Monday, July 23, 2012

Tool 11: Reflection

I'm surprised that I knew what a lot of those quiz questions were asking me!

My new favorite tools are the apps for the iPad that SBISD suggested and the ones that I have downloaded for social studies, as well as some of the Web 2.0 tools like Big Huge Labs and Animoto. I also plan on using Today's Meet in my classroom for kids to be engaged in the lesson, especially during the reading and lecture portions of our lessons.

I have transformed my thinking in that I'm a bit more motivated to use technology and Web 2.0 tools in my classroom. I attended a conference this summer for American history that provided a lot of tools and online resources to try out with my students. I can't say for sure what changes I will need to make in my classroom just yet because I don't know what devices I will have in my classroom- if we're going to need to be hooked up to power cords every other class period and such. I will have to make time to incorporate it more, and once we know what the new class schedule will be, it will be a bit easier to figure things out.

There weren't really any unexpected outcomes from this project for me- other than the quiz at the end. I feel confident using a lot of the tools and still haven't been 100% swayed that technology is the be-all, end-all.

Tool 10: Digital Citizenship

Here were my thoughts from 11.5 More Things in 2010 about digital citizenship:

I still agree with all 5 of the topics that I suggested in my 2010 post. I really want my kids to take pride in the work that they share online and in the classroom, but I also want them to be safe out there as well. Etiquette though is still something that my students need to work on. I don't think many of the parents at our school monitor their students' internet behavior, so it's important for teachers to be the models for the students.

I like the questions posed on this site: Moving at the Speed of Creativity

I would devote a class period at the beginning of the year to working our devices, digital citizenship, etc. I would use the questions to brainstorm with the students in regards to safety and talk about the etiquette involved in using the internet. I usually send a paper home at the beginning of each semester with classroom expectations for parents and students to sign and keep a copy. I could include safe practices in it for parents to read or add onto my school webpage.

Tool 9: Classroom Devices as Tools for Learning

1. Tying technology into your objectives is important because it keeps many students engaged in the lesson. In our district, we talk a lot about epidsodic teaching, and technology allows us to do that. However, I think we should be cautious to not over-do it. If our ultimate goal is for students to be successful, and in our state, that means passing the standardized test which is pencil and paper, we shouldn't get too tied up and being techie for every single thing we do in the classroom.

2. We should hold students accountable for stations to ensure that they are on-task and not abusing the technology. I like the idea of having the techies of the week to help with the devices and being the go-to person before coming to the teacher.

3. I really liked Thinkfinity and will be using it this year with its tie to the state standards- awesome! I also used the SBISD resources. It's nice to be able to borrow from others without having to work everything out on your own from the ground up.

4. This interactive whiteboard app is neat- students or the teacher can use it to review for a quiz/test or re-teaching in small groups. This brainstorm app seems pretty similar to Wallwisher and Google Docs and could be helpful in small groups.

5. Another way my students could use these devices would be to make a recap video or tutoring video for classmates about something we've been studying in class. They could use it to record their tutorial session and post it for classmates to check out when studying at home or as an extension activity.

Tool 8: Taking a Look at the Tools

I'm not a Mac person, but I have come to enjoy using the iPad this summer. My husband has helped me learn how to do all of the things mentioned in the videos at the beginning of this summer, prior to me watching these videos. I've already added some free apps related to my content area. I've added Texts from Founding Fathers, The National Archives Document of the Day, and more! From my playing with things, I have learned that we are very limited in certain apps- some let you do very basic things and then require you to purchase an upgraded version to do more. I'm hoping to discover a lot more as the weeks go by and as the students get their hands on the devices.

I agree that a system needs to be in place. We used the macbooks in advisory a lot last year, and my kids took turns on who got to use the computer and when. They all made sure that everyone closed them down and put everything back in an orderly fashion. I plan to make a team of "experts" to help with glitches and depending on the number of devices and which ones I receive, to have them out as often as possible for the students to use for discussion, research, and extension activities. My kids sit in small groups and partners, so it should be fairly easy to put one device out per table.

Tool 7: Reaching Outside Your Classroom

I actually have a planned project for this year, given that it is an election year. I would like my 8th grade social studies classes to collaborate with a math team on campus, depending on which grade level needs the practice with data and percentages and such.

Our goal: Given a mock election, TLW analyze campus-wide election results by detecting patterns to predict the nation's presidential election outcome.

We plan to implement: End of October, beginning of November, prior to the presidential election

What tools we plan to use: Google Docs to share data with math, Today's Meet to share election updates with other classes on election day and more

Description of the project: History students will study the election process and will register voters and participate as election volunteers to distribute ballots, mark voters, etc. Math students will use election results to study patterns, percentages, and make an educated guess as to who will win the presidential election.

Tool 6: Using Web Tools to Promote Discussion

I've used Edmodo, Google Docs, and Blogger in the past with my students. I had high hopes for Edmodo, but I was pretty disappointed. I think it would be easier to just use Facebook with the students since that's something that automatically log into every day. For this next year, I would like to try Wallwisher and Today's Meet. Here are the samples that I have created that could be used in my classroom:

I like that Wallwisher allows users to include links to videos and websites when they post. This is a great way for students to support their answers.

Here's the link to my Today's Meet:
This gets kids into the discussion without having to raise their hand. They can pose questions, answer questions, make a comment, etc. The only thing that concerns me about this is students getting off-task and not paying attention to the lesson and content.

Tool 5: Producing with Web 2.0 Tools

Here's an Animoto that I made from my Teachers as Historians travels last summer:

Try our slideshow creator at Animoto.

Here's a magazine cover I made at Big Huge Labs:
I think that Animoto is a much more interesting way to show slide shows of photographs, and I've got an account with Prezi, but I have yet to try them out yet. Big Huge Labs is a creative way for students to synthesize their knowledge of the content learned, and I think they would enjoy being hands-on with this type of project.

Tool 4: Moving Up to the Clouds

I have used Google Docs in my advisory class this last year to make a slideshow for the beginning of the year and 2 years ago with end of the year projects that student groups made. It was convenient for them to all be working on something and sharing and editing with each other.

I think that Google Docs is good for teams to be able to share ideas and add to without clogging up everyone's email inboxes. However, I don't think that I would use it to write tests on, as I still prefer regular word processors for that. Instead, I think the forms section would be a great way to do the exit ticket from class or a way to check students' knowledge of the unit you are studying in class. It would also be useful to get to know students' interests- I have an idea that I'm working on presenting to my principal for the year after next in regards to advisory classes.

Tool 3: Finding Online Video and Image Resources

I like using YouTube and PBS for videos for my classroom. You do have to be careful and make sure that the following videos that pop up aren't inappropriate, and it's always important to preview a video before showing it to your students. I like using YouTube because it has a lot more creative and engaging videos than the traditional video source sites. I've heard that Spring Branch won't be getting Discovery Ed again this next year anyway. Here are two videos that I like for my 8th grade US History students:
I love this one for a hook for the War of 1812 and then coming back to it at the end of studying this war.
An American history teacher friend has posted this on her Facebook, and I want to share this with my students this year when we study the Declaration of Independence in the American Revolution.

I hated that 10 minute Disney video. The Playing with Media page was much easier to understand. I can't believe the attribution tools that are available today! I was in school with internet and everything, but geez, it has advanced sooo much that it makes me feel like it is a double edged sword- great and useful but encouraging laziness.

I think that Dropbox will be wonderful to use in the classroom this next year. Last year, I did a Lewis & Clark project and gave suggested websites for students to view and play on, but every class period, it was, "MISS!!! This website is NOT working!" (After double-checking their spelling, they'd eventually get it!) It will also be useful for students to access everything from home as well.