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The blog posts below explain the most important Google Workspace updates and why they are important for your organization

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The Information Cycle

Some time back, while trying to make sense of information, I drew what I understood at the time to be a cycle of information. New times call for new ways of thinking. Information that used to be passed down generation to generation was now being passed down and mixed up and passed down again. Sometimes that content kept its original meaning and sometimes, like the time I played telephone at a birthday party when I was 8, that content took form very differently than intended. Now more than ever we need to be more aware of the cycle of information. Digital information, that gets passed around very quickly, needs to be constantly questioned, vetted and shared. There's never been a more important time to teach our children to be critical thinkers. The world is only going to get more complicated. The information? Well. It's going to get more intense. 

- Blanca E. Duarte, Chief Enablement Officer, LogicWing

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Designing the Process

Recently I received a really awesome present. A book of quotes from Steve Jobs edited by Kelly-Gangi. I can't say enough about the book and the way it's helped me clarify exactly why I feel we exist in this world. To help design the best experience. The best product.

Here's one of my favorite lines from today:

"Making an insanely great product has a lot to do with the process of the making the product, how you learn things and adopt new ideas and throw out old ideas." - February 1985 Steve Jobs

We work really hard to build an insanely great experience for people. Sure sometimes that includes teachers. Sometimes leaders. Sometimes it's our small businesses. And we always try to make the experience an insanely good one for members of our own team. It's about building community. It's about building capacity. We are fortunate. The members of our team are "insanely" creative. They really believe in others and they believe they can change the world. And they do. To say that all we...

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The Great Equalizer

I like to say, "Universal access to technology will change the way we understand information and each other. It is absolutely essential to the continuing evolution of an informed, educated, global society." 

Access to information is the great equalizer in today's society. In a global economy and in a knowledge economy, the basics of information must be accessed in order to help people make informed decisions. We believe in the importance of having access to quality information through the use of technology. As parents, community leaders and board members of education, it is our right and privilege to advocate for what we believe.

- Blanca E. Duarte, Chief Enablement Officer, LogicWing

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Moving Along 21st Century Teachers

I recently read a good article geared towards teachers. The premise was how do you know when you're ready to lead? Coincidentally, not long after, I was asked the same question. I make a living teaching and leading. It's what I do and what I love. Since much of my work is focused on helping teachers "understand" the bigger picture, I thought I'd share with you some of my thoughts on how to help people move forward:

  • Assessment - Self assessment is important, but take note from others too.  There's nothing wrong with admitting you're not perfect. In fact, it's those who are able to accept critical feedback from peers that continually move along in their development. It takes years to perfect some qualities of good teaching. How will you know what you don't know? To get better at something you need to understand what it is that you do well, and what you need improvement in. So it is simply not enough to ask yourself what you think YOU need help with; it's important to ask others...
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Change Management

We've been involved in a lot of conversations around change management. More specifically, the question of late is how do you create change? This "change" is typically followed by conversation about what "needs" to change. Do we need to change leadership? Attitude? Do we change our ideas; the way that we do things? I suppose the real question is how can we instill a culture of adaptability and flexibility in our environments. After all, what is change except the ability to be flexible, adaptable and instill a culture of learning...of growth...?

We have all endured change in our lives. Some of those changes are entirely out of our control. To age is to change. Time is about change too. There are always things that we cannot control in life. That's fine. We grow, we adapt, and hopefully through experience, we learn too. Once upon a time, this woman was a child. A child changed into a teen. A teen changed into a young woman. A young woman who changed well...you see where I am going....

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Access to Information Empowers and Engages Learners

In the highly evolving technical world, students have embraced the powerful tools they carry on them everywhere. Those tools aren't just games, but powerful links to information that could once only be found in books. As educators, harnessing the power of the tools students have already become adept at using, offers us opportunities we never had before.

Most of us remember going to school, well before the internet was accessible (I didn't get to use it until college on our school intranet) where the learning had to happen in the classroom. Kids took what they learned during the day and didn't have access to help or more information (beyond encyclopedias and text books) once at home. We were limited in what we were able to accomplish in this time.

Now, with mobile tools that make accessing information all the time readily available and easy to use apps to focus that information, students can really be empowered to take their learning to a new level, and we as teachers can rethink our...

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5 Things to Consider Before Implementing a Collaborative Solution

Since it's coming up on the Fall, I thought I'd list a few things to consider if you are considering a collaborative solution for your school or organization.

  1. Purpose - Purpose should always drive decision making. The purpose of having a set of collaborative tools for your organization depends on what outcomes your organization is trying to achieve. If the purpose is that you want your organization to create and share documents, then you can bet being more efficient is the answer. Collaborative solutions are all about making the way we learn and work, better. Don't implement a solution because you want to be like the "Joneses". Those of us who've used Outlook, Notes, Google Apps or other collaborative tools know...these tools make our lives better, period. Take the time to find out what you are trying to achieve with them and evaluate from there.
  2. Flexibility - How portable and flexible does your learning or working environment have to be? Does your organization allow wireless...
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Contact Us the EZ Way

There are many technologies that have inspired us over the last ten years...the iPhone, iPad, Web 2.0 tools, Google Apps. Now there's a technology that can make our lives even more convenient than they already are! Welcome QR codes! Creating information in a digital format is genius, pure genius! Simply raise your Smartphone or other device with a QR reader to the following symbol and viola! Contact us by phone without lifting a finger (well, maybe a few...)

Contact Us by Telephone:

- Blanca E. Duarte, Chief Enablement Officer, LogicWing

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Favorite Web 2.0 Tools for Speaking and Writing

Students need to be able to understand language and become fluent in reading, writing and speaking. For this, I would focus first on tools to improve fluency, fluidity and reading comprehension.

For fluency and fluidity I would use a combination of audio tools. The basic ones and easiest to access are any of your audio recorders on your PC, Mac, Chromebook or other mobile device. You can also use the free Audacity software or use a web-based tool like Vocaroo or Online Voice Recorder

For writing, reading, reading comprehension I would include the following:

Digital Storytelling - Research, Collaboration, Communication, Creativity
Voicethread
StoryBird
Nature Magnetic Kit
PicLits
Prezi

To improve communication and writing I would use:

Grammarly
Quill
Google Docs/Word
Answer Garden
Verso
Twitter
Edublogs


To enhance Critical Thinking skills I would use:

Visual Ranking Tool
SMART Learning Suite
Tagxedo and Wordle
Blogger, Google Docs and Google Sites
Bing Search, Google Scholar and...
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Educating the Whole Child

In a little corner of Syosset is an amazing school I am proud to be a part of, Variety Child Learning Center. As a member of their board, I've been able to proudly serve as advisor in the area of educational technology. With the new research around the use of mobile devices, we've been working on inserting interactive and adaptive devices into classrooms. 

What's important about education, and I would say even more important when servicing those with special needs, is the positive outcome that comes from servicing the child as a whole. Weekend respite programs for parents, sibling groups, staff training sessions, and the school's well-known open door policy, are just a few ways that VCLC improves the lives of its students, and others.

- Blanca E. Duarte, Chief Enablement Officer, LogicWing

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