Back from Blogging Hiatus…

Hey folks I really missed sharing & caring, along with answering your questions via post comments. Recently I helped a relative near and dear to me complete their cancer journey. The final segment of his cancer journey started back in October. Now you might be thinking, “What does this have to do with educational technology?” Innovative thinking  is the answer!!! I’m thankful due to the doctor teams’ innovative and creative thinking skills because it extended my husband’s life for five years. Saving a life is just one reason why applying educational technology for supporting the 4C’s is so important!

During my husband’s cancer battle I got to see what strong communication and collaboration can do.  It took the brainstorming of many specialized doctors to figure out exactly what to do for providing both longevity and a quality of life. Due to this experience I feel it is more important than ever before to engage students by using Google Docs Chat, Comments, Blogging and etc… for brainstorming and supporting 4C’s skills. It is these very skills which are essential for innovative thinking to occur!

My husband also experienced another benefit of technology. Our daughter lived in a different state far away from us. Although she flew in (hmmm…technology=planes) quite frequently to visit him this wasn’t enough! However thanks to the technology of Video Chats this man who wasn’t savvy had the ability to see and talk with our daughter quite frequently. Bill also enjoyed when my daughter left video messages for him to view.

On one of our last Sloan visits my husband experienced interacting with machine technology when my car yelled at him! He insisted on driving home after spending  a week in the hospital. I was against this and apparently my hybrid vehicle didn’t like it either. My husband wouldn’t listen to me when I complained about him swerving back and forth. However he handed over the steering wheel after the car flashed a coffee cup with the message, “I think you may need a rest”

Bill at Sloan

Another benefit provided by technology was the simple enjoyment my husband received when talking with our Google Home. He like to ask it silly questions just to hear how the device would respond. This simple use of machine technology provided hours of laughter and pleasure during these stressful times. The Google Home also helped my husband keep track of time, play music and create shopping lists for me to access from my phone.

Although I miss my husband very much it is an honor to blog about how much technology influenced this simple man’s life. I am thankful for the innovators in this world who  have affected my husband’s cancer journey. Technology is a blessing when it can be used to make a positive difference. The creation of innovative tools depends on the skills of communication and collaboration.

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Collaboration Leads to Innovation

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I recently witnessed how communication and collaboration skills support both creative and critical thinking along with innovation. After spending a week at Sloan Kettering in NYC due to a family members cancer journey. During the week I noticed not one doctor made a decision without consulting a team of experts. I saw true collaboration and experienced the positive effects which develops from such teamwork. More than ever I understand why this cancer research center has one of the best reputations for providing innovative therapies and medicines.

The experience was a good example of how collaboration and communication naturally supports both creative and critical thinking. It is these very skills which lead to the development of innovation. I immediately connected this experience with the the 4C’s of learning. Now with greater reasons when integrating educational technology the skills are valued more than ever by me.

One of the reasons I’m passionate about integrating G Suite for Education products is due to the variety of tools they offer for strengthening and exploring the 4C’s. It is my belief the 4C’s are important skills to nurture when guiding students onto a pathway for both academic and future professional success!

Freedom Thank You Pixel 2!

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Wow I never thought a phone could have the ability to provide both freedom and independence. If you are a person of physical exceptionalities you might relate to this. I have a spine condition which sometimes challenges both my small and large motor movements. In the past this has prevented me from taking selfies and photos. I wasn’t able to apply enough pressure to activate a smartphone’s camera. Now thanks to the Pixel 2 and Google Assistant I can say, “Take a Selfie” or “Take a Photo”.

It is amazing how something so simple could help someone complete a task others take for granted. Due to my position as a Teaching Assistant I see students take on challenges everyday. When technology is integrated with a specific objective in mind it could support the student with becoming an independent learner. What better motivator then working without an adult hovering over you every second. Devices such as the Pixel 2 could provide this ability for students.

The speech to operational function the Pixel 2 offers is absolutely amazing. I can say, “Open a Google Doc” and the Google Docs APP opens. Then it is a matter of finding the doc and tapping it. Once the document is fully open all the user has to do is talk to type. The accuracy of the speech to text editor built into this device is absolutely amazing. Not only does the device type or read for the student but it can do a Google Voice search. This makes the research process much easier for those students who struggle due to lower reading or writing skills.  These are just a few reasons why I’m thankful for the Freedom a Pixel 2 Smartphone provides.

Why I’m Passionate about Using Tech…

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Technology devices can be seen everywhere these days. People of all ages are using digital devices for both learning and entertainment. What I like most about using technology supports is the magic it may unfold for those with both learning and physical disabilities.  Many moons ago it was this very reason I fell in love with using technology. I had this dream of unlocking doors for students who were challenged by fitting into inclusion classrooms.  When looking at a whole classroom community one should not be able to distinguish the challenged student from their peers. This is where technology may be used to assist with supporting student’s independents during certain classroom activities.

Present day schools have a tendency to integrate 1to1 devices. This doesn’t necessarily mean one device per student all day to take home at the end of the day. However what it does is provides the opportunity to use a digital device throughout the day during certain activities. Thanks to this students with disabilities are able to interact with classmates without an adult hovering at their side. Independents maybe one of the best esteem builders for some challenged students.  Due to my position as a teaching assistant one of the most common statements students have made over the years is, “I can do this by myself.” Students often state this because they feel uncomfortable and zeroed out by their peers for having an adult assist them all the time.

Digital devices may unlock a student’s freedom by reading or writing for them. There are applications such as Google Calendar, and Keep which may be used to support student organization. These tools may also be used as a way to quietly communicate with a student. This is due to the sharing ability of calendars and Keep Notes. It allows an adult to indiscreetly edit the information a student types in. These tools also allow teachers and support staff to provide interactive links, videos, visuals, audios and etc… to help the students with learning the information presented in the classroom. I view using technology as a tool to bolstering a students esteem by helping them to independently interact within a classroom community. What better tool to use then one which empowers students to independently participate within a classroom community.

Google Doc’s Speech to Text My Hero!

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I’m falling in love with the Speech to Text Tool built right into a Google Doc and Slide. It makes life a bit easier when I need to lay down and decompress due to spine issues. I can still be productive by typing using my voice! This is a lifesaver!

I have used a handful of speech to text tools and have found this one to be fairly accurate. Best part is I don’t have to train the tool to accurately type what is being spoken. There is a small list of voice commands I recommend learning to create the best appearing text layout. You can learn more about Google Docs voice commands from the following Google Docs Editor Help Center Resources: Type with Your Voice.