BYOD: Go Get These 10 Apps!

paulmcguire2013:

Some great apps here. Should be on every teachers’ list! Thanks

Originally posted on Ross Cooper:

BYODFor approximately the past five months, my fourth graders and I have been pre-piloting BYOD for our district. While our findings are detailed in an earlier post, here is a list of what I consider to be the must-have apps for BYOD (as opposed to apps that I might consider to be “the best” in general).

Google Drive: The ability to establish an effective workflow is easily one of the bigger problems when dealing with mobile devices in the classroom. When this app came out a few years ago it essentially took a sledgehammer to this dilemma. Although this app does not possess all the same functionality as its desktop counterpart, it will allow students and teachers to access their work, wherever and whenever (especially if your district has gone Google Apps for Education, which it should).
Platforms: iOS, Android, web                       Price: free

Schoology/Edmodo

View original 871 more words

Teacher professional development

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This morning I had a chance to sit in on the junior math triad at our school.  The triad is made up of three schools – St. Gregory, St. Daniel and St. Monica.  The teachers in each triad meet throughout the year and set their own learning goals as the year progresses.  These learning goals become the basis of our school improvement plan.

I believe that this is a very powerful model for professional development.  It puts the teacher in the driving seat and shows due respect to the adult learner.

I try to sit in on as many triad meetings as possible and I always find their conversations really interesting.  Because the teachers set their own learning goals and decide when they are going to meet to work on their own inquiries there is continuous discovery based on the evidence gathered from student work.

I have been fortunate enough to work with this group throughout the school year.  They have been working on a continuing inquiry on the use of math journals as a way to introduce and reinforce math concepts.

math inquiry

The rectangle and the parallelogram – a student reflection on learning.

If we continue to solidify students’ ability to communicate about math through the use of math journals with support through conferencing, then they should be able to demonstrate their learning through oral or written responses using math language..

current math inquiry goal – junior math

At this point, the teachers are reflecting on what they have learned this year and where they want to go in the future.  Reading through the math journals, it is very interesting to see how the students reflect on what they are learning.  The teachers shared some of these reflections with me and I am posting them here.

The junior triad is now exploring how the journalling, especially the reflections can lead to more sophisticated student inquiry.  They have learned that the ground for inquiry needs to be carefully prepared before jumping into one.  The math journals, leading to individual student reflection on learning is a great way to do this.

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The wonderful thing about the triad teacher inquiry process is that teachers choose what they want to learn based on the needs of their students.  They all record their learning in an Evidence of Learning document that gets updated every time they meet.  Ultimately, their inquiries become the basis for our school improvement plan.

For me, the most interesting teacher reflection throughout this process has to do with how their inquiries has changed their teaching practice.  We added this question this year after reading Intentional Interruptions by Steven Katz.  Katz states that every time teachers embark on a new ‘doing’, they need to reflect on some key questions.  One of these questions asks teachers to reflect on how any new initiative will deepen their professional  understanding such that teacher practice changes. (pg 78)

This is how the junior teachers answered this question:

Where to next?  Now what?

“The journals have shown us that explicit teaching prior to, or in combination with, inquiry allows for more success.  We need to fill the student’s toolboxes with concepts and strategies before we can expect them to be confident in problem based inquiry.  Confidence is one of the most important tools for students to be successful!

We have also learned that the journals have built in differentiation for all the learning styles in the classroom with the flexibility and creativity allowed in the reflection piece.

 

We will definitely continue the Math journal into next year.  Where possible, the students remaining in the school will have their journals passed on to the coming teacher and continued on from there (teacher discretion). We hope to take the explicit teaching in the journals and use it to strengthen the students’ inquiry skills.

Possibility for next year are some shortcuts for the kids who have a difficult time with copying or concepts, for example having the curriculum learning goals pre-typed, having some of the interactive tools photocopied, creating alternative interactive tools based on student needs.

More conferencing needed.”

Really interesting to see concrete examples of teacher learning taking off once they are given the autonomy to try out new concepts on their own!

 

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Our first Edcamp

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one of three workshops put on for our first Edcamp

How can we possibly find the time to give teachers opportunities to learn about new technology?  There is no question that we need to find a way to change the way we deliver PD.  Teacher learning needs to be embedded and easily accessible so that everyone can keep up with all the changes being brought on through Google, Apple, chromebooks and apps apps apps!

We are experimenting with a version of the edcamp model. To do this, I gave over our regular meeting time (once per month) and allowed teachers to sign up for three 20 minute workshops.  Fortunately, we had three staff members who were willing to present.

I don’t think this is how a regular edcamp would work, but we were dealing with limited time and no more than 15 staff.

The model needs some work, but based on the staff comments (below) I am already convinced that it is a good idea to give up staff meeting time on a regular basis so that we can build a stronger learning culture here at our school.

Really enjoyed the round robin of activities. Small groups work well

Snacks were amazing. Time was perfect.

IEP info was very useful. Symbaloo was interesting. Vine was neat but 7seconds is very short for a video.

Love the idea of these mini workshops as a staff meeting. It doesn’t even have to necessarily be technology related. Could grade partner meeting time be part of it?

Sometimes we get so busy and we’re communicating in a rush, so extra time would be great. 

Very good. Just enough time.Timing good, more specific programs, eg, great spelling or writing app. Went smoothly. Time frame was sufficient: quick, to the point and gave us enough info to understand program/ app should we decide to explore further. Thanks to presenters

Timing good, more specific programs, eg, great spelling or writing app. Went smoothly.

Time frame was sufficient: quick, to the point and gave us enough info to understand program/ app should we decide to explore further.

Thanks to presenters

 

here is the original google form we used to get ideas from the teachers

and… here are some of the learning needs we still need to work on – based on teacher response.

  • Kid Blog Edmodo -
  • top 5 math apps -
  • top 5 reading apps -
  • top 5 presentation apps
  • symbaloo
  • Interesting apps or software.
  • Technology for non-readers
  • How to be more interactive with Smartboard
  • Not sure How to effectively use twitter in the classroom.
  • Time to explore google/apple apps.
  • how to integrate technology when you don’t have enough computers/ipads for the whole class
  • making mini-movies using the imovie app (I think that’s what it is called)
  • how to save youtube videos to use off-line
  • Using Lucid Chart, Read Write for Google

What a terrific list!  Time to plan our next edcamp

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Celebrating Student Voice

imagineTheFuture

“If we don’t tell the story of what is going on in our district who will.”

How do we work to enhance student voice in our school and what evidence can we look to for.

I am interested in exploring the ways we give our students a voice in our school.  More and more this seems to mean connecting our students to social media.

This past week has been pretty amazing at our school.  Our juniors were involved in two regional competitions – The Engineering Challenge and Destination Imagination.  Our teams placed first and second in both competitions.  They won because of their creativity, innovative skills and their ability to work as a team – no mean feat for kids in grades 5 and 6!

They were assisted by their teachers, an incredible group of volunteer engineers and parents.  All these adults worked selflessly for weeks to prepare the students for these events.  They really allowed the creative voices of their students come forward.

I can’t say enough about how important this is.  Our students have shown themselves to be incredibly creative.  Their voice really needs to be heard.  Because of the work of teachers, parents and volunteers their voice is out there.  What an incredible experience for our students!

Social media here plays a bit of a secondary role.  Social media basically gets the word out – actually it gives the students the audience that they deserve.  Here are some of the pieces put out by our teachers this week celebrating student voice.

Our first place team at Destination Imagination – students and parent volunteers

Student Voice – an excerpt from one of our student blogs – using kidblog- including responses from classmates and a’pen pal’ from Nebraska
The grade 4 teacher writes about their blogging project here:

Our classroom blogging community

February9

The Primary Blogging Community (PBC) was started by a primary teacher, Mrs. Wideen, here in Ontario last year.  It is a community of primary teachers  that want to share their students’ learning through the students’ personal blogs.  For the next 3 weeks (and the past three!), we are blogging with 3 other classrooms from around the world.  Our blogging community happens to be right here in North America.  They are  primary classes from Alberta, Nebraska, and Indiana.  You can imagine the enthusiasm when students receive comments to their blog posts from someone new!   This blogging experience provides them with a real audience that gives them authentic feedback about what they are writing on their blogs.  It gives them a voice and lets them teach their peers about something they know or feel passionately about.  And above all, it provides them with reading and writing opportunities (how to write a good blog post/comment) that they actually look forward to.  If you have not visited your son’s or daughter’s blog, please do.  If you would like to leave a comment, just let me know and I will sign you up!

7 random facts about me

Categories: Blog February 27, 2014 @ 11:00 AM 10 Comments 

1.  I am Russian.

2. I lived in Moscow until I was 8.

3. I like to draw pictures.

4. I go skiing every year.

5. I have  many sisters and brothers and my mother is expecting a baby.

6.  I have 1 friend in Russia and lots of friends here.

7. I am happy in Canada.

10 Comments

  1. Cole Cole
    February 27, 2014 at 11:14 AM

    What is your friend’s name? Is your friend a boy or a girl? What do you like about Canada?

  2. Dylan Dylan
    February 27, 2014 at 11:14 AM

    Sofiya,
    I am glad you are happy in Canada. Is Moscow the capital of Russia? What is your friend’s name that is in Russia ?
    From,
    Dylan

  3. Madison Madison
    February 27, 2014 at 11:16 AM

    You have an awesome life

  4. Chiara Chiara
    February 27, 2014 at 11:17 AM

    Hi Sofiya, it’s Chiara. Good job. I like it. I want to go to Russia. Am I your friend?

    • Sofiya Sofiya
      February 28, 2014 at 11:21 AM

      Yes,you are:}

  5. Matteo Matteo
    February 27, 2014 at 11:22 AM

    Cool and why did you move to Canada and not the states or do you have any relation with Canada? Or did you accidentally move to Canada like my grandparents.

  6. Allyssia Allyssia
    February 28, 2014 at 10:53 AM

    I’m glad you like Canada.Is there something you don’t like about Canada?

    • Sofiya Sofiya
      February 28, 2014 at 4:31 PM

      Yes,I don’t like that you guys don’t speak Russian because it’s hard to learn English.

  7. Austin (Mrs. Keene's Class) Austin (Mrs. Keene’s Class)
    March 3, 2014 at 9:35 AM

    Hi Sofiya, my favorite foods are pizza, pears, mashed potatoes, and blue jolly ranchers. I have one brother and one sister. I am the middle child. I have broken three bones in my body. They were both of my arms and my hip. When I broke my left arm, it was crooked. My favorite sport is basketball. I play football, baseball, and basketball. Those are some facts about me.

    • Sofiya Sofiya
      March 4, 2014 at 1:55 PM

      Hi Austin,
      How did you break your arms?:0

     

another student voice project from the junior kindergarten students 

Each morning upon entry, students have quiet reading time at the carpet. A few weeks ago I noticed Ally enthusiastically telling a story to a friend using the pictures of a book. I encouraged her to take my chair and share it with the whole class. This way the start of more student voice in our classroom as many others have asked for their turn as the storyteller! We all sit up close as the storyteller creates a tale inspired by pictures. It has been an exciting way to start our class and the tradition shall most definitely continue!

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Discovery Education Future is Now Conference – part II

New panel discussion: Creating a Culture of Change

Where do you start with staff regarding digital transformation?

The basic idea – show teachers what is possible.  When you give them a model – this could be your classroom – are you willing to do this?

Thomas Gentzel – Executive Director National School Board Association-  need to be able to ask the right question.  There are plenty of examples where initiatives haven’t worked.

What works?  Engage the community – how is technology being used in the classroom

Second – a strategic view on where the system wants to go – before purchasing equipment.

Michael Martiano – Superintendent St. Mary’s County- start with a cadre of our teachers – the level of excitement generated by early adopters spreads to other teachers.  Build that cadre of support first.

Chris Kennedy – as a district, set the high level – this is what we are about as a district.  Rather than look to pilot schools, we replicate the conversation in each school then link the schools together.

Michael Martiano – to bring this change to the system look where your money is invested – move from traditional texts to digital across the board.  I will never allow for another traditional textbook adoption

Allan Lee – superintendent Baldwin County – engage the community to see the benefits of technology – how students are learning, telling the stories of success.

Michael Martiano – sometimes we don’t take advantage to tell the stories about technology – communities need to become aware of the advantages of the digital transformation.

Thomas Gentzel – the traditional jobs are a way of the past and we need to tell the community we are preparing for the future.

Chris Kennedy – As practices change, we see improvements using the old measures – this reassures the public.  We are still doing some traditional assessment and the students are doing better.

Allan Lee - Key point – ‘I no longer have to wait to learn’. Individual students learn in a distinctly different ways.  Elementary teachers realize that the learning environment is dynamic – high school teachers need to see this.

Digital Renaissance Learning Academy – building capacity in the schools – you need a critical mass of highly qualified teachers – Baldwin County Schools

So what is the district going to do to assure success?  The decision about the device comes lst – teachers will not change unless they have the good PD that they need.

Next Speaker – Kaya Henderson Chancellor DC Schools

Demonstrating the power of blended learning.

Technology cannot replace a good teacher, however it can assist with differentiation, it can assist students to be more engaged.  Students take responsibility for their own learning.  Blended Learning allows teachers to deliver curriculum in totally new ways.

How do we encourage blended learning?

Supporting our teachers means to support teachers as they try something new.  They also have outside partners that help teachers to develop.

Creation also of blended learning feeder patterns – centers where students can focus on learning blended learning techniques.

Integrate the work into our everyday structures.  Supporting schools that are integrating technology into key subject areas.

Developing Teacher Leaders

panel host – Dr. Karen Beerer, VP Discovery Education

Dr. Gene Carter Executive Director ASCD- Leadership is inclusive.  It can be learned.  We have the opportunity to encourage teacher engagement.  We need them to sustain the energy for innovation.  Higher ed personnel have resp to prepare grads to be effective teachers; schools must provide job-embedded learning.  Teacher leadership is integral to change in schools.

Marie Izquierdo Chief Academic Officer Miami-Dade – Digital leadership model – focus on visionary teachers, innovative, willing and open to have other teachers come into their classrooms.  They are designated as model teachers that can contribute to the learning of their peers.  Very rigorous mentor-mentee teachers – has ed to a great amount of success.

Anthony Nash – Superintendent – a title does not make you a leader.  It is critical that we create an atmosphere where teachers feel free to take risks.  Teachers need to hear that change is going to be messy.

Aileen Altman Mitchell Principal – Middle school principal – many partnerships with universities, Discovery Education and other organizations.  Key formula for success – making sure teachers are empowered to be leaders.  Teachers worked in teams – focused on professional development theme of their own choosing.

Dr. John Malloy Director Hamilton Wentworth – We who lead believe that we are distributing leadership more than we are.  Do we have the right conditions for shared leadership?  Challenge – what don’t you know that people think you should?  A block can happen if we cannot be honest learners together.

How do we build a culture where teacher leadership can happen?

  • you need to create systems where teachers can collaborate and try new things.
  • we have to broaden the definition of leader so more people consider their potential
  • need to resource and support teacher who do not want to become formal leaders
  • we are learners first, leaders second
  • rust must be earned – if your behaviours go against this you will destroy any opportunities to work in tandem
  • everyone needs to learn how to learn together
  • technology at best is a tool that can facilitate good teaching.
  • Reflection, learning, and risk-taking are necessary for developing a culture of teacher leaders

Changing the PD model

English: Blended learning methodology graphic

English: Blended learning methodology graphic (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

  • Learn together and no experts needed to bring in, because leaders emerge in all conversations within a school.
  • learning can be exponential if we depend on ourselves for PD rather than to ‘wait’ for the expert
  • time is precious – can we give teachers time to collaborate with their peers during the day?  We don’t need to bring in people, just free up the schedule!
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#Futurenow final Discovery Education session today

Digital by design – integrating devices into the classroom

panel discussion summary

Allowing students to create rather than just consuming – this is important.  The desire to create is very important.  Examples – coming up with movie trailers, pitches using media – this increases the stakes because the student owns the material.

Dr. Cynthia Elsberry – As we move into the digital era, digital tools are being embedded into the curriculum.  Curriculum being built by other teachers.  (Horry County School District)

Vision Eric Williams, Superintendent York County, is to have teachers develop their own curriculum, not a centrally dictated curriculum.

Zach Leverenz – CEO Everyone ON – what happens at the end of the day.  In poorer areas, students do not have access to digital devices.  Equitable access must happen to avoid deepening the digital divide.

Brian Lewis ISTE - how do we create the environment for student to learn the technologies that don’t even exist yet?

Equitable access meant in Horry County that every student was given a device no matter the income level.

Home access is key – we need to have tools that kids can use to create new things – ie constructing boards on Discovery Education. However, we have to think how to offer the same services for everyone.  (very interesting site for Everyone On – offers $10.00 internet to families that are not connected)

Lessons learned from BYOT at York County – Eric Williams.  We have more access to devices because kids are bringing them in.  Kids who do not have devices can use those available at the school.  More of a workplace environment where people can use the device of choice.

Horry County – schools could apply for a grant from the district.  Had a huge effect on the district.  People learned off the early adopters.  Then they put a device in the hands of every child.  Gives the student that tool that will teach them how to use the technology they will need in post secondary or the workplace.

How can teachers effectively navigate this 1:1 environment?  Horry County started with blended learning.  As teachers became comfortable with a few devices in the classroom they became prepared for a 1:1 environment. Part of what we have to do is create collaborative environments where teachers feel comfortable in learning the new technologies (Brian Lewis).

Eric Williams – stop getting in teachers’ way.  Allow kids to bring in their devices and support teachers who are ready for this in their classrooms.

How do you model technology integration? Answers – does it improve the quality and impact of student work.  Another measure – SAMR – we are interested in moving people into the transformative stage of teaching.  Another measure – when you walk into the classroom who is doing most of the work, the student or the teacher?

How to build momentum to adopt technology – leaders need to model the use of technology (Eric Williams).  We can solve the problem of lack of connectivity in the home – we can solve this (in the United States) (Zach Leverenz)

Finally… Alberto Carvalho – Superintendent Miami-Dade County

Miami-Dade – improved achievement rates in a disadvantaged area

There are digital wastelands across our country.  Are some students getting more access to resources than others?  Digital convergence is important because opportunity gaps lead to achievement gaps – it is a moral imperative.  To reach maximum potential – eliminate the opportunity gap.

HOW of digital convergence – there is a sequential way to do this work.  The tools must be available for everyone.  Does not believe in pilot programs because only some are leading the train, the rest are left behind.

Start with digital content – the most important decision more important than the device.

Second – create the highway to facilitate the traffic – broadband.

Third – connectivity – every single space in your district must have access – every school.

Can’t wait for the investment because these steps are essential.  Done through fund raising in the community – raised $7 million with matching funds raised $70 million.

Only after the three steps above did they choose a device and a platform.  Bought 38,000 devices to see how they would be used, but that was the very last decision to be made.  Also surveyed how many students would need devices – over 100,000 students.

Finally, evaluation - iPrep academy - studying the impact of e-learning, flipped classrooms etc – this informed the system wide implementation.

Funding – using textbook money to pay for digital content, bank loans for buying devices – ( a little complicated)  main point, funding came from multiple sources.

The power to learn any time anywhere is a moral imperative.  To deny this to any students is to condemn students to a life of poverty.  There is no opportunity equity without equal access to digital content everywhere.

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Future@Now Conference – Discovery Education Conference

picture of an e-learning classroom

picture of an e-learning classroom (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Here are some of the notes I took from the one day Discovery Education conference.  The record has been supplemented by tweets from #futurenow.  Some of the sessions were quite short, so I don’t have great notes for some really interesting speakers!  I will try to supplement them later as I find more material.

How do we implement a plan for creating a digital transformation? That is the theme for today.

First session – The Call to Action – Student Speak – how digital learning is impacting the lives of students.(trying to upload this!)

Dr David Dance – Superintendent  Baltimore County Public Schools @DDance_BCPS

  • conversion starts with engaging community. “Build a case for the urgency of now”
  • If the infrastructure is not there this is not going to work –
  • really makes sure they have strong partners in the community
  • Lighthouse schools – application to become school labs – teachers need to vote to become a Lighthouse school
  • digital transformation started with elementary!!
  • digital conversation is about making edication individualized for all students
  • we have to build cultures where risk taking is part of the culture
  • status quo is not acceptable – we only get one chace to work with our children
  • our goal – to deveop students who can compete on a global level
  • School districts need to partner with groups like Discovery Ed to plan the transition
  • Technology allows students to take responsibility for their learning
  • Our world is digital. Schools can no longer ignore this fact…our students need opportunities to excel in the digital world.
  • The cost for infrastructure should not be so unattainable and exorbitant that the implementation of digital learning is halted

US Representative George Miller – Senior Democrat House Education and Workforce Committee

We are making that transition to digital schools by bringing students, teachers, parents and the community on side.

“There’s a magnificent bonfire [of education innovation] burning across this country.”

The achevement gap does not have to be a constant – we are inspiring education in and outside of the school through new initiatives

Universal access for ALL students to online resources is critical to successfully transition to new educ paradigm

Politicians can take ownership of the system so that we can get the resources we need in our schools!

live audience at Furure@Now conference

Close

Digital Transformation – panel discussion

How do you measure success in implementation?

  • “Measures of success? Funding Infrastructure and finding innovative ways to inspire”
  • other meaures? Accelerating outcomes for all students
  • looking also to ‘repurpose’ our spending. Difficult to do since the vast majority of spending is on staff
  • a case can be built for ‘if we don’t spend it now, we will spend it later’ – investing in our students
  • centralize spending on technology to allow for bulk buying discounts
  • have to demonstrate our early wins so that we can leverage what we are learning to allow for future investment (Lighthouse Schools)

Chris Kennedy @chrkennedy – next speaker – Superintendent of Schools – West Vancouver

  • OWN IT, ACTIVATE IT, ENGAGE WITH IT. I say ALL parties should do ALL. You gain a wealth of ideas,creativity, & henceforth
  • Conversations over BYOD is the wrong conversation.  If we are spending time talking about digital, there is probably a conversation on education we need to have first.
  • if your community is fighting about digital there’s conversation missing–should be about learning!

Chris’ full presentation can be found here

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