Posts tagged ‘Technology’

Digital Writing in the Classroom

“Writing is an exploration. You start from nothing and learn as you go.” By E. L. Doctorow

Digital technologies are a great way to enable communication, collaboration and help teachers design authentic tasks for their students. Here are a few of my favorite apps that you can incorporate digital writing into the classroom.

iOs Apps: (Free)

WriteReader 

Day One Journal

Pages

Paid: MyScript Nebo 

Web-based:

G Suite

Evernote

Bookcreator

 

 

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Going Beyond Presentation: 5 Ways to Create Using Google Slides

“Passion is one great force that unleashes creativity, because if you’re passionate about something, then you’re more willing to take risks.” By Yo-Yo Ma

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Often times educators use Google Slides to present information but you can do so much more with Google slides. Here are ten ways to use Google Slides where students can be creative.

  1. Comic Strips: Have students create comic strips to show what they know or their creativity by using Google Slides. To create a comic strip:
    • Background: Add a background by right clicking and changing color or add an image as a background. (If you add an image, remember to send it to the back)
    • Characters: Insert images and/or objects (use PNG’s for their transparency)
    • Speech Bubbles: Add speech or though bubbles by inserting shapes and then callouts. (Double click on bubble to add text)
    • Animations: Use this feature to add or take away characters or objects to the slides.
    • Transitions: Use this feature to make it feel like you are moving from one slide to the next. (Click on the slide and then change transition)
    • Word Art: Use this feature to add excitement and onomatopoeia
  2. Creating books: Have students create story books to show what they know about a topic. Once they complete it they can publish it for an authentic audience. There are lots of ways you can do this such as publish to the web, as a pdf or print and bind it. You can also use screencastify extensions and have the students record themselves reading it which the creates a library of audible books. You can also add an extra challenge by having students create chose their own adventure too.
  3. Interactive Journal: Create an interactive journal that students can use when incorporating a self paced learning experience. It is a great way to hold students accountable along with making sure they master the content. To create an interactive journal in slides.
    • Start by clicking on a new slide show
    • Click on file and go to page set up
    • Customize the sizing to 8 x 9.75 inches (This makes slides look like a journal page)
    • Then add your content you want the students to complete and the questions/tasks you want them to complete.
    • Tip: Force students to make a copy by changing the url from edit to copy.
  4. Stop-Motion Animation: Have students create stop-motion animation movies. To do this with Google slides use the take a photo feature. Then publish to the web with the auto-advance feature.
  5. Vocabulary Notecards: Have students create their own vocabulary note cards. Set the criteria expectations and then allow them to peer review others notecards for feedback.
    • Students define vocabulary words
    • Insert images to help them remember the word
    • Students can change slide background color to correspond to topic or unit.

Great sites for creative common images to use for the above ideas: 

https://openclipart.org

https://thenounproject.com 

http://www.publicdomainpictures.net

 

 

 

Assessing Your Technology Integration

“The technology itself is not transformative. It’s the school, the pedagogy, that is transformative.” – Tanya Byron

I am in schools and classrooms daily and too often I see the misuse of how technology should be used. Often times I hear Principals or teachers sat, yes we are using technology, see how this teacher is using ______ (fill in blank with website or tool) but the students are not using anything. Or I see technology beginning used as – lack of a better term – “babysitter”. They will tell me how they use Dreambox or Compass Learning etc as a station or something students can do after they finish their classwork.

tech

Technology should be used to transform the classroom and school to allow fo authentic, real world application. Technology should be supporting the curriculum goals, and helping the students to effectively reach their learning goals.

Here are some questions to help you asses yourself to see how you or your school are integrating technology. Rate yourself by using the scale, zero we don’t do this or 5 we do this with fidelity, in all _______ subjects (if you are a teacher) or classrooms (if you have a school perspective).

  1. Are digital resources being utilized with purpose?
  2. Are teachers/administration modeling for students/teachers using transformative technology in their classroom/school?
  3. Do assignments provide opportunities for creativity and critical thinking?
  4. Do students own their own learning? Do they have choice in what tool they use or product they create?
  5. Do students use technology to create authentic products that are for authentic audiences to show their understanding of learning outcomes?

20 – 25 Score: You are showing mastery with using technology to transform learning. Ask yourself, “How can I contribute in helping others integrate technology to transform learning?” Use this as your next step to empower others.

10 – 20 Score: You are on your way with using technology to transform learning. Look at your lowest score for the questions and ask yourself what can I do to make this better?

0 – 10 Score: You are starting your journey in implementing technology into your school or classroom. Take a look at the first question and see how you can improve in this area. If you did well on this question, then look at the next question as the question go in order of transformation. Only select one question to improve upon to not overwhelm yourself or anyone at your school.

Other resources and ideas to help you integrate technology into your classroom:

Previous blog posts on integrating technology

The 4 Stages of EdTech – The SAMR Model for Technology Integration

TPACK 

Creating Google Slide Templates

“Design is how you make your first impression with your consumers. Make sure it is a lasting one.” By Jay Samit

Tired of using the same old templates. Why not create your own! Below I give you step by step directions so you can create your own Google Slide templates in only a few minutes. Make them for your classroom, meetings or professional developments!

  1. Start by opening a new Google presentation and choose the “Simple Light” template.
  2. Decide what image/design you want for your template. For example, I am creating a template for a Google Training I am doing; so I am going to use the colors of Google as my background!
    • Tip: I like creating my images/designs in Google Drawing as it is FREE. Once I finish my image/design then I click on File, Download As, PNG. I can then later upload the image for my background.
  3. In your Google Slide template, click on View and then “Master”.
  4. Then click on rename at the top of the slide and name it based on what fits best for you. 
  5. Next click on the master slide and background. Here you can choose your color or upload the background you created from Google Drawing.
    • Tip: If you would like to change the fonts, this is a good time to do it because you will only have to change it in the Master slide verse changing each slide.
  6. To exit, click on the X in the top right corner and you are done!!

My Master Google Slide Template

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Creating a F2F Self-Paced Professional Learning Experience

“Being a student is easy. Learning requires actual work.” by William Crawford

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Recently my team and I challenged ourselves to create a face to face, self-paced professional learning experience. Why? For two reasons, we wanted to show how we take risks, like we are asking of the educators we support and also because from what we knew it had never been done before yet it mirrors a personalized learning classroom.

We first decided on what our objectives would be for the learning experience; as this allowed for us to backwards design our content. Our objectives were:

  • Teachers would be able to gain knowledge about personalized learning environments through active learning
  • Teachers would be able to identify the differences between game-based learning, gamification and how they can also fit together through a modeled experience.

We then designed content such as the why behind game based learning and gamification. After we finished all the content pieces we went back and added the fun! Our theme was “Let the Games Begin…” and we created different missions that highlighted our different content objectives. We created a Hyperdoc to host our content into missions. Each mission allowed participants to earn points (and level up) which created the gamification portion of the learning experience. Our missions were: 

Mission 1: Entering the UnKnown – During this time they learned how the learning experience was set up and what to expect. They also completed a self assessment to see what type of gamer they were.

Mission 2: Understanding the Why: During this mission the participants learned about game based and gamification learning.

Mission 3: Mission Control Station: During this mission, participants experienced four different game based learning activities which had content about personalized learning.

Mission 4: Transformation: During this mission the participants self reflected on how they could use the things they learned and apply it to their classroom.

We transformed the room into the different mission stations with balloons and signs to guide them. We played mission control music throughout the professional learning experience as we facilitated if there was any questions.

The participants LOVED the training, as we did as well. It was a lot of front loading but during the training it was smooth sailing! We will do this again but we will make a few tweaks. One tweak would be during mission three, some of the games would also review the content from mission two verse only being personalized learning content. The second tweak would be to set up mission two away from the music because it was hard for the participants without ear-buds to hear the video content.

We look forward to making more self paced, professional learning experiences and we hope you do as well. It not only models what you want to see in the classroom but it also allows participants to critical thinking, communicate, collaborate and self-reflect.

 

Incorporating Digital Learning Strategies in the Classroom

“Curriculum tells you what to teach, but doesn’t tell you HOW you have to, make the shift to the 21st century learning environment.” by Stacy Behmer

Digital learning is when instructional practices is coupled with technology. It can work in any grade and subject as it is a way of learning, not a type of learning. Digital learning encompasses digital tools and content, along with practices such as eLearning and blended learning. Digital learning has the potential to increase opportunities to personalize the learning for the diverse needs of our classrooms.

In order to create a successful digital learning classroom environment there are a few strategies that will help you:

  1. Start with one digital learning tool, content or practice then master it before moving on. For example, using digital assessment offers students and teachers real time data allowing teachers to use data to drive instruction.
  2. Choose digital tools that allow students to be active, engaged and use higher order thinking skills such as iMovie, Toontastic or podcasts.
  3. Identify student digital leaders so students have someone to go to when they need help besides the teacher. You can create digital student leaders daily, weekly or monthly but allowing students to also be digital experts in the room builds stronger classroom culture.

 

Learnings from #EDCampQC 4.0

“We keep moving forward, opening new doors, and doing new things, because we’re curious and curiosity keeps leading us down new paths.” by Walt Disney
Yesterday I had a great day at #EDCampQC. It was awesome connecting with new and previous colleagues to learn about what others are doing/trying in their classroom. Below are just a few of the cool new tools I learned about and will be trying. I plan on trying one at a time until I master it, so I do not feel so overwhelmed!

  1. Telestory is an iPad app. It allows students to be creators of content and show mastery through different modes such as creating a music video, news report,  writing their own stories etc. 
  2. Kid-Pix: is a tool that allows students to create drawings and flip books.
  3. RoundMe is a paid web site that allows people to create virtual reality. 
  4.  My Maps: Teachers and/or students can create and share custom private maps. You can add icons to locations and insert images and text to that location.
  5. Deck.Toys is in beta and is a real-time classroom engagement platform that allows you to teach and manage students. I like how you do have the option of allowing self pacing for students and that is how I would utilize this.

 

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