Wednesday, August 22, 2012

CEP811 Reflection

In reflection of my learning through cep 811, two main topics standout; the STaIR and building a website. Both of these topics were interest of mine before starting the course but I had little experience with either and was excited to get a start. And through facilitator and peer feedback I believe that I have a solid foundation to build upon as I move forward. 

My plan this year is to build mini video lessons to support content learning in my pbl classroom. Using Camtasia I plan to create these lessons following a STaIR/Flip style with interactive quizzes for self assessment and hotspots that encourage "think" time and collaboration. Some of these videos I will make from scrath, utilizing Google presentations or Micorsoft ppt, and then produce them in Camtasia. For other lessons I may use videos already created and shared on YouTube. Recently I contacted Mr. Anderson of Bozeman Biology via Twitter and recieved permission to modify and reuse his videos (adding the interactivity), which are excellent instructional lessons.

To host the video lessons and a basic framework for each unit I have created a website, KIHBiology. We have aschool managmenent system called Google which host calendars, activities, grades, and other information but it lacks the ability to create fluid or smooth transition. The KIH Biology website contains multi week webquests for each unit. These webquest will support the end products of students by keeping them on track and narrowing resources while still providing inquiry and flexibility. I have utilized knowledge from the cep811 webquest evaluation assignment to begin this process. To view this living document, see Matter and Energy in the Ecosystem.

It is and has been my goal to continue to learn how I can utilize technology to improve learning (versus just using techinology in class). I believe that both cep 810 and 811 have had a tremendous impact:
  • Exposing me to new resources, such as Merlot, ISTE Standards
  • Encouraging use of online PLN: Twitter, Angel
  • Getting me to ask "what, why, and how" amd I using a certain piece of technology.
  • and building my capacity to use google sites and Camtasia.
I plan to continue working towards my goal this school year. With support of cep812 and my students, I believe that I will move forward and find more ways to have a positive impact on other's learning.

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Online Teaching - Integrating Tech and Content

Teaching at Kent Innovation High is all about using technology. Our students use their laptops everyday to access assignments and grades, research topics, to collaborate, and to create. Some hurdles that we faced as teahcer included: off task behavior, misuse of social media, and lack of structure during research.

As I have begun planning my first two project based learning units I have done so with intentions of providing more structure on content while expandig student choice. I did this by alowing students to choose from a long list the topic/problem/issue they wish to invest their time in (UDL). Students will also be provided a list of different end products possibilities (but can also request to do something brand new - UDL). Some ideas for end products are: wikis, blogs, live presentations, physical or digital models, games, and short films. Regardless of the end product the students also need to identify and communicate with their intended audience. This all adds up to a lot of student choice and voice which addresses creativity ann innovation. But as I mentioned earlier, lack of sturtcure was an obstacle last year and at times lead to off-task behavior, social chatting versus professional dialogue, and poor end products. So to add sturcture this year I have created a new look to my class ECHO page:
ECHO is our school learning management system and is similar to a moodle. This structure I have used is similar to that of the MAET program. Students can view each weeks assignments and expectations via the roadmap and task (green checkmarks) indicate items that need to be submitted.

The picture above is from the first project. For my second project students have a similar echo page and their learning will also be supported by a webquest. My intent here was to provide guidance while allowing inquiry, so students can focus on their research and information fluency rather then spending time searching the www. The webquest is a multi-week assignment which will serve as a foundation to build their final product from. Here is the intro page to the webquest:
 This webquest also use workshops that follow a STaIR pedagogy approach to support content learning (UDL). Twitter is also used in bothe projects to increase communication and collaboration while building digital citizenry.

PBL style learning is inquiry in nature and for that reason students will have many opportunities to practice critical thinking, problem solving, and decision aming skils through each project. One example I can share is this submitted task:

This task also integrates google docs and online collaboration.

In both of these projects students will be asked to use Diigo, Voicethread, google docs, Skype and many other online tools which will build not only digital citizenry but also provide many opportunites to discuss Technology Operations and Concepts.

One area that I would like to try this year, but I believe will be challenging, is to get experts to skype into the class. One idea I have is to have an expert skype is for one session and screencast it so the other classes will have chance to view it.

Another idea to incorporate experts is to get student using Twitter. This too I will be difficult. Not many use Twitter so they will need to become comfortable with it and then they will have to become comfortable with finding and approaching experts.

I am very excited to get going on this next school year. The best part of all this is that their is flexibility which allows the students to take it new places!

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Creating Online Collaborative Spaces

Recently, I was challenged by the MSU MAET program to create two collaborative spaces using a wiki format. I have used wikispaces and pbworks in the past, but this assignment gave me a chance to create something new, as well as, learn how to to contribute to Wikipedia. As you can tell from my screenshot, I had a few problems with my first submission. I have have made several changes and resubmitted the Wikipedia page.

This was a great opportunity to learn new ways to edit, format, and embed using Wikipedia formatting. At times it was a bit frustrating but I hope to continue to edit this page and learn how to contribute to Wikipedia in a more efficient and effective ways. I believe I could use Wikipedia as an option for my students to express their final product. Not only would this allow for content but would be great to meet the ISTE NETS-S.

In creating a wiki of my own I debated using one that I had already created but then decided to try something new. So, I created Facilitating the 21st Century. My intent was to create a wiki that also utilized the skills of facilitation: guide, question, provide opportunity.

The intent of this wiki is to provide a space for other teachers to collaborate and share their experiences and knowledge. To do this a member or visitor would simply choose a topic page from the menu and add to it. Topics include technology tools, concepts, and pedagogy in a 1-on-1 classroom. Think of it as a technology in education library made by teachers for teachers.

There is one obstacle that I have not been able to overcome. And that is the privacy settings will only allow people who are members to edit the website. I have tried to change this in the "Manage Wiki" setting but my account is not letting me do so. I will continue to investigate this, having to request and wait for membership, in my opinion, will stand in the way of this being a successful wiki.

Hopefully I can figure this out in the near future.