Last year I wrote a post about how Evernote has dramatically improved how I report on student progress. As report writing time has now crept up again for Australian schools, I thought it was the perfect time to write about my developments in this process.
At the beginning of the school year, from the very first day, I have been collecting an array of student work quickly, efficiently and productively all within my Evernote account. The types of things I have collected about my students include-
Samples of writing
Audio recordings of reading
Videos of student explanations and answers to maths problems
Student reflections (written and recorded)
Reading group notes and assessments
Photos of students working, managing their learning and demonstrating teamwork
Learning goals and achievements
Copies of pre and posts tests and assessment tasks
Records of home reading and homework habits
As a result, when I pulled out my iPad to begin writing reports last weekend, I was again, pleasantly surprised to feel so at ease and confident in writing quality reports for my students in a fraction of the time it would have taken me two years ago (before Evernote). I didn’t have to carry tub loads of books and assessments home because I had all the data I needed at the tip of my fingers, ready to go! I love that there is no need for comment banks as all student assessment data is personal and individualised, just the way student reports should be.
Within my Evernote account I have created a Notebook Stack- ’2013 Student Assessment’, within this stack I have created a notebook for each of my students as well as notebooks to document small teacher groups for reading, writing and numeracy. Within each of these notebooks are notes filled with what my students can do, their areas for improvement, learning goals and evidence of things they have said, done and completed in class. This evidence of student learning will also form an integral role as we prepare for our mid year three way conferences.
I am not denying that writing student reports is a time consuming process, it is, but with Evernote it is much easier and takes away all of the stress! What I hope many of you reading this realise is that you can get some hours back! If you want more hours to yourself in May and November each year…it’s time to do yourself and your students a favour- download Evernote and start tomorrow. My advice? start using Evernote to do one new thing a week. Before you know it you will be amazed at the possibilities. The use of Evernote to document and analyse my student assessment data has made me a better teacher. I am so much more accountable for keeping track and I never lose anything!
How do you track student assessment in your classroom?
Today I held an Evernote Meetup at my school in Craigieburn, an outer suburb of Melbourne. It was great to see many educators come out in the cold wind and rain for the event and to share in an afternoon of ‘green’ food and Evernote stories! Being the only Australian Evernote Ambassador, most of my interactions about Evernote generally happen online through my blog and Twitter, or when people in ‘real life’ will listen to me! It was fantastic to meet so many Evernote users and people who want to get on the amazing Evernote band wagon!
It was wonderful to hear about the great ways so many teachers are already using Evernote for themselves and with their students. I shared about how Evernote has changed my teaching and assessment practices and discussed many of the wonderful Evernote Trunk partners. I loved watching and hearing about how other educators are using Evernote and I loved that these teachers were excited and eager to start using Evernote straight away.
When planning lessons and thinking about topics I am going to teach, I always ensure I research to see what other teachers have done, to get new ideas or to clarify my thoughts and understandings. I’m also a Masters student so am constantly reading articles on the web and am now in the habit of ‘clipping’ these articles or things I may want to refer back to at a later date, into Evernote. I have never been a good ‘bookmarker’, I tried social bookmarking, it was a fad for a while but I gave up. I also have saved bookmarks to my local devices but the inability to access these across platforms annoys me quite a bit. I love the way I can save different websites and articles I find right into my Evernote account.
The Evernote Web Clipper allows you to save anything you see on the web quickly and easily straight into your Evernote account. You can clip a full page, single article or just the URL and save it to a designated Notebook and add tags. Your web clips then become searchable within your Evernote account. Doing this allows me to have all of my information at the tip of my fingers, right when I need it and across my multiple devices.
It gets better…Evernote Clearly might just be my favourite Evernote tool yet! Do you ever get frustrated at annoying adds that catch your eye when trying to read something? Or find it frustrating when the menu bars take up nearly half of the screen? Clearly makes blogs, webpages and articles clean, clear and easy to read. Now you can read these pages free from distraction and even change the theme and look of the page to suit you and your style. Once you have used Clearly, you can then capture the page to Evernote! Perfect! Clearly also allows you to highlight text, print a ‘clear’ version (but who prints these days anyway?) and maybe the best feature yet, especially after a long day at work…will even read the text to you with the text to speech feature!
Using these tools, my research, web browsing and bookmarking has clearly become more productive!
Make sure you have the Web Clipper and Clearly installed. Once installed they will appear in the top right hand corner of your web browser.
Once clipped to Evernote it will appear clear and with any highlights you made-
In what ways have you used the Evernote Web Clipper and Clearly?
As an Evernote Education Ambassador, I am holding my first ever Evernote Meetup! On Thursday 21st March, 2013 I have invited teachers and education professionals to my school to share and learn about Evernote together. The meetup is aimed at beginner and advanced users of Evernote alike who want to meet other avid and interested users.
So it is only a couple of weeks before Australian schools return for the 2013 school year and I have had lots of keen teachers contact me in relation to getting organised with Evernote.
Here are my top tips for preparing for your new school year with Evernote-
1. Set up a notebook for each of your students. I like to do this because as the year goes by you will collect evidence of student learning and it is kept all in the one spot, easily accessible and extremely handy when writing mid year and end of year student reports. It is also handy when you have parent-teacher interviews.
5. Keep Track of your professional development. A great way to organise and keep track of the professional development you undertake throughout the year.
6. Go paperless with your lesson plans and work program. Last year I went paperless with my work program in Evernote. All of my lesson plans from Term 2 onwards were created in Evernote. This allowed me to have access to my lesson plans wherever I was, when ever I wanted!
7. Tag. I must admit, I think I am the worst ‘tagger’ out but when I do tag, I am grateful I have done so. As an example, I always make sure I tag when working with small groups and am trying hard to ensure I do this when working with individual students as well. In reading sessions, I like to tag the strategy I was working on with students so when I want to check on how my students are going with a particular strategy, I can easily search for it.
8. Use the audio feature. Record your students reading, explaining maths problems or discussing their reflections. What ever you record is a great reminder of what your students have achieved and you can continually come back to to inform future teaching.
9. Take pictures. The best thing about about taking snapshots with Evernote is that it automatically digitizes the content and makes it searchable! Take pictures of student work samples, handouts you are given and more!
10. If you can afford $45 a year…go premium. The premium Evernote features give teachers many more opportunities for sharing and collaboration. Not only can you share notes with others, you can invite them to edit and collaborate on notes and notebooks with you. A great option, especially if you are team teaching or work in a large team of teachers.
Join my shared Notebook- Evernote Examples to give yourself some ideas and see how I use Evernote-
2012 has been a remarkable year. It has been busy and at times demanding, exciting and stimulating. There have been many ups and a few downs but each time I have managed to get back up again! I have learnt a great deal, I have taught a great deal, I have accomplished so much more than I could have imagined, which of course, has left me wanting even more! I have been surprised and I have been shocked but I can happily look back on 2012 and know that I am still in the right place. Being an educator is who I am and I couldn’t imagine doing anything else. I love my job, no matter what it throws at me and yes, some days I may just want to pull my hair out…but I don’t because I know that what I am doing is worth it. There are young people who rely on me everyday to be the best I can be, so I keep going. I don’t give up. I do it for them!
My highlights of 2012 have included:
- This Blog: What a wonderful way to share and learn from others, to engage in professional learning and to reflect on my practice.
- My Class Blog: My very first year of blogging in my class has opened up a myriad of ideas and learning in my classroom.
- T is For Teaching: An article by Jewel Topsfield published in The Age Newspaper. Teachers rarely get the recognition they deserve for the things they do in the classroom, just to be noticed and valued for what I have done is something that I am extremely grateful for.
- Evernote Ambassador: This year I was made an international education ambassador for Evernote. It is extremely exciting to share, teach, help and inspire other teachers to use Evernote to become more organised and efficient teachers!
- My students: I have been blessed with an amazing group of students who have challenged me and nearly everyday teach me something new. Without them I would not have been able to accomplish half as much as I did this year.
I am currently studying my Masters in Education, specialising in Information Technologies and over the weekend completed an assignment. One part of the assignment was to look at some of the theories, models and frameworks behind using technology in the classroom, that enable teachers to do this effectively. I thought I would share some of that information here as a little reminder as sometimes I feel many teachers get so caught up in the tools and forget about the pedagogy.
The theory behind effective technology integration:
If you want to embrace technology effectively and in a meaningful manner in the classroom, you first need to identify your strengths and weaknesses. You need to identify what kind of knowledge you are bringing. Think about your knowledge in the following areas-
Imagine you are teaching a fractions lesson in mathematics, do you know the content? Do you know how to teach it? Can you effectively use technology to support the students in your classroom to learn about fractions?
The TPACK framework is a great place to start to identify your professional development needs.
The TPACK (Technological, Pedagogical, Content and Knowledge) Model in Three Minutes on YouTube-
Once you have identified your strengths, weaknesses and areas for professional development from TPACK, how will you now integrate technology in the classroom?
The Technology Integration Planning (TIP) Model allows teachers to address the challenges involved in integrating technology in teaching and learning. Each of the six phases gives teachers the steps for implementation that will ensure technology use in the classroom will be meaningful, efficient and successful (Roblyer, 2010). For more information on the phases of the TIP model follow this link- http://bookbuilder.cast.org/view_print.php?book=32768
One more theoretical framework to consider after TPACK and TIP is SAMR- Substitue, Augment, Modify, Redefine originally designed by Ruben Puentedura (2009).
My explanation of the SAMR model, from substitution to redefinition! Let’s aim to be transformative teachers who embrace technology to redefine learning opportunities in the classroom.
But a professional responsibility, that as an accredited teacher you are required to adhere to. If you still are not convinced about the importance of and the theories behind using technologies in the classroom, have a look at the National Professional Teaching Standards. It is a requirement that accredited teachers use information and communication technologies within teaching and learning in a relevant and meaningful way. Teachers are expected to plan and implement effective teaching and learning through creating and using a range of technologies to engage students in learning. It is also expected that teachers will create and maintain a supportive learning environment through incorporating strategies to promote the safe, responsible and ethical use of technology in education (AITSL, 2011).
Do you use any of these theories when planning to integrate technology?
What is your philosophy of technology integration?
The Evernote Ambassador Program is a global community of selected Evernote users who volunteer their time and knowledge to show others how to become experts at using Evernote in various aspects of their daily lives.
Regular readers of Miss Spink On Tech know how much I love Evernote, in fact a whole page on my blog is devoted to how I use Evernote in the classroom.
This week, it is exciting to announce that Evernote have made me a part of their Ambassador team.
I am looking forward to continuing to learn and share with others about Evernote!
In November 2011 I blogged about how I used Twitter in a mathematics lesson on chance and probability with a group of year two students. Since then, just over a year ago, Twitter has become an integral part of my classroom program. So much so that last week I was contacted by Jewel Topsfield, the education editor at The Age Newspaper who wrote an article about how Twitter is being used in the education field – T is for Teaching. After receiving so much attention from the article, I realised that using Twitter with my year five and six students had become such a normal part of the daily activities in my classroom that I had forgotten that what my students and I are doing is still something that many educational professionals perceive as ‘taboo’, that there are still so many people out there that believe social media plays no part in the education of these ‘digital native’ students we teach everyday.
Photo: Jason South http://www.theage.com.au/national/t-is-for-teaching-20121130-2amd9.html
The fact is that many students in my class already use social media, they have Instagram, Facebook, YouTube, Google and Twitter accounts and although I can not condone their use of those tools as they are under 13 years of age, I can expose them to positive ways of using such tools in the classroom. Through using my class Twitter account @ACPS456 and sites such as Edmodo I am exposing my students to a POSITIVE way of behaving and communicating in an online world- something that they are already beginning to do. I am teaching my students how to identify and block spam accounts, the importance of only friending people they know on Facebook, the notion of leaving a ‘digital footprint’ and how to be safe online!
It is no longer ok for teachers to ignore the fact that their students are using these tools and that social media is becoming a fundamental source for them to research, gather information, learn, play and communicate. Shouldn’t we as educators be embracing this use of technology in the classroom rather than ignoring it? Teachers, principals and parents desperately need to get over their beliefs that Twitter is a place for sharing unimportant information and updates or following celebrities. No, I do not care what you ate for lunch today or what grocery store you shop at, but I DO care and WILL take notice if I see an 11 year old tweet the Prime Minister or read about young people sharing their learning and knowledge with the world. It is time for educators and parents to understand that Twitter and other social media in the classroom can be a valuable place and a world stage for student learning. Teachers need to stop being afraid and simply have a go at using the tools, if not for their class then for themselves. Twitter is the best FREE source of professional learning I have ever come across. I hear so many excuses and complaints about being so swamped that “I don’t have the time”, excuses like these are simply just that, don’t tell me you don’t have time and then expect me to sit down with you for half an hour to explain something when you could have got the answer off other teachers on Twitter almost instantly. There are SO many educators out there, many experts in their fields, willing to share their knowledge in 140 characters or less- it’s time to get involved!
Ways to use Twitter with students:
Sharing class updates
Sharing blog posts
Tweeting reflections on learning activities
Sharing what they have learnt
Gathering information and data
Create global connections with other classes and teachers
In September and October last year I wrote a few posts about assessing student reading on the iPad by taking running records using the GoodReader app and then saving the assessments in Evernote to have everything in the one spot. This process has worked well for me for more than a year but recently I was reminded of a Record of Reading app (thanks to @richielambert) which I had previously dismissed due to not being able to export the completed record to Evernote. Rich suggested taking a screen shot and saving it to Evernote that way, which would work and is a great suggestion but I found it to be a little clunky and fiddly when in the classroom and on the go. After playing around with the app a little more, I found that you are able to email a completed record as either a .jpeg or .pdf file. By doing this I was able to email it directly to my Evernote account in less clicks (or taps) than taking a screen shot, just a little more efficient.
The Record of Reading app is a nifty idea and unlike annotating a .pdf using GoodReader, it allows the teacher to complete a miscue analysis by simply tapping instead of spending time writing more. I would still suggest using a stylus rather than your finger to complete the annotations.
Another good feature of the app is being able to add all the data- words read, errors and self corrections and then it automatically calculates the accuracy rate. Very handy in a busy classroom!
Ok, after the pros, there must come some cons…I still prefer to record the audio of my students reading in Evernote, that way I can access all of my data the one place and the emailing part is a little annoying but no more annoying than what it was saving an annotated .pdf from GoodReader.
Between this app, Kustomnote and Evernote, paperless assessment in my classroom is getting even easier and more efficient!