Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Tool # 7 - Reaching Outside Your Classroom

As I think about global learning in the 2012-2013 Classroom I picture students engaging in learning in a variety of ways; some simplistic and others more complex.  Many of our classrooms have extended passed their four walls to experts in all areas of the world.  Through the experiences of this summer's 11 Tools I believe we will widen these window in the areas of resources and learning outcomes.  Last year learners were beginning to experience the vastness of their powers as learners even with the simplest of forms - through online discussions in and out of the boundaries of the school day.  Through this new learning teachers/learners have new ways to safely communicate/create with others.
We will continue growing global learners as we support our classrooms through our librarian and others.  We will offer staff development to support this new adventure and celebrate the discoveries.

Friday, July 6, 2012

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

We use Sykpe in numerous ways on campus. Classrooms use it to visually and audibly communicate with others around the world. Classrooms have been in contact with others classrooms and experts to discuss the weather, the reaction to various current events or units of study. One of the collaborations we have and will continue to use is with our consultant, Dr. O'Flahavan. This venue has provided a very relaxed atmosphere for teachers to dialogue openly with the consultant to clarify and share successes and concerns. At least one of our grade levels uses Edmodo as a sort of Facebook for their students. They feel it is a safer venue than Facebook and have found the students as well as parents find this a very friendly way to communicate and collaborate. The teachers use the venue as a way to keep students and parent informed on the classroom learning, discussion board, collaborative discussions about various topics from core concepts to a book discussion. I would expect to see this or something similar showing up in other grade levels due to the openly discussed success of others. We have campus-wide used Google Calendar for posting important events that everyone needs. I would say that about 50% of our staff actually have remembered this tool but hopefully after the exposure this summer to the google doc tools and other collaborative sites we will see this increase. I think after using google docs, soon to be google drive, this summer I will turn to this as a collaborative site more often when creating campus wide documents/presentations. There were a couple of sites I need to use more when putting together presentations such as Prezi, Edmodo, etc.

Tool #5 - Part 2 Producing with Web 2.0 Tools

Wordle: Revere I am wondering if it would be a tool for studying key vocabulary words, key words from a passage read,etc. Brainstorming ideas,the possibilities are endless and I am betting students will have even more. I have seen our teachers use it as a mean to create an acrostic for their personal traits.

Tool #5 - Part 1 Producing with Web 2.0 Tools

http://studio.stupeflix.com/v/Iv7P0wuGO2/

The above link should take you to the Stupeflix I created on The American Revolution and The Midnight Ride. I encountered a bit of difficulty while adding text to voice feature. I am sad to say I wasn't able to correct. Maybe there is someone out there who knows what I forgot to do. At this point I will try another venue as I now must pay to get back in. Hum, if I figure this out I will share because it is a neat idea for presenting information. I could see various uses such as:students creating an project for learning a concept in almost any curricular area, producing a pictorial accompaniment to a student composed writing piece, and the ideas are endless.

Tool #11 - Self Assessing and Reflecting

New tools have at times been a challenge but in the long run worth it. Dropbox has been useful to me and I am sure I will continue to use it for future projects.  This has allowed me to collect many different resources (photos, internet sites) for easy access with "in cloud" storage.  I am continuing to work on a new way to present the important new information for the transition campus EOP. I believe that using an online training with interactive capabilities will help implement these procedures.  After visiting with our counselor, we are looking into putting together some kind of ongoing presentation, maybe TRIBES like, that can be used at least monthly on "How we treat each other whether face to face or in cyberspace."  
The quest for the 21st Century Classroom will be ongoing as the world and its resources change.  The use to these technological tools embedded in rigorous instruction will have our learners moving in the right direction.  Coupling this district initiative with our campus initiative of CCP, should cause our classrooms to be a haven for self-determining learners while the avenues widened through the use of global learning.  I know as we continue to learn/explore these areas the reshaping, redefining, re-evaluating the setting, the how, the what, the outcome will change.  
Many of our staff have begun this journey which at times can feel like one step forward and two steps backwards.  The amazing part is that the students don't see these back steps as quite the dilemma we might. In fact, when given the underpinning of the concept, shared criteria for outcome they often find these setbacks tools to a better end result.  The thing that brings a smile to my face is when teachers/students talk about the amount of on task work students give to a project or even that students have on their own time crafted new more elaborate projects taking their learning to a higher more rigorous and often relevant level.  This researching, open discussion, evaluation of what they have created or found, looking to a wider audience for collaboration ...isn't that REAL learning?

Tool #10 - Underneath it All - Digital Citizenship

Digital Citizenship is interesting not because it falls out of the realm of what a good citizen should be but because of the unexpected outcomes that seem to catch us by surprise.  Those outcomes are most likely our biggest challenge.  Luckily, some of them have been revealed by others thus we don't have to learn the hard way if we take our citizenship seriously.  I first started with the list of three as requested but upon further examination I believe it is in the end our very ethics that is the umbrella for all.  I mean being ethical is that you would never knowingly involve yourself in anything illegal or infringe on others' privacy or well being.  Doesn't it also mean you have the responsibility to look at the validity of the information you are viewing and/or presenting to others.  Plus, shouldn't we always operate erring on the side of caution thus being safe in our work, our postings, our presentations, our relationships, etc.  One of the hardest things in life is to realize that even in our best efforts we can make mistakes but doing it willfully is unethical.  So those good first and repeated teachings of being a good citizen to all are valid here.  The hardest piece may be the staying abreast as to what is out there.  Which, by the way, may be impossible so I believe it is back to ethical behavior in all things.  Ugh, sometimes a tough one to teach.  Providing the opportunity for open conversation (school, home, global) and creating ethical self-determining learning  may indeed give us that needed venue.
FYI - There is a district Atomic Learning course on just this "Internet Safety Workshop".  http://www.atomiclearning.com/k12/internet_safety

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

Are we educating for the past or the future?  When determining this I think one will most likely realize while there is great value in many of our past practices there is the reality of the future.  I love the quote from Henry Ford, "If I had asked people what they wanted they would have said a faster horse."  Looking at the objectives closely we may not find technology ties to every objective.  However, if we don't investigate these ties our students may find themselves unable to be successful in the world they will need to live in.
Our teachers are so good at looking for these connections. I think they will agree that each year as they rework their grade level road maps they look for how they need to tweak the learning. The addition of ActivBoards and other devices brought new learning and techniques to all classrooms.  Our students are so lucky that they have teachers who are amazing at taking their new learning and adding every ounce value to their students' learning environment.   I know they won't disappoint this year.
Using workstations is a valued practice and being sure that each student is held accountable for their learning has been an on going focus. As our classrooms added technology, teachers have opened up venues for students to dialogue via various sites about the books they are reading, pieces they are writing, and learning as a whole.  Sometimes classrooms are observing a live site in nature while recording/responding to what they see and how it relates to their learning.

Here are a couple of things I looked at for PK-2 via http://edtech.springbranchisd.com/iWebsites/tabid/5856/Default.aspx

ABC Letter Tracing Lite and ABC Phonics(this particular one needs more investigation to be sure we wouldn't be accidentally miscuing the students)  This last one might be good for ESL students at the NES level.

Way to teachers!  I noted that many of these sites I have observed being used in your classrooms both in lessons, collaborative settings and workstations.

Tool #8 Taking a Look at the Tools

This initiative is so exciting and the future of learning is wide open. Our teachers and students are excited about adding to their classroom tools.  Many classrooms have had access to netbooks, IPods, IPads in the past but the availability has been somewhat limited and these resources are heavily used.  We feel that adding more/newer devices will increase the students' use and their capability to consume, critic, create and collaborate with their peers/global peers, experts, and the world in general.  These new devices will also give access to grade levels which haven't had as many devices.  These resources will add to the level of directed and self-directed rigor in the classroom as we have found that when the students are actively involved in learning they tend to expect more of themselves than we would.  These resources, with their every widening choices, often open the door for students to far out preform the set expectations; thus opening our minds as well.  Exciting times are certain to come for all.
There are a couple of areas we need to work on which are in the areas of acceptable use and parent education.  At time we forget that even though our students' home usually have many devices the ethical/smart/safe use still needs to be explicitly taught as well as shared with parents.  Adding these devices gives us a new opportunity for reinforcing the acceptable use policy.
The excitement grows as I think of the widening of our classrooms to the universe.  Wow, what a time to be a learner!



Thursday, July 5, 2012

Tool #4-Moving Up to the Clouds

1.  I created the beginning of the Emergency Operations Plan for our transition site.
2.  I shared this with our counselor and ICoach for their imput as the "novice" reader of the document to ensure clear understanding by all.
3.  The sharing capabilities will be great for teams planning and including others in their thinking.  It is also a great way to have other eyes on documents, lessons, etc to look for any additions or corrections needed.  Using it with students will be a natural for the peer editing whether on projects or writing pieces.  It will also be a great tool when students are collaborating on a project. It will certainly widen the horizons for learning opportunities.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Tool 3-Finding Online Video and Image Resources

1.  After watching several KidTubes and TeacherTubes along with the Discovery Education I could envision students acquiring information through Discovery Education and then making their own KidTubes to express their understanding and learning of a subject area. 
2 Click to view Dancing Bones - .kid's tube  and in connection to this Discovery Education - Bones
3.  Educator must be careful, you must use videos for the purpose they were created.  Hum, does the media always do this?
4.  Dropbox is great but apparently we don't have access as the district hasn't decided to pay for this.  I am guessing the district has something else in mind like secure server sites.  I was able to download the app and add files.  I love that I can view these documents for any of my devices.  I am thinking that students could view or submit documents view this with the rights.

Tool 2-Building Community in the Online Environment

It was fun to look at each others blog.  I found that many of our teachers are very creative.  I am somewhat uncomfortable with posting because I am not really sure of what exactly to say and feel self-conscience.  Does anyone else feel this way?  I do realize this is the way of the future.  I am guessing when I get into something that is more than just talking about me it will be better.

http://kimcofino.com/blog/ Kim Cofino had several interesting post.  Her most recent one was on resume writing and presentations.  The one I found most interesting was titled -Setting the Standards.  This was discussing and sharing the "Connect Learning Community Vision"  that her committee created a framework with a mission and Standards.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Tool 1-Getting Started-Creating your Blog!

Thought I had it all set but needed a refresher on how to get here. I have already registered my info to Mrs. Branon.  Created my Voki.  We did encounter a couple of glitches along the way but hopefully it will go smoothly and lots of learning occurs.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Created my blog along with others.  There were little bumps here and there but we did it.  I am sure there is more fun ahead.