Friday, December 14, 2012

WPP Final - Twitter as a Research Tool

The Problem to Address

At Kent Innovation High every student has a computer and therefore access to endless amounts of information. This obviously has is benefits and at the same time creates obstacles. Students often go to the first Google search and/or get side tracked with all of the other possibilities. During my CEP810 course I became, lets say, addicted to Twitter. I realized quickly how much great information and resources Twitter offered while providing the ability to narrow the research. What I appreciated most was the ability to ask questions or share information.


It was CEP 812 that got me thinking about using Twitter in a fashion that would connect students with ideas and research that related to their projects. Although the WPP project is done in December, I plan to continue with my research on using Twitter as a research tool. In fact I have been given the opportunity to share at MACUL about using Twitter in the classroom to implement the ISTE NETS for students.

The Connection with TPACK

TP - For this project I will be using two different pieces of technology, Google docs and Twitter. Google docs  will be used to create a pre and post survey  so that I can collect information on the students' abilities to research online (in a manner that deepens understanding). This formative assessment will be used to collect data that I can use to determine the impact of using Twitter in class. Google docs was chosen because my students are familiar with it and in a 1-on-1 setting it is a tool that I can use easily without interrupting the daily lesson.  

TC - The second piece of technology is Twitter. Students will be using Twitter as a researching tool; identifying, following, and having conversations with experts, as well as, looking for links to articles and research that is pertinent to their projects. This is the basis of my research, using the NETS-s ( as a guide I hope to see an improvement in the ability of the students to find information, analyze the information, and to ask questions or look for feedback on their own conclusions. I could not do this as a sole expert but Twitter provides access to many experts.

PC - My project may be a bit different because it is not looking at one lesson but rather a skill that I would like to facilitate the growth of within my students. In a PBL classroom there is a focus on turning the learning over to the students and with that in mind I have challenged myself to change my overall pedagogical approach from being a teacher to becoming a facilitator. I believe that building skills; such as researching, communication within the content, and asking for feedback will give the student deeper and more enjoyable learning experience.

Prezi Presentation (to see the presentation without the voice over go here)

Friday, December 7, 2012

Professional Learning Plan

My Professional Learning Plan, I created this using Powerpoint and Camtasia. The idea was inspired by ignite talks and my goal was to use no printed text.

Group Leadership Project

For the MSU MAET Program we were asked to work in small groups to create a stand alone PD course for teachers who wish to implement technology into their classroom. Our goal was to make a PD that was relative to today's teachers, short enough for teachers to complete, and would provide a take away that can be used by the teacher.

In today's teaching there are a lot of buzz words; flipping, workshops, differentiation, etc. In the end, we need to find multiple ways to reach students at their individual needs and level. Technology, such as flip cameras, smart phones, laptops, and apps assist teachers in their attempt to accomplish this. Educreations is an app that falls within this category. Educreations, although limited compared to powerful editing programs like Camtasia, it is a tool that can be used on the laptop or Ipad to create and edit short lessons quickly. These lesson then can be shared via the internet using a "class" feature, shared link, social media, or email. Our team created the PD using Educreations so that teachers could see the simplicity of it. 

We created a PD that a teacher could receive in a short period allowing them time to apply what they learned. So in making our final product we tried to keep it around 10 minutes. This was a challenge becasue we had to show how to get started and how to use it, what it could be used for and provide a classroom example. The other challenge was merging the three parts into one lesson. Educreation has many strengths but lacks a collaboration piece that allowed each of us, working at a distance from one another, to edit the same lesson. To overcome this, we created three separate lessons and them merged them using Camtasia. Although this was an extra step, Camtasia provided some tools that Educreations does not, allowing us to create a more enhanced PD. 

It is important to point out that Educreation has limitations if you are  making a high quality production, but it is excellent for making quick web based lessons. I hope to use it to create an audio/visual instructions to go along with the written instructions for each of my assignments. This will address UDL needs for ELL students and others who struggle with reading comprehension.
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If we were to do this project again, I would like to have each of us do voice-overs periodically throughout the lesson. As it is now, Melissa talks during the first third, Mark the second third, and I wrap it up. I think the quality of the video may improve if we mixed it up more. This was an oversight when making the storyboard, but it is also part of the issue with distant collaboration. Even with Camtasia we would not have been able to collaborate at the same time but instead we would had to mail projects or audio recordings back and forth. 

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Mobile Learning Lab

After joining Classroom 2.0 I replied to two ongoing conversations. These are the first two screen shots. My interactions inspired me to create my own discussion, this is the third screenshot.

This past Friday I started class with a fun poll, using Poll Everywhere. I asked my students what there favorite social media tool was. Here are the results, they include my vote and that of my co-teacher.
It seems as though Facebook continues to hang on to their superiority, but a shocking result for me was the popularity of Grooveshark (and that Spotify, a paid service that is similar to Grooveshark and used by many adults, was zero).

In addition to Classroom Web 2.0 and Poll Everywhere I have tried flip cameras, cell phones, and  laptops in the classroom. I have had my students use the flip cameras to make videos for end products, snap pictures for VoiceThread, and to record answers for summative assessments. Although we still have flip cameras and we still use them, more and more students have Smart Phones which shoot video just as easy and many students are choosing this option over the flip camera. Because the phone is connected to the Wifi, it is easy to edit the video and then transfer it to Vimeo or another hosting site. My Students also use their phones to Tweet, take pictures of notes on the board, and one student even livecasted our class on Ustream. As I have mentioned in earlier blogs, I teach at a 1-on-1 school so we utilize the power and resources of laptops all of the time; researching the Internet, producing videos and other end products, using Google Docs, and Skyping into class (when they are sick) just to name a few uses.

I would like to start using more podcast as support lessons and even have the students begin to create podcast. Perhaps we could make a series of Biology podcast made by students for students. I would also like to begin creating and having my students create "video problems" as seen at Ben Rimes Vimeo Channel Video Story Problems.

In my opinion, the biggest challenge to using mobile devices in the classroom is making sure that the device does not become a distraction or obstacle to the lesson. In other words students need to know how to use them, why they are being used, and what to use them for. By educating the student the device becomes a tool that enhances learning.