DEN iCloud Event in WI

March 11th, 2013

Join us at the Apple Store in the West Towne Mall, Madison, WI on Saturday, April 13 at 8:00 a.m. to learn about how iCloud can be utilized to the fullest.

Learn how your iPad, and/or your Mac, and iCloud can work to your advantage to make things easy and integrated. iCloud is seamlessly integrated into your apps, so you can access your content on all your devices, and you can stay up to date everywhere you go. Learn about Photostream, documents in the cloud, iTunes in the cloud and more. This workshop will explain how you can make the most of your mobile devices and access your content whenever you want.

The event is limited to the first 30 people who sign up.

It will run from 8AM – 10AM

Learn more about the event and register here

If you have questions please contact 

Rita A. Mortenson

Siemens STEM Institute applications open

January 1st, 2012

Are you motivated to spearhead STEM Educational initiatives in your District, community, state and beyond? Be the catalyst to STEMazing change. Siemen’s and Discovery Education will empower you to build a powerful, yet sustainable STEM focus. The Siemen’s STEM Acadamy was the most powerful professional development experience I have ever had… and then it got even better!

After experiencing the Siemens STEM Institute as a  2010 inaugural STEM Fellow, I was invited back in 2011 to help as a  member of the Siemens STEM Team,  representing Mathematics – STEM integration connection.  Jannita Damian was deemed the lead organizer, adding some action packed exclusive scheduling for the 2011 Fellows, including White House visits, behind the scenes Smithsonian Museum experiences, as well as inspirational discussions with Siemens Executives and Discovery Channel  Celebrities sharing sneak peaks.

Siemens Fellows were given numerous perspectives and opportunities through a multitude of great DEN Team members.  Patti Duncan was dynamic in her way to show multiple perspectives of STEM initiatives, big and small. Lance Rougeux, Brad Fountain,  Mike Bryant, Mike Gorman, another 2010 Fellow, Pat Engleman and I worked with Jannita to create a professional development experience that would meet all fellows’ desires.  This line up of passionate educators carries a lot of energy!  Then Siemens and Discovery Education  top it off with leading 21st Century Educators like Dr. Lodge McCammon to inspire 21st C. STEM even more!  The  STEMthusiasm of our group is Very Contagious!

No matter what your technology background may be, your desire and commitment  to accelerate STEM Education is what Siemens is looking for! Fellows come from across the United States including Hawii and Alaska; big districts or small, private or public, DEN or not! The  selection is conducted through the College Board and is a fair, rubric based selection process.

If you are ready to spearhead  STEM initiatives in your school, Siemens STEM Institute will empower you to gain the traction and support you need to succeed and sustain!

Deadline to apply is February 9th! Start Your application today! 

Merry Apps for Mind Maps

December 22nd, 2011

Mind Maps are graphic representations of information that show both small units of information and their relationships in a visual way. Concept maps,( or story maps, graphic organizers, advance organizers, story webs, semantic maps, and cognitive organizers), are often used to teach text structure and to aid in comprehension, helping students understand multiple layered concepts.

Research shows student understanding improves greatly when concept organizers are used to help students at all levels comprehend everything from developing a story line or research paper to problem solving.

Research on Elementary Mind Mapping

Research  on Mind Mapping for Chemistry Students

My students value concept maps when we are  going through decision making regarding polynomial behaviors so I have been testing some different graphic organizers  for the iPad and found  a few that are currently free.  Here is what I found:

Idea Sketch has many features and choices in organization. Idea Sketch is far better from what I experienced while using simplemind+ or  Mindjet.  Idea  Sketch allows you to fill out the outline form and it will convert your outline into a mind map/ flow chart for you, or you can freestyle the mind map and the outline will develop for you.

DropMind Lite has some neat features, allowing you to embed notes within the concept map. it too was free or  build in subtopics.

A full Graphic organizer bank App that costs $.99 right now is “Tools 4 Students”  which contains 25 different styles of graphic organizer styles.  It is a relatively new App but reviews seem strong and I have played with  its many features.  This App shows a lot of potential ease in integrating into lessons, saving the time that would otherwise be used to actually organize layout for each student’s specific organizer.

iThoughtsHD  seems really great but I just don’t have the courage to spend $10 on an app for concept mapping- though I will watch for this to come on sale… If you are an English or History teacher, you may value this app more and $10 would not seem too outrageous it has strong reviews and the screen shots look impressive.

Another interesting app allows students to work together, each with their own pad or computer.  Students could use this app to solve problems or discuss concepts together, before creating a mind map.  “Group Boardis worth adding to see how you can empower your kids to work together in problem solving.  I have been using this App with our At Risk Ess 1 Math  students as a way to differentiate and remediate instruction, while encouraging metacognition and organize thoughts or solutions.   Add Group board as an App, then download the free version ( not free trial) of group board onto your computer(s). The free version will allow up to 5 individual ipads/ computers to be signed in at a time.  I use pairs of students on 3 different group board  PC accounts, allowing students to work on 3 different problems,  rotating through the different pairs of group board Pads.  When students who struggle start by organizing their thoughts with Peers before trying to create a mind map using the other organizer tools listed.
All these apps would helpful to many struggling learners because the process of  building the organizer and working together with peers reach deeper levels of learning, analyzing and experiencing metacognition, helping the student understand the learning target,  learning how concepts relate within the target.

More research regarding Concept Map effectiveness