Oct 23, 2011

ITEC 2011

Wow!  What an event - I learned sooo much, saw many things, ate great food.  The people who produced this event did an incredibly wonderful job!  Kudos, my friends.

A workshop I attended gave participants several samples of software.  The software I used for this feature was created by MIT (yes, Mass. Inst of Tech!).  From Scratch's website comes the following quote, "Scratch is a programming language that makes it easy to create your own interactive stories, animations, games, music, and art -- and share your creations on the web." 

I made a little animation (only took about 15 hours - remember, I'm an English major - not a programmer,and I was watching TV at the same time) that captures a couple of highlights.  Please watch it, and let me know what you think.

ITEC conference - Scratch presentation

Could you use Scratch in your world?

Oct 17, 2011

Amping it Up!

        I am attending the ITEC (Iowa Technology Education Connection) conference in Des Moines this week. Click here to learn more about ITEC.  Lots of great information available regarding instructional technology. 
        Speaking about technology in Iowa, I present five experiences that I encountered during the last twelve months of substitute teaching.  These experiences occurred in more than one school district, and, although they likely accomplished the desired outcomes, after describing the experiences I will show where the classes rank on the Technology Integration Matrix
         Next, three of the lucky experiences will be chosen for the Ultimate Makeover.  This means these class will be taken to the next level, and that experience described here.  Are You Ready?

Experience 1
The class in ninth grade English did a critical reading of The Monkey's Paw by W. W. Jacobs. Students read and discussed the story; they examined foreshadowing, predicted, and talked about themes, author intent, etc.  The objective of this activity is to introduce the structure, and model the creation, of the “5-paragraph essay.”    This fits into the Active-Entry cell. The teacher uses technology to present her lecture, but does not incorporate technology into what the students are doing. This fits into my future classroom because Critical Reading skills are important in every endeavor; workers often read the same material and informally share their opinions.  Also, all educated people need to be able to write well.

Experience 2
A class of special needs students in a Social Studies class is creating an invention timeline using cut-outs from assorted magazines. They glue the inventions to poster board; they are also required to draw and color little hand-drawn images of the inventions.  The objective of this activity is to introduce the concept of timelines and to explore the history of the Industrial Revolution.   A video is shown that teaches about the Industrial Revolution, and the teacher uses a Smart Board to present lesson material.  This belongs in the Active Entry cell of the T.I.M. because the teacher is passively using technology; there is no student engagement with the technology.  I chose this example because often corporate trainers want students to get a hands-on feel for the particular subject being taught, but they teach the material only with teacher demonstrations.

Experience 3
A high school business class is learning PowerPoint. They follow a scripted process to create slides. Each student does exactly the same thing, following a workbook. Some students do provide peer coaching.             Applicable TIM cell – Active Entry.  This cell on the TIM states that the students are paced through the activity and everyone does the same thing.  This relates to me/my interests because of my consideration of corporate training as a career.  Too often, corporate training uses this same process to teach software to employees 

Experience 4
An eighth grade science class views a Discovery Education video on genetics as review for a test. Applicable T.I.M. cell – Adoptive Entry because students are not engaged in using technology. This fits into my future endeavors because video-training is often used in industry.  Video-training is a passive way of teaching. Only extremely motivated learners get much out of this style. 

Experience 5
A 10th grade girl’s chorus class meets to prepare for an upcoming school-wide performance. Each ensemble steps up randomly and performs their number.  Students use technology to play accompaniments and microphones for vocals.  This goes into the Collaborative Entry cell of the T.I.M.  This fits into my world because workers often need to learn how to use microphones and select music for presentations.

Take It Up a Notch

Experience 1
Students read the same short story.  The discussion takes place on VoiceThread.  The teacher guides the discussion by participating.  Points discussed include those mentioned in the original experience and expand to have students point out specific examples of the structural components of the essay.  Students benefit from peer opinions, can contribute to the discussion at home or during school.  This is moved to the Collaborative Adoption Cell on the T.I.M.  Using VoiceThread allows students to learn from their peers.  Reflection is increased as students think about ideas before posting – VT can be used both synchronously and asynchronously, which gives opportunity for thinking before talking.

Experience 3
Students will learn PowerPoint.  This class will use differentiated learning.  Students with prior experience using PowerPoint will serve as mentors and will learn more advanced ppt skills.  Students are paired (and will share a computer).  They will choose a topic that applies to any subject for which they need to prepare a presentation.  If a student has no assignment to prepare, a list of possible topics will be available; student choice of topic will also be accepted.  Teacher models use of Master Slides, basic ppt functions, and designing aesthetically pleasing slides.   Guided instruction is provided by the teacher while students work on their projects.  This moves the class to the Collaborative Adoption cell on the T.I.M. because students help each other with particular aspects of the program.  Students are able to progress at their own speeds (learning just what they need for their particular situation), explore what the software can do, and create an artifact that can be used in another situation. 

Experience 5
Students preparing vocal presentations for the concert will be recorded and will post their performances on a version on You Tube designed for schools (less open). Students will search for music on the Internet and research copyright issues. The ensembles will self-evaluate and offer constructive criticism on other performances. This moves the learning activity into the Collaborative Adoption Cell on the T.I.M. Seeing one’s performance allows for self-evaluation and revision that is intrinsically motivated. The peer evaluations are important because often new ideas are generated and then expanded upon by peers.

Oct 3, 2011

September 30, 2011 - Gradual Release of Responsibility

UPDATE: I never included a link to the lesson!
Here it is:

I have just learned that something I always thought was intrinsic to teaching is a NEW theory, of sorts.  It's called "Gradual Release of Responsibility" or GRR.  The purpose is to help students take control of their own learning.  Hooray!

I have a GRR lesson plan for learning about Columbus about which I would love your comments.  Please let me know your true thoughts.