This is a demonstration of the rule of thirds using the Loom extension in Google Chrome. It looks like a very handy tool for instruction and communication. Try it out here: Loom
Recently I came across an article in a blog post by Larry Cuban in “Larry Cuban on School Reform and Classroom Practice”. He had the opportunity to observe a 7th-grade teacher, John DiCosmo, as he conducted a class on John Steinbeck’s “The Pearl”. John began the class by using a back channel called Padlet. He elicited responses from his students to the following questions: “What would you do if you found a treasure of millions, in cash, free and clear? How would your life change?” A back channel is net-worked or online chat software that allows participants in a classroom or workshop to carry on a secondary chat exchange while the primary instructor conducts the discussion. In this case, the students respond to the question anonymously as a stimulus for conversation. The question is a very appropriate way to start talking about the “The Pearl” as the novella is about the ramifications of the discovery of a potentially very valuable pearl. The student posts can be projected on a white board or smart board. They can also be mirrored onto a TV using a tool such as Apple TV. This article is about a 7th-grade classroom but the back channel technique could be used on other levels as well. Padlet allows the student to write a response and they can drag in images, videos, and other files. Mr. DiCosmo also created a video book trailer using fellow staff members to play the primary characters from the book. What a fun way to show the students what would be expected when they make their own book trailers!
Other back channel possibilities are Twitter, TodaysMeet, and Socrative. I have used TodaysMeet in a number of workshops both as a participant and as an instructor. It is very easy to use. Whichever software you choose, back channels are a great way to elicit real-time responses from your students. It can be particularly effective with students who might be reticent to speak in class
Sometime I run into an article that says what’s on my mind better than I could ever say it. “10 Essential Characteristic of a 21st Century Educator” is just such an article. I especially like George Couros’ observation that “It is not technology that has the biggest influence on what we do; it is the speed of change being thrust upon us.” Mr Couros, the author of “The Innovator’s Mindset” goes on to list ten characteristics that he considers crucial for 21st Century educators. They are relationship builder, learner, inclusive, reflective, networked, innovator, leader, storyteller, designer, artist. “10 Essential Characteristics of a 21st Century Educator” This article is worth reading. Definitely food for thought.
These are the 2016 International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE) standards. The older standards included ways that students could demonstrate how they could use technology. The new standards recognize that technology has revolutionized how we acquire, process and communicate knowledge. Specifically, they reflect how technology can empower learning, the acquisition of knowledge, innovation, the thinking process, communication and collaboration. Technology is redefining how we learn, what we learn and how we use what we learn. The new standards reflect the reality that the digital age has truly provided us with the means to do things we couldn’t do before. Along with the power of digital tools comes the responsibility to critically evaluate data as well as to use it effectively and conscientiously. While our students may be digital natives, most have not learned how to really use technology to empower their learning and their ability to communicate and collaborate. The new standards recognize the need to help our students reach their greatest potential given the truly awesome tools available to all of us.
My first novel is about a mountain lion in northern New Hampshire that kills other animals and some people. I chose a Catamount because they are very effective stalkers and they were, at one time, indigenous to New England. There are many who claim that these magnificent animals are still around. Until I saw this blog post by Bill Gates, I never really considered that a mountain lion would actually be quite far down on the list of dangerous killers. Hmm! I wonder if one of my next novels will have to be titled “Mosquitos, A North Country Thriller”. Check out Mr. Gate’s post. It is eye opening. “Why I’d Rather Cuddle with a Shark than a Kissing Bug” By Bill Gates
Every once and awhile, I run into a site that really blows me away. Maptia is one such site. The Photography and the stories are outstanding. Anyone can add their own. This free site could be used to inspire our students to do just that. You simply add your text and your images and then publish. The site is easy to use, but the potential for creativity is unlimited. I could spend the day just exploring the existing stories. This is an excellent example of what one can accomplish with digital media.
The 2016-2017 school year is under way. This post contains the email that I sent to all of the teachers in our district. The Padagogy Wheel is a very graphic description of how technology can effectively be integrated into all curriculum areas while aligning with Blooms Revised Taxonomy and the SAMR model. There is a link to the wheel in the body of the e-mail. Our district has invested heavily in Chromebooks, WeVideo has proven to be a very useful cloud-based software that links to Google Drive. We can make movies and other presentation on the Chromebooks. We will continue to use it this school year.
Welcome to the 2016-2017 school year. I am looking forward to another year of collaborating with as many of you as possible. Once again, I have ordered 100 WeVideo licenses for teacher and student use. The licenses can be assigned for the duration of a project. At the end of the project, the students’ work will be saved to their Google Drives and the students will still have access to the free version of WeVideo. The licenses can then be reassigned to a new set of students. Last year, some schools also purchased their own licenses. WeVideo works well with any computer including the Chromebooks and it lends itself to a number of different types of projects. During the 2015-2016 school year, I worked with students on just about every level. The students created weather reports (second grade), simulations, book trailers, animations, videos promoting healthy lifestyles, personal narratives, historical role plays, public service announcements, science, and math demonstrations just to name a few. I also have a traveling green screen. This is very engaging for the students and it also provides exposure to real-world digital media creation techniques. The green screen makes it very easy to insert video and/or still images into the background of a presentation.
The new principal at KRMS, Aaron Bronson shared the attached “Padagogy Wheel” with me this summer. It was created by Allan Carrington from Adelaide, Australia. It is licensed to be shared under Creative Commons attributes, so I am sharing it with you. There is an attachment at the bottom of this email. It combines the SAMR Model of Technology Integration* with Bloom’s Revised Taxonomy. It is very important that our students understand what resources are available for them to share and use. It is also essential that they give proper credit to the creators of the media they incorporate into their presentations and publications. Creative Commons provides access to media that is available and legal to use. The wheel shows suggested apps, activities, and action verbs that align with the levels of the SAMR(Substitution, Augmentation, Modification, Redefinition) model while also lining up with the Bloom’s Revised Taxonomy (Remembering, Understanding, Applying, Analysing, Evaluating, Creating). It is really very well done. Check it out. There are some great suggestions for a wide variety of classroom activities. Bottom line, I am here to collaborate with you and to help you facilitate incorporating these types of activities and projects into your classrooms. I look forward to hearing from you.
*From Kathy Schrock’s Guide to Everything
The Science Journal is part of the Google initiative to promote Making and Science. I have added this app to my Android phone. It looks like it will be fun to measure aspects of the environment.
The Science Journal app allows you to gather data from the world around you. It uses sensors to measure your environment, like light and sound, so you can graph your data, record your experiments, and organize your questions and ideas.
Matt Miller has some interesting ideas on how to use Google Drawing for visual note taking.
Edpuzzle accesses videos from YouTube, Kahn Academy, Learn Zillion, Ted Talks Veritasium, Numberphile, Crash Course, and Vimeo. What makes edpuzzle really useful is that it allows you to crop the videos you want to show. Show as much or as little of the video as you would like. You can also use voice over to add your own comments and observations. Edpuzzle is compatible with Google Classroom.