Software
Pixie Icon

Pixie

Software for student publishing and creativity.

Wixie Icon

Wixie

Online student publishing and creativity platform.

Frames Icon

Frames

Create animations, digital stories, and stop-motion.

Share Icon

Create web sites, epubs, and presentations.

Professional Learning
Services
Pixie Icon

Pixie

Software for student publishing and creativity.

Wixie Icon

Wixie

Online student publishing and creativity platform.

Frames Icon

Frames

Create animations, digital stories, and stop-motion.

Share Icon

Share

Create web sites, epubs, and presentations.

Tech4Learning Blog
Tech4Learning Blog
Tech4Learning Blog
Tech4Learning Blog

Creativity in the Science Classroom

Posted by Joseph Machado on Apr 13, 2011 11:08:00 AM


As Samuel Johnson once said, "Youth is the time of enterprise and hope."

Many teachers find it hard to design imaginative ways of teaching science, especially if science is not their specialty.  I know this was a struggle for me when I was teaching 6th grade.  Science seemed to take a back seat over my love for social studies and language arts.  Today, with the use of productivity and creativity tools, doors are opening for teachers and students to creatively engage with content.

History has shown scientific revolutions are often led by the youngest scientists.

  • In 1953, when James Watson was only 25, he co-wrote one of the most important scientific papers of all time.
  • Marie Curie, the physicist, was just turning 30 when she began investigating radioactivity.
  • Isaac Newton was 23 when he began inventing calculus.
  • Albert Einstein published several of his most important papers at the age of 26.
  • Werner Heisenberg pioneered quantum mechanics in his mid-20s.

According to the National Institute of Health (NIH) most grants today for science and research go to adults during their senior years.  This is somewhat troubling given the stakes of 21st century learning.  Many youth today are not given the opportunity to explore ideas of innovation and creativity in the classroom, therefore inhibiting the advancement of science concepts.  Age does have its benefits in the field, but without the blossoming ideas of youth we may find ourselves further behind than we expect.

Tech4Learning has created a kit for both elementary and secondary science concepts.  Exploring these ideas with your students will aide in fostering creativity, innovation, and a deeper level of understanding with abstract science concepts.
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Topics: creativity, engage, 21st century classroom, technology integration, science

The 21st century classroom – where the 3 R’s meet the 4 C’s!

Posted by Melinda Kolk on Mar 30, 2011 2:55:00 PM

Our world is changing and changing rapidly.  But while we often see digital natives on the covers of contemporary magazines, we have students in our classrooms from both sides of the divide.  A 21st century classroom must engage and energize both natives and non-natives, preparing all students to be active participants in our exciting global community.

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Topics: creativity, creative software, engage, 21st century classroom, multimedia, constructivism, collaboration

Building Literacy Skills with Pixie

Posted by Joseph Machado on Mar 10, 2011 8:39:00 AM

Early literacy is such a complex topic involving many issues like whole language, phonics, development, natural environment, direct teaching, and intervention.  How does one create a balanced approach to early literacy instruction through purposeful, functional use and meaningful context within a print-rich environment?  I believe the key ingredient is engagement and Pixie the tool to help with strengthening these skills in a 21st century classroom.

Using the National Early Literacy Panel’s 2002 research findings I have come up with ways in which Pixie can support their vision of the elements of a successful reading program.

For Alphabetic Principle (phonics and phonemic awareness) students:
  • Use the the stamp tool to stamp letters and form new words
  • Create letter trading cards
  • Complete various activities in the activities folder – rhyming, beginning sounds, etc.
For Fluency students:
  • Record their voice practicing beginning sounds of words
  • Retell a story focusing on tone of voice
  • Graph words per minute on various passages
For Vocabulary students:
  • Create a digital dictionary with original illustrations showing the meaning of the word
  • Create and record an original rebus story
  • Create vocabulary trading cards
For Comprehension students:
  • Use graphic organizers in the activities folder to map out the elements of a story
  • Create a new book cover for a story they have read
  • Create a video summarizing the story supporting it with original illustrations
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Topics: pixie, creativity, creativity software, engage, literacy, 21st century classroom, technology integration, fluency

An Invitation to Expand your Literacy Program

Posted by Joseph Machado on Feb 22, 2011 10:09:00 AM

The integration of creativity software should not be seen as "one more thing I have to do", but instead looked at as a bridge to engage students in furthering their literacy skills.  As teachers begin to give students longer, more academic reading assignments, that is when the emphasis shifts from "learning to read" to "reading to learn", many students lose steam.  So the question becomes, how do we continue to have students be "the little engine that could"?

Do Not Reinvent the Wheel
Teachers should be aware that one does not need to reinvent the wheel in order to be successful with this strategy.  Many textbooks today are filled with extension and skill building activities requiring higher-level thinking and various approaches to 21st century skills, such as problem solving.

Check Out Your Textbook
Teachers may want to take some time to look at the side columns in their student or teacher editions of the textbook and see how creativity software, such as Pixie, can support the ideas already in place to strengthen student literacy.  This is something that can be done with each core content area, as most textbooks will support literacy of sorts within their field.

Houghton-Mifflin Resource Guide
While working with some teachers in California, I took the liberty to peruse the Houghton-Mifflin literature anthology for creative ways to further engage the staff and their students.  What I found were a wealth of extension and skill based activities that the teachers were bypassing due to time.  The staff and I collaborated on how we could infuse these ideas with Tech4Learning software during their monthly themes and not add an additional workload.  The result is this document filled with a wealth of extension and skill building ideas whether you use Houghton-Mifflin or not.

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Topics: pixie, creativity, creativity software, engage, literacy, 21st century classroom, productivity software, technology integration, constructivism

Students learning from blogging--A 21st Century Trend

Posted by Kristen Yazbek on Feb 11, 2011 12:42:00 PM

 Learning in the 21st Century is a hot topic in education these days. Students need to find ways to get engaged and excited even more--what better way than to get your students to join a weekly blog?

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Topics: creativity, engage, students, learn, blog

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