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

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 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 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