Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Hit the top of RBTHOTS! Create with these apps!

I love reading my daily inbox.  I have subscribed to so many newsletters and blogs that I always find something worthwhile in there to pass along.  Today's find was from Richard Byrne, techno-geek extraordinaire!  (... and I use that term with the utmost affection, Richard!)  He shares in his blog about "Three Free(ish) iPad Apps for Creating Narrated Stories."  Go ahead!  Take a minute to read his blog.  I'll wait here....

There is nothing more powerful than allowing students to create... something... ANYthing!  Apps make that creation process easier for the beginner.  Yes, there are paid versions of these apps, but the FREE versions allow you to use enough of the features to determine if you really think it's worthwhile to purchase the app.  You may also decide to continue to use only the FREE app, and there is nothing in the world wrong with that!

The bottom line is... the creation process the students go through using these apps to make a narrated story using either illustrations or imported photos, will deepen their knowledge.  Some students find it very difficult to write about what they have learned, but they can TELL you about it all day long.  Let them narrate their stories.  Then show them how that is similar to writing.  Have them transcribe their speaking into words.  Before you know it, you will have "created" a classroom full of writers!

Friday, November 21, 2014

Real World Examples of What We Mean When We Use All That Edu-Techno-Jargon

We're all guilty of it.  We get together and start throwing around the latest edu-speak.  We know what we're talking about.  Shouldn't everybody else?  This, above just about anything else, is why some parents don't want to talk to us.  They don't know what we mean!  We talk about things like Bloom's Taxonomy of Higher Order Thinking Skills... or worse yet, the alphabet-soup of HOTS.  Anyone in education knows immediately what we're talking about.  But for the person in the conversation not "in the club," not "in on the joke," not "speaking our language," it can be very intimidating!

So as I was just reading through my inbox this morning, I came across an article that not only puts what we mean when we're using that terminology into layman's terms, it gives real-world, practical examples of apps you can use in the classroom with kids to accomplish some of these famous higher order thinking skills!  It even shows you what the finished products students create might look like.  So take a few minutes and read this article, by Kathy Schrock, the quintessential guru of all things educational technology:  6 Apps That Target Higher Order Thinking Skills.  You'll be glad you did!

Thursday, October 2, 2014

New Google Apps for Education Newsletter

I got the most useful thing in my inbox yesterday!  It is probably the best freebie I have ever received.  And YOU can get one, TOO!  If you are a Google Apps for Education district, then you already know how wonderful Google Apps for Education is and how this powerful suite of tools helps us teach better every single day.  But can you imaging getting tips and tricks from the pros in your inbox on a regular basis?  It took me years of using Google Apps before I knew some of the things right here in their first issue!  So what are you waiting for?  Click here to sign up for yourself!  Be sure to click in the little box that says "Subscribe to the Educator Newsletter."  You'll be glad you did!

Monday, July 21, 2014

Gearing Up for a Great Start to 2014-15

I think it's important to take time to celebrate your accomplishments! We accomplished much during the 2013-14 school year! We trained 56 core teachers to be technology leaders in their schools. We built and delivered an online course to replicate that training with all other core staff. After staff were trained, we rolled out shiny new Chromebook carts to each and every core classroom, district-wide! Wow! Pat yourself on the back!

OK. That's enough of that! Now let's look ahead! We have lots of new staff coming on board to get trained in how we "do business" here in ECPS. And we certainly are NOT done learning about how best to use technology in our classrooms. Ten of our core teacher technology leaders accompanied our tech services staff to ISTE2014 in Atlanta this summer. They are bursting at the seams with new ideas and information! They will be sharing this with their peers across the county using a new tool we will be implementing for

subject-area PLNs: GoToMeeting!

Many of you may have taken a webinar or attended a GoToMeeting before, but this is the first time we will be running our own virtual meetings. This will allow teachers to share ideas across the district in a quick, subject-specific meeting immediately after school, without wasting gas on traveling from one end of the county to the other! We are excited about this new opportunity for our teachers to share and collaborate with one another.

If you are interested in participating either as a viewer or a presenter, give us a shout! This is just one of our new tools we're putting in the toolbox to make what we do here in ECPS even better!

Monday, May 5, 2014

Teacher Appreciation Week

I hope this will resonate with someone else out there the way it did with me. Once you get into one of these jobs that isn't "in" the classroom anymore, people often forget that you're a teacher, too! You will be forgotten when your colleagues in the classroom are collecting those proverbial apples for the teacher during this week of appreciation. So when I run across little gems like this video, I am truly inspired! I do believe that I am right where I'm supposed to be, doing what I'm supposed to be doing! Enjoy and I hope it makes you smile, too!

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

HOT-lanta, here we come!

I am so stoked! I've actually been stoked since early December, when I found out my proposal to present at ISTE was accepted! But today, I was checking out the Presenters Site and I decided to click to see if anyone had preregistered for my session... and WOW! Imagine my shock when 57 names from all over the world are already there! And the room will only hold 175! And NONE of the folks in the list are family, so I didn't stack the deck! LOL! Anyway, as I told my peeps, I am honored and humbled that these folks want to spend part of their ISTE experience with ME! I can't wait!

I'm speaking at ISTE 2014!

So if you've ever wanted to learn how to create an observation tool using Google Forms and FormEmailer, sign up for my BYOD session at ISTE! You won't regret it!

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

It's a short distance....

... between an urge and an action in students these days.  As a wise person once said, "He's just a twitch waiting to happen!"  (Credit must go to my big brother for that.  You truly are a wise man, Mark Davis!)  I had the opportunity to sit in a classroom with some high school students yesterday.  Wow!  I'm rethinking my calling.  Maybe our focus needs to be on how we install a filter on students who apparently have had no filter their entire lives.  They think it... they blurt it out... they do it... they touch it....  They can't seem to help themselves!  Maybe what we need to do is just slow the speed down slightly, to give them time to think before doing.  A pause button, maybe?  I truly don't know.  But I do know that there is a need for this... at least here in my district, and I suspect everywhere else, too.  At least in the United States.

I'm not long on solutions, but my eyes were truly opened.  So now that the eyes are open, I will be looking for ways I can suggest to slow down the pace... just a little.  To give students time to think....  Think before they speak... think before they react... think before they twitch.  Suggestions are welcome!

Monday, March 24, 2014

It's time to kick it into high gear!

Confession time:  I've been coasting on this blog business.  No really.  I had the best of intentions to blog at least weekly, but months go by and the busy-ness of doing daily business keeps me too busy to do the blog business!  Well, it's time to change all that!  I'm enrolled in an online MOOC-Ed course through The Friday Institute called Coaching Digital Learning, because, after all, isn't that what we do?  We're coaches!  All of us in the ITF game are really just coaches trying to help other teachers learn to play better in the 21st Century classroom.  And what good are coaches if they aren't connected?  It's my responsibility to share with others.  Not only that, it's my passion!  It's my mission in life!

So, no more coasting!  If I intend to make a difference in this world, and I do, then I have to get busy!  Learning something new is all well and good, but unless I share what I learn with others, it's a dead end street!  So watch here as I work on developing a plan to share what I know, not only with those in my immediate circle of influence, but with those in the larger world of the world wide web.  If you Tweet it, they will follow!  If you Blog it, they will read!  Let's get connected!

P.S.  In searching for an image to use with this post, I found a new way to connect!  Try this one on for size:  http://edconnectr.connectededucators.org/#Signup