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.
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?
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
Its been too long between posts about Evernote so alas, here I am again.
I tweeted my Evernote page again this morning as I hope that each time I do, someone new accesses it.
As a teacher, I really don’t understand why other teachers are not using it. If you have all student notes and work samples in one spot imagine how less stressful report writing will be. Yes it still takes a lot of time, but it is MUCH easier having everything in one spot and so easily accessible. In the last couple of weeks at school I have started a ‘Brekkie with a Techie’ morning and I am slowly winning by getting all staff on board and using Evernote.
I am often getting questions from various teachers asking how I set up my Evernote notebooks and notes. As a result I thought I would give you an inside look or tour of my Evernote account. This spiralled into me making a few screencasts, so if you can stand the sound of my voice for longer than 5 minutes, they could be short informative videos to help you, especially for new users.
Today I attended a Mac1 Australia workshop by Marco Torres- Ignite, Engage, Inspire at the Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre.
What I learnt:
I saw many links and similarities between CBL and Inquiry learning but the emphasis of CBL being on the challenge and taking action, making a difference and using 21st century tools to solve problems and challenges and connecting globally.
“Challenge Based Learning is collaborative and hands-on, asking students to work with other students, their teachers, and experts in their communities and around the world to develop deeper knowledge of the subjects students are studying, accept and solve challenges, take action, share their experience, and enter into a global discussion about important issues.”
Challenge Based Learning: The process- Big Idea, essential questions, the challenge, guiding questions- activities and resources, solution, implementation, evaluation, documentation, reflection assessment.
Some key reflective questions Marco posed were-
When was the last time your students or other teachers watched you learn?
Is just knowing the answers going to help you in this digital age?
What kinds of questions are we asking?
Is knowing the right answer enough?
What are we doing in schools to get kids to come up with the ideas?
Do schools measure learning or measure knowing?
Why are we asking questions that students can just look up?
Macro discussed the difference between the product and the process- where technology is the process of how we solve problems and challenges and should not be the product of our learning. The product is the new knowledge and the solved problems and challenges, technology just helps us to get there.
What a great afternoon of thinking, learning and reflecting. I am looking forward to implementing some CBL in my classroom!
Tonight I discovered Pearltrees.com, another exciting content curation tool to help you organise the web! A place where you are able to collect and share places of interest and sites from the internet. The tool allows you to share your ‘pearls’ with the Pearltrees community as well as enrich your own Pearltrees with content already saved on the site.
What makes Pearltrees unique ?
have everything you like on the web organized in one place
play with pearls, they are made to be manipulated
share great content instantly, everything is public
join +250.000 other users who are sharing + 10 millions pearls
As many of my readers already know, I am such a visual learner and love the way I can organise and curate content in a visual and pictorial way.
You can begin your Pearltree journey by using the search feature or clicking on the related interest button, which will bring up hundreds of pearls ready for you to add to your own trees. You can also create teams so multiple users can contribute to the one Pearltree, a great way to collaborate on multi-user projects!
I can already see so many possibilities for use in the classroom and can’t wait to explore more, especially with my students.
Here is the Pearltree I created- The beginning of what I think will be a very beautiful friendship!
It’s a first! This year I have taken the plunge into educational blogging with my new grade 4, 5, 6 class! I am so excited to begin this journey with my students and I am sure it will be a fun, rewarding and enlightening experience.
Last year I began writing ‘Miss Spink On Tech’ to share the ways I use technology in the classroom. In the beginning it was a daunting and nerve racking process, but now I love blogging so much and can only hope that I am able to share this love with my students. I love the way this blog has made me more reflective and in turn has developed my practise as a teacher.
Towards the end of 2011 I began using Google Sites and and created a site for my P, 1, 2 class. I embedded the comment feature and was able to dabble in a form of ‘blogging’ with these students. I was amazed at how excited the students were to get involved and I loved seeing how excited they got when global visitors commented on their work! It is also important to note the standard of writing that students were setting as they understood the importance of writing quality comments. This reaffirmed my desire to embark on an educational blogging with a new class in a new year.
And so it begins…Welcome to the Grade 4, 5, 6 Class blog!
So come and join us on our journey through blogging this year! I know my students would love to hear from students and teachers all over the world! Please help me show my students how powerful blogging can be!
What do you like about blogging with your students?
I know everybody has their favourites but I thought it was my time to share the iPad apps that I can’t live without! I have had my iPad since September 2011 and found that as each day at school went by I was using it more and more. Regular readers of my blog would already be aware of my affection for Evernote and Good Reader and how I use these apps to eliminate paper in my reading assessments with students. These are just two of my favourites so I thought it was time to share a few more!
I have said it before and I will say it again and again until every teacher I know at least tries Evernote! Evernote is a note taking app that allows users to take notes by typing, audio, video and pictures. It can be used on a variety of devices and syncs, so if I edit on my laptop it appears on my iPad!
I use Evernote to-
Save all of my assessment notes and data-
I have notebooks set up for different subjects and add notes about students as I notice them! I always have either my iPhone or iPad with me in the classroom so I can update quickly and easily, it keeps me mobile, away from the laptop and I never forget anything!
I have checklists set up for keeping records for homework and home reading, as well as keeping track of spelling results. I also know of teachers that have set up checklists for use in guided reading.
I keep track of all staff meeting notes so that I can refer to them later, again I find this easier than writing my notes on paper or in a book as I tend to put it down somewhere and never find it again! I also take notes on team meetings and can easily share or email the notes between team members.
If This Then That- “Put the Internet to work for you!” ifttt is a web app that allows you to create tasks of a simple structure. For example I could get ifttt to send me en email with the weather forecast every morning or send my mum a Facebook message on her birthday.
I use ifttt with Evernote to-
Save my starred items from Google Reader. It keeps them all together and easy to find at a later date.
Save new blog posts- every time I write a new post it sends a copy to Evernote for safe keeping.
Save my Twitter favourites- every time I favourite a tweet on Twitter it saves in Evernote.
Make a copy of my YouTube videos.
I keep track of all of my professional learning using Evernote- I can create quick and easy notes, take pictures, video and audio so that I don’t forget what I have learnt!
I do all my planning and work program using OneNote and since Office 2010 and the integration of SkyDrive it is even better! It is great having OneNote on my iPad and iPhone. The app allows me to have easy access to my planning documents at all times and I can add and edit on the go. The only thing I don’t like is that you can’t edit a table that has already been created- can be frustrating!
Turns your social networks into an interactive, online magazine! Add your Facebook or Twitter account to view in a dynamic and different way on the iPad or iPhone. You can also set up different Twitter hashtags that you follow.
Download the Splashtop streamer on your computer and iPad to create an easy and free remote desktop! Sit anywhere in the classroom and control your IWB or have students demonstrate on iPad rather than standing up in front of the class.
With Splashtop Whiteboard-
Be in Control – Have complete control over the applications on the classroom PC as if you were sitting right there. No need to stay at the front of class. Be free to roam around. Hand the iPad to a student and let their imagination do the rest!
Experience lifelike play back – All video and audio are played in high definition on your iPad. Play Adobe Flash content, iTunes music, DVDs, CDs, etc.
I love iMovie! It is so easy to use, very user friendly- I demonstrated once to some Prep, 1 and 2 students and that was it! They were publishing their writing using iMovie to be uploaded to our class website and were so excited about it. I find that it is a lot more instant than Photo Story or Movie Maker. I have used iMovie to create weekly school vodcasts, record and make movies of students working, had students make movies and photo stories to publish their work.
Ok so there are just 10 apps that I love and use lots! I hope that you get some ideas and maybe try some yourself!
I am constantly amazed by the power of the Twitter professional learning network and am always challenged and inspired by my colleagues- needless to say that this does not stop over the holiday period. Today I was tagged in an Internet meme about quality blogging and commenting by Stef Galvin.
An Internet meme is described by Wikipedia as a
“term to describe a concept that spreads via the Internet, Internet meme is an idea that is propagated through the World Wide Web. The idea may take the form of a hyperlink, video, picture, website, hashtag, or just a word or phrase”.
This meme about quality blogging and commenting originated from Silvia Tolisano where she challenged educators to think about the ways they use blogging and how they audit comments.
I have only been a blog writer since September and have only just scratched the surface of blogging with students- so in the blogging world I am somewhat of a novice but am willing to reflect upon and share my ideas in response to this meme.
Creating Authentic and Quality Blog Posts and Comments
When I began blogging with my students I was somewhat naive about the amount of preteaching and modelling that was needed- as a result, what students were writing in the beginning were not authentic or quality forms of commenting. When reflecting on this I decided to integrate blogging within writing sessions, explicitly teaching it as a text type, coming up with a student agreed upon check list and using this to form the basis for student commenting. I suppose I should mention that the ages of students I was working with was between 5 and 8, grades Prep to 2! This in itself was a challenge as I was working with students of varied degrees of ability and interest.
As a class we read a variety of blog posts and comments and discussed what we noticed about them. We came up with some ideas on what makes a quality post or comment and recorded our ideas-
We then created a checklist which allowed students to cross check their comments to ensure they were writing, quality, authentic and relevant comments.
I have enjoyed reflecting on the use of blogging and assessing student posts and comments and look forward to extending my knowledge further in this area as I endeavor to blog with grade 4, 5 and 6 students next year!
I am tagging three more educators to take part in this meme and invite any other readers to write their own post!