Showing posts with label One-to-One. Show all posts
Showing posts with label One-to-One. Show all posts

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Chromebooks, Chrome Web Store, and Add-Ons

There's a lot more to Chromebooks and Google than meets the eye!

I've been learning as much as I can about Chromebooks, the Chrome Web Store, and Add-Ons since we are a Google Apps for Education district and have Chromebooks as our One-to-One devices at our high school, and have many carts at our other campuses. 

How are Chromebooks different?

Chromebooks have a web based management council. This means they:
  • update themselves;
  • boot up in less than 10 seconds;
  • cannot have software installed on them;
  • can install apps and extensions through the Chrome Web Store (including a plethora of Educational Apps);
  • can do most anything online via the Chrome browser;
  • and, start up by logging onto the computer with their Google password, then straight into Chrome.

What do we need to know about the Chromebook hardware?

There are different types of Chromebooks. The one we are using in our district is the Samsung. They are light (2.42 pounds) and have a battery life of approximately 6.5 hours.

Their screens are fragile compared to some of our other devices, and we've had some break by picking them up by the screen (top) instead of the keyboard (base). Therefore, it's important that we model and expect everyone to pick them up by the base. 

Chromebook Shortcuts:

Here's a list of shortcuts for the Chromebook. Some that I like teaching the students are:
Chromebook Shortcuts

Screenshots can be added to an email or a Google Doc by inserting an image. Likewise, the image can be uploaded to other applications such as a blog post, etc.

I also share how to right click by pressing Alt + click or place two fingers on the mousepad and click.

Getting to the Chrome Web Store:

Using the Chrome Web Store is how you add educational apps and extensions to your Chrome browser. This means that it will be on every Chrome browser you log into, regardless of device. There are many ways to get to the Chrome Web Store. Here are a few of them:
  1. Google "Chrome Web Store" then click on the link.
  2. Open a new tab in Chrome, and click on Store icon.
  3. If you are using the Chromebook, the Store icon will appear at the bottom of the screen, you can click it.
  4. Go to the Chrome Web Store sampling of Educational Apps, then select one of the hyperlinks to take you to the Chrome Web Store.
sampling of ed apps
5. Visit the complete list of Educational Apps.

How will the teachers know which apps to ask students to install on their devices?

Teachers do not need Chromebooks to try out the apps--they just need to be logged into Google Apps, and have their Chrome browser open. Then, they can add apps and extensions to their Chrome browser from the Chrome Web Store. →NOTE: Some apps require a fee. 

Installing from the Chrome Web Store:
add to chrome
Select the app or extension to install, then click "Add to Chrome".

Launching the App:

There are two easy ways to launch the app.
    launch app
  1. Once installed, you can click "Launch App."
  2. Or, add a new tab (CTRL T) and it will appear in the icons. Then click the app icon to launch (see example below).
chrome apps

Launching extensions:

Extensions are installed onto the toolbar (EG the Diigo extension for Chrome). Some of my most used extensions are:
  • Tweetdeck -- It makes viewing my Twitter feeds easier!
  • Diigo -- I love my organized bookmarks and annotation tool!
  • Google URL Shortener -- It quickly shortens URLs to something more manageable. 
  • Feedly -- My RSS reader so I don't miss a post or Google Alert.


Google has a new feature called Add-Ons, which can be installed on Google Docs and Google Spreadsheets. While Add-Ons don't require going to the Chrome Web Store, I thought it was valuable to share how to make the all powerful Google Docs and Google Sheets a little more robust. For example, Doctopus (great for management of assignments and projects) and Kaizena (which allows you to leave voice comments on documents) can now be added through Add-Ons.

Recommendations of Apps for students:
  • Click here to view suggestions for secondary students.
  • Click here to view suggestions for elementary students.
More great apps and extensions:

I learned about many valuable apps and extensions from Stacy Behmer's presentation:

The one that I use several times a week is a how to schedule Gmail to send at a later date/time.

Concluding Thoughts:

Finding tools for your teachers and students to use is an important part of technology integration. How will they will use those tools for learning? Will the tool be used for memorization (DOK 1)? Skills/application (DOK 2)? Strategic thinking (DOK 3)? Or, extended thinking (DOK 4)? Will it be used as a paper and pencil substitution or will it be used to transform learning?
  • What Chrome apps, extensions, or Add-Ons would you recommend?
  • What other hardware thoughts or questions should be shared?
  • Do you have other thoughts or questions about Chromebooks, the Chrome Web Store, or Add-Ons?

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?


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.

Monday, February 13, 2012

Formative Assessment and Differentiation

Formative assessment informs educators about student learning, and when done correctly, it also informs the students how to improve and move forward with their next goal. Teachers must know how to use that information to shape their instruction.

We use formative assessments to drive instructional decisions such as changing the approach or changing the target content.
Created with Doodle Buddy, prompted by Stem Resources visual
Differentiating assessment and instruction

I spent February 10th with the awesome staff at Apache Junction High School facilitating staff development. While talking about differentiating assessment and instruction, we addressed the importance of adjusting our teaching style to their learning style.

For example, I'm an exceptionally visual person, and like to synthesize and put concepts together in pictures such as the one above. In school, I enjoyed geometry and calculus, but struggled in Algebra II. In fact, I took calculus as my fun elective freshman year of college. Why? It's visual.

While I was sharing this with our high school faculty, a foreign language teacher talked about how he excelled in algebra but not geometry. He explained that the geometry teacher would show him over and over the concepts, while he needed to hear it and talk through it. He wasn't understanding based on differences in learning styles. I, on the other hand, needed to see it, visualize it, and do it to understand it.

We must consider different learning styles when we check for understanding, instruct, and assess. We also need to take the time to know our students and their interests to really connect with them.

Differentiation and formative assessment

The above presentation was made in preparation for today's training. Below are a few artifacts created during the trainings:

Final thoughts

I am encouraged by the discussions from today about differentiation in the 21st century classroom. The artifacts above are various formative assessments letting me know how much we are growing as a professional learning community, and it helps me plan our next steps.
  • Why is “assessment” not a synonym for testing? What are the implications of that?
  • How do you gather information/feedback to structure/guide instruction?
  • How do you evaluate the data collected, and how does this change/drive instructional decisions?

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Managing the 21st century differentiated classroom

One size does not fit all. Classrooms must be differentiated.

Created on iPad using Doodle Buddy
What does a 21st century, differentiated classroom look like?

A 21st century, differentiated classroom should look and sound different from the classroom of my childhood. It also looks different from one classroom to the next, because there are numerous ways to differentiate.

What procedures and routines help maximize learning?

The foundational pieces for managing the 21st century, differentiated classroom are:
  • Increase active student engagement
  • Establish a positive classroom climate
  • Establish task expectations
  • Increase student engagement through individual accountability

The presentation was created in preparation for professional development for our high school, which will go to a 1:1 learning environment in 9th grade next year.
  • What procedures, routines, and norms help structure and maximize learning time in a 21st Century, differentiated classroom?
  • How do you create a classroom climate where all students are open to learning and participating?
  • What tips can you share with us as we prepare for 1:1 learning?   
This post was written in preparation for our staff development at AJHS.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Math in One-to-One

Ever wonder what math looks like in an one-to-one environment? Is it just worksheets and math problems online, or is there an advantage to learning math in one-to-one classrooms?

Math in one-to-one

When I was in Tina Jada's class, I saw students actively engaged, engrossed in their learning the standards at a deeper level, with a context for why they were learning and when they'd use these standards in the real world.

Here's a glimpse into her 7th grade class:

Different teachers, different approaches, great learning

When I was in Valinda Wells' class, I saw more great learning. Her class started with a quick review for students to start on their own. After a short amount of time, Ms. Wells' showed a Screenr video modeling her solving the problems, her metacognition throughout, and how she deduced the correct answer. While she played the video, Wells was free to walk around to provide feedback, check for understanding, or guide learners if needed.

Next, the students quickly moved to new places in the room. Ms. Wells grouped them based on their learning styles, interests, and readiness. While she'd work with one group, the others were learning from online tutorials or other interactive online content.

One group worked on math projects. Ms. Wells offered a few different projects based on interest and readiness. Both projects required converting percentages to decimals, calculating sales tax, tips, discounts, and totals.

One project was a Menu Project:
The other students worked on mean, median, mode, and range based on the links Ms. Wells curated for them. The students collaborated for peer reflection and feedback. This was review content, but necessary for them to be ready for the new content in outliers and stem and leaf plots.

Ms. Wells designed the learning in her classroom based on task analysis and learning styles. She grouped them according to pre-test data and ongoing formative assessment.

Having the content online provided the students with multi-media tutorials and interactive learning. It also gave Ms. Wells the opportunity to work with all the students, tailoring instruction to their individual needs.

Final remarks

Both teachers had different styles, and both focused on the learning. They made math relevant and connected to the real world.
  • What did you notice about the learning in these two rooms?
  • Is there an advantage to learning math in one-to-one classrooms?
This post was inspired by Nick Sauers asking if I had any videos for what math looks like in one-to-one. Thanks, Nick, for inspiring me to take action!

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Grow a Learning Culture through Peer Coaching

Teching it Up K-12 -- Success Stories, Part 2

In Part 1 of "Teching it Up K-12 -- Success Stories," originally presented at the Arizona CIO/CTO Forum 2011, we focused on the importance of a learning-centric vision. Our focus for Part 2 was developing a learning culture through peer coaching.

Serving others through Peer Coaching

With all the professional development needed to sustain one-to-one, PBL, 21st century learning, and individualized instruction, we turned to the Microsoft Peer Coaching model developed by the Peer-Ed team.

The beauty of Peer-Ed's training modules was the adaptability to our district's vision. To highlight the "collaboration" role of peer coaches, we called them "collaboration coaches."

Collaboration Coaching, Catalyst for Culture Shift

We tapped into full time teachers as our collaboration coaches. They focused on creating a 21st century learning environment in their own classrooms, while also working with a small group of teachers for increased collaboration.

Doors started opening because teachers understood the expectations of collaborating, sharing ideas, and resources focused on 21st century learning. As a result, the culture shifted to a learning and sharing culture.

Coaching Culture in One to One

The eight coaches at Cactus Canyon Junior High also had the added role of navigating the changes of becoming a one-to-one environment.

Pedagogy & D.I.

Staff development focused on pedagogy and differentiated instruction with technology infused in it.

For example, instead of talking about how to use Google Forms, we discussed formative assessment and checking for understanding. After brainstorming various ways to use Google Forms as formatives, we created our own.

PLC -- the mini PDs

Some people learned web 2.0 tools quickly, while others needed ongoing, mini professional developments. Voluntary 30 minute trainings were offered once a week. This gave teachers a chance to try it out in their classrooms, with the comfort of knowing there'd be continued followup.

The teachers were so responsive to learning shoulder-to-shoulder, they expanded to four days of voluntary PD, completely ran by the coaches. They became a learning community, there to support one another. Awesome!

Final remarks

Collaboration Coaching built capacity. It's a shared leadership model that fostered a supportive learning community.
  • How do you grow, develop, and nurture a learning community?
  • How do you improve the learning culture and climate at your school, classroom, or PLN?

In Part 3, we will focus on 21st century learning, blogging, and PLN.

Friday, October 7, 2011

Teching it Up K-12 -- Success Stories, Part 1

We see districts who have an established learning culture, and their classrooms are filled with authentic learning experiences. How did they get there?

Our story

Jon Castelhano and I have the privilege of presenting at the Arizona CIO/CTO Forum 2011 on October 6th. We are going to share how our district closed the door on the 20th century and opened 21st century student-centered classrooms. Our district started teching up the classrooms with engaging, standards-based, student-centered learning, despite the financial climate we are in.

The next three posts will share about our journey, and some of the key game-changers for us.

The focus and the vision

Our district focuses on our learners. We ask, what's good for our learners? What do they want? What can we do to improve their education? If you listen to their answers, they will tell you about our vision.


Those in leadership roles in the district believe in building relationships as the foundation for working together towards our 21st century learning-centered goals.

Our decisions reflect our vision. For example, despite having to close two schools due to decreased enrollment, we are moving forward with one-to-one environments and opportunities. Why? To prepare our students for their future.

  • How do your decisions reflect your goals and vision?
  • What would your students share about their favorite things they learn in the classroom?

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Connecting in PLNs

The Edublogs PLN Teacher Challenge #2 gives me an opportunity to ask what questions I have about PLNs and share some insight.


I want to connect with innovative educators who are passionate about learning-centered classrooms. I am rewarded when I learn and can help others grow, because of the impact it makes on the students.

Developing PLNs are like developing friendships. It takes time. It's easier when I have similar goals and common things to discuss, or can respectfully challenge each other with new ideas. I need to contribute as much as I take, otherwise it's an unbalanced relationship, which won't last.

My One-to-One PLN Needs

My job title is "Technology Integration Specialist" for AJUSD. I spend over half my time in K-12 classrooms working with students and teachers. The other half of my time is spent helping teachers with resources, project based learning, creating/facilitating professional development, and setting goals for future implementation.

I am the only Technology Integration Specialist in the district, which is why it's so important that I have a PLN to help me process ideas and grow.

Last year we took all 7th graders (Class of 2016) in the district to a one-to-one environment. Next year, it will be 7th (Class of 2017) & 8th graders (Class of 2016). As the Class of 2016 goes through the grades, they will continue with the one-to-one environment and so will the classes who succeed them.

Where do I connect with other ed techs, leaders, and teachers who are in one-to-one environments and/or starting the process of going to one?

My Blended Learning PLN Needs

At the High School level, we are looking at blended learning. Our thoughts are to have Bloom's lower level (lecture/content) delivered digitally, whereas class time would capitalize on Bloom's higher levels and PBL. I am interested in knowing if our vision is more like that of the Flipped Classroom?

Outside of one person, I have not connected with ed techs, leaders, and teachers who are on this same path (at least I don't think I have). It seems like everything I've found is already established, however we are in the early stages of planning and preparing. I would like my PLN to reflect this.

Grow your PLN

I primarily connect with my PLN via blogs, Twitter, and even Diigo. I've heard much about the Educator's PLN on Ning, and even found The Flipped Class Network on Ning, but I don't know where to start. Do you have any tips for me?

Final Thoughts

Even though this post is about my PLN goals and insight, I'd like to hear about yours.

  • How do you connect with your PLN?
  • What would you like to learn about PLNs, or what insight can you share from having one?
  • Are you involved in the Edublog PLN Teacher Challenge?
  • Are there any thoughts or feedback you'd like to share about this post/PLNs?
Thanks Edublogs for once again catering to my needs by bringing people together who also want to develop their PLNs!

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Beyond 4 Walls -- Building PLN

I'm filled with excitement as we move beyond the four walls of our classroom to build our Personal Learning Network (PLN).

What is a PLN?

Watch this fabulous 2 minute interview of Steven Anderson explaining the difference between a PLC and PLN, and its power.

Our Growth

In the past year, almost 70 AJUSD educators joined Diigo to start sharing resources. Approximately 100 AJUSDers subscribed to blogs in Google Reader, and roughly 30 educators started Twitter accounts, including me.


We started moving to a one-to-one environment at Cactus Canyon Junior High (CCJH). Our professional development (PD) throughout the year focused on pedagogy, which naturally included differentiating instruction with technology. Therefore our PD modeled our beliefs.

Skype Beyond 4 Walls

When we focused on engaging students with authentic purpose, we discussed blogs. There were three PD options for our CCJH educators tiered to their needs. Since this is so new to us, our "advanced" option focused mainly on global awareness and commenting on blogs.

Mr. Salsich's Class Blog
We were fortunate to have Jonah Salsich as our expert guest via Skype to answer questions and provide resources. This was our first Skype experience for PD, and Salsich's expertise was incredible. It opened our eyes to the power of moving beyond the four walls of our classroom with our learners, in addition to the power of PLN.

Final Remarks

As I reflect on this past year, I'm encouraged by our progress and look forward to seeing where we will be this time next year!
  • How has your experience with growing in a PLN made an impact?
  • How do you move beyond the four walls of the classroom?
  • What else would you like to add to this discussion?

Special thanks to Nick Sauers for coming out for 1:1 training and getting AJUSD teachers hooked up on Twitter & RSS in Google Reader amongst all the other things you did. Special thanks to Jonah Salsich for going above and beyond to help others out!

Sunday, March 13, 2011

VoiceThread Your Riddles

I love this project because it takes their 1st grade science standards and marries them to the reading, writing, and fluency standards. Students had to research their animals, write riddles, work on fluency, and topped it off with digital illustrations and publishing.

Google Docs Drawing
Ms. James' students were introduced to the netbook cart and Google Apps Drawing during this project. They loved using the shapes, layering them, and adding color.


VoiceThread allows others to comment on the project. I was amazed at the comments left by an elementary grade student.

This added another dimension to the students' original project. It added a digital audience. Fabulous!

Click here to view Part 2 of their Riddles on VoiceThread.

Thank you Ms. James for allowing me to collaborate with you on this project. Thank you for allowing your students the opportunity to appropriately integrate technology for learning. 

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

One-to-One Success Story Tip #1 about P.D.

Recently I read a post by Nick Sauers titled, "Common frustrations with one-to-one." He found that those who were frustrated with one-to-one had issues with lack of professional development, and weak infrastructure.

To his second point, I have to say kudos to our Tech Department because I don't know of any infrastructure issues because everything was exceptionally planned out.

To his first point, I have learned a lot about the professional development needed in a one-to-one environment.

Adjusting the Professional Development

I had been training them in one swoop -- so one training of this or one training of that. Those who were tech savvy, needed that one time of show me the basics and I'll figure the rest out on my own. Well, that was the minority.

There were several who would ask me some basic questions about technology integration, and it became clear to me what needed to happen. They needed small doses over a continued amount of time.

Ongoing, Small Doses of Training

Professional Learning Community at CCJH
I decided to come to their school every Monday for thirty minutes and work with those who wanted repetition and a slow pace with tons of review and repetition. Did I mention repetition?

We started by looking at Google Apps--Forms for assessing students and checking for understanding.

Professional Learning Community

I was grateful that I was with this group of educators the day I opened up my laptop and noticed that Google Apps had a "face lift." We unanimously decided to figure out where things were and how it changed our class procedures. I would have been frustrated if I was by myself at that moment, and was glad we all went shoulder-to-shoulder to learn together.


It was such a hit that there was a demand for another day a week of bite-sized trainings. Tina Jada, has taken the role of facilitating the second day of training for those who couldn't make the first.

That's evidence of a healthy learning community.

This post was inspired by Nick Sauers' article and counsel; the guidance of One-to-One Institute; the influence of Peer Ed; and mostly by the wonderful group of CCJH teachers -- you guys rock!

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Touring TitanPad

The TitanPad wiki was introduced to me back in September by Nick Sauers during our One-to-One training. What I liked was the immediate setup with no accounts needed, the way it color-coded who wrote what, the easy viewing of the revision history, the options to place passwords on it, and the built in "back channel."

TitanPad Wiki used in our Reinventing PBL book study class
Process of Introducing

During our 4th class, we divided chapter 5 into sections (jigsawed it), and wrote down what what struck us about the section.

After modeling it as a class, we were able to divide and conquer the remaining chapters for our next class.

High School Teacher Tours TitanPad

After seeing how easy it was it implement, AJHS teacher, Sandy Rollefstad, chose to do this with her AP Biology kids. Her students had a great experience with this.

Here's the example of our "Chat" or built-in "Back Channel".
She said the first day there was discussion on the chat, but nothing more than what we as teachers have in our classes, and they still completed their assignment. On the second day, there was less discussion on the chat, and the same fabulous results.


I recommend creating an account with an easy name to type in. Otherwise, you are limited to 15 people typing at once and there is a maximum number of saves. With the account, you get more people, more saves, and more options.

Tots Tour TitanPad

Back in December, I had the wonderful pleasure of working with 2nd grade tots on their first tour of the TitanPad wiki.

The SMES 2nd grade team, Marcy Saggio, Meredith Hopaczylo, and Denise Cook, brainstormed ideas to help their students learn same sounds but different spellings, such as n in new, gn in gnat, or kn in know. They wanted to have students engaged in words and working together to help generate more ideas and examples.

Naturally, they wanted to use a wiki to do so, but wanted it open for families to work on when they were at home. Therefore, the team decided to use the TitanPad to do this because it was instantaneous collaboration without having to sign up ahead of time.

Since this was the students first time working on such a space, they enjoyed the task but also became upset if someone moved their work. So, we had a little learning curve because each time someone hit enter, it moved their work down a space... but the students thought their labor was erased because what was on "line 21" turned into a blank line instead of looking to "line 22".

I was glad we decided to introduce it in small groups. Once those lessons were learned, they were golden and loved being able to collaborate on the exact same assignment as the kids in the room next door.

This blog was inspired by the fabulous educators in AJUSD who continue to try new things to create learning-centered classrooms. Thank you for making a difference in our kiddos lives!

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Top Ten for Teching it Up

Disclaimer: This is not an all encompassing list, nor is it Rocket Science 302. It’s just Tracy’s list for her peeps based on where I see them right now. Furthermore, this list was developed because Lisa wanted to set “10 Tech Goals” for herself over break, and she asked that I email her 10 ideas for goals. So, below is my list and I thought it might benefit others to post here. This list might be out of date in one minute after I hit publish, but as of this exact moment in time, here is my top 10 list for where to set your goals for tech integration. (Note tongue in cheek, but hey, ‘tis the season, right?)

First steps:

10) Choose one platform to have kids go to as soon as they walk in the class. IE: Moodle (or Google Apps, GradeBook Wizard, or your Website – see Tracy's SchoolWorld Site as an example of one). Then start using that platform on a daily basis.
  • IE- Lisa chose Moodle. She will have kids do a “Before you Read” Forum post, and a daily post to go with each chapter. The two best choices for getting started with Moodle are to Link to outside Websites and to add a Forum for a discussion question.
  • You can create multiple choice questions, fill in the blank, true/false … and it will give instant feedback to the teacher in a spreadsheet.
  • Once you have the form created, you’ll need to host the link on your platform (refer to #10 above). In other words, paste that link for them on your class platform (Moodle, GradeBook Wizard, Google Apps, SchoolWorld Website, or whatever platform you choose).

8) Videos.
  • Find content rich videos for students to learn from. YouTube, SchoolWorld, Discovery, BrainPOP, etc. There are tons out there.
  • When you show a video in class. Give them a framing question before – such as, “In this video I want you to look for …. We will talk about it right after the video.” Then right after, follow up with a discussion about what you said you’d talk about.
  • Put that link back on your Platform (see #10 above), such as Moodle, SchoolWorld, etc. (If putting a link on the platform is easy, you can try embedding it).

7) Vocabulary or connect to prior knowledge presentations.
  • Create (or download if you find one) a presentation with key vocabulary. 
  • Have pictures to show examples of it.
  • If possible, have audio if it will help students learn it better.

6) Share your resources with your colleagues.
  • Social Bookmarking is a wonderful way to do this for websites. Click here for more information on this.
  • Share on our Resource Center. (TBD).

I suggest mastering the above (or get super duper comfortable with it), then focus on the
Next Steps:

5) Hands on and Visuals. 
  • Find interactive links or multi-sensory for your students to engage in the learning.
  • Click here for an example. Notice, there are interactive links for students to work on. There are some teacher links. Then there is a choice board. -- If you are not ready for a choice board, then just focus on the interactives for the student links.
  • Webquests are also great options here. (PS Thanks Bernie Dodge for giving the world WebQuests!)

4) Kids creating for you.
  • Note: Most teachers start by restricting them to one platform (IE Google Apps), but it isn’t necessary. What you do need is:
    • The Rubric (Tracy can help with this, or there is an online class through Prospector University Moodle, and there is a face-to-face class through P.U.). – Focus on the content objective.
    • Have a time frame for when it is due.
    • Have check-in points along the way (to check for understanding, provide feedback, and for accountability).
  • Note: remind them not to use their last names on the internet as user names, in the content, or in the saved file name!

3) Publish the Students' Work.
  • Showcase your students' work. Place them on your SchoolWorld site, your platform, your school's FaceBook page, etc. It's like placing class work on a bulletin board.
  • Share it back to your social bookmarking account (such as your Diigo account that was referred to in #6 above).
  • Since the piece of work is the property of the student, and copyrighted to the student, it's always good to ask first if it's okay to publish it.
  • Note: Make sure that your student's last name is not revealed in the user name, the content, or in the saved file name!

Aspiring Steps:

2) Class Blogs.
  • Blogs are personal journals, where students and teachers can put their ideas on the table for others. It can inform or invite responses back for discussion. They inform others what you are doing or thinking.
  • Click here for more information on blogs used in the classroom.
  • I used my SchoolWorld blog as an exit card for a PD class that I taught about blogging. Check it out
  • To see more examples, click here.
  • Here are some excellent tips: 10 Tips for Starting an Education Blog.

    1) Join/Create Wiki Projects.

    • Wikis are an awesome way to collaborate with others, especially outside our school district.
    • Click here for more information on this.
    • Click here for other collaborative opportunities.

    It'll be interesting to see how this list changes as our readiness levels progress (yes, including my own). For where we are right now in 2010, this is my Top Ten for Teching it Up. 

    Sunday, October 24, 2010

    Insight from iTouch Initiative

    I started with my 4 year old's experience with my iPhone and am moving on to general information. Later, I'll blog my 9 year old's favorites.  

    The best site I learned about is I Education Apps Review. It breaks Apps into categories which makes it easy to check out!

    What did Mansfield Independent School District have to work through to get their iTouch initiative started?

    1) Why iTouch? State Tech Standards dictated that all Primary have touch screens, so it was the biggest bang for the buck. They also started it as an ESL initiative and then as a Special Ed initiative, in addition to their one-to-one initiative.

    2) Purchasing considerations? They had to get quotes for iTouch devices (8G), skins, covers, 20 unit sync/charging stations, and apps. (They found out after-the-fact that you can purchase them with a built-in screen cover for $5 and they wished they had done that). They would use a PO to buy bulk purchases straight to Apple which would automatically qualify them for the 50% educator discount. The App Store Volume Purchase Program site was very helpful in this process. Since they were a PC district, they discovered that the 20 unit charging station wouldn't sync automatically and would only charge some of them at once and not all 20. 

    3) Account considerations? Teachers had to have separate work and personal accounts. They had to educated the teachers on how to backup their Apps (especially before reimaging the computers over the summer).

    4) Professional Development? They spent 6 hours with the teachers before giving them their iTouches. Teachers set up one of their own iTouches from start to finish (the rest of the class set was to be done on their own time). They put on their own skins and covers, set up their work iTunes accounts, set up iTunes U accounts, learned how to convert their Power Points, use Voice Memos,  download apps and how to sync. They were also taught tips on classroom management with the iTouches, accountability, and locking them up and checking that all are accounted for. They used a notepad and Doodle Buddy for checking them out. (Note: they haven't sent them home with their kiddos and aren't planning on it yet).

    Setting up their Accounts:
    They discovered that there is one way to set up a free account and it they had to do it in this order:
    1) Go to iTunes App store.
    2) Click on a Free App (any will do), then create account (it's the only way to get a free account according to Mansfield ISD).
    3) Go through the set up, but on the last option to create account when it asks for credit card, you select none.

    Converting PowerPoints from PC:
    They spent time on learning how to convert their Power Points for the iTouch (a little different process for PC than just the click of a button on a Mac). To convert they had to either save as a jpeg image and renumber the slides as 01 instead of 1 for them to remain in the correct order. Or, they could convert them to mp4 (using MOYEA) and run them as movies. They also learned how to stream video from Discovery ED. Anything that was EDITable, they could download as a QuickTime movie, and import to their iTunes library, then convert it to a mp4. They also used Camtasia a lot because it would convert it for them.

    Using Voice Memos:
    They taught the teachers about collaborative story building, podcasts, and recording lectures/lessons through this feature. They also taught them about iTunes U and Ask A Biologist through ASU's IDEAL.

    It was a difficult process but they learned some shortcuts that they couldn't do without. Shortcut #1) They used DropBox, a free app to drag and drop all files and could be stored in the cloud. It was an awesome solution to syncing because you'd just drag and drop the file and you can use the same account for multiple devices.  Shortcut #2) They'd use the Bump App and students could pass on what they have by just bumping the two iTouches together.

    5) What else did they need to know about purchasing apps and iTouches? 
    • For right now, their Apple Rep told them that you can buy the app once per classroom and sync on the classroom devices. However, many in the audience heard that wasn't the case. What I gathered was there is a date coming up where licensing will have different parameters now that more and more are using apps in schools. Each app has its own fairuse and policy, so it will depend on the app. Specifics? I don't know, but if you have any info for me, I'd love to hear about it.
    • Many apps need a wireless internet connection. Apparently there are some issues with some of the apps and Lightspeed. They haven't resolved the issues yet, but are working on them.
    • The iTouches have uniform settings and passcodes for students to log in with.
    • They purchased headphones instead of sharing ear buds (although if they had earbuds, they could have used babywipes to clean them off). However, I remember a conversation with an OT in our district who was adamant about not using earbuds with kids because their hearing won't develop correctly otherwise.
    • They recommend to really research what syncing cart to use and how many you will sync at once.
    • Did I hear them say that you need an external microphone for the iTouch? I am not sure.
    What I'm wondering is why just an iTouch? Why not an iPad or iPhone and get the capability of creating movies? You wouldn't need to turn the phone part on but could still use the internal microphone, the movie editing software built into the phone, and all the other features of the phone (iPod and Apps). 

    Saturday, October 23, 2010

    Favorite Apps According to a 4 Year Old

    Don't you just love the conferences that gives your brain food to digest? There is so much that I got from the NSBA 2010 Teaching & Learning Conference, but my brain always starts with it's heart which goes to my kiddos. My four year-old daughter is currently reaping the benefits from the iTouch Break Out session I went to on Tuesday (thanks Mansfield Independent School District). I ended up downloading many apps for her and so far this is her list of favorites:
    • Doodle Kids  
    • Doodle Buddy 
    • Kids Math Ace
    • Puppy Jigsaw
    • My First Words Animals
    • The Bee Sees
    • Vocal Zoo
    There were many more on the list. What do you recommend for your preschooler?