Introduction to #IMMOOC

I never seem to be at a loss for words: whether it’s debating educational policy, stating what I know is best for students, or working with other educators, I usually have an opinion. I often come up with great thoughts for blog posts in the middle of hall duty, lunch duty, or as I drive down the road….always the most opportune times. Then when I go to write the blog post…writer’s block for me. It never fails, I have an endless supply of ideas in my head until I go to write them down. As a result, well, this sparsely written on blog.

I am hoping that with this MOOC I can recommit to blogging. I hope that publicly reflecting allows me to hold myself accountable for what I do; giving me that space to learn openly with others who can push my thinking even further.

And with that I am dusting off this blog to say I will write regularly. Here we go!

 

 

Implementing Change: ISTE 2016

I was fortunate to attend ISTE and bring some ideas and technologies back to my school. Below are some of my favorites!

Bloxels

Bloxel

This is a way for students to create their own video game. First you use cubes and a board to build the structure. Then you take a picture of the board and it becomes the actual video game board….so cool! Create a character and you’re off!

CUE STEAMpunk Playground

Hopscotch: this is an iOS app that is a FREE way for students to learn to code. It’s available now  and so. much. fun.

Swift 3: iOS also. This is a free app for students to learn to program. Powerful application for schools!

Drones/Sphero: why not use drones and Sphero to teach content? Think STEAM rather than giving it lip service. By integrating these into our subjects, we can better engage our students in their world and make content come to life! My students will be coming up with a way to create a Sphero/Ollie obstacle course for our tech lab…..

Virtual Reality

Whether it’s Google Cardboard or another, this is the perfect way to take a 36o degree field trip under the ocean or abroad. Students will love it as it opens your classroom to the world in ways never seen before. We can create our own with students through older technology like Pano360 or newer technology like Ricoh Theta and a selfie stick. Easy and educational.

Risk-Taking

iFLy

Finally, conquering fears. I went to iFly for some indoor skydiving with some others from my district. I have no problem taking risks when it comes to my professional life, but my personal life, well, I think I speak for most of us there when I say we were a bit scared. I conquered a fear and modeled what I preach.

The Future is Here: Are you Ready to Join the Innovation Movement?

FR2

This is my presentation from last week’s CUE conference.

Future Ready

 

Creation: Let’s Get it Made!

Creation

Creation Presentation

 

Downtime

 

Over the break I took some much needed time to rejuvenate.

And then I jumped right back into EdCampVoxer to get some much needed personalized professional learning! What an amazing few days it was! Sessions about blogging, school culture, personalized PL, and coaching. Everything I needed to get myself ready for second semester.

Personalized professional learning is something I strive to do well in my school. It’s my first year in this position, so I am certainly evolving. I work hard to create learning opportunities both face-to-face and online for teachers that will meet their needs. Sometimes I am successful and sometimes I am not.

What did EdCampVoxer bring?

Voxer: Using this simple walkie talkie voice and text tool to create groups for teachers to communicate, share resources, and learn from one another.

Slack: This is an app I’ve only downloaded from the app store but not gone too deep into. I believe that there are great positive implications to it, though. This is a place where I could organize different groups for different purposes and people could opt in according to their wants/needs. A give coaching cohort could be one group, people interested in tools for one specific purpose could opt in to another. That way people don’t have to get cluttered inboxes. I see read potential in this!

Twitter: Not going too detailed into this one. One of the best ways to personalize PL. Join it. Join chats. Enough said.

Digital badging: A fun way to get credit for the learning that one accomplishes. These are set up through Mozilla or Credly or others and educators can convert badges to credits. Badges can also be shared via social media for fun.

Edcamp: This free unconference has become wildly popular all over the country. People attend ready to share knowledge or simply gain it. Sign up and show up for a day of unconventional learning: you will get out of it what you want! Do a search online to find one near you!

These are a few of the modes but when it comes right down to it, we have to work with our districts to be sure they are on board with personalized PL. The key is to move beyond one side fits all ‘sit and get’ to understanding that if personalized learning is the way to for our students, it is certainly the way to go for our teachers. Many systems are on their way, some more than others. It’s so important that teachers get the learning they need and crave.

Leaving a Legacy

I’ve been working with my middle school student advocate team. Together we are learning about leaving a legacy and the importance of advocating for themselves and their school. In my opinion there is no better time for this than during the middle school years. By nature middle school students know that they can change the world. Watching them come together for three days with three other local middle schools was incredible. They fed off one another’s energy as they came up with these plans to each leave a legacy.

One of the iniatives of my team is to teach teachers and students to better use their devices–in authentic ways in class. As we are 1:1 iPads, this is brilliant, timely, and useful. I felt I needed to come up with ways to encourage and assist them with this goal. Today at our meeting I borrowed some tips from Jennie Magiera’s session at GAEtc.

We practiced teaching one another by doing it one step at a time, hands behind our backs, counting to three while we use our voices and not our hands. Tough, of course, when we’d rather do it for our partner! After some practice, they got the hang of it and we came up with a list of useful techy things we’ll teach our peers….theirs and mine!

URL Shorteners

Here are some ways to shorten your URLs for teaching or presentations.

Themes from ISTE2014

Moby

Post-ISTE my brain has been spinning–so many amazing ideas to make my way through. But that wasn’t before a long-needed vacation in Puerto Rico. There’s nothing like some time on the beach to sort through my notes and figure out my next steps.

Isla Verde, Puerto Rico

The one theme that held true for me at ISTE2014 is something I’ve always believed in: that it is about the children, our students. The content and the technology are the way that we engage them, but the teaching and the relationships are the most important thing in our field! Without relationships with the students in our classrooms we have nothing. Without relationships with the teachers around us we have nothing. Without relationships with our PLN we are less than we were before.

I believe so strongly that passion is the first thing we have to have as educators –whether we are teachers or administrators. The content-knowledge and the technology-knowledge help us deliver the information and reach our students but without that love for our students and that passion for what we do….it won’t matter a bit what we know.

So with these thoughts, I will continue to sort through all my session notes.

 

 

 

More Web 2.0 and Apps

 Victor Svensson Attribution 2.0 Generic (CC BY 2.0)


Victor Svensson
Attribution 2.0 Generic (CC BY 2.0)

There was so much to say about teaching using the web that my first blog post didn’t come close to covering it. So here are some more of my favorite resources.

Blendspace makes it so much easier for teachers to collaborate. Drag and drop ideas, documents, Promethean flipcharts, YouTube videos, Educreations, Flickr pictures, Google Drive, Dropbox, PDFs, and more into the timeline. It’s organized for multiple users so that the entire team can work on the project. Makes life so much easier. And as busy educators, this is what we need!

Users create three-dimensional pop-up books with ZooBurst. Don’t let the fact that these are pop-up books hold you back from using them with older students. These could easily be used with intermediate and middle school students to create advanced content. They are so interesting to create that even this age will be intrigued!

Educreations and Show Me are both apps. Educreations has a bit more functionality for older elementary while Show Me is more for the younger student. This is basically a white board on the iPad that students create on or voice record. At my school they use it for math and content areas to explain their learning. It is perfect for delving deep into content.

Cel.ly With this web 2.0 you can send students or parents a text while keeping your phone number private. You can moderate the group message with one or more curator. Very cool!

With ScreenCastomatic you can create a video of your computer screen and your voice. It can be uploaded to a blog or YouTube or Vimeo. You get 15 minutes free on each video. Then you have to pay.

Sock Puppets is an App that allows students to create puppet shows. They can create voice overs, backgrounds, etc. Using their imaginations they could retell a story or go deeper to do inferences or tell a sequel or you name it! The sky is the limit!

Augmented Reality

My new FAVORITE techy thing is augmented reality! The implications for these apps in a classroom are amazing, so test them out then use them with your students –of all ages.

With Aurasma (see a video at the link) you can use pre-made Auras or create your own. Auras are three-dimensional animations or videos that are captured within a frame on the app. This app is available on IOS or Android. Imagine students for whom English is a second language creating videos of words they are learning so that when they frame the word, the video plays.

The ColAR app is free and some of the coloring pages are free; others you have to pay for. Students color the page and hold the frame in the app over the colored page to make it come to life.

PopAr has a series of children’s books that “come to life” through this augmented reality experience. This is a new way to interact with books and it is so cool!

Spacecraft 3D is put out by NASA. Students learn about the solar system and earth as they interact with them in as an authentic way as possible….without heading into space on a shuttle.

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