Saturday, November 26, 2011

Cell Phones in the Classroom

"Jenny! Jenny! Give me that cell phone and you can pick it up from the principals office." Don't be a Fool use Phones with Web Tools in School.

As teachers, we are going to have to deal with smart phones more and more. Why not use this teaching tool within the classroom setting from time to time. Students are so enthralled with their cell phones. So much so, some can't sleep. @EDTECHHULK suggested facetiously to send students homework after midnight, which engages students after hours. Joking aside, with all that is expected from education, we need to extend learning to the home-front.

The following video is an overview of a smartphone project being implemented within the D.C. area.

Phones in School

  • Text students assignments
  • Text students blog posts
  • Text students flashcards or other learning tools
  • Use text language as a writing genre
  • Poll Everywhere (There is a free version and a pay-monthly version, which range from $15/month to $1400/month.)
  • Titan Pad (Maybe you can get students to discuss the quality of a story through text messaging.)
  • QikPad
  • Webinars with Buzzumi
  • Free Screen Sharing
  • Provide video opportunities with Google Hangouts, Facetime, or AnyMeeting. Check out this article about group video chat.

Other Web Tools


First of all, teach your students about the danger of texting while driving. I don't want to see a death caused by texting an assignment. Aside from that, the media and politicians would have a field day with this. We know how much they love us already.

If creative enough, we, teachers, can engage students in learning with an addictive tech-tool. Of course, not everyone can afford these phones, but a grant (written to the phone companies) could offer a solution to this problem.

phones in the classroom

What else can we do to incorporate phones within school? This is a free tool provided to us by our students' parents. Why not try to use them within school?

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Digital Citizenship

Digital Citizenship

Just as there is a need to teach students to use deodorant, appropriate language on the playground, and silent zone procedures in the hallways, teachers have to develop expectations for netiquette. Basically, we, as teachers, need to promote positive digital citizenship. This should be completed at a young age.

Ultimately, teachers and parents can prevent inappropriate issues from occurring all too often, and even save a life. But first, the conversation needs to be started and school policies need to be put into place. Just like in a face-to-face classroom, students need behavioral procedures for working with digital media. Check out the follow links to start thinking about how to teach Digital Citizenship. 
  1. Digital Etiquette with Tim and Moby
  2. Cyberbullying
  3. Thinkfinity Digital Citizens Video
  4. 9 Elements of Digital Citizenship
  5. CF Children
  6. LG Phones in School
Overall, the conversation needs to be started with students.  This is a fairly new form of communication, and it should be incorporated within the curriculm.  To foster engaging and age appropriate conversations, teachers need to incorporate preventive lessons on Digital Citizenship.  However, I bet we will be implementing lessons as a result of unwanted behaviors. 

What else is out there? Help add to the conversation.

Monday, November 21, 2011

30 Day Challenge: Day 16 - Little Bird Tales

30 Day Challenge: Day 16 - Little Bird Tales: Your Assignment: Go through the Prezi above to learn about today's tool. Little Bird Tales is just one of many digital storytelling tools...

Learn It In 5 - Classroom Blogging

Learn It In 5 - Classroom Blogging

Personal Learning Networking for Educators

Who has time anymore? I don't. With Web 2.0 technologies, 21st Century learners need to develop an on-the-go learning network. Information transmission is instantaneous, plentiful, and free. But, locating professionally reliable information that is relevant to your professional interests can become overwhelming. Personal Learning Networks (PLNs) have created a fast and effective way for the acquisition of knowledge and new information. Check out Tim Wilhelmus provides a web binder with more details about PLNs.  In addition, Leslie Fisher also provides decent information on PLNs through a PDF file of hers.  Then, there are Richard Byrne's slideshows on starting a PLN.  There is also a newer post that I wrote after being taken on a journey with my PLN.  I could keep going because there are infinite possibilities with a PLN. 

Don't worry.  PLN's don't have to cost anything. To get started, sign into all of the most popular social networking sites available.  However, be more selective about who you"friend."  Keep it professional. Here is a list of the different sites recommended for starting your own PLN:
  1. Facebook
  2. Twitter
  3. Linkedin
  4. Google+
  5. Diigo
  6. Blogger (good examples below)
  8. AddThis
  9. Skype
  10. YouTube
As usual, this is not an exhaustive list, but a starting point to at least entertain the idea of connecting to professional information.  If you are looking for certain information, sign up for Google Alerts.  These "alerts" will send you an email help on pertinent information of personal interest.

I really enjoyed what the "iCats" did within their school system.  To promote social learning, Evansville, IN teachers were provided a 30-Day Challenge to learn about Web 2.0 tools.  From this, the winner receives an iPad 2.  Of course, the iPad 2 is only for Evansville teachers, but it is easy to follow along.  It started on October 17, 2011.

Without a well connected PLN, this challenge would have gone unnoticed, and unless I continue to develop my network more professionally relevant websites will slip by unnoticed. So, connect with your own PLN and advance your personal knowledge to the best of your PLN’s ability.  This slideshow will give you a few tips on starting your connections today.

Facebook may be a sore subject for some districts.  Facebook for Educators  organization may be able to provide useful information for you.  Here is a helpful guide for using Facebook.

Teacher's Guide to Using Facebook (Read Fullscreen)

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Project Based Learning: Higher Level Thinking

Project Based Learning

Not too long ago, I attend a workshop on Project Based Learning.  During this workshop the trainer, Dianne Matheis, provided several examples of projects used to engage students in problematic situations. With Project Based Learning (PBL), Dianne stated that all projects must start with a "driving question," which is presented to the students with an entry level document. This document explains the authentic issue and asks the students to work collaboratively to complete the project. On the Buck Institute for Education (BIE) website, the Do-It-Yourself toolkit guides teachers through the process of creating their first PBL. For these resources, an account must be created. I'm not sure if it is free, but Wednesday Webinars are free. If interested, take a look at the DIY toolkit link.

Although the PBL process isn't so linear, the proceeding list roughly describes the PBL process.
  1. Driving question/challenge is presented
  2. Need to know information is relayed to the students
  3. Inquiry-based and student-centered group-work
  4. 21st Century tools are utilized to foster students' digital skills
  5. Student voice and choice is promoted
  6. Students receive feedback and revision suggestions (conference with each group)
  7. Publicly present the finished product.
Check out her Website on PBL. On her website, there are several important links with forms and instructions on how to implement PBL. According to Ms. Matheis, the Buck Institute for Educators has provided her with many resources for PBL. Last but not least, I also added her Power Point on Project Based Learning.

Is PBL for you? Can you have students study the content areas subject-matter with a driving question? As long as active student-centered group work does not scare you, PBL might be for you.

Bloom's to Assess Learning and Evaluate Instruction

Bloom's to Assess Learning and Evaluate Instruction

As instructors, it is our responsibility to incorporate current technologies into the curriculum. Irregardless of the current state or national standards that are behind the times already, students need to utilize the Web 2.0 tools effectively.  Many students use the Internet to do lower level thinking activities.  To promote higher level thinking skills, students should use the Internet for more than viewing and receiving information.   Below is a Web2.0 version of Bloom's Taxonomy

The world around us is changing.  Jobs are becoming obsolete, while others are proliferating.   Let's stop fighting the economy and accept change.  In doing so, teachers, trainers, and instructors can prepare students and digitally-illiterate adults for this changing economy and job market. 

The following list provides information on Bloom's Taxonomy.  Although Bloom's Taxonomy is focused on students' cognitive processes, it is essential to utilize when creating instructional objectives, which should be used to assess students' digital work.  Additionally, instruction should be evaluated to judge its effectiveness.  Instruction should be looked at as a hypothesis for accomplishing the overarching instructional goal(s).  A question to become familiar with is, "Was the instruction effective in accomplishing its goal?"  Use the following resources to become much more familiar with Bloom's taxonomy. 
  1. Dr. Leslie Owen Wilson's Page
  2. Kathy Schrock's Google Apps applied to Bloom's
  3. Andrew Church's Bloom's Blog with Various Resources for Objectives and Rubrics
  4. Rex Heer's (2009) A Model of Learning Objectives

Web 2.0 in the Classroom

baby squirrel

There is a lot of information here. Like a squirrel, eat what you can and store the rest for the long winter.

Web 2.0 Tools and Other Resources

  1. Online paper (Make your own newspaper)
  2. Prezi (Make visually enticing presentations. Here is a Prezi I'm developing on writing explanations in math. It is just way cooler than PowerPoint)
  3. Evernote (Take notes)
  4. Vuvox (Create your own digital slideshows, presentations, or stories)
  5. Animoto (Create your own digital slideshows, presentations, or stories)
  6. Poll Everywhere (Use cell phones to collect data.)
  7. Digital Vaults (Historical information from the National Archives)
  8. Wix (Create a free website)
  9. Weebly (Create a website)
  10. Evansville Tech Resources (Teacher resources from Evansville,IN)
  11. Glogster (Posters?)
  12. Posters (Create posters with students)
  13. Xtranormal (Create digitally animated movie)
  14. Pixton (Create comics)
  15. Primary Pad (Record in real time single document collaboration)
  16. Live Scribe Pen (Record your regular notes with this USB pen; then, upload your scribbles)
  17. Google Hangouts
  18. Storify (online stories)
  19. Smyface (text a your feelings and opinions with a funny face)
  20. Voki (create speaking avatars)
  21. Edmodo ('secure' social network)
  22. Issuu (digital publication with pages that flip like a book)
  23. Kidblog ('secure' blogosphere for students)
  24. Popplet (concept mapping)
  25. Little Bird Tales (digital picture stories like podcasts)


        This was made in 2009, but it is important to realize how the world is changing into a digital playground and workplace. Learners need to be prepared for the 21st Century.