Reflecting on my GAME plan

My passion for technology came when I was in middle school and my computer teacher opened the computer lab up at night so the public could use the internet. I was always trying new tools and programs because it really interested me. Naturally, I took that into my classroom. I try my best to stay on top of all of the new tools and try many of them out with my class. My passion for technology and what it can do for students and teachers alike has bubbled over into getting other teachers passionate about it, too.

My GAME plan, as stated in my previous post, has morphed to a GAME changing plan.This is an uphill battle for many reasons. One main reason is the time factor. Many teachers believe that a lot of technological tools take too much time to utilize. I am always asked how I find the time time to update our class twitter and Facebook page or how I have time to try out new tools. That question frustrates me, but I love technology and have loved it for long time. Not everyone has that mindset. I have to be able to meet those people where they are. When I find a new tool or new website, I make sure that I have tried it out and know it inside and out before I share it with my colleagues. If I want to convince the teachers around me to try something new, they have to know that I will stand by them while they try it and that I will make sure that all of their questions would be answered.

If I am well-versed in something, I cannot keep it to myself.

If I feel so passionately about something, I cannot keep it to myself.

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Developing a GAME plan

For teachers who have been in the game for a long time, it may be time to revive some of those dusty, old lesson plans with a little technology. 

The standards that teachers are being held to are drastically changing. Along with content standards, educators need to be incorporating technology standards into their lessons. For teachers like myself, this is second nature, because many have grown up with technology. Through my experiences, I have developed a passion for its integration in my classroom.

To insure that I stay on top of the ever-changing world of technology, I am going to make a GAME plan for myself (Cennamo, et al, 2009). This will keep me accountable and ensure that my students are learning the skills they need for when they get out into the real world.

ISTE has provided a great resource for all teachers. I have chosen two NETS goals provided on the ISTE site, to guide my goal setting.

2.Teachers design, develop, and evaluate authentic learning experiences and assessment incorporating contemporary tools and resources to maximize content learning in context and to develop the knowledge, skills, and attitudes identified in the NETS·S.

3.Teachers exhibit knowledge, skills, and work processes representative of an innovative professional in a global and digital society.

G-Setting GOALS

Without setting goals, educators can lose focus. The goals I have for myself guide the way that I run my classroom. For me to reach each standard listed above, I need to focus on creating technology and content enriched lesson plans. Researching programs that have worked in other classrooms is a great way to start.

My students should be able to experience tools that they will be able to use throughout their school career and beyond. The tools presented to them should not be isolated to second grade students. They should be tools that can be adapted to fit any topic or venue. My goal is to provide my students with tools that a) they can use in my class and b) they can know inside and out to be able to teach their fellow classmates and/or teachers in the future.

Through Twitter, I have been able to connect with teachers across the world. My goal is to utilize this tool and be able to provide my colleagues with a plethora of tools. Being passionate about technology, I have utilize everything that it has to offer me in my everyday life. I am constantly researching and reading about new ideas and concepts. I want to bring that into my school.

My goal is for more teachers to understand that education is a global concept and an easy way to incorporate that global mindset is through technology.

A-Taking ACTION

Goal-setting is a great thing, but if one never takes action, those goals were set in vain. I am lucky enough to have been selected to go the Teachers as Scholars conference at Notre Dame University. This conference, Teaching New Media and Digital Culture, will help me with my goals by providing tools that I can use when I return to my classroom. The best way to “take action” is to dive in and just try new tools and techniques. The conference I am attending, as well as, my passion to want to learn will guide me to accomplishing my goals.

M-MONITORING

Getting caught up in the everyday tasks can make anyone lose site of their goals. One of the best ways to monitor whether your goals are being achieved or not is to have them written down somewhere that is visible to you all day. When you are constantly reminded of your ultimate goal, you are more likely to focus on it and achieve it. Another way is to let a colleague know what you are trying to accomplish. You can be held more accountable when you have colleagues checking in with you.

E-EVALUATING

Meeting goals when talking about technology will never be fully achieved. With technology constantly changing, my goals need to adapt to those changes. Through Twitter, education blogs like Edutopia, and technology magazines like Tech and Learning, I am able to stay on the front all that is new in educational technology.

Every educator needs to develop a GAME plan to stay on top of all that is changing with technology and education.

References

Cennamo, K., Ross, J. & Ertmer, P. (2009). Technology integration for meaningful classroom use: A standards-based approach. (Laureate Education, Inc., Custom ed.). Belmont, CA: Wadsworth, Cengage Learning.

International Society for Technology in Education. (2011). http://www.iste.org/welcome.aspx

Using Aviary for Podcasting w/ Your Students!

Aviary is a fantastic site that allows you to create just about anything! I love the podcasting feature which is what I’m going to show in this screencast!

Here are some examples of what my 2nd graders were able to do on their own! (Seriously, I didn’t help them at all).

Students reading Skating on Thin Ice

Student reading Twosomes: Love Poems from the Animal Kingdom

Check out my other post on how to use Podcasts in your classroom!

Screencasting!

If you are looking for a way to record and share the lessons that you do on your SmartBoard or ActivBoard, look no further!

There are many sites out there that allow you to take a “screencast” of what is happening on your screen while recording your voice. The site that I really like using because it is simple and free is Screencast-o-matic.

Here is an example of a screencast my students did as they led the “Math Meeting” (It is a little long, but it gives you the idea) :

Pros and Cons of Screencast-o-matic:

  • Con-The free version doesn’t allow you to save on that site, but you can upload your videos and save them to your youtube account.
  • Pro-You can only record 15 minutes. (Personally, I think that is plenty of time).
  • Pro-It’s free!
  • Pro-It is very easy to use!
  • Pro-When recording, it allows you to pause and resume.

Give it a try!

I want your feedback! Do you have a screencasting site that you like using?

Socrative-An Online Quizzing Tool!

Quick assessments are made easy with Socrative.com! (And it’s free!)

All you have to do is sign up for a free account and watch the quick 5 minute intro and you are ready!

The coolest thing about Socrative is that if you are lucky enough to have tablets, ipads, ipods or SmartPhones in your classroom, you can make this quick assessment even quicker.

Here’s the gist:

  • Once you sign up for Socrative, you will be taken to t.socrative.com (teacher) where you can create a quick quiz, multiple choice, T/F, short answer and a Space Race.
  • You can create as many quizzes as you want, just click on the quiz you want your students to take at that particular time
  • You will be given a class number that your students will need in order to take your quiz.
  • Your students will go to m.socrative.com
  • Once your students put in your assigned room number, it will ask them to type their name then start the quiz!

*If you are using student computers and not tablets or SmartPhones, after the student has taken the quiz it will give them the option to “Let Another Student Take Quiz”-once they click that it will take them back to the original screen where the next student will have to put in the Room Number and their name.

  • As the teacher, you can watch live results while the students take their quiz.
  • Once everyone has taken the quiz, you will get an Excel spreadsheet sent to your email with the results!

This is an quick and easy way to assess your students! Try it out and share your thoughts!

Collaborative Learning in the 21st Century

Collaborative learning is one of the greatest ways for teachers to really see who their students are as learners. It is one of the best parts of my day when I get to see my students working together. The ideas they can come up with when they are set free can be inspiring.

“Cooperative learning is not so much learning to cooperative as it is cooperating to learn ( Wong & Wong, 1998)” (Pitler, Hubbell, Kuhn, Malenoski, 2007).

Technology has given us so many tools to enhance collaborative learning in our classroom. I have loved making videos since I was in school so I naturally brought that into my classroom. I have a Flip video camera for my classroom that we use all of the time. Instead of writing a report or taking a test over a story, a great way to assess your students is to have them create a video. They can reenact the story, make a commercial summary of the story, make a talk show, etc. Once you make a video using whatever video editing program you have (Windows Movie Maker, iMovie, Adobe Premier, etc.), you can upload the video to youtube or Google Video and share your students creations with anyone!

Another great collaborative tool is Google Docs. All you need is a gmail account to create and share documents. It has a feature that you can edit a project and chat live with the people you have shared it with. Google Docs also includes Google Sites where you can create a class website or have your students create their own websites. Here is an example of a Google Site:https://sites.google.com/a/jgsc.k12.in.us/mrs-holland-s-class/

VoiceThread is fantastic tool that let’s the students collaborate with people around the world. You can upload pictures, videos or presentations and narrate or comment over them. People can use their phones, a webcam or a microphone to comment. Here is an example of a VT my students did this week on Fire Prevention :http://voicethread.com/share/2299633/

There are many tools out there that will encourage collaboration amongst your students. If you have an idea, please share!

References

Pitler, H., Hubbell, E., Kuhn, M., & Malenoski, K. (2007). Using technology with classroom instruction that works. Alexandria, VA: ASCD.