Crucial Thought Rss

Featured Posts

Chris selected as K12OnlineConference keynote speaker Each year the K12OnlineConference provides tremendous professional development for free, and entirely online. This year, they have selected me as one of their keynote speakers. I am thrilled to have been chosen and look forward to participating in the conversation. Read the full post announcing all the keynote speakers here.

Read more

Two quick links on Cognitive Load Theory I've been fielding lots of questions lately about Cognitive Load Theory. Here are two quick links that may be useful. First is an article talking about the practical implications of CLT on the design of learning. The second are some "recent" (as of 2003) developments regarding CLT. Happy reading! Update: I clarified the second...

Read more

Practical advice on kids and Android app development After hearing about my students' success developing an Android app, I've gotten several emails asking for more details as to how I practically worked with my kids. Here are some pointers that I offered to the first person that emailed me, perhaps they are of some use to you. Please note that your mileage may vary. It's ok to not be...

Read more

Publishing an App Inventor app to the Android Market As I mentioned earlier, my students and I published an Android app to the Android Market. See those links for more information on the background. This post is decidedly technical. First, once we finished the coding process, we packaged the app for to download to the computer. This is an option in App Inventor. This downloaded an .apk file....

Read more

Designing and publishing an Android app with kids This post is designed to provide some context around how/why we decided to build this app. The more technical details of the code and how we published it will come in a future post. My students and I recently completed and published an Android app, and here's how we did it. First, the genesis for this goes back to a question I asked...

Read more

Initial thoughts on Google Course Builder

Category : Google

I suspect by now you’ve heard about Google Course Builder. It’s the course system that powered the Google Power Search course that Dan Russell put on not long ago.

I spent a few hours figuring it out and seeing how it works. I wanted to share some thoughts with you…

1. It’s complex and requires a good bit of code editing. There’s no nice GUI to change course content, etc. It’s all a pretty big bunch of code.

2. It requires Google App Engine ( which is not necessarily a bad thing, but could get into $$ if you use too much in the way of computing power for your installation.

3. It’s not terribly robust yet (it’s still in its infancy). It could theoretically work nicely for something like the Google Course, but not sure it’s ready for K-12 (or has much of a use in K-12 unless you were planning a huge MOOC.

It’s fun to play with this stuff, but I’ll likely stick with Haiku for my LMS needs, especially since they recently gave us more users, space. etc.

If you have any questions, let me know.

Google Teacher Academy Reflection

Category : Google

Back in December of 2009 I attended the Google Teacher Academy in Washington, D.C. This post serves as my final reflection of my participation. First, take a look at the video I used to apply for the event.

I heard recently that my video was used as an example of getting a point across well without overly flashy transitions or video effects. Nice to hear.

chris google teacher academy photo Once I got to the Google Teacher Academy I was delighted to run into many friends. Some I previously knew, some I was just meeting. This entire process delights me more in terms of the people I met than the content I learned.

As a result of the GTA, I performed several activities. I posted to our school’s private blog tips and tricks about Google. I am not certain how fruitful that was since not many of my teachers read that blog much. Perhaps had I done it via email it would have been more fruitful, although we get so many emails I can’t swear it wouldn’t get lost in the mix.

The item I am most proud of is our group project. A few of us came together and decided to create an online video repository specifically geared towards Google products. It turns out that Google Certified Teachers often deliver training to their teachers on many of the same topics. Rather than reinvent the wheel, we created It hasn’t received the buy in I had hoped, but it may pick up.

So overall the GTA was a wonderful experience but moreso because of the wonderful folks I met and continue to interact with.