Tag Archives: K-12

K-12 Education

How Can Museums and Educational Institutions Secure Funding For Educational Programs?

AlchemyLogoCropWhen it comes to planning programs for your organization, you may have the perfect plan and a great way to implement it, but a lack of funding can hinder even the best of ideas. As you begin to plan your educational program (lesson hack day, editathon, fellowship and more) you might start by applying for grants or hosting events to raise money so your program can have the funding it requires.

The question that plagues many people is, what grants can I apply for to makes sure my program is successful? Below are a few grants that you can apply for to help your program be the best that it can be.

  • National Leadership Grants for Museums – The Institute of Museums and Library Services offers a variety of different types of grants for different institutions, and project types. You can view all of their available grants here:http://www.imls.gov/applicants/available_grants.aspx. Regardless of what institution you’re from and your project type, there should be something to help you get your project off of the ground. Some available grants include projects that are demonstrations, innovation, conservation, research and more.
  • National Endowment for the Humanities- The NEH is an organization that supports activities that engage Americans in understanding the humanities. All of the projects that NEH funds must be imaginative and bring ideas to life for people of all ages. Previous grants that the NEH has funded include, museum exhibitions, interpretations of historic events as well as book/film discussion groups and more. For more information about the National Endowment for the Humanities, and to apply for their grant check out their website:http://www.neh.gov/grants/public/museums-libraries-and-cultural-organizations-implementation-grants.
  • National Endowment for the Arts – The NEA provides grants to organizations that are interested in bringing the arts to underserved populations. The NEA strives for an inclusive community and wants art to be available to everyone regardless of your location, ethnicity, economic stability or disability. Projects they have funded are ones that have the potential to provide meaningful change in any aspect of the art community. For more information about this grant: http://arts.gov/grants-organizations/art-works
  • American Alliance of Museums ­– The American Alliance of Museums offers a grants calendar on their website which includes information about upcoming grants your museum or cultural institution can apply for. The grants calendar can be found here:http://www.aam-us.org/about-us/grants-awards-and-competitions/grants-calendar/. The calendar is constantly updated with new grants and accurate information about approaching deadlines and what programs qualify.

Some great programs your educational institution can host includes a hack day, an editathon, teacher fellowships and more.

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 onTwitter,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.

How Can I Encourage My Students To Continue To Learn this Summer?

Alchemy LearningThe school year is about to come to a close and you will be parting ways with the young minds you’ve spent the past year molding. However, just because they are no longer your students, that doesn’t mean your influence has to come to an end. As the idea of summer reading may seem a little outdated with the recent influx of new learning and instructional technology, there are a number of alternatives that your students can use to quench their thirst for learning with some self-directed learning! Apps as well as websites have proven to be a valuable tool to constantly engage students and further their passion for learning.

Self-Directed Tools for Elementary/Middle School Students:

  • iTooch – iTooch is an iPad and iPhone app for 3-5th grade school students to help them learn math facts, language arts and science material. This free app helps students learn the material through games and text summaries of each lesson. There are over 18,000 exercises on the app for students to try. iTooch is a great way for students to solidify the material they learned in class and keep it fresh over the summer.
  • Mathmateer –  Mathmateer is an iOS app that is great for helping elementary school students learn math facts as they correctly solve a series of math problems related to time, money, numbers, multiplication, and geometric shapes. The faster that the student answers the questions, the more points they are awarded. Points accrued allow you to purchase upgrades to your rocket ship allowing it to fly longer.
  • Sushi Monster – Sushi Monster is another free app for engaging students in math. The game is directed at 9-11 year olds and is a fun way to keep them engaged while memorizing multiplication tables. In addition to being a fun game at home, Sushi Monster meets the Common Core Standards. While playing the game, students are able to earn points and unlock new levels after mastering the basics.
  • Grammaropolis – Grammaropolis is a game-based learning app for students that are struggling with Basic English grammar. It is available on all iOS devices and comes with songs, videos, quizzes and more about all of the parts of speech. It is great for Elementary school students who may be having trouble grasping the different parts of speech and how they function.

Self-Directed Learning Tools for High School Students:

  • TEDTalks – TEDTalks embody a way to engage and inspire high school aged students to think differently about the world around them. There are over 900 TEDTalk videos that subject content varies from modern exploration, rethinking the music video and more. Some of the high profile engaging speakers include tech geniuses (Bill Gates and Larry Page), rock legends (Bono and Sting), and more.
  • MindSnacks – For high school aged students, MindSnacks breathes new life into subjects such as foreign language, SAT vocab, and geography. The app offers games and lessons that go beyond basic memorization. In addition, the app alters every users experience based on the skills that you’ve been having difficulty mastering.
  • Codecademy– Learning to code is one of the most sought after skills now in the job market. For a high school aged student who is already spending countless hours online, why not learn to build your own computer program? Codecademy currently has seven different programming languages that you can learn at your own pace on their website.

There are plenty of different tools available to help students continue learning throughout the summer. Students should not only continue to learn over the June, July, and August to prevent significant learning loss, but also to expand on the subjects they are interested in as well. Self-directed learning will help engage students in the topics they’re interested in and further their passion for education.

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.

How Can I Use Technology Keep My Students Engaged Through The End Of The Year?

colouronwhite-300x214The end of the school year is rapidly approaching and, depending on where you teach, summer break could be under a month away!  But how can you keep your students excited and engaged about what you’re teaching when thoughts of summer fun are starting to occupy their minds? Your students still need to finish learning the curriculum and prepare for final exams as well as state standardized testing, especially as many schools have already begun their state testing.  Here are some suggestions to keep your students engaged (while still having fun!):

Review Games – Towards the end of the year, students may be focused on days at the beach and baseball games, but don’t let that detract from what they should be learning in the classroom. Try playing review games to keep your students engaged and prepare them for finals and testing at the same time:

  • PurposeGames is a great free tool for you to create games to play in your classroom. There are two types of games you can create in the form of a multiple-choice option or a mapping option where your students are given an image and they have to name certain places on the map. This game isn’t limited to geography; it can be used with mapping the human body, moon phases and more.
  • ProProfs Brain Games is a free tool to create word games such as crossword puzzles, word searches, brainteasers and more. A huge benefit to these games is that they are easily embeddable and can be added to your Alchemy SmartBinder.

Quiz activities – There’s no easier way to prepare for a final exam than with practice quizzes, and here a few tools that can help you break the monotony of standard assessments and keep the students intellectually hungry:

  • eQuizShow is a free tool to help educators create a Jeopardy style game online. You simply enter categories and then type in questions and answers. eQuizShow is very easy to use and doesn’t require you to upload any files.
  • Socrative is another quiz building tool that is extremely device-friendly. It can be used by student teams or individually by your students as they race to answer questions correctly.  After each correctly answered question a rocket ship moves incrementally across the screen and the first individual or team to propel their rocket ship to the other side of the screen wins.

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 in the News: November

Well, November flew by and jettisoned us into the Holiday Season!  ColourOnWhiteAlchemy’s SmartBinderFlip, the free, cloud-based lesson binder that helps teachers build, deliver, and capture data on digital lessons, continued to receive recognition and user adoption, and, in addition, we pushed some exciting new features to private beta!  Read more below:

More SmartBinder Reviews!

  • Alchemy’s SmartBinder Flip (beta), released this fall, was ranked #20 on the “Top 100 Educational Sites/Apps 2013” by David Kapular of Technology Tidbits and Tech & Learning!  Kapular writes that SmartBinder is “an excellent site for creating a digital lesson w/ any kind of content.  Once this lesson is created it can be shared w/ students via a URL and can be used to “flip a classroom.”  Check out the full list of 2013’s Top 100 edtech tools and sites here.
  • Richard Byrne of Free Technology for Teachers  listed SmartBinder Flip as one of five online tools that help teachers align to Common Core.  He highlights SmartBinder’s Standard Mine that allows teachers to ‘drag-and-drop’ tag their lessons to Common Core or customizable standards.  Check out Byrne’s post here.
  • Finally, Future Teachers Learning Together, a product Elon University‘s education program reviewed SmartBinder Flip and reported that “thanks to the vast online resources that are out there for teachers, there is a way for teachers to create interactive lesson plans online,” and they “hope that you think Alchemy SmartBinder is as great a tool as [they] do!”  Read their full detailed review here.  We love feedback from emerging teachers so keep it coming!

 Alchemy in the News

  • As reported by citybizlist, Betamore and Alchemy Learning led a discussion on educational technology and web-based application development with a group of educators from the Ukraine.  The educators consisted of Open World-sponsored professors from the Ukrainian universities and were hosted in Baltimore by the World Trade Center Institute  Read more about the exchange here.
  • Alchemy travelled to the Baltimore Convention Center on November 4th for the 2014 AIMS Conference, which consisted of teachers and educators from AIMS’s 124 Maryland and Washington D.C. schools.  This year’s keynote speaker was Dr. David Eagleman, a Guggenheim fellow, NY Times Bestseller, and director of Laboratory for Perception and Action at theBaylor College of Medicine.  Eagleman’s research and keynote centered on the impact of unconscious neural functioning on learning.

What’s Ahead?

  • Following on the heels of the release of SmartBinder Collaborate to private beta for the fall semester, which builds upon SmartBinder Flip with robust curricular structure and teacher collaboration, we’re excited to announce the release of SmartBinder Engage to our pilots. SmartBinder Engage is seamlessly integrated with SmartBinder Collaborate, features student portals, and empower teachers with tools for assignment and assessment creation, delivery, grading, and management.  Next-up for private beta is SmartBinder Teams, seamlessly integrated portals for teams of faculty members to collaboratively manage shared resources!

Alchemy Learning, founded in 2012 in Baltimore, MD, creates cloud-based, data-driven learning & curriculum management tools for teachers and schools.  Alchemy recently 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. SmartBinder Collaborate, SmartBinder Engage, and SmartBinder Teams are presently in private-beta. Create your free SmartBinder Flip account and launch the new tutorial at alchemylearning.com.

Alchemy Learning, Betamore Engage in Dialogue with Visiting Ukrainian Educators

On Tuesday afternoon, Betamore, Baltimore’s, center for technology and entrepreneurship, and Alchemy Learning led a discussion with visiting university educators from Ukraine at Betamore’s Federal Hill campus.

The Ukrainian educators, from Kharkiv National University and Odessa State Environmental University were sponsored by Open World, a Washington D.C.-based organization seeking to enhance understanding and capabilities for cooperation between the United States and countries of Eurasia, and were hosted by Baltimore’s World Trade Center Institute, the largest international business network in the Mid-Atlantic, which strives to drive the growth of Maryland’s global business community through global networks.

Ukraine

Visiting Ukrainian educators engage in dialogue with the founders of Alchemy Learning and Betamore

After a day and a half of visiting Edcamp BaltimoreJohns Hopkins University, Towson University, and Goucher College,the educators engaged in dialogue with Betamore founder Mike Brenner and Alchemy co-founders Win Smith and Henry Blue on Betamore’s Academy courses and entrepreneurial initiatives, Alchemy SmartBinder and the development process, and a variety of other topics including social media tools and strategies, applications of gamification in education, and a proposal for a Ukrainian-based tech-enabled environmental monitoring system.  The group will spend the final days of their U.S. venture in Washington D.C. 

Alchemy Learning, founded in 2012 in Baltimore, MD, creates cloud-based, data-driven learning & curriculum management tools for teachers and schools.  Alchemy recently released SmartBinder Flip 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 Collaborate, SmartBinder Engage, and SmartBinder Teams are presently in private-beta. Create your free SmartBinder Flip account and launch the new tutorial

 

 

Alchemy and Maryland Educators Connect

Alchemy Learning had a great past month of interacting with teachers and educators in Maryland at MSEA, AIMS, and Edcamp Baltimore.

Alchemy MSEA

Alchemy at MSEA

On October 18th and 19th, Alchemy Co-Founders Henry Blue and Win Smith travelled to Ocean City,MD for the 2013 Maryland State Educator Association.  This year’s MSEA was particularly important as, in an election year, the state’s teachers and administrators were to decide which gubernatorial candidate to endorse.  By the end of the convention, Alchemy had engaged in valuable conversations with over a hundred teachers and the MSEA had deliberated and decided to endorse Anthony Brown.

Alchemy also travelled to the Baltimore Convention Center on November 4th for the 2014 AIMS Conference, which consisted of teachers and educators from AIMS’s 124 Maryland and Washington D.C. schools.  This year’s keynote speaker was Dr. David Eagleman, a Guggenheim fellow, NY Times Bestseller, and director of Laboratory for Perception and Action at the Baylor College of Medicine.  Eagleman’s research and keynote centered on the impact of unconscious neural functioning on learning.

Edcamp Board

Edcamp Baltimore attendees add topics for the day’s sessions.

This past weekend (11/9) Alchemy sponsored the door prize, a new Chromebook, at Edcamp Baltimore ’13, which took place at Johns Hopkins University.  The conference was extremely well attended with hundreds of teachers and educators from the Baltimore-area and beyond attending.  A number of great dialogues and sessions ensued on topics ranging from the Blended Classroom, to Project Based Learning, to Flipping Professional Development, and Makerspaces!

Alchemy Learning, founded in 2012 in Baltimore, MD, creates cloud-based, data-driven learning & curriculum management tools for teachers and schools.  Alchemy recently released SmartBinder Flip 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 Collaborate, SmartBinder Engage, and SmartBinder Teams are presently in private-beta. Create your free SmartBinder Flip account and launch the new tutorial at alchemylearning.com.