Tuesday, January 26, 2016

BYOD

BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) is a movement across the nation in which districts are leveraging the power of students’ personal devices. The concept of BYOD is simple enough in theory. Why not allow students to use those powerful handheld devices for learning in school? The difficulty comes in the “how” to implement this economic and empowering theory. This “tuesdays” is dedicated to the examination of BYOD possibilities.


A creative website

At FETC two weeks ago, I attended a session by William Watts, Instructional Technology Coach in Prince William County Public Schools. He was flowing with great ideas on how to implement a BYOD program on the classroom level. He has created an amazing website to help us all with our journeys into the BYOD world.  http://www.byodtools.com.

The website contains ideas for:
  • Participation
  • Collaboration
  • ELA
  • Math
  • History
  • Science
  • Research and more

Thanks Mr. Watts for this great resource.



An image to share


A 5th grade student working with his own device.

A proverb

“One machine can do the work of fifty ordinary men. No machine can do the work of one extraordinary man.”

Elbert Hubbard




An encouragement

I encourage you to look into your district’s BYOD policy (or lack of it) and be an advocate for leveraging the power of your own students’ device for learning.


Let’s look at some of the pros and cons of BYOD.

The advantages are immediately apparent.
  • The district can spend less of their dwindling budgets attempting to keep up with the latest technology.
  • Teachers do not have to know how each device operates.
  • Students can use a device that they are already familiar with.
  • Handheld devices of today are more powerful than computers 10 years ago.

The disadvantages are:
  • Teacher fear that the students will use the devices inappropriately.
  • Fear that a device will be lost or stolen.
  • Lack of professional development on how to implement a successful use of hand held devices in the classroom.
  • Not every student will have a device.


How do you do that?

Many districts have embraced the concept of BYOD by investing their technology funds in building the infrastructure (better Wi-Fi, secure connections to protect the students, purchasing a few devices for those who do not have one, etc.) However, the concept of BYOD is still very foreign at the classroom level due to fear. In the districts where BYOD has been successful, a culture with expectations and norms are established campus-wide and the students and teachers have learned that these devices are a powerful tools for reading, researching, designing, and creating a variety of presentations that “show what you know” through images, video and more.


There will always be one character in any classroom that does not follow expectations and norms. A BYOD classroom is no different. Why deny the whole class the opportunity to access the vast information available at their fingertips because one student may break the rules? Deal with that one student and take the journey of BYOD with your students. After all, these days we are a community of learners. Technology is ever-changing and always improving. Let’s give the students a chance to use their powerful devices for learning and not just social media.



As always, I am
Ubiquitously yours,

K


www.ecubedcreative.com
tuesdayswithkaren@gmail.com

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Martin Luther King, Jr.





I can remember when we first heard about Martin Luther King, Jr. yet it wasn’t until I heard his voice that I was captured by his message. His gift of the English language and ability to inspire is the reason generations will look to his legacy and message of non-violence and racial equality.  I have been presenting “Pay It Forward” to students for years and one of my favorite parts is to ask the students to list persons of impact or influence. Even when I limit them to only 5 responses, 95% of the time Martin Luther King, Jr. is on the list. I also share three persons of impact in my life and he is one of them. (If you want to know the other two, let me know!)  I want to dedicate this “tuesdays” to him and to all teachers who want to do something with their students. If you don’t time before Monday, don’t forget that we still have Black History Month in February and the resources I point you to today will be most helpful. It may be the best speech of our times.

A creative website

Although much has been written about Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., the most reputable website is The King Center that was established by Mrs. Coretta Scott King and now revitalized under its new president, Martin Luther King, III.  Why go anywhere else? In fact, the website is so creative and high-tech that it maybe one of the best use of images and text I have seen. The website hosts a digital archive that was created by JPMorgan Chase and Co. with over a million documents associated with the life of the late Martin Luther King, Jr. He was a scholar, a father, a pastor, a husband and great humanitarian.  This website is so huge, I only began to browse the tip of the iceberg.  If you don’t have time, expose your students to it.  They will definitely be benefactors of one of the wisest men of our times.

An image to share

Wordle sample of Martin Luther King’s “I Have a Dream” speech



A proverb
"All men are brothers because they are children of a common father.”

 Martin Luther King, Jr.



An encouragement

Have you ever listened to the full 17-minute version of his “I Have a Dream” speech?  I first head it on a free podcast from LearnOutLoud.com and was blown away by his incredible vocabulary.  His ability to weave words into a melodic and visual memory are striking. I was so encouraged that I created a video with images and wrote the whole text of the speech out for the students to listen to and read.  When we played it over the closed-circuit system five years ago, you could have heard a pin drop across the whole campus. You can download the video for your students from my website.  I want to encourage you to do a vocabulary study of this most famous speech. It’s very emotional and well worth your time. 


How do you do that?

How do you sift through this vast amount of information on Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.? You probably can’t.  Fear not. I have compiled a few good resources around the “I Have a Dream” speech for you on my website.  Most of your students have heard the 2-3 minute vignette of his full speech, but I am sure there will be few who have heard the full version.  It’s a step back in a much more trouble time with the voice of a true peacemaker ringing out a challenge to America. If you haven’t heard it yourself, please make time to listen to it because it’s pretty humbling. His passion and grasp of the English language is phenomenal. The full 17min.video of “I Have a Dream” that I compiled with photos and text is available to you and your students on my website.


Let’s encourage our students to learn about great men like Martin Luther King, Jr.



As always, I am
Ubiquitously yours,
K





Tuesday, January 5, 2016

Upgrading Lesson Plans


Have you ever listened to any of Heidi Hayes Jacob’s presentations? She has a particularly interesting TED Talk about “upgrading” curriculum for our new kinds of learners. Upgrading is a concept we really understand these days. When the latest Smartphone comes out along, we make the decision to “upgrade” or not. We also “upgrade” our environments and things we wear. “Upgrading” is taking something old and making it new. What does this have to do with lesson plans? It is my proposal that we take a look at our lesson plans and “upgrade” them with new ways to teach our required standards. Lessons can be “upgraded” through PLCs (Professional Learning Communities), team planning, coaching or any variety of means to work with others. This “tuesdays” is dedicated to taking a look at how we can “upgrade” great lesson plans with a digital “upgrade.”


A creative website

Better Lesson is a community of teachers from the Master Teacher Projects who have generously shared over 16,000 rich lessons. According to the website, “Better Lesson was founded by a group of teachers from Atlanta and Boston public schools to prepare and support effective teachers at scale.We are focused on aggregating and sharing the most innovative content and practices from the highest performing teachers across the country.” The dedicated teachers in this project have also contributed over 1 million resources FREE of charge! They are also hosting a new type of PD called TeachCycle, a continuous professional learning environments for every teacher, everywhere.




An image to share


Student engagement – 2nd grade

A proverb

In school, you’re taught a lesson and then given a test. In life, you’re given a test that teaches you a lesson.

Tom Bodett





An encouragement

It is particularly difficult to “upgrade” a lesson when you are a very good teacher and your students are learning. However, there is no need to settle for good or better when you can have best. According to the TIM – Technology Integration Matrix, there are fives levels of integration: entry, adoption, adaptation, infusion and transformation. Why not take an existing lesson plan that is good and take the challenge to “upgrade” it with technology? Technology should never be an add-on, but instead should be viewed as an engagement tool for students. It doesn’t take long to notice how much more engaged students are in the lesson when technology is an option. Harness that engagement with purposeful, targeted levels of integration. When a lesson is entry level, it means that the teacher is doing the majority of the work with technology. As the levels rise, there is less emphasis on teacher delivery and more emphasis on student creation. I would like to encourage you to take your favorite lesson and try to place it on the TIM. Once you have identified the present level of the lesson, “upgrade” it at least one level. Typically, it will mean more hands-on time for the students researching, writing, designing, and creating digitally.


How do you do that?

How do you get started with Better Lesson or any of the scores of lesson planning communities available today? Create an account. Investigate if their style meets yours and your students and then commit to trying and sharing new lessons.  Here are a few other lesson planning idea communities for you to investigate:



As always, I am
Ubiquitously yours,
K






Tuesday, December 15, 2015

The Power of Student Voice




Digital audio is one of the most effective means of engaging students and a great tool of accountability. I saw the greatest demonstration by a 4th grader who was a reading buddy to a 1st grader.  He asked the young boy to read a sentence into the computer and showed him how “long” his recording was.  Then they practiced the reading until the 1st grader was much more fluent. The 4th grader then muted the original track and had the 1st grader reread the passage.  The 4th grader said, “Look at the two readings. What do you see?”  The 1st grader said, “When I read better I read shorter!”   Today, my partner Betsy and I had the privilege  of working with over 200 students today recording their sentence, statements, facts and ideas. There is power in hearing your own voice.  This week’s “tuesdays” will focus on the power of “Adding a Voice” to the learning process.

A creative website

I know I have written about Audacity before, but after working with elementary students today, the power of this FREE program rose quickly to the top of my list. No matter what classroom computer you have, your recording studio is just minutes away. If you have a Windows machine, download the free version of Audacity. It takes only a few minutes. If you have a Mac, you can also download Audacity, but the students are much more fascinated with GarageBand and its built-in loops. Purchase a simple microphone. You can get them as inexpensive as $8.88 at Walmart or ask around school. Someone will probably have one you can borrow for this project. So many of our laptops today don't even need external mic! Demonstrate a simple recording of a message as you project the interface on the screen. Students love to see the audio graphics created by voice recordings. There are endless teachable moments in these visuals alone. Prepare your message and then record it in front of the class. Once you have finished, set up your computer as a station and have each of the students come up one by one and record their message. Be sure they have a prepared script and it will go very smoothly. 

An image to share 

Wouldn’t it be great to 
have a classroom set of these?

A proverb 

Words mean more than what is set down on paper. It takes the human voice to infuse them with deeper meaning.”

Maya Angelo



An encouragement

Adding A Voice” to the curriculum is simple and valuable. I would like to encourage you to think of times when you can capture your students’ voices. How great would it be if your students “digitized” some of their assignments during the year. The writing assignment that they hand in no longer needs to be between just the teacher, student and perhaps a few peer reviewers. Instead, by using Audacity (Windows or Mac -FREE) or GarageBand (Mac only -FREE), students can begin to keep an archive of their accomplishments in school. Audio is much more simple than a video project and can be easily accessed by family and friends and even brought down to nano-size on their mp3 players. If you don’t have time or are a little scared of doing an audio project, why not demonstrate voice recording in class? It makes an incredible science and math lesson as they are able to visualize audio wavelengths. Encourage them to download Audacity for themselves so that they can begin their own initiative of digitizing their schoolwork in their own voice.

How do you do that?

How do you record in Audacity? I love this program. Audacity is very sophisticated, yet simple. Once you download it, you only need to know a few keys tools to be successful. First, use only the red circle to record, the play button (green) and the stop button (yellow square). Avoid the pause button, it causes goofy things to happen. Next, there are six little tools in the left hand corner. You only need to know three to be successful. One is the selection tool. It looks like an I- beam. Use it like a cursor and highlight parts you do not want and delete! The second is the time shift tool that looks likes like a line with arrows on each end. This will allow you to move what you have recorded left or right of any other parts you have recorded. Finally, if you want to add some music to the recording, go to the Project menu > Add audio. It will drop another audio track to your recording, but will most likely be very loud. The envelope tool will allow you to put small dots on the edges of the recording and then literally squeeze the sound down so that it is merely in the background. Don’t try to be too fancy. Keep It Simple Sweety the first time. Remember, the goal is to preserve your students’ progression and improvements of this year. You can share it with them years later or to give yourself that needed confirmation of why we are in this profession. If you need more help with Audacity, there are tons of videos and websites that will aid you. Just Google “tutorials for Audacity” and you won’t be disappointed.

tuesdays with Karen” is a weekly newsletter/blog designed to encourage, equip and empower teachers to be creative with educational technology.


As always, I am
Ubiquitously yours,
K





Tuesday, December 8, 2015

All those websites




For my regular readers of "tuesdayswithkaren," one of my buddies told me that since I moved my newsletter/blog to blog status only, she missed the long list of websites that I had collected for teachers over the last 8 years. Therefore, this "tuesdays" is created to replace the LONG list in the newsletter. I will continue to update this list as we go and make sure I have a link from each "tuesdays" so you can get back to it easily.

Thank you, my friends for your joining me each Tuesday.

As always, I am
Ubiquitously yours,
K


Cel.ly
Qball
Yummy Math

Google Classroom
Values.com
Thinking Maps
Office Mix
Lodge McCammon
4MulaFun
Duckworth Lab
FINDS
MineMum
Khan Academy
Knowmia
Digital Learning Day
Shake Up Learning
Thinglink
Plickers
Arizona TIM
Literacies for a Digtial Age
PowToon
EdPuzzle
Kahoot!
TIM
PODLS
Yapp
Gamification
Edthena
Edutopia
New Vista for Learning
TenMarks
Canva
GoogleScienceFair
TpT
Magic Educator
Curriculum 21
Spotlight on Strategies
Education Portal
Narrable
Hastings iBook
Answer Garden
Top Teaching
Kathy Shrock - iPad
New Teacher Central
Visuwords
Blendspace
Symbaloo
The Teaching Channel
Discovery Education
Schoology
Project RED
QR Code Treasure Hunt
Blooms Taxonomy
Pay It Forward Foundation
Pecha Kucha
Remind101
Bammy Awards
File Pigeon
Haiku Deck
Fair Use Evaluator
CBL
Reach Out & Read
Digital Learning Day
Kathy Schrock
PhotoPeach
Google's Cultural Institute

Rock Our Word
KenKen
Media Literacy Clearinghouse
Read, Write, Think
Tech4Learning
Student Voice

Multiple Intelligence Test
ipadio   
Doceri 
UJAM