Posts Tagged 'Bon Education'

Dubai-based company aims to change the way children read

Dear Literacy is Priceless Readers,

After a long hiatus, I am excited to announce the launch of a new children’s book series we’ve been working on at Bon Education. I hope you enjoy BB and Sam: The Return of the Champion book one of The Adventures of BB and Sam series. To download the book, visit www.BBandSam.com.

- Anna (Co-Creator, The Adventures of BB and Sam)

Bon Education creates innovative multi-media children’s book series, The Adventures of BB and Sam, using Apple iBooks Author.

Dubai, UAE – May 15, 2012 – Education technology company Bon Education announces the launch of The Adventures of BB and Sam – a new multimedia fiction book series that aims to take children on virtual adventures around the globe via the touch of an iPad. Created with Apple’s iBooks Author, the series is filled with text, illustrations, videos, mood music, photo galleries, quiz features and more.

“When Apple launched iBooks Author as a tool to create engaging multi-touch digital textbooks, we immediately thought to ourselves, ‘This is an amazing tool for creating children’s literature as well!’” said Bon Education CEO Anna Batchelder. “So many kids are choosing to watch TV and play video games over reading these days. By adding a variety of digital enhancements and interactivity to our books, we hope kids will rediscover their love of reading in a digital world.”

“When we started working on the first book of the series, BB and Sam: The Return of the Champion, we originally conceived of the book as an app. The story takes place in Thailand so we spent a great deal of time traveling around the country doing research and collecting videos and photos to supplement the written storyline so that our readers could get a real feel for life in Thailand. iBooks Author enabled us to create the book as a multimedia e-book instead and gave us much more control over the creative process” stated Christopher Batchelder, Bon Education President.

With book one now on the Apple iBookstore, the Bon Education team is eager to see how children and families around the world react. In the prototype phase the team worked with children in the UAE, Egypt, New Zealand and North America to get feedback on the story and visuals.

After reading the book, Omania, a 6th grade student in Egypt, wrote to the team, “BB and Sam: The Return of the Champion is an adventure book that has a lot of twists inside it and that shows how creative the writers are. What I like the most about this book are the different characters and how they change around the book. Not only is it entertaining, but it teaches you a lesson. The moral of the book is how being kind and respectful to people is really important.”

When asked about where book two in the series will take place, the Bon Education team did not want to reveal too many details. But, they said there is a good chance BB and Sam will be heading to the Middle East next winter!

Bon Education is an education technology company based in Dubai, UAE with team members in the United States, Middle East and Asia. The company focuses on developing engaging and culturally relevant educational programs and learning products for families and schools around the world. To learn more about The Adventures of BB and Sam visit www.BBandSam.com. Book one of the series can be downloaded for iPad on the Apple iBookstore. Familes can stay up-to-date on the travels of BB and Sam by following the multimedia e-book series on Facebook.

Literacy is Priceless has Moved – Check dotLearnt.com

Anna Batchelder, Bon Education, dot.Learnt

After 3 years of writing Literacy is Priceless, I am officially retiring this blog and moving my education technology digital diary and passion for digital literacy to a new blog – dot.Learnt and a new digital sketchbook.

As my company’s website states:

Fall 2010: Bon Education launches dot.Learnt–a group blog written by team member and guests of Bon Education. dot.Learnt takes on topics at the intersection of education, technology and social media. It is a reflection of the work and thinking Bon does in the Middle East, North America and Asia. To visit dot.Learnt click here. Recent posts include:

Thanks to the thousands of educators and literacy-lovers that have read and left comments on this blog. You have challenged my thinking and opened my eyes to so many wonderful resources and stories. I hope that you will find the content, research and reviews we share on dot.Learnt useful. Please feel free to stop by, leave a comment and add us to your RSS reader.

Sincerely,

Anna

Founder, Bon Education@bon_education, personal sketchbook on education annabatchelder.com/ideas.
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Open Education – What’s Next?

open education, OER, bon education, anna batchelder

Recently I’ve participated in a number of discussions around creating open education repositories and initiatives in the Middle East. Beyond the question of finding sizable portions of open Arabic content to seed a new repository, the questions of sustainability (how do we pay for this?), language (who’s Arabic?) and so what?! (What will people do with the content?) always come up shortly after.

Putting the first two bold words aside, let’s focus on the so what?! of OER. As Max Fawcett (Managing Editor at Alberta Venture) points out in the Open Education Open Debate:

Education, after all, isn’t an acquisitive process, an exercise in procuring and storing information. Instead, learning is a social process, one in which people get from point A – ignorance – to point B – enlightenment – through a messy combination of challenge, failure and consolidation. While there might be a few people who can (and should) take advantage of open-source learning models, there are, I suspect, far more who can’t. Information, in the absence of the ability to apply it, isn’t very valuable, as anybody who’s ever tried to fix their own car using only the supplied factory manual understands only too well”.

This reminds me of a comment in Brian Lamb posted in his blog two years ago:

“If we live in an era of information abundance, why is the primary drive around OERs the publication of more content? And what other activities around the open education movement might be an effective use of our energies? What other needs have to be met?”

In the past couple of years we’ve seen online course initiatives like P2PU and the Open High School take steps towards using the open content out there in meaningful ways. But, I would like to hear directly from teachers and students:

With so much free content out there on the Web, what services or apps would you like to see built in conjunction with all that content to help bring more meaning, value, time savings and/or joy to your education?

Anna

@bon_education

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A Time to Reflect: Teaching with Technology in the UAE


Last fall the Sheikh Saud bin Saqr al Qasimi Foundation for Policy Research approached me about working with them on the creation of a 21st Century Teaching Scholarship program for teachers, as well as the build out of an online portal for Ras al Khaimah educators to exchange ideas, lessons and best practices in English and Arabic. I welcome you to listen to my podcast reflection above to learn about the program, the amazing work and collaborations of educators in Ras al Khiamah and my post program reflections.

I would like to thank the Foundation for providing me the opportunity to create and teach a program for such passionate educators.

To global collaboration and education!

Anna

Founder, Bon Education

@bon_education

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50 Best Blogs for Literacy Teachers (and a brief update)

Wow! The month of April flew by with hardly an extra moment to blog on Literacy is Priceless! This has been an incredible month between:

Now that I have a moment to sit down and write, I want to extend a huge thank you to Online University Reviews for including Literacy is Priceless on their list of 50 Best Blogs for Literacy Teachers. This is definitely a list to bookmark! In particular, make sure to check out two of my favorites on the list:

To great travel, interesting education conferences and literacy!

Anna

Founder, Bon Education

@bon_education

Bon’s on Facebook!

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How to Build Effective Online Education Communities

This week I will lead a number of presentations and discussions at the Global Forum on Technology and Innovation in Teaching and Leading in Dubai. One of the topics I will discuss is, “How to build effective online education communities”. If you manage an online education community or are interested in starting one, I welcome you to read through the presentation above!

Looking forward to discussing online education communities on Wednesday! Feedback and comments are welcome!

Anna

Founder, Bon Education

@bon_education

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#10Ways to Support the Open Education Movement via Social Media

I just posted the blog below on Curriki. Given the topic, I thought many Literacy is Priceless readers would enjoy it as well. To see the original post, click here.

A colleague of mine recently sent me the Mashable post, “#10Ways to Support Charities Through Social Media”. As a follow-up, I thought it would be fun to create a list specific to Open Education Resources (OERs). So, here it goes…

  1. Write a blog post about OERs—If you find a great free and open education resource on sites like CurrikiOER Commonsand Flat World Knowledge, write a short post about it! Teachers are always looking for great free classroom content online that has been endorsed by a fellow educator!
  2. Share OER stories with friends—If you’ve written a blog about OERs, post a link to the entry on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Delicious, or Google Buzz. Or, just post a link to the resource itself. Curriki makes this process easy! Open any resource on Curriki and click on the “Share” button at the top of the page. This will allow you to share the gift of free lessons with your social networks in a click!
  3. Follow OERs on Twitter and Facebook—We tweet @Curriki. To find other OER tweeters, go to Twitter Search and type in #OER. Many OERs have Facebook fan pages as well.
  4. Support OERs on Awareness Hubs—Several websites have popped up to support non-profits in their work. Take a look at Facebook CausesiGive and iSearch to start!
  5. Find Volunteer Opportunities—OERs are always looking for enthusiastic educators to share their knowledge with classrooms around the world. When you visit an OER like CurrikiConnexions or FreeReading, most have explicit information on how you can donate lessons, expertise and time from the comfort of your own classroom or home. Check out the Curriki donate page to start!
  6. Embed an OER Badge on Your Site—Feel good about connecting teachers in need of high quality online content with great OERs by putting a widget or badge on your blog, website, Facebook page and more.
  7. Organize a Tweetup—Meet OER fans offline at events like the upcoming Communia Workshop in Turkey or the ISTE Conference in Denver. Or, create an event in your hometown. For tips on how to organize a successful tweetup, check outMashable’s guide to tweetups.
  8. Talk about your love of OERs on Video—Then post the video on YouTubeVimeo and other online video services. Even though the OER movement is growing stronger by the second, many people don’t know about it. Connect great teachers with great free content. Spread the word about OERs!
  9. Petition for the use and creation of OERs in your School Districts—I am always surprised when I meet with schools districts unaware about OERs (especially the cost savings of OERs!) or districts that don’t allow teachers to put district-created lesson plans online open source (Wouldn’t a teacher in Cambodia benefit from a math resource from your district or county and vise versa?! Were tax dollars used to create that content?! Hmm!). Use tools like Petition Online and Twitition to rally for the use and sharing of OERs within your district and beyond!
  10. Organize an Online Event—Invite your friends to a tweet-a-thon and tell them to tweet great OERs to the world during a specific time period with a hashtags like #OER or #IloveOERs!

Social media is the perfect tool for spreading great ideas. Tell Curriki how you are using social media to support the OER movement by posting a comment on the Curriki blog, this blog or by sending a tweet  to @Curriki.

From one OER fan to another,

Anna Batchelder

Founder, Bon Education

@bon_education

Note: The image above was created by Fred Cavazza and is licensed under the CC Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 2.0 Generic License.

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Curricula 2.0: Improving Education Access and Quality

Tomorrow I will present my paper, “Curricula 2.0: Improving Education Access and Quality” at the Gulf Education Forum in Dubai. To read the paper, I welcome you to view the document on Scribd below. -Anna (@bon_education)

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Developing Your Personal Learning Network

I recently discovered a blog post by Lisa Nielsen on “5 Things You Can Do To Begin Developing Your Personal Learning Network“. It contains a wonderful video (see above) by Will Richardson on why teachers should “get outside of the classroom and build our own classrooms and our own curriculum. The change here is that we can really connect around ideas that we’re passionate about” regardless of where we are physically on the globe. After all, in order to fuel the spirit of others, we must fill that of ourselves!

As Lisa points out, the following are easy ways to start/continue building your PLN:

I am so thankful to the thousands of educators and passionate learners I’ve been able to connect with through Facebook, LinkedIn, Twine, Twitter, Ning, and more from sunny sandy Dubai! Through you all, each and every day (every tweet!) is a learning moment.

To one giant global classroom!

Anna

Founder, Bon Education

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Why the Social Web Can’t Be Ignored

more about “Garys Social Media Count“, posted with vodpod
Recently I came across the above “Living Statistics” flash app on Personalize Media. If you are studying the impact of social media on society in your classroom, this is a wonderful chart to explore and discuss. Make sure to click on the “now,” “+1 day,” “+1 week,” etc. buttons to see how many new blog posts, Facebook members, and tweets have been created around the world in 2010 alone! Thanks to Gary Hayes for sharing such a wonderful app/classroom discussion piece!
For more ideas on how to discuss social media and digital literacy in your classroom or home, take a look at, “MySpace in Democracy” – a wonderful free unit on Curriki by educator Samuel Reed. As the unit description points out:

This 6-8 week unit draws upon social studies, media literacy and inquiry to explore how social networks and media technologies promote and disrupt democratic practices. It is intended for middle grade students (grades 6th-8th).

The unit is organized in 3 major sections: Communication Timeline Inquiry (Week 1-2), First Amendment and Cyber Rights Inquiry / Webquest (Week 3-4) and Free Cyber Speech and Internet Safety Public Service Productions (Week 5-8)

One more blog post to add to the chart above!

Anna

Founder, Bon Education

@bon_education

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Education is Priceless

The only thing more expensive than education is ignorance.

- Benjamin Franklin

Gotta love Ben F! Lucky for us, education doesn’t have to come at such a steep price thanks to the growing open education movement

Last week while reading Open Education News, I learned about the January 6, 2010 launch of NalandaU (Chennai, India)—a free online university that aggregates video and course content from universities such as MIT, Stanford, Yale, Berkeley and the Indian Institute of Technology. As Nalanda’s blog points out:

Apart from watching the videos, the students can take notes in the page and access them later – organized by courses. They can also connect with their friends in Facebook who are also in the same virtual class, and share information. The course pages also have related courses that the student can take next and improve the knowledge further. Selected courses also have online quiz that the students can take to get their grades, and can manage their transcripts from a central location. It has a simple search tool with search suggestions and course results organized by broad topics.

The site has been designed to reduce distraction and information-intimidation as much as possible. The information available at each page is organized well, unintimidating and more homogeneous, and when playing the videos you can go full screen or hide everything other than the lecture by using “Dim the lights” option.

NalandaU is a wonderful site of reference and study for educators, parents and high school/university students wishing to brush up on subject matter knowledge, explore new areas of interest and connect with subject-specific enthusiasts around the world. Course topics range from the American Novel to the History of Economic Thought to Mobile Application Development (see more courses here).

I wonder what good ol’ Ben would have thought of NalandaU? Off to explore some Nalanda U courses on entrepreneurship

Anna

@bon_education

PS Curious about the original Nalanda University? Learn a bit of history here. Moving to the other side of the globe… For more tips and quotes from Benjamin Franklin, click here.

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Empowering Students with a “Can do!” Learning Attitude!

Recently while reading a back issue of the New Yorker, I came across a piece titled, “FOOD FIGHTER: Does Whole Foods’ C.E.O. know what is best for you?” While learning about the eccentric and seemingly contradictory nature and political views of the CEO of my favorite grocery chain, one paragraph forced me to pause and fold down the corner of page 40:

In high school, Mackey was an indifferent student, a late bloomer, puberty-wise, and a fanatic about basketball, science fiction, and girls. Before his senior year, he was cut from the varsity basketball team, and he persuaded his parents to move so that he could switch schools and play. “That changed my life, because for the first time I realized that if you didn’t like the hand you were dealt you didn’t just have to feel sorry for yourself. You could do something about it.

You could do something about it! You could do something about it!! YOU COULD DO SOMETHING ABOUT IT!!!  Or, as my father used to tell me in college, “Anna—think multiple paths. If you can’t achieve your goal one way, be prepared to try a dozen others”.

Beyond teaching skills and content, perhaps the best gifts we can give students (both children and adults) are hope, faith in their own abilities and a “can do” attitude.

Digital technologies offer so much promise when it comes to helping students pursue their passions and the multiple paths to their goals… Aspiring writers no longer have to “wait” for an agent to get noticed, but can use sites like Storybird, Scribd and LuLu to spread their words. Future diplomats can connect with children around the world using sites like Panwapa and ePals. Language lovers can learn second and third languages with LiveMocha and italki. So many apps and endless learning possibilities!

How are you using digital technologies to empower your students to pursue their learning passions?

To doing!

Anna

@bon_education

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2010: The Year of the Cell Phone Novel

“Keara, Ethan, wake up! Quick!” the urgent sound of their grandfather’s voice cause both Keara and Ethan to sit bolt upright.

“Why Grandpa Jim? Why did you wake us up? Is it morning?” Keara always full of questions peppered her grandfather with this series of questions.

Grandpa Jim was moving quickly around the room gathering clothes and shoes for each of them so they could dress quickly. Since Grandpa Jim usually moved at a slower pace, both children knew something important was happening.

“A fisherman from the village was just here, he found a whale tangled in a fishing net. If we cannot help the whale, it could die.” (Excerpt from “Set Me Free,” Said the Whale, a cell phone novel by: KJL)

If the Classics don’t seem to get your students excited about reading and writing, why not try a cell phone novel?

Recently while reading, “I ♥ Novels:Young women develop a genre for the cellular age”—a New Yorker article that discusses the rising popularity of the cell phone novel genre throughout Japan—I thought it would be fun to look for kid/teen-friendly English language cell phone novels…

My search quickly brought me to the kids section of the website textnovel—“a social network for authors and readers of serial fiction and the first English language cell phone novel website, allowing members to write and read fiction with their cell phones or computers, using text messaging, email and online tools”. What I like about the site is that it not only welcomes users to contribute stories, but that it encourages them to rate stories, become fans and leave comments—digital literacy skills that are increasingly important for students (and teachers) to cultivate in a hypermedia and social media age.

With a new year (and new decade) around the corner, how about teaching a cell phone novel in January?

If you’re looking for ideas on how to incorporate this new genre into your unit of studies, take a look at the m4Lit Project—a cell phone novel project and research study based out of South Africa that aims to support student leisure reading and writing in both English and isiXhosa and to understand whether cell phones can be used as effective tools for developing literacy and a love of reading amongst teens. While browsing through the project site, make sure to visit the cell phone story Kontax—“about the adventures of 4 cool teenagers”.

Happy texting!

Anna (@bon_education)

P.S. For more ideas on how to incorporate cell phones into your classroom, take a look at the post Using cell phones as teaching and learning tools.

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10 Twitter Tools for Your Classroom

One of the things I love about using Twitter as an education tool is the ability to connect with passionate educators around the world, quickly identify trending topics in global education and measure what types of information resonate with the Bon Education and Curriki communities.

I’ve always thought of Twitter as a great tool for the Language Arts classroom because the application naturally encourages users to develop reading and summarization skills—i.e. there is only so much you can say with 140 characters! (See more classroom Twitter ideas in my past post “Using Twitter in and Out of the Classroom.”)

Beyond ELA, recently I’ve begun to see Twitter as a fantastic tool for teaching math, geography, anthropology, marketing, etc. Using Twitter applications such as Hootsuite and Klout, student tweeters can do countless calculations to study and analyze how memes (tweets) spread, where they spread, who are the major influencers/connectors on Twitter, when are the best times to tweet, how changing one word in a tweet can totally change its stickiness and more!

As you think about developing lessons for the New Year, why not try using Twitter as a tool for instruction? While brainstorming ideas, make sure to check out “10 Twitter Tools to Help you Track and Perform Better“–great tools for encouraging students to apply a bit of math and science to their tweets.

Happy Twitter Holidays!

Anna

Founder, Bon Education

Twitter: @bon_education

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Digital Tools for Homework Help

Research shows again and again that parents have a have a huge impact on student achievement in school and throughout life (Becta 2009, Henderson and Mapp 2002, Simpson 2001). In their recent report, “A New Wave of Evidence: The Impact of School, Family, and Community Connections on Student Achievement,” the Southwest Education Development Laboratory (2002) points out that regardless of demographics, children with involved parents are more likely to (1) pass their coursework and earn higher grades, (2) attend school regularly, (3) socialize more easily with their peers and (4) graduate and go onto university.

In the spirit of helping parents get involved during homework time, Bon Education created a Digital Tools for Homework Help group on Curriki to support educational resource exchange between educators and parents. The hope is that the resources shared within this group will help parents get excited during homework help time, as well as save time and stress.

Check out the group Curriculum tab to see a wealth of homework help resources including:

I welcome you to join the Digital Tools for Homework Help group and to invite other parents and teachers to join as well. Please feel free to add additional useful resource using the group Curriculum tab. You are also welcome to use the group Messages tab to contact other group members with questions and ideas!

As you think more about parent engagement, take a look at my last blog post that includes a great video about parent engagement by Henry Jenkins, Director of MIT’s Comparative Media Studies Program.

Cheers,

Anna

Chief Education Officer

Bon Education

@bon_education

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