Tuesday, June 08, 2010

Our blog is moving!

To allow more flexibility, we're moving our blogs to our website. Please find us at http://blogs.atomiclearning.com.

Don't forget to update your bookmarks and subscribe to our news feed.

Thank you.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Introducing a new assistive tech blog: IntegrATe, by Gayl Bowser

Gayl Bowser, former coordinator of the Oregon Project of Assistive Technology and co-author of Education Tech Points, is widely known in education circles for her insightful writing and unstoppable enthusiasm. Please join us in welcoming her to the world of blogging!

Just like a garden needs different care from a gardener depending on the time of the year, students and educators need different supports for assistive technology use as they move through the school year.  With each new school season comes change—changes in our students, changes in what they are learning, and changes in our own AT services .  Just as we cannot simply plant a seed and expect to immediately see a plant, we cannot give a student assistive technology and expect to see immediate success. 

Visit IntegrATe

Monday, May 24, 2010

Webinar Alert: Effective Strategies for Creating an Assistive Tech Professional Development Plan

Atomic Learning invites you to join us as we welcome Gayl Bowser for a FREE webinar on creating an Assistive Technology Professional Development plan. Gayl will discuss flexible and practical professional development assessment and planning strategies that include a variety of training approaches including the use of online tutorials.

Thursday, June 10, 2010 12:00 PM - 1:00 PM CDT 

Register here

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Higher Education Customers - How Do You Use Atomic Learning?

Greetings once again from the higher education team here at Atomic Learning! We have been putting our heads together to try to bring you the latest and greatest ideas on how you can use Atomic Learning on your campus.

1. As a help desk extension - is your help desk only open limited hours? Is your help desk staff sometimes overloaded, especially when upgrading applications like Microsoft Office? With a site license you can direct your users to Atomic Learning for tutorials on how to perform specific functions when your help desk is not available, or during busy times of the year!

2. Faculty Training - some faculty and staff members in your organization are great at keeping up on technology and integrating it into the classroom. Others are overwhelmed while budget cuts keep them running from class to class. Atomic Learning a great tool to keep your faculty updated on technology they use everyday - whether it's a tutorial on how to add a course link in your LMS, or how to schedule an appointment on their Outlook calendars!

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

We're growing! 2 more new positions open

Please consider applying for the following positions. Send applications to hr@atomiclearning.com.

Higher Education Sales Executive
Reports to:    Director of Domestic Sales
Department: Sales
Location:  Remote Home Office

Job Summary:
The Higher Ed Sales Executive is responsible for the mid to large account sales and sales related activity for the Domestic Sales Team. This position requires knowledge of solution-based selling, higher education organizations and a strong understanding of the education sales cycle.  This person will need to assist in the development of account strategies which include account profiles, demand/lead generation and detailed action plans. This person must work in coordination with the Director of Sales to maximize sales revenues and customer satisfaction/retention.

Financial Literacy and Professional Development

A recent column by Michelle Singletary, a personal finance columnist at the Washington Post, caught my eye. "We are Flunking Personal Finance" looks at a recent study by the University of Wisconsin at Madison entitled Teachers' Background & Capacity to Teach Personal Finance. The study indicates that less than 20% of K12 teachers feel they were “very competent” in the six areas of financial literacy focused on in the study. Those areas included:
  • Income and careers
  • Planning and money management
  • Credit and debt
  • Financial responsibility and decision making
  • Saving and investing Risk management and insurance
From the column:

This study reinforces the need to incorporate personal money management topics into educational opportunities for teachers, whether in undergraduate or graduate curricula for students studying to become teachers, or as postgraduate or in-service courses or workshops," says Ted Beck, president and chief executive of NEFE. "We have an opportunity to dramatically affect the quality of K-12 financial education by providing teachers with the subject matter expertise they need throughout their careers."

Increasingly, states are pushing economic education. The number of states that require students to take a personal finance course, or instruction as part of an economics class, increased to 13 in 2009 from seven in 2007, according to the Council for Economic Education. Although states are setting up financial education guidelines, an overwhelming majority of teachers who participated in the NEFE survey said they didn't feel qualified to offer instruction at the level of the standard set by their states, the researchers said.

Recent economic events have made it clear that financial literacy is vital to both the global economy and as a factor for personal success. How can these important life-lessons be incorporated into the classroom without professional development for the teachers who are expected to help the students?

Open Position Alert: Front-End Web Developer and Implementation Specialist

Please consider applying for the following position. Send applications to hr@atomiclearning.com.

Reports to:  Technical Project Manager   
Department: IT and Data Security
Location:  In-Office; 10am-7pm M-F; Hours may vary to accommodate roll outs.

Job Summary:
The Front-end Web Developer and Implementation Specialist will work cross-functionally with other departments in developing improved functionality on our websites through scripting techniques and promoting new and/or changed code to our production web servers. This person will collaborate with teammates to come up with new ideas and solutions for our websites as well as execute and implement site maintenance work. The position will also be responsible for rolling development code to our production web and database servers with accuracy for our web developers.

Friday, May 07, 2010

Join the Campaign! Tweet and Blog for Ed Tech May 12

Funding for Classroom Technology is in jeopardy!  Join ISTE members and education technology advocates from across the country for a day of blogging and tweeting in support of 21st century learning.

President Obama’s budget provides no funding for education technology.  The Enhancing Education Through Technology (EETT) program, which was funded at $100 million in 2010, is rolled into a the new program “Effective Teaching and Learning for a Complete Education.”
Without funds specifically set aside to pay for education technology the administration’s messaging about the importance of technology for classroom teaching and learning rings hollow. If education technology is so important, why has the proposed 2011 budget eliminated funding for the only dedicated ed tech funding program?

Although the President has recommended to eliminate funding for EETT, Congress does not have to agree with this recommendation.  ISTE is urging congress to fund education technology at at $500 million for next year. To get this issue on congress’ agenda we need to tell  policymakers that we are not going to take the loss of EETT quietly.

On Wednesday, May 12 we are going to flood the Web with messages in support of funding for education technology. We’ll provide some Twitter messages to get you started, but we’re asking for a major effort from all the ed tech bloggers, tweeters, Facebookers and Ning-regulars out there to write in support of dedicated federal funding for education technology.

Keep watching ISTE Connects for information on how you can help secure $500 million for ed tech in 2011. Together we can make our voices heard!


Wednesday, May 05, 2010

"I Remember", by Intel

Most of those things don't seem very long ago, do they? Are you keeping up?

Tuesday, May 04, 2010

New Content Alert: Safari 4, Word 2010, iPhoto '09, PixWriter 3, Read:OutLoud 6, more

New and expanded tutorial series
Safari 4
As stated by Apple®: "It’s a browser. It’s a platform. It’s an open invitation to innovate. Safari® continuously redefines the browser, providing the most enjoyable way to experience the Internet."

View 2 free tutorials

Word 2010
Microsoft® Word 2010 offers the best of all worlds: enhanced features to create professional-quality documents, easier ways to work together with people and almost-anywhere access to your files. Use this introductory level tutorial series to watch, listen, and learn the basics of how to create high-quality documents that you can be proud of.

View 2 free tutorials

Monday, May 03, 2010

Atomic Learning and Don Johnston: Assistive Tech Online Training Collection

You already have some great assistive technology tools. Many of them have had a huge impact on your students. 
But, are your teachers making the most of them?

Don Johnston teamed up with Atomic Learning to solve this problem. We came up with an exclusive bundle of online trainings—some of which you won’t find anywhere else. Subscribers will get unlimited whole-district access to thousands of online tutorials for all of your top assistive technology software and devices.

Find out more

Friday, April 30, 2010

Open Position Alert: Online Training Content Developer

Atomic Learning is one of the most supportive, satisfying and fun companies a person could work for. Please consider applying for the following position. Send applications to hr@atomiclearning.com.

Job Title: Online Training Content Developer (curriculum emphasis)
Reports to: Content Development Manager
Department: Product/Content
Start Date: June 1, 2010
Location: Your Home Office (within the U.S.)

Job Summary:
The Online Training Content Developer (curriculum emphasis) is responsible for creating tutorials on how to use a variety of software applications and for creating curriculum integration units that involve the use of technology, as well as 21st Century Skills concepts.

This position requires the ability to learn the Atomic Learning method of tutorial creation, knowledge of how curriculum in K-12 education is organized and delivered, and experience with K-12 professional development planning and implementation. This person must understand the work environment of teachers and administrators and be adept at tailoring educational experiences that are appealing and meet the needs of educators and students.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Social media in schools: The Meltdown

Social media addiction. Crackdowns on abuse. Passion for progress. Differing opinions have come to a head this week between those who would retain or recover pre-information-age social qualities and those who believe online social tools are an inevitability to be harnessed and prepared for. As with most things in life, education would seem to be the solution.

First, there's clear evidence that parents are largey unaware of the activities of even middle-school students. Many deny that their children participate in social media. Many simply don't know how pervasive social media are in their childrens' lives, both at home and at school. Before progress can be made with the students themselves, parents need to understand the reality of this modern age. They need to become involved and foster responsibility and safe behavior.

Next, the schools. There's still a harsh divide between classrooms that embrace technology as a learning tool and those that consider it a nuisance. Consistency must be attained with regard to expectation and enforcement. Not every classroom should directly utilize web-enabled devices, but the policy must be in place and understood.

Finally, the students themselves need training. They know how to use the technology, at least superficially, but they often don't have the mental maturity to make the right decisions. Bullying, inappropriate language or photos, and other abuse are sustaining and can be damaging to both mental health and reputation. What's online stays online for a long, long time. Children can't usually appreciate the permanence of their actions.

How this will all play out isn't entirely clear. What is clear is that we must all educate ourselves and be aware of what the children in our care are up to. The challenge is nothing new. Only the details are.

I welcome your comments.

Update: CNN did a story on Principal Orsini. Watch the video here.

Back by popular demand: Training & Staff Development for 21st Century Teaching at Lincoln Public Schools (Just Enough, Just in Time, Just for Me)

The first run of this webinar went very well and provided such valuable information that we've decided to do it again.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010 | 12 pm PST / 3 pm EST

Click here to register for this FREE event

In order for students to have 21st century skills to succeed and compete in today's global workplace, districts first need to develop those skills in their teachers. How do you build a professional development program that creates a solid understanding of the skills and develop the ability to integrate them into the classroom?

Join us as a panel from Lincoln Public Schools shares best practices and collaboration between departments to create a successful training and staff development program to help their teachers – and students – succeed with 21st century learning.

Read about the presenters

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Higher Ed Webinar Recap - Virtual Training Success at Philadelphia University

Greetings from the higher ed team! Pia Roper from Philadelphia University recently presented a webinar on Philadelphia University's use of Atomic Learning. The webinar provided some great insights on how Atomic Learning can be utilized campus-wide. You may view the archive here.

Some of the key points of Roper's presentation included:

Philadelphia University uses Atomic Learning as an extension of their helpdesk, creating a 24/7 presence for users. Round-the-clock access ensures that support is available during off-hours, and for international users in the distance ed programs. They also use Atomic Learning to train the helpdesk staff, so they are better able to assist users who call in for help.

Moving beyond the help desk, Roper provides a variety of examples, from faculty training to student instruction. The webinar is a must-see for anyone looking to make the most of their existing subscription or seeking a cross-campus solution.

Innovation is easy to find if you know where to look

This came through my inbox late yesterday and seemed too valuable to not share.

LinkedIn Groups

Our Learning & Education Innovators group on Linkedin already has over 3,500 members! The discussions and posts have been very interesting. Many members asked for a calendar of innovation events, a newsletter, info on innovation workshops and tools and suggestions for innovation resources. Therefore, I am providing the following convenient links to several useful websites. Feel welcome to visit the useful links below to innovative websites, groups, pages and resources on Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin and YouTube.



Experience the Award-Winning Accelerated Innovation Workshop at the Thinkubator in Chicago:

-- CALENDAR of INNOVATION OPPORTUNITIES - View CALENDAR of over 100 Innovation Events, Workshops, Webinars & Conferences:

Earn Graduate Continuing Education Credit with Atomic Learning

Are you eager to learn new ways of reaching students with modern techniques using new technology, but often find yourself lacking time or clear direction?  Are you working on maintaining your teaching license and perhaps working on a lane change?  Do you find yourself wishing you had more opportunities to leverage your subscription to Atomic Learning?  If so, a new collaboration between Atomic Learning and IT4Educators just might be your solution.

This arrangement provides online continuing education courses that are created and conducted by experienced teachers. Each standards-based course incorporates training from Atomic Learning for teachers seeking continuing education credits for license renewal and professional development. These 1-, 2-, and 3-credit courses cover the most innovative technology tools available - from Twitter to blogs and Moodle® to SMART™ Notebook. Instructors guide the courses through online interactions and feedback, though each course is independent-study and self-paced, allowing you to effectively learn new techniques for technology and classroom integration on your own schedule. You can select from three different accredited universities to earn your graduate college credit.

If you have a subscription to Atomic Learning and are ready to enroll in a course for college credit, view course options and get started at atomiclearning.it4educators.com. Founded by a technology educator, IT4Educators leverages many years of experience to produce robust courses on technology in education.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Planetfesto: Help create a virtual ribbon around the Earth

Planetfesto.org is an environmental education and action movement created on 2/14/2007. The goal is for individuals worldwide to create a virtual ribbon of 6" pieces--long enough to circle the earth. (nearly 263,000,000 pieces required). Each "piece" of the ribbon is made up of a photograph or drawing representing why the person loves the earth, a brief statement of why they love it, and a pledge of individual action. The ribbon creates an evolving, collaborative manifesto of love and action.

Planetfesto is unusual in environmental movements as it is takes a higher view on the problem--that what is needed is a new era in our relationship with the planet. On the site, there is a quote by Wendell Berry: "What we do not love, we will not save."

Jody Ouradnik has created a video introducing you to the Planetfesto project. It also walks through adding your own ribbon segment.


New Content Alert: Higher Ed Creation and Collaboration Tools

Collaborating to Build a Slideshow Presentation – Google Docs Project

Users will be using online tools to collaborate on a presentation. Our example is about climate change and global warming, but the project can be easily adapted for any subject area. Viewers will learn how to work in a shared word processing document to collect information, and then divide up the work for creating an online slide presentation they can share on the Internet.

Creating a Photo Book – Photoshop Elements 8

For this project we will be using multimedia software to create a photo book. We’ll begin by importing digital images into a photo editing application and organizing the photos in an album. We’ll choose a theme for the photo book and create the book pages. Images will be added to the book, resized or cropped, and positioned for best effect on the pages. We’ll add and format text for titles and image descriptions....

Video Creation – Photoshop Elements 8 & Premiere Elements 8  

For this project, users will create a video of images and sound that evoke a specific emotion for them. They will begin by collecting images that reflect their chosen emotion and use tools in Photoshop Elements to prepare the photos for use in their video. In Premiere Elements, they will choose a sound file and import the images they worked on in PSE. The images will be arranged on the timeline, and transitions can be added to the presentation....

Creating a Resumé – Word 2007 

For this project, users will create a resumé in a word processing program following guidelines for a general purpose resumé. Viewers can follow along with the tutorial movies, using the example information provided in the downloadable resource packet for this lesson, to create a finished product similar to the example project demonstrated in the tutorials. Or, users may create a resumé using their own personal information.
Building a Bibliography – Word 2007 

For this Tech Integration Project, users will be learning how to create a Works Cited page, following the MLA Style Guide (7th edition). The final word processing document depicts references for multiple sources, including books, journals, newspapers, and Web sites. The document that is created by following along with the tutorial movies can be used for future reference when users are required to create citations for other projects.

Creating an Effective Presentation using PowerPoint

Learn how to create an effective presentation using Microsoft®  PowerPoint® 2003. This workshop includes great tips on text, graphics, color, and sound. In addition, you'll learn how to work with lists, animation, and transitions, as well as how to make your presentation Web-ready!
PC Maintenance & Security

It's a well-known fact that PC's are wonderful tools. They can be fun, educational, a way to communicate, and much more. But in order to keep them running properly and to protect the valuable data we store on them, we need to follow some simple precautions. This workshop takes an in-depth look at some cost-effective ways to keep your internet-connected PC running smoothly!

Thursday, April 15, 2010

iPads in the classroom?

I admit that I've been skeptical about the usefulness of the iPad to those of us who like to create content and share information as well as take it in. Sure, it's been billed as a game-changer, but it's also been described as a consumption-only device, not having much ability to store files or spread them around. Many a blog post and Twitter tweet express concern about Apple's tight control over usability and content.

At least one school is working around those concerns to bring relatively inexpensive (yet highly engaging) devices into their classrooms.

The iPad was announced many weeks before its release, so we know many of the features and even several of the applications that would be available. We also worked closely with Apple. We developed a staff development program with Apple. Teachers in this project will receive 5 days of staff development from Apple.

The iPads can be used [to create] wikis, blogs, keynote presentations. We can do much with on-line research.  (Libraries in small schools have virtually disappeared.) We have found many cool applications to enhance the curriculum in our classes. (Try the programs Star Walk or The Elements. Cool music programs that allow students to record music, electronic books, drawing applications, Numbers offers much flexibility for spreadsheets.)

It's clear that committed, innovative educators are making the most of their dwindling dollars. When Apple and third party application vendors realize the impact they'll have on teaching (and they probably already have), this really could be a game-changer.

We haven't had the resources to enhance out technology program for many years.  I don't believe there is a "perfect" solution for technology in any district. For some it may be SMART Boards, for others laptops, others netbooks. For GFW, it will be iPads.  It's not the device. It's how the teachers will use their device to improve instruction. I hope it can work in our district.

Read more on Blue Skunk 

Update: Read a related article from WCCO

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Transparent technology, understanding, and innovation

There's a debate ongoing over whether technology in schools should really be invisible. One blogger argues that technology should never be a hurdle to leap before learning, and one says it's critical to understand how technology works to alter our living environments.

I'm not sure either perspective is quite right. For every learning scenario, there will be a limit to how much effort we can (or should) make to understand the technology at hand. It would create an infinite comprehension loop if we were to try and evaluate every learning tool we use. 

For example, I've seen interactive whiteboards (IWBs) in use by talented math teachers, instantly drawing graphs and calculating formulas far more quickly and clearly than was previously possible. They bring to life concepts and approaches to learning that I couldn't have imagined in my schooling. There's no doubt in my mind that they enhance learning of the subject at hand.

In the math classroom, during a math lesson, the IWB shouldn't be noticed. It should be invisible in order for the math lesson to be as effective as possible. On the other hand, science classrooms should be brimming with opportunity for students to learn the details of IWB design, manufacture, and function.

Rather than thinking of technology as a monolithic "thing in schools", it should be evaluated in isolated scenarios, with the prime learning objective of the moment kept firmly in front of our minds.

At times, we need to employ tools that have functions only others understand in order to efficiently share information and ideas. At other times, we need to understand them ourselves in order to innovate and create to our potential. Neither is inherently an incorrect solution.

April is National Poetry Month... How about a poetry podcast?

April is National Poetry Month. We've just updated one of our Technology Integration Projects which uses Garage Band '09, and it does a nice job of bringing poetry to any classroom:

Take poetry to a new level! Users will use an audio application to produce a podcast of themselves narrating a piece of poetry. They will create a music track to accompany their poem, and also add images they have found to illustrate their poem. They may elect to use an image capture utility on their computer to create their images. Finally, they will export their podcast for an MP3 player.

View the project here

Monday, April 05, 2010

New Content Alert: Higher Ed Projects and Workshops with Google Docs and more

We've released a batch of new Technology Integration Projects and Workshops with our colleges of education customers in mind. They're also useful to K12 educators looking for more advanced content.

Technology Integration Projects

Collaborating to Build a Slideshow Presentation – Google Docs

Creating a Photo Book – Photoshop Elements 8 (PC)

Video Creation – Photoshop Elements 8 & Premiere Elements 8 (PC)

Creating a Resumé – Word 2007 (PC)

Building a Bibliography – Word 2007 (PC)


Creating an Effective Presentation using PowerPoint

PC Maintenance & Security

Thursday, April 01, 2010

FREE WEBINAR: Virtual Training Success at Philadelphia University

Register now!

Limited by budgetary constraints and without a formal training department, Philadelphia University’s Office of Information Resources (OIR) used online tutorials and assessment tools to train and develop faculty and staff.

Learn how Philadelphia University’s OIR department successfully used Atomic Learning as a development resource to:
  • Migrate faculty and staff from Office 2003 to Office 2007
  • Create a virtual training presence on campus
  • Provide a training solution for not only faculty and staff, but to help desk team members as well
Learn how you can successfully integrate this virtual training solution on your campus.

Bring questions for our presenters. An interactive Q&A session will follow the live presentation.

Date: 04/15/10  
Time: 11am  PT/12pm MT/1pm CT/2pm ET  
Duration: 1 hour

Register here

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

FREE FOR EDUCATORS: Digital Learning Environments

HP & Intel's Digital Learning Event Series 2010 - Practical Strategies for Digital Learning Environments

Register today!

HP, Intel, and their partners have joined forces with Tech & Learning to bring you the new 2010 HP & Intel Digital Learning Event Series.

These unique interactive forums are one-day events held throughout the United States. Each Digital Learning Event is an immersive experience that provides K-12 decision-makers with state-of-the-art technology solutions delivered in hands-on learning environments.

In this track, sessions are hosted in Math, Science, Language Arts and Professional Development. This unique classroom environment lets you be a student for the day and experience compelling standards-based learning moments through seamless technology and curriculum integration!


IT decision-makers are encouraged to attend this track to learn more about cloud computing solutions, wired and wireless networking, and asset and data security for district infrastructures. There will be an elective time slot for you to attend one of the Teaching and Learning sessions.

At these Digital Learning Events, you will learn how technology-rich environments enrich students' learning experiences, change the way teachers engage their classes, and help you build sustainable technology programs.

Find out more about these events:

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Are we hearing the voices of students?

As our world has changed, so has education. Through the years there have been several different stages in education, always adapting to the latest technology and theories of the time. Today another change is on the horizon.

There are many views on the changes that need to take place to meet the needs of 21st century learners. Experts advise on various levels of education, recommending changes to the system which may revolutionize education. Politicians try to facilitate that change. Educators, from special education teachers to university professors, are on the front line trying to facilitate the change. Administrators hold the task of trying to balance the needs of everyone.

In these conversations we rarely hear from those who are affected the most: the students. It is their future, their education, and their needs which need to be met. It’s important to listen to their voices as we try to prepare the next generation for their futures.

Take a minute to listen to some of those voices.

Dan Brown’s video is a link to a treasure trove of 21st century students and how they view education. The comments and video responses show what young adults think of education and give their vision on how it can be changed to meet their needs. I highly recommend Dan’s follow-up video as well.

There is a conversation happening about what students need from education. Are we listening?

Monday, March 22, 2010

New Content Alert: InDesign CS4, Easiteach, Office 2010, OpenOffice, IE8, Diigo 4, Co:Writer 6

InDesign CS4 - Advanced
Adobe® InDesign® CS4 offers a sophisticated environment for design and publishing that offers many features. Take your page designing abilities to the next level with this advanced series.

View 2 free tutorials for PC, Mac 

Easiteach Spreadsheet & Database Toolbars (PC)
Explore the tools found on the Easiteach® Spreadsheet and Database toolbars to collect, analyze and display information. Learn how to perform calculations and create charts and graphs which can be incorporated into your engaging, interactive Easibook lessons.

View 2 free tutorials

Office 2010 - What's New? (PC)
Take a look at many of the new features in Microsoft®  Office Suite 2010. In this series, you'll learn about the major changes to Word, Excel, and PowerPoint® as well as the user interface. Other procedures for using Microsoft Office 2010 remain essentially unchanged from the previous version.

View 2 free tutorials

Monday, March 08, 2010

Feds release new national ed-tech plan

Although funding concerns remain, the National Ed-Tech Plan is a 
promising start to turning around education, ed-tech advocates say.
Although funding concerns remain, the National Ed-Tech Plan is a promising start, ed-tech advocates say.
The new National Education Technology Plan, released March 5, sets an ambitious agenda for using technology to transform teaching and learning, ed-tech advocates say–and a call to action that is long overdue.

The plan, called “Transforming American Education: Learning Powered by Technology,” calls for engaging and empowering learning experiences for all students; standards and assessments that measure key 21st-century skills and expertise; a shift to a model of “connected teaching,” in which teams of interconnected educators replace solo classroom practitioners; always-on connectivity that is available to students and teachers both inside and outside of school; and a rethinking of basic assumptions, such as seat time, that limit schools’ ability to innovate.

 Read more at eschoolnews.com

Saturday, March 06, 2010

Free 21st Century Teaching Webinar (Just Enough, Just in Time, Just for Me)

Tuesday, March 30, 2010 | 1 pm PST / 4 pm EST

In order for students to have 21st century skills to succeed and compete in today's global workplace, districts first need to develop those skills in their teachers. How do you build a professional development program that creates a solid understanding of the skills and develop the ability to integrate them into the classroom?

Join us as a panel from Lincoln Public Schools shares best practices and collaboration between departments to create a successful training and staff development program to help their teachers – and students – succeed with 21st century learning.

Read about the presenters

Thursday, March 04, 2010

A good report on what teachers are doing to modernize classrooms

Friday, February 26, 2010

Newly relaunched YouTube channel now online

We've recently wrested our proper YouTube channel from the grubby hands of a spam squatter. In case anyone else is dealing with this same issue, Google has finally created a mechanism by which rightful owners can reclaim their channels.

We've uploaded many free tutorials already, along with a great video of a professional development day put on by our own Jody Ouradnik at Hopkins school district in southeastern Minnesota.

We'll be adding new tutorials and other videos often, so stop by and be sure to subscribe!


Friday, February 19, 2010

Great feedback from our customers

We regularly receive phone calls and notes letting us know how educators appreciate our product and service. Here's a recent comment from an administrator in Connecticut:

I have to say, I am REALLY impressed with the materials here.  I am new in this position after having taught English for my whole career at the college level.  I can't say enough good stuff about these materials!!!

Beth Lynne Ritter-Guth
Educational Communication and Technology Facilitator
The Hotchkiss School, Connecticut

Thank you very much, Beth.

And as much as we like these comments, we appreciate constructive criticism just as much. As a customer-driven company, we're always looking to meet the needs of you on the front lines of education. Please don't hesitate to tell us what you think through whatever channel you like.


Monday, February 15, 2010

New Content Alert: Assistive Tech Apps

Easiteach® Studio is a powerful and flexible whole-class-teaching software product, which provides a wide range of cross-curricular teaching tools for both primary and secondary schools. This tutorial series will teach you all you need to know about the features that come with the RM Easiteach Starter package.

View two free tutorials on Easiteach Studio

Co:Writer® 6 is a word prediction software program that helps students translate ideas into writing. Version 6 has been upgraded with a simple single window interface, the ability to speak any text on the computer screen, and enhanced speech options, word bank, and personal dictionary. Version 6 has also made signing into Co:Writer optional so you can begin writing immediately.

View 12 free tutorials on Co:Writer 6

Read:OutLoud® is a text to speech software program with built in supports for reading comprehension. Version 6 of Read:OutLoud has made it easier to read and navigate every type of file and Web content. There is improved PDF support and NIMAS files don’t require any conversion. In version 6, an outline is automatically formed when students highlight text, simplifying the outline process. Read:OutLoud 6 will instantly open books from Bookshare’s Web site without unpacking.

View 12 free tutorials on Read:OutLoud

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Free Training Opportunity – ISTE Webinar

With the phrase “21st century skills” popping up all over the place, it is impossible not to notice that 21st century skills is a hot topic in education. What seems to be the consensus now is that even though it is clear that these skills are important, many schools are still struggling to create 21st century-ready students. To help, Atomic Learning and ISTE have partnered to lead a discussion on 21st century skills professional development strategies.

Professional Development Strategies to Create 21st Century Teachers
February 16, 2010
1 PM Pacific/4 PM Eastern

Why professional development? It’s simple really. 21st century-ready students start with 21st century-ready teachers. This webinar will discuss strategies and resources districts can use to address 21st century professional development and the integration of crucial 21st century skills in the classroom.

Hope you can join us!

Update: Here are the resources mentioned in the webinar. 

(Thanks to Jennifer, guest contributor)

Tuesday, February 09, 2010

Technology for technology's sake

One of the themes that I regularly encounter in my social media wandering is that technology should never be employed simply to be "high tech". Doing so misses the whole point, which is to engage students and enable them to learn in new ways and collaborate on a higher level. Putting a whiteboard on the wall or a laptop in a student's hands accomplishes virtually nothing without proper technique.

Here's a funny representation of tech for tech's sake. Believe it or not, some classrooms aren't far from this scenario.

Atomic Learning is dedicated to helping you put the technology you choose to employ to good use. Find out about some of our technology integration resources here.

Friday, February 05, 2010

Free ebook from Atomic Learning: Integrate Assistive Technology in General Education

Flatten Your Classroom ebook
Assistive technology can be tremendously beneficial to all educators, not just those in special ed environments. Atomic Learning is committed to integrating assistive technology into the classroom, and we offer this guide in the spirit of that mission. 

Thursday, February 04, 2010

New Content Alert: Adobe Premiere Elements 8 and Photoshop Elements 8

With Adobe® Premiere® Elements 8 software, making incredible movies is easier than ever. Enhance your stories with professional style. Share virtually anywhere. And easily manage and protect all your video clips and photos. 

View two free videos on Premiere Elements 8

Adobe® Photoshop® Elements 8 software combines power and simplicity so you can make your photos look extraordinary, share your life stories in unique print creations and web experiences, and easily manage and protect all your photos and video clips.

View two free videos on Photoshop Elements 8 

Tuesday, February 02, 2010

Digital Workshop from PBS - 21st Century Schools: Learning in the Digital Age

This project by PBS and the MacArthur and Park Foundations aligns well with recent posts on digital learning. It starts this evening.

More and more educators are tapping into the power of digital media and technology for teaching and learning. The variety of information resources available online is simply staggering. Explore how teachers and students are using the power of social media to promote students' active engagement, critical thinking and literacy skills.
  • New Forms of Learning. It doesn't need to happen in school. Because it's visual, interactive and social, learning can happen anywhere with digital media as people collaborate and share about a wide range of topics and issues that matter to them.
  • Technology and School Improvement. Technology may transform schools by promoting student engagement and creativity. But critics fear that too much focus on technology takes attention away from what's really needed to improve schools: capable, well-trained teachers; student-centered learning methods; and smaller class sizes.
  • Hope, Hype and Reality. Are today's learners really different from previous generations? Compelling images of students using digital technology are impressive, but the research evidence on the impact of technology on learning is more mixed. And it's sometimes hard to separate the scholarship from the marketing hype, given the deep investment of technology companies in promoting the idea of technology's transformative potential.
Get the entire project
Watch the full show 
Visit the digital_nation - life on the virtual frontier homepage

Monday, February 01, 2010

New Feature Alert: Boolean Search

Our new platform launched a few months back, and we've been working feverishly to add even more new features. Last week we introduced the ability to use Boolean search terms, such as AND, NOT and OR, and the plus (+) and minus (-) symbols.

From the Find an Answer to a Tech Question pod on our home page (when logged in), you may use these terms and symbols to refine your search.
  • Use plus (+) or minus (-) to force inclusion or exclusion of a particular word or phrase (in quotes), as in dog cat -mouse
  • Use AND, NOT, and OR to specify the logic of your query
  • Group terms with parentheses, as in "double spaced" AND (page OR paragraph) 
  • Boolean terms are case-insensitive (may be upper- or lowercase)
  • OR is generally implied and not necessary
We're always striving to make your Atomic Learning experience easier and more productive. If you'd like to make a suggestion, please contact us.

HP and Intel's Digital Learning Environment — Las Vegas, NV, 2/25/10

Atomic Learning is a partner in this series of interactive events. Join us February 25 in Vegas!

Thursday, February 25, 2010 Loews Lake Las Vegas
101 Montelago Boulevard
Henderson, NV 89011

HP, Intel, and our partners have joined forces with Tech & Learning to bring you the new 2010 HP & Intel Digital Learning Event Series.

These unique, interactive forums are one-day events held throughout the United States. Each Digital Learning Event is an immersive experience that provides K-12 decision-makers with state-of-the-art technology solutions delivered in hands-on learning environments.

Friday, January 29, 2010

Grant Writing News

Lately the news is a bleak overview of the global economy. While there glimmers of hope, most educators are feeling the pinch of shrinking budgets and a list of wants. Federal grants can be intimidating to apply for; the request for proposal (RFP) is often a long and complicated document. One solution which tends to offer more flexibility is applying for grants through private foundations.

Traditionally, private foundations appropriate 25% of their grants to education-related initiatives. A recent article in eSchool News referred to the continued efforts of grant-giving to education despite the economic climate.

Some grant-giving entities have made changes to their programs and now
offer fewer awards or have decreased the amount of each individual award—an
adjustment that Chris Taylor, author of Granted! A Teacher’s Guide to Writing
and Winning Classroom Grants, said is common.

“Some grant-giving entities are continuing to offer grants, but the
amount available to be awarded has been reduced. I believe this situation is
making a greater demand on grant seekers to step up their grant-writing skills
while at the same time be willing to reduce their expectations concerning the
amount of funding they might be able to receive,” Taylor said.

If you are interested in grant writing, check out Atomic Learning’s eBook Grant Writing: Tips and Tricks. The eBook provides help on all aspects of grant writing from finding the appropriate grant to the grant writing process. If you need any help, please be sure to ask!

Thursday, January 28, 2010

More on teaching with iPods: Preserving tradition and culture

In a recent post I mentioned how the public often reacts strongly to the idea of new technology being used in the classroom. Perhaps one mistake we make is to not reassure them that good ol' fashioned teaching is still taking place, and that these new tools are only augmenting the traditional education they're afraid of losing.

One school in Minnesota is doing it very well:

A charter school on the White Earth Indian Reservation is using traditional culture and language to get kids and parents excited about education.

The aging brick school building sits across the road from a small housing development in Naytahwaush, a remote reservation village of about 500.

For generations, this school was part of the Mahnomen school district. School officials from 20 miles away made decisions about the classes and the kids.

Now, it's a charter school designed around community, culture and language. The school Web site hosts video language tutorials produced by third-graders.

It seems that the dedicated folks running the Naytahwaush Community Charter School in a remote northern Minnesota village are on the front line of teaching, just as they are down in St. Paul:

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Teacher, 100, gets degree a day before dying

CONCORD, N.H. – It was Harriet Richardson Ames' dream to earn her bachelor's degree in education. She finally reached that milestone, nearly three weeks after achieving another: her 100th birthday.

On Saturday, the day after receiving her diploma at her bedside, the retired schoolteacher died, pleased that she had accomplished her goal, her daughter said. Ames had been in hospice care.

"She had what I call a 'bucket list,' and that was the last thing on it," Marjorie Carpenter said Tuesday.

Read the full article at Yahoo.com

Teaching the public to look ahead

Anyone who has attempted to pass a public funding referendum for education knows how difficult it can be to convince John and Jane Q. Public of the merits of certain types of teaching. We're facing a revolution in teaching methodology, largely due to emerging communications and collaboration tools. But it's a tough sell.

An article posted last month on the Twin Cities Pioneer Press website has generated over 150 comments, the majority of which are critical and even hostile toward those teaching with iPods. The story takes place at Somerset Elementary, where math, spelling and other topics are taught interactively using the devices:

For fourth-grader Gabe Rivera, running vocabulary drills and solving mathematical problems on his classroom iPod Touch is a fun way to learn, in part because it's "something that is more newer than paper."

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Cyberbullying: Lowering thresholds of tolerance

After a decade or more online, many of us have become jaded or indifferent to the hostility people sometimes show toward each other in the relative anonymity of the web. If we stray outside social internet communities that are rooted in our physical ones, we find people we're likely to never meet, and they often don't show us the same respect or decency that they would face-to-face. Eventually we may reach a plateau of tolerance that's much higher than it should be, especially when children  are involved.

Schools around the world are struggling to keep up with social challenges in fully digitized youth. They're chasing the kids who are sprinting ahead into the cyber-abyss, sometimes encountering situations they're not prepared to handle. Sometimes they're actually the cause of shame and depression, or worse, in other kids.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Get the Grant!

One of my largest tasks as a researcher at Atomic Learning is keeping up to date on education funding. Regardless of the state or type of school, the problem is always the same: lack of funding! This carries through from elementary schools to universities. One solution to the woes of funding cuts is competitive grant writing. There seem to be an endless supply of grants for educators, but completing a proposal is a scary process. Grant writing is a lot of work and a bit of an intimidating process.

Last week, Inside Higher Ed posted the blog “You Can Get the Grant” by Mary W. Walters.

Motivational gurus encouraging us in the use of positive self-talk have
become so commonplace that their entreaties can begin to sound ridiculous: from
curing our own diseases to making ourselves millionaires before we’re 40 to
climbing Mount Everest, they insist that if we only set our minds to it, we can
make our every dream come true.

While the attainment of grandiose objectives may appear to many of us
to be beyond the power of self-inflicted brain-washing, there is a nugget of
truth in all the hype. A positive attitude can most certainly contribute to the
achievement of smaller goals — such as writing a funding application.

If you are considering pulling together a grant proposal, I highly recommend the article by Ms. Walters. Another resource is the Atomic Learning eBook Grant Writing Tips and Tricks. If you are writing a grant for Atomic Learning products, please know we are always here to help you. Our sales team understands the funding struggles facing each organization and will be more than happy to help guide you in the process.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Acer's School Library Technology Makeover Contest

Via eSchool News:

Acer and Intel are accepting nominations for Acer’s School Library Technology Makeover Contest, which will award 10 new Acer Aspire Timeline notebook computers, valued at nearly $10,000, and two all-in-one desktop computers to a deserving school library.


I Need My Teachers to Learn

This speaks for itself. I'll let it.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Bring Back National (or International) Thrift Week?

National Thrift Week had a 50-year run in our history before being dispensed with in the 1960s. It began on Jan. 17, 1916—the birthday of Benjamin Franklin, the “American Apostle of Thrift”—and soon spread to more than 300 communities. Everyone from the YMCA to the Jewish Welfare Board to the National Education Association sponsored the event. Indeed, educators, partnering with financial institutions and businesses, played a key role in promoting thrift during the week.

David Lapp, in a commentary for Education Week, proposes that we revive this product of the very early 20th century because of its relevance to our difficult current economic times. It seems that the more things change, the more they stay the same. Economic prosperity doesn't guarantee the future, and certain values that used to help protect us from fiscal disaster seem to have been lost, especially in the young.

But how could anyone become so excited about a mundane idea like thrift? Doesn’t thrift mean pinching pennies? Thrift leaders of that era were quick to point out that thrift is not synonymous with miserliness. They believed it was just the opposite. After all, they pointed out, the root of the word “thrift” is “thrive.” How is the thrifty person the thriving person?

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Brad Flickinger to present at FETC

Brad Flickinger, educational futurist, will be presenting on Teaching with Netbooks Friday, 15 January at 12:30 courtesy of Atomic Learning. Brad's always popular, and this is a great topic.

Netbooks are going to change everything...When you get a complete set of netbooks for every student in your classroom your method of teaching will change forever. Imagine for a moment being a teacher in a one-to-one classroom where you stand at the front of the room and look down at your students in their desks with their netbooks open and ready to be instructed. What do you do?

The complete FETC presentation itinerary

About Brad Flickinger

2010 Sylvia Charp Award nominations in progress

As a social networker for Atomic Learning, I often come into contact with the most progressive, technologically literate, and enthusiastic educators and tech coordinators. I'd be thrilled to see one of them win this award for district-wide technology implementation.

Nominations end 15 March, 2010.

T.H.E. Journal and the International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE) are pleased to announce the 7th annual award program honoring Dr. Sylvia Charp and her groundbreaking contributions and extended service to the education technology community.

T.H.E. Journal and ISTE will identify and recognize a school district that has shown effectiveness and innovation in the application of technology district-wide.

The award has two focuses:
  • District-wide implementation: Ensuring equity and appropriate technology use for ALL students in the district.
  • Innovation: Progress in education, as in all endeavors of our society, depends on new ideas.
Submit your nomination now! Click here.

Read more

Monday, January 11, 2010

St. Cloud teacher earns Presidential Award for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching

Atomic Learning would like to congratulate Kari (Dombrovski) Dresow, a second grade teacher at Talahi and an Atomic Learning subscriber through St. Cloud ISD 742, for receiving this award.

The Presidential Award for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching is awarded annually to the best pre-college-level science and math teachers from across the country. The winners are selected by a panel of distinguished scientists, mathematicians, and educators following an initial selection process done at the state level. Each year the award alternates, going either to science and math teachers in grades K through 6 (as it is this year) or to those teaching in grades 7 through 12.

Winners of the Presidential Teaching Award receive $10,000 awards from the National Science Foundation to be used at their discretion. They also receive an expense-paid trip to Washington, D.C. for a White House awards ceremony and several days of educational and celebratory events, including visits with members of Congress and science agency leaders.

Congratulations to our customers and all teachers who were honored with this award in 2009.

Read more at Whitehouse.gov

Read an article at SCTimes.com

2010 MLK Day Technology Challenge

We are calling on educators and web professionals to join our new effort – the 2010 MLK Day Technology Challenge. The idea is simple: to connect schools with technology needs to IT and web professionals, developers, graphic designers and new media professionals who are willing to volunteer their skills for good, take on these technology projects and give back to a school in need.

What a great idea in this time of financial crisis for schools in many nations. There's a location feature down the page for those interested.

Read more

Tuesday, January 05, 2010

New Content Alert: Inspiration 9

For visual mapping, outlining, writing and making presentations, Inspiration® 9 is the ultimate thinking and learning tool. Brainstorm ideas, structure your thoughts and visually communicate concepts to strengthen understanding with the Diagram and Map Views. To take notes, organize information, and structure writing for plans, papers and reports use the integrated Outline View. And, with Inspiration’s Presentation Manager, transform your work into polished presentations that communicate ideas clearly and demonstrate understanding and knowledge.

View two free tutorials here

Monday, January 04, 2010

Twitter headlines for the new year

Happy new year to all our readers, customers, and educators everywhere. To kick off 2010, here are some interesting looking Tweets from today. New to Twitter? Be our guest with these two free tutorials

RT @rmbyrne: Free Technology for Teachers: 3 Ways, Other Than Skype, to Bring Experts Into Class http://ff.im/-dLprT

Does Socratic teaching fit into 21st-century schools? http://bit.ly/6p6K7e

Report Shows Teachers Not Adequately Prepared for Education Reform http://bit.ly/8vV3Fk

The future is the Web: http://bit.ly/81E9GF

From Google Reader: My Top 20 Education Quotes from 2009 http://bit.ly/7KBeEz

From Google Reader: Opportunities For Becoming A Digitally Literate Teacher In 2010 http://bit.ly/6GHkUS

Hehe RT @WillyB: GraphJam pokes at teachers' fear of the Wikipedia: http://bit.ly/5FJ3U8

RT @NMHS_Principal: A school districts commitment to learning in the 21st century http://bit.ly/4n677D