In this episode of the TeacherCast Podcast, we take a look at some pretty awesome “Unplugged EdTech” in the form of interactive whiteboards known as mcSquares.  For the last year, I have been a big fan of mcSquares and have actually been using them to teach the EduTriplets how to write their names.

The simple yet durable form factor of mcSquares makes it not only easy to use in class, but very easy to store away when not in use.  There are several things that you can do each day with your mcSquares from basic writing and drawing activities to complex programming and coding planograms with your students.  

In this episode, you will learn 3 ways to use mcSquares in the classroom.

  • Elementary School
    • One of the easiest ways to use mcSquares is as a simple dry erase board.  Both version 1 and 2 are built from combining a front and a back form surrounding a sheet of paper.  This paper can be interchanged with anything you wish to use as a template for whatever project you are working on.  For my children, I like to cut out pages from their favorite coloring book and they can use mcSquares and it’s clear outer marker board to color their favorite characters over and over again.
  • Middle School
    • Because each square magnetically can stack on top of each other, mcSquares make a great tool in any foreign language class.  Verbs have never been able to be conjugated this easily before!
  • High School
    • Because mcSquares creates a grid of removable, modular tiles on your board, they make the perfect assistant in your coding or programming classroom.  Each student can create a block of code (as seen on “Scratch Programming”) and together you can use the squares to learn video game programming.

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What are mcSquares?

mcSquares are personal, hand held whiteboards that easily snap together on a wall to create a larger, collaborative system that is infinitely flexible and completely customizable.

About our Guest

Anthony Franco

Along with founding 7 different successful companies and holding multiple patents, Anthony has held leadership positions in creative direction, feature film post-production, technological architecture, advertising production, enterprise product development, computer aided design, hospitality management, and physical product manufacturing.
Most notably, Anthony founded the large, Denver-based consulting firm, EffectiveUI, the world’s first and leading user experience and digital product development firm. EffectiveUI is responsible for the creation of hundreds of award-winning digital products for many of the world’s most recognizable brands. O’Reilly publish a book based exclusively on our philosophies and practices, titled “Effective UI: The Art of Building Great User Experiences in Software”His most recent start-up, mc squares, was born from lessons learned in running brainstorming workshops within fortune 100 conference rooms. The company has just come out of 2 years of product R&D and has released its first iteration in a long line of collaboration systems.

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Does edtech really need to be plugged in?  In what ways can students learn 21st-century skills such as Collaboration, Communication, Creativity, and Critical Thinking without the need for apps? Please leave your comments below.

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