Thing #20 – Blended or Flipped Classrooms

You know, it’s sad to say that as I near the end of this 21 Things course, I’m wishing there were another 21 things to learn about.  I have so much to say, but I’m getting ahead of myself here.  There will be more time for that later!  Right now, I need to share my experiences with creating videos.  My Math Lab class was “blended” last year in that I had students work a lot with Khan Academy individually while I took the time to work with individuals and small groups.  I veered away from making my own videos because….well…..it seemed like it was going to be kind of hard, I wasn’t sure how to run any of the software (I had a Snagit license from the BLiC class that I had yet to even install, let alone figure out how it worked), and….well, it was just too much to wrap my head around.

And then Thing #20 comes along.  In today’s virtual meeting, I was hoping for some sort of  impossibly easy way to get around this assignment.  After about an hour of playing around with Jing AND my newly installed Snagit (sad, but I’m now looking at both icons at the top of my screen), I can’t imagine what I thought was so difficult this whole time!!  It’s just like teaching to my students in the classroom, only I can’t see them.  I wish someone would have made me do this sooner!!

Jing!

I must say that I love, love, love Jing.  The majority of my evening was spent with it, and so that’s where I’m most comfortable right now.  I’m sure, given some time and experience with video captures, I’ll come to love Snagit and all of its editing features just as much.

I have not recorded a video for my junior high students just yet.  That’ll be later tonight after I get my thoughts down here.  What I did was create a short video on how to do an assignment for my BLiC class that just started Monday.  I had a couple of participants that had questions on the same assignment…I slowly put 2 and 2 together today as I was trying to figure out what I was going to do for the Thing #20 assignment.  Why not just create a video for my BLiC participants??  Here is a screen shot (courtesy of Snagit….which I am falling in love with, even as we speak) that shows my posting in the Course Questions forum of my BLiC class… only because you won’t be able to get in as a student.  I guess this would be my proof that it’s out there.

Video

 

If you want to see the video for yourself, just follow the link.

 

http://www.screencast.com/t/owMXMZRPvj

Feedback!

The feedback from one particular BLiC participant came rolling in right away.  She was thrilled for the help…turns out she was mistaking what a “screenshot” really was, and so we were able to clear up that misconception right away.  It’s not my best work, to be sure, but I was so excited to get it posted (and even more excited to start making videos for my students), forgive the imperfection.

Reflections!

Strengths…I’m pretty proud of myself from avoiding a lot of “ummm….” and “ahhhh….” talk.  It’s one of my pet peeves, and I think strong preparation ahead of time really does avoid that path.  If you know exactly what you are going to talk about, you don’t feel the need for those types of time fillers.  I am also one to mumble a lot and I talk really fast, but I think I did a very nice job of speaking slowly and clearly in the video.

Weaknesses…I think my lack of experience with the technology of these tools may show.  It feels like I am spending a lot of time learning the technology right now, rather than the quality of what is being presented.  I suspect that will begin to clear up over time with practice.  My mind is also racing with all of the things I want to do with Jing and Snagit, and I tend to get overwhelmed when that happens.

The best strategy for making my next video recording even better is to do another one tonight.  It will build that confidence and give me more practice.  I think that will give my mind a chance to sort out how I want to use these videos in my classroom.  I definitely think that when I’m out for a conference, students will no longer have to wait for me to return to start something new.  I’ll be right there with them!  My next video will be better…I want to give Snagit a try, and actually use some of the writing and editing tools to show students how to solve some math problems.

ISTE Standards

Facilitate and inspire student learning and creativity – Creating videos for students to view in either a blended or flipped environment provides me with the time I need to work with students more closely.  I’m not bogged down by standing in front of the class all hour going on and on and on…telling the students in the back to be quiet or to get out their math binders.  Students will take more responsibility for their own education, leading to higher interest and participation.

2b Develop technology-enriched learning environments that enable all students to pursue their individual curiosities and become active participants in setting their own educational goals, managing their own learning, and assessing their progress – The blended and flipped environment do just this for students.  Students are no longer tied to what I want them to know, how I want the to learn, when I want them to learn….and so on.  They can discover and explore the content in new and different ways, learning as much as they like, however they choose.

3c Communicate relevant information and ideas effectively to students, parents, and peers using a variety of digital age media and formats – I now have the freedom to not only make educational videos for students, but I can make videos that shows parents how to check their child’s grades online, videos for my colleagues showing them how a new digital age tool might work in their classroom…the opportunities are endless!

4b Address the diverse needs of all learners by using learner-centered strategies providing equitable access to appropriate digital tools and resources – Students of all learning styles and capabilities will not only have more time with me in the classroom to help them directly, but they will also have access to videos that they can rewind and pause and watch as many times as necessary until they either “get it” or they are able to formulate a question that will lead to understanding.

CITW – Best Practices

Setting objectives and providing feedback – A video can clearly state right up front exactly what will be discussed in the content.  As in the case with my BLiC participants, I was able to quickly provide feedback in the form of a tutorial video that cleared up a misconception.

Cues, questions, and advanced organizers – If a hear a number of questions being repeated as I walk around to individual groups and partners, I can re-adjust my instruction and include a video that would address those questions.  Basically, the students and their level of understanding will drive the curriculum.

Summarizing and note-taking – The videos provide that “playback” feature that will encourage strong note-taking and summarizing skills for students.  I only hope they understand that not EVERY class will give them this unique characteristic.

Assigning homework and practice – I completely understand the theory behind giving the content of a lesson as the homework for students.  With videos, they have a chance to re-watch and pause as often as necessary.  That leaves their time with me as a chance for me to answer questions, iron out any misconceptions, and I get the chance to see how well they really do understand the material.

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Thing #19 – Digital Storytelling

Digital Storytelling!

I was able to play around a bit with the Storybird tool (http://storybird.com/) and create a story problem for my students to solve.  In the spirit of Dan Meyers and his Three Act math problems, I created a problem that didn’t necessarily give every piece of information to students, but instead gave them the chance to explore a relatively real world situation and answer in a way that makes sense to the student.  I probably gave away too much information as it is, but it’s a start.  After going through and solving the problem that I have presented, students will be asked to create their own digital story problem.  Not only have I modeled digital storytelling, but I have redefined and modified my original lesson to make a richer, more meaningful experience for students.  I would say that creating their own story problems, sharing, and solving would be much more beneficial than completing a worksheet of story problems.  Every year, I have students that routinely skip the story problems in the homework assignments in the book because they say they are too confusing.  If they begin to create their own story problems, students will be looking at the problem from the other side, hopefully not nearly as intimidated by all of the words anymore!  Here is my Storybird, entitled “Karl Gets Lost”.

Karl Gets Lost

 

Reactions From Others!

Two of my colleagues looked at this, and they were both amazed.  One happens to be an English teacher, and she couldn’t wait to get her students working on one of these this fall.  The other was a math teacher, and I don’t think she’s stopped talking about it yet.  We have been struggling in the math department for years trying to get students to tackle these story problems.  Perhaps by putting the power of the students’ education into THEIR hands, they will have more of an investment and interest in moving forward.  As much as I loved Storybird, I felt a little limited by having to make my story match the pictures, and I would like to try another source the next time.  Using my own photos and videos to create real world problems might be easier.

Practice with SoundCloud!

I created an account in SoundCloud, and discussed the benefits of digital storytelling for students.  Students reach a different level of thinking as they go through the assignment, and they are provided with multiple means of expression, content, and technology standards.  The audio file is linked below.

SoundCloud Audio Clip on Digital Storytelling

 

ISTE Standards

1b – Engage students in exploring real-world issues and solving authentic problems using digital tools and resources – Though the original intent of this thing was to create a story through digital means, I was able to turn this into a story problem for students.  Students can solve the problems and then create their own through the use of the digital storytelling resources.

2c Customize and personalize learning activities to address students’ diverse learning styles, working strategies, and abilities using digital tools and resources – Not every student thinks like I do, especially when it comes to math.  I am very linear and procedural, but more and more students crave that need for creativity, especially in this digital age.  With digital storytelling tools, students are able to access those types of learning styles that they maybe couldn’t before in the typical math classroom.

3d Model and facilitate effective use of current and emerging digital tools to locate, analyze, evaluate, and use information resources to support research and learning – The use of digital storytelling tools allows the instructor to model a different way to solve math problems, opening the door for student learning.

4a Advocate, model, and teach safe, legal, and ethical use of digital information and technology, including respect for copyright, intellectual property, and the appropriate documentation of sources – Though I have been guilty of  letting this idea slip in the past, through consistent modeling, students will learn the importance of protecting themselves, their creations, and their ideas.  I was sure to include the Creative Commons license on both my Storybird book and my audio recording.

5d Contribute to the effectiveness, vitality, and self-renewal of the teaching profession and of their school and community – The SoundCloud resource allowed me to easily share my thoughts and ideas about digital storytelling and its benefits.  Sharing these thoughts on my face of the classroom and the blog shows that I have made a contribution to the teaching profession.

CITW – Best Practices

Summarizing and note-taking – There were a number of storyboard organization sites that were shared in this thing that would allow students to take notes and include the elements of digital storytelling.

Non-linguistic representations – Using photographs, videos, and provided artwork is the essence of digital storytelling.  Students will be able to demonstrate their understanding of objectives without the use of the written word.

Setting objectives and providing feedback – A SoundCloud or Audacity audio recording would allow the instructor to upload and provide feedback to a student’s work directly.

Cues, questions, and advanced organizers – The digital story problem book that I created includes questions within the story.  Students are asked about halfway through the book as to what information would be necessary to complete the problem.  Also, there are elements of creating a storyboard for a student’s own story problem that help him/her to organize thoughts.

Identifying similarities and differences – As students work collaboratively and explore the work of others, they will quickly be able to compare the similarities and differences in their stories with that of their peers.  In my particular situation, it would be great if they could see that the stories that they are creating all result in linear functions!

 

 

Thing #16 – DI and UDL

Differentiated Learning!

In order to address differentiated learning, there are a number of things that I already use in instruction.  Here are just a few examples.

  • Align tasks and objectives to learning goals – Using the Common Core and district curriculum as my guidelines, I create lessons and activities that build student learning.  Each class is different, and so I find that I can’t just do the same thing year after year.  My curriculum guide is a living, breathing document that changes with each group of students.
  • Flexible grouping is consistently used – Depending on the specific lesson or activity, we rotate among whole class groups, small groups, and pairs to construct student knowledge.  I regularly re-assign groups based on the content of the activity, keeping in mind student strengths and capabilities.
  • Students are active and responsible explorers – I regularly check to make sure each group and partnership is appropriately challenged.  If a particular student is rushing through something that is too easy, warning flags go up for me.  I regularly reflect and readjust to ensure that each student is interested and eager to move forward.
  • Emphasize critical and creative thinking as a goal in lesson design – I always try to make sure that math isn’t a class where students take notes, and then do a bunch of problems.  I try to create an environment in which they make connections to the real world, seeing the importance of math in everyday life.  We go through problems that may not even have an exact answer, but rather we emphasize the problem solving process.

Diverse Learning!

I think the best tool that can be used in the math classroom to support a struggling learner would be a graphic organizer.  There are several types available, specifically discussed back in Thing #3, and if students could see the big picture of how certain math concepts are connected together, perhaps they would see the value behind the content that is being addressed.  These could be student- or teacher-created, and they could be started at the beginning of a unit and readjusted as new information is shared.  With color-coding, text-reading, and image capabilities, students would have a solid map of the unit.  Another graphic organizer could be a rubric, something that would set clear expectations for students early on in the unit or lesson.

Universal Design for Learning!

In the math classroom, I use math manipulatives every time I possibly can.  If students can feel it and touch it, it gives them one more way to help their brains remember the concepts.  When we go through a probability unit, I have students flip coins several times to see if that whole “50/50” thing is real.  If students flip the coin 20, 30, or even 50 times, they may not get the true sense of what it means for two outcomes to be equally likely.  However, if we use a virtual math manipulative that can flip the coin for them 100 or even 1000 times in seconds, they can see for themselves that the outcomes do theoretically balance out.  I have used the Shodor site frequently (http://www.shodor.org/interactivate/activities/) and the National Library of Virtual Manipulatives (http://nlvm.usu.edu/en/nav/vlibrary.html) for my students.  I do have a classroom set of graphing calculators for students to quickly make comparisons in their graphs, but not all students have access to these calculators at home.  I see there is a Graphcalc resource (http://www.graphcalc.com/download.shtml) that students could potentially use at home if they have been absent or would like to explore what we have learned in class a little more.  Each of these virtual manipulatives will certainly get math into the hands of ALL students.

Text-to-Audio Conversion!

I used the Natural Reader site (http://www.naturalreaders.com/index.php) to convert a paragraph of this posting into an audio recording.  I ended up downloading the free program onto my laptop.  I never realized how easy it was to use these text-to-audio programs, and as my “face” of the classroom becomes more of a place for students to access lessons and resources online, I would like to include this website for student use.  I often have students with low reading capabilities, and as my 7th grade curriculum consists of a number of real world problems and scenarios, this text-to-audio idea would be essential for these students.  They wouldn’t be bogged down by all of the reading, but rather, they would be able to focus on the math of the lesson.  However, as I include more student writing into my curriculum, these text-to-audio resources could also be used for students to double check the grammar and “feel” for what they have written.  My students are famous for writing something down, and then just submitting it without giving it a second thought.  If they ran what they had written through one of these text-to-audio programs, perhaps they would hear the ridiculousness of some of their writing.

Text to Audio Converter

ISTE Standards

1a Promote, support, and model creative and innovative thinking and inventiveness – Providing an environment in which every learner can be successful is my job as a teacher, and putting simple strategies in place to help each and every student only makes sense.  With tools such as the text-to-audio converters and online math manipulatives, all students will get their chance at math success.

2c Customize and personalize learning activities to address students’ diverse learning styles, working strategies, and abilities using digital tools and resources – Without actually going through and making three different versions of the same lesson to address students needs, using simple differentiated learning and UDL strategies will still reach the diversity of learners in the classroom.  Through flexible grouping and creating innovative and engaging lessons and activities for students, the instructor will be able to reach all student learning styles, working strategies, and abilities.

3a – Demonstrate fluency in technology systems and the transfer of current knowledge to new technologies and situations – Simply being aware of the elements of differentiated instruction, diverse learning, and UDL resources, the instructor will be able to transfer that knowledge through digital age tools.  Through continued use and practice of these elements, the instructor will then easily be able to move that knowledge to the newest and most updated technology tools and situations.

4b – Address the diverse needs of all learners by using learner-centered strategies providing equitable  access to appropriate digital tools and resources – Through the use of something like the text-to-audio converters, instructors will be providing all learners equitable access to the lessons and activities provided.  This would be true of the virtual math manipulatives that were discussed earlier as well.

CITW – Best Practices

Cues, questions, and advanced organizers – In order to make the curriculum accessible to each and every student, a graphic organizer could be used to outline the upcoming unit and to outline expectations.  Color-coding and images paired with text-to-audio conversions will provide a big picture of understanding for students.

Summarizing and note-taking – As students take notes or summarize particular portions of a lesson or activity, they could run it through a text-to-audio converter program to ensure that what they have written makes sense.  The students could also use the converter to read certain portions of the textbook or articles to them, allowing them to focus on what they would need to write down for notes or summaries.

Assigning homework and practice – The text-to-audio converter could easily be included in the “face” of my classroom, and the students that are working on homework and practice individually could use it to read the assignments to them, it could help them read the assigned text, and it could even read back their written responses.

Thing #14 – Powerful Presentations

Blendspace!

Have you ever had a complete and TOTAL “aha” moment that hit you so hard, you had the strong desire to do 4 weeks of work in one night??  That’s just about where I am with Blendspace.  I have been thinking and experimenting with a number of different tools and ideas for over a year, trying to find what would work the best for my students as I try to move my classrooms to a more blended environment.  I’ve tried a lot of really cool things, but nothing ever really seemed like Goldilock’s “just right” web tool… until NOW!!  I love love love Blendspace, and my mind is reeling with everything I want to do before school starts.  I have created PowerPoints for nearly all of my lessons, but it’s just not enough anymore.  Blendspace allows me to include practice handouts, videos, games, interactive practice…even links to the textbook.  The Blendspace presentation I created for this “thing” has already been posted on my Weebly site, and it will be our first lesson in Algebra this fall.  I can’t WAIT to create even more!

http://blnds.co/1nmunZC

During that first review week of school, I always find it necessary to revisit the order of operations with students as well as the properties of real numbers, and that is exactly what this presentation does.  I intend to get students hooked up with gmail accounts and access to this first Blendspace lesson as soon as possible.  We have an iPad cart that I can use, or I’ll be signing up first thing to get into the computer lab.  Students will go through each page of the presentation, learning and practicing the reviewed skills.  I plan to facilitate this web experience by speaking with individual students or small groups to answer guiding or specific questions as the students are working on the lesson.  This particular lesson addresses each point of the SAMR model.  For substitution and augmentation sections, students will be going through the content pieces (such as the PowerPoint or the graphics that have been presented) and writing down their own notes, interpreting and explaining in their own words, constructing their own methods for understanding the order of operations and properties of real numbers.  For modification, students will have an opportunity to critique, offer suggestions, and give their opinions in the forum as classmates post responses to where the properties of real numbers can occur in real world situations.  Finally, the redefinition comes in as students develop and create a presentation of their own version of the PEMDAS acronym.  There are also a number of “best practice” components built into this presentation, most importantly setting objectives and providing feedback.  Students will be fully aware of what they are learning, and as I am able to be available to individuals and small groups, the feedback on how well they are understanding the material will be very fast.  The built-in quizzes and provided answer keys will also immediately provide that critical feedback students thrive on.

Rubistar!

This is a resource that I have been aware of, but I’m not quite sure why I haven’t used it more.  I think the way I will handle each of these lessons is through a multimedia rubric.  Students will be able to earn points based on the handouts they turn in, the tasks they must complete, and the online assessments.  This puts the power of learning into the hands of my students, where it should be… and I can spend more time moving individuals forward, no matter where they are on the learning continuum.

 

http://rubistar.4teachers.org/index.php?screen=ShowRubric&rubric_id=2454810&

ISTE Standards

Facilitate and inspire student learning and creativity – With something as flexible and user-friendly as Blendspace lessons, students will be able to move forward in their math content knowledge through videos, interactive sites, practice, online quizzes,…something above and beyond where they’ve been with their education.

Design and develop digital age learning experiences and assessments – There is such a wide variety of digital age learning resources, and through the use of Blendspace, I am able to design and develop lessons for students that will take them beyond the walls of the classroom.

Model digital age work and learning – By bringing in an iPad cart and/or taking students to the computer lab on a regular basis for math class, students will be exposed to a different type of math classroom.  The Blendspace lessons that I create for my classes will show students how well the digital age tools can be used for work and learning.

4b Address the diverse needs of all learners by using learner-centered strategies providing equitable access to appropriate digital tools and resources – Students with special needs can certainly access the Blendspace lessons that I create.  Students with specific learning disabilities can complete certain portions of the lesson.  The videos and additional PowerPoint presentations can be accessed an unlimited number of times, and rather than copying down notes, special needs students can print out the necessary content.  Those with hearing impairments can certainly use the closed-captioned feature on the videos.

5c Evaluate and reflect on current research and professional practice on a regular basis to make effective use of existing and emerging digital tools and resources in support of student learning – The Blendspace lessons can easily be adapted to the newest and best researched digital tools as they become available.  As I read through the updated materials, I can make changes to my Blendspace lessons.

CITW – Best Practices

Setting objectives and providing feedback – As mentioned above, this is the most prominent best practice of the Blendspace lessons simply because the objectives can be plainly stated at the beginning of the lesson for the entire class to see, and then there are multiple opportunities throughout the lesson for both teacher and interactive feedback for students.

Non-linguistic representations – The video and image feature make the Blendspace presentations the perfect opportunity for students to access this best practice.  Students could be asked to make their own Blendspace presentation to teach a particular standard using any of the non-linguistic tools available to them, such as world clouds, images, videos, and so on.

Summarizing and note-taking – As I provide the content to students in the form of PowerPoints and videos, students will have the option to take notes and summarize what they have learned.  There will no longer be the need to copy down every single word they see on the board because it will be there for them throughout the year.  They need to use this best practice to really learn the material.

Cooperative learning – Students could collaborate and work on a Blendspace presentation of their own, sharing the lesson with other students, and perhaps even presenting the information to classmates.

Final Thoughts

I’ve used PowerPoints and Prezi, and even Google Presentations, but I sincerely believe this Blendspace idea is the beginning of something fantastic for my students!  Thanks for bringing this “thing” to our attention!

Thing #9 – Be Legal and Fair

Copyright Quiz!

I was aware that there are copyright laws on the pieces of information that I share in class or that my students use for their projects and presentations.  After taking the quiz, I received a score of 16.  I think this demonstrates that awareness is pretty important.

Copyright Quiz

However, simply being aware is does not make me exempt from unknowingly breaking copyright laws.  This past year, I was short on textbooks from my Connected Math series.  These are very small textbooks, they look almost like workbooks, and for one of the units, I didn’t realize I was 3 books short until the day I passed out the new units.  I quickly went to make copies on my planning hour for students to use, and those students continued to use the copies for the entire unit (which typically last 4-6 weeks).  This copyright infringement may have affected the publisher of the textbooks, Pearson-Prentice Hall, because they did not receive the additional funds for those extra students because I copied the textbook rather than purchased new ones for the students.  Next time this happens, and I’m sure it will, I intend to perhaps use the photocopies in a pinch for a couple of days until I put in an order and get student copies for each of the students, rather than using the copies for the entire unit.  I would also collect and destroy the photocopies once students have their own books.  I could also have students pair up if I am short on books until the extra student copies arrive.

Creative Commons Licensing!

I was able to go to the Creative Commons site and create a license for my Weebly page.  I work very hard on the documents I share with my students, so I chose not to let anyone to make changes to or commercialize my work.

Weebly Creative Commons

 

Plagiarism Checkers!

Our English department has encouraged us to use TurnItIn.com for a couple of years now, and I could never really get used to it.  In math, I don’t have students do a LOT of writing, and this service just always seemed so cumbersome.  DupliChecker seems quick and easy to use.  I submitted my husband’s Human Anatomy and Physiology final research paper to see that he did a very nice job of using his own thoughts and ideas.  The only thing DupliChecker found were the direct quotes that he used and properly cited.  In my own classroom, I can definitely see using this as I assign quick homework writing assignments to my students.  I often ask them to pretend an alien has just arrived from outer space and does not have ANY idea how to subtract rational numbers, for example.  Students will then write a comprehensive explanation of exactly how the would explain this concept to our visitor.  These brief writings could easily be submitted to DupliChecker to make sure the students haven’t found too much “help” online.

ISTE Standards

4b Address the diverse needs of all learners by using learner-centered strategies providing equitable access to appropriate digital tools and resources – Making sure that students are not unknowingly infringing on copyright laws by encouraging them to search images, music, and other media using the Creative Commons website would ensure that they are gaining access to the appropriate digital tools and resources.

CITW

Summarizing and note-taking – If students are accurately and effectively summarizing what has been learned and taking notes on the information in their own words, plagiarism checkers such as DupliChecker and PlagTracker submissions should illustrate that the work is definitely not “cut and pasted”.

Assigning homework and practice – Instructors could assign research papers or other smaller writing assignments, making sure students are not copying the work of others.  Students could be directed to find illustrations through a Creative Commons search rather than a regular Google Images search, and they could also assign a Creative Commons license to their own work, making them more aware of the essential copyright laws.

Cues, questions, advanced organizers – Creating an organizer for a project involves students producing an original piece of work, the perfect occasion for a Creative Commons license!

Thing #7 – Productivity

Zamzar!

Zamzar

This is a tool that I used VERY briefly at a time when our school was still filtering out YouTube.  There were so many great educational videos out there, and I just had to share them with my students.  Therefore, I never went much beyond converting the YouTube videos at home to formats that I could show at school.  Converting any word processing document into an mp3 file??  That will certainly help any student that is visually impaired.  They can actually hear what is on the page.  The example converted was a letter that was sent home to parents regarding our new school safety procedures that were adopted after recent school violence issues.  If this mp3 version was posted on my Weebly page, even parents that have difficulty seeing or reading would be able to hear what the letter had to say.  Phenomenal!

Google Calendars!

My instructor partner in the Blended Learning class showed me how to use Google Calendars, and I even got my husband hooked on them!  Now, I can make a dentist appointment for him without worrying if it will fit into his schedule because he’s shared his Google Calendar with me.  In the classroom, this would be a tool that could be embedded into the Weebly page as a friendly reminder to students and parents of upcoming assignments and assessments.  At the bottom of this blog page, you will see that I have embedded my 21 Things calendar.  I have set some deadline goals for myself to complete this class before Blended Learning begins, and I see that I am a little behind.  Still catching up!

TinyURL!

Way back in Thing #5, I put a Shapes of Algebra lesson into my Google Drive account.  If anyone wanted to access that document, they would have to type in https://docs.google.com/document/d/1OnViC7NaA8CcLQBsaE-fk4AecvPAmjpYgYZfCfnhqXM/edit if the link did not work.  That’s 84 characters, and who has time for that??  The TinyURL site was able to considerably shorten my document to 26 characters, http://tinyurl.com/nzzeylbwhich is much easier for students and parents to see.  The longer links may tend to overwhelm and frustrate anyone involved.

Evernote!

That’s it!  I suppose I will never forget anything ever again, right??  Evernote is an extremely useful tool that students could use to help them remember their homework, what the assignment was, details of an upcoming big project, and so on.  As mentioned before, this could also be helpful for my Student Council members.  When they are putting together the 8th Grade Dinner Dance (a graduation of sorts), they could take pictures of ideas for decorations, thoughts on themes, suggestions from their classmates for guest speakers, and so on.  Anyway, you can see an example of an Evernote that pertains to the first three parts of this post at the links below.  Of course, I felt the need to shorten it a bit as well.  Either will work.

 https://www.evernote.com/shard/s433/sh/71ffae9c-3eea-4c7a-b815-f5a1ff57e7cc/a42b2af465621839489b6128cdc610f9

http://tinyurl.com/nh5yzjn

LiveBinders!

I feel as though yet another mystery has been solved.  There is an excellent Algebra I teacher online that has created a comprehensive Algebra 1 course, beautifully aligned to the Common Core, and all of her resources are stored in LiveBinders.  I used to pick and choose which activities to share with students, but now I can share the entire binder with them on my Weebly page, and I will be able to use even more of them.  Under the Algebra tab, you’ll find links to her LiveBinders under Units 1 and 2.  I’ll keep adding them in as time permits.

http://bgeorgeteacher.weebly.com

ISTE Standards

Facilitate and inspire student learning and creativity – With Evernote and LiveBinders, the teacher can put more responsibility of education on students, becoming more of a guide through the school year rather than the dictator.

Design and develop digital age learning experiences and assessments – Converting Word documents to mp3 files will certainly open up an entirely new learning environment for students of all capabilities.  Through the use of Evernote and LiveBinders, the teacher will be able to address individual learning styles and abilities.

Model digital age work and learning – If a student sees a teacher using such tools as Evernote to help organize details or TinyURL to help make those cumbersome links more manageable, that teacher is paving the way for students to try the tools as well.

Promote and model digital citizenship and responsibility – The Evernote and LiveBinder tools will provide students with a strong model from their instructor of how to use technology through proper social interactions as they communicate and collaborate with each other.

CITW

Cues/questions/advance organizers – The Evernote resource will allow students a venue for their limitless amounts of questions and thoughts.  If I asked my students to keep track of their questions, I would never have to worry about another student being too afraid to ask a question.

2 Summarizing and note taking – Obviously, Evernote is the prime example.  Rather than writing everything down in a notebook, and then subsequently losing that notebook or leaving at home, students will have Evernote with them wherever they go.  They can practice summarizing ideas and taking note right within the program.

Assigning homework and practice – Zamzar can be used to put ANY type of file into something that fits every situation in the classroom.  Furthermore, using LiveBinders for students to access various resources and activities, even homework assignments, would be an excellent use of this technology tool.

Thing #5 – Collaboration

                                                         Google Drive!

Google Drive

Thank GOODNESS this mystery is solved!  You would think as an instructor for the Blended Learning in the Classroom course, I would be quite proficient with this tool.  I often found myself stumbling through the documents that were shared with me, often pretending that I really knew what I was doing.  However, after being “forced” to both create a Google Doc, share it, and add comments to an existing document, I feel as though I am understanding the process.  I was even able to access the documents from the last course I taught, the same ones that I was quite certain had disappeared into the unknown!

I was able to transfer a lesson that I use in my Algebra class every year, The Shapes of Algebra, into Google Drive and provide a couple of questions in the comment section to make it even better.  I was able to personally invite a few to look at the document, but if you are currently bored out of your mind and would like to take a look, I have it open to anyone that has a link. Feel free to use the “comment” button to add your ideas.  https://docs.google.com/document/d/1OnViC7NaA8CcLQBsaE-fk4AecvPAmjpYgYZfCfnhqXM/edit?usp=sharing

In the classroom, teaching students how to use Google Drive and Google Docs will be an invaluable resource.  In my math classroom, collaborative learning groups could be formed.  I could put an example of student work in Google, share the example with my students in the Drive, and then have the students determine if the student solutions are correct, or if there are errors to correct.  Students could even fix the incorrect solutions.  There is room in the comment sections for students to collaborate and communicate with each other to explain thinking.  Wow!!

                                                                  Doodle!

Doodle

 

There are often times when I go back and forth with colleagues, students, and even parents about what time works best with whom to meet.  There are sometimes as many as 10 emails that go back and forth before a time is decided.  Where has Doodle been all of my life??  In reference to my Shapes of Algebra lesson, I asked a few people to let me know which dates/times would work best to meet and discuss some updates that need to be made to the lesson.  Rather than going back and forth in those emails, I now have the power to take a quick look at a table to determine when we will meet.  This could be used for a group of students that need help in making test corrections, Student Council member that want to meet about yearbook questions, or colleagues that want to meet about curriculum changes.  The possibilities are ENDLESS!!

                                                                               Lino!

Lino

 

Well, I must confess that I am a sticky note addict.  I have them everywhere, and even my students know that if it’s not written on a sticky note, it may not ever get completed.  I have instantly fallen in love with Lino, and I suspect this will be a long-lasting relationship.  I realize that there will be several uses for a site like Lino, and I have created a Lino board that will help students through the Shapes of Algebra lesson.  I currently have a few resources posted, and after I am able to meet with someone to update the lesson, I will add even more suggestions and resources.  If you would like to check it out…  http://linoit.com/users/bgeorgeteacher/canvases/Shapes%20of%20Algebra%20Resources

HOWEVER, as I was watching the Lino tutorials that I stumbled across, I immediately thought of my Student Council students.  As the junior high adviser for Student Council, I thought this would be an excellent site for students to access.  There is always a list of things that needs to be addressed, anything from Homecoming games to yearbook responsibilities, and with a central location for all of those “things” that need to be done, nothing will be forgotten.  I will give students the capability to add notes, particularly if they have questions that need to be addressed at the next meeting or think of something that needs to be completed.  The different activities could be color-coded to avoid confusion, and I have also included an area for items that need to be finished within the week.  I am very anxious to get this one up and running as the school year will start right off with Homecoming.

ISTE Standards!

Facilitate and inspire student learning and creativity – That collaboration component will allow students to work cooperatively, and their creativity will thrive in the environment that Google Drive provides.

Design and develop digital age learning experiences and assessments – Without the use of the archaic flash drives and paper documents, accessing documents that are available from any computer, any place is certainly a digital age learning experience.

Model digital age work and learning – As I use resources such as Google Drive, Doodle, and Lino, students will see the technology tools in use, encouraging them to use them as well.

CITW Standards!

Cooperative learning – As students are able to comment on a specific document either synchronously or asynchronously, they will demonstrate cooperative learning characteristics.

Non-linguistic representations – The document that can be shared in Google Drive could easily be an image or organizer that can be updated and adjusted in a shared file.

3 Summarizing and note-taking – Students could easily be assigned to summarize what was learned about linear functions or even share some of the notes taken in class.  These items could be shared in Google Drive.

Assigning homework and practice – Due to the “any place, any time” feature of Google Drive, students can be given a homework assignment, even on snow days through Google Drive.