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

ACTIVprimary 3

ACTIVprimary 2

ACTIVstudio 3 Professional

ACTIVstudio 2 Professional

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 is a social bookmarking Web site. The primary use of 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 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