Thursday, June 16, 2011

Peggy Werness's 20% Project: the Sequel

I spent the majority of my 20% time in this course on enhancing my digital presence. I am a private person so this has been a stretch for me.  I really like the thought that having a strong digital presence will help me connect to many different networks in my life all the while realizing that I will give up some of my cherished privacy by being so "out there" in the cloud.
I began by developing a professional website using About Me.   About Peggy Werness
Once I had that up and running, I then began to blog.  Blogging has never been something to which I have felt a strong attraction but I found that once I began, I really enjoyed it.  Although I have not posted more than a handful of times, I got more satisfaction each time.  I found topics that I really had strong feelings about and worked hard to articulate those feelings without being too wordy.  I don't really have a following yet but I think that it will be a fun challenge to seek out people that will read my blog and comment on it.  I like the features that Blogger has to help you track your following.
The next steps were to clean up my Glogster and to connect all my social and other networking sites: Facebook, Twitter, Linked In and the Teaching and Technology web page. 
Another on-going undertaking in my 20% project has been continuing to read and check out suggestions on my favorite technology-related teacher blog: Free Technology for Teachers (written by Richard Byrne).  I think this will be really useful as I begin course number four of the Cohort, Emerging Technology and Trends.
Finally, I began a long project of transferring dozens of paper-and-pencil French reading comprehension quizzes that my colleague and I created for our Student Learning Goal to quizzes using Google Docs.  I am very excited about the added benefit of using Flubaroo to do the correcting for us!

I cannot believe how far I have come since beginning the Cohort nine months ago.  My confidence with technology has grown exponentially.  I can see myself standing in front of my colleagues, many of whom are very tech-savvy and being able to share things that I have learned since beginning this journey.  I do not consider myself an expert by any means, but I do see that I have knowledge and skills to impart that can serve to bring us all a bit further down the road of integrating technology in the classroom.  It is a road which is evolving at a rate that is dizzying and sometimes even frightening and this is why we need to pool our knowledge and skills or our students who are so completely immersed in twenty-first technology will easily "lap us" as we move together on the track.  I am thrilled to be able to say that I am beginning to meet standard 5 of the ISTE standards (ISTE standards for teachers 2008)
 This standard focuses on Engaging in Professional Growth and Leadership
"Teachers continuously improve their professional practice, model lifelong learning, and exhibit leadership in their school and professional community by promoting and demonstrating the effective use of digital tools and resources. "  The Cohort has provided me with a local and global learning community where it is feels safe to explore technology to enhance my professional practice.  As a Cohort, we pooled our knowledge to partcipate in shared decision-making as our district looks toward a technology referendum in the near future.
As teachers and administrators, we took time to explore available digital tools to see what might be the best fit for the learners in our classrooms.

It is incredible to see how much we have accomplished together!

Deanna Welch's 20% Project II

My 20% project went a few different directions.  I really appreciated the time to "play around" with some programs that I have been interested in, but just can't seem to find the minutes in the day to explore.  I worked a bit with Skype and thought that it might be fun to use this to connect with music classrooms around the country.  I know many teachers in other states that may be interested in setting up some sort of exchange concert, and I will look into this further next year.  I also worked with Prezi and xtranormal.  Since I was not teaching this past semester, I tried these programs out with my 5th grade daughter's Gettysburg Address presentation.  Here is a link to that presentation.
Mike helped me start on Aviary and I spent some time exploring the audio recording part of this site.  I was able to record my daughter playing two different parts on her frnech horn, sync them together, and delete some of her extra beats to help the two parts fit together.  Here is a link to this recording.
I also worked with Picasa and plan to use this more frequently on my website to share pictures of what we are doing in the music room.

I feel as though I grew immensely in the NETS*S standards.  I have learned how to develop technology-enriched learning environments that enable all students to pursue their individual curiosities and become active participants....assessing their own progress.  This is evident in my work with Aviary and how I plan to incorporate that in to my classroom.  
 Through my work with Skype, and the plans I have for next year, I have exhibited knowledge, skills, and work processes representative of an innovative professional in a global and digital society.
When I share my new knowledge with students and other teachers through Prezi, xtranormal and Aviary - and with parents through Picasa, it will be evident that I am a teacher who continuously improves their professional practice, models lifelong learning, and exhibits leadership in their school and professional community by promoting and demonstrating the effective use of digital tools and resources.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Allison's 20% Project Part II

Throughout this course, I spent some time learning about the ActiveInspire software and other online programs that my students and I would be able to integrate into our curriculum.  I recently received a Promethean Interactive White Board (IWB) in my classroom and will begin using it on a daily basis in my lessons next year.  I have never used an IWB before, so I thought this 20% project would be a great opportunity for me to learn about the features and tricks before I get a new set of students in the fall.  Promethean has a great online support website (Promethean Planet) that provides lessons and flipcharts created by teachers all over the world.  These lessons can be downloaded, edited, and used by me in the fall!  It is a great way for me to get started with creating more student centered lessons and activities. Here is an example of a flipchart already created for practicing DNA replication—a lesson that I will be covering late in 1st semester. I will probably use this (or an edited version) to help my students practice the replication process.  I also found a link to this presentation that shares interesting ways to incorporate the IWBs in the classroom.  These suggestions/ideas (even though they are more directed towards SMART boards) will continue to be helpful to me as I develop new lessons with the IWB.    

I think that I have absolutely covered the “Design and Develop Digital-Age Learning Experience and Assessments” standard throughout this course.  For my last unit this year, I asked my students to research a group of animals and create a mini presentation to share with the class.  They were allowed to select whichever presentation tool they wanted—Google Presentation, Prezi, ActivInspire, PowerPoint, Glogster etc.  A few groups of students asked me if they could use Weebly to create their presentation.  I had never heard of Weebly, but they had just used it in their English classes.  I was thrilled to learn something new from my students.  Here is one group’s website that was created—I am so proud! :)   Each group was also responsible for writing 2-3 quiz questions based on their presentation.  I selected a handful of these questions and after each group presented to the class, I had the students take the quiz written by all of their peers. 

I also think that I covered the other two standards (“Model Digital-Age Work and Learning” and “Engage in Professional Growth and Leadership”) throughout this course.  I have shared with my students the tools that I’ve learned in this Teaching and Technology Cohort.  I have told them that I’m continuously learning and trying new things and I asked for their help and feedback when I incorporated these new tools into my lessons.  I will never forget the one student who asked me a question and I said, “That’s a good question, but I don’t know the answer...let’s learn together.”  Her response to me was “You’re the teacher, you should know everything!”  I explained to her that though we are the teachers in the room, we are constantly learning new things with our students.  The world moves on, research changes our ideas on the things that we once knew.  I told her that the day one stop learning will be the day one dies.

nickie mcclure project 2

Monday, June 13, 2011

nickie mcclure 20%

1. What I accomplished: I created six screencasts tutorials for the parents and children. I used smart to demonstrate 4 math problems teaching partical sums and partical products. I also demonstrated blabberize, and how to make a glogster. Another thing I did was add great student links to my site. The link to my screencasts is below

2. Standards- I think the standard that I ulitized for this 20 % was was modeling digital age work. I modeled the use of screencastomatic so my students and parents have a reference to look back on as needed. I demonstrated how I used screencastomatic to the students and showed them where they are on my site.

3. I believe I have achieved the standard of develop digital learning assessments and experiences as i had the students do voicethread, blabberize, and glog and then filled out in online rubric. The standard of engaging in professional growth and leadership is me participating this this Tech cohort

Heather's 20% Project Part II

I decided to explore ways to use technology as a means to foster collaboration between students.  I chose this goal because as a teacher I had witnessed great value using technology to communicate with students.  I was curious about how these benefits might transfer to student-student relationships.  I focused on using Moodle , Google Forms and shared Google Docs both in the classroom and for collaborative homework assignments.  The students I work with are in 6th grade, and they made huge progress in collaboration via technology over the course of the semester.  While all students certainly don’t agree, I am comfortable stating that the majority of the students found great value – and added facility – in collaborating with students using shared tech platforms.  During the 4th quarter, students were able to complete a project start to finish without ever getting together outside of school.  The project included collaborating on a script, editing the script, illustrating, annotating, and recording.  I saw students writing notes, reminder and questions to each other in the shared doc, emailing reminders (they even copied their teacher on these, as I had asked that they “share” their document with me as well as their group members), and engaging in discussions and “chat” functions of Google Docs as they worked.  It was really great to avoid forgotten jump drives and frustrated emails stating that the after-school schedule doesn’t allow group work until after the (name your activity) season!  It was absolutely fantastic to see students communicating to each other about their ideas, work in general, and quality of French in particular.

It is clear I grew in many ways as I reflected on and tested ways for students to collaborate via technology.  I love the flexibility the shared documents offer my class, in particular how this format facilitates developing student-centered learning opportunities.  (Resource: shared template for students.) Once students had shared their group document with me, I could effortlessly provide feedback that was both specific and thought-provoking.  Instead of asking students to research one specific topic, or explore a common question, I was able to ask a question of the group that would result in discussion on their part in order to move forward.  This means the students themselves are making choices about how and what they are learning, but within the parameters I’ve set out.  I had periodic checkins with each group, during which we sat together and viewed the shared document together on one screen.  I used this opportunity to talk with students about the benefits of Google Docs, and how it can help them when doing group work.  It was very interesting to share the “revision history” with students.  I saw both looks of relief and also uncomfortable realization as this data-gathering tool was introduced! There were many opportunities to encourage groups to establish their next step(s) when it seemed the group was struggling or didn’t have a clear vision.  Thanks, Google Docs! Here are some photos of the various collaboration activities students engaged in during their time in my class.

We completed a project with a partner classroom during the last part of the school year.  It was a service-learning project, which means our fist task was finding out what our partner classroom’s authentic need was.  The teacher send us a letter asking for our help, so we knew the overall project was going to entail writing stories for 2nd grade immersion students.  (Click here for resources: unit plan and final projects from our first attempt.) Aside from that, we didn’t really know what to write, how to write, etc.  When I asked the students how we could find out what stories would interest 2nd graders, or what challenges they fact when learning to read in a foreign language, they immediately said “we need to ASK them!”   So, we wrote questions in small groups!  Then we revised our questions, in order to make sure they were written in a way that allowed 2nd graders to respond with good information (checklists and items to choose from instead of writing answers, for example).  We send the Google Form to two classrooms, and the very next day had results to analyze.  This information allowed groups to write stories that were interesting to 2nd grade students and were linked to the 2nd grade teacher’s needs as well.  This relatively simple activity allowed my students furthered their skills by focusing on question formation, writing for a purpose, and analyzing data.   It started our service-learning project off with a bang! Here's a link to one of our surveys, and the summary of the data.

The work we completed on a weekly basis for the tech cohort fit in nicely with my 20% project, so I didn’t need to do much searching on my own to find current research on digital tools and resources that support student learning.  I have added many resource sites that have been highlighted in this class to my Diigo list so I can easily find them in the future.  I have also added RSS feeds for several blog sites to my Google Reader.  As Will Richardson says, I am letting the computer do my research for me!  Reading focused postings on a tried and true tools, with no more effort than opening Google Reader, makes the huge quantities of information manageable.  

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Chad Schwartz's 20% Project

1) My main goal of my 20% project was to increase my digital footprint.  I think I accomplished that goal and have set a foundation in place to take what I have started even further.  First of all, becoming part of the Twitter community has put me in contact with numerous professionals not only in my field of Physical Education, but also many people that have great ideas on how to incorporate technology into education.  I feel the more I learn, the more I can pass on to colleagues.

 I have also created a unit into a moodle course.  This was a gigantic undertaking as I was starting from nothing.  This year I had about 120 7th graders analyze their fitness tests and create a plan as to how they could improve those scores.  Moodle provided a great way to integrate technology into the PE classroom.

I have also been fortunate to get an Ipad through the Ed Fund grant.  Much of my time has been spent learning how to use the ipad and searching for apps that could be used in the PE classroom to enhance student learning.

Perhaps the part that I wish I had more time to spend on was creating a google site for all the things that I do to help kids learn.  Both from my classroom and outside of the school day.

Overall, I feel that the 20% took up more of my time than the class itself.  I've learned so much in so little time, it's now time to put that knowledge into practice.

2) Design and develop digital-age learning experiences and assessments-Considering that I had no technology in my classes to speak of at the start of the year I feel that I have really made a head-first jump into it.  The fitness plan through moodle gave me the opportunity to provide feedback instantly and get healthy conversations going about what makes a good fitness plan. 

Model digital-age work and learning- By using twitter, moodle, and a host of other sites/apps, I was able to more clearly show information in a more technological way.  The use of Moodle also helped me demonstate to the students that I knew what I was doing and was able to help steer them in the right direction for questions they might have had

Engage in Professional Growth and Leadership- I think the use of the ipad and all of the NEW technology that our PE department has been trying is a testament to how we are trying to move our PE classs into the 21st century.

Jon Moore 20% Project Part II

The 20% project has evolved over the course of this school year. A driving force behind this change is the change in my teaching area for next year; instead of 4 Reading sections and 2 LA sections, I will have 4 LA sections while teaching just 2 smaller Reading Lab classes.

If you were to read my last blog entry, you would see the focus was on increasing the amount of reading students in my class are able to do digitally - using their Nooks, Kindles, iPads and Smartphones to get kids not excited about reading interested in books, and increasing the amount of conversation kids have about books in my classroom.

My goal now is to take that same spirit and apply it to digital writing projects with my LA students next year. All of my students will start their own blog using Edina Apps, evolving from simple daily posts in the beginning to more advanced collaboration and reflection, using RSS feeds for news & info gathering, embedding photos and videos, and linking to important/influential research and articles.

A larger end goal is with the PBL developed for this class: students will conduct research and develop and publish a persuasive essay (of some form) to help solve a problem in today's world, whether it be local, national, global, cultural, societal, environmental, etc. This will lead to the 2nd part of every students' digital writing project...

For their final persuasive 'essay,' students can have their work be in the form of:

-writing (to be published old-school and online)
-Photostory and/or Smilebox production - especially if photography is key to their research/issue
-video production
-other approved and/or appropriate forums...the form chosen may well depend on who the final intended audience happens to be!

I am excited and nervous for both the implementation of the 20% project and how it will eventually tie in to the PBL.