Quick -- name that city! If you guessed Detroit, you got it! Now, for Final Jeopardy...what neighborhood? tick tock tick tock... Greektown-- yum!! But, that's not why we're here. Well, location did enter into my hotel choice; proximity to Greek food? Bonus!
So, Day 1 of MACUL 2013 the premier ed tech conference in the state of Michigan. My afternoon workshop today was great! We didn't do
a whole lot- it was not 'an app a minute' type session but we shared
a lot. Sean Williams
led a fantastic thinking session that brought together a diverse group of educators, from elementary to district level; alternative ed, Title 1 grant managers, trainers, and teachers. Noobs to veteran online educators and self-professed tech nerds. All of us with a common goal; putting together strategies for successful online teaching and learning. (and figuring out what ARIS is & why the heck are we scanning these coins??? -- that's a MACUL conference extra)
Out of this collaborative session where participants took notes together in Google docs and filled in the blanks on a Google presentation, we identified the traits of online teachers and students and skimmed the surface on how to teach those skills. Here are my top 5 takeaways in each category.
| |Category 1: Traits of an effective online teacher.
- Responsible & Insightful
- Good communicator
- Willingness to be connected
- Adventurous risk-taker
| |Category 2: Traits of an effective online student
- For whatever reason 'traditional' classroom is not a good fit
- Self-motivated / directed
- Asks good questions
| |Category 3: How to teach the skills needed
- Setting expectations and guidelines
- Rely on user reports to help build self-awareness
- Resist the urge to enable
Things I was left to think about:
- What are the implications of Any Time, Any Place learning in lesson design and class expectations? No longer does the teacher say; "We're going to do this now." Rather, "This is what needs to be done by X time / day."
- Students are growing up in an on-demand world. They may not understand why they are expected to take courses in a certain order or wait to take a course that may interest them.
| |Practical things I can use tomorrow!
- Teach kids about goo.gl URL shortener. If they learn goo.gl (like google) is the way every course resource starts, you can just give them the 5 character code that follows. i.e. http://www.edutopia.org/blog/film-festival-twitter-education = goo.gl/yqbRH = qybRH
- Differentiate with efficiency: Assign kids to color-coded work groups, Create corresponding QR code slips with assignments to match their group. Kids scan and get their customized assignments.
Project Based Learning in action! If they can do this...imagine what you can do with the 'limited' resources in your setting. Use Inspiration or MindMeister
or whatever mapping tool you have to assist in planning. Gotta love TED & TedED
Our iPad demographics shake out like this; approx 100 devices district-wide. The vast majority are in the hands of individual teachers and administrators. Of our teacher users, the majority of those are involved in special ed in some way. We do have a few lab sets of iPods in gen ed classrooms and are about to start a pilot program utilizing about 200 iPads in AP English. Our first devices were deployed in spring of 2011 and our first large-scale (25) deployment was in December 2011. We take delivery of iPads almost daily!
I host a bi-monthly iPad user group that started in February 2012. I set up this informal PLN in an effort to tap into our shared wisdom bring together all our incidental learning and experiences. It’s quickly grown in popularity and yesterday, we had our first truly interactive discussion –that is, I was able to sit with the group and learn from them, rather than lead the discussion.
Device Usage Notes
The mute function is inconsistent. Not all apps respect mute. If you are running an app that should produce sound and it’s not, check ALL your mute options.
Test for yourself—double tap the home button and swipe the quick launch to the right to access your onscreen mute / brightness etc. tap the volume button to mute your device.
Open YouTube and play a video—you’ll still get sound. But try opening another ‘speaking’ app and you may not. The same holds true for the side switch
(lock rotation / mute) above the physical volume buttons. Restrictions
If you’re using iPads in a station setting, consider setting restrictions
to keep kids on task. Follow these steps to manage restrictions: a.
Settings / General / Restrictions / Enable Restrictions b.
You’ll be asked to set a restrictions passcode—don’t forget your code! c.
Choose the items you want to restrict – off means it is restricted d.
Select YouTube to test –you’ll notice the icon disappears completely from the device and won’t even come up in a spotlight search Apps RecommendationsFREE communication apps:
In recognition of Autism Awareness month – Lots of great communication apps are free right now. Check kindergarten.com
for details. These apps are applicable not just for ASD students, but also ELL, and early El. From ABC flashcards to read aloud books and more.
– (2.99) Another popular app that teaches kids how to follow directions from 1 step to 4 step. Kids love
the funky little alien and helping him build / launch his space ship among other tasks.
| |Secure Gmail: (.99)
The email tool on iPad is great, but if you set up your personal gmail account in the iPad mail settings, anyone else who accesses the device can also view your gmail. Secure gmail allows you to set up your personal Google account(s) with password protection. The user interface is also more similar to web-based Google so it’s easier to navigate.
| |Google Search:
(Free!) Includes the entire Google suite of apps in one package; docs, news, maps, reader translate etc. With voice search! Just tell it what you’re looking for and Google (tries) to find it. I asked for iPad and it searched for ‘ice’ which got me a number of returns on immigration and customs enforcement.
All Teachers Need a Place For Their Stuff
I first heard this acronym from Ron Houtman (@ronhoutman) our wonderful ISD tech consultant. In the good old days, that place was a filing cabinet (or two, three…) in the corner of the classroom and if a colleague wanted to share resources, we had to schedule time to get together.
Nowadays, of course the ideal place is in the cloud. But why, where, what, and how exactly does this cloud file cabinet work? There are as many ways to store favorites on the Web as there are favorites to find on the Web, and you’ll probably end up using a combination of tools, but social bookmarking is a great, simple way to dip your toes in the ocean of choices. If you’ve already got a robust collection of favorites saved on your browser favorites / bookmarks bar, why change?
The number one reason to move your bookmarks to an online tool is ease of access. With a social bookmarking Website, you can store, organize, and share bookmarks from ANY Internet capable device.
is my personal favorite for online bookmarking. Symbaloo gives you a modern ‘apps’ like look to your bookmarks. Each icon hyperlinks to the site, page or Web based resource you want to access. Other advantages:
Free, thousands of pre-created ‘web-mixes’ to add to your own collection, completely customizable, works with RSS feeds, incredibly user friendly! To get started
on Symbaloo as an educator: Go to edu.symbaloo.com Important! Make sure you set it up via the edu site. That way when you start the pre-loaded webmixes they give you are education based.
Not an educator? Go to symbaloo.com for a more generic start up set.
Once you’ve created your free account, follow the tutorial. What skills do you need
To start--none. You can simply use the pre-loaded web-mixes or search in the gallery for ones you’d like to add.
Customized Web-mix skills needed; download and save images, browse and select images to put on customized tiles, capture (copy) and paste URL from your browser address bar to the locator box in Symbaloo. Classroom ideas for a customized web-mix: Research Project:
Save students the trouble of combing through Google returns. Or, better yet, let the kids find good resources on the topic and add their finds to a Web-mix.
Flip the Classroom:
Create & link formative assessment or survey created on Google forms, present the topic via prezi or glogster, YouTube videos, and a pencast from your Livescribe, include online resources for remediation, target level and extended learning on the unit topic, color code the tiles for each level. Internet Search Resources:
google, wolfram-alpha, MEL.org, Britannica Online, Wikipedia, iseek, kidtopia Homework Help:
link to tutoring sites, homework hotlines, CAST strategy tutor, Parent Resources:
School homepage, local news outlet, Internet safety resource (Netsmartz), links to textbooks
How many times have you heard (or said) 'but I'm not a technology teacher' or 'I'm not tech savvy'. Neither of these present a valid reason to avoid embedding technology instruction in your classes. It is a grave disservice to our students if teachers hesitate to incorporate technology; even at the most basic level. And it's a disservice to our profession as well. Consider a doctor, lawyer, accountant, politician, business owner or any other highly qualified, well-educated professional who hesitated to use technology. I daresay clients would soon loose confidence in their capabilities and find a new provider. That said, dedicating time to learning all the technology teachers need to be aware of is a daunting task. And all this change involves risk-taking and stepping outside our comfort zones...Enter 21 Things....
Developers designed the original 21 Things 4 Teachers
to meet the needs of teachers who have less time to attend PD due to increasing demands and lack of funding. The program has quickly grown to include a version targeted to administrators and students as well. All three align to NETS and METS and the developers are working to align to CCSS. The programs are currently under review for the official ISTE stamp of approval--which I'm sure will happen, as each is hands-down the best resource available for all three groups.
State of Michigan teachers, can earn graduate credit or SB-CEUs for completing the course. Check with your local RESA or ISD for complete details. Not in Michigan? Or just want to work through the resources less formally? Anyone can access all materials, lesson plans, virtual classroom archives, links etc. Each includes pre- and post-assessment, reflection, portfolio and all the tools necessary to achieve the objectives either as a cohort or on your own.
In my district, providing PD is an ongoing challenge. There's so much staff need to be up to date on; Marzano, UDL, CCSS, PBIS, METS, NETS, MEAP, RIT, RtI, SIP, implementing something like 21 Things can be a challenge. So, get creative. Break the Things down into 2 or 3 groups and work on them over a couple of years. Start an informal PLN in your building and work through them together--like going to the gym with a friend, dedicating yourself to others in learning technology will not only increase your likelihood to stick with it, it gives you the support you need to get through it.
The student version
fulfills the requirements for 8th grade tech proficiency. The content can be used for a dedicated technology course, but if your district is like mine, there just isn't time in the schedule for that these days. Again, the program was developed with flexibility and convenience in mind. Some districts break it down into 3 components - one for each grade 6-8. Others align each Thing to a content area and integrate via curriculum. Complete with step by step instructions, tips, lessons and all necessary resources the 21 Things package makes it easy for even the most tech wary and time-constrained to start integrating--just-in-time!
*note --author has no connection to 21 Things other than having attended today's presentation, working through some of the modules personally, and collecting anecdotal reports from staff participants and stands to receive no personal gain from promoting these open source materials*
I saw this headline this morning Girl, 15, Lured Victim to Gang Attack and Filmed it: Cops
A further glance at my reader revealed that the video had gone viral on YouTube. At first, I just shook my head and scrolled down to the next headline. I often react this way to things I find reprehensible. I don't want to lend them credence by giving them my attention. And what kind of world do we live in anyway, that so many people feel the need to witness this by watching the video? Then I realized the people watching this video are probably a lot like the kids in our classrooms;
and the people ignoring it are probably a lot like me. While many schools have opened up to YouTube, it still attracts a certain amount of criticism for content exactly like this. But what a great opportunity to connect with students!Back in the day, I connected with my kids by listening to the same music and watching the same TV shows as them. Now, I see the value of keeping up on viral videos, no matter how inane, offensive or ridiculous. Teachers who watch the same videos as their students recognize the references they make in side conversations and journal entries. They use those cultural connections in examples in class. They present them as writing prompts, discussion starters, settings for debate, literary and historical connections.
The possibilities are endless.So, in the spirit of Marc Prensk
y in his discussion on Digital Natives vs Digital Immigrants
, in an effort to value and respect who kids are today and where they come from, it's time to visit YouTube.
I just had an interesting conversation with a friend who recently went back to college after about 20 years out of the game. She described to me how EVERYTHING is done on line. (yes) And, even worse, on a PC!! (yes) She finds herself in the uncomfortable position of having to navigate through layers to find the calculator, scrolling back and forth in a document to reference math formulas vs. math problems, and clicking btwn tools (which invariably get lost) to put all the pieces together in an attempt to finish her inclass, electronic assignment. Then, she's faced with the monumental task of locating the appropriate drive on which to upload her assignment. (Sound familiar?) She finds the whole process incredibly inefficient. Why can't she just have a calculator at her fingertips? Or why can't the prof hand them an actual piece of paper (horrors!) with the reference materials?
Good questions...How do we balance efficiency and electronic learning? How do we balance teaching content and teaching tech skills?
Many educators assume that students are comfortable learning in this environment. They see the so-called digital natives in their classrooms and assume they are fluent in technology.
But are they? These natives juggle social and entertainment tools like a street artist with a basket of oranges on a unicycle. But how good are they at managing a split screen, calculator and Internet search all in the hopes of using a word processing program to produce an intelligently scripted short answer in 20 minutes or less?
So what's a digital immigrant to do? Follow these reminders to help you develop lessons that incorporate content knowledge and technology skill development.
What is the goal of the lesson? What are the tech tool(s) of choice?
Will this tool add to the lesson? --Can it be integrated without losing site of the content objectives?
Does it support differentiation? --Will it challenge students at various levels of tech and content knowledge?
Prepare: What level of knowledge do you, the teacher, have to support student use of these tools? What support do you have?
Scaffold: Build your students up to the level you want them at. Have supports available and allow their use. Provide support and be flexible. Be careful not to enable; embed tech goals in your lessons and set the expectation for all students.
Recognize & Reward: A feeling of accomplishment or an ah-ha moment can be a strong motivator. Make sure tech skills are included in evaluations, peer assessments & self-monitoring.
It doesn't all have to happen at once. You and your students can learn to use tech tools step-by-step so it's done efficiently, and leads to efficiency.