Saturday, December 28, 2013

Saturday, December 21, 2013

Weekly Links (weekly)

Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.

Saturday, December 14, 2013

Weekly Links (weekly)

Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Hour of Code

All students in the high school participated in the Hour of Code activities during math class for 2 days. Each student was asked to choose the level (novice, apprentice, ninja) he/she felt most comfortable with. The students then went to the classroom of the level they selected. Each room had a facilitator (a teacher, student, or community member volunteer) to answer questions. Students could choose which tutorials or activities to do. All activities were self directed.

What did you like about the activities?
  • That we got to choose what we used and what we could do with it
  • That you had a lot of independence as you progressed through the levels
  • I liked the videos of the different people talking about the importance of coding. 
  • The activities were simple games that were easy to understand and even fun!
  • I like the fact that Code Academy allows the user to learn from many different languages that all effect student in everyday life
  • I really liked how it didn't feel like you were learning or working on the games, it felt like you were actually playing a game. 
  • You feel accomplished when you finish a level
  • I liked that they were a challenge and and involved math, but were also fun to play.
  • In Blockly, I loved how they made it fun, but still had to do with coding, especially since this was my very first time ever doing it, they made it not boring, very interesting!
My Observations
  • Students were very engaged with the activities. They really looked like they were having fun.
  • I enjoyed watching the collaboration happening in some classrooms.
  • I was interested that some students wanted to be "taught" by an instructor.
  • The student facilitators were well prepared.
  • Our community visitors added a nice element. Students who are interested in computer programming as a career were able to speak with them directly. They made terrific coaches! 
  • At first we had more novices, by the afternoon, many students felt that they could be at the apprentice level.

Saturday, December 07, 2013

Weekly Links (weekly)

Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.

Friday, December 06, 2013

Digital Discussions

Oro, Ann. 2009 electronics.jpg
February 16, 2009. Pics4Learning. 6 Dec 2013 

This year we are going to have 3 periods during the year when we have discussions based on topics related to digital citizenship with 9th graders. Students will choose the topic they want to participate in. Round 1 will cover Digital Footprint and Digital Overload. Students will watch videos and read articles during Science and Social studies classes. On December 6th, students will participate in the Digital Compass opening activity and then go to smaller groups for the discussion. Groups will be generated randomly and each will have a teacher facilitator. Students will come prepared to the discussion ready to share and bring more questions. At the end of the sessions students will write a reflection.  In future discussions, students will facilitate, based on the EdCafe ModelAfter the last discussion students will write an essay in English Class based on the theme of Digital Citizenship.

Resources: Digital Discussions

Feedback and Comments:
  • "I would like to know more about some of the stories of digital media. I feel like stories of mistakes would have a big impact on kids and really make them think about what they are doing.”
  • “I want to know more about why people think that life on the internet is more important than your life outside the internet, and why people feel alone and like a loser when they don’t have some kind of technology with them.”
  • “Something I agree with is that reality is less interesting than things shown on the internet. Because people in other countries seem to have a much more interesting life than people living in Maine basically because other countries and states are much more interesting.”
  • “I want to learn more about the theory that chatting online is just an excuse to avoid "real" social interaction. It intrigues me because it seems as if teenagers feel like they need to be constantly socially connected through electronics and I wonder if this is connected. As if its a way to be popular without having to actually interact with people.”
  • “I would like to know more about why there is so much social media that have some of the same stuff repeated over and over on each site or app. Also why people feel the need that they have to have all of those apps or sites to "fit in" with what everyone else is doing.”
  • “I thought it was a good, fun discussion. I hope we do more things like this around the year. I think it'd be interesting to join other groups of the same topic and see what their arguments were and where they were coming from.”
  • “This was a very interesting topic, and idea. I learned that my teacher is connected it to people all around the world. This was interesting to learn about from a worldly perspective.” 
  • “I would like to know more about the privacy settings on websites and how they are ensured. I would also like to experience more discussions on my digital footprint and my image on the Internet.”

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Reading for November 27, 2013 Coding the Curriculum: How High Schools Are Reprogramming Their Classes

There are no lockers in the hallways at Beaver Country Day School. Instead, backpacks and tote bags line either side of the floor while students step over them during the mid-morning rush to class. Nearly everyone is carrying a laptop.

via Mashable

Seedlings Season 6: Hour of Code

Today we talk about the Hour of Code...

You can also get this as a podcast.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Weekly Links (weekly)

Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Weekly Links (weekly)

Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Reading for November 14, 2013 at 03:05PM: Subverting the System: Student and Teacher as Equals

Every day, veteran educator Scott Henstrand walks into his history classroom at the Brooklyn Collaborative Studies secondary school, jots down a few conversation-starters on the blackboard, then takes a seat amongst the 14- to 17-year-olds.
via Mineshift

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Reading for November 13, 2013 at 11:26AM: Teaching In The Cloud: How Google Docs Are Revolutionizing The Classroom

Any experienced English teacher knows the drill: on the dreaded due date, students bring printed copies of their essays to class, where we collect them, take them home, jot inscrutable comments in the margins, bring them back to class, return them, and then watch students promptly toss them

via Pocket via Mike Kalin:

Monday, November 11, 2013

Cloud Camp New England

Groton- Dunstable Regional HS was the venue for Cloud Camp New England on Saturday, November 9, 2013. It was a lovely venue, and attended by a wonderful group with loads of energy! I loved the size of the group. It's always fun to meet teachers who are implementing Google Apps for Ed in their schools. Thanks to Andy, Audra, Julie, and Kelly, the crack IT team at the school, for hosting this event!

Cloud Camp website
Tweets and Links
My resources

Saturday, November 09, 2013

Weekly Links (weekly)

Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.

Monday, November 04, 2013

Sunday, November 03, 2013

Reflection on Honduras and "One Laptop Per Child"

I had the opportunity to participate in a teaching exchange in Honduras on October 12 -18. I was part of a team of 5 educators from The Maine International Center for Digital Learning. The team was Cathy Wolinsky (Yarmouth Elementary School), Laura Girr (Freeport Middle and High Schools), Abby Manahan, and Amy Wilmot (MICDL). Former Maine Governor and Senator Angus King and Bette Manchester founded MICDL in 2008 to support the development of promising educator practices, digital student resources, and international programs. MICDL works to create and sustain networks of educators, communities, international organizations , and university/school partnerships to promote technology-driven tools to personalize learning, encourage collaboration, and prepare students for the future.  

We have many visitors come to our high school to see our laptop program in action. I have written about this before. Representatives from Honduras and Surinam came last spring. The team included the Under Secretary for Technical Affairs of Pedagogical Education, Elia Del Cid and 2 members of the EduCatrachos Team, Patricia Rivera and Donaldo Ochoa. I was impressed with the questions they asked about 21st Century learning techniques and their commitment to professional development. Their pilot, which started in February 2013 in grades 3-6 , involves 70,000 OLPC computers running Sugar and Fedora (which allows them to connect to the internet). It is financed through the International Development Bank. The EduCatrachos Team invited us to come for two days of teaching and 2 days of attending a technology fair. Our role in the training was to share pedagogical strategies, support the integration of technology in areas of literacy and numeracy, as well 21st Century Skills such as leadership, problem solving, and creativity.

We tried to prepare as best we could. The language barrier for preparing something like this was significant. Luckily Laura speaks Spanish, and the translator who had been with the team in Maine, Chris, helped us with planning. We really didn't know what prior knowledge and experience using technology to expect from our "students". At the time, we didn't know if there would be internet access or what version of machine they would be using. Thankfully, David, a member of the EducaTrachos team was at our hotel upon arrival with machines for us to learn on and his patient explaining made us feel better prepared. We also created a website to use with our participants.

We met our translator, Diego, a college student who ironically had visited Portland, Maine as a child. For 2 days we met with about 45 teachers from Honduras, each picked as the technology lead for their school, They came from all over the country to attend. Also attending were 3 teachers from Panama, and 2 from El Salvador.
The modules we taught were:

• Storytelling - Literacy
• Numeracy Activities on XO
Scratch on XO
• Unconference
• Smackdown or La guerra de ideas
Each module was introduced without technology and then enhanced using technology. One of our overall goals was to build a collaborative group that would stay connected after our time together. We started in nice straight rows and by the end of each day we had messy groups all around the room. Listening to the chatter and excitement made us think that this group will definitely continue their learning virtually through Facebook, Diigo, UStream, and other online tools.
Technology Fair:
Days 3 and 4 were spent at Chiminike,The Children's Museum, in Tegucigalpa. A wonderful celebration of student work, there were booths set up showing various school projects. Students used recycled materials to create puppets. They then made narrated videos of their puppet shows. Some were about teaching how to recycle. An exhibit on Denghe fever even had an OLPC laptop made out of styrofoam to take in to their community. Students are not able to take their laptops home.

Many students were using Scratch programming and Lego WeDo robots. There were robots everywhere! We saw many teachers being taught by students and many students working in small groups. The group from El Salvador did a very nice activity around introducing robotics to the teachers first by making circuit boards and hydraulics using syringes.  Next teachers put things together and then finally they introduced the robots. We presented our activity on storytelling and we presented our information about the Maine Learning Technology Initiative in Spanish. While we were presenting, students were videoing and taking pictures with their laptops. 

I really enjoyed working and learning with the students and teachers of Honduras. They have fully embraced new ways of learning using technology. The EduCatrachos team is amazing. Their knowledge and support services are critical to making the program a success. Every morning the latest information was posted at their website. They call and check in with each school once a week. They were giving individual support the entire 4 days. They know the machines inside out and were available to troubleshoot. As they finish year 1 of their project, I wish them all the best and success for the future! 

If you would like to see more pictures, my Flickr set is here. More pictures will be added to this group as well.