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

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 an article at

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

Does Socratic teaching fit into 21st-century schools?

Report Shows Teachers Not Adequately Prepared for Education Reform

The future is the Web:

From Google Reader: My Top 20 Education Quotes from 2009

From Google Reader: Opportunities For Becoming A Digitally Literate Teacher In 2010

Hehe RT @WillyB: GraphJam pokes at teachers' fear of the Wikipedia:

RT @NMHS_Principal: A school districts commitment to learning in the 21st century