Sunday, January 22, 2012

Tool 11

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.
I am a fan of Google docs; however, had never used Google forms and will definitely try to make use of the application in my routine duties. I have already introduced Google forms to some others who I work with in order to make a task that we share more efficient.

Dropbox is also new learning for me and I put it to use immediately. Due to the large reports I share on a regular basis, keeping memory free in my mailbox was a constant, priority taking time away from important responsibilities. By utilizing Dropbox I already see improvement in how I am not spending cleaning up my mailbox. Yes, we have Sweden available, but Dropbox is so much easier to access.

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?
As I mentioned in Tool 10, I would like to see formalized and standardized cyber safety curriculum.

I am a fan of technology, and of course we are expected to differentiate instruction, so I would like to see use of the technology in the process of differentiation (other than deferring to online learning or online research). 11 Tools introduced us to ample easy to access and use apps to make the task painlessly doable. For example, I would like to see the use of technology for including homebound students in assignments that require class presentations. Using cameras, smart phones, netbooks, etc. are all available for video taping presentations or Skype offers the opportunity for participation in real time. I would also like to see homebound students use the Dropbox and Google docs in order to participate in team assignments.

3. Were there any unexpected outcomes from this program that surprised you?
Every time I participate in Tools I get exposure to new Tools that I am able to routinely use and enable me to work more efficiently, so no, I was not surprised at the new learning.
11 Tools is online learning. With each Tool adventure, no matter how much more strategic I think I can be about completing the assignments, I am always surprised at the time involved. As is the case each time I participate, it is evident that the amount of time it takes to complete Tools is not commensurate or proportionate to the amount of professional development hours administered. There seems to be a disconnect between the understanding and value placed on the time involved with online teaching and learning as compared to "traditional" instruction. Online teachers take a required class through the HCDE. In the first week of instruction the online teacher/students learn that the online delivery model requires additional time.

On the other hand, I think that in addition to the huge benefit of learning the material (apps and how to use them in the classroom) provided through Tools, the act of working through the Tools provides us with an appreciation of what is involved with online learning (the perspective of the student) and the benefit of self-driven learning provided by the online experience. In the face to face classroom there tends to be an expectation from the student that the teacher entirely holds the responsibility for student learning. The Tools online experience allows us to have first hand experience as an online learner and to what degree the individual learners can be responsible for their learning.

Tool 10

I completed the i-Learn program that is a part of the iSafe curriculum. The program is very thorough covering the topics of personal safety, cyber community issues, predator identification, intellectual property, effective outreach, and cyber security. I recommend the program to anyone who is looking for a professional development opportunity (it took me about six hours to complete). When complete, the user receives a certificate that documents the hours.

We do need our students to have access to internet technology and have done a terrific job trying to ensure that each of our students and families have access to the needed equipment and internet. Because we do require the topic of internet safety to be covered in the classroom and although I know that maintaining the records or the accountability would be a chore, I think that the idea of having our students participate in a formal, standardized, iSafe type curriculum would be valuable (or maybe we do have such a program in place and I am out of the loop).

There are internet safety laws and websites that talk about cyber-safety; however, we have families who do not regularly use the internet and faculty and staff who have limited experience. As is the case with all our curriculums, formalizing, guaranteeing and monitoring for accountability the same and accepted curriculum, necessitating implementation of District approved/or created cyber-safety instruction will guarantee our students are learning the objectives we want and need them to know in order to be safe while they pursue the online activities we require in our classrooms.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Tool 9

1. Why do you think it is important to tie the technology to the objective?
Objectives are a statement of what the learner will know and be able to do by lesson completion. Using technology helps keep students interested; when used in the application of the activities, technology simulates real world experiences (authenticates the objective).

2. Why should we hold students accountable for the stations/centers?
It is important that each station/center serves a valuable purpose to meeting the objective. Each station/center may represent different learning styles and/or measurable skills.

3 and 4. 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? 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?
Any one of the listed applications can be used to introduce, assess, or differentiate instruction. Students can be directed to use a specific tool at different stations or have the option to choose one of a given list of applications, at different stations. Students can print results, be instructed to teach a fellow student how to use the app., or create a write-up about what they liked best and least about the application. Because secondary Ed is my background, I was attracted to my comfort zone of the secondary apps. I especially liked Interactivate because of the choices of available activities.
Depending on the lesson objective, each station could possibly have a netbook or iPod/iPad , one or two stations may have a device available for each student on a team, or maybe only one or two stations requires the use of the devices.

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.
Differentiation, ex.:
For students who have difficulty reading, the teacher can pre-record reading assignments specific to a target group of students.
Assign specific activities within apps for target student groups.
Students can be assigned teams and teams can be assigned to a station. Each station may have a different task (ex. create an electronic bulletin board, record a rap, write a poem, etc.) Next grading period, teams rotate. Netbooks can be used in this same fashion.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Tool 8

As mentioned, I do not have a classroom; however, I can visualize uses for some of the devices. Of course I love the netbook with the webcam capability. The netbook and webcam would work well with the project created in Tool 7 where students who are distant from one another can easily work together. Students can simply, using one devise, share their experiences in a more mobile way than with Skype or using a camera and then loading video and /or pictures to the computer.

I would love to see computer technology integrated with Art in all classes. For example, as we move forward in the direction of allowing students choices in how and when they are assessed, we (teachers) will provide the needed test options. Using the ipod and ipad can help make the assessment experience authentic and more global in scope, in all classes.

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Tool 7

I am a high school registrar, so my perspective/objective is different than a classroom teacher. However, in years past I have used Skype to demonstrate a student learning an art lesson from a remote location and have used an interactive online instructional program where students participated in conversations with students from other states and countries. For example, we used discussion boards for the purpose of student conversation regarding an assigned reading or problem solving. Students also had the opportunity to challenge other students in games and the participation was in real time.

I would create a collaborative project for the purpose of discussion between upper school students enrolled in IB programs from other countries. The collaborative administrators would be registrars and counselors. Points of discussion between the students would focus on how their final years of school prepare them for life after school, if they believe they are graduating with saleable skills that will support them while they continue their education, and academic preparedness for their continued education. Of course I would collaborate with the registrars and counselors from the other participating schools to determine the focus questions and structure of the discussion, time lines, and desired outcomes.
Online and communication tools are limitless. Skype can be used for synchronous discussions, while bulletin boards can be used for asynchronous discussions. Wallwisher , Google docs , Dropbox, Facebook, and Twitter can also be used by teams of students for communicating and creating a final product. Depending on the choice of a final product, student can use SlideShare, Prezi, authorStream, Mixbook, digital posterboard applications, or create a podcast.

Saturday, December 31, 2011

Tool 6

Wallwisher is an application that is new to me and having played with it, I especially like it as an online tool for communicating. We are all familiar with using bulletin boards (in our classrooms, libraries, kitchens, etc.) and the electronic version allows us to share with a larger community. A teacher can use the electronic bulletin board to keep students notified of last minute changes, updates, etc. Students can easily post questions or thoughts. Teams of students can be assigned the responsibility of creating the bulletin board for the month, week, etc. Although we all have websites, the bulletin board is an easy to read, creative, fun way to keep students, parents, any other stakeholders informed and involved in the process. Of course there is a blog available on suggested ways to use Wallwisher in the classroom: http://blog.simplek12.com/education/5-fantastic-ways-to-use-wallwisher-in-the-classroom/.

I also tested Poll Everywhere. I can see this application as useful for the community of individuals who like to Twitter or communicate using Facebook on their cellphones. Creating a poll is very easy and the application offers suggestions that are simple to adapt.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Tool 5

We have created a blog and in our previous Tools used animoto, word cloud generators such as Wordle and Wordsift, and played with Glogster.   This time I decided to experiment with Prezi and Mixbook.
Prezi is an awesome alternative to PowerPoint.  I created an no frills presentation for the purpose of experimenting with the application and available tools, called This is a Test.  My favorite feature is the option to share the presentation from a remote location.

Mixbook is terrific fun.   Because this project is an experiment, I chose a Christmas Around the World theme and saved some images from the internet.  The process is an uncomplicated drag and drop with options to embellish.   If in my future I decide to use this tool, I need to learn how to remove pages.
Either of these applications can be used by students to create inventive, research intensive projects while merging art and technology.