Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Thanksgiving 2014




It’s great to give thanks. I am very grateful that we live in this time period of Internet communication. I have never had so many connections in my life and treasure the new opportunities and friendships created through online communities, email and networks. I am grateful also that there is forgiveness (and not just for turkeys!) I am most grateful for my family and granddaughters, Frankie and Charlie.  I thank God for His generous blessings of health and love. I looked back on the “tuesdays” I wrote last Thanksgiving and found some really fun stuff I forgot about so I thought I would share it with you again. I hope you have a wonderful time with family giving thanks for the blessings of this year.

A creative website
The History Channel has some amazing teachable moments about Thanksgiving including a short video history about our uniquely American holiday. Unfortunately, you have to weed through the commercials.  Dig around a little deeper and you will find videos on unique ways to prepare turkeys, cranberry bogs, turkey assembly lines, FDR and Thanksgiving, debunking Thanksgiving myths and even a video on the Turducken - the turkey, duck and chicken. You take a duck, debone it, season it, debone a chicken, season it and stuff a turkey with both for a Turducken. Who knew?


An image to share

Every year since 1948, our Presidents have been pardoning a turkey by official proclamation. The History Channel even has some great video of some of those pardons (minus the commercials!) This photo is public domain from the Presidential website, www.whitehouse.gov

A proverb

"On the Fourth of July we celebrate our independence. On Thanksgiving Day, we acknowledge our dependence."

William Jennings Bryan

An encouragement
This Thanksgiving season finds many Americans concerned about their finances. I want to encourage those of you in need to ask and for those of us who can help to give. There is no shame in asking for help. I think the greatest gifts I was given when finances were overwhelming was the conviction to become debt free. It sounds so impossible at first, but my husband and I have been methodically working on creating a culture of only buying what we can afford and never going into debt to purchase anything ever again. Most of all, being debt free allows you to be a generous giver. There is no magic formula or instant relief to financial strain, but once the mindset for debt free living begins, hope replaces despair. The single most influential advocate of debt free living is Dave Ramsey. I highly recommend that you check out his Financial Peace University course if you are hoping to become debt free someday.


How do you do that?
How do you show gratitude? The way people celebrate thanksgiving is unique. If you would consider sharing how you and your family give thanks, please let us know in the comments below. If you don’t have time, please enjoy this electronic card by Jacquie Lawson that I made for you. Her electronic cards are by far the most creative cards I have ever seen. Give thanks always. Grateful thanks from Karen.



As always, I am
Ubiquitously yours,
K

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

The Arizona Technology Integration Matrix



My favorite tool for understanding technology integration is by far the TIM (Technology Integration Matrix.) I had the privilege of training administrators how to use the TIM the last few days and was very excited to see them embrace the TIM as a resource for teacher ideas and a way to communicate a common language of technology integration. One of the principals came to the training because she wanted a date with “Tim” and wasn’t disappointed. The best part of Florida’s TIM is that it is being used all around the country and is being revisited as a statewide tool. The TIM is totally agnostic, it doesn’t matter what platform you like, what device you use or what type of classroom you have. iI provides a resource of ideas to “upgrade” any assignment an bring it into the digital environment. This “tuesdays” is an opportunity to look at the TIM from an even broader perspective.

A creative website

The Arizona Technology Integration Matrix (TIM) is my pick for the most creative website. I am a total cheerleader for our Florida TIM because I have seen it used in Michigan, Virginia, Georgia and Colorado, but Arizona is only one state that I know about has recreated the FL TIM. They loved the TIM so much that they thought, “Why don’t we create our own version with Arizonian teachers?” (Is Arizonian a word?) The Arizona TIM uses the same levels of technology integration and classroom attributes, but replaces the 100 videos of Floridian teachers with 50 videos of teachers from Arizona. The few that I have watched so far are exceptional. Wouldn’t it be amazing if each state created their own version of the TIM with their own best practices? We would then have 50 states with 50-100 videos of technology integration examples – that’s between 2500-5000 videos vignettes! This is one small sample of a Social Studies lesson that falls on the matrix as an authentic/transformation lesson. Kudos to the team at the Arizona Center for keeping the integrity of the TIM, while customizing the look and feel of the videos for their teachers and students.


An image to share


A student researching using technology

A proverb

Learning without thinking is labor lost; thinking without learning is dangerous.


Chinese proverb


An encouragement


Have you tried to determine what kind of classroom you have according to the Technology Integration Matrix? I encourage you to view a few videos in the FL TIM or the Arizona TIM and ask yourself – what level of technology integration can be seen in my classroom? Are my lessons entry level? Are they adoption level? Are they adaption, infusion or transformation level? The most accurate way you can determine the answer is to ask yourself, “What are the students doing?” Technology in your classroom is at entry level if you are the one using the technology and not the students. If you give the students an opportunity to use technology, but guide most of their steps through the process, it’s an adoption lesson. When the students have more freedom to explore options of technologies to use, but are still limited in their choices, the lesson becomes an adaptive one. Once you reach the infusion level, students have a wide range of choice when it comes to the types of technology to use to explain what they have learned. If you have the rare opportunity to teach a transformation lesson, it would be one that could not have happened except for the technology. In other words, if the technology wasn’t present, the lesson could not have taken place. I encourage you to take a good look at your classroom. Once you determine a lessons level, consider “upgrading” it one level. Let me know if you need any help.


How do you do that?

How do you use the TIM? The most important part is to dig right in and just explore the matrix. It has 25 cells and within each cell there are 4 videos –that’s 100 lesson ideas to examine! If you add the Arizona TIM, then you have 150 video ideas! One tip that I would like to give you is to not be pigeonholed into grade level. Look instead at the lesson and think about how you could take the strategy and use it at our grade level or subject area. If we are ever going to move along a continuum of improvement, we must first have a common language (entry, adoption, adaption, infusion and transformation) and encourage each other that entry level lessons are often VERY good lessons. We just can stay there. Leaving a teacher-center classroom and going to a student-centered classroom takes a lot of effort. Be sure an take a honest look at your classroom and ask, “What are the students doing?”

As always, I am
Ubiquitously yours,

K

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Literacies for a Digital Age



Have you considered how much literacy we are embracing now? I am always jazzed when I see financial literacy highlighted so when I was searching for this “tuesdays” I found Kathy Schrock’s expertise. Kathy has labeled 13 literacies: traditional, informational, visual, critical, media, tool, digital, data, global, economic, civic, health and historical. Wow! (See her graphic below). Giving our students an awareness and respect for their need to be literate in so many ways also opens opportunities for success. She has begun a series on the DEN blog on these 13 literacies that are second to none. I encourage you to check them out. To date, she has explored financial, visual and media literacies. This “tuesdays” is designed to give you a one stop shopping for everything technology – Kathy Schrock!

A creative website

I have watched Kathy Schrock with great awe over the last 17 years. She’s an expert who is down-to-earth, funny and super eager to learn and share. I always thought, “I want to be Kathy Schrock when I grow up! I have no idea how she keeps up with trends and technologies in education, but I am sure glad she does.  A portion of her main website, Kathy Schrock’s Guide to Everything, is packed with EVERYTHING – she’s not kidding.  Look at some of these topics: App for That, Assessment and Rubrics, Concept Mapping, Creating a PLN, Digital Storytelling, Intellectual Property, Literacy, 60 Tech Tips in 60 Minutes and that’s just to mention a few.  Go visit her site, it’s amazing! As if keeping up with such a vast website is not enough, she hosts a monthly “best of the month” on Kathy’s Katch of the Month and writes a current and most interesting blog at Kathy Schrock’s KaffeeKlatsch.  Her credentials are very impressive and VERY interesting. I have no idea how she get’s it all in! Thank you Kathy for all that you do for educators everywhere. The upgrade of her website is quite impressive.


An image to share


6th grade student using her tablet in class.

A proverb

Live as if you were to die tomorrow. Learn as if you were to live forever.

Mahatma Gandhi


An encouragement


If you are blessed enough to have a mobile device initiative in your classroom, treasure it! One thing I would like you to consider is breaking away from the 1:1 setting from time to time. It must sound strange that if you have the capability to have every student on a device that I would propose that you work in groups or in a 2:1 setting, but there is real value in being purposely collaborative.  When a student is on a device all day long, it begins to lose its “wow” factor and they tend to be more isolated. Students in a 2:1 initiative have the advantage of explanation, cooperation, and interaction. Having stations or centers in the classroom also gives the students a chance to work more collaboratively without the need for each student to have a device in hand.

If you do not have a 1:1 device classroom, be creative at sharing the laptop or device cart that your school may have. If there are 30 devices on the cart, split it with three other teachers and only use 10 of them. Students quickly learn to share and get more engaged in the lesson when there is a device included.  Even if you only had 3 devices in the room, don’t forget that your projector hooked to a computer can be a student station also. The important part is to mix-up the learning environment so that it is a fresh, innovative platform for being “a community of learners.”




How do you do that?

How do you make the time to consume a vast website like Kathy Schrock’s Guide to Everything? One bite at a time! Take a glimpse at the topics along the left side of her website and try to look at one a week. Tonight I chose her 60 Tips in 60 minutes to examine and only got a few down the list and was blown away by some hidden iPad keyboard tips I never knew.  There is so much to learn and no one can really keep up, but isn’t it great to know that Kathy’s out there to catalog and share EVERYTHING she comes across?  The good news is that she has SO much. The bad news is that she has SO much. Don’t feel overwhelmed. Revisit time after time and take in her wealth of information incrementally.  You’ll be glad you did.

As always, I am
Ubiquitously yours,

K

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Copyright or Copyleft?




Anything that has to do with creativity really gets my attention because I believe the most important way to raise test scores is to tap into our teachers’ and students’ creativities. I would like to open a door into a great world of creative sharing that brings dignity to the artist and an encouragement for new creations, the Creative Commons license. This “tuesdays” is designed to look at “copy-lefting”.  I just hope I can explain this marvelously simple system to afford you of a whole new way of sharing with permission while honoring the copyright laws and fair use guidelines.


A creative website
The  Creative Commons website and movement is my pick for our creative site this week.  It is a non-profit service designed to provide free licensing for intellectual property for authors, scientists, artists, educators and students. I recommend clicking on the “Learn More” link where they have a series of videos that explain how Creative Commons work.  We always want to protect the copyright of any material, but what if you do want to share?  Consider a Creative Commons license for your work.

An image to share
There are many ways to share photos online, but my favorite is Flickr because it uses the Creative Commons license. I DO NOT recommend sending your students to this site, but I wanted to show you how Flickr has made it simple to share and license your original work.  I have a collection of sunrises that are licensed with the following conditions: You are free to share, remix, agree to give attribution to the artist (me!), not use the photos for commercial use and if you create something from my photos agree to share yours in a like manner. Pretty great stuff! (I haven’t added any for a while, but they sure are beautiful.)

A proverb
What has been will be again, what has been done will be done again: there is nothing new under the sun.  Eccl. 1:9

An encouragement
I’ve been teaching a long time and am happy to report that teachers today share a whole lot more than when I began. Collaboration has proven to be a most effective way to impact our students. There is no greater compliment than for someone to want to use your ideas (with permission, of course!)  As teachers, we need to encourage our students to create and share while always respecting the intellectual properties of others. Give credit where credit is due, observe copyright laws and investigate the Creative Commons licensing. Why reinvent the wheel?  After all, nothing’s new under the sun! Lee recently posted another interesting site, the Fair Use Evaluator, that is a great way to see if you are following the Fair Use guidelines.  Thanks, Lee.

How do you do that?

You can create your very own license by visiting their “License Your Work” section. Just entered a little bit of information and it will generate code to use on a website or document. Learn more about licensing your own work and the legal use of other people’s works with Creative Commons licenses. I recommend two videos: Get Creative and Wanna Work Together? When you visit the Creative Commons website, look for the Learn more link (it’s tiny and just under the title).  I believe you will find this whole new way of sharing fascinating. Welcome to a new world where collaboration rules!



As always, I am
Ubiquitously yours,
K



Tuesday, October 28, 2014

PowToon


One of the signs of true technology integration is choice. When students have a choice to explain their learning in a variety of mediums, we’ve empowered them to take risks, add rigor and be unafraid to try new tools. It may be safe to say that the majority of students have created a PowerPoint presentation by the time they have finished middle school. It’s time to make sure we give them more options. Some of the latest presentation tools are Google Docs, iWork for iCloud, Haiku Deck, Prezi, Emaze and more. No matter what medium a student chooses, the best plan is to storyboard the presentation first. This “tuesdays” is to encourage you to give your student options for their presentations this year.
             
A creative website

Although any of the online presentation formats above are worth putting on an option list for your students, the one that is catching everyone’s attention these days is PowToon. This clever never format is a cross between “POW”erPoint and car”TOON”s. It’s intuitive interface looks just like any other presentation software when you first log in, but you can quickly find a variety of cartoon images to make your presentation one that no one has ever seen before.  Perhaps the feature that caught my eye the first time I saw a Powtoon was the realistic hands grabbing and sliding pages across the screen. This fun way to explain a concept will take a little time to master. Don’t be fooled by its seemingly simple interface. It’s quite advanced. Your presentation can be in movie mode or presentation mode and then exported to any online channel (You Tube, Teacher Tube, etc). Unfortunately, you are only able to download your presentation if you upgrade to premium, but it is more than adequate to create and present online in the free version. You just have to put up with their snappy little commercial at the end. PowToon is a great way to add a refreshing change to any presentation. Warning! PowToon can be addictive!


An image to share


A Powtoon I am working on

A proverb
“You can speak well if your tongue can deliver the message of your heart.”

John Ford

An encouragement

Sometimes it is very difficult to let our students use tools that we do know how to use or perhaps have never even heard about. However, I would like to encourage you to think about this for a minute. If we give our students options to use any type of presentation software that they like, we remove the need to teach the tool! Teaching students each step of the process rather than concentrating on the quality of the content can waste so much instructional time. If a student wants to choose Prezi or PowToon, they are on their own to watch video tutorials or other help manuals. It is just amazing how much students learn from YouTube today. It’s a normal process for them so let’s give them the opportunity to teach themselves some innovation forms of presentation and if they can’t figure it out or have no desire to push themselves, they can always return to PowerPoint. Just remind them that PowerPoint is so – 90’s!


How do you do that?

How do you use PowToon? After creating a FREE account, I highly recommend taking a pre-made presentation and tweaking it. This will afford you the opportunity to change the text, add/subtract characters and edit the slides. The most interesting part to me is the slide bar timeline at the bottom of each presentation slide. As you slide the red triangle, you can see each of the animations on the screen. When you add a new character, text or image, it may not seem to be where you want it, but sliding the timeline reveals all the moves on your slide. You can play each slide individually or from the beginning. It’s quite ingenious. Make sure you look at the variety of characters and sample what others have made to get an idea of what looks good (and what does not.) Most importantly, make a rough draft storyboard of each of the slides before constructing your presentation. Good luck and please consider giving your students options, options, options!


As always, I am
Ubiquitously yours,
K