Sam Morris

Curriculum Pathways

Curriculum Pathways

As I introduce my first teacher tip, I am thinking back to the days when I first landed in a classroom where every kid had access to technology. While at Duke University, my use of technology was confined more to a prescriptive lab setting with a particular software application or calculator device. However at Cary Academy, the flood gates were wide open, and I could explore virtually without bounds. On first glance this may seem easy, but the reality is one can become quickly overwhelmed and spend countless hours searching the internet for the perfect “it,” only to find out later that “it” does not exist. During those early years, I was fortunate to work with some really great people at SAS who were not only helping build Cary Academy, but they were also working on online curriculum tools from which they hoped others beyond Cary Academy would benefit. Now some fourteen plus years later, the product of their efforts is Curriculum Pathways, an online curriculum resource free to US educators. The content, which is aligned to state and Common Core standards, covers both middle and high school grade levels and focuses on English Language Arts, Mathematics, Science, Social Studies, and Spanish. Curriculum Pathways is a wonderful asset...

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This weekend marks the State of North Carolina’s annual tax free weekend. While many out there are already in school or are far from heading back, for the folks of North Carolina, this is time for serious back-to-school shopping to get ready for school. So I thought I’d take some time to share some back-to-school items with you from Lenovo Education. Lenovo will be donating a portion of its web sales during this back-to-school period to the NC Science Olympiad. Defunded in recent budget cuts, the Science Olympiad is an important part of STEM education initiatives in North Carolina. We hope that you’ll consider this if you are purchasing a computer this week. Even if your plans don’t include purchasing a computer, consider taking some of those tax savings and contributing to this or any other worthy organization recently impacted by the economy. To celebrate the start of school, we will be launching a new weekly feature on Lenovo Blogs, Teacher...

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At ThinkTank a few days back, I had the opportunity to sit-in on the Education Research Initiative (ERI) Board of Advisors meeting. It was a great opportunity to hear about many of the wonderful projects underway. Through ERI, a partnership with Intel and Microsoft, Lenovo seeks to gain insight into technology’s impact on the learning environment. Utilizing quantitative and qualitative research, the initiative seeks to measure the effect of technology on the learning experience from grade one through college. In its initial year, ERI established core research programs at four global educational institutes: The University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill’s Center for Faculty Excellence in Chapel Hill, NC How can research faculty members be trained to become more effective instructors without sacrificing research? The Student Global Leadership Institute (SGLI) at the Punahou School in Honolulu, HI Does multinational collaboration lead to improved outcomes for high school students and teachers? The Bastow Institute of Educational Leadership in North Melbourne, Australian...

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Last week Lenovo hosted ThinkTank 2011 at the McDonough School of Business at Georgetown University, and while there was no predefined theme, one clearly emerged. Whether it was the keynote addresses, the sessions, the Evening Gala or just casual conversations, it was clear that making connections was a common theme for everybody who attended. Technology is a right not a privilege for our students…Every child needs access to digital information – Salcito For Anthony Salcito, Vice President, Worldwide Public Sector Education for Microsoft, making connections means finding a way to bridge the gap for students without access to the internet. In his keynote, he stressed how Shape the Future is looking to ally private and public partnerships to bridge this divide. Tenure is flawed. Teaching our children should be a privilege. - Rhee On day two, Michelle Rhee, founder and CEO of, argued for more connections between the evaluations of teachers and the performance of their students. Although highlighting the importance of...

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Last week I tweeted about a new tool I had come across, Tableau Public. (pardon the typo) At the time I was impressed with the idea and the demos, but really hadn't tried it.  This past week I "found" some large data and decided to try it. Because my data were embed in a Pivot Table, I had to extract that data (Tip: Right-click on a cell and choose Show Details...).   Now that the data were stored in a simple Excel table, I was ready for my trial. I loaded it into Tableau, which was incredibly simple.  My goal was to analyze the data based on country, following the example from the site.  Within 1 minute of starting Tableau, I had a gorgeous geograhic representation of the data.  There were some quirks: e.g. Russia was not recognized as a country, but a quick search lead to instructions for assigning Russia to Russian Federation within Tableau.  Also, my data were too fragmented, so I needed to edit my Excel data. After 30 minutes of "playing," I had a exactly what I wanted. Becasue the data are not meant for public consumption, here is a screeshoot of my results. Once I get some other data, I'll add another post with the impressive interactive functionality that Tableau provides via hosting/embedding.

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