15 December 2011

0 What’s the buzz? Tell me what’s happening….

I wrote this as a guest for another blog. Thought it was worth repeating.....

Ok, so it is a line from the 1970’s Rock Opera by Andrew Lloyd Webber. Yep…that dates me! As I was deciding on my topic, the terms: 21st Century Education, 21st Century Schools, 21st Century Learner, etc began to bounce around my head, as these are buzz words which have been circulating in our district.

So what about the 21st Century Learner? Schools? Education? Classroom? What’s the buzz?

The technological revolution is upon us and has opened the door to a wealth of information which has the capabilities to enhance the educational structure we offer to our students. The need to change both the role of the educator and meet the demands of the future is imperative. The majority of educators are modifying their teaching approach by facilitating learning, instead of simply dispensing knowledge.

With this said, I believe, Tony Wagner’s “Seven Survival Skills for Careers, College and Citizenship for the 21st Century”, exemplifies exactly what is necessary for the 21st century.

  • Critical Thinking and Problem Solving - Buzz Words: Reason, analyze, make judgments, solve, make decisions
  • Collaboration across Networks and Leading by Influence - Buzz Words: Engage, part of a team, work with others, contribute, collaborate
  • Agility and Adaptability - Buzz Words: Flexibility, accept feedback effectively – positive or negative, compromise, change
  • Initiative and Entrepreneurialism - Buzz Words: Self-directed learner, commitment, time management, lifelong learner
  • Effective Oral and Written Communication - Buzz Words: Articulate clearly/effectively, listen, utilize various/numerous medias and technologies, diversity
  • Accessing and Analyzing Information - Buzz Words: Critical thinking, evaluate, validity of information, process
  • Curiosity and Imagination - Buzz Words: The whys, utilizing various perspectives, generating new ideas
I came across this quote: “If we teach today the way we were taught yesterday… we aren't preparing students for today or tomorrow.” As you know, our students are entering the classroom with a wealth of pre-exposed knowledge to technology and are aware of what the internet has to offer. The role of technology in the 21st century is both indispensable and crucial. It offers a vast array of learning opportunities to both the educator and student.

As educators, it is essential for us to evolve with this generation and with the evolution of technology into our daily lives. Two great videos to view (if you have not already) are:
  • A Vision of K-12 Student Today: This project was created to inspire teachers to use technology in engaging ways to help students develop higher level thinking skills. Equally important, it serves to motivate district level leaders to provide teachers with the tools and training to do so. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_A-ZVCjfWf8&feature=related
  • Learning to Change Changing to Learn: Learning to Change Changing to Learn Advancing K-12 Technology Leadership, Consortium for School Networking (COSN) Video. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tahTKdEUAPk&NR=1
To read more about the 21st century learner, please visit the following site - edorigami. http://edorigami.wikispaces.com/21st+Century+Learners. Andrew Churches has created a very informative and insightful wiki about the 21 Century Learner.


16 November 2011

2 Animal Habitat - QR Codes In the Classroom

3rd Grade students at Sem Elementary chose an animal and completed clue sentence stems about their animal's habitat. Students then generate a QR Code for the habitat hints they created. They worked collaboratively to solve the mystery animal and habitat utilizing the NeoReader app on an itouch and ipad.
Habitat Clue Sentence Stems:

  • The climate in my habitat is.....
  • My habitat is unique because.....
  • It is a good place for me to live because......
  • Some of the other plants and animals that live in my habitat are......
  • I enjoy eating.......
Student Example:
  • The climate in my habitat is warm in spring and cold in winter.
  • My habitat is unique because of the beautiful colors in the fall.
  • It is a good place for me to live because I can get all the food I need.
  • Some of the other plants and animals that live in my habitat are squirrels, ants, termites, robins, other birds, and chipmunks.
  • I enjoy eating pretty much anything I find.

Completed QR Code:
 Simple but what a fun way to incorporate QR Codes!

07 November 2011

0 OMG - APPitic - What a FANTASTIC site!

What a FANTASTIC site! APPitic is a collection of 1,300+ apps for Education. Created by Apple Distinguished Educators, APPitic is a directory of apps to "transform both your teaching and learning". It is divided by catagories:
  • Preschool
  • Themes
  • Multiple Intelligences (How cool is this!)
  • Bloom's Taxonomy
Not only have they reviewed the apps.....the site has a blog with helpful tricks and tips. This is a must see site!!!!

20 October 2011

0 Pumpkins: Technology and Library: A Collaboration

Working collaboratively with my librarian, 14 stations (for Kindergarten) were created around a pumpkin theme. Various idevices were utilized (i.e. iTouches, iPads, and Nanos) as well as various online resources. Each station was approximately 4 minutes and the focus of the stations revolved around the following Kindergarten TEKS:
  • Technology (2A-C, 5A, 7A)
  • Science (K10.B)
  • Math (K5.A, 6.0. 6.A)
  • As well as other various skills

Both students and teachers seem to enjoy the joint efforts of this collaborative project. Please view the below Animoto of the results:

18 October 2011

0 The "TECHing" Hour Staff Development

During their planning time, classroom teachers, participated in a Halloween theme staff development. It was my hope to make it festive and fun as they experience hands-on activities utilizing itouches, ipads and various Web 2.0 online tools. The teachers were very supportive and I believe it went over very well. Thank you teachers! Please view the following Animoto.

29 September 2011

0 So What Are QR Codes?

So What Are QR Codes?
Click on link to view QR Codes explained by Common Craft .

QR Codes or (Quick Response Codes) are appearing everywhere - from magazines, various retail environments for digital marketing purposes, clothes, business card, mailers, I even saw one on my billing statements!

To scan/view these QR Codes, you simply download a free app to your smartphone. NeoReader or Grafter are my favorite ones but of course there are a slew of others which will do the trick. Once downloaded, you point your phone's camera to the QR Code and scan. The QR Code is very versatile as it will allow you to create QR Codes for the following:
  • Plain Text
  • URL / Web Address
  • Contact information (name, address, phone number, e-mail addresses, etc)
  • Calendar Events
  • SMS / Text Details ( includes your number and a short text)
  • WiFi Network

So now that you have a QR Code reader, what do you use to create these codes? There are many QR Code Generators and most of them, overall, are pretty good. Please visit my delicious bookmarks to learn more about these QR Codes Generators .

You probably are thinking...How can this be used in the classroom?
There are numerous ways to integrate QR Codes in the classroom to engage your students. Please visit my delicious bookmarks on QR Codes in the Classroom to read about how teachers are utilizing this wonderful app tool!

12 September 2011

0 Fall 2011 - Online Book Study

GoAnimate.com: Book Study_Oct_2011 by Dovewhisper

09 September 2011

1 Primary Wall - Another Alternative to Wallwisher and Linoit

So, I received a comment on my blog to check out Primary Wall... My initial reaction....I like it!
Primary Wall is a web-based sticky note tool designed for schools which allows students and teachers to work together in real-time. Like Linoit and Wallwisher, Primary Wall allows for gathering ideas, collaborating, sharing and quickly posting pieces of information when working in a group or collaborative environment. It was developed by a teacher and no sign up or registration is needed.
The Basic/free features include:
  • Unlimited Wall creation
  • Note search - Search for notes
  • Sort notes - Sort the notes so they fit into a grid pattern
  • Community support - Get help from the community to improve your experience
Professional features include:
  • Save walls for longer than 30 days
  • Password protect walls
  • Manage walls – Delete etc.
  • Change font
  • Change background
  • Profanity detection and filtering
  • Phone support
  • Pass name of author from third party applications
  • Easy wall embed
  • Moderate notes
  • Add photos
  • Add clickable links
I like the easy features it has to offer:
  • It allows one to change the background
  • Choose an array of fonts
  • A security feature which can password protected the wall
  • It can be embedded or accessed with a link and a really neat feature is the ability to send  note contents to Wordle. Now, how cool is that?
  •  It also has a Teachers section with Lesson ideas and plans
Thumbs up for this one....If you get a chance - check it out! Or add a note to my Primary Wall below!

0 It is Time for Our Fall 2011 Technology Staff Development

GoAnimate.com: Discover the Treasures of Fall Technology PD by Dovewhisper

Like it? Create your own at GoAnimate.com. It's free and fun!

25 March 2011

0 Summer 2011 Elementary Staff Development

GoAnimate.com: Summer 2011 Technology Staff Development by Dovewhisper

Like it? Create your own at GoAnimate.com. It's free and fun!

24 February 2011

0 Crazy Talk - A Cool Animation Program to Use with Students

We recently purchased Crazy Talk - a cool and easy animation facial program.
"You can import any photo or image into the fitting wizard and bring it to life with easy auto lip-sync. Add emotion to your actor with emotive one-click mood animations and have full control of custom facial expressions with a few clicks."

Check out the examples a few 3rd graders created for their Arctic Animal Project!

30 January 2011

0 It is Finally Here - Voki for Education!

YAY!!! They finally unveiled Voki for Education. For those of you who do not know what a Voki is.........

"A Voki " is a free service that enables teachers and students to express themselves on the Web in their own voice, using a talking character. Anyone can customize their Voki to resemble them or look like many types of characters, such as people, animals, historical figures, and many more. A Voki can speak using your own voice, an uploaded file, or by typing in a message (called text-to-speech). Your Vokis can be posted on your class blog, website, or anywhere online."
Why Use Voki?
"Studies show that using technology in education improves students' achievements. Voki is a unique tool to engage your students in creative expressions. As Albert Einstein once said: "It is the supreme art of the teacher to awaken joy in creative expression and knowledge."
How Can You Use Voki in the Classroom?

With the unveiling of Voki for Education...they have created a Teacher's Corner Forum and Lesson Plan Bank. Since Voki for Education just rolled out - there are not a whole lot of Elem Ed. lesson plans but I image within a few months, there will be a slew of lessons on how educators are integrating Voki into their curricula!

07 January 2011

0 Answer Garden - An Online Answer Collection Tool

Answer Garden is a fabulous collaboration and immediate feedback Web 2.0 tool.

It is very easy to create with no registration or login required. It may be embedded into any website, social network page or blog - please note: the embedding option will not work on your Frisco Apple Server blog – instead you may supply a direct link to the question. The submitted answers forms a word cloud - only 25 answers are visible per garden but as students submit the same answer, that word will grow larger - kinda like Wordle. Below are some possible ways this tool could be used in the classroom.
  • Brainstorming
  • Open-ended thinking questions
  • Classroom poll
  • Synonyms / Antonyms
  • Character analysis
  • Reflect on a story
  • Word Chunks
  • Vocabulary
How Could You Utilize Answer Garden in the Classroom?

How Could You Utilize Answer Garden in the Classroom?... at AnswerGarden.ch.

0 A Few Favorite Math Apps for itouches

We recently purchase itouches for our school. Why itouches? These 21 Century learning tools are both engaging and assist in creating an interactive learning environment. Most of all - it makes learning fun!  There are a treasure trove of excellent educational apps for all subjects.  Below are just a few of the FREE Math apps we are using on our itouches!

PopMath Math Lite FREE
A fun way for kids to practice basic math. Lite version is free however the free version is limited to addition only, The full version for .99 features additions, subtractions, multiplications and division.

Kids Math Advance: FREE
Easily teaches kids how to Count, Multiply, and Divide VISUALLY using fun animations with a prize reward system for completing each level.

 Adventures UnderSea Subtraction Game FREE
The object of the game is to unlock all levels and reach the final level. The levels are unlocked when the puzzles are solved, and as the levels progress, the puzzles are more challenging and less time is given to complete the level.

Addition UnderSea Adventures Games Lite FREE
The object of the game is to unlock all levels and reach the final level. The levels are unlocked when the puzzles are solved, and as the levels progress, the puzzles are more challenging and less time is given to complete the level.

Basic Math FREE
This is an application based on the drill-and-practice instructional strategy. Similar to memorization, such a strategy presents the tasks to be completed repetitively to build up the foundation skills for more meaningful learning in the future.
Math Drills Lite FREE
Graphically rich and fun environment allows a single student to learn basic math skills in addition, subtraction, multiplication and division. Explore solutions to problems using number lines, wooden blocks, facts and hints.

Clock Master FREE
Clock Master is a game to help children make the connection between hours and minutes and to help them become fluent in both reading and setting time on digital and analog clocks.

Cash Cow Lite FREE
Help Buck the Cow and his friends save the farm in this original game of coin counting. The objective is simple: earn money by counting up your loose change. Small coins make big coins, and big coins make dollar bills.

Pearl Diver FREE
Throw on your diving helmet, and head into the depths of the sea! Dive amidst shipwrecks and sunken ruins for the valuable pearls, maybe even the elusive black pearl. But watch out for that pesky electric eel!* Ideal for middle school and upper elementary students, grades 3-8.

Computer Carl FREE
Computer Carl is a robot. He is feeling very tired because his energy is low. Help guide him through a maze so he can get to a battery to recharge by solving basic addition and subtraction problems.