35 Take-aways from Summer 2016 Professional Development

edtech

Ask a Tech Teacher’s Summer PD 2016 just ended. A couple dozen of us–teachers, library media specialists, tech integrationists, and lab teachers–gathered virtually for three-five-week-classes that included:

The Tech-infused Teacher

The Tech-infused Classroom

The Differentiated Teacher

Teach Writing with Tech

20 Webtools in 20 Days

We talked about curriculum maps, warm-up and exit tickets, backchannel devices, building a PLN, screenshots, and screencasts. We experimented with some of the hottest tech tools available for the classroom such as Google Apps, differentiation tools, digital storytelling, visual learning, Twitter, blogs, Common Core and tech, digital citizenship, and formative assessment options. And–maybe the highlight of the classes–we shared ideas and helped each other solve problems. It was run like a flipped classroom where class members read, tested and experimented from resources available in the weekly syllabus. They failed and tried again. Asked questions. They shared with colleagues on discussion boards, blogs, and Tweets.  Once a week we got together virtually (via Google Hangout or a Twitter Chat) to share ideas, answer questions,  and discuss nuances.

Classes awarded either college credit or a Certificate, based on effort not end product. Here are my takeaways as moderator of this amazing group:

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Tech-Savvy Seniors: Myth or Present-Day Reality?

seniors and technologyA topic I don’t cover enough in Ask a Tech Teacher is how seniors handle the onslaught of technology in their lives. Thankfully, Beata GREEN, Director of HeadChannel Ltd., London-based bespoke software development company, has experience in this area and was willing to share her ideas. Beata is responsible for overall strategic direction and overseeing the company’s continuing growth, building closer client relationships and maintaining best working practices. When she’s not pondering the blending of tech into the lives of parents and grandparents, she enjoys brisk country walks with her red fox labrador and then relaxing in front of a TV crime drama with a glass of red wine.

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Older people have always been reticent to adopt new inventions, especially when it comes to new technology. As new tech is mostly created by young developers, it is usually tailored to the younger generation. However, the impact of technology on the health and personal life of seniors can be huge, even if they claim they do perfectly well without it.

One of the major problems of technology adoption among elderly people is their non-understanding as to why they need it at all. Keeping up with the youth is not going to be a good incentive here. What is the greatest value, then, that technology can bring into the lives of the older generation? We’ve analyzed many different aspects of the biggest pains for seniors to show how tech can be decisive in increasing their life quality. And how after seeing a clear benefit, even our grannies are not afraid to try something new.

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33 Digital Exit Tickets That Fit Most Subjects

exit ticketsExit tickets (or exit slips) are a time-proven method of checking understanding in the classroom. Often, this means students write down (with pen and paper) a two-three sentence take-away summary of the day’s lesson and turn it in prior to exiting the class. It’s easily understand, requires little preparation, and is done in minutes.

Robert Marzano, classroom researcher and education author, shares four uses for exit slips. Students:

  1. rate their current understanding of new learning
  2. analyze and reflect on their efforts around the learning

….and teachers:

  1. gain feedback on an instructional strategy
  2. gain feedback about the materials and teaching

Technology provides a great opportunity to update this popular activity so it can be collaborative, shared, and published for the benefit of all. A few weeks ago, I published a Google Spreadsheet as a collaborative way for all of us to share our Exit Ticket suggestions. Here are 28 ideas from readers. I love the variety:

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Tech Ed Resources for your Homeschool Class

Homeschool TechI get a lot of questions from readers about what tech ed resources I use in my classroom so I’m taking a few days this summer to review them with you. Some are edited and/or written by members of the Ask a Tech Teacher crew. Others, by tech teachers who work with the same publisher I do. All of them, I’ve found well-suited to the task of scaling and differentiating tech skills for age groups, scaffolding learning year-to-year, taking into account the perspectives and norms of all stakeholders, with appropriate metrics to know learning is organic and granular.

Today: Tech resources for the Homeschool Class

Besides the availability of any of the tech ed resources at Structured Learning, there are two kits designed especially for the home school:

Homeschool Survival Kit

This is exclusively for homeschoolers,–a technology curriculum for K-5. With thisHomeschool Survival Kit, you get all the tech ed resources you need to integrate technology into your child’s learning, lesson plans, inquiry, and curriculum requirements. Included (click links for more information):
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Two years of the K-5 Technology Curriculum. This will be your curriculum map, showing you what tech to teach your children when they are ready for it. Blends skills into class studies for authentic learning. Click here for more information on each ebook. When you purchase, tell us which two books you’d like in the Comment portion of the PayPal Buy button (or email Zeke dot Rowe at StructureLearning dot net).
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Note: These teacher textbooks can be replaced with two student workbooks. Click for more information on student workbooks. If you choose this option, tell us which two student workbooks you’d like in the Comment portion of the PayPal Buy button (or email Zeke dot Rowe at StructureLearning dot net).
K-8 digital citizenship curriculum map—what do you introduce when to teach students to navigate the complexities of the internet safely, securely, and effectively. Includes 3-8 projects per grade-level, accomplished in a few minutes a day or a full class period. If students are using the internet, they must know how to use it correctly, safely, and efficiently. This curriculum shows you what to teach at what age. Projects can be tied into other classroom projects–just add detail about digital citizenship.
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2-volume collection of lesson plans (Volume I and Volume II) organized by subject, digital tool, and academic topic. 
One-volume collation of the most common tech problems and issues your child–and you–face using technology for education. Be ready!
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16 fun and festive holiday projects. Create gifts for family and friends while learning important tech skills. Use for any holiday. They’ll fill your year with pictures, calendars, wallpaper, cards, that kids will love making and want to give to family as gifts.
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Over 64 webinars spread throughout the school year–32 per each of the two grade levels you select. Designed for the adult to help them teach important tech skills to children. The digital classroom provides an opportunity to ask questions of other members or the moderator any time s/he needs a little extra help with.

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7 Great Websites to Teach Habitats

habitatWhether you teach habitats in second grade or Middle School, understanding how animals survive in their corner of the world is critical to a well-rounded perspective on life on planet Earth. Animals evolve or disappear based on their ability to adapt to the environment.

Here are eight resources to encourage discovery of the amazing and varied worlds that surround Earth’s animals:

Build a Habitat 

This interactive, colorful site gamifies the process of creating a habitat that suits the selected animal. After reading brief instructions (including the definition of habitat), students select the animal, the habitat, the vegetation, and the precipitation level. Then, the site calculates how compatible their choices are to the animal’s survival. For example, if the student places a beaver in the desert in a downpour, the compatibility thermometer will be low.

This game is part of the popular Switch Zoo  site where students can mix-and-match body parts to create their own favorite animal. It is available on computers, Chromebooks, and in a limited edition as an app.

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Haiku Deck Just Got Better: Welcome Haiku Deck Classroom

haiku deckIf you’re like me–and 20% of US schools–when you think of ‘online slideshow tool’, you think of Haiku Deck. And now, your favorite tool just got better. Haiku Deck Classroom offers an easy way for educators to add and manage student accounts, integrate with Google Classroom and other CMS systems, sign in through Google, share projects to a classroom gallery, and more.  Haiku Deck Classroom makes all the features of Haiku Deck Pro available to educators and students, including unlimited presentation creation, advanced privacy settings, offline viewing and printing, and YouTube video embedding. The subscription applies to use of Haiku Deck’s award-winning web, iPad, and iPhone apps.

Additional features include:

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10 Great Tips for Teaching Geography with Tech

compassHere are the top geography tips according to Ask a Tech Teacher readers:

  1. 14 Ways to use Scribble Maps
  2. Lesson Plans: Where Did I Come From?
  3. 149 Websites for K-8 Geography/Geology
  4. Google Street View
  5. Sponge Activities for Geography
  6. A Virtual Tour of America–Via Biplane
  7. The Power of Symbols–What does the word ‘Turkey’ mean?
  8. Wonders of Google Earth
  9. 20 Websites to Learn Everything About Landforms
  10. Breathing Earth

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Tech Ed Resources for Class–Common Core State Standards

CC Article Bundle Cover(3)I get a lot of questions from readers about what tech ed resources I use in my classroom so I’m taking a few days this summer to review them with you. Some are edited and/or written by members of the Ask a Tech Teacher crew. Others, by tech teachers who work with the same publisher I do. All of them, I’ve found well-suited to the task of scaling and differentiating tech skills for age groups, scaffolding learning year-to-year, taking into account the perspectives and norms of all stakeholders, with appropriate metrics to know learning is organic and granular.

Today: Common Core Bundle

Overview

In this bundle, you get 20 tech ed resources on how to use technology to achieve Common Core Standards–presented in a variety of ways including Lesson plans, webinars, and short but pithy articles. Included:

5 books (including 70 lesson plans)

8 webinars

7 Hall of Fame articles addressing Common Core topics

Who needs this

K-8 class teacher, K-8 tech teachers, tech coordinators, library media specialists, curriculum specialists

Classroom grade level teachers if your tech teacher doesn’t cover basic tech skills.

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The Tech-infused Classroom

tech-infused classSeveral times a year, I teach an online class called the Tech-infused Classroom. Here, we discuss the idea that tech-infusing a class isn’t about replacing activities with technology, rather enhancing and extending learning with the wonderful tech tools now available (think M or R on the SAMR Model).

One of my students, Matthew DiSiena, a PK-8 grade tech teacher in Queens New York, wrote a top-notch description of what he sees as the tech-infused classroom:

The tech-infused classroom is a place where we use technology.

We use technology.

I know, that sounds too simple and too short of an explanation. We use technology for everything! I use technology to teach, the students use technology to learn and teach each other. Students run into a problem on the computer, they know how to solve it, they try to solve it, or they ask a friend next to them to teach them how to solve it, so they know how to solve it in the future. We always explain, step by step, how to do something, never taking the mouse out of someone’s hand. If you want to teach someone how to kick a soccer ball, you tell them how to kick a soccer ball, then they try and kick the soccer ball themselves. If we just kicked the soccer ball for someone then they would never learn how to become a good soccer player themselves.

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Categories: Classroom management, Education reform | 10 Comments

Curriculum Companions Start August 8th

curriculum companionStart date for the 2016-17 online school year:

August, 8, 2016

Curriculum Companion Wikis (K-5 only) follow a tech professional as s/he teaches each lesson in the SL K-5 curriculum textbooks.  Presented via video (10-15 minutes each), you can ask questions, start a discussion with other teachers using the curriculum, and access additional resources. It’s your mentor, your sidekick, your best friend in the tech ed field.

If you own any or all of K-5 Structured Learning technology curriculum (5th edition), you have free access to the grade-level wiki. Just look on the front page of the book for a code. If you don’t own the curriculum, you can purchase access on a yearly basis here.

K-5, 32 webinars per grade (192 webinars), 9 months

Curriculum Companion Wikis not only include weekly videos, you also get:
  • comprehensive tech vocabulary
  • how-to skills used in lessons
  • a class Discussion Board
  • shared resources

Detail

  • Digital access: via video
  • Language: English
  • Length of time: one year
  • Access: Yearly fee covers K-5 (no discount for single wiki)

Use access in each K-5 curriculum text to join for free. Or, click here to purchase.

Here’s a sample:

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Categories: AATT Materials, Classroom management, Freebies/Discounts, Teacher resources | 2 Comments