Builder tools in action

builder tools

I am just so excited!!  For the better part of two years I have been talking to my teachers about using the DE Streaming teacher tools.  I have explained – they are easy to set up, students will really be engaged, I promise you’ll like it – to no avail…until this week!

KUDOS to Mrs. Mitchell, Ms. Hammil, and Dr. Hunter-Lowe who all jumped in the deep end this week.  Mrs. Mitchell and Ms. Hammil have worked with me to create a DE Streaming assignment that requires research, note taking and videos to crete a Wordle on civil war leaders.  Dr. Hunter-Lowe used a DE Streaming writing prompt to help her students prepare for the writing test. 

The kids are all excited.  The teachers are pleased.  The level of technology implementation in  the building continues to rise.

Teaching Naked

What a title right?  I’ve seen about 3 references to this recently…I was slightly intrigued each time.  Today, trying to “get into” doing my homework for a PD class I am taking, I ran across Al Rowell aka locotech – a fellow learner in the class.  I decided that as a technology director who seemed interested in edtech training he might be a great source to add to my PLN. Looking at what Al’s been tweeting lately, I saw yet another mention of teaching naked and I had to bite.

 The Chronicle of Higher Ed published an article on teaching naked last month.  The article is about a Dean at a college who is removing computers from “smart” classrooms.  His premise – powerpointing students to death is not best practice.  Students come to class to interact with the teacher and each other and the crutch that PowerPoint has become is getting in the way.  Think about it – the most boring thing that you can have in a class is an instructor who reads to you from a PowerPoint presentation.  This Dean thinks a good professor will put the PowerPoint online along with a podcast to accompany it.  Students can take a short quiz online or in class that verifies that they have read the material.  Then they can take student knowledge to a higher level on Blooms taxonomy with the time they have in class through group work and discussion. 

 What if we did that for our elementary students?  We can’t make them read PowerPoint presentations and listen to podcasts at home, but we could at school. 

 What if we covered the recall and understanding portions of Bloom’s taxonomy using centers?  Students could watch video clips or listen to podcasts in centers.  We already have the equipment.  A teacher could use Discovery Education Streaming quizzes or lesson builders to deliver video and podcasts that would cover the basics.  RECALL could be tested, remediated, and the quiz could be scored automatically using a well constructed DE Streaming quiz.  Would you rather use a podcast?  You can create one yourself using a voice recorder or find a ready made one (there are tons out there).  Put together a quiz or worksheet for the student to fill in as s/he listens.  Moving up to UNDERSTANDING – ask your student to summarize.  Use a DE Streaming writing prompt, use a few questions on your blog: either can be easily done as a group in the school computer lab or on a COW or at the computer center in the back of your room. 

 When you are ready for whole group instruction you can break out the FUN!  Starting at APPLICATION now that the boring part is done – do that science experiment, practice as a whole group using your whiteboard/slate/wireless keyboard, work on an application assignment together at the document camera. Group discussion becomes ANALYSIS using your similarities and differences Marzano strategy – In what ways is this like or different from what we’ve studied before? Or make a connection – when I think about (insert your content here) I am reminded about…

 EVALUATING and CREATING can be a part of every class project.  Where your students can create a representation of your concept (create their own podcast, photostory, wiki page, animoto, voicethread, museum_box etc.) evaluating resources from DE Streaming or Freeplay music or some other source to decide what types of content is appropriate to add to their project.

Changing your style of teaching won’t be easy, but wouldn’t it be a great thing for our kids to operate at higher levels of Bloom’s taxonomy?  We don’t have to throw out our technology, just use it in better, more powerful and more appropriate ways.

DE Streaming Teacher Tools Follow-Up

This post is primarily for those who will attend the DE Streaming Teacher Tools session today.  If you’ve read my blog at all, you know that from time to time I get fabulous information to share through my Personal Learning Network (PLN).  I found an absolute gem while preparing for the inservice and wanted to make sure I posted it for you.  The technique is an advanced use of the tools we will go over today, so I doubt we’ll get to it, but if you are interested in trying it, you’ll be able to. 

OK, so what is the technique?  Using Web 2.0 tools to create additional content to embed in your quizzes, assignments, and prompts. This means any content you find/create using Animoto, Teachertube, Slideshare, Dipity, Voki, Voicethread, and many other tools can be a part of your assignment.  Here’s the tutorial that I found for you in the DEN (Discovery Educator Network).  If you want to try the to recreate the sample, use this file: the-letter-c   and then search DE Streaming for The Letter C song.  Let me know if you try it or if you run into trouble…

Mid Year Check-Up

My thanks to Christine Southard who shared this mid-year check-up via plurk.  Christine is a fellow DEN Star in my Personal Learning Network (PLN).  For those of you who don’t know, the Council for Exceptional Children (CEC) is the largest international professional organization dedicated to improving the educational success of individuals with disabilities and/or gifts and talents. I maintained my membership in the CEC while I worked in educational diagnostics when I lived in New York. 

The CEC maitains a blog for first year teachers, and while I would like to direct this post to the many new teachers that I am working with, the information is truly applicable to all.  Their recent post “Your Mid-year Check-Up” includes some questions that you might want to consider.  Now is certainly a great time to assess the physical, academic, and social environments in your classroom.  It is also a good time to take stock of how you are coping with what life looks like right now.  Sometimes we need to make changes mid-year to avoid burnout.

David Warlick in SL

Okay so in my never-ending quest to learn more about edtech, I have begun to investigate Second Life.  It’s funny how I find learning this new application really overwhelming.  When I was beginning to look into MUVEs over a year ago, I was so overwhelmed by Second Life that I took up residence in Kaneva.  I’ve got my own apartment over there and a little coffe shop that I’m working on furnishing.  I realized that life in Kaneva would be short lived when all of the edtech people had no idea where Kaneva was or even that it existed.  Don’t get me wrong, it was a great place to start. 

So over the summer, I took advantage of the opportunity to have help in getting acclimated to SL.  The DEN has a presence in SL and offered a session on it while I was at the National Institute.  Still overwhelmed and a little frustrated I realized that I still wasn’t ready.  But I had to get there.  The Office of Science is thinking about SL and asking questions.  Someone in Instructional Technology needs to be able to help if they intend to take the school division into SL.  So I’m trying.

I’ve been joining the DEN for professional development in SL on Wednesday for the last few weeks.  I’ve learned a lot, but I am also learning about SL.  Folks are always helpful and I pick up a new skill every time.  Last week I actually was in a snowball fight!  So I was feeling brave tonite and I actually decided to go to a discussion on ISTE Island.  I got an email from my supervisor, Karen Streeter, with all of the details last week.  Warlick was going to be talking about Personal Learning Networks.  Funny ’cause that was the topic last week at the DEN session. 

I was listening and learning and the all of a sudden David Warlick was talking to me in front of all of those people asking me how my network was helping me…I couldn’t type fast enough…I hadn’t set up voice chat because I intended to fly under the radar.  I was ever so glad that the webnazi (he’s a great guy) had unblocked plurk today, so I was actually able to be connected.  I told them about the website that I got from Alice Mercer.  I didn’t remember the name of the site, but I was able to say I posted it on my blog.

Ok so What did I learn?  Tons…things like:

  •  I need to revisit building my PLN – but I knew that from last week. 
  • Got a great idea for a class I would LOVE to teach for TEACH Academy 2, but I’m not sure our folks would be ready for it.  Kinda a mix between INTRO to Web 2.0 and Advanced Blogging.  Teaching teachers about the power of RSS and helping them to start finding alternate forms of professional development.  I want to call it something like “Professional Development 2.0 – Learning to work the web”
  • I learned new things about SL – how to clap, sit and nod.  Learned about notecards.  Don’t know how to take the info out of SL yet though.  Learned how to see the archived chat. It’s cool how the hyperlinks work when you are in the right view… Learned to take pictures – learned how slow my connection was…Then I had to learn how to get back to the DEN, because I’ve never left there before.  I was in luck that one of the DEN in SL leaders was in world – she got me back to where I belonged. 

Don’t laugh at my pictures.  It’s the best that I could do. 

Presentation screen behind meWarlick talking about PLNsMY first pix in SLWarlick facilitationg a discussion in SL




More Changes to United Streaming

Discovery Streaming Logo




Many of you are aware that there have been many changes to United Streaming in the past year.  I’ll list them here in case you have not noticed:

  • They have changed their name.  This was Discovery Education’s way to bring uniformity to all of their new products.  So United Streaming is now DE Streaming (Discovery Education Streaming).
  •  PPS has changed our method of access.  Last school year if you were on the  PPS network and navigated to the DE Streaming site, you were automattically logged in.  We are no longer doing that in order to allow teachers access to the DE Streaming teacher tools while on the network.
  • We’ve scheduled lots of professional developmnent on use of the DE Streaming teacher tools because they are absolutely fabulous, fun and free.  So we need to use them.
  • DE Streaming has created a student center with lots of classroom application that is due to roll out in the spring.

Why am I telling you all of this?  Because DE Streaming is about to roll out another batch of changes while we are on break.  As a DEN (Discovery Educator Network) STAR Educator I get updates about changes and promotions that Discovery Education is planning.  The last few updates have included an invitation to a webinar about the changes that will be made in late December.  Deloris and I attended this afternoon.  They will be changing the login page to one that is very customizeable.  They will be adding new search perameters as well.  The other changes won’t effect most users.  If the changes throw you for a loop, let me know.

DEN Institute Day 3 – Steve Dembo’s Keynote

I’ve got bunus points because I’ve got Plurk open!!

Learning to Speak Native:

Reference to Prensky: Natives are multitaskers, they prefer graphics BEFORE text etc… they think differently because they grew up connected.  Our schools were not created to accomodate these kids.  If educators want to reach NATIVES we will have to “just do it”. 

We’ve had an information explosion…161 Billion GB of information.  Another key trend flattening the world.  Open sourcing and tools on steroids (like cell phones).  Also Wikinomics – everyone helping to build something better than they can do on their own.  Look at the  project or the fact that some things like Gmail are in perpetual beta …not everything is a final draft.  The idea is finding innovative uses for things and not necessarily inventing everything. This is the intersection of tools, experts, and knowledge.  It’s the idea of a listserv vs. plurk.  It’s a conversation and it’s personal.  It’s impromptu professional development.  You get ideas and professional development that you didn’t even know you need.  People share discoveries, request info, social and personal connection, explore new things, professional development opportunities in real time.  We are all DEN STARs and we are supposed to share, so we should use these things.  VA has a guide on social networking in grades k-12?  I need to get my hands on it…Apparently it’s published by the DOE?

Networking allows us to learn how o do what we do and using WEB2.0 allows us to share what we are learning in bigger audiences.  So now teachers are becoming as connected as the students we teach.  Then we start doing the same things kids do to try to stay connected at work.  If you give a man a fish, if you teach a man to fish,  ic you connect a man to a fishing community he’ll have variety in his diet.

Natives attends conferences using Live blogs, podcasts, backchannel, skypecast, twitter, ustream even in second life.  During packed sessions folks who stream it out can help folks who want to attend.  Then you can sit is second life next to others who couldn’t physically be there. a virtual broadcasting studio in your computer? plays nicely with mogulus and you can do truly mobile recording. Can’t get parent’s to come to an assembly during the day?  broadcast it live and then they can attend while on break at work.  Create an on demand video library…

Find a way to share the info that fits you and stay connected.