Tag Archives: technology enabled learning

Have Your Say: What has changed?

Over the long weekend my wife and I were thumbing through a stack of magazines and I came across a fall 2014 professional journal that had an article about this top 10 classroom tools list.

ProfSpeak

In contemplating how fast technology changes and the considering the emphasis on changing classroom practice,  what are your top 5 tools now?

HAVE YOUR SAY:  Take the top 5 survey

~Mark
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Learning with Spheros

Screen Shot 2016-04-19 at 9.06.51 PM

I intended to share this blog post much sooner than today, but life has been a little crazy.

 

On a recent (March)  visit to Ryerson P.S. I had an opportunity to visit the grade 1 classroom of teacher Jenni van Rees.  The excitement in the room was obvious as it was coding day!  Learning goals for the session were clearly laid out and reviewed with the students.

coding_chart

Students were clearly comfortable using both iPads and Chromebooks as they worked in groups of 2 or 3 for collaborative learning and problem solving.

CB&S

 

 

Tickle

 

 

 

 

The students really did work collaboratively, and it was great to see their joy in planning, testing, reviewing results and determining next steps.

Fast foward to April where I had an opportunity to attend a Sphero Challenge event organized by teachers Scott Dickie and Chad Lloyd from Westmount P. S. 

I arrived early to see the first of 4 sphero tracks being marked out in the gym. The remaining tracks were laid down as teams from a variety of schools began to arrive.

IMG_0459

As was evidenced in Jenni’s  classroom, the energy and excitement was in abundance.  Teams were eager to embrace the challenge: planning, measuring, calculating, comparing, testing, observing, collaborating, communicating, iterating … “all in” problem solving for sure. 

I hope this highlights video give you a good sense of the  Sphero Challenge event.

I am already looking forward to the next one!

~Mark
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Let Them Choose

During my ongoing curation of articles about learning, digital tools and social media, I recently came across this article exploring perspectives on  social media in the lecture theatres.  Although the article was primarily examining post secondary perspectives, I would argue the same discussions are relevant in K12. The discussion was centred around various viewpoints on whether or not students:

  • be allowed (by profs) to bring technology to class
  • are distracted by having access to social media  and
  • experience benefits?

Two interviewees interviewed commented that “… because the students are most likely taking notes. Many don’t use pen and paper, and rely on their devices. She says students are old enough to decide if they are to learn or not.” andMy view is they are old enough to choose and multitask (and choose to fail too),“. Meanwhile, others choose to dictate “no access”.

SM choices

Now, if I put a personal perspective on this and let you observe my learning mode,  this is what you would see. Typically I use 2 devices … taking notes on my iPad using notability – not just for notes – adding audio recording, and insert photos for context for a more complete package.  On the second device I organize lists, todos, ideas and share via social media, typically Twitter but this could easily be a Facebook group, G+ community, LinkedIn or open Google doc. I reiterate – this is MY style. This is how I learn best. Paper and pen doesn’t work for me.

device choice

Why not let students choose what works best for them – student voice. To me,  letting students choose what tools they use and how they organize shows a strength based approach to student learning. What benefit is there in forcing students to function in a way that may not be self directed and self optimized?

Weigh in:  Where do you stand?

~Mark

Publishing Makes a Difference

I recently had an opportunity to enjoy a site visit to John Mahood PS,  a WRDSB  K-5 school to see a their technology use in action.

Under the leadership of principal Tracy Tait, the staff has been working hard over the last 3 years to explore new effective ways to utilize technology to enable student learning in new ways, change and improve practice and share their successes.

The traditional lab at the school has been dismantled and the desktops have been redistributed throughout the school.  The mobile technology (iPads and Chromebooks) within the school has been allocated so that each classroom has a minimum of 6 to 8 devices to share among the students.  The lab space is now used as a “tech lounge” – more of a flexible creative work space.

In a site walk through, Tracy commented that she expects staff to integrate mobile technology into the learning environment as part of their daily practice.  I enjoyed observing a couple of classes during silent reading time and seeing that student had a choice in both what they read and HOW they read it: paper based, via iPads or Chromebooks. Talk about a great example of student voice and choice!

The school focus on choice for students is making a noticeable difference.  Several staff commented about technology options providing choice and independence for students.  In some cases, the use of technology created benefits in socialization between students both in and out of class.  In conversation, it was noted that technology use  improves the focus on learning which in turn impacts behaviour in a positive way. In some cases, the use of technology removes frustration when paper and pencil based tasks create an obstacle for students.  The result is increased  participation through differentiated approaches.

This video captures some of the observations and thinking of students and staff at the school.

[youtube http://youtu.be/eEDd5oOwI4k]

Ethan’s Story

Kyle’s Story

Samuel’s Story

Note: The video and story presentations are published with permission.

~Mark

Meet the Teacher Night Tech Slam

At this point in my life I find myself with one university graduate and one in first year and on the way.  It has certainly been a long time since I attended an elementary school meet the teacher night.

In a  recent summer conversation with WRDSB teacher  Alison Bullock,  my interest in the parent  aspect of  school year startup was rekindled.  Alison was enthusiastically sharing about her plans to provide parents attending with a fast paced “tech slam” – a quick tour through many of the different online services students would be using in their learning journey with her.  I approached Alison about attending meet the teacher night,  and I was thrilled that she readily agreed.

On parent night evening, I arrived at portable 4 to find an energized room of parents and students.  Students were eagerly leading parents to their seating area.

QRdesk

On the top of each desk was a  QR Code  that linked to a personalized welcome video for each parent.  Students were visibly excited to show their parent(s) how to access the video and have them watch it.

Now it was time for the tech slam.

Wow – actioned packed, filled with key learning statements and clearly highlighted  the connected learner robust technology enabled approach to be used in the classroom.

Casual conversation with parents afterwords showed excitement and interest  about the  approach to learning their child would participate in.

If I had elementary school aged children,  this is the type of classroom learning experience I would want them to have.

Related Resources:

Follow Alison’s class on Twitter: ESTP4.

~Mark

Connected Learning with Grade 3s

Last week I became aware of an interesting approach to learning about Ontario communities with grade 3 classes.  The  idea is  to involve people from around the province to submit picture clues about the community they live in.  The clues are shared with the students, and student responses are tweeted (posted) back through a class or teacher based Twitter account.

The project takes on another level of connectedness by using a hashtag (Twitter conversation label)  to collect all of the tweets on this topic into a searchable stream which can be viewed [ here].  What a GREAT way to bring a personal and connected context to the classroom.

I enjoyed an afternoon walk this weekend to take a few pictures to participate this week.  I wonder how many clues it might take the students to guess where I live.

Here are some sample tweets from last week.

WhereAmI 1

possible answer

WhereAmI 2

This will be a great week in the connected learning world.

~Mark

How many apps?

This point from the Twitter stream of  EdCampSWO resonates with me.

NoAppAddict

How thoughtful are you about choosing apps for use with your students?

Do you choose apps that support the “C’s” in a technology enabled learning environment:  Communicate, Collaborate, Create, Citizenship, Critical Questioning/Answering?   Perhaps your app choices facilitate inquiry or project based learning.

Where do you stand on app selection?  How many is too many?  What do you use as app selection criteria? I would be interested to know your ideas on this.  Please comment or get in touch via  @markwcarbone  on Twitter or  +markwcarbone  on  Google +.

~Mark