Do Teachers Need iPad Training?

A recent Edudemic article discusses whether teachers need iPad training and not only points out the obvious that students catch onto new technologies easier, but that teachers need to be trained BEFORE getting their devices.

What Employers Expect: Soft Skills - Guest Blog Post

Guest Blog Post by Jenny Castle, Director of Human Resources at Atomic Learning
In the words of best-selling author Peggy Klaus, “Soft skills get little respect, but will make or break your career.”
Technical skills are those you need to do your job, but soft skills are imperative for you to be successful in your job and in your career.  As a Director of Human Resources, I know what employers are looking for—candidates with developed skill sets that are valuable no matter what industry or job you are applying for.  Soft skills, often called career skills, include skills such as working well with others, solving problems, critical thinking, decision making, attitude, professionalism and communication skills. 
These are skills that translate into real money for businesses. 
Imagine that you receive bad service at a business.  Will you return?  Will you tell others about it?  Now imagine that you are that business owner.  How does that employee impact your business?  How do you feel about them?  Now imagine that you are the employee that provided the service.  Do you think you’ll get that next promotion?  Will you still have a job?

Exporting Bookmarks - Guest Blog Post

Guest Blog Post by Maria Burnham, Library Media Specialist

Part of our "End of Year" instructions include exporting out your bookmarks if you are a Safari or Firefox user. However, one thing to consider is to start switching to Chrome for your browsing needs. The one biggest benefit? Your bookmarks stay with your Google Account.  So, as long as you are logged in to Google, your bookmarks will be with you, no matter from which device or computer you are working!  Sweet!  

To import and export your bookmarks, check out this tutorial.

Maria Burnham is a passionate Library Media Specialist at one of our partner districts in Minnesota, Sauk Rapids-Rice. She shares her passion for technology in education with her peers in a weekly email highlighting tips and tricks to engage users in technology and Atomic Learning, which she cleverly named “Mondays with Maria.” That weekly email is where this guest blog post came from. We will continue to post Maria’s inspiration from time to time, feel free to share with others! You can follow her on twitter:

Canada's Mindshare Learning reviews Atomic Learning

MindShare Learning (MSL) is a privately held company based in the Greater Toronto Area, Canada. Its hallmark is providing strategic marketing solutions to learning & technology solution providers in the K-12, HED and lifelong learning markets, to support new market expansion and revenue growth.

Recently, Tim Gard, TDSB Educator & MSL Report Contributing Writer, reviewed Atomic Learning's training resources, here's an excerpt:

Infographic: Tech Trends

This infographic provides a quick glimpse into how school administrators, teachers and staff are utilizing technology—with a significant emphasis on digital content and mobile devices. Check it out to see how you compare to your peers. Feeling left behind?

Survey Says: Technology Impacts Student Outcomes

These days, there seems to be no shortage of discussion around the impact of flipped learning, mobile devices, and numerous other tech initiatives. However, an important part of the conversation seems to be missing—professional development.
A recent survey of over 600 educators found that while over 90% believe that technology can positively impact student engagement, nearly half (46%) of the surveyed educators felt that they do not have access to the training needed to effectively utilize technology in the classroom.
These findings beg the question: Are you providing your teachers with the technology skills they need to be successful in the classroom?

Re-opening tabs and windows in your browser - Guest Blog Post

Guest Blog Post by Maria Burnham, Library Media Specialist

Today's tech tip is a neat little feature available to you in most of your Internet browsers.  If you're anything like me, once in awhile you accidentally close a window or a tab in your browser that you need about 20 seconds later.  Depending on the browser you're using, you can easily recover where you've been without re-typing in a web address.

Infographic: Going to the Cloud

As this infographic illustrates, cloud-based applications have become commonplace, and many schools are making the move to the cloud. If you're interested in learning more about putting the cloud to work for you, check out Atomic Learning's workshops on Moving Schools and Organizations to the Cloud and Moving to the Cloud for Teachers, as well as specific applications included within Google™ Docs, Adobe® Creative Cloud®, Microsoft® Office 365 and more! (Don't have access? Request more information today!)

Are You Prepared for the Common Core?

Is your district ready for Common Core? If not, you are not alone. According to a recent article, professional development remains a problem for many schools:
Across the country, there is a substantial need for more teacher and leader professional development around the Common Core. Meeting the raised expectations of higher standards will require teachers to educate in profoundly different ways – not just in understanding what the new standards include and how they differ from the states’ old standards, but also how to make the instructional shifts needed for students to succeed.
One of the significant challenges with the new standards are the embedded technology components, meaning that in order to effectively address individual standards teachers must guide students on utilizing appropriate technology tools to complete projects and lessons.

Adding Trinkets to Your Google Calendar - Guest Blog Post

Guest Blog Post by Maria Burnham, Library Media Specialist

If you're anything like me, your Google Calendar has been the only thing keeping your professional and personal life from spontaneously combusting because of its many features in integrating with email, reminding me of upcoming events, and playing nicely with my Smart Phone so I know what my day looks like no matter which device I'm using. 

Planning Ahead: Snow Days as Learning Days

This past winter, several states across the United States were forced to delay or cancel school during inclement weather. As the snow piled up, so did the school cancelations, and suddenly districts are struggling to make up missed days. Consequently, many district leaders are looking for alternatives to avoid repeating this problem next school year. And, while the staff here at Atomic Learning can't control the weather, we have some ideas to maximize your teachers' time.
Whether your teachers are homebound because of drifting snow or your district requires them to report even if school is closed, consider converting weather delays/cancelations to informal training days or an impromptu in-service.

On-Demand Professional Learning Improves Performance

Recent research has shown that schools who utilize on-demand professional learning show higher student scores than comparable local schools and districts. The study, as published in the International Journal of Evaluation and Research in Education (IJERE), states,
Taken as a whole, the findings from this research support the high-participation use of Internet-based, on-demand PD for improving teacher efficacy and improving student performance. Given the cost-effectiveness and efficiency of this PD delivery approach, such methods should be considered as credible strategies for addressing needs for continuously improved teacher efficacy and better student achievement.

Share Your Bright Spots - What's Working for You?

If you're ever looking for a truly great book about change, look no further than Switch by Chip and Dan Heath.  When I started reading Switch, I was doing so as a professional learning opportunity related to business.  Atomic Learning's entire purpose is really about helping people navigate change as they seek to unleash the power of ever changing technology in their teaching, learning and life.  Therefore, we are an organization that is constantly looking to also embrace change as we adapt to the new challenges and opportunities that learners face.

I quickly learned that Switch is far from just a business book.  It is really about better understanding how we, as humans, respond to changes in all aspects of life - from trying to adopt healthier eating or exercise to negotiating with a teenager to working with colleagues.

Committing to Digital Learning

Need a reason to celebrate educational technology and commit (or renew your commitment) to integrating technology in the classroom? Next Wednesday, February 5th, marks the 3rd annual Digital Learning Day—a day when educators and school leaders across the United States are challenged to pledge themselves to improving education through the effective application of technology.