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Showing posts from June, 2013

When is a Blog More Than Just a Blog?

Riddle me this Batman; When is a blog more than just a blog? Blogs can, and in my opinion, should be an essential component of connected learning. Your blog can become more than just a blog when it becomes a digital portfolio, or a podcast, or an eBook. I just provided the " what ", the following three resources will help you get started with the " how ". Blog as ePortfolio -  Using Blogger Pages to Create an ePortfolio  - Dr. Helen Barrett Blog as Podcast -  Podcastomatic  - Convert your favorite blog into a podcast Blog as eBook -  3 Easy Ways to Turn Your Class Blog into an Ebook  - Educational Technology & Mobile Learning Why would you want to use or change your blog in these ways? There are several reasons, including; greater accessibility, an ongoing project, a culminating project, reflective practice, learning new technologies, and sharing learning in new ways, How do you see these features helping your learners grow? Related Readi

Initiative and a $15 iTunes Card

"Wa'sup Lisa?", asked Tyler. "Not much. What's up with you?" "I just got a $15 iTunes gift card from my grandma for getting good grades on my report card last semester." Lisa said, "That's cool. Are you gonna buy some games, or something?" Tyler said, "Maybe. But we are getting iPads at school next year, and I should probably get a few apps that will help me with my school work. You were in a one-to-on class last year. Which apps did you buy?" Lisa explained, "Well, our teachers encouraged us to use free stuff that could be used on any device, not just the iPad. But, by the end of the year, there were a few paid apps that really helped us get more organized and creative with our iPads. Your $15 iTunes card should cover just about everything you need." "Really? Which ones should I be looking at?", askedTyler. Lisa said, "Early on, we all bought Notability . It used to be $.99 cents, bu

ePortfolios and Three Outstanding Options for Student Learning

Congratulations on considering student ePortfolios as part of your transformative learning package. Electronic Portfolios are, in my opinion, the most effective way for students to authentically document and share their learning with an authentic audience. My suggestion is that you recommend one of these three platforms to your students as they begin creating their positive digital footprints: Google Sites , Evernote , and my personal choice,  Blogger . Fresh off an outstanding ePortfolio workshop presented by Dr. Helen Barrett , I became motivated to share some thoughts, and a few resources on this topic. What, how, and why are certainly important questions to address new or improved learning opportunities. My hope is that your focus will be on the " WHY ", as the "what" and "how" can, and should, be left to student research and development. Although it may not be appropriate in some cases, I would let the students experiment, and then choose th

Best of Seven, Four Winning Recommendations for Summer Learning

Personal learning networks provide opportunities and resources for learning and growth. I have read several posts from respected bloggers discussing methods for educators to leverage their PLNs for professional development this summer. I am currently teaching an in-district course called "Learning Tools for a Connected Classroom". The objective of the course is for educators to demonstrate progress or growth with their positive digital footprint, to become " well-Googled ". This is not an easy sell for some teachers. However, if the expectation for students is for them to become independent, connected learners, then it would be beneficial for instructors to experience the challenges and victories of establishing learning connections through a personal learning network. Here are four recommendations that will certainly create opportunities for connected learning and professional growth. Create or adopt a learning management system . Our district has adopted an

Putting a Big "S" in ISTE

Christmas comes in June for me this year as I get the privilege to talk about Schoology , one of my very favorite learning applications, at ISTE in San Antonio next week. Our students and teachers are thoroughly embracing this outstanding learning management system that enables online learning, social networking, and classroom management tools. In addition, we have also established some terrific learning connections with our Schoology friends; Kim, Cassandra, Dylan, Brad, and Ryan.  Just to name a few. A summary of my discussion points for ISTE... " Learn Together " - The logo, clean and easy. The motto, simple yet powerful!  The pronunciation is apparently a bit more challenging.  " SKUL -uh- G " (Ken at Lowes now has one of my Schoology t-shirts... long story, ask me anyway.) The Matrix - Schoology did my homework for me! Comparing learning management systems. ( My laziness led to a timely discovery! ) The Numbers Game - from 0 to 7500 student users in

What if Classroom Attendance Was Optional?

What if attendance to your classroom was optional? Would students still come to your class? These questions were inspired by a recent post by Ryan McLane, " Teach Like a Pirate Day ". Ryan's leading question was, " If your students didn't have to be there, would you be teaching to an empty room? " This question was prompted by the book, " Teach Like a Pirate ", by Dave Burgess . The premise is that students would not attend their classes. Instead, students would look over a menu of learning "experiences" and attend whatever they find interesting. The offerings were interesting, fun, engaging, mysterious, and challenging. The results at Utica Junior High were impressive. So much so, students and teachers responded by asking, " Why can't every day be Pirate Day? " One student offered to pay money to attend a " Mystery Skype " session, which was full. Would students pay money to attend a meaningful learning exper

Be Careful, Social Media Can Bite.

CC Image - Boy, did I learn a lesson about the dark side of social media yesterday! Actually, the lesson came at the hands of a few, for the lack of a better word, idiots who think they can hide behind a veil of anonymity as they darken an otherwise perfect commencement ceremony with bomb threats and offensive remarks. Fortunately, our traditional, beautiful graduation ceremony was not disrupted by these abusers of social media.   I owe my school, the community, and the local police an apology. As school Technology Coordinator, I should know better than to allow "unmoderated" comments to run alongside our live video stream. Unfortunately, that's exactly what I did.  I had a list of 100 other technical things that I needed to check and recheck. That's no excuse, as I even acknowledged the first several posts accompanying our live stream during the introduction were congratulatory comments to our graduates. During the past few years, we have str