New Year, New Tech. Take The Plunge

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Technology has turned the world upside down and the educational world is no different. We profile many apps on this blog. Sometimes the information can be overwhelming! Suppose you want to add technology to your classroom and just don’t know how to go about it. Start with baby steps my friend…baby steps.

1. Realize that tech will never replace the teacher. It is nothing more than a tool, no different than a projector, a calculator or even a pencil or pen. Have it work for you…not the other way around.

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2. Practice first, and then show. No one expects perfection when learning a new skill. However, make sure that you are comfortable with the technology before rolling it out to your students.

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3. Incorporate distance guest speakers. Instead of having a local subject matter expert come into your class, why not invite a guest lecturer from across the state, the nation or from around the world. Skype has a great website for finding guest lecturers.

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4. Don’t be afraid to make mistakes and ask for help. All of us were EMS responders before we became educators. Remember the mistakes that you made as you were learning skills such as patient assessment, ECG identification and pharmacology. You messed up…right? Well, allow yourself the same privilege with classroom tech. When you run into a problem that you can’t fix, don’t be afraid to ask your students for help. Most of them are digital natives and helping you, the instructor, will only increase their respect for you. In addition, you give them a chance to excel at an area of strength for them.

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5. Understand the benefits that come from using technology. According to Cornell University, educators who use tech effectively in the classroom can expect:
Strengthened learning activities.
Engaged students.
Enhanced classroom communication and interconnectivity.
Increased efficiency with assessment.
Provides students with the opportunity to:
Communicate.
Collaborate.
Create knowledge.
Interact with course material in multiple ways.
Develop their technological skills.

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Need more information or have questions about how to start? Feel free to contact me or any of the folks who follow this blog. You will find that we are more than willing to help! Now…GO FOR IT!

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Catch Me If You Can: Academic Cheating Part 1 of 2

Your students are cheaters! There! I got it out in the open! If you teach long enough, some of your students are going to go the route of cheating for their grades. I like to tell my students, “We’re not making cornflakes in this class!” You mess up on a cornflake and no one notices. Mess up on a patient and someone may not get to go home!

This is why it is so important to be vigilant to ensure academic integrity in the classroom. Do you REALLY want a student who was able to cheat his or her way through class to be potentially responsible for the care of your family? I didn’t think so! In order to catch a cheater, sometimes you have to think like a cheater. This blog will look at some of the ways, both high and low tech of how students cheat as well as what you can do about it.

The Coke Bottle Cheating Hack
In order to complete this hack, the student will remove the label from a 20 oz. bottle of Coke. A Coke bottle works best as the white letters on a red background make it difficult to read from a distance.
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Scan the label using the highest quality setting possible. Save the file as a .jpg.
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Using your favorite photo editing software, remove the ingredient list while leaving the red background.
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Once you feel that you have removed just the right amount, simply go back and replace the deleted text with notes, formulas, and potential answers.
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Once the student has all the information on the label that they feel that they will need, they simply print the photo out on GLOSSY paper. For additional information, the student might write more cheating hacks on the inside of the new label. They will become visible as the student consumes the soda. When finished, the student has a very innocent looking cheating tool!
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A second easy method of cheating is called the “Watch Hack”. The student begins with a watch. Any watch will do.
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On a sheet of white paper, the student writes out the information needed in a square shape using the smallest font that they can possibly read.
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The student then takes a small square of packing tape and places it flush, with no wrinkles over the information that they have just typed. Applying hand pressure along with heat from the hand will assist in the transfer of the ink from the paper to the tape.
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If the student is careful, they can slowly peel the tape away from the paper. In doing so, the ink will adhere to the tape.
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It is a simple matter, at this point to place the tape over the face of their watch and carefully trim the excess away. Now they simply seem to be looking at their watch.
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Information on how to minimize cheating will be covered in our next blog.