Use the gmail split screen (horizontal or vertical) to better manage your gmail on an internet browser. This video will show you how to set this up and modify if necessary.
Dropbox can be a valuable tool for storing and sharing files. Dropbox for iPad has been updated. This video will walk student and teachers through the basics of how to use the iOS App, including how to view files offline (without wifi).
Gizmos on the iPad or computer are available to all Wayland Math & Science Teachers teaching grades 3 -12. These simulations are valuable tools that help engage students. Check out this video to see how Gizmos work. If you need help setting up Gizmos for your class, just schedule a time to meet with Cheryl to see how easy it can be at cherylwilson.youcanbook.me.
Last week we celebrated Digital Learning Day. It was great to see all of the awesome ways that students in Wayland are learning with the assistance of technology. Digital Learning Day is a good reminder that teachers need to regularly incorporate technology into their lesson plans. One standard, NETS-T 2b, suggests that teachers develop technology-enriched learning environments that enable all students to pursue their individual curiosities and become active participants in setting their own educational goals, managing their own learning, and assessing their own progress. Basically, teachers need to allow students to be in charge of their own digital learning.
As elementary teachers already know, elementary students still need quite a bit of guidance as to how to manage their own learning. I suggest using a Student Goal Setting Worksheet (see pic of example worksheet at the top). A teacher would sit down with the student to fill out the form. Together they would list some digital activities that the student would choose to complete for improved learning. These activities could be done during classroom time or suggested for at home. One digital activity could involve the student using Sheppard Software (see pic at top) to help the student practice and monitor their progress in math. The teacher is still involved, but the student can begin to learn how to use technology to manage their own learning. Older students could be given a similar worksheet and asked to find their own digital activities that will help them in the learning process.
A teacher could also use Project-Based Learning (PBL) that incorporated technology. One important part of PBL is student choice. If students were also asked to monitor their progress along the way, this would be a great way to teach students how to oversee their own learning.
Another way to allow students to guide their own digital learning could be through menus or choice boards. In Choice Menus for Differentiation by Jackie Patanio, mentions, "All of my students are unique, so the choice is theirs to take charge of their learning." If menus or choice boards were paired with technology activities, it would be a great way to help student manage their own learning. In the math tic-tac-toe example shown above, a teacher could easily add a digital activity to accompany each choice.
Are you allowing your students to become 21st century learners by managing their own digital learning?
Digital tools are everywhere we look. Therefore, we need to be sure that we are incorporating them into our 21st Century teaching. The NETS-T has a strand that focuses on designing and developing digital age learning experiences and assessments. Today, I would like to focus on the NETS-T 2a which encourages teachers to Design or adapt relevant learning experiences that incorporate digital tools and resources to promote student learning and creativity.
At Wayland, we are fortunate to have many technology tools available to use with our students. This allows for teachers to find many fun and creative ways to engage our students in learning. Technology tools can be used for simple tasks such as recording timings using the Clock App in a science lab to taking a picture of an example of parallel lines that a student finds in the hallway for math class. I know that it can take extra time to use technology for some of these tasks, but we need to make sure our students are proficient with using technology to complete tasks. The Next Generation Assessments are coming next year and we need to have them as prepared as possible to take these types of tests, which include using technology proficiently to answer questions.
In addition to simple tasks, there are so many ways that technology tools can be used to help students learn and be creative. I cannot begin to list the all the tools, but thought a graphic might help.
So, which of the tools, shown in the graphic above, do you use regularly in your classroom? Hopefully, we at Wayland are continuing to move to some of the newer technologies listed. If you are not using relevant technology regularly in your classroom, then you need to schedule some time with me to explore the technology possibilities that will work best for your classroom.
FINAL THOUGHT: I do have to say that I am not in favor of the Robot Teacher shown. I hope that I never live to see the day when a Robot Teacher replaces a teacher in Wayland!
This is the second in my series of blog posts regarding the NETS for Teachers. Today we are continuing with the area of Student Learning and Creativity, which encourages teachers to utilize technology in various ways that excites students and enhances their imaginativeness. I am going to explore NETS-T 1b, which recommends that teachers Engage students in exploring real-world issues and solving authentic problems using digital tools and resources.
What are some examples of incorporating technology into real-world or authentic problem-solving? One great place to start is Problem-Based Learning (or Project-Based Learning, PBL). What is PBL? The Buck Institute for Education (BIE) states, "In Project Based Learning (PBL), students go through an extended process of inquiry in response to a complex question, problem, or challenge." There are so many ways that a teacher can bring technology into the PBL process from the initial project starter (i.e. video), to the gathering of data (i.e. MeL database), to the presentation of the student findings (i.e. Prezi). Here are several resources with a wide variety of ways that technology can be used to enhance PBL: 50 Ways to Integrate Technology for PBL and Student Projects, Schools Embrace Project-Based Learning 2.0, and Project-Based Learning with iPads.
There is also another way to help your students learn how to solve problems with technology, through gaming and simulations. Here is a link to the Edutopia blog on Game-Based Learning that offers insights from various educators as to how to incorporate "gaming" into the educational process. I also enjoyed having the students create their own games using software like Scratch and Alice. For younger students, there are a few apps that I found in 7 Apps for Teaching Children Coding Skills.
Take some time to find a few technology resources that will help your students to explore and solve real-world problems. It can be as simple as using technology to find information regarding a current world problem for students to study, like global warming. Or it could be more involved with an entire technology-enhanced problem-based learning experience. You might even be able to teach them through "gaming". Help your students prepare for the real world by learning to use technology as they solve problems.
This is the first in my series of blog posts regarding the National Educational Technology Standards for Teachers (see last week's post). Today we are starting with the area of Student Learning and Creativity, that encourages teachers to utilize technology in various ways that excites students and enhances their imaginativeness.
Within this area of Facilitating and Inspiring Student Learning, there are 4 sub-areas. I am going to explore the first area and how it might apply to you as a teacher. NETS-T 1a recommends that teachers Promote, support, and model creative and innovative thinking and inventiveness.
What are some examples that teachers could reference that inspire students and promote their inventiveness? Take a look at Bloom's Taxonomy for iPads or Kathy Schrock's iPad Apps (see end of article) and find the creativity apps. These are the applications that allow students to let their imaginations soar by actually making something. In addition to iPad apps, there are similar applications available on the internet. The American Association of School Librarians publishes a yearly Best Websites that offers many websites that will foster creativity.
Besides creativity apps, I found a great article, 30 Things You Can Do To Promote Creativity In Your Classroom, which offers so many different ways to "teach" creativity. As I was looking through the article, suggestion #5 mentions using emotional connections. A teacher could ask students to blog about their feelings on a particular topic. Number Twelve suggests using a cultural artifact to help student make a connection, which could easily be done with a picture projected on the board for students to reflect upon. As I read through the list of 30 things, there were many ways I could envision the use of technology to help the students stir their creativity.
Graphic organizers are another great way to promote creativity and critical thinking skills. The iPad has Popplet Lite or Idea Sketch. In addition, there is a Teacher's Guide On the Use of Graphic Organizers in the Classroom that provides websites for graphic organizers.
So, how are you promoting, supporting, and modeling creative and innovative thinking and inventiveness in your students?
Collaboration. What does it really mean? According to the Merriam-Webster Online dictionary, it is defined as working with another person or group in order to achieve or do something. I can relate to this definition because I am working with the teachers at Wayland to improve our technology integration. I am collaborating through time spent talking with teachers, planning with teachers, and helping teachers to use technology resources. Together we are trying to achieve better technology integration within their classrooms. We are collaborating.
But is this the only way to collaborate? No, there are so many other ways that we can work together to achieve something. I added some pictures at the beginning of this blog post to show new ways that people are creating environments to collaborate in. Some of the pictures were taken on a visit to Kent Innovations High. They are utilizing Problem-Based Learning to teach the students. Many of their projects involve groups, just like the "real world". So the school has created places for collaboration to take place. Another example of collaborative environment is the table that I saw, called a Think Table, where you can write directly on the table as you collaborate with others. One last collaborative environment is of our own Wayland High School Media Center. Mrs. Huyck is working to establish her own Collaboration Stations for the students.
We can also collaborate with other while online, such as through blogs. This blog is meant to open up collaboration at Wayland. The teacher Facebook page is another avenue we have to collaborate with others in our district. Teachers in our district are blogging with their students about topics that they are learning about in their classes. I blogged with a teacher outside of the district last year about using iPads in math class, Cheryl's Math Blog. I found that blogging with another person helped me in two ways: (1) I was able to learn from someone else's insights, and (2) I learned how I really felt about something when I had to put my thoughts into words. The math blog was one of the best things that I did as we learned how to better use the iPads in math last year.
So what types of things are you doing to promote collaboration among your students, staff members, and parents?
Please share with us how you are collaborating... (really, I want YOU to share)
A new school year has begun...and there are so many things filling every teacher's mind. From putting up bulletin boards to Professional Development days to finding out when NWEA Fall test dates are, every teacher is busy trying to complete the "beginning of the year" list of things to do.
In Wayland, teachers have also added "How to better use the iPad in the classroom" to their list. We are beginning year two of the iPad Initiative. Through professional development, PLCs, and countless hours of self-discovery, teachers have gained a good foundation of how to use their iPads in their classrooms. But now we must forge ahead and add another layer of learning to the technology integration foundation.
What will you learn this year about technology integration? This may not have been a question on your mind, but I want for you to think about it as the year begins. I am planning to meet with every teacher in the first six weeks of school to discuss this question. Together we can find some areas of technology integration that will make a difference for you and your students.
My hope for this year in regards to technology integration is that we all learn to use the 3 C's, Communication, Collaboration, and Celebration. I hope that we can all become better communicators (sharers of information) with each other, parents, and students. I also hope that we become better collaborators (discussers of information) with each other, parents, and students. And, finally, I hope that we can all celebrate our tremendous successes of technology integration with each other, parents, and our students.
My thoughts on students and social media
I just read an article on college athletes and their use of social media called "Tweet Smart, Tweet Often". Some schools are banning the use of social media by athletes, while other schools are taking different approaches, like teaching student athletes how to properly use social media. So, I asked myself, where do we stand here at Wayland? Are we to tweet or not to tweet?
Since this is our second year with the iPad initiative, I believe that we have a better sense of what social media is and how to use it. Currently, at Wayland we ban Twitter and Facebook (as well as SnapChat App) while at school. We ban these because we feel that they are too distracting for students. But are we doing our students a service or disservice by banning them?
My first thought on student use of social media starts with knowing the student population that you are working with. I do NOT feel that the use of Twitter and Facebook are appropriate for students that are "underage" users for these social media. Twitter recommends that students be 13 or older and Facebook clearly states that users must be 13 or older. For me, any student that is younger than 13 should not be using these social media platforms. So, in Wayland, I do not agree with the use of these platforms in the elementary schools or Pine Street. But does that mean we should not be starting to teach students how to use social media properly? I feel that teachers should find ways to incorporate the proper use of social media by using appropriate platforms, like kidsblog.org. This is a safe environment that teachers can use with younger students for classroom learning and to teach digital citizenship.
So what about students that are 13 and older? My next thought is of our Wayland Middle School students. Personally, I still want to be cautious with this group. Many of middle school students are getting accounts on Twitter, Facebook, and other social media sites, but should we promote this at school? I strongly believe in advocating online safety with this group of students by having them use social media within the classroom. However, I am inclined to have these students practice proper digital citizenship within safer social media platforms, such as Edmodo or Schoology, which are CMSs (Course Management Systems).
But now you ask, what about Wayland High School? These students are clearly 13 and over. I do feel that it would be appropriate for teachers to use Twitter and Facebook within their classes at this age level. In a few short years, these students are heading into the real world. They need to be good digital citizens. But how can they be considered a good digital citizen if we never teach them within the context of the real world, which currently is Twitter and Facebook?
You might ask, what about the distraction of these social platforms? Well, I like to think about how adults deal with technology and social media. Some adults are very distracted with their phones and checking their status updates, but not all of them are. Some adults have learned that there is a time and place for chatting on social platforms, but they also use these platforms for learning and enhancing their lives. For myself, I am using Twitter as to build my PLN. I am constantly learning using Twitter.
So I believe that at Wayland, we should all consider the question, To Tweet or Not to Tweet. What do you think?