Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Lesson Redesign with Technology in Mind

The elementary "Digital Conversion" is well underway, and now that we have a semester under our belt, it's time to think about modifying lessons to include a mindful integration of technology that capitalizes on teaching and learning strategies that we know work.  

Teachers have worked really hard to give students a chance to try out new apps, strategies and approaches, and now that students have some skills, we can start to consider our own technology tool-kits as compared to our traditional instructional toolkit and find a way to join those things together.  

Below is a Thinglink that highlights Marzano High Yield Strategies that we have been using for years, and suggests ways you can use technology to supplement for standard paper/pencil based learning.  While most of these may fall into the "Substitution" or "Augmentation" levels of SAMR, they are strategies that have been proven to benefit students.

Many of you are already using these apps with your students, it may just take some adjustment to how you use them.  For example you can get a lot of mileage out of some well designed graphic organizers in a digital notebook designed in PowerPoint.  Hover over the image below for more information.

For some teachers, simply substituting tools isn't going to satisfy a desire to really transform learning for students.  While it is hard to hit "Modification" and "Redefinition" levels of SAMR on a daily basis, you can start to move your students in simple ways toward transforming their learning by giving them more choice and by considering the 4Cs: Creativity, Critical Thinking, Communication and Collaboration.  

Check out this Thinglink below on the 4Cs.  Many of the suggested tools featured here are student favorites.  With some mindful planning, you can get kids engaging in 21st Century skills using tools and strategies they already feel comfortable using.

Need some more ideas?  Consider these:
  • Instead of group read-alouds TRY having students use an active reading strategy that involves taking a photo of the page, inserting in a whiteboarding app, PowerPoint or OneNote and annotating the text for key ideas.
  • Instead of vocabulary worksheet practice TRY having students create a P presentation of their words that includes: original drawings, image collages that remind them of the definitions, self made quizzes, and video stories that use the vocabulary.
  • Instead of a traditional science observation journal TRY having students keep a digital notebook in OneNote or PowerPoint that includes photos they have taken, short videos of the investigation, self selected graphic organizers with key ideas.
  • Instead of a teacher led math lesson using an Interactive Whiteboard with lecture and problem practice TRY having students view a teacher-made screencast, or Khan Academy video  on the topic embedded in Schoology with a discussion thread or short quiz where students can discuss or check their understanding for homework and then use the class time for the teacher to help work through misconceptions and provide guided practice.
  • Instead of watching a video that highlights the main ideas of a chapter in Social Studies, TRY having students make quick videos of assigned chapter sections that reviews key ideas, then airdrop them to a classmate who assembles them into a longer review.
  • Instead of having students do cold and hot reads individually TRY having them record them on Seesaw, marking words their not sure about during the cold read, then going back later to do record the hot read and reflecting on their progress.
  • Instead of having students create a model of a science concept on paper TRY letting gets create a model in Scratch where they also get to practice coding skills. 

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Getting Started with Google School Accounts

As an awesome addition to our digital tool box, our District recently connected to Google Suite for Education (formerly known as Google Apps for Education or GAFE).

While we still have access to our Office 365 accounts, you now have the option to choose from a wider assortment of tools.  Check out the comparison chart below for a few ideas on how things line up between Office 365 and Google.
Just like with Office 365, you can take advantage of the many great Google apps on your desktop computer and through your iPad.
To use Google Suite on your iPads, you will want to get the apps first.  In your app store, search for Google, and download those that you think you will get the most use out of.  You will at least want to download Google Drive, Docs, Sheets, Slides and Photos. Although there are plenty more you can take advantage of.

Sign In

After downloading the apps, the first thing you will want to do is sign into the Google Drive App.


Now, as you use the other Google apps on your iPad, like Docs and Sheets, if you are signed into Google Drive, when you press "sign in" you should see "Continue As" and your Name and Fort Thomas email account

Try it Out

Open up the Docs app and create a new doc by pressing the red circle with plus sign in the lower right hand corner.  You can start from a template or a blank document.
You can also share your document with a colleague for simultaneous editing and collaboration.  

Share it with one other person by pressing the dot stack in the top right hand corner, choose Share and Export and type their email.  Before you send the email, double check the editing privileges, by pressing the pencil symbo next to the email.
The person you shared the document with, will receive an email.  Once they open that link in their own app, they will be able to go back and find the document in their "Shared with Me" area.
The same is true for you, documents shared with you appear in the "Shared with Me" area

In the Docs OR Drive app press the "pancake stack" in the upper left hand corner to locate your "Shared with Me" area.
Shared with Me is under the main menu

Working from a Browser

      • Go to Google
      • Log in by pressing "Sign In" - Upper Right Hand Corner
      • Use School Email and Password


    Once you are logged in, the Google apps like Docs, Forms and Sheets are all located in the "Waffle" on the top right hand side of the screen.
     Take some time to explore these apps in both the browser and on your iPad to get a feel for how they work together, how you can use them to collaborate and think about how giving your students a choice between platforms might be a good way to expose them to many different types of storage and document creation tools before they graduate.