Monday, August 13, 2012

Tool #11 - Self Assessing and Reflecting

I've really enjoyed expanding my Personal Learning Network. I've always sought collaboration (i.e. help) from coworkers, but the internet truly takes down the walls.

I foresee suing Atomic Learning to help plan new assignments and bank some additional PD hours, because I'm a nerd like that. Do we simply submit an out-of-district credit request form? I must've skimmed over that info.

Google Docs has been and Dropbox will be highly utilized in the classroom, and I must say that I have enjoyed this iPad so much that I may go spring for my own before school starts. That's been a huge surprise!

I don't know if my vision for my classroom has changed so much as I have more resources with which I'm familiar now. I'll probably read some of the books from Flat Classroom after I exhaust myself looking for hints on their blog.

My fear is how to make this real once the stress of CBQs sets in. The real trick is going to be integrating authentic projects with some really goofy TEKS - spontaneous generation scientists? Really?  with limited time.

Tool #10 - Underneath it All - Digital Citizenship

My aim for students to practice digital citizenship is aligned with my aim of encouraging students to be responsible global citizens. Do the right thing and work hard go a long way here. 

Specifically, apply these idea to Vicki Davis' model:
One thing she mentions over at Cool Cat Teacher
is that one instructor cannot be an island. 
It is a process and cannot just be taught by one teacher one time and expect retention.

It must permeate all subjects in all grade levels just like reading, for increasingly it is reading.

All the teachers need to read from the same page here, whether it's using photos and data without giving credit to the source or cavalierly quoting information from an non-credible source. 

Trying the broach the subject without boring the pants of the kids will a challenge, so I might introduce the idea with the Brainpop on Digital Etiquette. 

We're going to have to assure parents that the students' use of technology is necessary, authentic, and safe. I'm hoping 6th grade orientation, permission slips, parent classes and back to school night will be good times to assure them of this.

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

  1. Why do you think it is important to tie the technology to the objective? isn't that our job? Actually, I think the question could be better written as a statement -"Technology use should be authentic and either a vehicle for obtaining, reinforcing, or presenting the learning necessary to achieve the objective."
  2. Why should we hold students accountable for the stations/centers? The activities are authentic and planned around learning objectives, so why wouldn't we hold them accountable? I'm confused about the language here. Teachers could use a participation rubric during class or the students create a product that shows their learning.
  3. Visit 2 of the applicable links to interactive websites for your content/grade level. Which sites did you like. How could you use them as stations? How can you hold the students accountable for their time in these stations? Thinkfinity has some neat resources, including a game we can use in our Survival Unit showing an interactive model of natural selection.
  4. List two to three apps you found for the iPod Touch/iPad that you can use in your classroom. What do you see that station looking like? How can you hold the students accountable for their time in these stations? It's hard no to love Google Earth with it's zoom-in features. Much faster way to head to the Grand Canyon. Molecules is great fun, and much more fun to use for looking at models during our brief stint of organic chemistry. Dragon Dictation, Edmodo, or other notetaking apps could be used at the centers for students to record observations.
  5. What about other ways to use the iPod Touch/iPad? Share another way you can see your students using the device as a station. The devices are great for independent work, whether an alternate assignment for an advanced or absent student.

Tool #8: Taking a Look at the Tools

I knew it was likely, but first off I'm going to need to set up an iTunes teacher account with my SBISD email.  Not sure why the advice is to sync all devices to the teacher laptop - I might prefer to back up to the cloud using the district email so as not to confuse things withe my personal iTunes account. There also used to be a limit on the number of devices that you could manage from one computer. Maybe this has changed, but if not, I might use a T3 Macbook for this separate iTunes account and to sync my devices.  

Once this happens, looking forward to reviewing the SB recommended apps from the Ed Tech site. I love that place, btw. Wonder what happened to the iPod that used to grace the homepage? Maybe a licensing issue?

I'd love suggestions on managing devices.  I already have a locked cabinet where the Macbooks are stored, but wonder if teachers will be provided with a secure way to store and change devices? Surely, with that much invested for all classrooms. 

Tool #7: Reaching Outside your Classroom: Online Digital Projects

TEK: 7.10B TSW describe how biodiversity contributes to the sustainability of an ecosystem.
We study Ecosystems in the spring.
Use a digital brainstorming session via Skype or Wallwisher to identity threats to biodiversity and sustainability, either with Mrs. Bryan's class, another in the district, or another identified location, and develop an service-learn style initiative.

For example:
15 million trees are cut down annually to produce paper bags in the US alone.
12 million barrels of oil are used annually to produce plastic bags
Less then 1% of plastic shopping bags get recycled
Each year over a million birds and sea mammals die from plastic ingestion or entanglement

Create a presentation that can be shown to potential donors.
Begin an initiative:
Find a grocery or other vendor to donate reusable grocery bags for use by students' families and in their neighborhoods.

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Tool #6: Using Web Tools to Promote Discussion in and out of the Classroom

Last year Mrs. Bryan and I used Edmodo, but only as a turn-in site.
It's fairly easy to create groups in Edmodo, so I plan to set up groups for each class period and use it as place for discussion.

I'd really like to start using sites like Poll Everywhere so kids can use the iPads or their cell phones to respond. I'd like the classroom mindset to change,  viewing the phones and texting as a tool and used for good!

Yes, I've definitely been cruising around my PLN to see what cool things my coworkers have planned. 

Tool #5: Producing with Web 2.0 Tools

First project was a word cloud using Wordle.
Became a little frustrated as the site kept givng me error messages saying a needed a Plug in? Checked Java - isn't working, Checked Java settings - all appear to be correct. Last Updated in June. Sigh. Will make one from this site or Taxedo with our Safety Contract when I get back on campus.

Needed a little fun, so I used the Big Huge Labs Motivator Creator tool. Might be a fun way for students to summarize the big ideas from a unit (or for me to introduce one). Maybe both!

Tool #4, Moving up to the Clouds

I l-o-v-e Google Docs.

If formats weren't limited, I'd be inclined to use it for nearly all digital turn-ins. It is, so hello Edmodo.

LMS staff already uses a Google Doc to track ICU assignments, (or at least those who participate do) a doc created by my fabulous teammate, Dianna Bryan.

Tool #3, Online Video and Image Resources

Have kept a personal blog before, I've often used photos that may or may not have been approved for public use. Oops.

Easily fixed! I pulled the erosion photo from Creative Commons Flickr site, pulled it into Dropbox and uploaded it here.

Since I'm new to it, I have some concerns about Dropbox. I need to learn how to organize content, first of all. I'm not sure it's a panacea for saving student work as those less virtuous might vandalize someone's project. Much better for sharing files with them.

I'm pretty excited about uploading videos to iTunes for student stations using an iPad.   

One of our first semester  TEKS is teaching students about the scientists who experimented with spontaneous generation, an idea unfamiliar to most 7th graders. We'll use video this year to introduce the idea. 

We'll also review graphing during the first unit, and this video could give the students the information. 

Tool #2, PLN

I've thoroughly enjoyed reading other educators blogs, especially ones with ideas for authentic incorporation of technology.
I plan to add widgets as I find ones useful to other educators.
It's amazing how much information and assistance our cyber-colleagues can provide.
I've attempted to subscribe to some using Google Reader, but I keep getting messages saying the @springbranchisd administrator won't allow it.