FAIL SPACE

Wow, as I reflect over the past year, I find that I have missed many goals.  One is obviously that I did not update Zoombla over the winter break, and another is that I have somehow left this blog absent of good thought, advice, and personal experiences.  So why or why not should you continue reading . . . .

Because FAIL SPACE is important.  How we educate today is so dependent upon personalized learning environments where students can create, test, fail, and make better.  There is so much brain research that supports that when we struggle and rebuild we are building skills that are life long learning needs that will help is in any endeavor.  Consequently, we need classrooms that support project based learning, flexible design, group collaboration, making, designing, and presenting.  We need to place process over content, and we will find that students thrive, are more engaged, and take the redesign and editing phase as a game level to do better.  Students actually do like to break something and then figure out how to make it better or design, test it, and fix it.

So yes, I have failed you, my readers, in many ways this past year in the sense of content predictability, and while I have been engaged in large projects such as faculty development, the online educational initiative, student orientations, two learning systems management, and course review, I have failed this blog.  (or have I?)  However, you must also know that in my desire to fix, rebuild, create, and maintain this blog that I have simply written this post with gusto, in a quick manner, and with total belief in the success of FAIL SPACEs for the modern learner and, of course, me.

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Winter Break Challenge – Zoombla 2.0

About a year ago I created my first app for the iPhone and as I am reviewing my notes I realize that I missed some of the updates that I promised.  I am also getting messages from Apple that I should think about upgrading my app to work on newer iOS platforms such as iOS8.  I am writing you to make you aware of my Winter Break Challenge as I float into the holiday season, and I wanted to make you aware of it to keep my plans honest, transparent, and accountable.  Consequently, I will update Zoombla to Zoombla 2.0 for the die hard fans.  It will be free to you, and I hope we gain a new audience so you can continue playing your math game with family, friends, and maybe one day new acquaintances.  Thanks for all of your support of my apps this year.  2014 has been an amazing year.  I will publish again when it is done.  At the moment it looks like it will be a SpriteKit App as I am really enjoying the added user interface of the SpriteKit platform.

Hour of Code

Although I have been busy with a new position in instructional design for online education at a community college, I want to continue to add educational technology posts at this site and keep you posted of great ideas out there.  As a part time developer of educational apps for the iPad and iPhone (iOS platform) and as a coder of Objective C, SpriteKit, Cocoa Touch, and many other Frameworks, it would not have been possible to have released my apps on the App Store at Apple without studying computer programming. There are many applications of computer programming in today’s world as you will see in the video.  I hope this Hour of Code Video inspires you to consider using their materials in your classroom or at the very least to promote these services to your students.

Designing Apps for Education

When I went into the field of educational technology full time, I knew I wanted to create, design, develop, troubleshoot, and release great learning modules for students and modern learners.  This past year I have had the great opportunity to hone my skills in iOS development for the iPad and the Iphone, and with the success of FIND CALCULATE COLOR, I see more apps on the horizon.  ( There is a free version that can be sampled should you want to try it out. )

Creating an App from design to production is a very rewarding experience, and with each new creation I am learning more about the design and development process and how the iOS apps can be harnessed for speed and the ultimate intuitive user experience.  Apple truly has a platform that allows a small business to thrive in a very competitive world or is it?

My apps are truly educationally focused first.  I don’t add Zombie’s for flair, and I try to meet a clear learning objective without trying to teach the entire curriculum.  I think there is much room for great educational apps that can be placed on the iPad growth within our educational systems.  I want to thank you for supporting Absolutely Learning this year.  It has made a world of difference to me and my personal attempt to put a positive stamp on this digital world.

An Instructional Design Specialist

Find Calculate Color, a math memory game for your iPad

Find Calculate ColorFIND CALCULATE COLOR is a math memory game that is designed to run on the iPad. In a grid of 48 tiles a user finds a number, calculates an equation, or chooses a color that will eliminate as many tiles on the board as possible. FIND CALCULATE COLOR is what it is. It is a math memory game.

There are four levels to explore and all levels produce random FINDS, CALCULATES, and COLORS. There is a easy level which can be demoed in the free version of Find Calculate Color. The Easy, Medium, Hard, and Equations levels are available in the purchased version, and by their names those levels are a bit more challenging. There are various versions of basic math and color choices, and the game generates random finds, equations, and color nodes. The game is very intuitive and simply requires the user to select by double tapping an answer or menu item. To play FIND CALCULATE COLOR a user needs to know his/her math facts and to have a good memory.

FIND CALCULATE COLOR is designed by Absolutely Learning and implements Objective C, Cocoa Touch and Sprite Kit animations to make the user interface more interactive and enjoyable. It is optimized for the iPad (iOS 7.1 versions and above).

FIND CALCULATE COLOR meets many math standards and learning strategies, but these Common Core State Standards are definitely implemented for grades 1 – 5.

CCSS.Math.Content.1.OA.C.6
Add and subtract within 20, demonstrating fluency for addition and subtraction within 10.

CCSS.Math.Content.2.OA.B.2
Fluently add and subtract within 20 using mental strategies.
CCSS.Math.Content.3.OA.B.5
Apply properties of operations as strategies to multiply and divide.

CCSS.Math.Content.3.OA.C.7
Fluently multiply and divide within 100.

CCSS.Math.Content.4.OA.A.1
Use the four operations with whole numbers to solve problems.

EDTEC Thoughts for Dedicated Readers and EDTEC Enthusiasts

 

English: Costco in Moncton, New BrunswickThese past two months have been complicated with job interviews, conferences, clients, and iOS7 application development, and I missed the mark in regards to writing on a weekly basis.  In efforts to sincerely apologize, I want to give you an easy list of top ten current thoughts for the past two months this Spring of 2014.  This is for my dedicated readers of this blog and other educational technology enthusiasts.  As always this list is full of my professional observations and opinions.

1.  Windows 8.1 computers that are purchased at Costco are a great choice to recommend as they have been well-tested.  I have set up two of these computers recently for clients.  One was an HP All in One, and the other was an HP Laptop.  Clients were satisfied with price, functionality, and touch screen.

2.  Based upon years of experience, I believe that Apple Computer products in schools will run more efficiently with less need for maintenance than a PC Environment.  While I believe in great computers whether PC or MAC, I believe there will be less cost on maintenance and repair in an Apple campus, and I believe those savings will outweigh the initial startup costs of Apple products.  Students, Faculty, Parents, and Support Staff are usually happier too as they can spend more time on the creative learning and application to subject matter.

3.  I had the pleasure of testing Lenovo laptops at a recent conference, and they are well worth considering for PC users and PC organizations. Look at the Lenovo Yoga and the Lenovo Thinkpad series.  I don’t believe they are sold at Costco, but they have great deals for educators at their site.  If you have never heard of Lenovo then just remember that it is the old IBM brand.

4.  3D printing has great applications to the modern classroom for science, mathematics, architecture, and sculpting.  I would suggest that schools invest in a 3D printer and that they find ways to use it in their curriculum.

5.  Blogging is here to stay, and it is a great record for student portfolios.  They can be made private, public, or in combinations to be shared with educators, scholarship advisers, donors, admissions representatives, and select users if privacy is a concern.

6.  I hope you have heard of Google Apps for education, and I hope you have explored Outlook.com and One Drive from Microsoft.  Both of these organizations are offering a great way to create, store, access anywhere, and share documents, spreadsheets, and presentations.  There are free versions for individuals and better free versions for educational communities.  Most people who are familiar with MS Office will be happy with One Drive.

7.  Robotics is a great program to support, teach, and advise, and students can participate in competitions with big rewards.  Get Started Today!

8.  Computer programming jobs will continue to be available in the future as hardware technologies improve and as consumers demand the ease of product usage.  Why we don’t teach more computer programming in our schools is beyond my comprehension.  The students with computer programming backgrounds will be able to develop their ideas into prototypes in the future that will bring about new business for the US and the world.

9.  I am still going to have a shameless plug for Zoombla, a math app for ages 8 and above.  It is definitely not Zombie Math, but it will definitely force students to use and practice math skills.  It also encourages face to face competition so that students are still communicating and using real time social skills in the classroom.  Zoombla – Matt Moore

10.  An entire generation uses facetime, skype, and gaming devices such as the Xbox and Wii to video conference daily, yet I still see a lot of schools not using video conferencing for educational purposes.  Teachers should reach out to real time meetings with subject matter experts, authors, universities, and or other schools in distant locations.  Why not?  Isn’t collaboration a 21st century skill?

Have a great Spring!  Perhaps I will find time to elaborate in the future.  As always I appreciate your comments, suggestions, and advice.

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Which STEM skills are you teaching?

The A8N VM CSM, an ASUS microATX motherboard

The A8N VM CSM, an ASUS microATX motherboard (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I was recently reading an article from Elearning (www.2learning.com) where it states that “only 15% of college students (United States) are in Engineering and Science, where many of the high-tech jobs reside. That number compares to 50% in China, 67% in Singapore, and 47% in France.”  I found this alarming as the future economy depends upon technological advancements, inventions, applications, and products.  I also found this relative to a previous article that I wrote about students learning to code software as all of these devices need instructions (software) that tell the device what to do.

In addition, the article stated that “Leland Melvin, head of NASA’s education programs and head of the President’s STEM council, said that there are 1 million jobs that can’t be filled because people lack the requisite skills in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM).” It seems logical then to encourage students to study STEM skills at younger ages and to provide them with unique STEM courses to explore the future.  In fact, there might be a need to develop stronger STEM programs in our public schools.  It might even mean a shift in how school programs are offered.

I have seen many independent private schools build new science buildings in the past decade to tackle this need, and I am noticing that the local public high schools in my town are offering a pre-medical type program, an international baccalaureate, and a technology magnet school program for qualified applicants.  While we are moving in the correct direction, it appears that we have a long way to go.

If you have some time, please share what unique STEM skills are being taught at your school.

 

 

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