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 You must enter priority code FL5010 to receive your FREE Exhibit Hall Pass Worth $50! Register today using your VIP priority code at:

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

“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 – 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!


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