As a computer science and online learning coordinator, I'm always on the lookout for great teaching resources and project ideas. If you're like me & love to shake things up with new & exciting projects and like to keep on top of the latest and greatest educational technology trends, check out this blog!
#edtech #edchat #vitalcpd Since starting to write for the Instructional Technology blog in Poudre School District, it seems that I’ve neglected my own. It’s time
to rectify the situation!
As the school year comes to a close, many of us are looking
forward to summer vacation, and some of us are starting to think about next
year. I’d like to share with you an
activity that would be a great way to start off the school year and can help
establish a caring classroom environment.
Inspired by the book Iqbal,
the theme this year was Global Citizenship, with the guiding question: How will the choices I make affect the
world. Our team was asked to create a workshop utilizing technology to fit
the theme of the summit. We created a 50 minute presentation and activity that
asked the students to think of ways that people’s actions have changed their
lives or ways that they may have impacted other people.
To begin the lesson, we showed Drew Dudley’s TED Talk called
“Leading with Lollipops.” This is a very powerful talk in which Drew discusses the
concept of leadership through an experience he had while in college, which he
later realized had made a life-changing impact on a fellow student. He goes on
to discuss how these little moments in our lives (which he calls Lollipop
Moments, referring to his own experience), can seem insignificant to us but can
make a major difference in someone else’s life and make us all potential
After this video, we discussed Drew’s talk with students and
invited them to share their thoughts on the idea of Lollipop Moments and any
they may have experienced. During the Summit, we also had students relate this
concept of leadership to the book Iqbal.
After the discussion, we asked students participate in a
VoiceThread on the topic. VoiceThread is an online multimedia slide show that
can include images, documents, and videos. Students can collaborate on a
VoiceThread with their voices (microphone or telephone), text, video (webcam),
or audio file. VoiceThreads can be shared with anyone in the world so that they
can add comments as well. You can even doodle on the slide show during your
comment to highlight something that you’re talking about. When users play your
comment, your doodle will appear with the recording. As the teacher, you can
moderate the VoiceThread to choose which comments will appear. The final
VoiceThread can be embedded on other websites and exported as well.
For the Summit, we placed a photo of Iqbal into the slide show, along with a
series of prompts. Students were asked to choose 2 or more prompts and add
their thoughts to the associated slide.
By beginning the school year with this activity, students
can start to really think about their actions and the positive or negative
impact they may have on other people without even knowing it. Hopefully, the
realization that even a small gesture can make a big difference will help
students consider the things they do and say to one another.
Each Friday, I spend time at the media center of a local high school making myself available to teachers who may need tech help. About a month ago, I was speaking with the school’s librarian and learned that their media center only has one set of encyclopedias available to students. She explained that over the last few years, more and more students have been turning to the Internet for their research needs; very few use the library as a resource for this purpose. As a “techie,” this was no surprise to me, however, I can’t help but wonder how many teachers take the time to help their students learn how to identify a credible Internet source vs. a biased or hoax site.
Coincidentally, several weeks after my conversation with the librarian, my teammate and I were visiting a middle school in the district and were recruited to teach a lesson on website evaluation. We learned that many teachers are not comfortable with this topic and often don’t consciously know what tactics they use to eva…
Like many others, my department has been drawn to blended learning and the personalized learning it allows. Both this year and last year, we worked with a small group of teachers in our district to help them implement blended learning pedagogy in the classroom.
We've had much success, but make no mistake, transforming teaching to provide students with a blended learning experience is no small task. One of our favorite articles on the topic, The Basics of Blended Instruction, by Catlin R, Tucker, provides some great tips for teachers looking to pursue blended learning.
One thing we observed in working with teachers is that it's extremely difficult to wrap your head around the difference between tech integration and blended learning. Truth be told, we were probably a bit fuzzy on it ourselves for quite some time!
As the school year ramps up, our department has been busy creating a training module on COPPA and protecting students online. This is a module that all teachers in our District will be taking this year (and likely every year going forward), thus denoting a significant shift in our District's messaging about tech integration and student safety.
As part of this module, we created a short video using Adobe Voice that explains COPPA. (You can read more about Adobe Voice in my previous post.) Our goal was to help teachers understand COPPA without boring them with a lengthy written explanation. Hopefully, our little video is less dry than the alternatives....
Similar to other districts, ours has struggled in years past with finding a balance between protecting student privacy and empowering teachers to use professional judgement when selecting sites for instructional use and creating student accounts. This year, the Responsible Use Agreement that is part of our Superintendent's Pol…