Tag Archives: K12

Online forums for iPods in the Classroom

As momentum continues to build for the use of mobile handheld device in the classroom, it is important for teachers, IT leaders and administrators to share:

  • projects and activities
  • curriculum context
  • instructional strategies
  • learnings: what worked, what should be changed, what to avoid
  • best applications
  • best practice for maintaining a class set of iPods

One of the areas that interests me is the overall direction that people tend to take with these projects. In my mind, many of the available applications fall into the ‘drill and kill’ repetition category. Extensive use of drill based software in is opposition to the ISTE nets standards being adopted in many Boards. The ISTE Nets standards for students promote foundational ICT skills in the areas of:

  • Creativity and Innovation
  • Communication and Collaboration
  • Research and Information Fluency
  • Critical Thinking, Problem Solving and Decision Making
  • Digital Citizenship
  • Technology Operations and Concepts

I hope that professional collaboration and sharing will keep the use of  mobile tools in the classroom pointed in a positive learning direction. Certainly, having a room full of students with mobile learning devices in hand will fundamentally change the way one teaches. Perhaps learning about what this new teaching model looks like and defining best practices in this arena are a key component of moving forward. Lets not repeat mistakes and reinvent the wheel over and over. Share and collaborate!!!

I have list four online forums that I initially started reading in the summer. I have joined each one and now read them regularly. I hope you find some of the information and collaboration opportunities worthwhile.

Links

iPod Teachers
iPods in the Classroom
iPod for Educators
iPod Touch Schoolwide Implementation on Classroom 2.0

~ Mark

iPod Resource: iLearn 2

The great thing about traveling the ‘blogosphere’ is that you are constantly learning. The learning takes many forms: new resources, new sites to bookmark and revisit, new sources of information, new people to add to your PLN or RSS feed. There is constant reinforcement of the rich content, thinking, sharing and collaboration that occurs in our online world. 

During a recent blogosphere trip, I came across references to iLearn 2, so I bookmarked it and have gone back to revisit the site a number of times. iLearn is organized like an online book which can be viewed in magazine, presentation or paper views. Contents of iLearn 2  include:

  • a 21st century learning framework
  • ideas for choosing a particular iPod model
  • mobility in learning
  • podcasts
  • slideshows
  • video
  • text files & eBooks
  • internet usage (iTouch browser)
  • a comprehensive list of applications with brief descriptions organized by subjects
  • digital storytelling
  • lab management tips 

In my view, iLearn 2 is is an excellent resource and I recommend that you take the time to have a look if you are using or planning to use iPods in your classroom. Enjoy the learning.

~ Mark

Classroom: Student use of Twitter

 In Monday’s blog post, Twitter in Education, I outlined a few perspectives on using Twitter in the K12 Educational setting. Based on the reading I have done, there are 2 emerging trends.

1. There is little question about the value of Twitter as a tool that plays a key role in people developing their Professional Learning Networks (PLNs) and expanding their resources.

It is interesting to note a recent blog post on Mashable, reported that “Nielsen has compiled data from its NetRatings panel of 250,000 US Internet users and discovered that there are fewer young people on Twitter than on the Internet as a whole: one quarter of US Internet users are under 25, Nielsen says, but only 16% of Twitter users lie in that age range.”

Note: “While Nielsen is only measuring people who visit Twitter.com (not desktop and mobile clients), the analytics firm additionally claims that over 90% of TweetDeck users are over 25, making it unlikely that there are masses of uncounted young people on third-party Twitter apps.”

twitterteens

2. Despite the statistics that are currently available, there seems to be a slow but steady growing interest in using Twitter in the classroom as a communication tool for students within the curriculum delivery framework. I believe the key is finding a fit where Twitter makes a difference in the learning process and learning outcomes. In many respects, we are ‘early in the game’ of social media uses to deliver curriculum. Certainly, if developing collaboration and problem solving skills and PLNs is important for adults, then it stands to reason that this must be important for student learning too. Communication strategies and student engagement are often given as reasons for looking at Twitter use in the classroom. I believe the skillful teacher will find the right fit for Twitter as a curriculum support tool.

A Few Ideas for Twitter in the Classroom

Mashable: Twitter Guidebook

Songhai Concepts: Classroom Twitter

Tame the Web: Twitter in the classroom

Online Colleges.net 25 Twitter Projects for the College Classroom

~ Mark

Twitter in Education

Over the last year, I have followed a number of online discussion regarding social media in the K12 education systems. This summer, I have specifically followed conversions regarding the use of Twitter in the classroom. As a general observation, it seems the people are more likely to be decisive with their yes/no stance with regards to Twitter. At least from the reading I have done, there seems to be more acceptance of Twitter use at the college and university levels. 

In the relatively short time that social networking has burst onto the scene, the debate over pros and cons continues to be batted about. On the classroom side, typically the conversations cover: engage the students, embrace new technologies, teachers modeling 21st century or life long learning, disruptive technologies, fragmentation vs time on task, responsibility to teach student online saftey and  and curriculum benefits (or not). On the teacher/instructor side, social networking can provide many useful connections and sharing as people build their Personal Learning Networks (PLNs) and build their resource libraries. As one reflects on this list of topics, it would be easy to argue that there is no one right answer, especially on the classroom side. Thus, the debate will go on.

Perspectives

According to Howard Rheingold, who teachers at UC Berkeley’s School of Communication and Stanford University, bringing social media into classrooms is “challenging the 1000-yr-old paradigm that you have to learn from a master and the only way to do that is to go to lecture and take notes.” 

Rheingold points to five reasons for teaching students social media:

  1. Developing students’ literacy in our new online environment is as crucial as developing their abilities to read and write. Communication is moving toward social media. We can either help students thrive in this environment or leave them flailing.
  2. Many students bring their computers to class. Why not work with this trend instead of fighting or ignoring it?
  3. Social media is just that: social. Students who use Twitter for class are “learning collaborative skills that are particularly important today.”
  4. There is only so much class time. Rheingold makes mini-lectures on video that students comment on between classes, allowing more time to engage the issues through in-class discussion.
  5. Shy students who hold back in class often speak up online. “If you can extend the discussion to an online message board, you enable students who may not jump into the discussion,” he said, to “make a thoughtful contribution.”
Regarding Twitter, Angela Maiers states that “it is the most influential tool in my personal learning network.” Angela is passionate about Twitter for a number of reasons including:             

  • “Twitter allows me to share and glean resources I can use in the classroom
  • I meet and connect with other educators from around the world whom I would otherwise never be able to meet
  • It gives me 24/7 access to the most creative, influential, and innovative minds the world has to offer, allowing me a virtual whiteboard and brainstorm group” 

David R. Wetzel views Twitter as a web 2.0 tool used to improve teacher professional knowledge, collaboration, self reflection, and ability to remain current with the latest news and trends in education.

Advantages of Twitter in Education:

Collaborating with Other Teachers

Self Reflection about Teaching
Remaining Current in Latest Education Trends
Building Reliable Networks of Teachers
Professional Development and Continuing Education

 

My view:  Personally, I land on the side of embracing social technologies in the K12 system. Different technologies will fit the learning environment in different ways. Just like using other software packages, you need the right tool to support learning in the most effective way. In my mind, there are clear benefits to using social networking tools for  student learning, curriculum delivery and professional development. Twitter, for example,  has been a core component of the development of my PLN and daily learning.

 

Where do you stand?  Share a comment or send a tweet.

Related Reading:

Angela Maiers:  My Twitter Engagement Formula

Jessica Grosse: Article in the Huffington Post blog.

David R. Wetzel: Article posted on  Suite101.com .

 

~ Mark

Open Space Technology for Teacher PD

CATC By the Water is our Board’s summer 3 day ‘computer camp’ for teachers.

Background: CATC is our acronym for Computers Across the Curriculum. ‘By the Water’ is our catch phrase for the location. We have found great success in running this event away from home and away from Board premises to allow total focus on the task at hand by maximizing the learning and minimizing the distractions. Each summer we make the trek from our southern Ontario base north to Barrie (2 hours drive) to Kempenfelt Centre where we have hosted the event for the last 18 years. 

Organizational Strategy: The camp is organized by, and designed to function based on the principle of Open Space Technology to frame the facilitated but self directed learning experience. The principles of Open Space Technology are:

 

  • Whoever comes are the right people
  • Whatever happens is the only thing that could have
  • Whenever it starts is the right time
  • When it’s over, it’s over
  •                                              – Harrison Owen, 1985

    Areas of Focus:  Based on the planning sessions for this year, areas of focus are: literacy, ISTE Standards, collaboration, technology integration, writing and presenting through the use of: SmartBoards, Blogging, Wikis, Rapid Web Designer for the FirstClass environment (RWD), Podcasting with Garageband, Comic Life,  multimedia with iMovie, Adobe Premiere Elements, Adobe  Photoshop Elements and iPhoto,  Smart Ideas, Band in a Box and Finale. Software titles listed in green have been licensed by the Ministry of Education through the work of the OSAPAC Committee (Ontario Software Acquisition Program Advisory Committee).

    This year, camp facilitating staff are collaborating via the CATC By the Water wiki. Have a look at camp details, follow our progress and enjoy the learning! I am set to enjoy another day of facilitating and learning at CATC By the Water.

    ~ Mark

    iPod Roundup 2

    Earlier in the summer, I posted ‘iPod Roundup’, a collection of resources and ideas for using iPod technology in the classroom. Since then, I have run across a few more sites and blog posts related to this topic. The resources are listed below.

    The Digital Backpack:  voice recorder ideas

    Teacher Magazine:  Adding a ‘Touch’ of Technology

    Newhartford Schools:  iPods in the Classroom

    School CIO:  Getting Started with iPods in the Classroom

    My earlier post:  iPod Roundup

    Enjoy!

    ~ Mark

    Social Networking in K-12

    I was cruising through my Twitter listings last night and found a reference to a Social Networking article by Marcia Connor at THE Journal (http://www.thejournal.com). Of course, curiosity won, and I had a look at the article. The ‘snip it’ below (as received when you select email me a copy) will give you the flavour of the article.

    :::::

    Beyond Social Networking: Building Toward Learning Communities

    Much has been written recently about the impact of social networking tools in teaching and learning and how educators can build on the skills of their students in using these tools. But if educators only integrate the ability of students to connect and socialize, deeper points of learning will be missed. While good teaching and learning rests on effective relationships, in an active learning community, those relationships should evolve into actual idea exchange and knowledge construction.

    Among those listed by Connor (quoting from MIT and other sources) are skills in:
    • Simulation: the ability to interpret and construct dynamic models of real-world processes;
    • Collective intelligence: the ability to pool knowledge and compare notes with others toward a common goal; and
    • Negotiation: the ability to travel across diverse communities, discerning and respecting multiple perspectives and grasping and following alternative norms.
    :::::

    Once at the site, I was interested in the BiWeekly Poll in the sidebar which poses the question: Does your district ban social networking sites?

    The currently listed stats show:

    No ban – 17%
    Yes, banned district-wide for students and teachers – 69%
    Yes, banned only for students – 13%
    Yes, banned only for certain students – 0%

    There is an interesting message in these statistics, and it has got me thinking about the discussions around this very issue we had at our Technology Steering Committee meetings this year. Certainly, there are many aspects to this discussion of access. Some of our discussions included:

    – digital citizenship
    – embracing it as a way of ‘doing business’
    – alignment of content filtering with resource selection policies
    – grade appropriate content filtering
    – alignment with Acceptable Use Policies
    – what needs to be changed?
    – what is the process for change in this area?
    – how do we achieve a significant change in our systemic approach?
    – risks and challenges
    – educating not only the students, but teachers, administrators and parents too

    I think many of us have a clear notion of where we need to get to, but the path is not necessarily an easy one at the system level, at least in the education field. I believe this is an area the needs to be changed more aggressively and that the positive educational results are with the risks.

    At the moment I am thinking big on the change front and pondering strategies.

    If interested, the complete article I referenced, is available online at:
    The Journal

    Happy pondering!

    ~ Mark