)||9:12-10:02|
|3rd Period (Year-Long Class)||10:04-10:54|
|4th Period (Year-Long Class)||10:56-11:46|
|Enrichment Period (Also advisory Period)||11:48-12:33|
|5th Period (Semester-Long Class)||1:10-2:40|
“School buildings must change because instruction must change. We need creative new designs that will support 21st century learning.” Frank S. Kelly, Ted McCain, and Ian Jukes, Teaching the Digital Generation: No More Cookie-Cutter High SchoolsA great deal of the reform talk that we engage in focuses on changing how teaching and learning should change to better fit the needs of 21st century learners, but how much of that talk focuses on how we can better redesign our schools so that they better facilitate 21st century learning? Kelly, McCain, and Jukes point out one really sad fact about school construction in the 21st century:
“We are currently spending millions of dollars building new high schools that will last 40 years or more that are designed on ideas that date back to the early 1900s.”In other words, the high schools we currently build are monuments to obsolescence, and instead of asking ourselves the critical questions about what should a high school in the 21st century should look like, we just keep building them the same way we always have. Then, we shake our heads with wonder when we can’t reform the kinds of teaching and learning that occurs in those schools. As Kelly, McCain, and Jukes so aptly point out, “We are victims of TTWWADI, or That’s the way we’ve always done it.”
“Too many organizations---not just companies, but governments and nonprofits as well---still operate from assumptions about human potential and individual performance that are outdated, unexamined, and rooted more in folklore than in science.” Daniel Pink, Drive: The Surprising Truth about What Motivates UsIt’s not just businesses that are still caught in outdated assumptions about performance and motivation. Schools are caught in that same time warp too. Much of how our classrooms and schools are structured and operate are designed to take advantage of extrinsic motivation, and we are finding that in the 21st century, this structure and way of operating no longer works.
“Without these common exams, we have no objective way to measure the value teachers give their students, and this is an important part of North Carolina’s teacher evaluation model.” Rebecca Garland, Chief Academic Officer, NC Department of Public InstructionIn a recent post to the Charlotte Observer entitled “Newly Required Tests Aren’t as Numerous as You Think”), North Carolina Public Schools Section Chief, Rebecca Garland, defended that state’s massive increase in the number of high-stakes testing. The main gist of her argument is students were going to be taking teacher-made exams anyway, which would be true if these Common Exams or MSLs (missiles as we like to call them) were on the same level as teacher made exams, but they are not.