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Education

Collaboration in Education

20 Oct , 2014  

One of the many Themes of Connected Educator Month in 2014 is “Collaboration and Capacity Building.” We talked to one of the many educators among our users, Ryan C who runs a Montessori school, to find out what his views on this topic and how he is trying to encourage collaboration and sharing in his school and beyond.

How important, according to you, is collaboration for teachers?

collaboration is everything

Investors, engineers and doctors get together periodically to discuss the latest trends in their respective industries; it is imperative that educators do the same.

The world of education has realized that the methods of education that were developed in the 1950′s will not work in the constantly connected world of today. Technology has truly made the world a smaller place. As educational technology develops, the impact of borders is reducing. What works in the US is probably very relevant in Thailand. Similarly, techniques being used in India might actually be of great benefit to children in Europe.

What, according to you, is the best platform for teachers to connect and collaborate – social media or ed-conferences? 

LinkedIn has a number of groups on which educators from various parts of the world have come together to form discussion groups on topics of common interest. However, from my experience, the discussions never really develop into meaningful conversations, primarily due to differences in culture and educational practices. Even educational conferences, especially in Asia, exist primarily to further the commercialization of the interests of the promoters.

Therefore, educators need to utilize the various technological tools available to discuss and share ideas and experiences from the classroom. The children of today are going to become the well informed adults of tomorrow, so they need to be exposed to ideas from all over the world at an early age.

How are you trying to promote collaboration in your own school and city?

At Jigyasa, we are quite open about sharing our ideas with the world. For example, we frequently share our Themes on Facebook and other social media. This is done with the hope that other educators will come forward and share what they are doing in their respective schools, thereby making it easier for good ideas to benefit children all over the world.

How do you connect with other teachers? Do you also believe in the importance of collaboration to improve teaching skills and enhance students’ learning process? We would love to hear from you – leave us a comment below or send us a shout out on Facebook or Twitter!

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Education

Become A Connected Educator in 3 Simple Steps

14 Oct , 2014  

Lesson plans, classes, assignments, grading, projects, extra-curricular activities, class outings – teachers have little time to emerge from their almost unending list of tasks and find time for meaningful conversations with their colleagues about what they are doing in class, what works, what doesn’t and why. Yet there is nothing more important than connecting with other educators to exchange ideas, learn about new tools and teaching methods and improve as a teacher. Easier said than done? As a fellow educator, I can’t help but agree. Connecting with other teachers isn’t as easy as it sounds…or perhaps it is?

When I started teaching nearly a decade ago, exchanges between teachers were far and few. I waited almost impatiently to be nominated for a teacher training program, but things changed after I created by Twitter account. It opened up an entire world of teachers who were doing such amazing things in class. Over the years, I’ve slowly developed a strong PLN of educators across the globe from whom I have discovered many new tools and techniques. We’ve shared ideas and collaborated over many projects.

Here’s how you can become a connected educator in 3 simple steps:

Themeefy Tip #CE14Dedicate time for networking: It may seem like a daunting and impossible task when you see that pile of papers you have to grade before you sleep, but it isn’t half as intimidating as it initially seems. A few minutes during your coffee break, half-an-hour between tasks to initiate conversations online or in your staff room just to talk about your practices is all you need!

Themeefy Tip2 #CE14

Follow, listen and discuss: Connect with other teachers across the world by following them on Twitter. Join lists and participate in education related chats based on your topic of interest. You will be surprised at how much you can learn and grow by exchanging a following a conversation and exchanging a few tweets!

Themeefy Tip3 #CE14

Share and exchange ideas: Don’t hesitate to share content and experiences. Connecting is after all a two-way process and requires both parties to contribute in order for the conversation to continue! Start your own blog and write about your experiences. Attend conferences and ed-camps to meet teachers from your PLN, exchange ideas and plan future collaborations!

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Features

Themeefy Features : Upload documents

10 Sep , 2014  

Have you typed up some notes that you would like to share with your students? Or have a PDF which you’d like your students to refer to while completing an assignment?   

 

The upload feature on Themeefy allows you do exactly that. It gives you the ability to upload all of the following types of files and add them to your themes:

  • MS PowerPoint presentations
  • MS Word Files
  • MS Excel Files
  • PDFs

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Once uploaded, the files can be arranged in any order, just like the other content in the theme. You have the option to upload files that are saved on your own computer, or select files that you have stored on Dropbox.

The benefit of this feature is that it allows teachers and students to upload files which have been created either in the classroom as part of a discussion, or outside the classroom in their own time. It can also be used to upload any documents which are meant to be used as learning aids.

We have built the feature to add certain types of files, but we’d love to have your feedback on its usefulness, and if you want to be able to be upload other file types. You can connect with us on Facebook, Twitter or email – we’d love to hear from you!

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Education,Tips

5 Ways to Use Themeefy in Class

8 Sep , 2014  

We’ve seen some excellent examples of Themeefy being used in class by the rock star teachers on board. Here are just five cool ways to use Themeefy that have inspired us:

Create Epic Lessons:

Assessment_1Go beyond the textbook and include real-time resources from the Web by curating content from premium and open sources in your classes.

 

  • Search for and add open content to your Themes from our Library.
  • Upgrade your account to access premium content from leading educational publishers like Bridgeman Education, Cambridge University Press, Corbis, Reuters etc.

Here’s an excellent example published by an English Teacher at Swift Creek Middle School.

Enable Your Students to Self-Evaluate:

Self-assessment increases student participation in their education and encourages them to revise what they have learnt in class. You can create and add simple multiple-choice question quizzes in your lesson Themes.

Learn more here.

Ask Your Students to Create Their Own Learning Material:

Students learn best when they are involved in their learning process, as has been illustrated very well by the Maker Movement.

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On Themeefy, you can set assignments for students and ask them to search for information related the latest topic in class. Learn more about how you can enable your students to create their own learning material here.

Share Class Resources with Parents:

It’s crucial for parenLearningJourneyts to ensure that the learning process doesn’t get interrupted at home. As a teacher, you can ensure that parents know what their child is studying by sharing the resources in a Theme, so that they can take it up with their child over the weekend or school holidays.

Check out this Theme by a Montessori school to see an example.

Allow Parents to Follow Their Child’s Learning Journey:

21st century parents are often so busy with work, they find it difficult to keep track of their child’s learning journey. Educators can help them accompany their child by creating a Theme with photos and videos of class activities.

Here’s a wonderful example by a Montessori school in India.

 

How are you using Themeefy? Drop us a note on email, Facebook or Twitter – we’d love to hear from you! 

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Features

Themeefy Features : Quizzes

3 Sep , 2014  

What could be better than adding a short quiz to help your students cross-check if they’ve captured the main points of your lessons on Themeefy?

The next time you log in to your Themeefy account to create an epic lesson by curating from the Web or choosing from one our premium content sources, don’t forget to add a quizlet!

You will find the option to add a quiz in the Library right next to the search bar:

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You can add quizzes after every important resource in the Theme, like this example here, or at the end as a sort of a recapitulation exercise for your students.

We’d love to hear how you use this feature and if you’d like to see any improvements. Drop us a note on Facebook, Twitter or email and we’ll get back to you!

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Features,News

Kick-Start The School Year With This Cool Offer!

9 Jul , 2014  

Now that the EdTech conference of the year is behind us, it’s time to take a break, go through that long list of new ideas & tools and get ready for another epic year of innovation in class!

FreeUpgrade

To help you kick-start the year in style, we’ve got a fabulous offer for you! 2 months of free access to Themeefy Premium, with a host of cool features, including access to the amazing library of pre-curated, copyright free content from GGfL.

How to Get a Free Upgrade to Themeefy Premium

It’s pretty easy! All you have to do is create your account on Themeefy (or sign in to your existing account) and share a Theme published by you mentioning @Themeefy in your tweet. We’ll immediately upgrade your account to premium. Since the first month in Premium accounts is free, you will get an extra month of access to the premium, pre-curated content to build epic lessons for your students.

For more information about our Premium Accounts, please click here.

If you have any questions about this offer or Themeefy, do write to us at info@themeefy.com.

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Education

Maker Ed, Themeefy and Learning

1 Jul , 2014  

Maker Faire has been a hot topic at ISTE 2014, with education leaders from across the world discussing how the maker movement has embraced education and how we can gain so much from it as educators.

The democratization of learning via the Maker Ed movement has made it an extremely exciting time to be an educator. Maker Spaces in education nurture innovation, experimentation and independence. Learners are no longer consumers, but active participants and producers of content in their own right.

The Maker Ed movement is best illustrated in craft and the creation of actual physical objects and art work. But it doesn’t stop there. Maker Ed is all about innovation and thus about new ideas and new ways to think.

Technology being one of the most important tools of Maker Ed, allows students to break free of pre-packaged experiences and build their own learning experiences. This could be with a 3D Printer or one of the many sites that allow students to take control of their education.

What Maker Ed & Themeefy Bring To Learning:

Process v/s Product: A journey is more important than its destination. The Maker movement in education abides by this philosophy and emphasizes on the importance of the learning process during the entire exercise of creating rather than the final creation.

At Themeefy, the students can create their own lessons by searching the Web for content relevant to their subject. The exercise of searching for information, reading and choosing the most apt content is far more efficient in the learning process than consuming ready-made lessons.

(Re)Iterations & Perseverance: The process of creation involves many reiterations. Students aren’t expected to nail the project on their first attempt. With positive feedback from their teachers, they will have to go back to the drawing board and tweak their creation several times before they nail it.

 

While creating their Themes, students will often have to stop, rethink & even pivot, leading to several iterations of the Theme in the process of making it more interesting, pertinent and pleasing to their audience. The exercise not only encourages perseverance, it also redefines “failure,” making the erstwhile negative comment, nothing but the first step in the learning process.

Engaged Learning: The Maker movement is driven by interest based projects that value individual insights and personalization. The very fact of being responsible for their learning process rather than being passive recipients of knowledge handed down by their teachers, drives a certain passion and sharpens the students’ interest in the subject.

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In asking students to create their own lessons and involving them in the process of learning, educators are paving the way for more engaged and passion-based learning.

Sharing & Growing Together:  Maker Ed is founded on the principles of sharing and community-based creation and growth. The Maker Movement encourages the practice of sharing of knowledge and skills and mentoring in the manner of our forefathers.

Students are encouraged to share their Themes in their learning networks and discover the Themes created by others. Themes published inside a class are visible to all the members, thus students can learn from each other. Learn more about this feature here.

Sign up for a free account today to start learning and teaching in the Maker Model!

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Education

#NotAtISTE – How I Plan to Attend ISTE 2014 Virtually.

25 Jun , 2014  

ISTE2014The International Society for Technology in Education conference – an annual event that brings together educators and education leaders on a common platform to explore and exchange ideas about technology in education.

Thousands of teachers from across the world will be heading to Atlanta this weekend for the 2014 edition of the ISTE conference. Unfortunately, I am too far and cannot be there and join that wonderful melting pot of ideas. But if people who are actually present at the conference escape to a café or bookstore to watch the keynote and follow the activity virtually, I think I should be able to attend the conference from where I am!

So here’s how I plan to attend the conference virtually:

  1. Set up a folder in Google Drive for the notes I will take during the virtual conferences.
  2. Follow the #ISTE2014 hashtag on Twitter to get resources & ideas and also meet some great new educators from around the world.
  3. Follow all Pinterest boards, Flipboard magazines and blogs that cover the conference.
  4. Aggregate all the new tools and resources I discover in a new Theme, ready to explore & use through the year.

Are you attending the 2014 ISTE conference? Do you have a plan for what events you are attending and how you will organize, use and re-share all the new things you’ve learnt?

Here’s a Theme with some quick facts and great tips to make the most of ISTE 2014.

If you have any other ideas or want to share some resources, please leave them in the comments below!

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Education,Features,News

Global Grid for Learning Content on Themeefy

19 Jun , 2014  

GGfL_LogoThemeefy is now partnering with Global Grid For Learning (GGfL) to provide all premium account users with high quality, copyright-cleared digital learning resources from over 50 content providers, including leading brands in educational publishing such as Cambridge University Press, Corbis, Reuters, Helicon, Science Photo Library and Bridgeman Education.

The premium, pre-curated content from GGfL can be found in the Themeefy Library and includes:

    • Images, photos, illustrations and diagrams.
    • Video clips and animations
    • Audio clips
    • Web links
    • Educational documents

To access and add a GGfL resource to your Theme, you need to be a premium user. (To learn more about premium accounts, please click here). Once you have upgraded your account, you can access all the pre-curated premium content in our Library.

Library_Premium_GGfL

GGfL content is filtered to ensure that it is relevant to children’s learning needs and adapted to Themeefy filters. You can choose between images, articles and videos and add the available resources without any risk of copyright-infringement to your lessons!

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lGWbXFxmJbY?rel=0]

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Education

Amazing Teachers : II

13 May , 2014  

SandipMukherjeeSandip Mukherjee, Chief of User Acquisition & Growth Strategy, who has served in the army, remembers one of his instructors at the Academy.

“With a daily routine of 20 hours and the physical fitness routines, the cadets could sleep even while standing. Hence, when academics sessions offered us the luxury of sitting down under a roof with the fan providing a gentle breeze, few stayed awake!

It was a class on tactics in the fall of 1998 and the 30 Gentleman Cadets were fighting to keep their eyes open lest they be caught in the act and had to undergo extra drills as punishment. The experienced infantry officer suddenly stopped mid-way and asked us to fall-in (the military term for assembling) outside. We knew what was coming and tried to find out and curse the guy who was caught and hence was responsible for this interruption in what was supposed to be a full day under a roof. Strangely, instead of inflicting physical punishment on us, he said this:

soldier-60762_640I know that most of you were sleeping and will sleep in class. Remember, I have passed out of the same institution. I have brought you outside not to punish you but to make sure that you are awake – mentally and physically. Please remember that what you learn here, will be used in a war. And if you don’t learn now, there is no option to learn later without the risk of losing life or limb. And in the future, when you lead men to war, if you lose one of them because you were sleeping now; that burden will be too heavy to carry. You will not be able to face yourself or the family members of the martyr who gave up his life because you took a wrong decision…because you were sleeping today.

Needless to say that none of us slept in any class after that.

His words echoed through my ears every time I went out in an operation and I always hoped and endeavored that I should come back with all the people I was leading.”

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