Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Differentiated Instruction with Technology

Here's where we started:

I have seen so much growth after five awesome professional development trainings! Hats off to Theresa Bartholomew and the CCJH DI Leadership Squad: Valinda Wells, Rachel Mangum, Lisa Smith, Maryanne Galvan, Taylene Bell, Natalie Tucker, and Melissa Mel

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 This list might be out of date in one minute after I hit publish, but as of this exact moment in time, here is my top 10 list for where to set your goals for tech integration.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. 

    Thursday, December 2, 2010

    Speak Up 2010

    made on Wondersay - Animate text with style

    The Speak Up survey collects authentic feedback from students, families, and educators across the country. Data from prior surveys show students are primarily interested in: 1) social based learning; 2) un-tethered learning (anytime, anywhere, any device); and 3) digitally-rich learning environments. When given the question, "What is the ultimate digital textbook?", they respond favorably for interactive, relevant, and collaborative textbooks. They want the ability to search for terms easily, take digital notes on it, and to download it to their mobile devices.  They want to check for their own comprehension (like a benchmark), have learning games, online tutors 24-7, and built in accountability. In conclusion, students want learning-centered classrooms rather than teacher-centered classrooms.

    Our district is involved in the Speak Up 2010 survey. I had the privilege of helping in three different third grade classrooms today with the facilitation of this survey. While I was facilitating the Speak Up survey, I was also introducing the students and teachers to some practical procedures to help manage netbooks in the classroom (they are new to the students and teachers this fall, and purchased from Title I funds for our elementary schools).

    I have a few tips for our 3rd grade teachers as a result of my experience. 1) If you have a projector, it will run so much smoother because you can show them step by step where to go. If you don't, place a ticket immediately to project it to your TV! It's better than nothing! 2) If you are by yourself, teach 4-6 kids what the next step is, then send them around the room to help the others. 3) Logging in is the most tedious part, or atleast it was for our kiddos (especially without a projector). Just know that ahead of time. Even though they just have a few things to type, it will take time to get them used to it if it's a new procedure. Once you get them into the survey, it flows. 4) I recommend the facilitator reading it aloud to the third graders because the readability is probably above 3rd grade (the question about bias is a good example).

    I look forward to seeing the results from our school district. Curious. Anticipating. Definitely worthy of the time each individual took to supply the data. Thanks Speak Up and Project Tomorrow!