Friday, July 13, 2012

Tool #11

  1. My favorite new tools are Diigo, Google Forms, Wiki pages, Edmodo,  and Wordle. I had heard of all of them before I started the 11 tools class, but I hadn't actually tried any of them. I would like to use a Google Forms or Google Docs to set up a review assignment for a unit test. Students can all contribute to the document and then access the document when they are outside of class. 
  2. Now that I've been through the 11 tools class I feel much more comfortable with the idea of using these tools in my classroom next year. I want to give student more choices in how they learn and present information. The classroom devices can help make this possible.  
  3. As to surprises, I am impressed with the shear volume of free resources that are available on the internet. I'm looking forward to putting these tools into practice this coming school year. 

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Tool #10

Digital Citizenship

What do I want my students to understand about digital citizenship:
  1. Respect your own privacy on-line: keep your passwords private, lock your smart phone, be very careful sharing personal information, be very carful deciding what photos and videos to share on line. What you posted on line yesterday may still exist even if you deleted it today. 
  2. Respect the privacy of others on-line: be respectful of others when you post comments. Know what cyberbullying is, don't engage in it, and report it when you see it. 
  3. Always use multiple sources: not all information on the internet is valid. Using multiple sources can help you spot misleading or incorrect information. You may only need to check Wikipedia to find the year the Magna Carta was signed, but you might need multiple sources to understand its impact.
  4. Learn to be evaluate what you find on the web. We need to teach students how to check who is sponsoring a web page and how to evaluate the information they find. 
I signed up for a teacher account on the Common Sense Media web site, I looked at some of the lessons for high school students. I thought they were good. They have a lesson on what a college admission officer might find if he did a google search for an applicant. They even had a sample Facebook page where the students in the class could identify the information that the sample student might want an admission officer to see. I also liked the activity where students looked through samples of suspicious emails to identify signs that they were fraudulent. 

Before using Edmodo, or any other program that requires students to post on line, I think we need to talk about ground rules for on line behavior as a class. I can type up a description of what we are doing and a set of expectations for on line behavior. The students and their parents can then both sign the handout. 

To share the idea of digital citizenship with parents I can include a paragraph about what we are doing on line onto my couse syllabus/class information sheet. I usually give my students two copies of this handout on the first day of class. One copy if for them to keep in their notebook and the other has to be signed by both the parents and the students. 

Saturday, June 30, 2012

Tool #9

Incorporating Classroom-Based Devices as Tools for Learning

  1. I think it is important to tie the technology to the class objectives so that students see the technology as a tool for learning rather than as an end to itself. I think the technology objective should suport the content objective, just like the language objective suports the content objective.
  2. I think we always want to keep students accountable for what they're doing in class. One classroom teacher cannot monitor five stations and handle trouble shooting questions well. If students have to summarize what they've found or list the web sites that they visited teachers can quickly check to see that they were on task.  Also I think students are more likely to participate in station activities when they know what the final product with look like. 
  3. I really like the Interactive web site: I've used their Tessellation activity in my class before, but I didn't realize what a wide variety of math activities they have available. I also like the Infinity web site: It has a great list of interactive web sites for high school math. Many of the sites are from the Illumination series from NCTM. Their activities always include great follow up questions. I could see asking students to visit the sites and then answer the follow-up question in a Google Doc quiz. When I've done the tessellation activity in the past I asked a few students create tessellations on the active board. With the net books I could let each student create a tessellation and then save it as a screen shot.  
  4. I am really looking forward to being able to use iPad apps like Show Me, Screen Chomp, and Educreation's White Board Ap. Last year, some of my students created tutorial videos using flip cameras with paper and markers. We only have a limited supply of flip camera's for the school and students have a difficult time holding the camera at a good angle so I think the these iPad apps will make that process much smother. Students can create videos explaining how to do some of their assigned problems or they can watch a video created by another student. I would also like to use the calculation app, WolframAlpha. It's not a free app, but I think it's only $3.00. 
  5. I would also like to use the iPads as a way for students to explore YouTube videos on constructions. Constructions are difficult for students and I think it would be helpful for students to be able to pause the video or replay a step they didn't understand. I was hoping to use the iPads to let students log into the Holt web site that goes with our textbook, but much of what's available for students require Flash technology. I'll have to save those activities for the net books. 

Friday, June 29, 2012

Tool #8

Classroom Devices

What I've learned abou the classroom devices:

  1. The devices will come with a charging cabinet. I hadn't realized this. I guess I assumed that I would be locking up the devices in my closet everyday. I much prefer the cabinet option. I think that will make classroom management of the devices easier. The cabinet should also make it easier to keep track of the charging cords. 
  2. I knew that the netbooks would use Wi-Fi to connect to the school network, but I had not thought that I would have to pug them into network at night for push updates. I'm glad this option exists. I don't want to spend 10 minutes of 1st period updating the software. 
  3. I knew that the iPads would come with a video and still camera, but I hadn't realized that netbooks would have web cams. I don't how I might use them in my classroom, but it is something to consider. 
Classroom Management:

For me, I think the most import concept when using these devices is to give students clear directions. Years ago we had a math computer lab with mac computers that the  Geometers' Sketchpad program. I remember taking students to the lab and asking them to follow along with my verbal directions. I was exhausted making sure that everyone was caught up and ready to go onto the next step. I'm also sure that the students who were following the directions were frustrated waiting for the students who weren't. Now I'm much more likely to hand students typed out directions so that they can work through the activity at their own pace. I'd much rather give them an idea of how to get started and what their finished product should demonstrate.

I also think that students need a clear set of explanations about how to use the technology; are they exploring or looking up specific information. They also need guidance on when they can use it, when they need to set it aside, and when they need to put it away. In most of my graduate school classes professors expected us to use our laptops. Some didn't mind if students were off task, but others had very clear expectations for how students should be using laptops in class. I like the idea from one of the web pages that suggested that students close the screen when they would stop for class discussion. 

Tool #7

Reaching Outside the Classroom

I would like to try a project with other geometry classes where we create a library of helpful web sites and geometry tutorial. I could start by asking my students from different classes to work together to find video resources that are on the web. Students could coordinate through an Edmodo group or use TodaysMeet. I like the idea of students evaluating other sources of information before trying to create their own videos.

Later students could work in groups to create their own videos. Groups work together to come up with a plan for to present, but each student could film their own video using a flip camera, the ShowMe app, or maybe one of the on-line photo/video options.

We could work with other classes in our school, our district, or even on line to create a set of tutorials that we could use for instruction or for test review. 

Monday, June 25, 2012

Tool #6

Web Tools that Promote Discussion:

  • I set up an Edmodo account this summer. I am looking forward to using the program this school year. I was worried that students would not check into their accounts regularly unless several of their teachers were using the program, but students can set the program to send emails or text messages to notify them of activity. I had thought I would set up a teacher Facebook page for this year, but I like the security features of Edmodo better. 
  • Last week I went to a large GT training that used TodaysMeet as a backchannel. Instead of sharing out ideas by raising our hands we had discussions at our table and then one person would post our ideas to TodaysMeet. There were 300 people at the training. Without the technology of the web site only a very small percentage of the audience would have been able to participate. I think I could do something similar in my classroom. I set up a practice "room" today. This is a warm up example using vocabulary words. Setting up the room was extremely easy.  

  • I've also set up a teacher account with Poll Everywhere. Since I have a set of ActivExpressions I didn't think I would have a reason to use Poll Everywhere, but I think it would be a good option for the computer lab or another situation where I'm not in my own classroom.  In this example students have to respond to a warm up question about their previous assignment. 

Tool #5

Producing with Web 2.0 Tools

I created a video on making a tessellation using Screenflix. I didn't realize that I couldn't export the video. I can see using this tool to save an instructional video to a class wiki or my teacher web page.That way if students wanted to go through the instructions again, they could watch the video as many times as they needed to. I can also see asking students to make a video of images of vocabulary words they found on the internet.

This is a cartoon I made using MakeBeliefsComix. It's an old joke. Students could write their own comic strips to illustrate a definition or to answer a frequently asked question.

Finally, here is a picture of a word cloud that I made using Wordle. It's a list of geometry vocabulary words form the first chapter of our textbook. I can think of many ways to incorporate word clouds into my class. Student could match word clouds listing the properties of a geometric figure to the names of the figures.If we used Google Docs to create a class review for a test we could create a word cloud from the text of the review. It might give a slightly different picture of what students need to review than the text document.