Ice Scraper or Back Scatcher?

Isn’t it interesting how culture, climate, and geography shape the way that we interpret the things that surround us?Ice_scraperbackscratcher

Recently, I was in Pennsylvania for the PETE and C conference and was able to observe this phenomena first-hand.   During one snowy night an exhibitor was passing out red ice scrapers to passers by.  Upon seeing the red ice scrapers my colleague – who was born and raised in sunny California and not used to snow or ice- excitedly proclaimed, "Oh cool, look! Back Scratchers!" (bonus points if you can find her posting on the DEN blog).

This got me thinking…well first it got me laughing…but after a few good laughs I got back to thinking about how perceptions are shaped in this digital age.

As educators, you stand in front of a generation that communicates with one another in multiple ways (both on-line and off).  Your students are blogging, interacting globally through social networking sites, text messaging, instant messaging, e-mailing, and-anything-else-ing.  The information they access is constantly changing – constantly being updated, modified, and revised.  Now imagine how that shapes the perception of their world!

So how do you reach these students – students who without blinking, can text messages, watch a video, and surf the Internet at the same time?  By providing your instruction in as many diverse ways. 

And you can do that within a safe environment by using the tools located within unitedstreaming.

The Assignment Builder, Quiz Builder, and Writing Prompt Builder give you the ability to construct interactive lessons and/or inquiry-oriented activities.  For example you can:

  • incorporate video and video segments, images, calendar events, articles, quizzes, writing prompts, and even websites, into an assignment using the Assignment Builder.
  • create an interactive quiz with the Quiz Builder.
  • start your students off with a customized writing prompt created with the Writing Prompt Builder.

Best of all, your students can access your assignment, quiz, or writing prompt from any computer that has Internet access – even from home!

I’ve put together a PowerPoint presentation that includes step-by-step instructions for each of the Builders. Feel free to download this tool and/or share it with your colleagues and, you know, scratch each others backs.  Download the_builders.ppt 

Talk to you soon,
Matt Monjan
Discovery Education, unitedstreaming


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  1. Erik Wittmer said:

    Ha Ha! What a great time I had at PETE & C with the California women who is so much fun! Did she need her back scratcher to help get the plane get off the ground? Thanks for being there to help the PA teachers that didn’t know how great unitedstreaming in a class! Keep up the great work you do behind the scene!

  2. Lee Kolbert said:

    Hey! When I saw the picture I thought it was a sand-scraper. You know, the thing they use to “comb” the beach every morning! Backscratcher is not such a stretch either. When I was in Atlantic City recently, I saw in the hotels, casinos and even restaurants were “Coat Rooms”. It struck me a little odd, but occurred to me that someone COULD arrive at the restaurant without one and then the weather could turn really cold, so they then have to purchase one from the “Coat Room.” I didn’t realize the “Coat Room” wasn’t a store… but a place to store your coat! Who would have known that?

    It reminds me of the “Whose Line Is It Anyway?” shows with the game “Scenes With A Prop.”


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