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)







Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Tip of the week: TIPS: October 14, 2014

This week I thought I would send some updates and tips related to some of the web tools we have available to us in Sudbury!

Glogster EDU:  Glogster has recently added over 10,000 new educational graphics to their library.   In the past, his library had been populated with fairly generic and 'cute' graphics that did not tie as well to the curriculum. These new graphics are completely original and copyright free, categorized by subject, and ranging from accent graphics and text boxes to backgrounds and media players.

GlogsterEDU has also launched their iPad app!  It is pretty cool if I do say so myself... Log in the same way you do normally and have fun!  


Be on the lookout for teacher management tools in Today's Meet.. !  

Manage your classroom backchannel with permanent transcripts, the ability to pause a conversation, better access controls, add prompts along the way, and even the ability to mute a student... Coming soon!

Class DoJo now allows students to create their own avatar.. Many other management features have been added too. Over 35,000 teachers, parents and students are now using this easy to use classroom management tool!

DEStreaming: DEStreaming, online educational videos, video clips, images, sounds, songs, interactives, and much more, has added the following:

  • Global Wrap Current Events Content: presents a summary of the week’s most pressing global news, keeping students abreast of current events and connecting the past to the present
  • Content collections, featuring resources hand-selected by Discovery Education’s curriculum experts, aid in planning lessons on commonly taught topics
  • Video library features content from over 100 educational publishers aligned to Common Core includes exclusive, award-winning titles from Discovery Channel, Animal Planet, and Science Channel including Frozen PlanetPlanet Earth, and Rising: Rebuilding Ground Zero.  DE adds to their library of resources continuously.

If you don't have an account yet, please go HERE to create your login..

Friday, October 3, 2014

Tip of the Week: Hour of Code: October 3, 2014



The Hour of Code is a one-hour introduction to computer science and basic coding (programming) for students in grades K and up. Designed to show that anybody can learn the basics of programming (coding), the Hour of Code is a global event that typically takes place during Computer Science Week. This year Computer Science Week takes place December 8th through the 14th but if you can't do it during that week, you can do it the week before or after.  

So you might be asking yourself, "Why code?"  Code.org believes that "Every student should have the opportunity to learn computer science. It helps nurture problem-solving skills, logic and creativity. By starting early, students will have a foundation for success in any 21st-century career path."  


"The Hour of Code is organized by Code.org, a public 501c3 non-profit dedicated to expanding participation in computer science by making it available in more schools, and increasing participation by women and underrepresented students of color. Microsoft, Apple, Amazon, Boys and Girls Clubs of America and the College Board (among other partners) have come together to support the Hour of Code."

A few classrooms from across our district have participated in this "Hour of Code" with great success. In fact we have a 2nd grade teacher here in Sudbury who is doing coding activities with his students throughout the school year.  

You do not need to know anything about coding to host an event with your students.  The activities are self guided.  You choose the tutorial you want and pick an hour and Code.org takes care of the rest. They have options for every age and experience-level, from kindergarten and up.  Yes, I said kindergarten..  

Here is everything you need to know about implementing this in your classroom: