Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Thursday, July 28, 2011

TOOL #11: Self Assessing and Reflecting

1. What are your favorite tools you now have in your personal technology toolbox? Briefly describe a particular activity that you will plan for your students using at least one of these new tools.
There are so many great tools with many in the works for the upcoming school year.  I would say glogster will be a focus for me, as well as wallwisher and google docs.  The google doc form feature is pretty cool and very simple to use.  Edmodo and grouply are also wonderful tools to increase student communication and increase the technology experience. 

2. How have you transformed your thinking about the learning that will take place in your classroom? How has your vision for your classroom changed? Are you going to need to make any changes to your classroom to accommodate the 21st Century learner?  I think I am more energized and excited about planning and teaching this year - with the number of teachers on campus that are making this same leap of faith, I find it exciting to think about how all our students will grow and learn in this new way.  As for changes in the classroom, there will be some staging that needs to take place - a sort of setup that allows for students to move about in stations, develop common practices that incorporate different aspects of their instruction and learning.

3. Were there any unexpected outcomes from this program that surprised you?
I'm not sure it was surprising, but the number of tools available is amazing.  There are so many things to use and incorporate that the focus needs to be just that.....a focus of a few things to get the students (and teachers) on board before the process starts to expand and grow.

I am glad I had the chance to participate in this introduction to what new things are out there for us as educators and for our students.  A followup during the year or small additional tool activities along the way would be great to keep things fresh and remind us of the current excitement we have at this time.  Once things get going, it's too easy to fall into bad habits and old routines.
THANKS!!!  see you next summer!!

Tool #10: Underneath it All - Digital Citizenship

1. Discuss at least three things you would want to make sure your students understand about being good digital citizens.  
    *  With the age of students I teach, an important tool to share is that of appropriate communication.  The selection of words, use of pictures and the direction of their conversations is sometimes not ideal.  Add to that poor choice the fact that it will now be visible to all their peers and teachers on shared websites, they will need direction on what is allowed to be put in print for all to see.
    *  As students are held responsible for researching and completing assignments, discussions need to be had that encourage them to "consider the source".  What they find and where it is found should be verified and cross-referenced for accuracy.
    *  Online safety is an important aspect of being good digital citizens - students too often are willing to share their locker combination with their best friend, only to find their possessions have been removed.  The importance of keeping security information will be reinforced......this carries over to website passwords and login credentials.  Students should NOT share their information to allow anyone else to access sites to which they have individual rights.
2. Share at least one of the resources mentioned above or on the Ed Tech website that you plan to use instructionally......and......
3. Explain briefly how you would "teach" the idea of digital citizenship to your students.
    * The easy and quick way to share with students is always Brainpop.  The videos shared on this site are on their level, quick and to the point. I also liked the NetSmartz site - videos like "Miketosis" are easy ways to show students the result of poor digital citizenship.
4. Explain briefly how you plan to share the idea of digital citizenship with your parents.
    *  One tool would be to use the NetSmartz workshop link.  There are some presentations that would be helpful for adults.  I will be making a page on my classroom blog designed just for parents, and can include this information there. 
    *  Not all parents have access, or time, to use the internet.  For all parents, flyers will be shared explaining safe practices and expectations regarding school-related use.
    *  As mentioned on a few other blogs, parent night is a good opportunity to share information with parents regarding important points to consider regarding digital citizenship.  The number of parents I have for parent night is minimal, so this is not the direction I can rely on, but it at least provides an opportunity for face-to-face discussions should parents have questions.

.....AND I'M ALMOST DONE........!!!!!!

TOOLS COMBINED.......for the first day of school

After a few days of blogging, learning about new devices and tools, I have decided what I will do our first day back.  I'd like to introduce students and parents to our blog right away. In addition, I want to engage students in what I hope will be a common practice of stations with independent accountability. 

STATION ONE: (independent station)
Students will visit the class blog and complete the personal survey. Click on the picture to test the survey.

STATION TWO: (teacher directed station /white board)
Pass out and explain interactive journals.  Use the video below to help students understand the basic setup.

STATION THREE: (teacher directed station)
Go over "first day stuff", going over guidelines, required handouts, etc.

It's nothing fancy, but a start to introducing students to the use of the netbooks in addition to the class blog.
Time to wrap up the last two tools!!!

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Tool #9: Incorporating Classroom-Based Devices as Tools for Learning

1. Why is it important to tie technology to the objective? This is important to keep students focused and give value to the use of technology. Students usually consider computers and internet activities as a means of entertainment.  Keep the objective in mind first then assign students a computer activity to keep them on target with what is hoped to be learned.

2. Why hold students accountable for the stations/centers?  This is necessary, especially in the beginning of the school year, to let students know they have a task to complete and this task will be checked for completion. Otherwise, a set of headphones or a computer screen turned away from view becomes a music and facebook activity.

3. Two interactive links and how they could be used as stations.  LOVE LOVE the PhET site - this could easily be set up as traveling stations.  The site even allows you to embed the interactive to reinforce use of the blog to the students.
States of Matter
Click to Run

Position the 6 netbooks, have a different activity at each one, and partners have to travel between these 6 activities.  Our interactive notebooks are a great tool to use to monitor and track student accountability.  This can either be a free entry to show participation (better to allow this type of entry after the school year is underway and students are aware of teacher expectations) or there can be a guided outline which students are required to complete.  There could also be some preset blog questions or Grouply entries that students are asked to complete at each station.
Simultaneously, students can use the macbooks to log in to Grouply to update their daily blog, posting observations while creating their question-of-the-day for classmates to complete.

The second link that I found interesting was Interactivate.  This has many additional activities that hit on specific topics and reinforce key objectives.

4. iPad apps for the classroom stations: GoSkyWatch is very cool.  Shows realtime placement of stars and planets, which would be very useful during our astronomy unit.  Students could be assigned a specific constellation or planet and would have report it's position at the time at which they are viewing.  The NASA app also has great aspects - allows students to see planetary data, track movements and more.

5. Other ways to use the iPad as a station - there are many interactive sites which could be easily implemented.  QUIA, GIZMO and independent Brainpop activities are just a few.  The apps that would be relevant to each particular topic are numerous.  The key will be making these relevant as well as having a way to keep the student accountable for their participation.

With regards to Sir Ken Robinson.......there is no doubt - we DO need to change what we do to fit the needs of our current students.....not only is the overall culture different today than when I started teaching a large number of years ago, but that culture is forming a different student, and bringing a completely new cherub to the classroom than those who we taught using methods which worked so many years ago.
       It wasn't an all bad way to teach. . . we were teaching from a blackboard, with students frantically copying notes and completing an array of handouts . . . but then again, a 13 channel TV with a turn knob to change channels and two wires to increase reception was not an all bad way to be entertained.  And yet we have easily welcomed our entertainment change, with no one complaining about having to leave the large console behind as they move to the flat screen, HDTV which provides hundreds of channels that can be changed from a sitting position and occasionally supports a set of glasses that makes the screen come right to you.  I find it interesting how we as teachers sometimes have difficulty leaving behind our chalk and erasers to move to something that is new and effective to help our students become more successful.