ISTE 2011 Day 1 Post 1

Dean helps a participant

Dean helps a participant

Ken helps a participant

Ken helps a participant

Ok, so I’ve decided that I probably need to post as I go along during ISTE this time.  When I don’t, everything just gets jammed up and then I have nothing to go back to and haven’t shared.  This morning I went to a pre-conference workshop on creating photos and digital storytelling.  The premice was simple: Learn to take good pictures so you don’t have to fix them up too much and then you’ll have great visuals for digital storytelling. After Ken went over some picture taking basics,  we took a walk around the neighborhhood and took some pictures.  Photography has always been frustrating for me.  I never really was able to take very interesting pictures and basically walked around with a camera for no reason.  I had always heard that I should always walk with a camera, so I just left it in my purse.  Ken helped me to understand a bit of what I’d been missing.  I was waiting for things to take pictures of rather than taking pictures of things I saw.    So today I took some of the most interesting pictures that I have ever taken.  Really.  And after talking to Ken a bit, I think I’ve decided to use cameras a little more in the classroom.  Typically I’ll do 2-3 camera “things” a year.  Ms. Bass and I do simple machines, I’ll do a shape hunt with first grade, and an alphabet book with grade K.  I think I’ve decided that digital photos and voicethreads are the combo of the year.  Anywhere I see “identify” in the SOL, I can probably throw in a camera project.  I’m going to work on it.    I would like to do one camera project a year in every content area at each grade level.  Yes, I realize that means I’ll need to do around 28 projects.  That would be about 1 per teacher.  So that’s an idea…we’ll see if it’s still at the top of the list in 4 days.

Summer Professional Development

Clif Mims has some great ideas and I’m glad he’s a part of my PLN.  Today he has challenged those of us who follow him to set some professional development goals for the summer.  Here’s the meme that he started:

Directions

Summer can be a great time for professional development. It is an opportunity to learn more about a topic, read a particular work or the works of a particular author, beef up an existing unit of instruction, advance one’s technical skills, work on that advanced degree or certification, pick up a new hobby, and finish many of the other items on our ever-growing To Do Lists. Let’s make Summer 2010 a time when we actually get to accomplish a few of those things and enjoy the thrill of marking them off our lists.

The Rules

NOTE: You do NOT have to wait to be tagged to participate in this meme.

  1. Pick 1-3 professional development goals and commit to achieving them this summer.
  2. For the purposes of this activity the end of summer will be Labor Day (09/06/2010).
  3. Post the above directions along with your 1-3 goals on your blog.
  4. Link back/trackback to http://clifmims.com/blog/archives/3669.
  5. Use the following tag/ keyword/ category on your post: pdmeme2010.
  6. Tag 5 or more bloggers to participate in the meme.
  7. Achieve your goals and “develop professionally.”
  8. Commit to sharing your results on your blog during early or mid-September.

My Goals

  1. Learn more about facilitating online courses
  2. Get aquainted with PD in Second Life using software version 2.0 and attend 4 sessions using that medium
  3. Design an action research project for the next school year.

I Tag…

Melissa Warren

Deloris Eure-Nutt

Nancy Butler

Kristy Taxson

Jae Trewartha

Al Beamon

Brian McKee

21Things Post #10

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Social Bookmarking would benefit a number of teachers in my school.  I am thinking specifically of working together to build a list of bookmarks that would be somewhat like a Portaportal.  I have created a portaportal for both  schools, but I am the only one building them.  This limits the viability and growth potential of the list.  I did not really think of introducing “web based” bookmarking to many teachers.  I have mentioned it to one of the math specialists and a reading specialist.  I think a better tactic might be to hold an inservice for the staff – one of my schools is ready for it -  and introduce the concept.  I know several would embrace the idea for their own personal productivity, but all would embrace the idea of creating a communal group of bookmarks of teaching resources.

I actually think a workshop on social bookmarking might make a great Tech Tuesday session.  It’s quick and the application to personal productivity is immediately visible.  It would also work well as part of a Web 2.0 for personal productivity exploration workshop.

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.

I’m gonna be in pictures…

WOW…I just finished a class in Second Life.  Riptide, one of the DEN in SL leaders, gave a class on using the camera and taking pictures in Second Life.  So now I need to practice.  My skills are still pretty aweful.  Not that Ripide didn’t try…I’m just am a slow learner.  So we learned to pan and zoom and take pictures wih special effects. So I took one of myself doing a backflip in slow-mo…Take a look.

Backflip!!

Backflip!!

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.