The bottom line for educators and technology (not tech integration) usually seems to be saving time. If it’s going to make my life more difficult – no thank you! But if I can utilize technology tools to make my life easier – tell me more! This is one of my favorite ways to get educators to buy in to Google Apps.
I recently discovered a script for spreadsheets that has changed how I collect and distribute information when I’m giving PD. It’s called formMule. Just as the name implies it does tons of work for you (saving you tons of time). While there are lots of ways to use it (most I haven’t yet discovered) I’ve been loving it to send out resources from my professional development sessions to the attendees. I’ve now used it 4 times and have had great success.
At the beginning (or end) of a PD session, I have teachers complete a short Google Form. Once they have submitted the form, they instantly receive an email from me.
I have to do a little work up front to set everything up, but it saves me enough time in the long run to make it completely worth it. The short video below is one I made for my Google Apps Certified Trainer application quickly showing how to set up the basic mail merge function.
Have you used formMule’s other functions? I’d love to hear about what else it can do!
Yesterday I attended the MS/HS language B department meeting. We have both MYP & DP Language B offered in Arabic and French. One of their criterion is Visual Interpretation. The teachers wanted to learn about a few ways they could create posters (etc) for summative tasks for their students. After doing a little research, I decided to highlight 4 tools: PS Touch, Glogster, ThingLink and Tumblr. Below is the follow-up email I sent out this morning. I would love to hear about how you and your students create visual interpretation tasks & summatives in your MYP or DP language B classes!
My reflection: First – why not use authentic realia for visual interpretation tasks? The power of language B is that it is alive and real in the world. Second – as a language B teacher and technology integration lover, my mind goes to what can my students create. The tools I presented can simply be used by staff to create tasks for the students but the real power comes when the tasks can be transformative.
Students create their own media (or find Creative Commons licensed media).
Pictures are edited using Photoshop (Instagram?) and videos could be uploaded to YouTube.
This media is then be used to create Glogs and/or ThingLinks.
The next step (towards redefinition) would be to compile the media into a Tumblr blog where students could document the journey of their visual, reflect on their visual and others’ and get input from the teacher, classmates and people around the world.
Thanks for letting me stop by your department meeting yesterday. I hope the tech tools you saw gave you a few ideas for visual interpretation in your classrooms. When I chose them I thought that they could be used by teachers or students to create visuals. These tools range from augmentation (PS Touch) to the possibility for redefinition (Tumbr). If you’ve found other tools, please don’t hesitate to share! Let me know if you have any questions.
Creative Commons Search – a great place to start to find media (photos, videos, audio, etc) that you are allowed to use (not copyrighted).
COETAILers on Blogging
A great discussion about making the time to blog and what to blog about. Hopefully something we can use during our KIEC workshops in January. Two highlights for me: ”If you’re in a tech integration job, part of your job is to blog, to reflect” (Jeff Utecht) & “Write for yourself” (Chrissy).
Dana Watts on iPads in education
Dana summed up everything I believed in the perfect way. I’m not going to try to paraphrase. Just go watch it (only a minute or two).
I realized I haven’t really blogged much at all this semester. While there are a few reasons for that, one of them is that I’ve been putting a lot of time into my M.Ed. So here’s what I’ve been up to lately!
This semester I started my M.Ed in School Technology Leadership from the University of Kentucky. With 12 graduate credits and 7 weeks teaching MYP French (on top of my actual job), it has been one of the most challenging semesters of my career. However I cannot gush enough about how much I have valued everything I’m learning in the UKSTL program. I wanted a legit Masters program and I got one! Enormous amounts of reading, discussion boards, quizzes and homework, live classes with Adobe Connect (half of them in the middle of the night), learning APA, my first literature review…whew!
I took 2 classes for UKSTL: School Technology Leadership (EDL 661) with Jayson Richardson and Quantitative Methods (EDL 771) with John Nash. I’m officially done with 661 and have a few more assignments to finish this for 771 before I head to Sri Lanka for winter break :). Quantitative Methods has given me the vocabulary and skills I need in order to become a data-driven leader. School Technology Leadership has given me a basis for the things I believed about technology in education and really pushed me to research and define my ideas. If the rest of this program (I still have 4 semesters) is as fulfilling as this one has been – let’s go!
A few highlights:
I was introduced to the ISTE NETS-A for the first time.
After my first two sessions at PEAK last weekend, I gave a brand new workshop. As excited as I was about my Google Apps presentations, I might have been even more excited for “Making the Web Work for You.” I focused on becoming a connected educator and specifically on Twitter (I purposely left both of those terms out of the title because I didn’t want to scare anyone away). I’m realizing that besides meaningful technology integration, GAFE and being a connected educator are my passions. I love working with anyone, anywhere on these and don’t need anything in return.
I started by appealing to their feelings (educators never have enough time) and highlighting what they thought Twitter was. I then talked about what it actually is and gave them testimonials from the survey I created and other connected educators. I was heavily influenced by Steve Anderson‘s Twitter series but did have significant time constraints. I highlighted searching, hashtags and a few other must-knows. Then I gave them time to create accounts, explore some hashtags, find people to follow. A genius idea from Jeff – make sure everyone in the class follows everyone else before the session is over. I ended with ideas for organizing all this new info and next steps.
It was a great plan. And then I realized 20 minutes before the start of the session that Twitter was blocked at the school (!!!). Oh my goodness. I tried several different things but unfortunately I had forgotten my wireless router at home and we were in the basement (so my phone wasn’t working as a hot spot). But..it was okay. I let someone borrow my iPad and we just went with the flow. The workshop didn’t go exactly how I planned it but I still got great responses and people were excited about the possibilities of becoming connected. It was another example of how becoming a teacher has changed me – I’m flexible and don’t get easily rattled!
On Saturday I presented at the Professional Educators Around Kuwait Conference for the second year. I presented three workshops this year and the first two were repeats from last year: Harnessing the Power of Google For Educators & For Collaboration. One hour is a whirlwind for both of these sessions and I can’t wait to turn them into 4-hour workshops at KIEC in January!
Saturday reminded me how passionate I am about GAFE. I love helping teachers discover new ways to use Google Apps for themselves and in their classroom. I just submitted my Google Apps Certified Trainer application…can’t wait to find out in 4-6 weeks if I got it!
I learned from the responses last year and booked a computer lab for both presentations. I also updated the presentations slightly…enjoy! And as always, please don’t hesitate to contact me with questions.
Jeff and I have a few upcoming presentations we’d love some input on! Please fill out the embedded Google form below…then check it out as the answers populate. Please feel free to use any of the information gathered for yourself!
At PEAK in a couple weeks (…10 days) I’ll be presenting an hour-long workshop on how social media can make educators lives easier.
Session title: Making the Web Work for You
Session description: Come learn how social media and other websites can save you time and energy while also enhancing your lessons. By the end of this session you will be on your way to creating a thriving Personal Learning Network with other educators around the world. It may be helpful to bring your own laptop or tablet.
In January, Jeff will be presenting a 4-hour workshop on getting involved on Twitter and blogging.
Session title: Becoming a Connected Educator
Session description: Thousands of educators all around the world share their thoughts, ideas and lesson plans with each other every day, and you’re only 140 characters away from joining them. In the first half, you’ll learn how to leverage Twitter and other forms of social media as a means of finding new ideas. In the second half, we’ll get you set up with your own blog so you can start sharing with the world.
Our elementary music teachers have started a blog in order to connect classrooms around the world. I LOVE it! If I haven’t mentioned it before, my favorite use of technology is the connections it allows. I had no hand in the idea for this blog and I’m so proud of our teachers for their initiative and drive. As an IB World school, this is a great opportunity for students to become open-minded, inquirers and communicators.
From their About page:
This blog is an attempt to connect music classrooms all around the world, with the overarching goal of helping students realize that they have something in common with students all over the world. This is a place for questions to be asked and answered, performances shared, and music to be celebrated!
They have had 2 posts from other schools so far and are hoping for many more! If you’re interested in participating (or want more information), email Nick & Stacey. The blog is currently private.
I’ve been incredibly busy with grad school and teaching French (yupp…that’s right. I’m teaching ‘temporarily’ teaching French again. I’m going into my 5th week starting tomorrow.) A few of my recent assignments were interesting so I thought I’d cross post them here.
For UKSTL EDL 661 with Jayson Richardson, we had to recommend 3 blogs for our classmates. I couldn’t pick only three so I recommended 4 in my first video using Jing. (If you have ideas for how to embed Jing videos in WordPress, let me know!)
For COETAIL course 3, there were 2 pieces to my final project. The first was to create a digital story. I decided to make a first draft of my video in order to become a GAFE Certified Trainer. Feel free to watch my video, read my post and leave me feedback so I can make it better!
Also for COETAIL, I had to revamp an existing presentation. Below is my final product. Check out the original and the handout I created on my COETAIL blog.
I’d love any and all constructive criticism to make these better! Thank you!
Our school will be obtaining ID cards for all staff and students in the coming weeks. The stated purpose is for security, printing and discounts (in the community). For security reasons, the thought is to have all teachers wearing visible IDs so staff members are easily differentiated from other adults. For students, the primary purpose will be printing for now but we have discussed students wearing them. As this is the first time we will have IDs at our school, we have some questions! We are particularly interested in how visible IDs would work in the lower elementary and certain classes (PE, art, etc). Please comment or email me…we’d love to have input from a variety of schools around the world!
1. Do all teachers wear IDs? If yes, how do they display them? How have staff reacted to this policy?
2. Do all students wear IDs? If yes, how do they display them? How have students reacted to this policy?