I have been amazed by the myriad of resources, programs, apps, etc. that I have learned about at ISTE. As someone who always believed myself to be quite tech-savvy, I realized that there were so many things that I just had no idea about. My biggest takeaway from ISTE is that the use of technology in education cannot be ignored and that teachers have the responsibility to use technology in the classroom in the most effective and meaningful way for their students.  At my school, we were lucky enough to have access to our own iPad carts, but I found that iPad time easily became a time for teachers to disengage and let students independently use a program or two.  Our access to iPads merely became a block of time during the day for teachers to rest and students to play, instead of using these tools to their utmost ability and realizing that technology should be immersed in the classroom throughout the day and across all subjects.  As teachers who are lucky enough to have access to great technology in our schools, we must first take the time to study and explore the technological resources we are given and impart this knowledge on our students, while also engaging with them in the process.  At ISTE, I realized that there were a million more things that I could have been doing with my students on the iPads - furthermore, the programs I could have been using were challenging, highly engaging, appropriately scaffolded, etc.  I learned that the use of technology is not just isolated as a block of time during the school day, but that the use of technology in the classroom is the same as it is in our daily lives - a constant and valuable resource that assists and augments our everyday routines.  While I have left the classroom and am now entering into a teacher development role, I am incredibly eager to share all of the new knowledge that I've gained with teachers, and to also share my reflections about my newfound appreciation and understanding of the right way to use technology in the classroom.

jiun.kimm

NBC Learn

Posted by jiun.kimm Jun 25, 2013

This is a resource I would have fought for in my classroom.  NBC Learn is an online resource that uses an immense collection of NBC's historic and current videos and aligns them to state standards.  The program is very easy to use.  You just find your grade and state and the site displays videos that are aligned to your criteria.  From there, teachers have the autonomy to use this information to start a debate, form a project, or give an informal/formal assessment to students.  As a news junkie who taught in a school with no formal social studies curriculum, this resource would have been a great and simple way to engage students in the past and present and the domestic and international.  Real video from all around the world makes the resource even more engaging and supports multicultural thinking.  Yesterday's events can quickly be found and presented to students the next day, keeping our students up-to-date in our ever-globalizing world!

jiun.kimm

Online resources for ELA

Posted by jiun.kimm Jun 25, 2013

I was lucky to attend a session about open-ended web tools that can be used for ELA curriculum. As a second and third grade teacher in a school that recently adopted PBL curriculum, I was shocked to see the many web tools that I could have been using with my students but had not idea about! I will note the resources that I am excited to try out with corps members and students... smore.com is a program that students can use for poster and flyer-making.  The notable aspect of this program is the ability to input video and photos onto the flyers, creating a unique and more interactive experience.  Powtoon.com enables students to create animated slideshows.  Different from a regular powerpoint, this program makes the experience of creating a slideshow more engaging as the level of animation and the opportunity for creativity is much more powerful.  Lastly, storybird.com. This is an online book creator.  In my classroom, there was nothing more exciting for my students than producing their own books.  What I like most about this program is that final products can be printed. In each of the PBL units in my classroom my students created books.  I would have loved to use this program to create books online and then print and laminate them for my students!

Representation, expression and engagement. These three principles echoed throughout the conference, both in sessions and in my own internal understanding of what a strong education looks like for kids. I was impressed to see the different ways these principles took form this week (especially in the SETSIG session), both in hands-on learnings with technology as well as the changes in overall classroom structures this will mean for educators. Differentation has never been optional for our classrooms - each one of our students demands an education that works for them - but past approaches haven't taken into account their needs and the different ways they learn. It was inspiring to see how technology can be used in all grades, for all levels of learners, for general education and special education, for students with disabilities and those without. I was particularly moved by the way students with special needs were able to use technology as a manipulative, and how this had become such a core component of their education. One speaker this morning mentioned that schools are often eager to try new ideas, but not give up on any of the old ones. I wonder how we can build this 21st century type of classroom within each one of our schools... and fast. After all, it's the students who will benefit the most from this approach - we have to push for a differentiated learning experience for all of our students.

In a discussion during the Insights from a 21st Century Classroom, the session's speaker, Ian Fogarty talked about the issues he had with implementing a laptop for every student. He said that he would try having students work collaboratively using laptops, but only one student would end up learning or doing all the work. Others would fall off task or not feel heard. He eventually concluded that he could have students work collaboratively using the Smart Boards in his classroom. He saw results improve immediately. This session taught me that students need to feel a part of the discussion, that they must be engaged with the technology, and they must have the tool in their hand (in this case, the Smart Board's pen) in order to fully contribute. Ian seemed like a fantastic teacher but he emphasized that the level of engagement students needed could not be provided just from him or even from laptops alone. ALL students must be a part of the discussion, and technology like the Smart Board allows us to provide that space. Too often, we use the Smart Board as a teacher tool, only occasionally involving students by circling or moving something on the board. Instead, the Smart Board should be the tool that helps students expand their thinking, and we should move to facilitate, rather than direct, that learning.

dmlevin

Where Good Ideas Come From

Posted by dmlevin Jun 25, 2013

This morning, Steven Johnson presented as the Keynote speaker based no his book, Where Good Ideas Come From. Collaboration, creativity and innovation were the key ideas he stressed. In order to maximize our individual impacts, we have to focus on creating connected learning within a collected world. One of the key ideas Johnson spoke about was diversity. The type of diversity he meant does not focus on our backgrounds, but on a diversity of ideas. He believes, as I do, that when we surround ourselves with people who are different from us, we gain more knowledge, can make smarter decisions, feel more inspired or even surprised about what we learn. At the core of this is a desire for a world that collaborates. Often, we need to talk through our ideas to sculpt them, to better create them, and unless we are willing to dialogue about our thoughts, it's difficult to put them into action. With today's social media and online communities, there is every opportunity to have these discussions. Johnson is right in believing we need to diversify our interactions, spark more conversations, and push each other's thoughts - this is the best way for our world to keep innovating and for us to keep learning.

jiun.kimm

UDL and assessments

Posted by jiun.kimm Jun 25, 2013

How do we evaluate and measure UDL? This was one of the big questions at a session about Innovation and UDL.  UDL reduces unnecessary barriers in instruction for students by assuming variability while maintaining high standards for students of all learning levels. While UDL curriculum has proven effective, it has not eliminated the debate over assessment as, ultimately, students still live in a paper-and-pencil testing world.  While I firmly believe in the UDL framework and the idea that students must have accessibility and variability in their educational experiences, I also know that we must keep in mind that students’ state tests, college entrance exams, graduate-level exams, etc. have not expanded in variability.  What most struck me about this session about Innovation and UDL was facilitator David Rose’s point that, as educators, we are in the business of “preparing our students for future learning”.  Whether “future learning” comes in the shape of a paper-and-pencil test or a video game, it is our responsibility to ensure that students are ready to tackle whatever assessments come their way.  Therefore, my biggest takeaway is that UDL is not about an elimination of paper and pencils or textbooks, it is about an expansion and addition of the many methods by which students learn.

dmlevin

Coaching our teachers

Posted by dmlevin Jun 25, 2013


I attended Want to be a Tech Coach? with Les Foltos and Tina Jada this afternoon. I believe it to be one of the most helpful and informative sessions I have been to this week. Foltos made key points, stating: if you want to change practice, you need to implement coaching. Workshops and other professional developments provide great resources, but they don't change practice. Additionally, another key point he made was that collaboration amongst teachers is essential to successful pracitce. I believe in these principles in my work as a manager for teacher development. Too often, as a coach, I've had a mindset that I need to have all the answers and simply give them to those I support, but this is far from effective coaching. A good coach works alongside his or her mentees, and a good coach knows that it's okay, and it's right, to pursue solutions together. Coaches need to dig in, model, use the resources or technology with their teachers, and explore different solutions to problem solve. I look forward to implementing this change in my coaching approach this summer and fall, and I look forward to becoming a more hands-on, collaborative coach with each of my teachers.

wpacker

Student-Created Study Videos

Posted by wpacker Jun 12, 2013

I did recently implement a strategy that I thought of while reflecting at the workshop we attended a month ago. To help my students study for their comps this week, I recorded video of top students solving problems likely to appear on the exam. I then placed the videos on youtube and as homework asked all students to write at least one comment on two of the videos asking any questions that they may have or thanking the scholar for making the video. We'll so how it goes (comps are tomorrow) but scholars seemed to really love it! See the attached picture!prince.png

While I found that a lot of the software and apps we learned about at the session are not super applicable for my student population because of access issues. I estimate that about 80% of my students have reliable access to high-speed internet at home and a computer to use to access it. Additionally, at our school we are not 1:1 computers to students. I can bring in a clunky class set of laptops for a day once in a while, but we do not have reliable access. Further, I don't think that any of the instructional/in-class technologies discussed were really ready for my math classroom. For example, Socrative doesn't allow for math text.

 

Instead, I'm planning on focusing on ways that just a couple iPads can be solutions in my classroom. One that I've already implemented is Doceri. An interactive whiteboard app that allows me (or any student) to write on the board from anywhere in the room on my iPad. This is great for circulating and classroom management.


Another I plan on implementing is a behavioral solution. I will have one scholar in the front who is the behavior or Dream Dollar (our tracking system) accountant, who will use either Kickboard or LiveSchool (whoever's newer version is better) to track the consequences that I give out. It will show other scholars it is fair and allow me to enter the data live instead of spending 10 minutes at the end of each day uploading into Kickboard. I also plan on DonorsChoosing a big flatscreen TV to put at one part of the classroom that will display the behavior dashboard so that scholars know where they stand.

 

However, I do dream of getting tablets for every child (with 3G access) and trying out some of the most innovating solutions out there.

 

Will

dsgermain4

No More Wasted Trees

Posted by dsgermain4 Jun 11, 2013

I have posted many of my handouts, assignments, rubrics, etc., on Edmodo for my students.  I normally give them a printed out copy but far too often many students lose it and ask me for more copies that some will lose again for a 2nd or 3rd time.  Posting them on Edmodo made it easy for my students to access the material no matter when an d where they are since Edmodo is applicable to most cell phones.

 

I also used the calendar feature on Edmodo to remind my students of upcoming assignments.  I have spoken with my co-teacher about using Edmodo to electronically upload assignments which will allow us to respond electronically with comments for students as well as no longer have to carry around so many papers with us.

dsgermain4

Edmodo Socratic Seminar

Posted by dsgermain4 Jun 11, 2013

In my 9th grade English class,  we used Edmodo to hold an electronic Socratic seminar.  Students were able to post their responses to questions on Edmodo and could easily view their classmates responses as well as comment on them.  We also used a projector screen to illustrate the discussion and posts made by my students while it occurred. 

I used to spend about an hour a day grading and analyzing 30 exit tickets. After finding out about socrative, that time has been cut down to about 5 minutes a day. I simply write my exit slip as a quiz on socrative, which allows for multiple choice and short answer questions, and have the kids answer the questions on their ipads when the lesson is over. Socrative automatically gathers the data and allows for it to be exported as an excel spreadsheet. What makes this app even more amazing is I can see the results laid out for me as soon as my kids are done with the exit slip, so i can remediate right then and there if I need to. I would suggest this to any teacher that can use an extra 55 minutes in their day!

marib24

Edmodo

Posted by marib24 Jun 6, 2013

I am a 4th grade general education teacher in a Bronx public school. My kids are easily excited by anything that has to do with technology. So when I finally launched edmodo in my classroom my kids were ecstatic. The website is easy to navigate, so it only took my kids a few minutes to figure out how to get around the site. Since it is the end of the year we don't have much content to place on the site. However, we have been mainly using it to post assignments and alert students of important dates. Most importantly, with the variety of free apps that edmodo has to offer, we have also been practicing common core math and ela standards. I haven't fully taken advantage of the entire site yet, but from what we have experienced thus far the site is an incredibly engaging learning management tool.