Friday, May 22, 2015

My Week in Tech - Success Story

Good Advice

  "Learn a new skill, take a break." Advice from the longest-serving teacher in her building. "Kids need a bit of down time to process the skill they just learned, don’t force them to practice over and over until they hate it."   The Freshman English class is almost finished with Romeo and Juliet. From my 30 minutes in the class it seems the students have done:
  • Active reading
  • Guided questions,
  • Discussions (online and offline)
  • A movie,
Can we cover this play from any different angle? Maybe they need a Google survey? Seriously, they were better at decoding Shakespeare than me.   I created a list of tech tools to use in the classroom, I know it seems long, but it is barely a fraction of the stuff created for teachers. Please, take a look.

Success story

  Almost three years ago when I started this job. One of my first mistakes was telling a teacher she was using technology wrong. The next day her principal called and gave me an earful.   Luckily for me, she asked for some help putting spelling words on the web. We talked about options and ended up meeting every week after school talking technology and education.   Each week she had a list of questions and we usually never got past the third question, getting sidetracked not by the technology, but by how it integrates with teaching. She is now the proud owner of a grade level website designed to enhance learning. More importantly she is more comfortable trying new things in her classroom.   This week she introduced a tech tool to her building staff. She didn’t teach the tool, she taught a lesson using the tool.
Picture of computer, laminated card, and worksheet 
I love the combination of tools to meet all needs   
Way back when she was asking the computer to teach, afraid to interact too much with a tool she didn't understand. Today she teaches using technology. Is she a computer expert and able to fix your computer? No, she is a teacher who uses technology as a tool.   I seem to have a bit of dust in my eye now. Enjoy your Memorial Day weekend.

Friday, May 8, 2015

My Week in Tech Integration - Discussion

Classroom Action

The school year is coming quickly to an end. I’m trying to get some summer thoughts moving. One of the things I want to do is get an idea of how comfortable teachers are with the actual tech skills you need as a classroom teacher. I’ll probably send out a survey soon, I’m waiting for the boss to approve it.

The other thing I need to do is get an idea of what sort of PD you might want to come to over the summer and when best to present them. Please let me know in the comments or via email, but I also have this on my survey.

I was watching some students take a practice test earlier this week. They were using technology (phones mostly because they were juniors and seniors and didn’t have Chromebooks). What if we combined Padlet (Middle school teachers had a lot of fun learning and playing with this tool, 6th grade, 7th grade, Exploratory) with a phone or screen capture tools on a computer, to solve the practice problems and post them to a Padlet for discussion.

The discussion should not be about who is right, but how elegant is the solution? Why would you choose one method of solving the problem over an other? Etc…. A lot of the stuff I saw on the internet this week had this theme of a debate or discussion. For an example, using math debate in classroom

I remember a blog post years ago about using bell ringers to create a debate. The teacher would collect bell ringers on index cards and grab one that was wrong (not telling who it was of course) and put it on the overhead and discuss why or what thinking could have led to the wrong answer and how to correct it.

Today without an overhead I might ask students to put the answer on a Padlet or document camera anonymously and then pick one to discuss. I’m seeing more and more centers, maybe I just wasn’t paying attention before. The devices are one of the centers. See this one girl. She is concentrating intensely. This activity is writing practice so no you can’t substitute with technology.

These other kids, not so much. 

This is a good lesson, that is why I choose to feature it. It is great to bring in leveled work for practice, but we can do intense creation on the computer as well. Yes there is a tech hurdle. We can work through it, we should work through it. If we never ask our students to do intense creative work on the computer we are short-changing our students and ourselves as teachers.

From the Web

We think we know how we learn, but there is a lot of undiscovered territory out there.
One thing we do is attempt to find patterns so we can do things automatically, without thinking. Like riding a bike.
What if you changed what it means to ride a bike?

As I was watching this a 3rd grader says, “I saw you watching Smarter Everyday. … I’m subscribed” Be warned you'll have to be smart if she's in your classroom next year.

It turns out that there is an #etcoaches chat. I’ll have to try to participate next month. here is the storify from last week. I really wanted to point out a few highlights.
  1. Most coaches estimate that only 5% to 15% of our teachers actually implement what we introduce.
  2. While superficially introducing a lot of apps in a short period of time is popular, no one thinks it is a good strategy. Instead we need to carve out time to let teachers play and practice using apps in actual lessons. Then we need time for the coach to follow-up, and create individual goals for each teacher.
  3. Trudacot is a great way to look at your current lesson and determine how well technology (or learning) is integrated.
Finally, Google Education on Air, two full days of speakers on education. An all-star cast including, Michelle Obama, Michael Fullan, LeVar Burton, and others.