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.

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.