Friday, April 30, 2010

Preparing Young Children for a Lifetime of Learning

This free eBook details how teachers can deliver meaningful lessons for all types of learners by using the SMART Table interactive learning center. Many studies have shown that early childhood education is the key to academic success and teachers need to help prepare children for a lifetime of learning. As stated in the eBook from the National Association of Elementary School Principals the key principles of a high-quality early-education program are:
  • Supportive interactions between teachers and students;
  • Physically and emotionally safe, supportive and engaging learning environments;
  • Language development, literacy, mathematics, science, creative arts, physical health and development, and social and emotional development;
  • Meaningful learning for the individual child; and
  • A culture of authentic assessment and continuous learning that pays attention to all aspects of children’s development.
The eBook outlines:
  • The Universal Design for Learning (UDL)
  • The Skills Early Learners Must Develop to Succeed
  • How the SMART Table Can Assist Teachers in Encouraging These Skills in Young Learners
The SMART Table allows groups of students to explore, move objects, sort items, solve math problems and manipulate images with their hands providing engaging learning experiences for the students. Teachers can also create activities with videos, images and audio files for non-readers. The table comes with a collection of eight applications that teachers can customize to better meet the needs of their students. The SMART Exchange also provides additional applications and ready-made lesson activities for the SMART Table.

The eBook also provides additional information about the SMART Table at:

Sponsored by SMART – Tech & Learning eBooks

Click here to register for a free account

After creating an account access the eBook from the link below:

The Learning Power of Digital Storytelling

I recently downloaded a copy of Tell a Story, Become a Lifelong Learner from Microsoft Education. Within this guide it states that there are many educational benefits for teachers to use digital storytelling learning projects with their students. Teachers who have used digital storytelling note that student grades improve and students are more likely to do homework and engage in classwork. Digital storytelling also helps students develop technology skills and can inspire them to be lifelong learners. When students are given the opportunity to create digital stories students are inspired to dig deeper into the subject and communicate what they learn in a creative way.

Here is a list of the educational benefits that prepare students for success in the 21st century:
  1. Encourage research
  2. Fosters critical thinking skills
  3. Encourage students to write and to work at becoming better writers
  4. Gives students a voice
  5. Tells a personal narrative
  6. Helps students retain knowledge longer
  7. Enhances learning by encouraging students to communicate effectively
  8. Helps students make a connection between the classroom and the outside world
  9. Encourages creativity
  10. Works well with portfolio assessments
  11. Promotes digital literacy
Another benefit of digital storytelling is that all six 2007 National Education Technology Standards (NETS) are addressed:
  1. Creativity and innovation
  2. Communication and collaboration
  3. Research and information fluency
  4. Critical thinking, problem-solving, and decision-making
  5. Digital citizenship
  6. Technology operations and concepts
The guide shares examples of digital stories created by students, a suggested outline of how to create a great digital story and a list of resources for teachers. The guide also helps teachers decide which tools are best suited for their students by outlining how Powerpoint, PhotoStory and Movie Makes could be used to help students research, create and share digital stories.

To download a copy of Tell a Story, Become a Lifelong Learner from Microsoft Education please click on the link below.

Image from the Tell a Story, Become a Lifelong Learner - Microsoft Education page 3. 

Monday, April 26, 2010

New video game academy won't be child's play

I read an interesting article from ASCD Smartbrief this week. The Fort Bend Independent School District will open a new Academy of Game Design and Development for students to study video games through 2D and 3D animation, graphics, conceptual art, lighting and sound mixing beginning this fall. Certainly some parents are skeptical but educators believe that these courses will help students prepare for future careers and engage at-risk students who may otherwise drop out of school.

Many college students are exposed to simulations and video games as training tools. Some video game designers may work on a game one year and the next year work on a military simulation for the government. Giving students the opportunity to learn about video game design while still in high school will give them an advantage for future careers in game design. The article states that last year alone $20.2 billion was spent on video games which doesn’t include Web-based games, smart phone applications and simulations created for government and businesses.

Rodney Gibbs, an Austin-based game developer, sees game design as a natural evolution of computer science and the shift in education as a reflection of student interest in visual arts and digital media. There are so many interactive, educational games available for students today I can only wonder what new and exciting video games will be available in the future for all students.

To read the entire article please go to:

Image from:  

Monday, April 12, 2010


Kerpoof was shown at the NCTIES conference during the session 10 Web2.0 Tools to Engage Your Students on a SMART Board by Mary Ann Sansonetti.

By using the Kerpoof Animation Studio or Picture Maker students can make pictures, movies, stories, use a doodle pad, or make cards. The site includes tutorials, tips & tricks, a kid’s FAQ and a teacher’s FAQ.

In the teachers section there’s a downloadable fourteen page teacher’s guide that outlines the activity carousel and the community gallery. Teachers will also find lesson plans in the guide and ideas on how to use Kerpoof to meet ISTE National Educational Technology standards.

In just a few minutes I made a simple movie with two characters and background music. It’s a fun and easy site that students can use to show their imaginations in a creative way. To learn more about Kerpoof go to: