Friday, January 24, 2014

Constructed Response - EdTech/Literacy Collaborative

If you even kind of follow my blog, you may have noticed that I have been sharing a few slides from quick after school sessions to support teachers literacy instruction with EdTech suggestions.  This week these slides share more tools than literacy methods because teachers have already developed an instructional plan to teach students how-to respond to text.

Here are some basic K-5 ideas to practice responding to a reading without paper.  You will find that I suggest the use of certain tools for a specified grade level range.  Nevertheless, this is merely a suggested range determined by my perception on ease-of-use and the devices being used within grade levels at my school district.  For instance, grades K-2 use iPads while grades 3-5 use MacBooks.  Consequently, I choose more iPad apps or web-based technologies that would work with iPads internet browsers.

Monday, January 20, 2014

Digital Learning Day - #DLDay

On February 5th, many schools across the nation are engaging with various educational technologies for Digital Learning Day (#DLDay).  Many classroom's engage in digital learning activities throughout the entire school year.  But, #DLDay provides districts, administrators, teachers, and students with a specific date to attempt to bring everyone on board.  Here is a student-made video overview from the #DLDay website.

Start Planning Now

The first thing you will have to do is start planning your activities, and there are many resources available with innumerable ideas for classroom teachers (i.e. planning webinar, Edmodo group, Teacher-created idea document).  Many Twitter chats are discussing ideas right now and there is value in watching from the sidelines, chiming in, or sharing ideas with hashtags like #INeLearn or #4thchat.  For more on hashtags, take a look at one of my old posts on using hashtags.

I meet many teachers that are reluctant to use social media like Twitter or Google+ for professional development, but there is a lot of value to listening to the inspirational teachers and what they are doing in the classroom around the country.  To quote the First Days of School by Harry Wong, developing a professional learning network of inspiring teachers (through the use of social media) provides for the perfect opportunity to "beg, borrow, and steal" ideas for the classroom.  Here are the archived chats from two recent educational hashtags #INeLearn and #4thchat on planning for #DLDay.
Definitely watch the #DLDay hashtag on February 5th, and maybe leave it running in the background, while teaching.  Here is an interesting idea from +Theresa Shafer from last year's #DLDay.

If you cannot watch the live #DLDay stream, I would at least review the tweets from the day - as displayed within the archived Twitter streams from #INeLearn and #4thchat.  What are you planning on doing?  If you have a specific event that you would like to share on the Digital Learning Day website, you can do so here on the event signup page.

Take the Pledge 

After looking into #DLDay and planning an activity or entire days worth of activities, take the pledge.  This will allow you to announce your goal to "go digital" on the 5th and allow you preview the #DLDay website.  By signing up through the pledge page, you can opt to receive information about #DLDay.  Do you really have to take the pledge?  Not really.  But, I would just to make it your goal to follow through and become involved.

My Random Ideas for #DLDay 

  1. Continue what you are doing in the classroom but add an EdTech piece to instruction/learning
  2. Engage students in an online discussion throughout the day using Today's Meet backchannel
  3. Create several Kahoots to engage students in the content being learned throughout the day
  4. Blog about anything throughout the day (Kidblog)
  5. QR scavenger hunt
  6. Have students continue activities from the #hourofcode or 20 hours of code
  7. Teach from Edmodo or another LMS
  8. Have students record math lessons with EduCreations 
  9. Use the Discovery Science Techbook
  10. Use for mind mapping activity
  11. Use Padlet to promote online communication
  12. Use to create information webpages with students
  13. Pick an web-based application idea from the ICT Magic Wiki
  14. Teach digital citizenship lessons - CommonSenseMedia, Digital Passport, Net Smartz, or NSTeens

Apple Ideas

  1. Use Photo Booth to create video exit slips
  2. Use Pages to create brochures reflecting on the days experience
  3. Use Keynote to apply reading comprehension strategies narrated slideshow movie file
  4. Use Numbers to create a science lab report or various graphs for data collection
  5. Use iPhoto to create slideshows with text describing a concept being learned
  6. Use iMovie to create short video to play while student reads a writing piece from writer's workshop 
  7. Use GarageBand to record a group of students discussing the recent section they read in a book as a podcast
  8. Engage students with digital storytelling apps on the iPad
  9. Engage students with various creation apps

Google Ideas

  1. Teach using Google Apps all day
  2. Use Google Docs for classroom communication
    • Use whole class shared documents,
    • Group shared documents, and
    • Individual documents shared with the teacher
  3. Create a Google Slide (Presentation)
    • Whole group, 
    • Small group, or
    • Individual
  4. Use Google Forms to formatively assess students
  5. Give students opportunity to write a post for your classroom blog
    • Use a Google Doc to collect student writing
  6. Build a Google Site for sharing classroom projects 
    • Create informational Google Sites with students like a Wiki
  7. Use Google Hangouts to connect to other classrooms or professionals
  8. Use Google Tour Builder


What student-level, classroom-level, school-level, or district-level events do you want to create for Digital Learning Day?  Can we make these epic events?  Let's do this together!

Sunday, January 19, 2014

Another Web Search Blog Post

Web searches are an overlooked skill that need to be taught to students.  The following video resources were retrieved from GoogleHelp YouTube channel.  If you have a YouTube account, I suggest following this channel as they come out with a lot helpful videos related to Google Products. These resources were compiled here in order to provide help with Google Searches and can be good tips to share with students.  The first video shared above all of the rest is a basic set of tips that can provide help for any search.

Basic Search Tips

Specific Search Tips

The next set of videos are more specific search tips.  They are extremely short and straightforward, which is exactly what I like to see in a YouTube video.  I'm not a big fan of watching videos that are over ten minutes on YouTube.  For me YouTube is my quick and dirty way to learn something.  I say dirty because sometimes multiple videos have to be used and sped up to find exactly what you need sometimes.  Even though you might have to weed through a few bad videos from time to time, YouTube is still one of the fastest ways to learn a difficult skill that couldn't be learned through tinkering.


Ideas and Techniques

Although this document, which I believe was created by +Richard Byrne, provides a list of search techniques to try that will make a "Google Search Star," there aren't many examples displayed here.  The second tip has a video associated with it, but the other techniques do not.  That's where I challenge you to locate someone demonstrating these techniques on YouTube.  Use YouTubes search bar and locate the reading level filter.  Or if you are like me, try it first and then seek help from YouTube.