Tag Archives: technology

Sifteo Cubes

Sifteo Cubes
Sifteo Cubes

It’s Friday again, which means another episode of “Gifts for the Gifted.”  This is a series that I do in November and December to give suggestions for those of you shopping for holiday gifts for your students and/or children.  So far this month, I’ve posted about “Scrabble Flash” and “Makedo“.  You can view more recommendations on my Pinterest board.

This week, I offer you Sifteo Cubes.  They are similar to the Scrabble Flash game I reviewed last week – but they do so much more!  Of course, with the added functionality comes a heftier price.  Based on my daughter’s reaction to them last Christmas, however, they are well worth it.

My daughter, who is 10, can quickly lose interest in gifts that she receives.   I was worried that the Sifteo Cubes, which were at the top of her list last year, might suffer the same fate.  Fortunately, there was no need for concern.  Once the gift was unwrapped, it got the entire family’s attention.

A set of Sifteo Cubes includes 3 cubes that are pre-loaded with 4 different games, and a base.  The base is the key because you can connect it to your computer to download more games.  (You do have to pay for new games.)  You can also add on cubes.

The cubes interact with each other.  If you go to the Sifteo website, you can see video of the cubes in action.  The number of people who might want to play with them depends on the game.  One of my personal favorites is “Word Caravan.”

Sifteo has provided a few resources called “Creativity Kit“, which shares how the cubes can be used to develop Spatial Reasoning, Literacy, Perception, Pattern Recognition, and Collaboration.

At a price of $129 on Amazon, the Sifteo cubes are not cheap.  But, our family has found them to be worth it.

Now, I just need to convince my daughter to let me take them to my classroom…

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The Technologista Series

Grace Hopper Quote

One of my passions, lately, has been to find ways to encourage more girls to explore the S.T.E.M. fields.  Toward that end, I recently posted some Engineering Resources for Girls.  I almost included another link in that post, but decided it would fit better into a post on Technology rather than Engineering – though the two fields obviously overlap quite a bit.

The link I wanted to include is from Mental Floss.  It’s called, “Inspiring Quotes from 10 Influential Women in Tech“.  One of the surprises in this list was the quote from Hedy Lamarr, an actress who apparently was also a brilliant inventor.  “Any girl can be glamorous.  All she has to do is stand still and look stupid,” said Ms. Lamarr, co-developer of a technology that was eventually used to guide torpedoes in the U.S. Navy.

What I didn’t notice the first time I read this on-line article was that there was a video at the bottom from IBM’s “Technologista Series”.  When I finally ran across it, I thought it was an ad.  I looked up the YouTube description, and found this, “Women have been part of some of the most important innovations throughout IBM’s history. The Technologista Series celebrates these accomplishments by showcasing 10 technical women at IBM today. Follow the series to gain valuable insights about the unique culture of IBM as well as a chance to see the faces behind the innovations that have changed our world.”

What keeps this set of videos from being an overt IBM ad campaign are the topics and the young girls (3rd, 4th, and 5th graders) who interview the “Technologistas” in each segment.  In addition to the introductory video, there are 14 short (a little over a minute long) videos – ranging from discussions of innovation to cyber security. The women emphasize many important character traits, such as leadership and creativity, and are great role models in the technology industry for young women to hear and view.

Anna Topol is interviewed by Tyler (3rd grade).
Anna Topol, CTO Engery and Utilities,  is interviewed by Tyler (3rd grade) in the “Energetic Aspirations” video of the “Technologista Series“.

UDL Tech Toolkit

If you have not heard of Universal Design for Learning, also known as UDL, you might want to check out my post here that gives an introduction.  You can also choose Universal Design for Learning from one of the categories on the right for additional posts on this topic.

The UDL Tech Toolkit is a Glog that has links to a variety of technology tools to make learning accessible to all students.  Even if you have not heard of UDL, or are not ready to plunge into Universal Design for Learning full speed ahead, you will find that there are many useful resources included in this Glog.  I would definitely recommend bookmarking the UDL Tech Toolkit, so that you will have a ready reserve of sites that can help you to engage students with many different abilities.

My Favorite Educational Technology Blogs

Many schools are out for the next two weeks, which gives teachers the opportunity to catch up on their personal lives.  Sometimes, though, teachers like to use this time for planning.

In case you have any time over the next couple of weeks to explore some other blogs, these three have been my favorite “go-to” blogs for finding new technology resources for the classroom over the last year:
#3 – iLearn Technology:  this blog by Kelly Tenkely regularly offers new ideas, and each post has a thorough explanation
#2 – Free Tech 4 Teachers: Richard Byrne is the author of this award-winning blog, which often gives several new links a day, and recommends how each tool can be applied in the education classroom
#1 – KB Connected – There are usually at least two or three resources added by Karen Bolotin per day with short descriptions, allowing me to easily scan the page for something new that I think might engage my students.