Saturday, November 5, 2011
I also want to send a shout-out to our ATSs who were at a conference last week and used Google docs to take notes. The cool thing about it was the ability to share the notes collaboratively. I was stuck back in the office but felt like I had a picture into what was being discussed at this conference. This method of storing notes means that multiple people can access the notes, and they create a record of the professional development, with the possibility of returning to them at a later date or building upon them. It often seems like our schools have limited follow-through from people attending conferences, so this use of Google docs is a nice example of trying to get more impact from these professional development experiences.
Tuesday, September 27, 2011
Friday, July 22, 2011
In a recent conversation, the need to adapt teaching styles to new technology arose. One of the participants in the discussion noted that it was good to instigate integration of technology into the classroom, but without understanding how to utilize the technology in new ways it would be useless. Nobody likes to be told they are "behind the times", as seen in the post in the "Bright Ideas" blog titled 17 Signs your classroom is behind the times, but as life gets more and more mobile, noted in the article over at eSchool News, there is an increasing need to familiarize with the mobile technology available not only in life, but also in the classroom (which is purported as the preparation for life).
As a demonstration of the more common way to teach, in a recent article posted at iLearn Technology blog, the author mentions using webcomics to enliven a class*. The webcomic they refer to is "Brown Sharpie" (a mathmatics webcomic**). By using iPad applications and webcomics, the teacher integrated technology into the classroom in a manner similar to the old way where maybe a clipping would be brought in and discussed. Furthermore, the judging of resources for research are eased with Apps from the app list mentioned by Apps in Education in an article on iPad Apps used to research projects.
In a more modern approach, the student is given the power wherein they must utilize the search and collate functions important to life outside the classroom. In an article by Michele O'Dell, two approaches to the iPad in conjunction with curriculum are approached. The Apps in Education blog also has a comprehensive list of strategies posted recently as Mobile Learning and Tablets in Education RoundUp!. If each student has access to an iPad, then learning how to individualize the learning experience through projects like creating an eBook on the iPad might be considered.
Whatever the method of integrating technology into the classroom, hopefully this post assisted in pointing out some resources to assist the process.
*Although these are educational comics, it is always recommended that one checks that the specific comic of the day is up to standard for the age group the viewing thereof is geared toward.
**[In this mathematical and science vein, some other fun math comics are "Spiked Math" (although it is for a slightly more college-aged readership at times), "Peebles Lab" (Apologies to English grammarians for there is no apostrophe - it is a science based comic), "xkcd" (the golden standard of stick-figure geek comics), and "(x, why?)" (a math comic - tends toward puns). Some of the fun of using webcomics is not only in the connection, but also in updating how one interacts with technology. Some of the webcomics (Brown Sharpie) also include apps.]
Thursday, June 30, 2011
For the last year, I used an iPad as part of my work at school. In the end, I actually think it is the iPad 2, and any future upgraded versions, that will actually be able to be of use in the classroom.
The most significant issue with the use of the original iPad in the classroom is its inability to mirror the display, a problem that it should be of note that Apple has fixed with the iPad 2. This lack of mirroring meant that that many of the interesting educational apps that were produced for the iPad over the past few years were far less useful than they would have been had I been able to actually to use them in class by projecting them through the SmartBoard. The ability to mirror on the newer generations of the iPad will greatly expand the usefulness of the device in the classroom.
The other issue of note with the iPad is its lack of Adobe Flash capabilities. An increasing number of publishers are making much less expensive electronic versions of their textbooks, but some of those textbooks require flash. Steve Jobs has said on more than one occasion that he has no plan to ever put Flash on the iPad, so there will continue to be both websites and textbooks that cannot be used on the device
A clear benefit of the iPad is the ability for both teachers and students to greatly reduce the number of textbooks needing to be carried on a daily basis. I was able to put all of my textbooks, as well as supplementary texts, onto my iPad through the purchase of eBooks from publishers and/or the Kindle or iBook apps. The only exception was my US History textbook that necessitated the use of Flash [see aforementioned Flash issue]. Some publishers are also making a free copy of an electronic textbook available with each purchase of the paper text. One could also certainly argue that it is a lot harder to ever forget your book for class if all of your books are just one device that you have to grab.
A drawback to use the use of eBooks, however, is the inability to make margin notes; most of the books allowed for highlighting, but not writing in the text. Additionally, there are sometimes differences in pagination between electronic and paper texts, and so if both versions are being used in classroom, page numbers to use as reference points may not match.
The feature of the iPad that I found the most useful was the ability to save handwritten notes. I greatly prefer to handwrite my notes to typing them, and using the Evernote application, I was able to take notes in meetings that would be automatically saved and dated for easy access later. For students [or adults!] struggling with organization, note-taking applications could be of great use.
The iPad is fun, nearly effortless to transport, and makes both carrying and organizing notes and textbooks easy. An interesting idea for the future might be to have an entire classroom pilot the use of the iPad to fully test its usefulness as an educational device. For me, the iPad certainly saved me time, money and effort in a myriad of ways, but I cannot quite support Apple’s early claims that it is the educational wave of the future.
By Nia Hays
Thursday, June 16, 2011
Every day Google posts AGoogleADay- a daily puzzle for you to solve using your creativity and search skills using Google search, images, calculator, maps, etc. The problems usually involve 2-4 steps and can be solved within minutes. There is no right way to solve them, but there is always only 1 correct answer. Take a few minutes and exercise your brain this summer, or use the puzzles as fun, quick challenges in your classroom next fall.
Thursday, June 9, 2011
In this vein of thought, the Diigo Education Group focused on the article: Technology 101 by ProfHacker, a website under the purview of The Chronicle of Higher Education. First, they mention ThatCamp (link here: http://chnm2011.thatcamp.org/about/). This is an "unconference" which is held every year at the Center for History and New Media from 2008 through to the present. The topic of this year's conference contained a theme of "back to basics".
This return to understanding the basics of technology includes such gems as Google's Teach Parents Tech Form (one can only send 12 videos at a time; however, the videos are available on the site) and focus on the importance of building a foundation to facilitate utilizing technology with greater ease. The ability to use technology is important not only for the ability to actually use one's phone, but it is important for teachers in order to better integrate technology with the classroom.
Items that some people take for granted, such as copy/paste may seem too "beginner" for some, but it is important to know. Are there keyboard commands to do copy and paste? (The answer is "yes".) What about passwords? Is your password secure? (If the password is a sequential string of numbers like "12345678" probably not.) A password is important because even if your security software that protects all internet interactions is top-notch, if your lock is the equivalent of a piece of yarn then it negates the security. Can you search the internet? (If the only bookmarks in the browser are links that a friend sent, the answer is probably "no".) How do you turn off that annoying spell check? (The alternative question is how to turn it back on after one too many homophones slip by.) How do I know a link goes to the same place the face of it tells me? (Hint: hover your mouse over the link, but do not click! You can read the address of the place it is attempting to send you.)
Hopefully, the link to Technology 101 article (posted again here for your convenience: http://chronicle.com/blogs/profhacker/technology-101-the-basics-no-one-tells-you/33844?sid=wc&utm_source=wc&utm_medium=en ) will help answer these questions and help give a solid foundation in the basics to all who read it.
Wednesday, June 1, 2011
Over the course of the past year our 6th graders have been discussing Internet Safety topics including private identity information, chatting online, copyright law, email etiquette, cyberbullying, and digital footprints. They recently shared some of their knowledge with our current 4th graders through movies, PowerPoint presentations and jeopardy games, and scratch projects. Their final scratch projects, as well as some practice ones they created earlier this year, are posted online in a virtual gallery. Check them out!
Tuesday, May 10, 2011
Thursday, May 5, 2011
Have you ever heard of a PLN? It seems to be quite a buzzword these days. A PLN, or Personal Learning Network, is a network of people from whom one gathers information as well as interacts with, though that does not have to be face-to-face. While the acronym is relatively new, the idea behind a PLN is not. Teachers have always shared with and learned from each other. Some ways you can use a PLN:
1. I belong to a group of Massachusetts educators (MEMSET- Massachusetts Elementary and Middle School Educational Technologists) that just started meeting together and collaborating this past year. We have been gathering every month or so, using an email list for questions and for posting news, and using Google Aps to share our curriculum.
2. You can find a ning related to your interests:
• I am also a member of the Classroom 2.0 ning which often sends out announcements about live and interactive webinars.
3. You can use social networking, such as Diigo:
• I am a member of the iPad, iPhone, and iPod Touch Users group to get updates about using handheld devices in the classroom.
• BB&N’s technology department members have created a group in Diigo so we can share articles with each other, and all of the pages we bookmark get posted on our technology department blog for the whole school.
4. You can follow members in your field through their blogs and tweets. Though I’m quite busy these days, I try to follow leaders in Educational Technology. I went to a presentation at BLC a few summers ago where Liz Davis and Lisa Thumann presented “25 Ed Tech Leaders to follow.”
How are you using your PLN? Please share your ideas below. Not sure where to start? Take a look at http://edupln.ning.com/, the personal learning network for educators.
The link to the iTunes page is here:
Sunday, May 1, 2011
For the past several years, and thanks to the inspiration of Eric Hudson’s idea, my class creates a blog as we read To Kill a Mockingbird. The book is great fun study with eighth graders both because of their eagerness to practice their new skills in literary analysis as well as their passionate responses to the events in the book. The blog provides a perfect venue for them to share insights into the novel and to create a communal, public record of the evolution of their ideas. They post about symbols they identify in the novel. They post about their moral outrage as they read about the verdict. They comment on each other’s posts in order to agree, disagree, or refine their classmates’ ideas.
Students are required to write polished paragraphs and to support their ideas with evidence from the text. Because they know how public and lasting their writing is, and that its purpose is to build a communal resource, they are invested in contributing their best work. Each student writes frequently and receives immediate feedback from their classmates as well as me. This blog has become an exciting and invaluable component of teaching this novel. By the last chapter, the students have worked together to create something for themselves and each other of genuine intellectual achievement.
Besty Canaday, MS English Department Head
Thursday, April 28, 2011
While downloading Google Chrome (a web browser like Internet Explorer and Mozilla Firefox), I came across a good beginners guide to web browsers and the internet. If anyone is interested in the basics of web browsers and internet usage, then this link: http://www.20thingsilearned.com/ has a handy starting guide.
From the charming format that imitates a book to helpful information regarding cloud computing and a thorough explanation of cookies this handy guide of "20 Things I Learned About Browsers and the Web" is a good primer to understanding more about the internet and browsers.
One of the chapters of the book that might be especially helpful for projects is the "Using Web Addresses to Stay Safe" section. (Found here: http://www.20thingsilearned.com/url). Although not directly related to school projects the chapter addresses discerning how to tell what sites are legitimate and which are not.
Hopefully, starting with the site "20 Things I Learned About Browsers and the Web" will lead to learning more than 20 things about the internet and web browsers.
Thursday, April 21, 2011
Wednesday, April 13, 2011
Monday, April 11, 2011
- Create a Visual Interpretation of a poem into a comic strip
- Create a Multimedia interpretation of a single poem: compose the film so that the images enrich the tone, sound and meaning of the poem
- Write a Biographical Poem that pays tribute to the poet by imagining, in detail, a key event from the poet’s life, using real facts and details garnered from the research.
- Write an Explication describing the process and the choices that helped make the comic/video/poem.
Thursday, April 7, 2011
Tuesday, April 5, 2011
We also heard about Ms. Kornet's "ning" project for her class's study of Pride & Prejudice by Jane Austen. [A ning is a social media platform on which participants have a profile page, blog, and discussion threads, as well as a feed of all activity on the site, not unlike Facebook.] In Ms. Kornet's project each student assumes the role of one of the characters from the novel and participates on the ning in the manner of that character. Students don't learn the assumed identities of their classmates until the end of the project. Here is a screenshot from the ning site (click on it to enlarge and read the content.) What a wonderful way to build engagement with this novel!
Thursday, March 31, 2011
Tuesday, March 29, 2011
After gathering their facts the students then choose how they wanted to present their information. Each group was allowed to choose their own style of presentation and this year projects included Powerpoint presentations, Jeopardy games, movies, posters and Scratch animations. The students did amazing work and this week they are presenting their projects to their classes.
Thursday, March 10, 2011
A: Blended Learning refers to a mixing of different learning environments. The phrase has many specific meanings based upon the context in which it is used. Blended learning gives learners and teachers a potential environment to learn and teach more effectively.
Watch these 2 videos from Carpe Diem and Millis High to start to imagine the possibilities of what blended-learning schools do in helping their students achieve stellar results with models that increase productivity and personalize learning
Saturday, March 5, 2011
What do you think? Please leave a comment!
Thursday, March 3, 2011
You may have heard a bit about the iPad 2 which will be available March 11th. But if you want to learn more then visit apple.com and watch the video. There are some significant new features on the iPad. In addition to the 2 cameras, there is iMovie and Garageband, which almost completes the iLife suite of software available on other Macs.
- Make Your Dream Trailer
- Satirical Shorts with iMovie
- Music Videos
- Animation Cartoons
- Stories with XTRANORMAL
- Fun with Photoshop
A Day of Community Building and Networking for Educators at the Institute of Contemporary Art, 100 Northern Ave, Boston, MA - MARCH 24th, 2011
Monday, February 28, 2011
I have been using blogs off and on since I taught at the Middle School (and Blogger is still, for me, the easiest, most intuitive platform), but it was at the beginning of this year, my second at the Upper School, that I decided to make a bigger leap: the blog would be a yearlong course activity and resource run completely by the students. I gave them a rubric for posting and commenting, but the topics of their posts were up to them. Resistance from the students was immediate: You mean we have to write on top of the reading? We have to read the book and our classmates’ thoughts? And then comment? After a few weeks, however, as the blog became part of the rhythm of the course, I noticed a dialogue forming between the blog and my classroom; students were taking ideas raised by others in class and talking about them on the blog and vice versa. I was getting two classes worth of discussion for each “live class” I taught.
Especially with my sophomore courses, where students in two different sections could interact via the blog, I found the students taking initiative beyond what I required: one student, for example, noticed that the actress who played Lady Macbeth in the recent PBS version of the play also had a role in the “Harry Potter” films. That student posted a few stills from both movies on the blog, which set the class abuzz.
This is the ultimate goal of a blog: connections students make in their own minds on their own time can be shared immediately and in real time. It can be an outlet for those students who might be shy, or might not be able to get in that key idea during class discussion, or need to write their thoughts out in advance to feel confident enough to say something in front of a group.
The side effect I never anticipated? The writing on the blog is excellent, sometimes even better than what I get in essays. It seems that when you’re writing something you know fifteen of your peers will be reading, you’re more motivated to put your best writing forward.
- Eric Hudson
US English Teacher
Sunday, February 27, 2011
|NAIS 2011 Conference|
1) We need to help improve public education.
2) YouTube has some pretty amazing analytic tools. (see video below)
3) North Carolina Association of Independent Schools is leading an online learning program.
4) Cloud computing offers a wealth of free online software.
5) Google's iCal feeds are pretty cool.
Friday, February 25, 2011
Tuesday, February 22, 2011
Doodle 4 Google is a competition where Google invites K-12 students to use their artistic talents to think big and redesign Google’s homepage logo for millions to see. At Google, they believe that dreaming about future possibilities leads to tomorrow’s leaders and inventors, so this year they're inviting U.S. kids to exercise their creative imaginations around the theme, "What I’d like to do someday…"
Whether students want to find a cure for cancer or take a trip to the moon, it all starts with art supplies and some 8.5" x 11" paper. And, one lucky student artist will take home a $15,000 college scholarship and $25,000 technology grant for their school, among many other prizes.
Registration closes at 11:59:59 p.m. Pacific Time (PT) on March 2, 2011, and entries must be postmarked by March 16, 2011 11:59:59 p.m. Pacific Time (PT). The winning doodle will be featured on Google.com's homepage on May 20, 2011.
Wednesday, February 16, 2011
- Fair Use Question of the Month
- Code of Best Practices in Fair -Use for Creating Video, Documentary, Poetry, Remix Culture
- Examples of Successful Fair Use in Documentary Film
- Did These Mashups Use "Fair Use"? You Decide! Ten grad students used the Code of Best Practices in Fair Use for Online Video to try to create "fair use" mash-up videos. Take a look at the videos and decide how well (or not) they did!
• Listen to youtube your best source for converting YouTube to MP3. You can convert unlimited YouTubevideos to MP3 for FREE.
• Video2Mp3 allows you to convert and download YouTube videos to MP3 file online.
• Screencast-O-Matic is the original online screen recorder for one-click recording from your browser on Windows, Mac, or Linux with no install for FREE!
Monday, February 14, 2011
Sunday, February 13, 2011
Green Globs is a game in which 13 green globs are randomly placed on the grid. Students earn points by entering equations that pass through as many green globs as possibleAfter learning about coordinate graphs and equations in math class, students in eight grade came to the middle school tech lab to put their knowledge to work by playing the "Green Globs". Here's how the game was played: If student's correctly entered an equation, they hit a green glob target. After becoming more proficient at the game, the eighth graders can advance to the higher level - challenged by "blockers" that force them to find alternative equations to hit the targets.
2. What is the "best" leak? the "worst"? (you define)
3. Should news outlets be prevented from publishing them?
4. Is the phenomenon - that this happened - surprising.
5. Should Assange be prosecuted for WikiLeaks?
2. Why do you think lawmakers aren't creating any new restrictions for gun control? Why
3. If you were given a chance to make a restriction on gun control what would it be? Why
4. Do you think that shooting in Arizona is a reason for creating more regulations on people's guns? Why?
5. Do you think that by making it harder to have access to guns, it would reduce the gun violence? Why?
Seventh Graders have recently finished creating individual websites as part of the Latin American History Country Project. This is the third year of the websites, which replaced individual poster projects as a far more interactive way for students to learn and teach about their countries.The websites allow students to complete a number of skills tasks within a creative framework.