Classrooms are becoming more and more advanced with the implementation of technology on a daily basis, especially when classrooms are flipped. One of most powerful tools both teachers and students can and should be using in the modern-day classroom is Social Media. As the flipped classrooms concept has grown popular, receiving more supporters each day, many have been noticing the need to increase the level of communication between students and teachers. Social media is a way for teachers, students, and parents to communicate with one another, for students to share ideas, or for parents to keep track of student progress. Learning and communicating outside the school hours with technology aid is a modern adaptation of education that has showed great results. It upgrades both the learning process and the relationship between students, educators and parents.
Here are the type 5 Social Media tools every classroom should be using right now:
1. Wikispaces Classroom
With Wikispaces, students can share thoughts, images, and text, discuss assignments, publish projects, and express themselves. It is a controlled channel of communication that can be restricted so that only students in the class may see the posts.
Edmodo is a popular learning environment where discussions form class...
Google offers a wide range of office automation tools, at its core offering, as well as a myriad of other tools that range from audio/video to image manipulation. I wanted to take this opportunity to cover what Google has to offer. There are some very powerful and easy to use tools that are worth noting.
As I type this blog posting in a Google word processing document I am using the menu bar to lead me through the description of the google tools. Your offerings may be slightly different depending on how your Google Apps for Education is administered or implemented.
Google+ is Google’s social networking service. Because the nature of social media, many schools opt not to enable this function for their district deployments. If you would like more information on it from the source, click here: http://www.google.com/intl/en_US/+/learnmore//
My next menu items are “Search” and “Images”. Two very familiar tools that most people have experience with.
Mail is the next item on the menu bar. Google Mail is a very powerful email package. In my 20 years in Technology I have found Google Mail to be one of the best if not the best email package...
The idea behind titling this blog and using the term artcommoncoretechintegration is really my love of German compound words--Mammutwörter (Mammoth words). Not only are they some of the largest and gnarliest words on the planet, but the at times they are used to describe theories and ideas that can be difficult to simply explain; the Germans do their best via linguistic mash-ups: single words that describe a philosophy. Simple example: die Weltanschauung means World View (die Welt: The World, anschauung: to look at).
Why bring all this up? Because I think artcommoncoretechintegration is one way people are answering some of the big questions regarding common core transition. But like German Mammutwörter it is difficult to understand the compound word if you don’t understand the parts, hence artcommoncoretechintegration is difficult to understand if you don’t understand art, or its process; misunderstand the common core, or struggle with technology.
I recently utilized and experienced artcommoncoretechintegration by means of the contemporary storytelling medium that has swept and is still sweeping across education technology. Forest Grove Elementary School in Montour School District celebrated NEA’s Read Across America for an entire week. The Class Room Technology Coaches volunteered to be guest readers and did so utilizing...
It’s not a matter of using the most powerful search engine, converting from an exchange server to Gmail, or sharing documents with colleagues on Google Docs, but a 100% commitment to using all the tools in Google Apps for Education. If your entire enterprise makes the commitment to GAFE, all it’s tools, tricks, and features are at your disposal. There will be some bumps, dislikes, and useless add-ons, but you have made so many tools available for your students, teachers, and administrators to become even more productive.
Google has made a huge investment by giving GAFE away for free to schools, but look at the return on investment: future consumers who will be searching Google for products, finding information, writing research papers, reading e-books, verifying map directions, and so much more. “Just Google it” --has become a part of our culture. With Google planting those advertising messages into young brains at an early age, Google is the place to be. Knowing this sounds so dastardly, but TV, sponsorships and infomercials do the same thing to our students, parents, and teachers. With Google Apps for Education (GAFE) comes you so many tools for access to your stuff, anytime, anywhere as long as...
Let’s face it, folks. Technology has completely infiltrated our lives. Our daily activities are influenced if not driven by technology. We can deposit checks, watch movies, and keep the world updated of our every move through social media all from the palm of our hands. While all these new abilities are fun and exciting, all too often people lose track of (or forget) that these abilities are actually privileges and there is a new set of behavioral norms that should be followed when using technology.
So what is digital citizenship? Simply put, it is the rules one should adhere to when using technology. Surprisingly enough, these rules are not too much different than many of the unwritten rules and norms of society in general. Mike Ribble (2013) has developed a list of Nine Elements that should guide one’s use of technology. These include:
Digital Access - Who has access and how do we ensure access to everyone?
Digital Commerce - The buying and selling of goods electronically.
Digital Communication - E-mails, blogs, text messages.
Digital Literacy - Understanding how to use technology appropriately and efficiently.
Digital Etiquette - The code of conduct when using technology.
Digital Law - Ethical and legal...
Just a few short years ago, accessing your data (word processing documents, spreadsheets etc. etc.) was very location-specific. You either needed to be at the location where the data was created or you needed to have a copy of the data with you if you wanted to access it. If you were at school, you needed to have your computer on the school network so that you could access school provided server resources. If you created something on a home computer the information was stored there and only there, unless it was on some type of removable media. Sure, there were remote solutions (VPN, remote clients etc), or emailing files workarounds, but those were clumsy and did not always work. Data was stuck at the place where it was created.Additionally, if the data was created with software in one location, the next location may not have the compatible version to open it. Many of us have lived the pain of having created a document with program x version y (i.e Microsoft Word Version 2010) just to find out that the current location has program x but version x–1 (i.e Microsoft Word Version 2003), making your document unavailable until you return to...
I was introduced to the SAMR Model about a month ago. Since then I’ve been thinking about it a lot. The SAMR Model is an a model for enhancing technology integration. The easiest way to explain the SAMR Model is by going to the source, the graphic below was made by Ruben R. Puentedura, the man behind the idea. The goal when applying the SAMR Model is the closer to the top--the better. From the bottom there is: Substitution: instead of a pen and paper you use a word processor. Augmentation: with your word processor you utilize the spelling and grammar check functions. Modification: is redesigning a task. Instead of using a word processor, what if the students created a video using images, annotations, photographs, and their own voice to explain what they learned? Redefinition would be taking the next step and sharing those videos with others and collaborating on the subject matter.
After I wrapped my head around around the basics I started applying SAMR to everything: devices, the way teachers were using devices, lessons going on in classrooms, lessons I designed, etc. If it was education technology related: I was SAMRing it. My favorite “SAMRed” device was the iPad....
Recently, a mom gained attention for the Acceptable Use Policy (she called it a contract) she created for her son and his new iPhone. There are some simple bits of wisdom in this contract:
1. It is my phone. I bought it. I pay for it. I am loaning it to you. Aren't I the greatest?
2. I will always know the password.
3. If it rings, answer it. It is a phone. Say hello, use your manners. Do not ever ignore a phone call if the screen reads "Mom" or "Dad." Not ever.
4. Hand the phone to one of your parents promptly at 7:30 p.m. every school night and every weekend night at 9:00 p.m. It will be shut off for the night and turned on again at 7:30 a.m. If you would not make a call to someone's land line, wherein their parents may answer first, then do not call or text. Listen to those instincts and respect other families like we would like to be respected.
5. It does not go to school with you. Have a conversation with the people you text in person. It's a life skill. *Half days, field trips and after school activities...
First of all, let’s define what a flipped classroom is. Flip teaching is a format of education that reverses the roles of homework and classroom teaching. It is also known as backwards classroom, reverse instruction and reverse teaching. It is a form of blended learning. It delivers instruction at home through interactive, teacher-created videos or any other online material and moves “homework” to the classroom. Moving lectures outside of the classroom allows teachers to spend more 1:1 time with each student. Students have the opportunity to ask questions and work through problems with the guidance of their teachers and the support of their peers - creating a collaborative learning environment.
So how does the flipped classroom change the teachers role in the classroom? One of the biggest changes is the teacher is no longer the sage on the stage. They may share on the video, or have online materials they want the students to go over the night before, but they’re not the center of the classroom environment. This allows them to work more one on one with students who may be struggling with the concepts. It frees up the actual classroom time to a whole new world of possibilities. Why is this important,...
As school district budgets have continued to be compressed I have seen an overall trend towards schools looking at alternative solutions to non-core educational systems. These non-core systems have included bussing, food services, custodial and technology.
According to recent data from the Mackinac Center’s 2012 school privatization survey, 335 of 549 Michigan districts — 61 percent — now contract at least one major support service to the private sector — food, custodial or transportation services. That is a significant jump over last year, when 54 percent of districts embraced such privatization.
If you have successfully or unsuccessfully been involved in these transitions please provide your experience.
Click here to read the report....
Dick and Rick Hoyt are not likely names you recognize. But if I ask if you've ever heard of the dad that competes in Ironman triathlons, all with his quadriplegic son in tow (literally in a boat, on the front of a bike, and in a custom made running wheel chair), I might ring a few bells. You may have even seen their pictures: Hoyt Family Photos
Dick Hoyt had been told by doctors, shortly after his son Rick was born, to put him in an institution; that Rick would never be anything more than a vegetable. He was told that Rick would never have a “normal life” let alone a magnificent one. And although Dick had been a high school athlete, he had long since hung up his sneakers for a life in military leadership. He wasn’t prepared mentally or physically to raise his severely handicapped son.
To see “Team Hoyt” now, all grown up, you would see the power and joy shared by this father/son duo as they compete in the most rigorous athletic competitions in the world. You would note the seeming effortlessness of Dick as he strides out of the water carrying Rick whose body gyrates...
This post was based on a question I received from Sherrie M., an Instructional Coach at one of the districts VARtek has partnered with.
Many K-12 teachers are starting to use YouTube in their classroom on a regular basis. Sometimes teachers will create videos to explain concepts to their students, but often they will have the students themselves create videos as part of a larger project.
While we here at VARtek think lots of schools can benefit immensely from the integration of technology into the classroom, there is also a realization that publishing content to the Internet comes with some responsibilites to be aware of. The best rule of thumb to follow is to always use common sense, but we'll be going over some specifics below.
First, be sure that you (as an educator and school employee) are following all applicable school policies. For example, if parents must sign a waiver or other release form before their child can appear in newspaper photos or on the school website, make sure to obtain that before publishing anything to YouTube. Also check to see that you're abiding by all the guidelines in your schools acceptable use policy.
When dealing with YouTube videos, the...
I meet with school districts throughout the country discussing their goals for technology. It’s not difficult to help them see the advantages of outsourcing technology, but fear of the unknown is often a stumbling block many can’t overcome. One of the greatest fears is the issue of control. Many districts feel that going to an outsourcing solution means they are giving up control of their technology, something crucial for learning, teaching, and daily operations. Let’s be frank. You are not in control of technology now! Sure, you have control over certain aspects of technology, but you’re really not in control, despite your best efforts, because you lack resources, expertise, and focus.
Let me give you a comparison that might help illustrate my point. I know a fair amount about investing. Years ago, I created a financial plan, invested my money in accordance with that plan, and hoped for the best. The plan made good sense to me, and I was dedicated to keeping up with it. I monitored the results of the plan, and I seemed to be moving forward at a reasonable rate. There were several problems with this approach; however. First, I’m not a financial expert. I’m pretty savvy...
Are you always looking for new ways to create meaningful experiences for your students? Are you constantly trying to come up with lessons that involve students collaborating and thinking critically?
These two styles of teaching, Project Based Learning (PBL) and Challenge Based Learning (CBL), are great for bringing your classroom into the 21st Century. Not only do these require students to work together they also require students to solve problems, communicate and learn about the same topics that you’ve been lecturing about for years. By the end of this blog article you’ll have the background and resources you need to go out and plan your own PBL or CBL lessons.
Project Based Learning doesn’t seem like something new, but in some ways it is. The idea of giving students a project to work on is something that teachers have been doing for years. However, in this style of teaching the project that is assigned is the method of teaching. Rather than the project as a culmination for the unit the project is used as the unit. According to the Buck Institute for Education “As Expeditionary Learning Director of Instruction Ron Berger puts it, in this kind of...
Are you a teacher looking for a sure fire way to get students excited about learning? Have you tried music?
To create good lessons using music you don’t need to be a great singer and you don’t even need to play an instrument. We all know that most students love to listen to popular music. Plus, most of our students have an ipod, a computer, or at the very least a radio. So that means most students are interested in music and as a teacher it’s very easy to access.
When I was teaching 6th grade one of my students’ favorite units was when we used popular music lyrics to study mood, tone and figurative language. Each day I would share several songs and their lyrics so students could follow along as we listened. We would discuss mood and tone as well as the different types of figurative language. Of course I would choose songs carefully so that they were appropriate and contained figurative language. I tried to choose songs that they might know already, but also a mix of songs they weren’t familiar with.
This was one of our favorite songs about Onomatopoeia by Todd Rundgren:
After we listened...