#PUWT15 Thoughts: Session 5: #Twitter4Educators

PUWT_logo_08Session 5: #Twitter4Educators, by Evylyn Quiñones

  • Going around the room introducing ourselves and saying how comfortable we are with Twitter.
  • I joined Twitter in March of 2007. I think I’m the old fogey here.
  • Norms
    • Take risks
    • Share ideas
    • Ask questions
    • Have fun learning
  • Addressing two things simultaneously: Teacher tweets and student tweets.
  • Remember, there is a BIG audience out there.
    • Students
    • Family
    • Strangers
    • More
  • Link sharing – URL shorteners make them manageable.
  • Differentiating between @ and # … this is basic information, but perfect for this audience.
  • You can invent your own hashtags for student/class use.
  • My favorite tags right now are #PGTech and #BYOTchat.
  • Talking about edchats! Fantastic! No mention of #BYOTchat, but she’s hitting her favorites.
    • #edchat
    • #flipclass
    • #digcit
  • Leading us through the steps of edchat participation. This is a good primer.
  • Sharing Twitter user names with each other to build our personal communities.
  • Twitter could be used for exit tickets, class discussion, idea sharing, collaboration, and so on.
  • Extends learning. Don’t need to be done with a lesson because class time is over.
  • Showcasing cool things in your class/with your students is great! (Do you have media release forms…?)

#PUWT15 Thoughts: Session 2, Fusing Media Technology and Content in the Classroom

PUWT_logo_08Session 2: Fusing Media Technology and Content in the Classroom, by Margaret Olson

  • Starts off asking who uses social media already.
  • One teacher is using Snapchat? Wow.
  • David Warlick quote about technology on the 2nd slide. Oh, that takes me back.
  • Recommends having a social media account for the class. Ratio of student/teacher content creation can vary based on the class and trust level.
  • A great way to teach writing and language use. Students are already familiar with the technology.
  • Video creation
    • I love how we’re still saying “film” after all these years.
    • iMovie recommended. I do like it, but will not require purchasing of Macs. Assertions of “Most students have Macs already” is more a reflection of the presenter’s classes than our own.
    • She has her students hire actors, but then she also teaches college level. My own students either act themselves or borrow a Drama major.
    • “Something that can go up on YouTube at the end…” YES, but get those MEDIA RELEASE FORMS SIGNED! This doesn’t seem like a big deal until it’s too late and a really big deal.
    • Storyboarding! Her template has many more panels than the one I use with my own students, but it still has exactly what it needs.
    • We are spending a lot of time on video creation. Video isn’t normally seen as a social media, but YouTube certainly is making it more social.
  • Presenter offered to email her presentation to us. Odd how that feels low tech now that there are tools like GAFE.
  • Study of social media campaigns. #HeforShe is being used as an example.
    • (She taught this to Saudi men. Well done.) I’d like to spend some time on this.
    • Students made photos to contribute. Project got news coverage.
    • Students get validation for their activities outside of grades. Motivation comes from sources other than report cards.
  • If you’re interested in it then they’re more likely to be interested in it. YES!
  • Focus on what students already like. (In my class, that would be Minecraft & other video games.)
  • Don’t be afraid to experiment.
  • Blogging
    • (Upper) Intermediate and older can usually handle this.
    • “Kind of like an interactive website.” … Yeah, it kind of is. :)
    • “You’d be surprised [at which students have their own blogs or follow blogs].” I’ve been on Tumblr. I wouldn’t be too surprised. I’m likely in the minority here.
    • Presenter sets her blogs up through Blogger. Good choice. You can have students add accounts to the site you set up while you manage what gets posted. WordPress has similar features I’ve used in the past.
    • For teachers concerned about more moderation, classblogmeister.com is a good choice. (Thank you again, Mr. Warlick.)
    • This could be managed in Google Sites as well, but It’s somewhat of a kludge so I wouldn’t pick that option.
    • “There’s no one size fits all model. What I do may be different from what you do.”
    • Please don’t suggest Google Images as a source for free pictures. Copyright is serious business.

#PUWT15 Thoughts: Keynote, A.J. Juliani

PUWT_logo_08Keynote: A.J. Juliani

  • Technology “With a purpose.”
  • “I was at a very good school district that was focused a lot on test scores” is a contradiction.
  • “My students aren’t motivated about anything except grades!” They were motivated by a lot of things, but learning his lessons wasn’t one of those things.
  • Started following the Google model: Students had to spend 20% of their time working on something that interested them.
  • “How much is this worth?”
    “Nothing.”
  • Everything was still standards based. Students were researching, documenting, and presenting in a RE/LA classroom.
  • Teacher became a “guide on the side.” His words. Well done.
  • TRUTH #1: Every child deserves to own their learning.
  • “Brain friendly learning spaces.” Feels redundant.
  • Every keynoter needs an excuse to show off their family.
  • Learning is a social, human act.
  • “I was really bored, I read your article.”
  • TRUTH#2: Every child in your class is someone else’s whole world.
  • SAMR Model.
  • TRUTH #3: Stories will always shape us. They will always help us learn.
  • “It’s OK to use Wikipedia now that the Supreme Court has used it 9 times.”
  • “Our job is not to prepare our students for something; our job is to prepare our students for anything.”
  • “Finding success isn’t going to be a first time thing … Find me one hero of a story who doesn’t take risk.”
  • Learn, unlearn, and relearn.
  • TRUTH #4: Our job is not to prepare our students for the real world. Our job is to help students prepare themselves.
  • TRUTH #5: Literacy is about learning. And learning is about learning and unlearning. And relearning.
  • Do you allow for failure in your classroom?
  • What do you make time for? What do you support? What do you praise?
  • Another showing of the Key & Peele video making teachers look like sports stars. So much focus on test scores makes me sad.
  • TRUTH #6: As teachers we have a huge impact on our students’ lives.

#PUWT15 Thoughts: Make Discussions Matter!

PUWT_logo_08Session 1: Make Discussions Matter! by Jason Flanagan

  • Presentation is online.
  • Better yet, so is his assessment template.
  • Started out weak. I come to sessions to be wowed. This started with “Here, read this.”
  • Underlying concept is great. He uses a custom Google Sheet to objectively assess student led conversation and show the results in chart and pressure gauge form.
  • I could do something similar with Class Dojo, but the data would not be presented in the same way. Which you pick would depend on how you want to use the data. Given the choice between the two, I’d probably pick this form.
  • “Greatest motivator for students is grades.” A teacher walked out after the presenter said this. The presenter has not seen my classroom.
  • Apparently he teaches an Honors class. I suppose in his environment grades are a powerful motivator, but I still assert that it is a hollow motivation, at best.

 

Android vs. Chrome in Schools? Android.

androidSo apparently, Chromebook manufacturers will soon have the option of making Androidbooks (not a word they used, but I guess it makes sense?). The news & commentary site re/code goes over the details, which you can read in full here.

Personally, I like the idea of notebook computers running Android. Android works very well with Google Drive (like Chromebooks), which should be a surprise to no one at this point. Android already supports having multiple accounts on one device (like Chromebooks), tying app installs to accounts (like Chromebooks), and unlike Chromebooks, many of our students are already carrying that OS around with them on their phones.

Chromebooks have a lot of apps … sort of. While there are some very nice ChromeOS apps that can be installed on Chromebooks (or in the Chrome browser on a Mac or PC) and used offline, the “Store” is full of “apps” that are little more than fancy bookmarks for websites. Any of those, provided they don’t use Flash, will run just fine on an Android device already.

Add to that the plethora of apps already available for Android, and you have a very robust ecosystem.

The author of the re/code article brings up a point worth discussing, though, which I’ve included below.

However, a key advantage Chrome has is one of Android’s weaknesses. The mobile OS has suffered a nagging security issues, driven largely by its reliance on carriers and a gamut of device makers to push out updates. As an OS, Chrome is sturdier on security. That’s one reason Google may not ditch Chrome. Its security credentials help it with sales to enterprise, particularly to schools, where Chromebook has seen considerable traction; Gartner said the devices will account for 72 percent of the education market this year.

Source: Why Google Tapped Android Over Chrome as Its Marquee OS

Ah yes, the horrible security problems found on Android phones. They’re actually pretty scary, particularly if you are a regular listener of Security Now. The solution to the problem is in the same paragraph that asserts it, though.

You see, most phone updates are managed by carriers, and most carriers, for reasons that make sense to corporate types more than programmers, drag their feet when it comes to pushing out updates – even security updates that are not dependent on phones being new enough to handle the most modern OS version.

<rant>

I love my phone. It’s relatively new, has a nice, large screen, a good enough camera (I have a DSLR if I need to be more serious), and … it’s running Android 4.4.4.  There is no hardware issue preventing it from running Android 5. I have another device with lower end hardware that’s running 5 flawlessly. My carrier just won’t push the update out.

</rant>

Now for years Google has been phasing in a strategy to get around this. Many of Android’s features have been spun into apps with free updates downloadable from the Google Play store, which isn’t managed by the carriers. Legacy hardware is still a serious problem, but over time this will become less of an issue.

And none of that matters, because Androidbooks (as I will continue to call them until told otherwise) will most likely be managed like Chromebooks, with carriers out of the picture all together. There’s an update? Pow! It’s installed! Let’s move on.

Oh, and as I already mentioned, Flash isn’t available on Android. Adobe stopped developing for that platform quite some time ago, so all those Flash security issues that plague all the major browsers shouldn’t be a thing.

So yeah, I’m excited to see Android powered notebook computers possibly becoming a thing in my classroom. It still won’t be fun to edit videos on them, but they can do everything else and they’ll still be cheaper that the typical desktop computer as well.

Time Out!

(Gerald-G-School-Hallway-2400pxThis post is inspired by Why You Shouldn’t Send Students Out Of Class For Time-Out | Smart Classroom Management. You should really click that link and read it.)

When I first started teaching full time, I could not walk down the hallway of my school without seeing a student standing in the hallway outside of their classroom. Usually they would be leaning against the wall, bored out of their skulls.

This was before smartphones were a thing, mind you, so they tended to not have anything to do in the hallway unless someone had the forethought to bring a book or GameBoy in their pocket.

I had to wonder what behavior had occurred in their classroom that made the teacher decide it was better to have the child learn nothing than to have them in their classroom.

Now this was my first year as a full time educator, so I was far from perfect, myself. (I’m still not perfect, but I feel a lot better when I look back on how much I’ve grown.)

I didn’t think the teacher was wrong for sending the student out, I just hadn’t encountered a situation that required 1. The removal of a student from the room without 2. The immediate intervention of an administrator or (in the case of a student I had with extreme anger management issues) a specialized aide.

stop-watch-2400pxYears went by, and I eventually worked my way from High School Art Department Chair to “Art-On-A-Cart” split between 3-4 Elementary Schools. My time was so divided among these classrooms that I usually only got to teach each student 4 times a year. I DID NOT HAVE THE TIME TO SEND ANYONE OUT OF MY ROOM!

 

I ended up with a compromise of sorts. If a student behaved so poorly that I needed to intervene with more than a warning, I took their art supplies and placed them back on my cart. Doing this sometimes brought a collective gasp from the class, as this was a punishment worse than worksheets.

What I never told the students, however, was that this was a temporary situation. After a minute or so I’d come back around and ask the student if they could behave now. They always said yes. They always completed the lesson.

Now I know what you might be thinking.

“Hey, that might work for an art class, but I teach [insert subject name here]! If I tell a student they can’t do their work, they’ll cheer!”

Yeah, that’s a problem, and a big one, at that.

I lucked out in that most students, especially students under the age of 11, simply adore art. To get them to dislike it I had to point out how art related to other subjects, which I often did.

Why do you think that is? What is it about non-art education that makes students loathe it so? One could argue it’s the same mob mentality that makes young boys think girls are gross (and vice-versa), but this persists in so many people even beyond high school.

I have a few ideas about that, but I imagine you do, too. I’ll save my thoughts on that for a different post.

Cardboard Creations

We love cardboard. It’s versatile and you can find it just about everywhere. Here are some awesome cardboard projects from Maker Faire.

Source: Makers Love Cardboard: 8 Awesome Projects from Maker Faire Prove it | Make:

It’s articles like this that make me wish I hadn’t gone digital, but no matter. There’s a lot of fun things that can be done with cardboard and I’m thrilled that while it’s no longer my own media there are still plenty of awesome people building things out of materials that would otherwise have been destined for the dumpster.