Abri discussed how she used Wordle with her English students. In addition she shared how Ning has been a great way for her to connect with other English teachers. wordle.net, Ning as an online community for teachers
Essential Question: What do the pre-service teachers really need to know as they move into their student teaching?
David and Mark are joined this week by Jim Reese, Curriculum and Staff Coordinator for the secondary campus of the Washington International School. They discuss strategies and challenges for helping to prepare new teachers to both transition to the teaching profession as well as to integrate technology in their teaching.
Tips of the Week:
Jim shared information on Project Zero upcoming conference at the Atlanta International School, November 4-6, 2011, featuring Howard Gardner and David Perkins. Also, be sure to check out the book, Making Thinking Visible, which explores strategies to help students be more engaged in their learning with a focus on deep understanding and independence.
Mark shared an interesting blog post by Larry Cuban which appeared on his excellent blog, School Reform and Classroom Practice. In "Steve Jobs on Educational Technology and School Reform," he discusses excerpts from two interviews with Jobs in 1995 & 1997 in which he was asked about technology improving education. Definitely worth a reade.
Every so often, it's helpful to think about technology integration from the ground level. While collaborative writing tools, dynamic simulations, streaming video and interactive tools all provide tremendous opportunities to engage kids in learning, it's good to step back and consider how to make it all work with real kids in a real classroom. Some days, leading a group of students down to the computer lab can feel like a bit of this...
The reality is, that to make the most with technology in the classroom, it's crucial to have some practical strategies to most effectively prepare and manage technology use. In class last night, we talked over some tips and things to consider when planning for and facilitating learning with technology. More specifically, we focused on a variety of projects (e.g., creating a Glog on a writer, publishing a podcast for student interviews, developing a multimedia timeline to trace scientific advances) that might take place in a computer lab. While we discussed several potential strategies, they basically could be combined into three categories:
In the end, though, we realized that classroom management with technology isn't all that different than any kind of student-centered work in the classroom. Effective organization, clear expectations, and appropriate scaffolding all contribute to an effective learning experience. With the greater degree of uncertainty and potential for glitches that is possible with technology, however, these strategies are even that much more important.
This show's essential question: How can curriculum review and development support ICL integration?
In this show, David and Mark discuss a collaborative approach to curriculum review and planning. David shares his experience in collaborating on a team to systematically review curriculum in teams and to integration information and communication literacies (ICL) throughout the curriculum. David focuses on practical tips for how to make this process truly collaborative and transformative.
Here is a link to David's article from Learning and Leading with Technology that discusses this process in more detail:
In the show, David also mentions myDragonnet, a Web-based curriculum management system. Here's a link to David's article from Learning and Leading:
Several of my recent lessons with our 5th graders have been on topics that really do need the students to go beyond surface thought into deeper analysis. The topics dealt with acceptable use of technology at our school, online privacy and citizenship.
So how did I help my students go deeper in their thinking?
As mentioned in a previous post, Wallwisher has been my tool of choice to get students to share ideas with others and then react to what everyone else has posted. There are other tools that allow for this but I really do like the way one can drag and drop the Wallwisher notes. This helps me group student responses in a format that then leads to further discussion once we as a class go through all the notes. The visual nature of seeing ideas and being able to respond to them is an important learning mechanism as Jim pointed out in our podcast.
Here are some of the questions the students responded to in their Wallwisher posts:
-How does technology help you learn?
-What are some ways and tools that you should be allowed to use at school to help you learn?
-What are your responsibilities in using the tools?
-How do you define the term "private"? How about "public"?
-What are examples of private information?
-What tips do you have for tweens and teenagers to protect their privacy when online or in using phones?
-What does it mean to be a good citizen? What are the behaviors of a good citizen?
-What does it mean to be a good digital citizen? What are the behaviors of a good digital citizen?
-Is there a difference between being a good citizen in person and online/phone?
The topics of acceptable use, privacy and citizenship all have a social angle that naturally engages students. The process of having them read the questions I post at Wallwisher, think about them, then post their ideas and read what their classmates posted is an instructional process that is bringing about more thoughtful responses from my students than just trying to have a class discussion. An added benefit of the students' work on our Acceptable Use Policy was that they had a voice in updating it for this year.
The Kahn Academy site has really focused our attention on creating multimedia tutorials for math and other subjects. Classroom teachers are engaging their students in the thinking and creation processing that takes place when designing and publishing screencasts as in the Mathtrain site.
One of our fifth grade teachers, Margi Weaver, recently taught her students a math lesson using the ScreenChomp app on the iPad. Take a look at the post on the iPad Pilot blog that describes the advantages to using this instructional technique.There are plenty of screencasting apps so do share which ones are working in your classrooms. I have to say that ScreenChomp should allow for uploading to their site while providing a unique URL for easy sharing. However, this was not the case for our students as they received error messages. Update: 24 hours later we were able to upload the screencasts. The students were given specific URLs to access to view their videos.
In this podcast, David and Mark discuss curriculum-based (as opposed to tool-focused) technology integration in K-12 classrooms. They discuss the Learning Activity Types approach to tech integration developed by Mark Hofer and Judi Harris at the College of William & Mary. This five phase process encourages teachers to first identify the learning goals for a particular lesson/unit/project, take into account the classroom context and student needs, select and sequence appropriate content-based learning activity types, incorporate formative and summative assessment, and finally to consider technology options that are linked with the selected learning activity types and assessments. In this approach, the selection and use of technology flows from the learning goals, student needs and learning activities rather than beginning with the technologies themselves.
Here are some articles that appeared in Learning and Leading with Technology may be a helpful starting place to learn more about this approach. More information can be found at the Learning Activity Types Web site - http://activitytypes.wmwikis.net
Harris, J., & Hofer, M. (2009). “Grounded” technology integration: Planning with curriculum-based learning activity types. Learning & Leading With Technology, 37(2), 22-25.
Hofer, M., & Harris, J. (2009). “Grounded” tech integration: Social studies. Learning & Leading With Technology, 37(2), 26-28.
Grandgenett, N., Harris, J., & Hofer, M. (2009). “Grounded” tech integration: Math. Learning & Leading With Technology, 37(3), 24-26.
van Olphen, M., Hofer, M., & Harris, J. (2009-2010). “Grounded” tech integration: Languages. Learning & Leading With Technology, 37(4), 26-28.
Young, C.A., Hofer, M., & Harris, J. (2010). "Grounded" tech integration: English language arts. Learning & Leading With Technology, 37(5), 28-30.
Blanchard, M. R., Harris, J., & Hofer, M. (2010). “Grounded” tech integration: Science. Learning & Leading With Technology, 37(6), 32-34.
Schmidt, D., Harris, J., & Hofer, M. (2010). “Grounded” tech integration: K-6 literacy. Learning & Leading With Technology, 37(7), 30-32.
Our 5th grade teachers, Michelle and Margie, use a class blog to build community and further develop several skill areas for their students. To support the students' introduction to blogging, they have a couple lessons in their technology class.
The first lesson works to answer the question of "why blog?". The students view videos defining weblog as well as read several student and teacher/class blogs. This lays the groundwork for a discussion of how they can participate in their class blog as authors and commenters.
Here are some of the sites I use in the lesson via our Web Resources site:
A second lesson puts the students in the role of blog reader and commenter. They go to a Lifehacker post listing specific protocols to follow in making constructive comments. After reviewing the post and having a class discussion on the commenting protocols, the students are given a blog to read. They choose one post to make comments on. As the lesson is to give them practice as commenters, the students use Wallwisher to post their comments. Once everyone has made their comment, we have a class discussion analyzing the posts as to how well they followed the criteria specified in the Lifehacker post. The discussion continues when they return to class with Michelle and Margie. The students further discuss how they will make their first comments to the class blog. Image Source
We will talk a great deal on the podcast about the power of systematic curriculum development and review. Whether you document the units of study from curriculum meetings in a Word doc, Google Doc or a curriculum mapping tool, they will not make a difference for student learning until the teachers turn the words into action.
A big part of shifting the way we teach and assessing students comes down to one's willingness to take risks in trying new instructional and assessment techniques while having the enthusiasm to really engage with a positive attitude. As our podcast is about real and practical experiences in our schools, let me share how two fifth grade teachers at my school (Alexandria Country Day School) are turning the plans of our curriculum into action.
Margi Weaver and Michelle Cook spent four days this past summer in our crash course of curriculum development and review. They fully jumped into the process of creating enduring understandings and essential questions. Looking at concept-based learning was an additional aspect of our curriculum review. As we spoke about what Michelle and Margi really felt students should learn, they opened themselves up to question previously accepted learning outcomes. When it came down to how to get students to the newly developed enduring understandings, they were open to new pathways and tools to drive their learning activities.
And now that we are in our first full week of classes, they are moving forward implementing the action steps newly embedded into their unit plans. While Margi and Michelle are the leaders of our 5th grade iPad pilot, they also are finding themselves in the thick of several other initiatives. The piloting of a learning management system (Haiku), using online mind mapping tools (Webspiration) and having the students respond to the essential questions of the first science unit were on the unit plan document and now they are already being acted upon.
While there are usually several other factors that support the process of shifting a school to more constructivist teaching methods and student-centered active learning, one has to start with excited teachers who are willing to let go and take risks. Kudos to our action oriented fifth grade teachers.
In this show Mark and David introduce the purpose of the Ed Tech Co-Op and invite teachers and teacher educators interested in exploring curriculum-based technology integration to join the conversation.
Alexandria Country Day School - http://www.acdsnet.org/home.asp
ACDS iPad Pilot Program Blog - http://acdsipad.blogspot.com/
The Ed Tech Co-Op Web page - http://edtechcoop.posterous.com
The Ed Tech Co-Op Group on Curriki - http://edtechcoop.groups.curriki.org