Technology Times

February 24, 2015

Goodbye textbooks, hello free online resources

Online material offers a free and worthy alternative to traditional textbooks in many districts

Textbooks, those long-entrenched staples of classrooms, could soon be pushed from their place of prominence by a high-tech alternative: online lessons that can be downloaded, customized and updated — all at will, and all for free.

The online material offers enticing benefits as it provides more current content, appeal to students and saves schools potentially big money. San Jose Unified, for example, spends $1 million annually on textbooks.

For some time, textbook publishers and software developers have marketed digital lessons to schools. But unlike Apple’s proposition to replace books with more costly iPad lessons, the movement for “open educational resources” focuses on free material, created and curated by educators.

“We’re just at the initial stages of a revolution in education,” said Matt Chamberlain, principal of Venture School, an independent study school in the San Ramon Unified School District. Selecting and managing online material is challenging, “but to put resources in kids’ hands is very exciting.” Added Venture biology teacher Maureen Allison, “There’s so much potential, so much rich stuff out there.”

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2015 the San Jose Mercury News (San Jose, Calif.). Visit the San Jose Mercury News (San Jose, Calif.) at Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC. eschool News, February 3, 2015.

Digital Learning Day - March 13, 2015

This is a reminder of Digital Learning Day on March 13, 2015. Please go to the Google Document to post what you will be doing on Digital Learning Day. Also, take lots of pictures and post to your website. I would love to share the other ITF's .


What is Exhibi? It is a program that allows students to create their own Digital Portfolios.
Very easy and simple to use. To get your free account visit.

Exhibi Lite is FREE!

Digital Learning Day Information from NCDPI

Announcing Digital Learning Day - March 13, 2015

The North Carolina Department of Public Instruction, in a joint venture with NCTies and NCSLMA, and in partnership with the Alliance for Excellent Education, is pleased to announce our participation in the Digital Learning Day celebration. This national campaign is designed to celebrate innovative teaching and highlight practices that illustrate effective use of digital teaching. This includes activities that make learning more personalized and engaging for students, and that ready them with skills needed to succeed in college, career, and life.

As you are planning your Digital Learning Day (DLD) celebration, we would like to invite you to participate in our statewide innovative digital learning contest.

Who is this contest for?
You! We are looking for innovative digital learning! All approaches, grade levels, subject areas, geographic locations and levels of expertise are welcome! No matter what, who or how you teach, this challenge is for you!

How can you participate?
1. Assemble a collaborative team of teachers in your school. We recommend including your Instructional Technology Facilitator and/or your School Library Media Coordinator if
2. Highlight what innovative digital learning looks like for your students using a format of
your choice. This could be an image with an accompanying description,
short video (2 minutes max) or any Web 2.0 tool you choose.

3. Submit your entry on the DLD entry form -
( by Friday, March 6, 2015.
It’s that easy!

What happens next?

All submissions will be evaluated by NCDPI Digital Teaching & Learning consultants, NCTies and NCSLMA board members. A rubric can be found in the DLD Edmodo Group (group code: 6wytyp).

One winning team per region will be selected.

The winning teams will receive 1 complimentary registration for NCSLMA 2015 and 1 complimentary registration for NCTies 2016. The NCSLMA complimentary registration must be accompanied by a conference proposal.

Need more information?

To learn more about this ground-breaking event, visit

You can also “like” Digital Learning Day on Facebook at and follow the discussion on Twitter using the hashtag #DLDay.

28 apps for challenge-based learning projects

Finding & Launching a Challenge

Find a challenge: Use apps that connect students to innovative resources and news sources, such as feed readers (think Feedly), the TED app, NPR, and the magazine-like aggregator Zite.

Brainstorm: Try apps such as MindNode ($9.99), Stickyboard, and Ideasketch to get creative juices flowing.

Collaborate: Consider these fresh apps for getting students to work together through journaling (iDO Notepad), and making checklists (Wunderlist).

From Challenge to Solution

Mindmap: iBrainstorm and Popplet can help organize thoughts.

Research: InstaPaper ($3.99) saves webpages for offline viewing; Wikipedia Mobile can be invaluable on-the-go.

Polling/Surveying: Polls Online, PollDaddy, and Socrative might help gather responses.

Solution implementation

Project management: Apps such as gTasks/GoTasks and Weave, which can even help balance money, are solid organizers to keep students on task.

Data Analysis: Roambi Analytics turns spreadsheet and other data into visuals and charts.

Sharing Findings

Solution presentation: Encourgae students to creatively present their findings with apps such as Prezi, iMovie, or Haiku Deck. Or share photos taken during the process using Nostalgio ($1) or Frametastic.

Reflection: Have students create books (Scribble Press, $2.99) or record their thoughts via audio (VoiceThread; Audioboom)

eSchool News has selected these apps, which were originally curated by Apple Distinguished Educators, that may help you meet your instructional needs.]

By Stephen Noonoo, Editor, @stephenoonoo February 20th, 2015, eSchool News.

106K free teacher-created digital textbooks hit the web

The move to digital textbooks and resources is spreading as more companies partner with open education efforts

More than 100,000 teacher-created digital textbooks are now available online through the CK-12 Foundation’s free STEM content and tools platform.

The 106,000 digital texts, or FlexBooks, come from the roughly 30,000 schools using CK-12’s free and open digital resources. CK-12 is launching two new tools in addition to its new content.

One is a new physics simulation module that uses real-world interactivity to increase student engagement. Students relate often-abstract concepts to real-world examples to increase learning.

The second is called PLIX (Play, Learning, Interact, and eXplore), and it gives students an interactive and immersive experience that helps them learn by doing. PLIX “makes it simple for students to play around with concepts, follow up, and model those concepts,” said Neeru Khosla, the executive director and co-founder of the CK-12 Foundation.

“Learning best happens when you’re exposed to something–you first learn very basic facts and then you think about the material in deeper ways,” she said. “[PLIX] takes students through deeper thinking, critical thinking, and creativity,” in the hopes that they use their knowledge to create new ideas, tools, and concepts.

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