America’s Top Young Scientist Today!

Written on October 4, 2011 at 10:14 am, by jbrennan

Step aside, American Idol!

Hundreds applied.   Ten finalists were picked.  Today is the day we’ve all been waiting for– the final challenge!
Join Discovery Education and 3M today as the 10 finalists compete for the prestigious title of America’s Top Young Scientist.
In just a few hours the 10 Discovery Education 3M Young Scientist Challenge  finalists will take the stage!  For the first time in Young Scientist Challenge history, the final presentations will be available via a live stream web cast.

You won’t want to miss this!

DATE: Today, Tuesday October 4.         TIME: 2-4 PM ET.

LOCATION: 3M World HQ in Saint Paul, MN and classrooms across America.


Differing Views on Multiple Intelligences

Written on October 3, 2011 at 12:05 pm, by jbrennan

One of the students in the Wilkes EDIM 503: Differentiation Supported by Technology class shared an interesting article on the California Watch website questioning the effectiveness of multiple intelligence instruction. Though controversial at first, Howard Gardner’s almost 30 year old theory seems to have found fairly broad acceptance in the education community. The challenge seems to be more a matter of implementation in this era of crowded classrooms and limited funding. As the article states, “But a group of four psychologists, including professors from UC San Diego and UCLA, have reviewed historical data and say there is little scientific evidence to support the learning-styles theory.” By setting up a set of criteria and scouring the research, the study’s authors claim they have found no evidence of improved test scores when instruction was tailored to students’ learning styles. Many educators and supporters (including suppliers of material and training) of Gardner’s theory, of course, disagree.  The article concludes with a diplomatic, “Both camps agree on one thing: Using a diverse range of teaching styles is important for all students.” What do you think?

Discovering October

Written on September 30, 2011 at 11:45 am, by jbrennan

You probably can’t hear the word discovery and October without thinking of Columbus Day. So, why not take a look at Janet Hallstrom’s post where she describes using a primary source document letter from Columbus to get her students thinking about the many ramifications of that celebrated and maligned navigator’s opening of the “new” world.

While we are at it, why not also explore some of the free resources the Discovery Educator Network has on tap for this month?
October 3rd: Discovery Education streaming 101 – Get an overview of the basics of Discovery Education’s flagship service which is available for free to all Wilkes EDIM students.

October 11th: Clean Up Your Act – Are you beginning to lose sight of your desk top as the papers now stack up? Learn new and creative ways to go reduce the paper and increase the communication and collaboration in your class with Google Tools. We’ll show you a project based learning opportunity to clean up your students’ habitat and your class.

October 13th: Curiosity in the Classroom‘s “Will Robots Take Over?” – Some think that by 2050 robots will be able to out-perform human brains in every area of cognition.

October 18th: Reaching all Students with Project Based Learning – At the end of this whirlwind tour, you will feel empowered to transform learning in your own classroom.

October 19th: Can I Help You With That? The Student as Collaborator, Creator and Director – Learn how you can use digital media, technology, your state standards and the authentic task to engage your students and move them from the best seat in the house to the director’s chair.

October 22nd: Tech or Treat DEN Fall VirtCon 2011 – Join thousands of educators online and in-person as the DEN team goes house to house to explore the many digital treats available to educators today.

October 25th: May I Have Your Attention Please… The Following Is THEIR Safety Announcement – Learn how to help your students inspire their peers and community through creating public safety announcements utilizing a variety of Web 2.0 Tools on water safety.

Feed Your Mind

Written on September 24, 2011 at 10:51 pm, by jbrennan

The GenYouth Foundation and Discovery Education invite you to join New York Jets quarterback Mark Sanchez on Tuesday September 27th for a webinar as he and other hosts introduce ideas on nutrition and fitness that are easy to apply at school, at home and at play. Mark will lead Central Park East Middle School students in Harlem  through fun activities to get students thinking and moving. Submit your students’ questions ahead of time and during the presentation. Participating classrooms will also have a chance to win autographed prizes.
The GenYouth Foundation is dedicated to reducing the obesity rate for children which has quadrupled since the 1970’s. Give their website a good look for some eye opening statistics, strategies and a state by state update of the number of participating schools (Nebraska is #1 at 98% and California is at the bottom at 21%).

Curiosity in the Classroom

Written on September 20, 2011 at 1:56 pm, by jbrennan

Hopefully, that’s a common occurrence. And to help keep that spark alive “Discovery Education and Intel have teamed up to create Curiosity in the Classroom, a website designed to bring teachers, students and families on a journey through life’s biggest questions.” There are lesson plans and multimedia for teachers, activities for parents and their children, and explorations, resources and polls for students to investigate. To get things going there is a sweepstakes with a family exploration vacation as grand prize and three webinars for teachers. The first is this Thursday at 7 p.m. EDT followed by one on Oct. 13th and another one on Nov. 3rd, both at 1:00.

Stay curious, my friends!

Web 2.0 in Practice

Written on September 15, 2011 at 9:19 am, by jbrennan

There was some flooding and evacuations in Wilkes-Barre, PA last week and that also resulted in a disruption for our online classes. However, for Kathy Schrock’s EDIM 510, Web 2.0: Impacting Learning Environments‘ students, it seems to have provided a good example of anytime/anywhere learning. Coincidentally, Kathy will be hosting a “Literacy in the Digital Age” webinar on Monday, September 19th at 7 p.m. Eastern. You can register here:

On the flooding disruption Kathy writes, “The thing that I learned from my class this week is the resilience and fortitude of online learners. Because the course I am teaching right now is a Web 2.0 course, the students had already submitted their Google account email addresses to me as soon as the course started. We were using those addresses for invites to Google+.

With the power outage at Wilkes, my students were still able to keep in contact with me. I cut-and-pasted the information and assignments for the first week into an email, and sent it out to their Google account addresses. I also posted it in Google+. The students told me they were grateful to have access to the information they needed. I think they felt as lost as I did! I have the same thing all set for week two in case we have to keep working this way. The assignments in this Web 2.0 class all involve tools that are outside of Moodle for the most part, so my students can still keep working.

So, what did I learn? First, because I had to install a back-up Moodle zip file from last semester to a local Moodle server to get the assignments, I learned that I should always create a back-up of the current course the day before it begins, just in case I need the information and the server is down.

Kudos to both sections of EDIM 510 for their patience and persistence!”

Streamathon 2011

Written on September 14, 2011 at 10:02 am, by jbrennan

The 6th annual streamathon is happening right now (September 14th).  Have a look at all the great events on the schedule and register at today.

What’s a streamathon you ask?  Try 11 straight hours of tips, tricks and information-packed webinar sessions to bring you to the head of the class when it comes to integrating Discovery Education streaming with other online technologies.  Did I mention that it’s free?  Did I mention that you can be a stalwart and attend all of the sessions or pick and choose based on your interest level and schedule?  Or perhaps your students want to get in on the action and hear from renowned children’s author Jean Craighead George at our 1PM ET session. You can see the whole 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. EDT schedule here.

Whatever your experience level or focus, there’s a session for you.  Register and join us today for streamathon 2011! And if you can’t make sessions of interest today, check Discovery Education’s YouTube channel.

The Remembrance Continues

Written on September 12, 2011 at 9:41 am, by jbrennan

After an emotional day yesterday, we might think that the opportunities to help our students who may not have been as aware of events ten years ago have passed. Discovery Education still has two more webinars from high schools that were close to crash sites with people who were directly affected. Use the links below to join and also tap into Lance Rougeux’s “Eleven Things.”

Monday, September 12, 1:45 – 2:45 PM Wakefield High School · Arlington, VA
Tuesday, September 13, 12:30 – 1:30 PM American History High School · Newark, NJ  – Moderator, Danny Forster
These webinars are intended for high school students and older due to the sensitivities involved. You can register for any or all of the programs at
Eleven Things to Explore for Teaching about September 11.”

Program Update: Flooding at Wilkes

Written on September 9, 2011 at 9:33 am, by admin

As many of you know by now, the entire Wilkes-Barre area has been affected by major flooding.  Most of the area has been evacuated, and there are extensive power outages.  The net result of this is that Wilkes servers are currently down, including Moodle and the Wilkes email system.

For current updates, you should keep an eye on their emergency page at  The most recent entry there (as of 10:30am Fri) is:

D2L and Moodle has been suspended until the emergency passes. Students or facultywill not be able to access the courses until power is restored to the university. Access to the portal and registration has also been suspended until power is restored.  Unless there is extensive flooding D2L, portal and course registration should be restored by Monday. For further updates please keep checking this web site.

Since most instructors have no way to get to their class rosters and the email server is down, do not expect to hear from them until power has been restored to the area, most likely by Monday.  In the meantime, we do understand that this means that it will be difficult and/or impossible to meet most deadlines and that your instructors will share how schedules will be adjusted once communication resumes.

Until then, the best thing you can do is send positive thoughts and wishes to the faculty and students that were forced to evacuate the area due to the flooding.

New Teacher Survival

Written on September 8, 2011 at 1:58 pm, by jbrennan

Did you know that Discovery Education has a whole site dedicated to helping new teachers survive? And it’s actually not a bad resource for us old pros too. From technology to homeroom to recycling glue sticks, there is a wealth of information and resources to help you have a productive year. And there is a sweepstakes where the grand prize winner gets a trip to Costa Rica (among a few other things) and the referring teacher wins a trip to a professional development conference of their choosing. Take a look at the site and recommend it to a new teacher or any of your colleagues.

The 9/11 anniversary webinars from schools near the crash sites continue tomorrow and through next week:

Friday, September 9, 12:45 – 2:15 PM NYC iSchool · New York, NY – Moderator, Paula Zahn
Monday, September 12, 1:45 – 2:45 PM Wakefield High School · Arlington, VA
Tuesday, September 13, 12:30 – 1:30 PM American History High School · Newark, NJ  – Moderator, Danny Forster