As the year comes to an end, we offer you this review of our 2015 blogs in case you missed any. We’ve included a short synopsis with links to the original full-length blogs in case you see something you missed and want to refer back to the full-length version. We have also grouped these by broad topics. Enjoy.
Digital Tools and Engagement
In February 2015, guest blogger Roland Rios from Fort Sam Houston ISD in Texas introduced you to SafeShare.TV: a great site to play YouTube video without ads. We also reviewed the MindShift Guide to Digital Games and Learning. This document is a must- read for all teachers using gaming in the classroom. March came and we were on to The Amazing World of Gamestar Mechanic. Gamestar allows students to create digital games based on teacher-given content. Imagine the possibilities. March also gave us a great review of Whyville, an online multi-user virtual environment where students can learn from embedded games while all along being a citizen of Whyville. In April we looked at Augmented Reality and Engagement and by May we had moved on to explore an exciting new video editing program: EDpuzzle. In August Roland Rios introduced you to Google Cardboard, an inexpensive virtual reality program. An exciting animation program called Plotagon was covered in August. This cool animation software is free with lots of options. We are still using our free version. September is when Pixar-in-a-Box was unveiled in a blog called When Digital Collaboration, Engagement, and Design Come Together. Tuva came your way in October of 2015 in a blog called Need Data? Get Tuva! This exciting data- analysis program offers a ton of classroom opportunities to use the Design Qualities. In November we turned back to animation with a blog called Scratch: A World of Possibilities. Finally, in December we reviewed the very cool Kerbal Space Program. Imagine you work at Cape Kennedy building rockets that you actually fly out on missions.
In February, we gave you our slant on combining technology with design and engagement in one of our first blogs entitled Digital Tools and Engagement. By applying the Design Qualities to the design of digital work, teachers can really leverage these powerful tools. Also in February we based a blog around the great work of Midlothian ISD teacher Ann Witherspoon; our post was entitled Product Focus and Creativity. Phil Schlechty also blogged this month on a topic called The Teacher’s Dilemma. Our next transformation post appeared in May when we talked about Collaboration in a Digital World. May also gave us a moving slant on Digital Equity featuring a video from Kid President. In June, Ron Wright wrote of his personal experience with the power of making in a blog entitled Makers. It was August before transformation appeared again. This time it was in the form of a blog called In Support of Engagement. This important blog shared some recent evidence and articles written in support of the need for engagement in school. We urged you to move beyond strategic planning by considering a Strategic Change Agenda in September. Finally, in November we dissected the very important NMC Horizon Report: 2015 K-12 Edition.
It has been a great Year One for the Engagement Connection. We have enjoyed bringing you these thoughts on engagement, digital tools, and transformation. We hope they were helpful to you. Here’s to 2016!
The Engagement People