Monday, December 8, 2014

Tip of the Week: Educanon - Insert Questions into Movies!: December 8, 2014

Educanon is an amazing and super simple online tool that lets you insert questions (even record your voice), anywhere you want, into a movie! Think about the possibilities! Use this technique as a formal assessment and gather the data from each student! Use it as a station in your classroom by inserting prompts for kids to ponder.. Insert questions as a way to dipstick understanding.. There are so many ways this process can help you and your students deepen understanding on any topic.  The free version allows you to create the following types of questions: 
You can even embed questions that you would normally ask the entire class while playing a movie.  It's an easy way to pause and reflect without you having to remember when/where to press the PAUSE button.

Here is an example of a lesson created by Megan Bowhers for a kindergarten lesson on rhyming words:

https://www.educanon.com/public/52413/139857

The videos must reside on the internet before you can bring them into educanon.  Did you know that every teacher in Sudbury is connected to their very own YouTube channel?  Did you also know that you can upload videos to this channel and share them as publicly or as privately as needed?  While logged in to your Google email, simply go to the grid on the right and locate YouTube!  (you may have to click "More")

This will come in very handy in the future as many online applications now make it easy to embed or link to videos directly from YouTube.. 

Check out some other educanon videos here:




Monday, December 1, 2014

Tip of the Week: The Four S's of Notetaking: Part 4: December 1, 2014

.. the 4th and final..

Share

"When choosing a note-taking strategy and platform, a key component should be whether or not a student's notes can be shared among peers as well as with teachers, tutors, or parents. Beyond simply emailing a document or copying a piece of paper, digital notes can become a collaborative experience.
Mark Engstrom, an eighth grade Geography teacher in São Paulo, Brazil, experimented with a different style of note taking to build content knowledge in his class. Rather than ask each student to document his or her own learning during a lecture, he created a scenario where they curated their collective knowledge. Students assumed different responsibilities and employed strategies with an eye toward contributing to the class experience.

The Pen Is Mightier Than the ????

While Mueller and Oppenheimer certainly raise critical points about the dangers of using technology to transcribe notes, that is not to say that we should punish the tool. As Matt Scully wrote to parents at his school:
Their results are not saying students should avoid technology. They seem to be clearly stating that note taking is an activity where the note taker needs to process information and reframe, reorganize, and work with the data to make note taking useful.
Today's students exist in a new (and abundant) economy of information where they require strategies that support their own acquisition of knowledge, allow them to save their notes across devices, permit them search to through the vast quantities of information, and share their learning with the rest of their community. By teaching these 4Ss, we are providing them with the skills that they will need to succeed in a world that requires constant access to information that can be applied to new problems and settings."
Here's a great video of a teacher working with his students, explaining how digital notetaking has changed the way he teaches and the way students take more ownership of their learning..


(http://www.edutopia.org/blog/the-4ss-of-note-taking-beth-holland)

Monday, November 24, 2014

Tip of the Week: The Four S's of Notetaking with Laptops: Part 3: November 24, 2014

The 3rd "S"..

"Search

Just because students can save notes, it does not suggest that they can actually find what they wrote or typed. Beyond file names and organizational structures, students can also search digital notes to locate the desired information.
While I was in grad school, the potential to use Finder on my Mac to locate key terms buried in lecture notes saved me hours. Now consider the search possibilities afforded by Drive, Evernote, or OneNote. Students can look for specific words or phrases in typed text as well handwritten notes -- and even photos. By using a tablet or smartphone camera, even paper-based notes can be saved and searched, added to typed lecture notes, and then organized into a digital notebook.
Beyond searching text, the potential also exists to tag content -- to apply keywords to notes that describe the overarching purpose, important details, or even a personal rating of understanding. Students could take pictures of handwritten notes and then tag them by topic, date, unit, or level of comprehension. By tagging notes, the potential exists for students to add another layer of organization, apply an additional layer of understanding, and reflect on what they wrote."

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Tip of the Week: The Four S's of Notetaking with Laptops: Part 2: November 18, 2014

The Second "S"...

"Save

To quote Alice Keeler, digital tools save students from "the Paper Yeti who lives in backpacks and gobbles up notes." Whether students work in cloud-based platforms or take pictures of analog notes, technology lets them save their work indefinitely.
I once had a wonderful advisee. Every afternoon, we repeated this routine.
  1. Find his planner.
  2. Find his notebooks.
  3. Make sure that he could find his notes in said notebooks.
  4. Put the notebooks into his backpack.
When we finally got this child a laptop, everything changed. He typed all of his notes in Google Docs so that he could access them from any device and from anywhere. Suddenly, everything was truly saved."
(http://www.edutopia.org/blog/the-4ss-of-note-taking-beth-holland)

Monday, November 10, 2014

Tip of the Week: The Four S's of Notetaking with Laptops: Part 1: November 10, 2014

Articles have been written recently about the value of handwriting vs. keyboarding and some arguing about the effect on notetaking in particular. (The Pen Is Mightier Than the Keyboard). In question is whether information is synthesized deeply enough when taking notes electronically as opposed to writing by hand.  A friend and colleague at EdTechTeacher.org, Beth Holland, wrote a very interesting article that addresses this (in my opinion) in an educationally sound way. The Four S's stand for Support, Save, Search and Share! 
I am going to cite her article word for word (http://www.edutopia.org/blog/the-4ss-of-note-taking-beth-holland) but breaking it down by each "S" week by week.

"... before making a blanket statement that one device may be better than another (e.g. pen vs. laptop) or calling into question what may be the best note-taking system, what if we approach the concept by identifying what is best for individual students? In other words, does the system . . .
  • Adequately support the students' learning needs?
  • Allow students to save their notes to multiple locations?
  • Let students search for salient points?
  • Permit students to share with peers and teachers?"
SUPPORT
What if, because of individual learning styles, pen and paper are a detriment to learning? By providing students with digital options, we can remove a number of barriers to learning and create a least restrictive environment.

1. Anything that's text can be heard.

By typing content, students have the option of hearing it played back through text-to-speech. Imagine the potential for an ELL/ESL student or struggling reader to be able to listen to his or her own notes!

2. Record audio directly into notes.

Others may benefit from recording audio directly into a note. Both Evernote and OneNote include an option to add audio files. Similarly, Notability and AudioNote support audio syncing. Not only do these apps record audio, but they also sync it to anything typed or written while recording. While a student might not replay an entire class, he or she might tap on a word and jump directly to that portion of the audio.

3. Establish visual hierarchy.

Most note taking and word processing tools quickly create bulleted or numbered lists. For several of my former students with visual-spatial challenges, aligning text and creating visual order helped them to better synthesize the information.
Digital notes offer multiple dimensions -- text, images, drawing, handwriting, and audio -- that paper notes do not. Students need the opportunity to identify strategies that best support their learning."
stay tuned... 

Monday, November 3, 2014

Tip of the Week: 7 Habits of Highly Effective Teachers Who ... : November 13, 2014

Megan Bowhers posted this to her Early Childhood Blog.  
I thought it was a great summary what a 21st Century Classroom should look like so I asked if I could also share the graphic!  Enjoy!


Monday, October 27, 2014

Tip of the Week: The 5 C's ; October 27, 2014

In my post dated May, 12, 2013, I talked about the "4 C's" of 21st Century Skills as they are supported by the Common Core standards. The "4 C's" are designed to prepare our students for the demands of the 21st century workplace and community.  The "4 C's" are known as:

Communication
Collaboration
Critical Thinking
Creativity/Innovation

I had the privilege of listening to Peter Reynolds, author, illustrator, motivator and champion of creativity, at the MassCUE Conference last week.  Peter, a New York Times bestselling illustrator, has written and/or illustrated internationally renowned children's books such as The Dot, Ish, The North Star, Judy Moody and many others.  In addition to designing the logo for the MassCUE event and giving the Keynote on day 2, he also ran a session that showcased a variety of his software applications. 


All of Peter's work champions the creative process in all of us, both young and old.  But I was really touched when he shared his two most recent books with us:  Going Places and Full Steam Ahead. These stories celebrate creativity as well as thinking outside the box.  They celebrate collaboration, communication, critical thinking and of course, creativity. 

But Peter paused for a moment and with a heavy heart said that what is really needed in our society and the workplace is a 5th "C".. and that 5th "C" stands for Compassion.


If you're interested in learning more about how compassion affects the workplace and life in general, here are a couple of articles and research studies that talk about this important topic:

Why Fostering a Culture of "Companionate Love" in the Workplace Matters (Wharton University and George Mason University)