Latest teaching and learning ideas

The Latest in Tech, Tools and Toys for Teachers.  Lesson Plans, Classroom resources and ideas for busy teachers.  iPad Apps and Android Apps for teachers and students.

Teaching STEM and Digital Technologies ( Our First Book ) is now available

 Available now: Teaching STEM & Digital Technologies

Available now: Teaching STEM & Digital Technologies

I am going to put in a shameless plug here for my first ever book. It has taken me over three years to complete outside of raising a family with my lovely wife and working full time.

It is available now in digital epub and Printable PDF format here and in hardcover via Amazon.

It has been getting rave reviews on TpT and I can strongly recommend it for all teachers.

Teaching STEM, Digital Technologies and Critical Thinking presents data literacy, coding, robotics, digital systems, critical and computational thinking in a structured manner teachers can understand and follow with ease.

This interactive DIGITAL and / or PRINT book provides teachers with the skills to navigate the information era with confidence.  Creating students who are...

  • Technology creators; not just consumers.  Possessing an understanding of computer science, hardware, and software.

  • Critical and Analytical Thinkers who can solve complex problems through researched and proven methods.

  • Highly Data literate; and can collect, manipulate and organize data for varied audiences and purpose.

  • Able to challenge technology when required, through an understanding of algorithms, data mining and digital citizenship.

Countries around the world are making these skills a compulsory part of the curriculum to provide students with the skills to think and do.  They understand that the industrial era has passed and we now require teachers and students with initiative, higher order thinking skills, and digital literacy skills. This book is aligned with the Australian Digital Technologies Curriculum, United States Common Core and British Curriculum.

Now in its third edition, this book provides hundreds of visual examples of making STEM, Digital Technologies and Critical Thinking actionable tasks in your classroom.  It also provides case studies and context to the skills being taught so that you can talk the talk, and walk the walk in this space.

This book is an essential resource for not only specialists involved in learning technologies, but generalist teachers looking for new and engaging strategies to teach their students to problem solve, better integrate technology and build the skill set required to contribute to modern society.


About the Author:

Kevin Cummins is a lifelong learner and educator in the space of Digital Technologies and STEM.

Kevin has taught at primary, secondary and tertiary levels internationally  Currently, he works in Victoria, Australia as a Learning Technologies consultant with over sixty schools, presenting professional development to teachers and students on a regular basis.

Kevin has a Masters In Learning Technologies from the University of Melbourne and runs educational websites which are visited by millions of teachers annually on these topics.

Kevin is a teacher, husband, and father to three wonderful children and is actively trying to make a difference to our educational systems, curriculum and classrooms to provide genuine 21st-century teaching and learning opportunities that make a difference to student outcomes.

Teach your students the history of the internet

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Many people alive today can’t remember a time before the internet; it can be easy to forget how recently the internet was closer to science fiction than reality. In a little over forty years, the internet has evolved from a small network to an almost infinite source of information available around the world -- and even in outer space.

This interactive website is a great opportunity to introduce students and teachers into the people, technology and events that led us to where we currently are in cyberspace.

Mathcracker: Free math help for students and teachers

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Mathcracker.com is a cornucopia of math tools, calculators, solvers, and tutorials all in one
place that is a one-stop solution for the vast majority of math calculations and operations that
the student or professional needs to perform, whether for assignments, theses, reports, or
professional documents. The tools run the gamut from basic to advanced math calculations,
with 120 tools and growing. The solvers, graphing tools, and “math cracks”, which are
Mathcracker’s signature form of plain English tutorials, are all accessible from an easily
navigable menu bar with drop down menus. The number and high quality of the tools are
quite impressive, and all the tools are available for free!

To give an idea of the range of tools you can choose from, starting with the categories of
algebra, calculus, statistics, or probability calculators, you are then led to a variety of
calculators and solvers under the same category. You’ll find calculators for cross product, dot
product, permutation coefficient, factorial of a number, absolute value, algebraic expression,
angle conversion between degrees and radians, arithmetic sequences, area and volume of a
circle, cone, cube, and cylinder, and the list goes on and on. For probability and statistics,
you’ll find 11 pages of tools, including calculators for chi square test for goodness of fit,
Kruskal-Wallis test, Lamda coefficient, critical Chi square values, uniform probability
calculator, ANOVA, Cramer’s V, Z test, F test for the equality of two population variances,
relative risk, odds ratio, effect size Cohen’s d, binomial probability, and many more. There are
graphing tools for bar charts, box plots, functions, histograms, line charts, pie charts, scatter
plots, time series, and many more. To list all the tools here would take several pages, so the
recommended approach is just to go see for yourself.

Each tool comes with clear instructions on what it does, how to use it and what information to
enter. To use a calculator or solver, you enter the information you want into the appropriate
labeled form field boxes in the calculator. Each element of the calculator is labeled so you
know what information to enter and where to type it in. Upon pushing a bright yellow
“calculate” button, you are provided with the solution along with a brief explanation of the
background of the concept you are working with and how to interpret the result. If for any
reason you did not enter the right information or you are missing information, upon clicking

“calculate”, you will be presented with a message in red indicating to you what you are
missing so you can check your information. This is really helpful because sometimes
beginners or the less well-versed in math don’t necessarily know exactly what type of
information they need to solve a given problem, so the tool nudges you in the right direction.

To understand the background of the people who created this site, according to the designers
of the site, who include PhD’s with backgrounds in mathematics, statistics, engineering, and
education, the site emerged out of a desire to make math transparent and accessible to
people from many different backgrounds, including those with strong math skills as well as
those who are not so comfortable performing high level mathematics. Currently, the site is
used by students and professionals all over the world as a cornerstone math resource. They
have been linked to by major universities, teachers’ personal blogs, and included in
classroom curriculum.

The ease of use and completeness of the tools makes them compatible with the needs of a
wide variety of people and projects, and the solution and graphic outputs are of a high quality
and can be used in reports and for educational purposes. Far and away, this is an excellent
and advantageous resource for anyone who needs to perform calculus, algebra, statistics or
probability calculations for nearly any conceivable purpose, and can replace many of the
functionalities of other proprietary software programs.

https://mathcracker.com

We're Doing It Wrong: 25 Ideas in Education That Just Don't Work―And How to Fix Them

David Michael Slater is a veteran middle and high school teacher who was named the City of Beaverton, Oregon’s Educator of the Year in 2012. He is also an acclaimed author of over 20 works of fiction for children, teens, and adults. His work for children includes the picture books Cheese Louise!, The Bored Book, The Boy & the Book and Hanukkah Harvie vs. Santa Claus; the early chapter book series, Mysterious Monsters; and the teen series, Forbidden Books. David's work for adults includes the comic-drama, Fun & Games, which the New York Journal of Books called “hilarious.” David teaches in Reno, Nevada, where he lives with his wife and son. 

David has written an insightful book about the 'Broken' American education system which is really worth a read.  As a result I have given the David the very rare opportunity to share some insights about himself and his great book below.  Please note that this is NOT a paid article.  We never receive payment for articles.

I’m not humble-bragging when I tell you that I’ve been stunned by the praise piling up for We’re Doing It Wrong: 25 Ideas in Education That Just Don’t Work – And How to Fix Them. I was hesitant to begin the project (my first work of nonfiction), unsure whether there was really any need for a collection of thoughts that, in my opinion, were 1) mostly common sense and 2) shared by many, if not most, teachers I’ve worked with over nearly twenty years. In other words, I feared wasting my time stating the obvious.

It seems the obvious needed to be stated – and that our discussions about education could benefit from an injection of common sense.
— David Michael Slater

Teachers who read early drafts of the book confirmed that they shared many of my opinions – but pointed out that no one ever asks for them. And it’s true: in all the endless chatter about public schools, the last people consulted on how they operate and might be improved are the people who actually work in them. Seeing their views and experiences working in an increasingly fraught environment reflected by a fellow teacher felt like a victory all by itself for many of the book’s first readers. It was equally exciting that a slew of educational gurus found the book worthy as well, experts who’ve read and written countless books on the subject.

But perhaps the best news is that WDIR has also been appealing to non-teachers. It’s been gratifying to hear from folks who are finding the book valuable in combating the chaos of misperceptions the general public has about public education. Everyone knows our schools have issues, but they really don’t know what they are. What they do know is that they’re tired of being told what to think about education by people with zero training in it – and who have never stepped foot in an actual classroom.

We’re Doing It Wrong is for everyone who wants to hear from people who spend every single day, year after year, in the classroom doing the hard work of teaching. It’s a conversation for them – for you I hope – and I’m humbled and honored to do my part in getting it started. If you’re interested, we’re continuing this critical dialogue at www.weredoingitwrong.com, where anyone with strong opinions about education are encouraged to share their thoughts.

ViralEd showcases excellent educational animations on YouTube

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There is little doubt video is both the present and future of self paced learning, and this week I was contacted by an Australian teacher Chris Burgess who is taking this concept to new heights by creating his own animated high quality educational content at ViralEd. 

It is great to see innovative teachers who can speak the language of modern day teachers and students, and I commend him for this.  His animations and instruction are excellent.

I first and foremost highly recommend checking out ViralEd and subscribing as I know he is working on loads of great new content as we speak.

Below is a sample of the great content he is producing.  If you read on after the video I asked Chris to supply some background about ViralEd.  

So great stuff Chris, keep up the good work and don't forget to subscribe to his channel.

(The content below was written by Chris.) 

About ViralEd
We are a newly formed YouTube channel that creates both enjoyable and easy to understand animated videos that cover a variety of subjects. Unlike most channels our videos we are unique, being made up of teachers, we understand what is needed in the videos, meaning all videos are relevant. As a teacher, we found that videos to support content being taught were hard to come by and therefore this channel was created.
Channel Link:
https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCGtdKQw0oZK1u5szxXr9MEA

Check out the videos at our channel the link is provided above. If you like the videos hit the like button, leave a comment on something you think can be improved or subscribe so you don’t miss out on any videos in the future.

Target Audience
If you’re a teacher, pre-service teacher or just someone who loves learning new things this channel is perfect for you. These videos will assist you in your classroom as a visual aid to back up the content being taught. This will therefore assist students in gaining a greater understanding. ‘

Future Aspirations
We currently produce 1 video a week, covering Science and Health and Physical Education topics. As the channel grows in popularity we have planned to cover a wider range of topics and work to producing more frequent videos. We are also working towards providing lesson plans that accompany the videos.

Free Computational Thinking Graphic Organizer

Computational Thinking is being adopted through curriculum the world over as an essential thinking and problem solving strategy every student should know to survive in the 21st century workforce.

Don't let the name scare you though, computational thinking is  an incredibly simple concept which doesn't even require a computer.  Students aged 5 and up can apply it, and you have probably been using parts of it for decades without actually knowing.

It is a four step thinking process that can be applied to any problem, challenge or task.  The four steps are decomposition, pattern recognition, abstraction and algorithmic design.  Be sure to watch the video below for a detailed explanation each of the four elements and how they work together. 

When you are ready to give computational thinking a go be sure to download our FREE COMPUTATIONAL THINKING GRAPHIC ORGANIZER which briefly explains the purpose, order of operations and context of Computational Thinking

Click here to download.  And, as always enjoy!!