Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Tip of the Week: SPS Resources!: October 29, 2013

This post is a reminder to you about some of the amazing web 2.0 resources to which our district subscribes or that teachers are using in their classrooms.  I am linking you back to previous SPS Technology in the Classroom blog posts and/or our 'subscription' page about these tools...

Glogster EDU: Virtual 'posters', or web pages, to deliver content or for students to demonstrate understanding

DEStreaming: Educational videos, video clips, lesson plans, interactives, audio files, images, and so much more.. and HERE

Bitstrips for Schools:  Digital Comics in the Classroom

Espresso Education (PreK-5 only): web based cross curricular environment - videos, lessons, activities, interactives... 

Powtoon: an online comic/presentation tool

PBWorks: wiki/blog for classroom collaboration

Class DoJo: awesome classroom management/behavior tool

Backchanneling in the Classroom: Group chat while a video or lesson is happening

InkleWriter:  Create your own "choose your own ending or branching stories"

Storybird: Create 'art-inspired' stories 

BrainPop and BrainPop Jr: Videos and quizzes on all curriculum topics, done by cartoon characters

Socrative:  Free online quizzing/polling tool

ThingLink:  Create interactive hot spots on any image

Wallwisher/Padlet: create a virtual wall onto which anyone can post ideas, links, videos

Teaching Channel: Videos created BY teachers, FOR teachers on a variety of topics: tips, trick teaching methods..

Maps 101: Interactive database on all things "maps"

Friday, September 27, 2013

Tip of the Week: Tinker, Tinker!: September 30, 2013

Sugata Mitra, an educational researcher and winner of the 2013 TED Prize, is someone I have followed over the years because I am intrigued with his discoveries. I encourage you to listen to (at least) two of his TED Talks. One is titled "The Hole in the Wall" project, or "Kids Can Teach Themselves." Mitra's experiment involved placing a high-speed, internet-connected computer within a hole that was dug into a wall bordering an urban slum in New Delhi, India. With no teacher physically available, children played and tinkered with the computer. By collaborating and troubleshooting with each other, both in person and online, these kids figured out how to use this PC on their own and then taught other kids. This project demonstrates that, "even in the absence of any direct input from a teacher, an environment that stimulates curiosity can cause learning through self-instruction and peer-shared knowledge." He asks, "What else can children teach themselves?" 

The second TED Talk I recommend by Sugata is: "His wish: Build a School in the Cloud."  Mitra's wish is to build a place where children can explore and learn on their own - and teach one another - using resources from the worldwide cloud.  Check it out.. 

Why am I such a fan of Sugata's theories and vision? In my personal opinion, I believe that the current structure of education must change (drastically) in order to adequately prepare our youth for THEIR future. Even today, our workforce no longer functions the way our educational system is preparing our students for. The message of 'tinkering, playing, collaborating, failing, and trying again', as shown by Mitra's research, is critically important. Please know that I do NOT advocate that teachers are unnecessary, but in fact, just the opposite. What IS needed to support our children along their educational journeys are more teachers/mentors/facilitators/guides that understand and embrace the idea of 'tinkering' to find solutions to problems and to value the deep learning that takes place while doing so. We adults must learn to think like students.. to ask others, to seek out information from anyone, including their students, to 'tinker, play, fail, succeed' just like children do. Children will seek out information when they are curious about or find value in something.  They will search the Internet, check out YouTube tutorials, chat with their friends, build social networks, and they will try, try, try, try, and try again until they reach their goal(s).  Now isn't that what we all want our kids to do?

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Tip of the Week: Google Voice Search!: May 28, 2013

Google and Chrome are working together to enhance features for all learners. While using the Chrome web browser, and then going to Google to search the web, you will notice a microphone icon to the right of the search window. You can click the microphone and speak your search terms! I was amazed at how accurately it picked up my voice! 

Watch this video then follow the directions below:

Simply use Chrome for your browser, then go to Google.com! Click the microphone icon and start speaking...

If you get a message about recognizing the microphone on your machine, simply go to your System Preferences, choose Sound, Input, and make sure 'Internal Microphone' is selected.  You could attach external microphones too, but make sure those are the ones selected in System Preferences should you decide to use those instead.

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Tip of the Week: "What IS Web 2.0?": May 22, 2013

Below is a short video created by Steve Dembo and Hall Davidson from Discovery Education.  They explain what 'Web 2.0' is and how it impacts education ... in a fun way!  


Sunday, May 12, 2013

Tip of the Week: Communicating, Commenting and the Common Core!: May 13, 2013

You know about the 3 R's... Do you also know about the "4 C's" of 21st Century Skills as they are supported by the Common Core standards? In addition to the "3 R's" that we grew up with, the "4 C's" are designed to prepare our students for the demands of the 21st century workplace and community.  The "4 C's" are known as:
  • Communication
  • Collaboration
  • Critical Thinking
  • Creativity/Innovation
Were you aware that the Common Core ELA standards call for publishing, communicating, creating and commenting ONLINE ? Did you know these actually apply to ALL content areas, not just ELA?
Students are expected to be able to collaborate, comment and publish posts and comments effectively and properly. GlogsterEDU, GoogleApps, Storybird, Backchanneling, Blogs, Wikis, and so many other web 2.0 tools incorporate these key elements.  As educators, it is our responsibility to teach and support students as they learn how to be model digital citizens.

I found these great tips regarding 'commenting' and thought you might find them helpful in your teaching:

Rules for Commenting:
  • Acknowledge the author of the blog post.
  • Let the author know if you agree with him/her and why.
  • It is also ok to disagree with something, just let the author know why you feel that way.
  • One word comments are not very useful. Writing just “cool” or “nice” are not very helpful and don’t let the author of the blog post really know what you are thinking.
  • Always make sure you follow “netiquette.” Think if it is appropriate BEFORE you hit the submit button.
  • Always be polite. It does not matter if you agree or disagree with what you are reading in a blog. Don’t write anything you would be ashamed of saying to someone’s face.
  • Don’t hurt somebody’s feelings.
Comment Starters:
  • This made me think about…….
  • I wonder why…….
  • Your writing made me form an opinion about……. 
  • This post is relevant because…….
  • Your writing made me think that we should…….
  • I wish I understood why…….
  • This is important because…….
  • Another thing to consider is…….
  • I can relate to this…….
  • This makes me think of…….
  • I discovered…….
  • I don’t understand…….
  • I was reminded that……. 
  • I found myself wondering…….

And here is a portion of the directions for a  GlogsterEDU project created by one of our very own colleagues, Liz Kerrigan, that deals with the commenting feature:

Making a comment on a glog:
  1. Click on the glog that you would like to view. After spending some time exploring, scroll down to where it says Comments. Below Comments, there is a box that says “enter text...”.
  2. Write your comment in the text box. (See below for comment criteria.)
  3. After proofreading, checking for spelling, capitalization, and grammar, press send. Your comment will appear below the text box.
  4. Repeat this same procedure for each glog you are commenting on.
Comment Criteria:
  • Comments must be positive.
  • Comments must be specific.
  • Comments must be related to the information in the glog.
"Comment starters” to help formulate
your comments:
  • I really liked ........................ about your glog because.............
  • My favorite part about your glog was..................... because.............
  • The most informative part about your glog was........... It taught me that.............
  • Once question that your glog sparked for me is .................
  • Once connection I can make to your glog is .......................
Thanks for sharing Liz!

And finally..

Peter Reynolds (author/illustrator of The Dot, Ish, The North Star, and other great books), in partnership with P21 (the Partnership for 21st Century Skills), created the following movie that summarizes these 4 C's as only Peter can do:

Enjoy !

Monday, May 6, 2013

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Tip of the Week: Presentation Rubrics, K-8 - 21st Century Skills and CC : May 1st, 2013

The Common Core Standards address the "4 C's"of 21st Century skills: Communication, Collaboration, Critical Thinking and Creativity.  They also address Speaking Skills.  I found some great Presentation Rubrics created by the Buck Institute (BIE.org), a leader in the PBL (Project Based Learning) field.   Note that these rubrics address the speaking and presentation elements and not the content-specific ones, which could either be incorporated with these or done separately.  

For K-2:

For Upper Elementary School:
For Middle School:

Click HERE for a link to download these rubrics (and read more clearly than the images included here), as well as some great additional information about 21st Century Skills, Common Core Standards and the connection to all content areas.  You can also click HERE to access the downloaded rubrics in Google Drive.  I hope you find these useful !

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Tip of the Week: Bloom's and Technology?: April 9th, 2013

I was recently reminded of an update to Bloom's Taxonomy:

and remembered that there is an equivalent Bloom's DIGITAL Taxonomy chart:

and yet another that connects these categories to a sampling of technology tools and resources:

These tools can move up or down the scale depending on how they are used in the classroom, and there are certainly TONS more that could be added (and that you might find should you choose to 'Google' it!).  

Pretty powerful ...

Monday, March 25, 2013

Tip of the Week: There's More?!?, March 25, 2013

This post continues the conversation about the amazing resources that we all have access to with our   subscription to DEStreaming. I've blatantly borrowed some "Did You Know's" from a Discovery colleague's blog.. (thanks Catherine Beck!)
  • Did you know that DE is more than just videos ?
  • Did you know that many video clips are editable ? (think iMove  - have students bring in clips, eliminate the audio and re-narrate their own understanding - yes, several of Sudbury teachers and students have done this !)
  • Did you know that Discovery Education offers amazing webinars ?
  • Did you know they have many full audio books ? (The Hunger Games !)
  • Did you know they have most episodes of Sid the Science Kid and Magic School Bus to support science ?
  • Did you that the publishing group Weston Woods has over 200 animated versions of popular picture books available on DEStreaming ?
  • Did you know that they have Planet Earth and Frozen Planet ?
  • Did you know you can search for content based on state standards and the Common Core ?

Friday, March 15, 2013

Tip of the Week: DEStreaming Plus: Amazing Features!: March 15, 2013

Many of you already access our subscription to DEStreaming and download their educational videos, but you should also know that there are TONS of other resources and functionality that you can take advantage of with your account! If you have not yet created your account, click HERE to do so.

A variety of resources can be found in the Teacher Center:  Lesson Plans, Projects by Themes, Atlas Interactive Map, Events/Videos of the Day Calendar, and much more.  

You also have the ability to create classes, make assignments or projects, create and assign quizzes, and collect data.. Go to Classroom Manager to access these features and set up your class.  Note the available tutorial videos that will help guide you through the process.

Also note the ways in which you can manage your classes and the types of things you can assign, including linking to any of the DE content (videos, images, audio files, etc.)


Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Tip of the Week: Inklewriter: 'Choose Your Own Adventure' Digital Writing Tool: March 6th, 2013

inklewriter is a FREE tool designed to let you write and publish interactive, choose-your-own-adventure (or branching) stories. Once created, your stories can be published and shared! The reader can choose whichever path they want the story to take as they read along!

Title, author, beginning, introduction, sections or paragraphs... these are some of the elements you will include in your story. After each section is written, the author creates different outcomes from which the reader can choose while reading to create a unique reading experience. You can add images as well, and you can choose to see the 'map' of your story charted out visually in a flowchart.

Click Here for an Inkle story on the topic of Choose-Your-Own-Adventure books :)  And even more fun - check out this story on Jamestown created by two students in Shannon Famigletti's 5th grade class @ Noyes.  Yet another great use for an interactive story tool which is to help deepen understanding of the curriculum.

This unique digital storytelling tool can be used in any content area and teachers can create student logins.  One of the newest features allows you to incorporate mathematical value statements..  for example:

"How Much? ...you can now write the value of a counter into the text of your story, either as numbers or as words. To do this we’ve introduced a new kind of inline bracket – square ones, with a function name, and then a colon. In this case the functions are “number” and “value”. So writing:
‘It’s my birthday,’ says the boy. ‘I’m [number:age]. Well, [value:age] and a half.’
will produce text like:
‘It’s my birthday,’ says the boy. ‘I’m 5. Well, five and a half.’
The numbers-as-words can go up to several billion, should you really need them to, and they can go negative as well!" 

How cool!

"This is a great tool for teachers who want to create  differentiated reading experiences. For example, instead of creating story branches for plot direction, teachers might create statements that gauge reading comprehension. They can then deliver the remaining parts of the text in smaller or larger chunks as students display understanding." (https://www.edsurge.com/n/2012-11-28-s-cool-tool-inklewriter)

"We want to bring non-linear storytelling to the mainstream."

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Tip of the Week: 20 Technology Skills Every Teacher Should Have: February 6, 2013

I came across this post and thought it was very helpful .. The list will feel daunting but I like that there are multiple links to resources connected to each of the skills listed...
(click link)
Perhaps something to peruse while sitting on the couch over February break!

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Tip of the Week: Tools by Learning Objective: January 27, 2013

I thought I would share two great lists of web tools and apps that are based on Learning Objectives! Both of these lists were compiled by EdTechTeacher.org who states so beautifully: 

"Used wisely, technology empowers students to take responsibility for their own learning. In Leonardo’s Laptop, Ben Shneiderman provides teachers with a powerful framework, Collect-Relate-Create-Donate (CRCD), for designing student-centered learning opportunities using computers. In particular, Shneiderman’s CRCD framework emphasizes the importance of the social aspects of learning in generating creative work. In CRCD projects, students research information, work collaboratively to create a meaningful product that demonstrates their learning, and contribute that project to a larger learning community. Shneiderman designed the Collect-Relate-Create-Donate framework as a vehicle for preparing young people for a 21st century world where innovation, creativity, and collaboration will be more highly prized than retention and repetition.  In order to help educators integrate technology effectively, we have compiled a list of technology tools focused on learning goals consistent with the CRCD framework. Unlike other lists that promote “cool tools,” yet leave teachers wondering about purposeful educational integration, our list is driven by specific learning goals that promote critical-thinking, creativity, collaboration, and community-mindedness. We hope you will find our list useful."


You'll find more lists and resources on this wonderful site, from great Science, Math, Assessment, Digital Storytelling, and so much more.. Check out the Tools for Teachers menu on the EdTechTeacher website.  Enjoy!

Friday, January 18, 2013

Tip of the Week: What is 21st Century Teaching & Learning?: January 18, 2013

This week I thought I would share a couple of videos I often include in the online graduate courses I teach from time to time.  These are short, student/teacher created videos about the impact of technology in their respective worlds. I show these not solely for their entertainment value, but because they represent nicely the '21st Century" skills required by Common Core as well as state and national standards..

 “Every child in America needs to be ready for today’s and tomorrow’s world. A profound gap exists between the knowledge and skills most students learn in school and the knowledge and skills they need for success in their communities and workplaces. To successfully face rigorous higher education coursework, career challenges and a globally competitive workforce, U.S. schools must align classroom environments with real world environments by fusing the three Rs and four Cs.” (creativity, critical thinking, communication, collaboration) 

Enjoy !

Engage Me!

A Vision of 21st Century Teachers

Monday, January 7, 2013

Tip of the Week: BASICS!!! and More!: Jan. 9, 2013

We all know teachers who are implementing things like: Web 2.0, 21st Century skills, Google collaboration, Glogs, Blogs, Wikis, iMovies, Digital Comics, Web Page creation, and more... all while making their Interactive Whiteboards sing!  Is that you?  Maybe..!?!?  Maybe not?  

Whether you are tech savvy or a novice, there is always something to learn, even for me.  I thought I would periodically share some resources and links that will help all of us with some of the 'basics.'  If you find them useful, please set these aside or bookmark for reference when you need them... 

The first link is from the "Dummies" book series fame..

Don't be offended by the title.. this site contains a ton of cool resources on everything from how to put your Mac to sleep, basic Internet tips, using iPhoto, iWork, basic troubleshooting and so much more.  I hope you will find this useful!

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Post of the Week: iPads and Being Grateful: January 2, 2013

I hope everyone had a wonderful and restful break.  Prior to vacation I created a 'wall (wisher)' asking folks to post a note about what they were grateful for in their lives. I'm re-posting the link because I think it is a nice affirmation about the good in our lives, and an opportunity to feel a little more connected with each other here in our Sudbury teaching community... Please take a moment to read these wonderful thoughts and post your own (you can be anonymous) !!  I Am Grateful For...

I'm also sharing some thoughts about iPads!  I'd be willing to bet that many of you either received or gave iPads this holiday, and I know many others have been getting them for use in their classrooms!  I hope you will all take a minute to read this short article on the effective implementation of iPads in the classroom. 

Please post your thoughts below ...  this IS a blog... :)  
More on this topic later..