April 28 BLOGGG

I enjoyed learning about Padlet during Speed Geeking. I want to use it to do a report type of project. I think that this AP would be much more engaging than the powerpoints I have had them do. I proceeded to download the padlet Application and get an account. The email message I received from them said that I was beautiful! Padlet is now my favorite! I do think that much more can be accomplished by paying for the upgraded version, but I want to play around with it before I commit.

The other Speed Geeking session was about QR codes. Wow! So cool! I love using scavenger hunts with my students and would love to make one using QR codes. I am wondering how we could use the codes for lessons out in the community. I also liked how a simple poster report could use a QR code to either show a video of what was presented or even better a recording of the student’s voice talking about the report.

I have the best book circle group. We all worked together to get our movie done. We had a few technical issues with our microphone and a few other problems. But, with a bit of patience, humor and determination we finished the project..Whew! And did not get a parking ticket……


Service Learning

I met with our schools resident tech guru on Thursday. I wanted to talk to him about the website I was building and he totally convinced me to use something other than google….Now I have started on a new site using Weebly, which will work better for me. Here I go again. He taught me how to Skype and we found out that there is a lot of feedback if you try to Skype close together… I have been practicing using Skype all weekend, driving my friends crazy, I’m sure.
He also introduced me to google hangout, which is kind of like Skype but is more like a chatroom that you need to be invited to and can see each other and can come and go and hangout with peeps. I am going to introduce skype this week to students, but the blog will have to wait until I get my new site up and running and published, hopefully next week. Another exciting thing I did was meet with another colleague who showed me the application that I am going to use for Speed Geeking. It is called Read and Write for Google Chrome. I am going to present it this week to our classroom staff and have them practice using it before I present it to the students. It will also be good for me to practice showing it to someone else before I present it to our class.

Last Book Circle- Connected from the Start

Chapters 7 & 8
Reaching out and connecting with students in other countries and asking them questions is a great way for kids to learn by comparing and contrasting their differences and similarities first hand. Students making videos of their classroom and other students from so far away responding is a great learning opportunity.
I have a couple of IPads in my classroom and I think that I may have my students make a video of what our class is like and put it into I Movie. I am not so sure about adding it a YouTube account. I guess I am still a little freaked out and protective of my students and negative comments. I may start by emailing the video to another class in our school district and see how it goes.
So now I know what a wiki is. Hmmm not sure if I am going to try that one right now, have plenty on my plate already. So many ways to connect! Oh….. Google Docs is a Wiki, I use it for adult stuff, but have not had my students use it yet. I use google docs and have a google drive account. I can’t say that I am totally proficient at it but I do like how it enables teachers and students to collaborate on projects and documents and is easily accessed via the cloud.
The author discusses some applications that she has used in class to connect with other classes or to share what they learned from them. For instance, Wordle, was used to make a word cloud (like we did on the first night of class) to show what kinds of breakfasts people ate. Storybird, was used for writing a story with another class collaboratively. So many applications I want to try!
It was also good to hear that things did not always go well for Cassidy and that like all teachers, sometimes things don’t work and we learn from our mistakes. I also like that she says she does not connect just for connecting’s sake but for a defined purpose to promote learning. She encourages teachers to take risks and try new things and be flexible and ready to jump on teachable moments. Great book!

Book Circle-Connected from the start

Connected from the Start –Chapters 4-6

I was glad that the author broached the subject of internet safety and a copy of a permission slip for students to use the internet. But, I was sad when I went to the link and the page was no longer there! It is extremely frustrating when I expect to see a page and it no longer exists. I think that I will just tweet her about that!
Kathy has a way of checking out kids blogs before they are published, I want to figure out how to do that too having a Central teachers hub and having students blog from it.
I was also worried about the extra time and effort it would take to blog, but the explanation that Kathy gave about just spending your time differently put my mind at ease a bit although there is definitely some transition time between the two at first.
The idea of a digital portfolio is exciting. It would be so great to have a running record digitally of their improvement documented so accessible and easy. I love the idea that Kathy puts what the child means to say in brackets when they are unable yet to write so that it is understood. Just because they cannot write it yet does not mean they have nothing to say.
Kathy does some super cool things with her interactive whiteboard, wish I had one. The class composes twitter messages together with it. The link about twitter has also been helpful for this new twitterer.

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Reading Apr.20

Reading Apr.20

Inequality of access to the internet is a growing concern as it becomes more essential to everyday life. It is becoming impossible to apply for jobs, get information, do homework, and even make contact with businesses without internet connectivity. People that I know who have limited technological knowledge are being left out of many experiences because they are intimidated or do not feel that they have the time or ability to learn it. For instance, one of my students (18 with intellectual disabilities), was adopted by some wonderful people who are now pushing 70. They did not grow up in the digital age and do not own a computer, can’t afford one and have no interest in learning how to use one. Their son uses our computers at school and has a phone (dumb phone), but his access to the internet is severely limited because of his parents lack of knowledge and economic status.
My school district is aware of the problem and is trying to help people become more connected by giving refurbished lap tops to low income students, but it is not enough. Next year my school is going 1:1 with Chromebooks, which will be of more support for students.
The two articles that we read this week delve into who has the most access and who does not. It is no-brainer that the people who have the less access are of the lower social-economic community.
I thought it was interesting that in the article, Ed Techs Inequalities,that how technology is used can also be unequal. “Research suggests that computer usage in higher income schools promotes creativity and higher level thinking while in lower income schools it is used for drill and kill exercises.”

Service Learning-2

The book, “Connected from the start” by Kathy Cassidy has given me some good ideas for my service learning project. I have never had a teacher website and it is time that I made one. I want my students to learn how to blog and become more engaged in technology. The best way to organize all the tech. items would be to make a website which students could access to share their blogs, check the calendar and hook up with learning links that I will post. It all sounds great, so why have I never done this? I have felt totally intimidated by the process of creating a website.
So here I go………I started setting up my own site using my google account from school. I set up the name and played with a few themes and colors and make a few pages, Blogs, Learning sites, Calendar, announcements. I really don’t have it looking the way I want to and need to spend more time learning how to set it up correctly. https://sites..com/a/edmonds.wednet.edu/ms-kris-wetzsteon-s-life-skills-class/

Does anyone have any comments or suggestions on if using Google to set up a website is a good idea or would another one be easier?

I may need to reach out to our tech. person at school for help. I plan on doing more research to have it looking better before I share it out. I then plan on teaching students to set up blogs and learn to Skype with another class across town. I have never Skyped before either, so it will be another research project for me. This week I will introduce my students and Myself to Skype!
I will introduce them to blogging once I get my Website in order.

Book Circle -Connected from the Start

Chapters 1-3

I like how this book is so easy to read. The author, Kathy Cassidy says that she is not a technical person and that if she can integrate technology into the classroom anyone can. This gives me hope. I am definitely finding that I need to get caught up on the vocabulary of the technological world. In the book Kathy has a link to common craft https://www.commoncraft.com/ which has some excellent readymade videos that explain so many terms and more. In class people talk about embedding, RSS and other terms and I have no idea what they are talking about. These videos are easy to understand and have visual representations that even I can understand. As I continue reading this book, I am becoming less intimidated. I have never Skyped either. Kathy and her students explain how they use Skype in the classroom and how they have learned so much from expanding their lessons to other classes around the world. They have built relationships with other people and learn about each other’s differences and similarities. I want to set up an account with another Life Skill teacher and see if we can Skype between our classes to begin with and then build on that.
Creating a classroom blog is another thing that Kathy did with her class. I also want to do that with my students! ( ooooh blogging tools too!) I think I may be becoming a bit of a tech nerd…..
I am so excited that this book is geared towards people who are newbies. I am finding this book to be an awesome resource!
#BEDUC566 #cl566