Tag Archives: baltimore

How Can I Generate Educational Content And Lessons For My Organization?

AlchemyLogoCropThe term educator is often used to describe a person who educates the minds of those around them with new and enriching content.  For instance, if you are a part of an organization such as a museum or a historical society, you may need to create a lesson plan and share educational content. But with your busy schedule, how can you ensure that you’re creating high quality material? Below are a few tips and strategies to help you engage and teach on behalf of your organization.

  • Hosting a ‘Lesson Hack’ Day – The perfect time to engage teachers is over the summer while class isn’t in session. For a few hours, it can be beneficial to host teachers and give them access to your resources. Not only will a lesson hack day serve as a think tank for everyone to brainstorm ideas, it can also count as Professional Development credits. If your organization hosts a PD day it can specialize on a in which topic you and your organization hold expertise. At these PD days, you and fellow educators can build and contribute to each others lessons. For a good example of a PD-driven lesson hack day, see the The Maryland Historical Society’s initiatives here:http://www.mdhs.org/education/teachers/prof-dev-workshops.
  • Teacher Fellowships – A fellowship takes place over the span of a few days or even weeks and it can include lectures and other PD activities. This is similar to a ‘lesson hack’ day except it’s longer and more intense. While this type of activity will require some funding, it can bring out a whole group of people who share the same passions as your organization. The American Revolution Institute of the Society of the Cincinnati has an example here:http://www.revolutionarynj.org/events/american-revolution-master-teachers-seminar/.
  • Create a Competition – Everyone has a little of a competitive streak inside of them. Creating a lesson plan competition could be a great way to generate content and create an incentive for other educators to build lesson plans centered on a specific topics that pertain your organization. The reward for the ‘winning lesson plan’ could consist of being on display or even a free class trip for the winning teacher. In addition, your organization can benefit from utilizing any of the submissions you receive. Here is an example of a lesson plan competition for the language arts:http://www.lalschools.com/en/LAL/lesson-plan-competition.
  • Editathon – Your organization may well have expertise in a given field that you can share with the world, but may find inaccuracies in a number of other sources on the web, including Wikipedia. Fortunately, there is a way to correct all of the misinformation online however: an editathon. This type of event allows anyone with a basic knowledge of editing on Wikipedia and an interest in the subject you’re lecturing on to make more credible information easily available. This type of event will also serve as a think-tank for like minded individuals to come together to discuss a topic and share ideas as well as build relationships within the community. The Smithsonian Freer Gallery of Art and Arthur M. Sackler Gallery have put together an event like this:http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:Meetup/DC/Freer_and_Sackler.

Generating educational content and lessons for your organization can be successful with collaboration and the help from other educators. While you’re building digital lessons for your organization, it’s also helpful toembed certain tools into the lesson. Digital tools can help you further engage the students and create a more impactful lesson.

Alchemy Learning, founded in 2012 in Baltimore, MD, creates cloud-based, data-driven learning & curriculum management tools for teachers, schools, and organizations. This past fall Alchemy released SmartBinder Flip (beta), the free, cloud-based lesson binder which allows teachers to build and deliver digital lessons and capture valuable feedback on class engagement and understanding. Our premium product suite consisting of SmartBinder Collaborate (which includes SmartBinder Teams) and SmartBinder Engage are now publicly available. Contact us today at alchemylearning.com.

Stay up to date with what’s going on at Alchemy Learning; follow us on Twitter,Facebook and LinkedIn.

Where Can I Find A Teacher Travel Grant?

AlchemyLogoCropAs an educator, you may well have summers away from the classroom, which leaves you with valuable time to engage in unique and enriching experiences that you can bring back to the classroom in the fall.  Travelling sits on the top of many teachers summer wish lists and can not only serve to help you relax and exhale, but can often times be used to enhance your understanding and connection to the material you teach and help you inspire your students even further. As all teachers know, when you’re excited, they will be too!

As wonderful as these experiences can be for you and the impact it may have for your future students, it’s not always easy to fund and plan your own expedition. Fortunately, there are many different programs that can help you fund the educational experience you crave. Applying for funds is as easy as filling out an application. While it may be too late to apply for a grant for summer 2014, it’s never too early to think about next summer!

The following organizations help teachers fund their travelling and learning learning experiences and may well be worth a look!:

  • Fund For Teachers – In order to be eligible for a grant from this organization, you must be employed full time as an educator for PreK-12th grade and spend at least 50% of your work week instructing students. You must also have at least three years of teaching experience and the intent of continuing to teach the following school year. Anyone who thinks that a summer travel opportunity can positively impact his or her teaching should apply. If accepted, the fellowship can grant up to $5,000 for individuals. Application deadlines vary from state to state but on average, Fund For Teachers funds 500 summer programs a year.
  • The Earthwatch Institute – The Earthwatch Institute recruits individuals from all around the globe to take part in research projects over the summer. In order to qualify for a research project, you just need to be a K-12 educator. Annually, 200 people are granted fellowships and Earthwatch will cover the cost of research, food and accommodations.  Travel to and from the site is not covered unfortunately, but it is common that most people receive reimbursement. While working on the research project, many fellows keep journals and then incorporate their experiences into future lesson plans.
  • Fulbright-Hays – Through Fullbright-Hays, educators are allowed to plan trips abroad that will help enhance their lessons and create a stronger impact for the students learning. The program is usually 4-6 weeks long and takes place in countries outside of Western Europe. Qualified applicants have three years of experience and teach some sort of curriculum relating to social sciences, languages or the humanities. The fellowship covers the cost of the entire trip except for a $450 cost share and more than 100 teachers are accepted annually.
  • Grosvenor Teacher Fellow Program – The Grosvenor Teacher Fellow Program is designed to give all educators the experience to bring geographic awareness to their classrooms. The program is open to all educators who have a proven dedication to geographic education in their field. The program covers the cost of transportation, lodging and food. There are a few different expeditions over the course of a year and each expedition has 2-3 fellows. This program doesn’t just have expeditions during the summer, some take place during the school year- so when filling out your application, it is important that the date works with your schedule.

After going on any of these exciting fellowships, it would be hard to not have a wonderful time to further inspire your students’ learning and perhaps even inspire envy in your colleagues!

It may be too late for an abroad fellowship this summer, but it’s not too late to sign up for professional development days. We have put together a listhere of some great opportunities taking place all over the country this summer and be ready when applications open again for the fellowship programs next year!

Alchemy Learning, founded in 2012 in Baltimore, MD, creates cloud-based, data-driven learning & curriculum management tools for teachers, schools, and organizations. This past fall Alchemy released SmartBinder Flip (beta), the free, cloud-based lesson binder which allows teachers to build and deliver digital lessons and capture valuable feedback on class engagement and understanding. Our premium product suite consisting of SmartBinder Collaborate (which includes SmartBinder Teams) and SmartBinder Engage are now publicly available. Contact us today at alchemylearning.com.

Stay up to date with what’s going on at Alchemy Learning; follow us on TwitterFacebook and LinkedIn.

Are There Any Professional Development Opportunities for Educators in the Summer?

colouronwhite-300x214While school year may be winding down, there are plenty of upcoming educational  opportunities for educators to take advantage of.  In fact, the summer may offer even more professional development events, conferences, and workshops than the school year. And the best part is you don’t need to find a substitute teacher for the day!

Below are some fun and exciting professional development opportunities available for you to attend this summer.

  • The Civil War Trust’s Summer EventFrom July 17-20 in Atlanta, Georgia the Civil War Trust will host its 21st Teacher Institute. The event is four days full of workshops and tours led by historians and educators. Some special guests include Todd Groce, Jared Frederick, Vince Dooley and many more! Additionally, registration to the event is free for friends of Alchemy Learning if you sign up with this linkwww.civilwar.org/AlchemyAtlanta. In addition to free registration, there will also be free classroom materials, plentiful travel scholarships and free continuing education credits.Civil-War-Trust
  • SC Midlands Summit– On June 11-12th, in Columbia, SC the SC Midlands Summit focuses on the use of Google for Education research tools, Web 2.0 tools, and technology integration in the classroom.  There is a full lineup of speakers and more on the session schedule.
  • Technology for Teaching and Learning ConferenceThis two day conference from June 19-20 in Louisville, KY is an opportunity for K-12 educators to explore how to effectively use technology in education. At the conference, there will be keynote speakers, practical examples, breakout sessions, content delivery and more.
  • EdSurge EdTech EdCamp – On June 24th in San Mateo, Ca, EdSurge is hosting a SF EdTech meetup at the Edomoto headquarters. At the meetup, there will be a few 30-minute sessions based on what the attendees are interested in.
  • ISTEThe biggest EdTech conference in the world is taking place in Atlanta from June 28th through July first. ISTE brings together educators from all grade levels to give them the support and educational resources to support learning in the digital age. In addition, when you attend the conference, you receive a one-year standard membership to ISTE.
  • RSCONRSCON stands for Reform Symposium Free Online Conference and it’s an online event taking place from July 11th-13th to highlight ‘wow’ moments in teaching and learning. The conference features 10 keynote speakers, a tech/app/lesson smackdown and more. It’s an opportunity to connect with over 10,000 educators worldwide without leaving your home.
  • EdTech Demo Fair and EDVentures Conference – On July 17th in Newport Beach, CA, emerging edtech products created by education entrepreneurs will be on display for a hands on demonstration. The event is free and a great way for an educator to see and interact with new and emerging technologies.
  • EdmodoconEdmodocon is a one day webinar on August 6th, for educators to share how they are using Edmodo as well as other digital tools in the classroom. If Edmodo is a tool you frequently use this can help you take the next step and further enhance your use of the tool in your classroom.

Professional Development opportunities are springing up all over the country for educators in the summer and they’re a great way to use your free time to further your learning and understanding of the techniques and amazing tools available to you.

Alchemy Learning, founded in 2012 in Baltimore, MD, creates cloud-based, data-driven learning & curriculum management tools for teachers, schools, and organizations. This past fall Alchemy released SmartBinder Flip (beta), the free, cloud-based lesson binder which allows teachers to build and deliver digital lessons and capture valuable feedback on class engagement and understanding. Our premium product suite consisting of SmartBinder Collaborate (which includes SmartBinder Teams) and SmartBinder Engage are now publicly available. Contact us today at alchemylearning.com.

Stay up to date with what’s going on at Alchemy Learning; follow us on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn.

What Web-Tools Can I Embed Into My Digital Lessons?

colouronwhite-300x214Lesson planning in the digital age can be difficult; you need to find a balance between engaging your students and ensuring they are gaining the necessary skills and knowledge.  Fortunately, there are plenty of technology resources available to assist you in creating the best digital lessons possible for teaching your students.

Alchemy SmartBinder is a digital tool to help you build and deliver engaging digital lessons while gaining valuable insight into how students are progressing. This tool also gives teachers the ability to embed properly-secured digital resources into lesson.

Below is a list of some of the wonderful tools that contain embed codes for easy incorporation into lessons.

Audio Tools:

  • Audioboo – Audioboo is a great tool to capture your students voices as well as your own to enrich your lesson plans and motivate students to become more engaged.
  • Soundcloud – Soundcloud is another tool to embed sounds to your lesson plan. You can share podcasts, distribute lessons as well as your own music.

Video Tools:

  • Animoto – Creating a video will not only engage your students visually, but audibly as well. Animoto helps you create videos that will engage your students in the lesson.
  • Voicethread – Voicethread is a tool to help you create conversations surrounding media. After creating a Voicethread, your students can comment and add their own ideas to the dialogue you started.
  • Glean – Glean is a video database with educational videos about math and science related topics. Glean allows you to track when your students have watched the videos which will help you get an understanding of how your students are staying engaged.

Storytelling Tools:

  • Popplet – Creating a thought map is a way for students to be able to follow the relationships between objects and ideas. Popplet can help your students visualize the connections between them.
  • Dipity – Sometimes the best way to explain the order of events to your students is with a timeline. With Dipity, you can create an interactive timeline complete with audio, video, images, text and more.
  • MindNode – Everything is connected, that’s the idea behind MindNode. You create ideas and can connect them to other ideas. This forms an interconnected map of your ideas to show how everything relates to each other.
  • StoryboardThat – Students learn by relating to the content. Telling them a story will further draw them in and interest them in the lesson at hand by structuring the lesson into something that’s easy to follow.
  • Fotobabble – While a picture may say a thousand words, sometimes it’s best to add your own audio instead. Fotobabble allows you to integrate photos and audio to help tell a story.

Collaboration Tools:

  • Padlet – Engaging with your students is something that doesn’t need to take place only within the four walls of your classroom. Padlet allows you to ask a question, and then have your students share their responses. They can be open ended or multiple choice. And responses aren’t only limited to words, students can also share videos and photos.
  • Scoop.it – Working with other educators is a great way to share ideas and further develop your lesson. Scoop.it allows you to curate with up to thirty other members.

Cartoon and Comic Creation Tools:

  • BitStrip – It’s no secret that students love cartoons. Bitstrip is a place where you can create your own comics to connect with your students using a medium they love.
  • ToonDoo – This is another tool that you can use to create comics. Visual learners will benefit from the added imagery to your lesson.
  • Pixton – This comic creation tool also allows for a voice-over effect to enhance your comics as well as the students learning.

Other Embeddable Tools:

  • Evernote – Evernote allows you to capture your notes off of a white board and embed it into a lesson. But the capture is more than a picture of what you wrote, the image is searchable to help you organize your content.
  • Google Blogger – Google Blogger is a blogging platform where you can share thoughts, images, videos and more.
  • Voki – Sometimes in the digital space it’s nice to put a face to a voice, a digital face that is. Voki allows you to engage your students with an interactive lesson delivered by your own personal avatar.

Embeddable Games:

  • Grammar Pop – Grammar Pop is a game you can play to enhance your grammar skills. Playing a game is a great way to engage students and increase their interest levels in learning specific skills or ideas.

Embedding a tool into your lesson is as easy as copying and pasting an embed code. However, not all tools have equal levels of security around data. At the beginning of each embed code you will see either ‘HTTP’ or ‘HTTPS.’ The ‘S’ at the end signifies that there is a layer of security to keep your data safe (SSL). Some learning management systems and content management systems, SmartBinder included, will not support tools that don’t have the SSL because it can put student data at risk. It is important to check the embed code to see if the tools you’re using uses HTTP or HTTPS and how that impacts you.

Alchemy Learning, founded in 2012 in Baltimore, MD, creates cloud-based, data-driven learning & curriculum management tools for teachers, schools, and organizations. This past fall Alchemy released SmartBinder Flip (beta), the free, cloud-based lesson binder which allows teachers to build and deliver digital lessons and capture valuable feedback on class engagement and understanding. Our premium product suite consisting of SmartBinder Collaborate (which includes SmartBinder Teams) and SmartBinder Engage are now publicly available. Contact us today at alchemylearning.com.

Stay up to date with what’s going on at Alchemy Learning; follow us on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn.

Alchemy Learning and Betamore Announce Partnership in Technology and Entrepreneurial Education

Today, Alchemy Learning announced a pilot partnership with Betamore, a campus for betamoretechnology and entrepreneurship located in the heart of the Federal Hill neighborhood of downtown Baltimore, furthering Baltimore’s national presence as a leader in education and technology. Alchemy’s flagship product, SmartBinder, will provide an enhanced online learning experience for students of Betamore’s Academy, an offering of technology courses filling the gap between a traditional liberal arts education and the demands of 21st century jobs. Entrepreneurs, professionals, and those seeking to develop skills in cutting edge technologies all have enrolled in Academy courses, which launched in September.

“Betamore’s Academy was always conceived as an on-ground program, but we thought it was important to offer students online tools that enhanced their learning,” said Mike Passaro, Betamore’s Director of Education, on the partnership. “Students confirmed this by requesting a way to access course materials, presentations, and skills examples outside of class. Betamore’s partnership with Alchemy Learning allows us to do this by offering our students a compelling, engaging, and rich online educational experience through Alchemy SmartBinder.”  In Betamore’s first launch of courses, instructors and students will utilize SmartBinder in the Academy’s Back-End Development, Front-End Development, and Digital Marketing and Sales classes.

Mike Passaro, Betamore Director of Education

Mike Passaro, Director of Education at Betamore

Passaro explains that Alchemy was selected due to its intuitive curriculum management experience coupled with its learning-enriching functionality. “We looked into several solutions for our online materials, but SmartBinder was the best fit for a number of reasons,” said Passaro. “First, the intuitive design allowed us to start using SmartBinder right away. Second, SmartBinder is incredibly powerful. We were able to build sample courses in a very short time, incorporating a wide variety of content, like websites, videos, and presentations. Third, we like what it offers our students. It is easy to use, checks student knowledge, and enriches our on-ground courses. Finally, we like what it offers our instructors. Our instructors have been increasingly utilizing SmartBinder since we first introduced it to them, and have even begun using it in class as a presentation tool.”

Alchemy Co-Founders Henry Blue and Win Smith also acknowledge the upside of the partnership: “We are very excited about Alchemy’s partnership with Betamore, which permits us the opportunity to grow with and be informed by the needs of Baltimore’s leader in technology and entrepreneurial education as they continue to expand their already prominent brand and regional presence.  We see this partnership as a great example of Baltimore’s continued evolution as one of the east coast’s rising hubs for innovation and advancement of education and technology.”

Betamore is a campus for technology and entrepreneurship with a two-fold mission: First, Betamore aims to stimulate the establishment and growth of technology-based startup companies through business collaboration and incubation. Second, Betamore offers a career-focused education led by current industry experts to a growing public community of learners called the Academy. betamore.com

Alchemy, founded in 2012, creates teacher-centric adaptive learning software tools for teachers and recently released SmartBinder beta, the free, cloud-based lesson binder which allows teachers to build and deliver digital lessons and capture valuable feedback on student mastery and understanding.  SmartBinder Pro is presently in private-beta. alchemylearning.com