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Showing posts from October, 2014

Big Universe iPad App

Big Universe has been a great resource since the beginning of East Noble School Corporation's digital conversion. It has worked especially well for our second through sixth graders as it supplies a wealth of non-fiction texts pertaining to topics that interest elementary students. This is especially handy as it is often hard for younger students to perform research online and understand the reliability of online resources. Big Universe provides that reference point to help them determine the accuracy of other online materials.

Allowing teachers to quickly assign and distribute digital content to students contributes to the success of Big Universe. Teachers use it for differentiated instruction as they can select texts based upon multiple reading leveling tools and check off which students should receive it. Training students to use the reading level resources was equally advantageous for teachers as students were able to find books that are "just right" for them.

This ye…

Tech Squad and eLearning

Last week, I presented at the ICE conference on the topic of Organized Chaos. What is Organized Chaos you ask? Attempting to maintain a 1:1 technology environment with primary students.

This became very relevant this week as we will be doing a district-wide eLearning day. The students will be taking devices home with content downloaded onto them. This might not be too much of a problem with second graders on up, but for kindergarten and first grade, it requires a lot of time on the teacher's part. Many teachers resort to just accomplishing the task for themselves. However, I'm a big fan of "using your resources."

To help kindergarten get ready for eLearning, fifth grade students placed the apps needed for the day into an eLearning folder, downloaded videos to the photos, and made separate albums for the videos so that the students do not get them mixed up with photos/videos that they may have taken themselves. Even with with five helpers, it still took over an hour …

Kahoot

Kahoot is a fun, interactive game that teachers can use to match any content area. Much like the sports trivia games that you find at restaurants like Buffalo Wild Wings, users gain points by answering correctly and quickly. Now with a classroom set of Internet enabled devices, you can do the same with your lessons.

Teachers have the choice of either using it for a quiz with a specific answer being correct, a discussion starter, or a survey to collect data. No matter how you choose to utilize this tool, it engages the student and offers opportunities for the teacher to take advantage of some teachable moments. I've even used it for a digital citizenship discussion for a parent night my fifth and sixth grade teachers.

To get started, teachers will need to create an account at www.getkahoot.com. As teachers create Kahoot sessions, they will remain saved under their account name. Teachers also have the option to search through thousands of shared Kahoots if he/she would rather not r…

ICE Conference

I'm excited to be presenting tomorrow and Friday at the Indiana Connected Educators (ICE) Conference. There will be some great educators from around the state sharing their expertise in utilizing technology as a teaching/learning tool. There will also be a strong lineup of keynote speakers as we will hear from Leslie Fisher, Kevin Honeycutt, Dave Burgess, and Sylvia Martinez.


I will be providing two sessions: SAMR Tools (Thursday) and Organized Chaos (Friday). I have experience presenting at several conferences, but this will be my first for ICE. Here is a quick overview of my sessions:
SAMR ToolsSAMR stands for: substitution, augmentation, modification, and redefinition. It is tool for leveling the use of technology in your classroom to change it from enhancing to transforming the learning experience. I'll chat a bit about the SAMR model, but what I really want to do is dig into some fun and exciting tools that students can use on iOS devices. (Some of these tools are also a…

Kidblog.org

There is no doubt that Kidblog.org is a powerful tool. Students love the opportunity to share, dialogue, and practice their writing skills in a blogging format. It gives them a sense of audience and voice. It is also a great platform because they provide you with many controls and options for free that require a charge from other blogging platforms.

I've worked with numerous classes in creating accounts and also getting the ball rolling with quality posts and comments. The tricky thing with a blog is that you really have to invest the time to communicate expectations when students post or comment. Otherwise they will naturally aim below the expectations for quality work. I blame that partially on the examples students see on various examples of social media (Youtube, Facebook, Twitter). Setting the expectations early is key to your blog's success.

For an idea of where to start, I posted about my experience with two fourth grade classrooms in the spring of 2014. To summarize t…