world-shaker:

You know. If you’re into Pinterest and whatnot. Here are the first four:

  1. Vicki Dabrowka, Ed Tech: Browse through more than 180 pins all related to educational technology from teacher and environmental educator Vicki Dabrowka.
  2. Cristin Dillard, #EdTech: This edtech board is filled with helpful resources for using technology in the classroom, finding apps, and a few useful web 2.0 tools, too.
  3. Patricia Brown, EDTECH: There are numerous videos, tutorials, articles, and other resources to help you learn how to better use technology in education on this very helpful board.
  4. Vicki Davis, Teaching Ideas and Apps: Vicki Davis, better known as “Cool Cat Teacher,” is a popular edtech blogger. Here she shares some of her favorite tools and ideas for using tech in the classroom.

(via insideateachersmind)

world-shaker:

There are 19 right now. They’ve each got a list of apps, along with the cost, a usefulness rating, and an ease-of-use guestimate. Definitely worth a look. Here are the objectives if you want to jump ahead:

iPad Learning Objectives
  1. I want my students to record and edit video on the iPad. 
  2. I want my students to record and / or edit audio on the iPad. 
  3. I want my students to read class content on the iPad. 
  4. I want my students to annotate course readings on the iPad 
  5. I want my students to be able to use audio books on the iPad. 
  6. I want my students to use the iPad as a digitial notebook / note-taking device. 
  7. I want my students to use their iPads to create screencasts to share and demonstrate their understanding.
  8. I want my students to create presentations on the iPad. 
  9. I want my students to create digital stories on the iPad. 
  10. I want my students to be able to study with the iPad. 
  11. I want to use the iPad as a student response system. 
  12. I want my students to create written content on the iPad. 
  13. I want my students to blog on the iPad.
  14. I want my students to create ePubs / iBooks to read on the iPad.
  15. I want my students to create and edit images on the iPad.
  16. I want to use the iPad in order to create a language lab environment for my students.
  17. I want my students to use the iPad to stay organized. (NEW)
  18. I want to use the iPad to conduct video / virtual conferences in the classroom (NEW)
  19. I want to control my computer or Interactive White Board from my iPad. (NEW)

Great idea to link the apps to your objectives.

(via insideateachersmind)

Online Learning (Part 2)

When creating an online course what should you consider?

  1. Outcomes - always
    An online course must achieve the prescribed learning outcomes. 
  2. Audience - pedagogy? androgogy? (Children or Adults?)
    Students and Teens and Adults have different interests and requirements for learning.  Age will influence fonts, graphics, content and assessment.
  3. Prior Learning?
    Does your course content require prior learning, this will influence your need for a pretest. A pretest will also allow students to progress through parts of the course they already understand. 
  4. Skillset of audience?
    Computer skills will influence the layout and content of your online course. Understand your students. 
  5. Learning styles/needs of students?
    Cater for the different learning styles of students. This can be done by using different tools.
    * Video (visual, audio) - you can pause and take notes
    * Screen Casts (visual, audio) - demonstration
    * Podcasts (audio, time poor) - listen on bus, car, doing house work
    * Printable versions of worksheets (if your students have limited computer access/skills)
    * Forums (social needs)
    * Webquests (Flexibility, kinesthetic)
    * Offline projects (Kinesthetic)
    * Collaborative projects (Social, kinesthetic)
  6. Assessment:
    Don’t be afraid to include different styles of assessment. Expand beyond online tests consisting of multiple choice quizzes. Expand to include the use of Web2.0 tools, prezi, google docs, wall wisher.These allow students to complete groupwork in an online course. They never have to meet. It also allows for students to submit links to completed tasks or to share docs with a facilitator for marking.

What to include

  1. Self explanatory notes
    Write your notes so they are self explanatory. Students should be able to work through them with minimal assistance.
  2. Always upload videos of lectures or theory to accompany class handouts.
  3. A Forum
    Forum’s allow for students to communicate and collaborate. They also provide a platform for students to ask questions of facilitators and each other. This is very important in an online course. 
  4. Contact details for the course facilitator. Students must have access to a teacher. If you are using a forum as your main contact make sure you monitor and answer questions and correct errors in student discussions.
  5. Include supplementary material for students including reference links, suggested reading, blogs they could follow.
  6. Include graphics.
  7. Make the course look appealing. Use attractive templates and colour.


What not to do!

  1. Don’t ask rhetorical questions. Always include the answer within the course.
  2. Don’t upload class handouts without the class lecture.

Happy to hear if you have any other suggestions

Building an online course

Online learning is not about posting handouts online. Paper based learning and online learning should be designed differently.

When learning face to face you have a teacher in the room who can answer questions and assist with difficulties you have. When learning online you need to present the information so it is self explanatory. Online learning there is no immediate teacher support students must wait for an answer by forum, email or instant chat where a teacher or peer is not always online.

On paper people can only focus on 7+ or - 2 items. This means you should include between 5-9 words per point and 5-9 bullet points/or numbers per procedure. If you need more steps you need to break it down futher.

The rules change when you are online. Online learning needs to be self explantory and people can only focus on 5 + or - 2 items. This means 3-7 words, bullet points or numbered steps. In otherwords be brief. Don’t include too much information in procedures.

Everyone has endured a powerpoint presentation which includes too much text to read even from paper without time. Information must be summarised and presented in a clear and concise way. Graphics and interative elements are important.

What can you include in your online course?

  • Movies of concepts or procedures eg: camstudio
  • Graphics
  • Infographics
  • Links for reference sites
  • Glossaries of search terms
  • Webquests
  • Podcasts
  • Assessment tasks
  • Quizzes - with multiple attempts
  • Games

So how do we make our online learning management systems (LMS) eg: Moodle and Blackboard evolve from an electronic pin board for worksheets to an interactive and interesting workspace for students? That is what I would like to investigate in the near future. So stay tuned for more ideas on the evolution of your LMS.

Here are some links from my preliminary searches. I searched for “online instructional design” that will give basics for non teachers.

http://community.flexiblelearning.net.au/TeachingTrainingLearners/index.htm (A little old but some good links)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CpUvjyq0h1s&feature=related 

Reply with good examples of online courses or resources.

How many feel overwelmed?

My first teaching position included a blackboard of all things and there was no computer lab which was a step behind the public high school I attended in the 80’s. I am now working with mobile devices, interactive boards and have been teaching computer skills to kids as young as 5 for 10 years.

How many experienced teachers with years of experience and proven results feel overwhelmed by the use of technology in the classroom today? Recently I found a letter from a “struggling teacher” on 21stCenturyTeacher.com 

In summary it is teacher with proven teaching history and 18 years experience. They are now expected to teacher with interactive boards and mobile devices and they find the training inadequate and lack the skills to educate themselves. I was placed in a position where I was expected to learn several new applications in a short time and to be quite honest I was stressed.

I am sure there are thousands of teachers in exactly the same predicament. What do you do when you can’t learn at the pace of those around you? Many of these teachers have a proven track record with teaching and produce results in standardised tests, which is what the school executive want but do the students enjoy learning and is there a higher potential for students that is untapped? 

In a past life I was an computer trainer and teaching 8 adults was far more challenging than teaching a class of 7 year olds. So what can we do to help these stressed and struggling teachers to keep up.

Mmmm…. What did builders say when they were given their first hammer gun? Or their first drill? Power tools did not remove the need for builders, it simply changed the way they did the job.

Ideas:

Problem 1

Many teachers are encouraged to buy or better still are even given their own device. Unfortunately they are presented with a box, they then have to set it up on their own. Locate software and learn to use it and then find an educational use for the apps and software. Sync it with iTunes, learn to use the App Store or the Market. (do they even know or care what any of these words mean? No! Will it make them a better teacher if they find out? Probably not!

Solution 1

Help the teacher unwrap their new device. Help them set it up and customise it with apps and software that is relevant to their job. Put shortcuts and bookmarks on the desktop and toolbars to make it easier to use. Customise settings to make it personal eg: personal photos for wall paper. Include links to relevant folders and documents.

Customising a device does not improve teaching but it does create ownership over the device. It makes it personal and useful.

Problem 2

I have a text book, I have good results. 

Solutions 2

Sit with the teacher and understand their subject area, how could they use technology to improve student learning? How could they make their classes more interesting for students? Student learning should be the priority. Locate website and apps that will enhance the classroom.

eg: some examples maybe 

www.youtube.com - school channel

www.khanacademy.org

Periodic Table for a science teacher

Graphing app for a maths teacher

Google maps for a geography teacher

Puppet pals for teacher of 5-8 year old.

Grooveshark.com for a music teacher

Google Apps

The list goes on.

Problem 3

Why do I need technology?

Solution 3

Sit with them and look for a practical use to enhance their teaching in the classroom. Get them to use the device for personal use, so they can see educational value. Go with them to their class to ensure the technology doesn’t fail them. Set up team teaching experiences that will enhance the process.

More next time…

Free books!!

I will be honest I am not one for the “classics” unless I can watch it and you give me popcorn, how ever I know there are many people who do appreciate reading the classics.

Sooo…

Here is a link for you http://www.gutenberg.org/. You can download the books or read them online. This will be great for libraries with limited funds as the cost of ebooks and the copyright restrictions can be prohibitive for those on a budget. With more students having access to ipads and personal devices it will be an interesting 

I am reading Behind the Veil in Persia and Turkish Arabia which was written circa 1900 and is set in Persia (now Iran). It was written by a women and comments on everyday life - different, interesting.

CyberSafety for Parents

I really like this link. It targets parents and talks about how keep children/teens safe only. It takes 5 mins so make a coffee and sit and enjoy.

It has been created by the Australian Government for international followers consider that stats in context. Australia’s population is about 25 million.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JHj0gKGYzfY&lr=1&uid=dv8domEzeDFPchhXk56V4w

Syncplicity and Google Docs

Currently we are in the process of migrating all staff and students to google docs. Google Docs is a great online application that allows collaborative work. Up to 15 people can edit the same document simultaneously. This is fantastic for group work and for schools with dual platforms.

The downside of google docs is the very simple formatting tools. I find it too simplistic. While this is great for students it does not allow you to produce professional looking documents. 

I have now discovered Syncplicity. It is a browser based tool similar to Dropbox. The difference with Syncplicity is that you can link it to your Google Docs account and display the contents in your Syncplicity files. There are other tools around that allow you link to Google Docs however this one works with Macs.

Once you have it set up you can double click on a file and it will open in MS Word. You then save and it updates your Syncplicity.

Benefits

  • Syncplicity will update any changes you make in word once you save almost instantaneously.
  • Cloud based you can access your files anywhere
  • Compatible with Windows and Macs
  • Beneficial for people who use keyboard shortcuts and find Google Docs slow or restricting.

Beware of:

  • When you set up your Syncplicity account use the same email as your google docs account. You can add other emails later.
  • Always add your other personal emails don’t invite yourself.
  • Syncplicity takes time to sync with Google Docs. Support says 10 mins I believe it takes longer than this.
  • I haven’t trialled this yet but keep your formmating simple as I don’t believe Google Docs will support complicated layouts. I think it will help with tables which is very limited.

Evaluation

I believe Syncplicity works better with Google Docs when you are the primary editor of your documents and you do not require updates to be immediate. If you plan to collaborate with other you will need to edit your docs directly in the Google Docs pages, as the delay for update from Syncplicity is to slow.

Overall I think Syncplicity is going to solve my dilemna, which is how to create professional looking documents and post them in Google Docs. 

Dropbox

Recently I have started using dropbox. It is a cloud tool for accessing files from any computer. You can set the permissions of your folders to be Private or Shared. You can also place files in the Public folder and then send a hyperlink to people via email. When they click on the link they will download the file to their device.

Applications for Dropbox

  • Sharing photos with relatives and friends, means you no longer have to email large files.
  • Transferring files from one personal device to another
  • Storing attachments received on a personal device for access later
  • Multiple people can access the file to edit, only one person at a time.
  • Suits Windows and Mac and Android, files will need to be in a compatible format
  • Windows 7.0 and Lion allow you save your file directly to Dropbox from the save option.
Benefits
  • Free cloud storage
  • Can get free space by inviting friends or colleagues to signup
  • Access you files anywhere from any device
  • Share files without emailing or thumb drives
Limitations
  • You can only download the software on a computer that has a single user. This means that computers with multiple users will need to manage their files from the website Dropbox 
  • Files in a shared folder can be deleted without your permission.
  • Files to be accessed by multiple platforms (windows, mac etc) must be saved in a compatible format. eg: pdf, word, *rtf,
  • Limited free space 2GB which fills quickly if you use it for video and photos.
  • Must pay for more space or more functionality
  • It is cloud storage so their is the possibility of loss of data
  • You are relying on the security of dropbox to keep your documents safe.

You can sign up for dropbox by clicking the link a 2GB account is free! http://db.tt/NGfo1HC

Storybird

This is my book I made with www.storybird.com it is easy to do and I think it looks fantastic. You can buy the book in electronic or hard cover. This term my year 4 class is going to try creating a picture book. 

Storybird