Posted in Reflections

Theory into Practice Reunion

We were asked to give a presentation on where we were in the process of change in relation to our learnings from the Theory Into Practice sessions.  Below is my part regarding intervention changes in our school.

Posted in Reflections

Reflect and Plan

Module 8 – Reflect and Plan

Jump Start: A Teacher’s Guide to Tech from Cult of Pedagogy – with Jennifer Gonzalez

Without a doubt this has been one of the most helpful courses with regards to technology. It was organized in a way that was a gentle push, but not overwhelming.  I was able to connect what I already knew with new learning.  Thanks to Jennifer and all the supportive members of my group.  I know Voxer tapered off as July wore on and we all were at different points, but I knew there was the safety net there and hope we can reach out with questions as we continue our learning beyond July.

Favorite Modules

I have two favorite modules.  One being WordPress.  I would have never guessed.  It will become a sort of online diary for my learning – but Diary3.o.  I also think it would be great to create a site to possibly to connect with families and my new teachers. I don’t know, still thinking on that one.

My second favorite module, again with surprise, was screencasting.  Blew. my. mind.  I had recorded a couple things in the past with capture and quicktime.  I can’t wait to use the features of screencast-o-matic and have youtube channels for my new teachers, for students, for families and teach them to create their own. Just so easy. I think a fun way would to use it to pose questions, or provide a clue to a breakout.

Tools I’ll be Using

I will be using Voxer, twitter in better ways, thinglink and screencasting.  I will be documenting my learning in wordpress and maybe creating another site. I have spoken to my school counselor and administrator and are already have discussions about how voxer will be a valuable tool with staff.  I will hone my knowledge about twitter and venture back in (probably need to take Jennifer’s twitter tutorial).  This post would be miles long if I began brain draining my thoughts about thinglink and screencasting possibilities.

New Tools to Explore

I will be exploring Collaboration tools as I get ready to teach a course to new teachers in about 4 weeks.  Some I am familiar with. Some are new.  Here we go…  I am embarrassed to say that I have not gotten into coding yet. Ugh! I know!  So that will be my next step. I’m glad this guide has a place to start. Thanks again, Jennifer.  There is so much more in the guide that we didn’t touch on. Step by step.

My Goals

One goal would be to explore collaboration tools before August 20. Another would be to create any screencasts by the end of September that the new teachers might need a link to (or to the channel) after their new teacher training/orientation.  A third goal is to continue through The Teacher’s Guide to Tech by the end of the school year and have a few new tools under my belt.  Thanks again, Jennifer!


Posted in Reflections

Jump Start Lay the Groundwork

Jump Start: A Teacher’s Guide to Tech from Cult of Pedagogy – with Jennifer Gonzalez

Module 2 – Lay the Groundwork

The video about The Cloud was funny and informative.  The side by side comparison of  storage options was gold.  The comparison reaffirmed for me that Dropbox was the right choice for me to store work and personal even though I do use Google Drive more heavily for work since it’s collaborative and Dropbox is just a file drawer. Then there is Apple Cloud is just working in the background since I live in a Mac world now.

Communication and social media tools were overwhelming to me.  I just returned from ISTE with a clearer picture.  I compartmentalize to keep it all straight.  I use Facebook for personal – which is why participating in coursed through fb is awkward for me, but I’m figuring it out.  I use Skype, Hangouts (comparison), and Facetime to connect with others live. Twitter and Google+ have become my PLN (personal learning network).  Voxer is new and I’m already enjoying it and will be inviting others.  I learned how others use Snapchat in education, and have had some brainstorms I shared that other’s in my building are intrigued about, too.  We’ll give it a go.  I just tried out Periscope at ISTE when many couldn’t get in to a session, so I downloaded, click, click, click and viola – connected to others in the hall who were very appreciative.  So, I’ll be exploring that some more, too.  I appreciate Today’sMeet as a participant, but as a presenter, I would struggle with divided attention.  I think I would assign someone to monitor that for me.

The tools I chose to explore more in this course are Kahoot and now WordPress.  I haven’t taken the time yet to explore Kahoot since WordPress has consumed me.  In the beginning, I couldn’t even figure out how to get to the different pages, much less make them look like I wanted.  I’m not a design student, and don’t want to be, so I just clicked on one that stood out to me and started clicking away.  It started to come together.  Now that I am not as focus on the how, I can focus on the why and what it can do for me.  It’s very exciting.  Now I can take time when I chose to explore the nuances to get the most of out of my portfolio for the world to see – yikes.

Posted in Reflections

Jump Start Take Stock

Jump Start: A Teacher’s Guide to Tech from Cult of Pedagogy – with Jennifer Gonzalez

Module 1 – Take Stock

Right now my biggest challenge is that technology isn’t saving me time, it’s sucking my time (ok, I know I’m in control of my time).  I love all the new apps and the collaborative tools for colleagues and students.  I spend so much time playing, searching, planning, and playing some more that all of the sudden the hours are gone.  I also try very hard to make it about the lesson/process/need and not the tool – but sometimes get caught up in the cool factor :).  The biggest challenge is the funds.  Even the .99 apps add up.  Then if you want the big girl toys, oh my.  Yes, there are grants – and now more time spent writing those to get the tools to spend time using in the right way.  And I LOVE EVERY SINGLE MINUTE of these challenges.  It’s all about figuring out balance – and there’s an app for that!

Why bother with technology?  My top two reasons are about engagement and the 4c’s of  21st Century learning.  I know novel things engage me and brain research supports that fact.  Student’s brains need novelty. Aren’t we all students? Technology can provide that novelty no matter how dry the subject matter may be.  Technology sure has taken collaboration, creation, communication and critical thinking to higher levels. I can remember back in the days of pen pals and all the time spent waiting for your letter to reach someone and then the wait time for one to return.  Now we can interact with people all over the world instantly and live.  Technology is helping us become one world and I want that for future generations – and yes, I want peace on earth, too.

Two tools specific to right now are Kahoot and Evernote. I have been a participant with Kahoot, but I would like to use it now during instruction.  It adds the game element while providing me with feedback about what students are understanding.  I am a Literacy Coordinator for k-5 meaning I teach reading interventions k-5 as well as provide coaching/training/consulting for teachers, too.  Kahoot is fun for all and I think can be a great formative assessment tool with all ages as well.  We’ll see.  The other tool I am going to make myself figure out is Evernote.  I have had it for years, use it for notetaking, and have tried it out for a couple of other purposes like checkable lists, etc.  People rave about it’s power, but I have not felt the excitement or figured out the power yet.  Again, we’ll see. As I reread this for post, I’ve already changed my mind about Evernote.  I am a pen and paper notetaker.  I prefer the paper or even an ipad app where I can write and doodle pics to help me remember.  I am very interested now about how to use WordPress as a digital portfolio for my reflections.  

The two tips that resonated most with me are finding the why first and doing test runs.  Getting clear on objectives and then finding tools students might need/want to meet and exceed those objectives is the order I try to go in (but I do sometimes get distracted from the bling of technology).  If I want them to be collaborative I might choose different tools than if I wanted them creating something on their own or if I want to present something interactive such as through Pear Deck or Nearpod. The why is bigger to me than the “isn’t this cool – what could I do with it” tool.  The other tip that I need to keep reminding myself about is to do test runs – test runS. I usually try something out at home then I maybe have another student or adult give it a go, but mostly I just go with it. It works most often which is why I continue to jump in, but sometimes it’s bumpy.  I could avoid some bumpy if I tested just a bit more.

I am curious about VolunteerSpot.  Not only do I have to schedule meetings in the fall with almost 80 families, I also then get  many requests from teachers to meet with them consult on  lessons, help plan, and even model. I will be signing up for volunteer spot to see if it’s easier than appointments in Google. Will it link to my google calendar? If not, then it won’t be for me.  I can’t have two digital calendars. I’d loose my mind.

Of the 30 tool categories in the Teacher’s Guide to Tech. I am most interested in the Flipped tools.  I think many of these tools/resources can be flipped to work in an intervention setting and with families at home.  I’m always up to learning about more collaboration tools. I’m slipping in a 3rd – virtual reality tools.  ISTE got me very excited about exploring this in education.