Tuesday, December 22, 2009

New Content Alert: OpenOffice.org 3.1

We've released a big batch of new tutorials this week, starting with a series on OpenOffice, the free, open-source productivity alternative.

OpenOffice.org 3.1 Writer - Intro (PC)

OpenOffice.org 3.1 Calc - Intro (PC)

OpenOffice.org 3.1 Impress - Intro (PC)

Watch our What's New page in coming days for all our new product releases, including tutorials on Moodle, Comic Life, Windows 7 and more.

Monday, December 21, 2009

New Feature Alert: Assignment notifications

We're excited to announce another new feature of our redesigned network. If an administrator has provided valid email addresses for his/her individual users at the time of account setup, those users will soon start receiving an email notification indicating they have been assigned training or an assessment. 

Each night the Atomic Learning system will check for new assignments that have been created. In addition, it will check the dates of existing assignments to find those which are coming due soon or are overdue.  If a new assignment has been created, all users will receive an email notification. Those users who have an assignment due within 7 days will receive a notification as well. If an assignment becomes overdue, the user will receive a notification on the day following the due date.

Users will not receive multiple emails of the same type.  If more than one assignment is created, or coming due or overdue, the user will still only receive one email for each scenario on any given day, for a maximum of three. The subject line will indicate the type of notification.

All users will have the option in My Profile & Settings to turn on or off the “Receive Email Updates”  feature.  By default it is set to “Yes”.   However, to ensure that all users continue to receive notifications, administrators may contact Customer Service to request that users not have the option to change the notifications feature.  After CS makes the change, the option will no longer be visible to users in their My Profile & Settings area.  Or, if you would rather not have the notification feature at all, please contact Customer Service. We’d be glad to turn off this feature for your account.  

We hope you find value in the much requested feature!  Thank you to those of you who share your suggestions and feedback!

(Thanks to Jacki)

Friday, December 11, 2009

Cyberbullying legislation in 19 states

Nineteen states have enacted legislation to prevent cyberbullying. Each state has different requirements as to how the policies are implemented; some have introduced new laws where as others have modified previous laws to include various pieces of electronic equipment.

Summaries of state laws regarding cyberbullying are available here. Regardless of the specific legislation enacted, teaching students to treat their peers with respect is something that any school district can embrace.

(Thanks to AtomicKristi)

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Career Opportunity Alert: Assistive Technology Sales Manager

Assistive technology plays a tremendous role in leveling the playing field for many students whose disabilities need not be hindrances to learning. If you're passionate about learning and have a background in sales and some knowledge of assistive tech, drop us a line!

The Assistive Technology Sales Manager is responsible for Assistive Technology account sales and sales related activity for the Domestic Sales Team. This position requires knowledge of solution-based selling, education organizations and a strong understanding of the education sales cycle. This person must act as the liaison and be the main contact person between Atomic Learning and defined accounts.

Wednesday, December 09, 2009

If Only...

As I write this I am in seat 54D on the flight home. We are about to cross the International Date Line and get our lost day back;* we have traveled about 2600 miles since take-off and only have 5700 miles (about 9 hours) remaining. :-)

It's easy to complain that we have to be on a plane for 14 hours, in somewhat cramped conditions, (The person in 53D is reclined, so the monitor on my laptop is only about 70% open and to type I have to press my elbows against my seat back so my fingers don't overshoot the keys), with food that we may not make at home. There are some inconveniences, to be sure. There are only a dozen bathrooms on board for about 500 passengers, there are only 2 meal choices, and though I asked for Pepsi with a lemon they only had Coke and a lime.

It's easy to say “... if only...”, but let's break that down a bit:

Tuesday, December 08, 2009

When learning is done well, the technology becomes transparent

Today was our last day in Australia, and we are exhausted. Our feet and legs are tired from walking, and our brains are tired from taking in and processing so much information. I believe we have served Atomic Learning well on this trip, giving lots of people in lots of schools lots ideas for how to utilize the features of our site and bring 21st century concepts into the classroom. I know that the people we have met with have also served AL, providing us with important feedback and knowledge about the educational systems within their country.

We spent the morning at CEO Sydney*, a wonderful facility and an organization with lofty goals and every intention of meeting them. Over morning tea (which means coffee and snacks, either “sweet” or “savory”), they shared with us their iLearn program and some of the projects teachers are developing and students are diving into.

Monday, December 07, 2009

It's about simple respect, really

Hello from Sydney! We spent today as tourists, (so far we have only been “travelers”), riding a bus to Featherdale Wildlife Park and The Blue Mountains. Featherdale started as a koala refuge and now is home to probably 50 different Australian critters—fins, feathers, flippers and fur all included. It was a delight to kneel next to (and pet!) a “free range” kangaroo relaxing in the sun and have a photo shoot with a snacking koala, (or his buddy in a eucalyptus-induced stupor!) Those non-bears are so adorable, and just watching a kangaroo move is a good lesson in physics. We loved the little penguins, and I think the wombat is probably the cutest thing on 4 legs.

What was most fascinating, however, was the behavior of some of the other guests at the park. We were “nudged” out of line by impatient adults and then waited through juvenile antics and various exhibits. Worse, though, were the folks who showed no respect for the animals. An eating wombat was pestered incessantly, first by folks putting their flash camera within inches of its face and then leaning over the rail of the enclosure trying to pet it. Later, a group of people took turns dancing with a kangaroo who was obviously not interested. As the roo got more and more agitated they tried harder and harder to be successful and get their photo, paying no regard to the animal and concerned only with satisfying our wants and needs.

Friday, December 04, 2009

Australia: Not upside-down, but certainly forward

When I was a kid growing up in the midwest, I was sure the people in Australia had a constant head rush, what with all that blood flowing to their brains from being upside down all the time
As I grew up, I still didn't understand how neither of us were upside down but blindly accepted my teacher's explanation and focused my down under attention on kangaroos, koalas (not koala bears), and around that time, Crocodile Dundee. Australia had always been a romantic, faraway, and exotic place, (a visit to which has been on my bucket list for years), but, I'm embarrassed to say, somewhat removed from my global understanding and perspective. Until now.

Thursday, December 03, 2009

Save $50 at FETC 2010 in Orlando compliments of Atomic Learning, booth #946

We are pleased to offer you the opportunity to participate in FETC 2010 – the most comprehensive ed-tech learning event in the U.S. — at a significant discount! FETC 2010 is the content-rich conference that brings education leaders and technology experts together to exchange techniques and strategies for administrative, teaching and learning success.

With more than 200 Concurrent Sessions, 70-plus workshops—and an exhibit hall of 400-plus solution providers displaying and demonstrating the latest products and services—it’s
the most comprehensive event of its kind, and an invaluable resource for educational innovation in your school and district.

Take $50 off full conference registration, or visit the conference hall FREE!

Download the $50 Attendee Coupon here.

Monday, November 23, 2009

The double-edged sword of competency assessment

Educators face an uphill battle when attempting to embrace 21st century teaching models. Regardless of the technical accommodations in a particular classroom, the instructor tasked with using those tools must be trained to apply them effectively. They must be equipped to create and adapt lesson plans to impact student learning.

How do educators avoid a negative-feedback loop, whereby a deficiency in training is only discovered once a piece of technology or an emerging concept is encountered? Often, the answer is pre-assessment of technology literacy. By determining the best areas in which an individual could focus training time and energy, professional development is made more efficient. Overall technical effectiveness is increased. 

The Forgotten 21st Century Skill

This morning I presented the topic, "Becoming 21st Century Ready" to a group of teachers and administrators from international schools around the world. We started the presentation by discussing what everyone thought of when they heard the term "21st century skills." To my delight, this group developed a list that was directly in line with the skills that Atomic Learning promotes. "The ability to research," "living a balanced life," "the ability to use technology," and "the ability to communicate" were just a few of the skills shouted from the group.

But as we went on to discuss the topic more, Mrs. K from the audience brought up an interesting point. She said, "I think we have forgotten an invaluable skill that we, as teachers, need to develop in our students.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Project Red educational technology survey

Technology use in schools is gaining momentum. To fuel this growth, educators need data. With your help, we can present the real-world picture of 'what works' to others to help them avoid pitfalls and be successful.You understand the power of technology to transform. We need your help so everyone else will.

Go to survey

Monday, November 16, 2009

An intriguing, frustrating conundrum

This morning I was repeatedly reminded of a dilemma professionals in many fields encounter. On one hand, an employee is expected to keep up with the latest technological tools available to them and relevant to their job. On the other, they may already feel overwhelmed with what's on their to-do lists.

Take teachers, for example. There's a transformation occurring in schools around the world right now. It's being driven by technology--or rather the use of it by kids. Children come to class natively fluent in social media, entertainment, and information channels. They don't know a world without it. And the teachers are being asked to catch up, and then get a step ahead of them.

Updated Content Alert: Projects and Workshops for the UK

All 21st CS projects are now UK localized along with the Web Resources Workshop. The UK versions can be accessed by changing the language preference to English (United Kingdom) in the My Profile & Settings area atop any AL Web page.

21st CS Projects – Revoiced
Comic Science

Cyberbully? No Way, Not Me

Internet Safety & Networking

Myth & Lore We Share

Water Works! (Mac)

Water Works! (PC)

What's for Breakfast? (Mac)

What's for Breakfast? (PC)

Wiki Math Mindmaps (Both)

21st Workshops – Revoiced

Web Resources Workshop – Search, Evaluate & Use

Friday, November 13, 2009

Recent website enhancements and new features

The following website updates and enhancements are now live on Atomic Learning:
  • To make product selection and purchasing simpler, we've created a new Subscription Options page. Start here to compare products and request a quote.

  • For customers who have purchased the custom training package, site administrators can build a custom training series to which custom content can be added.

  • Users within your organization can access their custom training from within the Atomic Learning system, through the standard search and browse, or in the My Training area if it has been assigned, recommended, or set as a favorite.

  • The custom training feature has recently been updated to allow for individual items to be hidden or deleted.  In addition, an entire custom training series can now be deleted.

  • Several enhancements have been made to the assigned training feature as well.  Administrators with the appropriate privileges can easily modify training assignments.  The assignment name, due date, and list of users who have been assigned training can be changed.  Tutorials and other training items can now be added or removed from previously saved assignments.
  • Three new how-to videos are available for administrators working with custom training.
21st Century PD and Tech Integration Custom Package
Tech Skills Support Package
Assistive Technology Collection
Compare packages

It's time! Vote for your favorite AL mascot design now.

The designs are in for our contest to help create the new AL mascot. Thank you very much to those who participated. We've chosen the finalists, and they're on display here.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Follow us on Twitter for new post notification

To receive notification of new blog posts wherever you are, follow @atomic_learning! You'll get our blog headlines automatically, including new product releases, company information, and industry news.


An Assistive Technology Partnership at ATIA 2009

Atomic Learning's Amanda Peters was joined by Beth Thomlinson of Freedom Scientific for a seminar at this year's ATIA conference in Chicago. Freedom Scientific offers "technology-based products that provide equal access to information and computing for those with vision impairments or learning disabilities."

Atomic Learning offers tutorials on these products as part of our award-winning Assistive Technology Collection.

Happy 40th, Sesame Street!

For millions around the world, one gang of friends commemorates childhood: The Sesame Street bunch. Here's a shot of some of them posing for a recent Google promotion. I guess you can't escape fame, even if you're a muppet.

Click image for a larger version. Here are more from this series.

Monday, November 09, 2009

Assistive Technology Collection earns Tech&Learning Award of Excellence

Tech & Learning magazine today named 65 education technology products as winners in its prestigious 27-year-old recognition program. Honored software, hardware, network, and web products include innovative applications that break new ground as well as those that added significant enhancements to proven education tools. A panel of more than 30 educators, who tested more than 100 entries across the country, chose the winners.

"This year’s awards have grown to include new hardware and network categories", says Kevin Hogan, Editorial Director for NewBay Media’s Tech & Learning Group. "Our judges, which include stalwarts such as our resident expert Joe Huber and the staff of Philadelphia’s Science Leadership Academy, put dozens of entries through their paces. To come out with their seal of approval is a testament to the product."

Atomic Learning's Assistive Technology Collection includes short, show-and-tell video tutorials that empower educators to use and apply assistive technology. The foci of these tutorials are:
  • Special education software
  • Assistive technology devices
  • Software accessibility training tutorials

Examples of tutorials include Boardmaker 6, JAWS 9, Overboard, WordQ, SpeakQ, Co:Writer, Inspiration, Kidspiration, as well as accessibility features in Leopard, Windows XP and Vista.

Saturday, November 07, 2009

We must change: Hope for 21st century education

Friday, November 06, 2009

Education ranks below coal mining in the use of technology

Training available on SMART Notebook 10, ActivStudio and ActivPrimary


You have the technology. Now what?

Technology is reaching farther into the classroom every day and with tools like SMART Notebook, ActivPrimary and ActivStudio it should be easy—but that’s not always the case.

Did you know that you may have a training resource available for all of these technology applications 24 hours a day, seven days a week? Through a subscription to Atomic Learning's online technology training and support you have access to easy-to-understand tutorial movies on SMART Notebook 10, ActivPrimary, ActivStudio and more.

SMART Notebook 10
PC: www.AtomicLearning.com/smrt_nb10pc
Mac: www.AtomicLearning.com/smrt_nb10mac

ACTIVprimary 3
PC: www.AtomicLearning.com/activprimary3
Mac: www.AtomicLearning.com/activprimary3mac

ACTIVprimary 2
PC: www.AtomicLearning.com/activprimary_2_pc
Mac: www.AtomicLearning.com/activprimary_2_mac

ACTIVstudio 3 Professional
PC: www.AtomicLearning.com/activstudio3
Mac: www.AtomicLearning.com/activstudio3mac

ACTIVstudio 2 Professional
PC: www.AtomicLearning.com/activstudio2_intro
Mac: www.AtomicLearning.com/activstudio2_intro_mac

Interested in finding training on another application? Atomic Learning provides access to over 40,000 tutorials on over 120 applications for all teachers, staff, students and school families in those organizations with subscriptions. If you need help logging in, or would like more information on Atomic Learning, please contact your school or district’s Technology Coordinator.

New Content Alert: Picasa

Picasa is a software download from Google that helps you organize, edit, and share your photos. It's free, and easy to use.

View two free tutorials

Updated Content Alert: delicious

Del.icio.us is a social bookmarking Web site. The primary use of del.icio.us is to store your bookmarks online, which allows you to access the same bookmarks from any computer and add bookmarks from anywhere, too. You can keep links to your favorite articles, blogs, music, reviews, recipes, and more. You'll enjoy sharing your favorites with friends, family, and the del.icio.us community!

View two free tutorials

Tuesday, November 03, 2009

New Content Alert: Adobe CS4

This week we're releasing a bunch of great new content on Adobe's products.

Illustrator CS4 - Advanced 
Adobe® Illustrator® CS4 software is a comprehensive vector graphics environment with new transparency in gradients and multiple artboards that invite you to explore more efficient ways to design. Take your knowledge of Illustrator CS4 to the next level with this advanced series.

Two free tutorials for Mac users 

Flash CS4 Professional - Advanced  
Adobe® Flash® CS4 Professional software is an advanced authoring environment for creating rich, interactive content for digital, Web, and mobile platforms. Dig in deeper with this advanced level tutorial series!

Two free tutorials for Windows users

After Effects CS4 
With Adobe® After Effects® CS4 software, you can create compelling motion graphics and blockbuster visual effects with flexible tools that help save you time and deliver unparalleled creative power.

Two free tutorials for Windows users

Photoshop CS4
Adobe® Photoshop® CS4 offers unrivaled editing and compositing power, a more intuitive user experience, and significant productivity enhancements. You'll enjoy learning how to use the more advanced features of this application in this tutorial series.

Two free tutorials for Mac users
Two free tutorials for Windows users

Monday, November 02, 2009

New Content Alert: Netvibes

Netvibes® lets individuals assemble their favorite widgets, websites, blogs, email accounts, social networks, search engines, instant messengers, photos, videos, podcasts, and everything else they enjoy on the web - all in one place.

View two free tutorials

New Content Alert: Twitter

Twitter is a free micro-blogging service enabling its users to send and receive messages known as "tweets" - text-based posts of up to 140 characters. This tutorial series demonstrates how to connect with others on this increasingly popular social networking site.

View two free tutorial videos

Friday, October 30, 2009

AL Halloween Costume Contest 2009

Official contest winners:

1st Place (group): The sales team as "The Bald Pauls"
1st Place (individual): Shari as "Mrs. Potts"
2nd Place: Melinda as a pirate

Which costume is your favorite?

AL Virtual Pumpkin Carving Contest 2009

Official contest winners:

First Place: #1 by Jennifer
Second Place: #9 by Melinda
Third Place: #4 by (who else?) Paul

Thanks to these other participants: Jody, Beth, Julie R, Sammy Jo, Shari, Shaun, and Lisa

Which jack o' lantern is your favorite?

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Upcoming Conferences

We hope to see you at these upcoming conferences:

October 28-29

ATIA Chicago (booth 419)
October 29-31

November 3-6

ESC-2/TCEA Area 2
November 3

November 4-6

November 18-22

November 22-24

December 12-15

Monday, October 26, 2009

Free FETC exhibit hall passes, compliments of Atomic Learning (booth #946)

We are pleased to offer you the opportunity to participate in FETC 2010 – the most comprehensive ed-tech learning event in the U.S. — free! FETC 2010 is the content-rich conference that brings education leaders and technology experts together to exchange techniques and strategies for administrative, teaching and learning success.

With more than 200 Concurrent Sessions, 70-plus workshops—and an exhibit hall of 400-plus solution providers displaying and demonstrating the latest products and services—it’s the most comprehensive event of its kind, and an invaluable resource for educational innovation in your school and district!

Meet with more than 400 technology solution-providers in the Exhibit Hall & Technology Marketplace at FETC 2010 for FREE ($50 Value).  This exclusive, non-transferable offer lets you participate as an Exhibit Hall Attendee Only--courtesy of Atomic Learning.

Check out the complete FETC Exhibit List and Floor Plan at http://www.fetc.org. You must enter priority code FL5010 to receive your FREE Exhibit Hall Pass Worth $50! Register today using your VIP priority code at: http://www.fetc.org/Registration.aspx

Student Take on 21st Century Education (via Tech&Learning)

Ryan Bretag writes:
...the concept of teaching and learning in the 21st Century should focus on students as pre-professionals. To do this, the classroom needed to focus on inquiry and problem-base learning, real world experiences, research opportunities, and field work. As well, the experiences should engage them with challenges that force student application, creativity, and critical thinking.

In fact, the idea of students engaging as professionals in training was a definite theme of this discussion as they discussed hands-on field experience that engaged them in first hand exposure.
Read more

Friday, October 23, 2009

The 2009 Speak Up Survey (via EdNetNews.com)

“Each year more schools sign up to be part of Speak Up because it offers them – their students, parents and staff – a way to express their opinions about the future of learning, local and national policies, how teaching could be improved and more,” said Julie Evans, CEO of Project Tomorrow, the survey’s facilitator and a national leader in empowering students to have a voice in improving education in the 21st century.

“The information is invaluable to the schools who participate, and the elected leaders at all levels who use Speak Up data as a way to gauge opinions on a range of educational issues,” added Evans.

The 2009 online survey – open now through December 18th for all K-12 students, parents, teachers, pre-service teachers and administrators at
http://www.tomorrow.org/speakup/ – offers the largest collection of authentic, unfiltered input on education and technology from those ‘on the ground’ in the schools.

For the first time, the survey will ask students about their interest in teaching careers and will include pre-service teachers to get a sense of how the next generation of teachers may differ (or reflect) the opinions of current educators.
Read more

Blogging –The New Model for Building Collaboration in the Classroom

For students around the nation, blogs have become far more than the latest technology buzzword. For many, blogging can be a key method of communication on a social level. While many students already blog in their free time, incorporating blogging technology into the classroom can have many benefits through the use of a medium that already interests students and makes learning more interactive and engaging.

With the knowledge and interest that students have in blogging, it can be an effective tool to use in the classroom to engage students outside of the classroom setting. For example, blogs can be a great avenue for continuing class discussions or posing questions for students to consider before coming to class. This gives quieter students the opportunity to participate without feeling the pressure of speaking in front of a group. Students will also find this medium helpful as they will have more time to formulate their thoughts and to reflect on other students’ comments and questions.

Another use for blogs in the classroom is for peer review – a method that many teachers use for essays and projects. A blog can be a convenient and interesting way for students to review others’ work. Students can post an essay, for example, and their peers will be able to read it and post comments. It also makes the peer review process easier for teachers to grade, as they can see who commented and the content of their remarks.

When used with younger students, class blogs can be an effective tool to introduce students to the increasingly important world of Web 2.0. Teaching students the educational and practical value it has can be accomplished by using it in a fun manner such as pen pals via the web and many other activities.

Blogs can also be used to keep parents involved in their child’s education by keeping them abreast of class happenings and activities. A special thread for parents could be created or they could be given some rights on the class blog.

Perhaps most importantly, class blogs are a great way to build a sense of unity and community within the classroom. Within this online forum, student’s profiles and class goals can be shared. This allows students an opportunity to learn about and from each other. With this unity creates an open class culture that fosters learning and promotes an environment in which students feel comfortable sharing their ideas.

The process of incorporating blogs into the classroom can sometimes be an intimidating prospect to teachers. To help educators develop ways to incorporate blogging into their classrooms, Atomic Learning has created a Blogging Workshop. The workshop covers topics ranging from setting up a blog and managing blog comments to keeping your blog confidential.

Download this article as a .pdf

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Free passes to Closing the Gap in Minneapolis (Saturday, 10/17)

Print your access pass for Closing the Gap, the assistive technology conference this week in Minneapolis. You can get into the exhibit hall at no cost from 9-2 on Saturday.


Job Security No More......(by Jen Wagner at Tech & Learning)

When I first started being a Tech Director (former job) I felt great pride in being the guru of tech knowledge and unfortunately, I also did my best to keep that knowledge just beyond the reach of the staff. You might call it a lot of things….but in actuality it was a lot of conceit with a bit of job security.

Now, jump forward 10 years (perhaps 10 years of wisdom, 10 years of maturing) and my major focus is to eliminate my position at work.

You see – for many many (too many) years …I was the holder of all tech wisdom. (100% mostly for my gratification and my ego). The false sense of pride of being the “techie know it all” not only alienated and limited my staff but also was selfish to myself and the burden I placed upon myself…because of my unwillingness to share the information.

So now I am consciously striving to put myself out of a job.

Read more

Monday, October 12, 2009

Some good news in a bad economy: Stimulus aided teachers, laborers


But based on preliminary information obtained by The Associated Press from a handful of states, teachers appear to have benefited most from early spending. That’s because the stimulus sent billions of dollars to help stabilize state budgets, sparing what officials said would have teacher layoffs.

In California, the stimulus was credited with saving or creating 62,000 jobs in public schools and state universities. Utah reported saving about 2,600 teaching jobs. In both states, education jobs represented about two-thirds of the total stimulus job number. Missouri reported more than 8,500 school jobs, Minnesota more than 5,900. In Michigan, where officials said 19,500 jobs have been saved or created, three out of four were in education.
Read more

The Search Is on for Canada’s Most Tech Savvy Educators -- Over $50,000 in Prizes!

From EdNetNews.com:

Mississauga, Ontario: Wednesday, October 7, 2009: The MindShare Learning Report—Canada’s, Leading, Learning & Technology eMagazine and title sponsor Microsoft Canada Co., are set to officially launch the Microsoft - MindShare Learning Report™ 21st Century Digital Classroom Challenge.

In its second year running, this event aims to inspire teachers, along with their students from across Canada to share their successful classroom practices using technology. Teachers from publicly funded schools can qualify to win one of three technology prize packs valued at over $15,000 for their school.
 Read more

Atomic Learning and Assistive Technology

Atomic Learning has developed a fantastic resource for those wishing to implement assistive technology in their classrooms. Assistive technology can be tremendously beneficial to all educators, not just those in special ed environments.

We offer an entire library of assistive tech tutorials as a companion to any Atomic Learning subscription, or as a stand-alone resource. It's an inexpensive asset that can really have an impact with individual students.

Atomic Learning will be present at several upcoming assistive technology conferences. Please stop by to discuss your particular needs and get a custom price quote. You may be surprised how affordably you'll be able to add this collection.

We’ll be at Closing the Gap in Bloomington, Minnesota, October 14-17. Find us at booth number 107. We're hosting a hands on computer lab session on Thursday the 15th from 3:30-4:30, called “An A.T. Training Solution for All”.

We’ll also be at ATIA in Chicago, October 29-31, booth 419. We will be presenting a hands-on session Friday the 30th entitled “An A.T. Training Solution for All” from 9:15-10:15, and a two-hour session entitled “Atomic Learning and WYNN Provide Universal Design for Learning” from 1:15-3:15.

Call us today at (866) 259-6890 (U.S.) or +1 320-632-5064 ext 180 (international).

Friday, October 09, 2009

Popular 21st Century Webinar Still Available

Nearly 500 people from the education community joined us for our recent webinar with Brad Flickinger. He did a fantastic job (as always).

Please feel free to view the archived version here.

Tuesday, October 06, 2009

Atomic Learning at South Carolina EdTech 2009

We look forward to meeting you at the South Carolina EdTech 2009 conference next week!  Please stop by Atomic Learning at booth 416 to learn more about how we can help support you in building 21st century-ready students and teachers.

Atomic Learning is dedicated to providing educational resources that allow teachers, students and learners of all ages to embrace technology. An integral part of your professional development program, Atomic Learning empowers educators with the training and resources needed to create 21st century-ready students.

What’s New?
Our 21st Century Professional Development and Technology Integration Collection offers the training and features that will help you meet your professional development and technology integration goals through:
  • Professional development workshops, assessment, and portfolios
  • Prescribed training paths for 21st century skills professional development
  • Library of 50,000 technology training tutorials on commonly used software apps
  • Technology integration projects for the classroom
  • Administrative-level reports to assess student and teacher progress
Watch a brief overview of Atomic Learning

See you at booth 416!

Monday, October 05, 2009

A World Teachers' Day Tribute

In honor of World Teachers' Day, I thought I'd relate my recollection of the most memorable teacher of my youth. A few stand out, but this one is my favorite, at least in distant hindsight.

I attended junior high school in Bozeman, Montana in the mid 1980's. During that time, I had the same teacher for English and some sort of mythology class. I have one distinct memory of that my experience teacher, as well as a general recall of the mood of her class. I remember that she was a grandmotherly personality (well, from a twelve-year-old's perspective), but a very boisterous one. She was outgoing and engaging, but without being intimidating. She would have had to be to teach sentence diagramming and punctuation to adolescents, I suppose. She was clearly very intelligent.

She had lovely red hair, which somehow made her even more interesting. She often wore dark green clothing to coordinate with it. I looked forward to her class, which is to say that I didn't dread sitting through it like some others.

One afternoon, in the middle of a lesson on vocabulary, someone apparently mis-emphasized a syllable in a word we were discussing. She cheerfully mentioned that the student had placed the vocal accent on the wrong syllable. However, to make her point, she pronounced the words ak-SENT and sil-AHH-buhl. The effect was almost one of sophistication, as though she were emulating the haughty speech of an aristocrat. That misinterpretation would prove to be my undoing.

In a burst of juvenile intellectual enthusiasm I completely missed the intentional irony, and promptly consulted my school-issued dictionary. Sure enough, "syllable" is pronounced SIL-uh-buhl. I knew it! I had discovered of a foible in this language guru. Pointing it out would surely earn me rapport.

I proudly and somewhat brashly raised my hand. When called upon, I pointed out her mistake, fully expecting appreciative acclaim for my perceptiveness. Naturally, she burst into gleeful guffaws. When her mirth subsided she explained to a very confused boy that she had used that line for years, and never before had anyone actually looked it up.

It took me several moments more to understand the meaning of what had just occurred. It wouldn't be the last time I inserted my foot in my mouth.

That teacher, and I wish I could recall her name, made an impression on me. Her exuberant stories of Greek and Roman gods, and her conspicuous love of reading and writing quietly conveyed their potential significance to our young lives. I don't believe I took it very deeply to heart at the time, but the message stuck in the back of my mind. Decades later I would return to those subjects and countless others with renewed scholarship, thanks to her and others like her.

Good teachers arouse interest, passion, and latent ability in children that others in their small worlds may not. They open eyes and minds, and in doing so open doors of opportunity, satisfaction and happiness. This is their true value. Their dedication does not go unnoticed.

Happy World Teachers' Day.

Thursday, October 01, 2009

An eBook From Atomic Learning: Creating 21st Century-Ready Teachers

Atomic Learning has created an ebook as a resource for those wishing to understand 21st century skills and how to integrate them to create both teachers and students that are 21st century-ready.

Get it free here.

If you would like a consultation to talk through your 21st century skills initiatives, please contact us at (866) 259-6890 or atomic@atomiclearning.com.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Content Update Alert: eFolio Minnesota

This collection has been available for some time, and now it's been updated to our new video format.

eFolioMinnesota™, Version 2 . . . a multimedia electronic portfolio designed to help you create a living showcase of your education, career, and personal achievements. All Minnesota residents, including students enrolled in Minnesota schools, educators, and others can use eFolio to reach their career and education goals.

View two free tutorials

Monday, September 28, 2009

New Content Alert: Keynote '09 - What's New? (Mac)

Amaze your audience with quality presentations that are easier than ever to create with the new features in Keynote® '09.

Watch a tutorial free

Friday, September 25, 2009

Free Laptop Initiatives eBook

Educators around the world are working hard to bring their classrooms into the 21st century. Technology implementation and integration are among the greatest challenges facing today’s schools.

To assist you in addressing these challenges, Atomic Learning has created an ebook discussing classroom laptop computer initiatives, and we’re sharing it at no cost. This valuable resource presents the key points to consider when developing a laptop computer implementation initiative. Download it here

At Atomic Learning, we believe in partnering with schools to enhance the educational experience through the practical application of technology. Let Atomic Learning help you bring technology to your classrooms effortlessly.

New Content Alert: NeoOffice 3 Impress - Intro (Mac)

NeoOffice® is a full-featured set of office applications (including word processing, spreadsheet, presentation, and database programs) for Mac OS X. Here's an introduction to using the presentation application of the suite, Impress.

View two sample tutorials

Thursday, September 24, 2009

US DoE Challenges Students with Video Contest

In two minutes or less, America's students have an opportunity to show the nation and the world how far education can take them and how they will achieve their dreams.

On September 8, President Barack Obama called on the nation's students to take greater responsibility for their education. Now, the U.S. Department of Education is asking students to respond by participating in a national video contest titled “I Am What I Learn.” (read more)

Atomic Learning offers several tools that could be instrumental in creating a video for this challenge, or for any reason at all.

Storyboard Pro is a FREE shareware program designed to give teachers, students, and home movie makers a tool to plan ahead when creating video projects. It allows moviemakers to plan shots, enter titles and descriptions, enter tips for the videographer or photographer, and much more. StoryBoard Pro is the work of Apple Distinguished Educator Bill Bierden.

Watch the tutorials and download Storyboard Pro here

Our Video Storytelling Guide is a comprehensive primer for learning the language of video.

Learn more and read the free preview

Top Ten Tips for Teaching with New Media, from Edutopia

Here's a great resource that goes beyond a simple list to break down suggestions by age group and offer solid suggestions for modern teachers.

Download Top Ten Tips (simple registration required)

New Content Alert: Illustrator CS4 - Advanced (PC)

As stated by Adobe®: "Adobe® Illustrator® CS4 software is a comprehensive vector graphics environment with new transparency in gradients and multiple artboards that invite you to explore more efficient ways to design." Take your knowledge of Illustrator CS4 to the next level with this advanced series.

Watch two free tutorials from this new series

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

New Content Alert: Atomic Learning Website Tutorials

Atomic Learning has changed dramatically for the better, with many new features and enhanced playback. We're working very hard to get everyone trained and migrated.

For those of you who have migrated but need a refresher, and for those who are just curious learners, we've created a tutorial collection on our new site. We added 11 new videos this week.

View them all here.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

New Project Alert: Web Resources Workshop - Search, Evaluate & Use

This project is part of our 21st Century Skills package. Watch the first video

The tutorials in this workshop series will guide the user through four important questions that teachers and students will face when using Web-based resources for classroom projects:
  • How do I search the Web effectively?
  • How do I evaluate Web sites for authority, accuracy, objectivity, currency and coverage?
  • What do I need to know about plagiarism & copyright?
  • How do I properly cite sources?
A complete “Works Cited” listing of all resources used in the tutorials can be found in the downloadable resource packet that accompanies this workshop series.

Watch the first video

Archived webinar: Integrating Assistive Technology Tools for Writing into General Education

Integrating Assistive Technology Tools for Writing into General Education from Atomic Learning on Vimeo.

New Content Alert: Scratch

Here's something that could be a heck of  lot of fun for kids and teachers alike.

Scratch is a free programming language that makes it easy to create your own interactive stories, animations, games, music, and art - and share your creations on the Web.

View two introductory tutorials free. 

Monday, September 21, 2009

New Content Alert: Statistical Analysis with Excel

Atomic Learning has created a new series on Excel for PC.

Microsoft® Excel, the powerful spreadsheet application, boasts a robust set of statistical functions. This tutorial series will guide you through each of those basic functions and demonstrate how you can perform more complex analysis by activating the Data Analysis ToolPak.

 View samples of this series.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Design the new AL and win a netbook!

Since our beginnings in 2000, Atomic Learning has had a ‘mascot’ named AL, giving a face to the company and helping to create a partner relationship with our customers. As he is today though, AL does not represent who we are at Atomic Learning nor does he represent the diversity of our customers. Therefore, Atomic Learning invites you to participate in a contest to design the new AL.

Please visit our Conversations network for more info.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Assistive Tech Webinar #1 Archived, #2 Coming Up!

Our first in a series of AT webinars, "Integrating Assistive Technology Tools for Writing into General Education", went well with fantastic attendance levels. Thanks to all who participated! You may review or share this webinar here.

Gayl Bowser, this webinar's host, has offered to answer questions on our Conversations network. She's also made her presentation slides available. Join the discussion!

The second webinar in this series, "Assistive Technology Integration for Teachers", will take place September 30 at noon CDT. This session will focus on how to integrate Assistive Technology in your classroom management routines, how to think about it in your anticipatory set and levels of participation, and in your rules, procedures, and goals.

You may register for this free webinar here.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Tech & Learning Top Ten Stories

As you head back to school, stay on top of what's hot with The Top 10 Most Read Stories on TechLearning.com
Bloom's Taxonomy Bloom's Digitally »
Blocking For Balance »
Free Education Workshops »
Ten Ways To Get Beyond Powerpoint With Classroom Projectors »
5 Back to School Must-Haves for Innovative Educators »
Get Going with Google Apps In Your School »
Eight Ways To Use School Wikis »
21st Century Skills: Will Our Students Be Prepared? »
September 11th Education Program »
25 ways to teach with Twitter »

Upcoming 21st Century Skills Roundtable Discusion

The first of our free roundtable discussions on 21st century skills will happen Tuesday, 9/14 at noon CDT. See this earlier post for more, and click here to register.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

First Assistive Tech Webinar Today (9/10/09)!

As mentioned in an earlier post, we're kicking off the school year with a series of webinars on assistive technology integration. The first is today at noon CDT. There's still time to register if you're interested.

After the webinars, we'll be continuing the discussions at our new Atomic Learning Conversations network. Please join us regardless of your attendance at the webinar.

Friday, August 28, 2009

New Content Alert: Pages '09 & Fireworks CS4 (Mac)

Pages '09 - What's New? 
This tutorial series covers the major improvements included in Pages '09. Other procedures for using Pages remain essentially unchanged from the previous version. Follow these links to view tutorials covering operations in our Pages '08 - Intro series or Pages '08 - Advanced series.

Fireworks CS4 - Intro
Rapidly prototype and design for the Web, and create and optimize images more quickly and accurately than ever before with the enhanced toolset featured in Adobe® Fireworks® CS4.

21st Century Skills: What Do They Look Like?

Atomic Learning  T&L logo 2 lines small
Thursday, October 8 | 10 am PST / 1 pm EST
Wondering exactly what 21st Century Skills are all about? Trying to determine what steps to take to begin bringing 21st Century Skills into classroom projects? Join this presentation and discussion around 21st Century Skills concepts, examples, and real world advice on how to bring them into the classroom.

Brad FlicklingerBrad Flickinger, Education Futurist and Educator -- Although being born and raised in Canada, Brad is proud of what he calls his "Perfect American Accent." After high school Brad studied journalism at the University of Western Australia, returned home to Canada, married his high school sweetheart and started his own weekly newspaper.

At the age of 24 he won the Young Entrepreneur of Canada for the work he had done in getting newspapers into the digital age. A few years later he moved his young family to a beach town in Costa Rica for a few years to work as a schoolteacher at a private elementary school before returning to the United States. By this time, the Internet was booming and Brad spent the next few years managing a technology and design company near Seattle before returning to teaching for the past seven years.

Recently Brad has combined his passions for teaching and technology by working a consultant and speaker on new and emerging educational technologies.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Turning Around the Nation's Lowest-Achieving Public Schools

This morning the U.S. Department announced draft requirements for Title I School Improvement grants. The $3.5 billion in funding are targeted at low performing Title I schools. Today starts a thirty-day comment period prior to the grants being issued to the states. When the states receive the funding, they will be issuing grants to local education agencies to foster change in schools which need the most help.

To learn more about the requirements, check out the
Department of Education website. When the formal requirements are announced, be sure to check your state’s education website for more information on how you can use those funds to transform your school.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

21st Century Skills Roundtable Discussions

As the 2009-10 school year begins, we will host a series of roundtable discussions on 21st century skills. These live sessions will facilitate open dialog on training, 21st century professional development, and classroom integration.

Three 30-minute discussions are planned for the following dates and times:

Tuesday Sep 15, 2009 - 12:00 PM - 12:30 PM CDT

Thursday Sep 17, 2009 - 12:00 PM - 12:30 PM CDT

Tuesday Sep 22, 2009 - 11:00 AM - 11:30 AM CDT

Atomic Learning is committed to professional development and 21st century skills training for teachers, and to creating 21st century-ready students. If you would like a consultation on your 21st century skills initiatives and helpful professional development resources, please contact 866-259-6890 or sales@atomiclearning.com.

Upcoming Assistive Technology Webinars

As the 2009-10 school year begins, we'll be hosting a series of free webinars on assistive technology integration. Presented by assistive technology consultant and program director Gayl Bowser, and Amanda Peters, content developer at Atomic Learning, these live sessions will discuss assistive technology for writing, successful classroom integration, and district implementation.

Starting mid-September, a one-hour session will kick off the series and three one-half hour sessions will follow. Interested persons may register for any or all of these webinars:

"Integrating Assistive Technology Tools for Writing into General Education"
September 10, 2009, 12-1 PM Central

"Assistive Technology Integration for Teachers"
September 30, 2009, 12-12:30 PM Central

"Assistive Technology Integration for Development Teams"
November 5, 2009, 12-12:30 PM Central

"District Level Action to Encourage Assistive Technology Integration"
December 3, 2009, 12-12:30 PM Central

We're well known for our vast collection of short how-to videos on many common software applications. We are also committed to helping educators implement assistive technology into both general and special education classrooms. To learn more or try sample training from this collection, visit AtomicLearning.com/AssistiveTechnology or call (866) 259-6890.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

FREE Assistive Technology Webinars

Amanda Peters, one of Atomic Learning's content developers, has hosted several assistive technology webinars over the last few months. Feel free to take advantage of this great opportunity.

Quick Ways to make the General Ed Curriculum Accessible and Meaningful
Are you responsible for ensuring your students have access to and participate in the general education curriculum? Do you need some ideas for tools you can use in order to give alternate means of representation, engagement, and expression?

Atomic Learning invites you to a webinar where creative ideas will be shared that will help you differentiate instruction and increase students’ active participation in the general education curriculum. Learn quick ways to break down concepts into manageable chunks of information and give them visual, audio, and concrete 3-D representation.

See examples of how you can transform common tasks that are typically presented in a rigid way into accessible and meaningful activities for all students. Participants will be encouraged to share ways they have made curriculum accessible and meaningful.


The Power of a Programmable Switch Interface
Looking for a better way to access the computer using one or more switches?

Atomic Learning invites you to attend this webinar that will demonstrate the possibilities a programmable switch interface opens. Learn how to use one to maneuver the Start menu on a Windows machine or open applications in Finder on a Mac. Learn how to make use of keyboard shortcuts to access features in popular software programs. The StealthSwitch AT and the Crick USB Switch Interface will be demonstrated, but the methods shown can be applied to other programmable switch interfaces as well.


Windows Vista Accessibility Features

Are you wondering if the accessibility features built into Windows Vista would be helpful?

Atomic Learning invites you to this webinar where you will get an over view of all the features available such as Speech Recognition, Narrator, On-Screen Keyboard, and Magnifier. Come learn how to get started with these tools.


Windows XP Accessibility Features

Wondering if there are accessibility features built into Windows XP that would be helpful?

Atomic Learning invites you to this webinar where you will get an over view of all the features available such as Narrator, On-Screen Keyboard, and Magnifier. Come learn how to get started with these tools.


New site migration moving along smoothly

We're working hard to successfully and painlessly migrate our customers to the new Atomic Learning website. So far, feedback has been fantastic and hiccups have been minimal. It's going really well.

If you haven't been migrated yet, you can take a look at this highlights overview to get a better feel for what the new site offers. If you have been migrated, or if you're just really curious, take a look at this guide to the new site.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Blog Promotion

Here are some blogs worth checking out for anyone who cares about education, children, technology, and the advancement of global society.

Cool Cat Teacher Blog - Vicki Davis is a teacher, entrepreneur, conference presenter, writer, and a leader in the online education world.

Kathy Schrock's Kaffeeklatsch - Kathy is a Tech Administrator and active blogger. Along with the Kaffeeklatsch, she participates in several other education-related blogs and podcasts.

The Power of Educational Technology - Liz Davis is a Tech Director and blogger. She has a lot to say about the big conferences and education in general.

Smeech.net - Scott Meech is a Tech Facilitator and popular Twitter user. He offers great insight into emerging educational technology.

The Learning Edge is a colaborative blog by a number of doctoral students. They discuss professional development and education, among other topics.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

2012 Technological Literacy Framework Project Draft Released

The National Assessment Governing Board released a draft of the 2012 Technological Literacy Framework Project. The draft was a collaborative effort involving groups like The International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE), the State Education Technology Directors Association (SEDTA), and the Partnership for 21st Century Skills. The framework is intended to create national standards for assessing students in 4th, 8th, and 12th grade on their ability to use technology.

A recent Education Week article discusses the framework and provides a link to the full report. Check it out and see what may be expected of 21st century students.

Textbooks being replaced by digital

The New York Times reports that traditional textbooks are on the way out in some schools, replaced by much less expensive digital forms that are likely much more current as well.

Textbooks have not gone the way of the scroll yet, but many educators say that it will not be long before they are replaced by digital versions — or supplanted altogether by lessons assembled from the wealth of free courseware, educational games, videos and projects on the Web.

“Kids are wired differently these days,” said Sheryl R. Abshire, chief technology officer for the Calcasieu Parish school system in Lake Charles, La. “They’re digitally nimble. They multitask, transpose and extrapolate. And they think of knowledge as infinite.


Wednesday, August 12, 2009

New Content Alert: Volume Release!

We've released a bunch of new content this week--too many to introduce in detail. Visit the individual links to find out more.

Tech Skills

Project 2007 (PC)

Blackboard Learning System: Vista and Campus Edition (PC, Mac)

VoiceThread (PC, Mac)

Windows 7 (PC)

Fireworks CS4 – Intro (PC)

GarageBand ‘09 (Mac)

Tech Skills & Assistive Tech

ActivInspire Primary – Professional (PC)

Atomic Learning Web Site (new platform support tutorials)

21st CS Projects

Internet Safety & Social Networking – using Ning (PC, Mac)

21st CS Workshops

Netbooks in the Classroom Workshop

21st CS Skills Concepts - updated
Added a tutorial - “Cross-disciplinary themes” - appearing as movie B8 in this series

Monday, August 03, 2009

It's here! The new Atomic Learning is live!

The new AtomicLearning.com was launched over the weekend. This marks a new day in what we have to offer. New features include:
  • Simplified Search and Browse
  • New assignment capability
  • Enhanced integration tools
  • Site customization

A Note to our Valued Customers

In order to utilize these new tools and features, your school must migrate to the new training platform. If your school has not yet migrated, you may not have immediate access to these new tools and enhancements, but will continue to receive access to Atomic Learning's online technology training resources through our traditional site.

To test your migration status, simply login with your current username and password.

If you are directed to the standard Atomic Learning site, your school has not yet migrated and you will need to schedule your migration date.

If your school has migrated, you will experience a site with a similar look and feel to this page. Rest assured that reference materials will be available to help you navigate the new platform and staff training sessions are available.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

We're almost there!

We're set to launch the totally redesigned Atomic Learning within the next few days. Our team tells me that August is booked solid with customer demonstrations. People are excited! We are, too. We're really proud of where this takes Atomic Learning and all of you.

Please contact cs@atomiclearning.com or call 866-259-6890 to schedule your walkthrough. We don't want anyone to have to wander around the new site without some initial guidance. It's easy to use, but it is completely new. While the front page will show the new layout, customers who haven't had the personal demonstration will be taken to the old version of the site after login.

We've gotten some inquiries about what's coming. Here's a document that outlines new and existing features of the new Atomic Learning. If there's something you'd like to know more about, please call us or leave a comment below.

We look forward to meeting the challenges of 21st century learning with you!

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Fame Alert: Heidi Thielen onstage!

According to the Brainerd Dispatch, our very own Heidi Thielen has made a name for herself onstage.

As the actress playing the title role, Heidi Thielen reunites with CLC after being employed for three years as a college lab assistant in the writing lab of the college's ACE Center. At that time she was known as Heidi Stumpf. Now married to Joe, she leads an active life serving as regional manager for Atomic Learning, an educational training software company, and tending to Jackson, her 15-month old son.

This is Thielen's first CLC show, returning to the stage for the first time since attending high school at Pierz. "My biggest role in high school was also a Neil Simon play, 'Fools,'" recalls Thielen. "I played the daughter. I've wanted to get back into acting for a long time, but just couldn't find something that appealed to me."

Break a leg, Heidi! We'll be there in the audience, so show us your stuff!