Tuesday, July 30, 2013

One-to-One Key Ideas: Focus on Learning

One-to-One is a learning initiative, not a technology program. It's not about shiny objects; it's about how the technology is used, and giving all students ubiquitous access to use it.

Task predicts performance

Students can use the same cool tool for lower-level thinking and higher-level thinking. Externally, the product may look the same (such as a presentation made with Prezi), but the learning outcomes would be quite different when they use it for higher-level thinking.

If the student task predicts their learning outcomes and academic performance, then creating a learning task at Webb's Depth of Knowledge Levels 3 or 4 is the goal.

How do you want students to use technology in the classroom?

9 Wrong And 8 Right Ways Students Should Use Technology on Edudemic focuses on technology, a tool, being used for learning outcomes.
Attribution Some rights reserved  CC by William M Ferriter -- via Edudemic via George Couros

Strong ways for students to use technology are:
  • to create (some examples include an original infographic making sense of data or a message; or putting together thoughts from various sources and comparing themes in a presentation or blog post)
  • to communicate with remote groups that could not typically happen due to time or space barriers (for example, students conversing with an expert across the country/globe)
  • to collaborate with others (such as students in Australia sharing thoughts/feedback with students in the USA)
  • to discover and inquire
  • to critically and creatively think
  • to problem solve
  • to contribute healthily to the globe (creating positive digital footprints and sharing something valuable to others around the globe)
  • to reflect and share their reflections (via Skype, a blog post, a digital story, etc.)

Being deliberate with technology to enhance learning

The bottom line is we need to be deliberate with the technology use so that it increases learning, thereby increases student achievement, and transforms the learning.

Another way to think of it is by asking, can the task be done without the technology? If so, is that the only way it's used? When is it used in ways to benefit learners that wouldn't be possible without the technology?

Resources

Here are a few lessons, units, and collaborative opportunities that include worthwhile tasks and technology that transforms learning:

Final thoughts

It takes time for teachers to transition from being the content experts and the only means for students to learn, to using their expertise and being facilitators, allowing students opportunities to learn from one another and others around the globe, engaging learners in deep and meaningful tasks. Teachers need to focus on more than the content knowledge students learn--they need to focus on the skills required in the 21st century.

Common Core demands students to do their own thinking and support their claims and opinions with evidence. Therefore, the skills they need are different than skills required in the 20th century, and technology is part of that when used to transform learning.
  • How do you use technology to transform learning?
  • What resources would you add to the list above for worthwhile tasks?
  • How does one-to-one benefit learners?
  • How else does this post connect with you?
This post is written as a summary of the main points made in AJHS's One-to-One training last June. We also spent time focusing on the Chromebooks since that is the device the students will use.

Sunday, July 21, 2013

RSS through Feedly

Living in an age with information at our fingertips can be challenging when there's so much of it. That is why it's important to prioritize and focus on the content I want. One tool that helps with that focus is Feedly, a RSS tool.

RSS stands for Really Simple Syndication. However, when I see "RSS" I think of it as "Read So Simply," because that's what it does -- it takes the blogs and news articles I want to keep an eye on, and collects it for me in one organized place to let me know when it's been updated.

The importance of RSS

RSS is important for several reasons. It saves time on the information highway because the resources I want to learn from come straight to me. While I could ask for it to be emailed to me, let's be honest, I don't want all those emails! With RSS, I can pick and choose when to go visit those resources.

As a member of the blogosphere, reading other people's blogs is an important part of the blogging process of learning and connecting. For instance, I can read and leave a comment by reflecting and contributing or asking a question. I choose whether to read or bookmark it in Diigo for a time in the future when I can dig in.

Furthermore, I am always on the lookout for fantastic class blogs of all ages and content areas to share with my teachers. When I find those blogs, I recommend placing it in their RSS feed reader so they can make a connection, stay in touch with their recent posts to give their students opportunities to write quality comments to them. Hence, it's important to know when new posts are published.

RSS can help with research for students (and help teachers find articles for close reading).

RSS with Feedly

Google Reader was the RSS I used up until they announced they would discontinue supporting it July 1, 2013. So, I now typically use Feedly, recommended by several in my PLN.

To start, I set up an account in Feedly.



Mark as Read

Do not turn off the confirmation to Mark as Read. I've heard others who have, then accidentally clicked it and... (enter sad ending).

I only click the Mark as Read if I want the entire content in source as read. It'll mark itself as read as I scroll through it.

If I didn't read it entirely and still want to, then I scroll to top of article and select keep unread.


Tips

Feedly can be added to Chrome through the Chrome Web Store. I also made it my homepage so it is part of my daily routine and easy to get to.

Conclusion

RSS is important for managing information on the Internet and time. It's better than subscribing by email because I'm protecting my email address from spam; protecting my inbox from being flooded; and when I want to delete the feed, it's easy. Furthermore, I'm collecting information in organized categories of my selection, and choosing the priorities of what to read and when.

It is valuable enough to teach educators and students how to set up their accounts, and how to use it for their own research and personal learning.
  • If you use Feedly, what other tips or questions can you share?
  • If you use a different RSS feed reader, which one do you use?
  • What are some other reasons for having a RSS feed reader?