Microsoft Office – Is It Enough?

When I first started my current job as Technology Director at Sacramento Adventist Academy, I inherited the teaching schedule that had previously been used. This included a full year course called “Computer Applications” that met the technology requirements for graduation. In looking over what had been previously been taught, I found that this was simply an expanded Microsoft Office course that included some other applications such as Fireworks. This really got me thinking about what our students really need to be prepared for the world they well enter after graduation.

When I was a freshman in high school over Typing Class30 years ago I took typing in a classroom that didn’t look much different from this one except half the class had manual typewriters. The IBM Selectric, shown in the picture, was a real advance because you could change the “font” by exchanging the ball in the typewriter. The focus of the class was part accuracy and speed, and part formatting of formal and informal documents. By the time I started teaching, we had moved on to Apple IIe’s and soon Microsoft, Apple, and WordPerfect started battling it out for customers by making computers and phones more powerful, faster and easier to use by the average person. This has caused massive changes in our lives and how we communicate.

Without a doubt, our world is changing. Many of the jobs our student will have as adults will look very different than what they see now and many have not even been invented yet. How we approach teaching has also changed significantly. Only a few years ago many were arguing for teaching keyboarding to all high school students like we taught typing in ages past. Today, most recognize that this is a skill that needs to taught beginning in 3rd and 4th grade and should have mastered by junior high. But we still teach Microsoft Office and feel satisfied in meeting the technology requirements for high school graduation. There has to be more.

April 12 / 2016
Author Mel Wade
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The Purpose of Technology in the Classroom

The First of a series, Mark flips his workshop on Flipped & Blended Learning. In episode one, we establish the place of technology in education.

November 09 / 2014
August 17 / 2014
Author Mel Wade
Category Curriculum
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11 Apps for Education

App prices are current as of press time, but are subject to change.

appx1. TED, iPhone/iPad [2], Android [3], Free

TED’s official app presents talks from some of the world’s most fascinating people: education radicals, tech geniuses, medical mavericks, business gurus, and music legends. Find more than 1,700 TEDTalk videos and audios (with more added each week) on the official TED app.

2. Star Chart, iPhone/iPad [4], Android [5], Free

All you have to do is point your device at the sky and Star Chart will tell you exactly what you are looking at. Using GPS technology, an accurate 3D universe, and all of the latest high tech functionality, Star Chart calculates – in real time – the current location of every star and planet visible from Earth and shows you precisely where they are; even in broad daylight.

3. Wabbitemu, Android [6], Free

Wabbitemu creates a Texas Instruments graphing calculator right on your Android device. Wabbitemu supports the TI-73, TI-81, TI-82, TI-83, TI-83 Plus, TI-83 Plus Silver Edition, TI-84 Plus, TI-84 Plus Silver Edition, TI-85, and TI-86. Fast and convenient, Wabbitemu allows you to always have your trusty calculator with you. Because Wabbitemu is an emulator, the calculator it creates will act exactly like the real thing.

4. yHomework, iPhone/iPad [7], Android [8], Free

Enter your expression or equation, and get the full step-by-step solution! Just the same as your teacher would write on the board, and just the same as you would solve it in your notebook. Students could use this to check work they’ve already done, or to review equation steps learned in class.

5. Rover, iPad [9], Free

Can’t access Flash on your iPad? Rover can. Rover is the free to download education app that streams educational Flash content to your iPad.

6. Common Core State Standards, iPhone/iPad [10], Android [11], Free

View the Common Core State Standards in one convenient app. A great reference for students, parents, and teachers to easily read and understand the core standards. Quickly find standards by subject, grade, and subject category (domain/cluster). This app includes Math standards K-12 and Language Arts standards K-12. Math standards include both traditional and integrated pathways (as outlined in Appendix A of the common core) and synthesizes Language Arts standards with the Corresponding College and Career Readiness Standards (CCR’s).

7. Kidblog, iPhone/iPad [12], Free

Create and manage Kidblog accounts from your iPad, iPhone, or iPod Touch. Teachers can monitor blog activity and moderate comments and posts. Students can easily upload photos and videos directly from their iOS device – with no embed codes or HTML.

8. Shake-a-Phrase, iPhone/iPad [13], Android [14], $1.99

Shake-a-Phrase is a fun language app for creative writing prompts, vocabulary, and parts of speech practice. Perfect for learning and laughing in the classroom or on-the-go, it features over 2,000 words and definitions in 5 engaging themes for ages 8+.

9. Grammaropolis, iPhone/iPad [15], Android [16], Free

Grammaropolis is where grammar lives! Hailed as a Schoolhouse Rock for the 21st Century, Grammaropolis uses the parts of speech as animated characters whose personalities are based on the roles they play in the sentence. From the shady pronoun always trying to take the noun’s place to the motherly conjunction who just wants everyone to get along, Grammaropolis achieves the impossible: we make learning grammar fun!

10. Nearpod, iPhone/iPad [17], Android [18], Free

The Nearpod platform enables teachers to use their iPads to manage content on students’ iPads, iPhones or iPods. It combines presentation, collaboration, and real-time assessment tools into one integrated solution. Nearpod is a synchronous solution for the use of iPads, iPods and iPhones in the classroom.

11. Endless Reader, iPhone/iPad [19], Free

This app introduces “sight words”, the most commonly used words in school, library, and children’s books. Kids need to recognize these words by sight in order to achieve reading fluency. Recognizing sight words is advantageous for beginning readers because many of these words have unusual spelling, cannot be sounded out using phonics knowledge, and often cannot be represented using pictures.


Taken from

May 16 / 2014
Author Ernest Staats
Category Curriculum
Comments No Comments

Grow or Die

In the business world there is the saying (which is more fact than fiction) “Grow or Die”. If a business does not have signs of significant growth then in a sense it is akin to a hobby and is being managed as such. No-growth businesses (especially the business that blames the customer for their lack of growth) are very easily crushed by competitors and hence die.

There are four main benefits to growth.

  1. It validates that you are well known in our community and not just known by your limited customer base. You are part of the community fabric. An unknown business, regardless of how good, is of no value to anyone (including itself) if it is not known well beyond it’s front doors. If the business is not news worthy often, is not publicly shared and is simply reflection of last year, the business is in big trouble.
  2. A growing business is exciting. It spurs enthusiasm both within the organization and within the community at large (i.e. It is more fun to work at and it develops a fan base).
  3. Growth validates that you are meeting the customer needs. The most successful service companies (including the education business) find ways to “Partner with the Customer” even if the customer does not realize it is happening. They provide something the customers can not easily do for themselves and they do it in such a way that it is important and noticeable. They provide VALUABLE to the customer in a most personal way. Growth validates the business is relevant to it’s community and not just to a few customers.
  4. Growth often provides capital infusion usually in two ways. One, cash inflow is typically greater than the cash out in a growing organization. Two (in the not-for-profit world) growth often encourages donors and volunteers to engage.

How do you grow a business? Well first let me answer it backwards. The road to growth never ends (there is no end). It is a constant and purposeful commitment to renewal on a scale larger than today. So how do you start? You start by proclaiming loudly and publicly in faith your commitment to making Adventist Education grow. The more people you tell (both Adventist and non-Adventist), the more you are held accountable for going it. Next you set the bar high, no not high, you set the bar way high. Much higher than your comfort zone. Then you ask for help. You need a team bigger than you, and bigger than your current staff, to make this happen.

You need to make if fun, joyful, a journey and a mission for God. Lastly, your team needs some crazy people on it. Crazy enough to make it happen.

– Tom Krazan
March 19 / 2014
Author Mel Wade
Category Curriculum
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What do the studies say about flipped learning?

Have you been interested in flipping your classroom but have heard mixed reviews? Mark Janke reviews the studies of flipped classrooms.

March 13 / 2014

7 Crippling Behaviors That Keep Children From Growing Into Leaders

I fond this article and thought it applied to teachers as well parents

7 damaging behaviors that keep children from becoming leaders – of their own lives and of the world’s enterprises:


1. We don’t let our children/students experience riskMake a Leader

We live in a world that warns us of danger at every turn. The “safety first” preoccupation enforces our fear of losing our kids, so we do everything we can to protect them. It’s our job after all, but we have insulated them from healthy risk-taking behavior and it’s had an adverse effect. Psychologists in Europe have discovered that if a child doesn’t play outside and is never allowed to experience a skinned knee, they frequently have phobias as adults. Kids need to fall a few times to learn it’s normal; teens likely need to break up with a boyfriend or girlfriend to appreciate the emotional maturity that lasting relationships require. If parents remove risk from children’s lives, we will likely experience high arrogance and low self-esteem in our growing leaders.

Read more →

January 22 / 2014
Author Ernest Staats
Category Curriculum
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Flipped Classroom

Mark Janke, a teacher at Sacramento Adventist Academy, wondered about the flipped classroom model and decided to try an experiment. Here are his results.

January 20 / 2014
Author Mel Wade
Comments 3 Comments

10 school initiatives that never go away

[In no particular order. Initiatives begin with their oldest version and go to the current version.]

1. Desktop computers; 1:1 laptops; 1:1 tablets; BYOD.

2. No Child Left Behind (NCLB); Race to the Top (RTTT); Common Core State Standards (CCSS); Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS).

3. Scantron testing; computer-based testing; adaptive testing.

4. Overhead projectors; interactive whiteboards; Student Response Systems (SRS); 3D projectors.

5. Web 2.0 online resources; eBooks; Create-Your-Own textbooks.

6. Online learning; blended learning; Flipped Learning.BYOD

7. Extracurriculars; longer school days; year-round school; after-school activities.

8. School day divided by subject and bells; gendered classrooms; open classroom design.

9. Chat rooms; Facebook; virtual reality; safe social networking through classroom learning networks.

10. Card cataloging skills; online search skills; digital literacy skills.

BONUS! When initiatives move backward: Latin and Greek; French and German; Spanish and Chinese…English.

Taken From

December 17 / 2013
Author Ernest Staats
Comments No Comments

The effects of mass media on children, adolescents and adults Webex


Learning Enhancement Corporation

Neuroscience in Education Webinar Series


  Date:  Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Time:  3:30 to 4:30 p.m. Eastern (adjust the time to your time zone)

Where:  Your computer and phone
Dr. Douglas Gentile is a developmental psychologist, a research scientist and an award-winning educator, named as one of “The Best 300 Professors” in the United States according to a Random House/Princeton Review survey in 2012. He is one of the world’s leading experts of the effects of mass media on children, adolescents and adults, and he conducts research on a variety of topics including media violence, educational media, video games, advertising, media ratings and technology “addictions.” He is the author of two books – Media Violence and Children: A Complete Guide for Parents and Professionals, and Violent Video Game Effects on Children and Adolescents: Theory, Research and Public Policy – as well as numerous articles and book chapters.

Join us for an interview with Dr. Gentile in which we plan to explore his research and scientific conclusions on media violence, the potential for pro-social video games, cyber-bullying, video-game playing and attention, how our brains react to video games, and other timely topics in this age of technology and neuroscience.

Our Neuroscience in Education Webinars are complimentary (there is no fee to participate) but space is limited. Register early!

Please pass this invitation on to colleagues who may also have an interest in participating in this webinar.
For more information, contact us at 877-272-4610,

To access previously recorded webinars, please visit us at LEC Webinar Series.


This webinar qualifies for 1 Continuing Professional Development Unit.

May 09 / 2013
Author Ernest Staats
Category Curriculum
Comments No Comments
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