Wednesday, November 21, 2012
Thursday, August 2, 2012
Tuesday, July 10, 2012
Richard Byrne, author of the blog, Free Technology for Teachers, has created a new guide for people who are just getting started with Google Sites. If you are creating a site with Google, this would be helpful as you get started. It includes directions and screenshots for adding images, videos, pages, and much more. Check it out. It is a Scribd document which you can print or read online.
Tuesday, June 19, 2012
Apps in Education
One of the time consuming tasks for teachers is finding iPad apps that work with their curriculum. Here is one site that lists the apps by subject area. They also have a category for special needs. This is very helpful for teachers as it saves them the time of having to search through the iTunes store trying to find apps that work. If you have another site that lists iPad or Android apps with reviews by an educator and categorized so that it is easy to find useful apps, please post them in the comments below.
Thursday, April 26, 2012
I just downloaded Evernote for my Asus Transformer Android device. One of the new features is the ability to record an audio message into a note. Evernote then converts it from speech to text. This could be a very useful feature for students with reading and writing issues. If you are using Evernote, be sure that you update your app to get this feature.
Monday, March 5, 2012
"There are some schools that went all out, investing in one iPad per student from day one, but I have been to some of these schools and they are not using the iPad in a way that can be truly transformative. For me, it is about more than just the device; it is about getting the infrastructure in place. And this does not only mean things like wireless: it includes the intellectual, pedagogical infrastructure that brings with it an understanding of both the benefits and pitfalls of bringing these devices into the classroom. They have the powers to be truly game changing, but only if they are handled correctly. Remember the interactive whiteboard when it was first brought in? We thought it would change things completely. The reason it did not was that no one really thought through the pedagogy behind it. It became a glorified, expensive projector, little more. The iPad has the capacity to become nothing more than a glorified iPhone without the phone, or a nice way to look online."
Darren, you hit the nail on the head. Don't get me wrong....I think technology rocks....but only when it fundamentally changes the thinking and learning of the students. If we are going to have students taking lecture notes on an iPad or netbook, does that really change the learning? Perhaps, as the students can collaboratively share the notes and hopefully build some knowledget together, but is that really a game changer? If we have students taking quizzes with clickers rather than paper, does that change their learning? Perhaps, as the teacher can get quicker results, but is it a major game changer? If we have students playing an iPad app for Everyday Math instead of the same game with cards and paper, are we really changing what they are learning?
What I really see as the value of technology is when it allows students to think and learn in ways they could not otherwise do. For example, if we have students in the United States collaboratively trying to solve a water pollution problem in a third world country with students in that country, now THAT is a game changer! How else could they get first hand knowledge of the problem? How else could they see how their ideas would be feasible in another country? Without the technology, they could not complete this task at the same level.
I would love to hear more examples of how technology is being used to really raise the level of thinking and learning of students. What are you all doing out there to accomplish this? What are the students doing differently? Could they do that same thinking and learning without the technology?
Wednesday, February 29, 2012
What we found as a struggle was meeting the needs of the teachers and students at the exact time they planned to use the technologies and other tools. Even though our LMS has a flexible schedule, she cannot be in our building every time a technology project is going on. Hence, we decided to leverage the knowledge of our students and their enthusiasm for learning technology! We are planning to recruit 2 or 3 students per homeroom to be trained as STAT members. They would be extra helpers and trainers in their classrooms.
This month, we are gathering names of interested students. They need to have teacher and parent approval to be considered for the STAT. Although our student council requires students to be up-to-date on all homework, we don't want to exclude students because of that. We are hoping that some disengaged students may want to participate, thus hoping to increase their connection to school.
Do you know of any schools that have implemented a team like this at the elementary level? I would love to hear what they have found that works well and any challenges they faced.
Monday, January 9, 2012
But....after they left the training, I found that they were very attached to their step-by-step directions. If they wanted to do something that wasn't in the instructions, they usually felt like they needed help from someone to do the task. In the long run, this is not effective. It might have worked OK when we bought static programs like Office 2000 and we kept the same program with the same features for several years.
Enter Web 2.0.......things are constantly changing like the leaves in the fall. There are new tools each day. There are updates to existing tools. Take Google Apps for Education as an example. Google continues to update the product. If I create step-by-step handouts this month, the screen shots and menu items may be different in one month. How do I effectively teach educators about these tools?
I started to go the route of teaching them the very basics of a tool and then focusing more on how to find their answers within the help options of the program. This seemed to work very well with educators who were comfortable with learning new technologies....those who were not afraid to try something. I did, however, find a portion of the teachers who were less comfortable with technology who still wanted the step-by-step directions. While I still strongly believed that I wanted them to learn how to "think technology" and figure out how to find the help themselves, I also recognized that some need the step-by-step to get past the uncomfortable feeling of learning a new technology.
I have now changed to doing a combination of demonstrating how to use a technology, providing some handouts (but just for the basics), and spending time teaching others how to learn new skills on their own. I am finding that this approach differentiates the needs of educators just like we differentiate for the needs of our own students in our classrooms.
How do you best learn technology? Please take my poll to let me know what works for you.