9 Maker Projects for Beginner Maker Ed Teachers

Maker education (often referred to as “Maker Ed”) is a new school of educational thought that focuses on delivering constructivist, project-based learning curriculum and instructional units to students. Maker education spaces can be as large as full high school workshops with high-tech tools, or as small and low-tech as one corner of an elementary classroom. A makerspace isn't just about the tools and equipment, but the sort of learning experience the space provides to students who are making projects.

Maker Ed places a premium on the balance between exploration and execution. Small projects lend themselves to indef…


7 Innovative Apps for Parent-Teacher Communication

For many parents, connecting with teachers and staying in the loop about their children’s progress in school is of the utmost importance. Studies show parental involvement helps foster and improve academic performance, while lessening children’s chances of developing behavioral problems. Simply put, involved parents help grow successful students, but in an increasingly digital age with increasingly busy parents, there is a demand for highly accessible ways for parents to connect with teachers and vice versa.

Here are seven innovative apps for smart phones/smart d…


The Drill vs. The Hole: The Importance of Being a Relevant Educator

In the earlier 20th century, educators had very few tools to use to accomplish their goal of educating students. Pens, pencils, markers, blackboards, notebooks, and construction paper were staples in every classroom. Eventually, technology evolved and better teaching tools emerged: overhead projectors, record players, filmstrips, movies, VCRs, tape recorders, Xerox printers, and four-function calculators. Each educator made a personal decision as to how much, or how little, they would use the aforementioned tools. Those were the same tools, although very primitive by today’s standards, that society used for curation, calculation, communication, collaboration, and, the ultimate goal of education.

Since all of the tools were commonplace and easy to …


Intro to Tech for Teachers: 5 User-Friendly Recommendations from ExamTime

"Get with it or get left behind" — that’s the usual message surrounding technology in the classroom. But Philip Ellis of ExamTime, a platform that helps teachers create “digital backpacks”, is hoping to make things more user friendly.

“We want our users to be co-authors of knowledge and that means sharing content is something we have focused heavily on in developing these tools,” he says of the company, which helps teachers create flashcards, quizzes, mind maps and notes online.

If that sounds daunting and you’re new to using tech in the classroom, don’t fear! Ellis has some great ideas on how to get started with five tech recommendations for teachers that are truly “…a joy to work with and something you…


Google’s Latest Education Innovation: Google Classroom

Google recently presented its latest technology tool for the classroom. According to PCMag, Google Classroom is the technology giant’s newest resource in the Google Apps for Education Suite. While it can currently be viewed in preview mode, Google Classroom should be fully available to educators by September, and, best of all, it’s free.

With Classroom, teachers can set up pages for their classes where they can interact with students, set up new assignments and deliver messages to their classes. Teachers can also provide feedback to students on assignments submitted in Google Classroom. The tool is uncomplicated, and according to Zach Yeskel, the Google Classroom program manager, “Classroom is based on the principle that educational tools should be simple and easy to use, and is desig…


#TheyTaughtMe: Advocacy is an Act of Love [by Cara Clarke]

When I was in first grade, my mother became a house parent for a group home in northeastern Pennsylvania. It was a home for teenage and young adult males with various disabilities, including autism and Down syndrome. On Fridays, my mother, brother and I would drive just over an hour to the house and stay the weekend or longer during the summer. My aunt stayed at the house during the week.

My aunt and mother worked at this home for a long time, and the boys became family to me. Typically, three boys lived in the home but I was closest with John. John could easily have been my brother — we were both short in stature with the same red hair and blue eyes. The …


#TheyTaughtMe: “Asperger’s Syndrome Disorder Doesn’t Keep My Son From Talking With Dogs”

This blog was originally published on Healing Rescue Dogs on November 7, 2013.

Kathy H Porter is a freelance writer, author and head cheerleader for her amazing son. She grabs inspiration from a background that includes 14 years of business experience and 17 years as an educator. Her latest project? Crafting work-related "explaining scripts" for adults with autism. Join her newsletter to find out when her next article will be published and to discover more useful on-the-job strategies for autistic adults.

My 27 year old son who is formally diagnosed with Asperger’s Syndrome Disorder (ASD), has been “talking dog” his whole life.

Having Asperger’s and being fluent in how…

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