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Cameron Evan Talks Teaching Innovation

Evans Cameron Evans, Microsoft's National and Chief Technology Officer US Education, talks innovative teaching with Ken Royal at The Royal Treatment. Learn about innovative teaching programs, what innovative teachers are doing now, including gaming, and how to get involved in your own student and teacher innovative projects.
Listen to my interview with Cameron Evans:

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MP3 Audio Link: http://blogtalk.vo.llnwd.net/o23/show/2/149/show_2149307.mp3

iTunes Link: http://itunes.apple.com/podcast/the-royal-treatment-blog-talk/id414014159

 

Phil Mickelson Talks Teachers Academy

Phil Phil Mickelson, tees up some education talk with Ken Royal at The Royal Treatment. Phil Mickelson, professional golfer and science education fan talks about the ExxonMobil Teachers Academy that he and his wife, Amy, began more than 6 years ago. The Mickelsons are a class act, with a passion for helping science and math teachers bring experiential lessons and techniques back to their classes, schools, and district. Phil goes from Royal St. Georges to The Royal Treatment, and it's just par for the course with this class act.
Listen to the interview:


Embedded Player (requires Flash):

MP3 Podcast Link: http://blogtalk.vo.llnwd.net/o23/show/2/124/show_2124365.mp3

iTunes Link: http://itunes.apple.com/podcast/the-royal-treatment-blog-talk/id414014159

Video Games: Learning Disguised as Fun

Gamestar2Recently, 15 Brooklyn students with their families learned how to design and create video games. The training, held at the Shell Bank School (J.H.S. 14) was an effort to help needy students acquire the tools and knowledge to compete in the National STEM Video Game Challenge—http://www.stemchallenge.org/. Winning students will earn cash for their schools and a laptop for themselves. “My teacher, she told me about it. It was so fun. First, we made a game, and then we let other people try it out. Some kids had games that were really hard, and some kids had games that were really easy,” says student DeJannia Parnell.

My own video-gaming attention span is that of a gnat, but I get it. I remember teaching my students how to build JavaScript games for their Web pages. That was pretty simple compared to today’s game programming, but I do know that kids felt good about building something that they could actually play—sort of like building a stool in shop class—only more fun, and without the wobbly legs. Always heard good things from parents about it, too—and best of all, kids who hadn’t taken the course—couldn’t wait to get there.

Gamestar3The Brooklyn video-game training was hosted by the non-profit organization Computers for Youth (CYF)— http://www.cfy.org/, in partnership with E-line Media— http://elineventures.com/, as well as others, such as Microsoft and BrainPop. E-line Media also supports the video design and creation learning game called Gamestar Mechanic— http://gamestarmechanic.com/.

While my own video-gaming expertise is not quite that of a 5-year old, I appreciate that it may not only help keep computer science exciting for kids, but also allow them to experience a world outside their local environment. For me, reading is still at the top of the list for doing that, but making room for kids learning to create their own video games is a no brainer, too. I’m certain kids doing that would be late to the next class—for all the right reasons.

Make the Cut: Mickelson ExxonMobil Academy

Mickelson2010 Golfer Phil Mickelson and his wife Amy began the Mickelson ExxonMobil Teachers Academy to help educators get science and math professional development—and to take back lessons learned to their classrooms. The Michelsons are a class act, and people, who know nothing about golf, respect them. So, their genuine interest in helping educators teach better, and learn ways to get kids more excited about math and science, is easy to share.

In many instances, at the early grade levels, math and science may not be as comfortable for educators to teach as reading and writing—but it is where kids on those subjects. Here’s the topper—the Academy is all-expenses paid for teachers who make the cut.

To send a teacher to the 2011 Mickelson ExxonMobil Teachers Academy, go to www.SendMyTeacher.com. There, you’ll find more information about the academy, as well as “clicks” to nominate your 3rd-5th-grade teacher choice. You don’t have to be an administrator, or an educator to enter either. Parents and students can nominate a teacher to the Academy.

The nominated teacher will receive an e-card saying "Thanks!" as well as a link to the Academy application. Last year, more than 1,200 teachers applied for this opportunity, and 200 were chosen.

The deadline for teachers to be nominated is October 31, 2010. So, tee it up, keep it in the academic fairway, and help an educator make the 2011 Mickelson ExxonMobil Teachers Academy cut. All you have to do is log-on to www.SendMyTeacher.com.

If you're interested in learning more, check the video-journal experiences of a group of 2010 Academy teachers at http://www.youtube.com/SendMyTeacher.

More here at ExxonMobil: http://www.exxonmobil.com/Corporate/community_math_academy.aspx

Shmoop Resources: Literature to Math

Shmoop1 Shmoop is an educator’s free resource dream. Oh yes, librarians love them, too. Shmoop has been around since 2008, and have racked up quite a few Internet awards. The name still makes me smile.

Its Learning Guides are digital, and you can search literature titles by number, alphabetical order, and author, too. Shakespeare has his own link, so he’d be happy about that—I’m sure. Other category breakdowns include Poetry, Best Sellers, Biography, U.S. History, Civics, Economics, and Music. It even has overviews in Spanish. All are accessible from an easy-to-use link menu.

Educators, who are PhD students from Stamford, Harvard and UC Berkeley, write Shmoop learning guides. They’re very well done, and fun, too. The resources are available as iPhone Apps, for Android devices, and eBook readers.

Note: Getting graduate students to do this type of work has been common practice elsewhere, especially in start-ups developed at universities. In Connecticut, UCONN has been quite successful launching businesses in this way.

What’s New Shmoop?

Shmoop Does the Math is a free online pre-algebra curriculum—just launched. Yep, the literature and humanities barrier has been breeched, and according to Ellen Siminoff, CEO of Shmoop, “We’ll do whatever it takes to make math understandable and fun for students.” My suspicion is that Shmoop will continue to expand its middle school curriculum. In my book, that’s good for educators and great for kids. Wonder if a line of Shmoop characters will be next!

Check out Shmoop at http://www.shmoop.com.

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Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in The Royal Treatment are strictly those of the author and do not reflect the opinions or endorsement of Scholastic, Inc.