I was listening to the Christmas special of a podcast I enjoy, The EdTech Takeout, on my way to work. They were interviewing individuals about the technology they would like to find under their Christmas tree this year. This made me start thinking about the EdTech items I would love to find on Christmas morning. Below are just some of the items I would want to find.
Rocketbook Wave- This is one item that I learned about by listening to that episode of The EdTech Takeout. I am actually looking to purchase this off of Amazon over the holiday break just because it seems like it would be really cool to have. The notebook set allows you to store all of your writing into a number of different cloud services. At the bottom of each page, there are symbols and a QR code. When you finish writing and you are ready to send your material to the cloud, you can open the app and scan the page. The symbol you mark tells your phone where to send the scanned page. The picture taken is turned into a PDF and sent to your email, Evernote, Dropbox, Google Drive, Slack, etc. On top of that, the notebook can be used up to five times. When it is full, you can put it in the microwave with a cup of water and it will erase the writing. From what I hear, some of the writing may still be detectable if you look for it but when the picture is taken only the most recent writing is visible.
Weebly for Education- If I were a classroom teacher looking to give my students the ability to blog, vlog, or create a website to share their work I would use Weebly for Education. This site gives the teacher their own class webpage along with 40 free student webpage accounts. If you have more than 40 students, which most secondary teachers do, you can purchase additional accounts for $1 each. I just set a classroom teacher up with this today and it cost $80 to get her up to 120 student accounts. It’s a great way to give students a place to show off their work and share their ideas. Privacy settings allow you to make the student sites password protected and comments can be moderated by the teacher. Finally, it is an easy way to introduce students to website building.
Raspberry Pi- I have been dying to find an excuse to buy myself one of these, but I cannot seem to find a project that would require it. The Raspberry Pi is a $35 computer that can hook up to a monitor or tv and a USB keyboard. It can be programed to run simple computing tasks or it can be used to create a multitude of projects. I have seen it (not in person, but online) used to create robots, media centers, alarm clocks, arcade games, and basically a lot of things that look really cool. It’s all in how it is programmed. I would love to see what some of the students in our Makerspace could do with it especially some of the more advanced students during Hour of Code! Of course if I was getting this for Christmas I would also want to see some of the items needed for these types of projects like memory cards, HDMI cable, USB keyboard, a screen, etc.
ISTE and ASCD memberships- These two groups are full of great information, conferences, and ideas but paying for membership can be tough especially for the premium memberships. I would love to get access to everything the highest level of membership has to offer, but I can’t quite justify the cost. While I still sign up for these two great organizations and I fully support them and their right to charge what they need for membership, having my membership paid for as a Christmas gift is definitely something I would like.
Whatever shows up under my tree or in my stocking, I am really looking forward to having time with my family and resting so I can come back to school in January ready to teach, learn, and continue growing.
Today I watched a student go from refusing to participate in an activity to actively engaging with a real smile on his face. We have been using this week to participate in the Hour of Code. Our librarian has put together a great webpage with multiple coding sites and resources that work for students at all coding levels. When the class came in to participate, this student refused to even sit down at a computer. He was finally coaxed into getting on the webpage where he made comments to the effect of "Why are we doing this?" and "This is stupid."