Sunday, June 28, 2015

Encouraging Students to create an Android app


Walk into a high school and ask how many students to raise their hand if they have a cell phone. Chances are most of them do. As teachers we want students to demonstrate comprehension and knowledge of our subject areas. What if students could do that and create a real product? Something that they can relate to.

Andromo is a good place to start. It allows you to create Android apps without the need of coding. First app is free.

Applications in the classroom:
1. Have students create an app for a sport or club they're involved in.
2. Have students create an app about their school. Include interactive maps, calendar of events, contact list, etc.
3. Doing a lesson on Geometry. Have students gather tools to help them explain the concepts and integrate it into an app they can share with their classmates.


Image: http://www.pfhub.com/oracle-claims-google-inc-used-java-technology-1272/

Friday, June 26, 2015

Nomophobia: Fear of being without an electronic device



Nomophobia is considered an irrational fear of being without an electronic device.

Everyone has at least once in their lives, traveled somewhere and found themselves without an internet connection on their phone. There is an online test to help you determine if you suffer from nomophobia.

Many adults and kids are unable to put away their cell phones without constantly checking it. Students are having their cell phones taken away daily, because of their inability to disconnect from it. What are the implications of this behavior on teaching?

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Google Form:Technology across all subjects

As the Technology Lead at my school, I'm in charge of helping every subject incorporate technology into their curriculum and lessons. I've been working on a Google Sheet for some time and added resources per subject area as I've found them. However, I thought it would be a good idea to reach out to my Professional Learning Network (PLN) and ask what resources they are using in the subject areas at their schools. Please fill out the Google Form below. I will compile the results and share them with everyone. Thank you!

Google Survey Technology Across All Subjects


Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Organizational Skills in a Digital World

Do your students lose their school issued planners? Do their pages get ripped off because of being tossed them into the bottom of their backpacks? You want them to keep track of their assignments, but the paper planner is no longer working?

Add the Chrome add on: myHomework.
Paper, Calendar, Planner, Pen,

Teaching students organizational skills in a digital world is important. myHomework is a digital student planner. As you write the assignment myHomework finds key words and helps organize the assignment with the correct subject and priority level. It organizes assignments by subject. It has a monthly and weekly view. It supports both normal day schedules or block schedules. Sends out reminders to mobile devices like tablets and phones.

Available for iPads, iphones, Android, Windows 8, Kindle Fire and online. App works offline and updates when re-connected to the internet. Parent accessible.

Highlighting Text: Online Study Skill

Texthelp Study Skills: Highlighting Tools

Original (2560 × 1920)

Years ago I took a workshop called Step up to Writing. Those techniques was that students had to highlight the printed text with 3 colors: pink, yellow, and green. The problem was when the student erroneously highlight a section of the text the wrong color. There was no good way of changing it. Solution to this in 21st century learning, use this awesome highlighting too for online texts.

Add the Chrome extension called Texthelp Study Skills: Highlighting Tools. This tool gives you 4 color options: yellow, blue, green, and pink. It allows you to gather each color together into one document.

Potential for learning:

  • Give students an article or reading. Have them highlight words they don’t understand.
  • Highlight parts of speech: nouns, verbs, adverbs, etc.
  • For a story, highlight the main idea, morale, climax, setting, conflict, plot.
  • Once the text is highlighted collect it into one document and discuss it as a class.
  • Peer editing.

Monday, June 22, 2015

24/7 Learning: What students need from us

Learning is not only limited to the time the student spends in our classrooms. The bell rings and the student can continue their work from anywhere. Technology is allowing students to access class content, work on assignments, help one another, contact the teacher, at any time of the day. What does that mean for us as teachers?

21st century learners need from their teachers:
  1. 24/7 access to course content: Provide course content online with an LMS, Google Classroom, Edmodo, Schoology. Digital copy of their textbook (very important). If it’s an old book that out of copyright, scan the chapter you are working on and share it with them.
  2. Plan ahead: In Google Classroom students receive notifications when a new announcement or assignment has been posted. What if this announcement gave them a clue as to what they would be discussing in class later that day or week? They would have more time to think through the concepts ahead of time.
  3. Teacher access: My school email is a gmail account. I have the gmail app on my phone. Students that email me know that I will respond to them within 24 hours, usually more quickly. Maybe they need a response from you before they continue their work, waiting until the next school day might limit the amount of time they have to work on the task.

Set up office hours, if you prefer. Create a Google Form and use the add-on Choice Eliminator. As students pick a time slot it will be eliminated from the view of others.

Saturday, June 20, 2015

Ebooks vs. Printed Books in School

Reading an ebook on public
I’ve wondered whether ebooks are here to stay or if they will only partially replace printed texts. Many publishers are providing both electronic and printed options for students. Many students use iPads or tablets or other readers at home and at school. Carrying one electronic device is better than carrying 7 heavy books to school every day. There’s a private school in my area that issues each student an iPad when enrolling. They are required to use it every day.

Many people today still struggle with learning how to read from a screen lengthy texts. Some say they like holding the book, the feel of the pages, or even the smell of a new book. If ebooks are here to stay, as educators we need to teach our students how to become comfortable with reading electronic books. This is probably a 21st century skill they will need. Where do we start?

I knew a French teacher that with some grant funds bought about 7 kindle readers. She said it was hard to find good advanced French novels in the U.S. Ebooks were the solution for her. Students checked out the ereaders with her and used them for a period of time and returned them to her. The teacher realized that students were enjoying their reading experience. They were also using the dictionary function to learn new words.







Photo: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/E-book#/media/File:Reading_on_the_bus_train_or_transit.jpg

Thursday, June 18, 2015

Learning Glass: Future of whiteboards

I remember chalk boards, white boards, smart boards, and now... a glass board!
Looks like UC San Diego is opening the way to new possibilities in instructional technology. This new technology was first developed by Dr. Matt Anderson and built by Dr. James Frazee's group of IT at SDSU. It allows the instructor to face the camera, write on a clear board with bright markers and yet not write backwards. For an educational technology lover like myself, I can't wait to see this technology reach the K-12 classrooms. Imagine the possibilities!








https://acmsblog.wordpress.com/2014/04/29/the-learning-glass/
http://its.sdsu.edu/tech/learning_glass.html

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Should YouTube be blocked at schools?

Open


Should YouTube be blocked at schools?

  • In this day and age, we know the value of videos in education. Not only are they valuable as an instructional tool, it also provides students a medium in which to share thoughts and ideas with the world.
  • Some sites like Khan Academy provide integrated YouTube videos that are not accessible to students if blocked.
  • An option might be to provide YouTube access to students, but putting keywords as filters.
  • In the real world we can filter everything. We need to teach students the tools to discern between appropriate and inappropriate content.
  • You can’t flip a lesson if your students can’t view the videos.

Do you have YouTube unblocked at your school? Share your thoughts with me here or on Twitter @bsweet321 .



3 Ways to use Google Translate in the Classroom


File:Skrin Google Translate.
  1. Use it as a dictionary- In my class, students are not allowed to translate full sentences of text, because I teach Spanish 3 and they need to apply their language skills. I allow students to look-up words that they don’t understand in Google Translate.
  2. As a tool for ELL students- This year I worked with an English Language Learner (ELL) student. She was struggling in Math because with Common Core her textbook is full of word problems. She couldn’t read the problem to get to the problem solving. We got her a digital copy of her Math textbook and she was able to copy and paste the problems into Google Translate and then work on them.
  3. Pronunciation tool- Second language learners struggle with how to pronounce certain words. I had them type the word in Google Translate and click on the speaker icon. While not exactly a native speaker voice, it allowed students to listen and repeat the words as many times as needed.

Screenshot 2015-06-17 at 11.40.51 AM.png

Monday, June 15, 2015

Ideas for using Google Docs & Google Drawing

Google Docs and Drawings teaching ideas:
Some ideas:
  • After an online scavenger hunt on Cinco de Mayo, where the students answered questions based on their research, they had to draw an image using Google Drawing about something they learned.  Here’s an example:
  • I saw an AP US history teacher create a table in Google Docs. Students had vocabulary terms on the left, second column was for the definition, and in the third column they had to draw an image that reminded them of the meaning of the word.
  • A Science teacher friend of mine did something similar, but after they had done an experiment. In their report they needed to draw something they saw was taking place during the experiment.

I tried this with my high school students and it worked. They enjoyed drawing, even though it’s not as easy as doing it on paper. Be careful with the perfectionists and underachievers in your class. One will spend too much time on this type of task and others will spend very little. I walked around and gave suggestions.

Google Docs & Google Drawings

Google Docs and Google Drawings

You can have students create drawings inside of Google Docs. Simply press Insert and then Drawing. Google Drawings can be used independently of Docs, but this integrated feature allows for some creative options within Google Docs.
A menu will pop-up.
Use the tools at the top to design your drawing. Scribble is the free hand drawing option.

Sunday, June 14, 2015

Android tablets and Google Play in Edu

We have the Samsung Galaxy Tab 4 for all students PK-1. These tablets came with a rubber protective case, which is nice, because we would have needed to otherwise purchase them separately.

A few suggestions if you are deciding to include Android tablets and Google Play into your school’s curriculum:

  • You will want to label each tablet. Writing with a silver sharpie on the rubber case doesn’t work. It will come off. We had each teacher select and image. She include her name in the image and way to differentiate between the tablets. For example: Mrs. Smith, A, and an image of an apple. Each tablet had a different letter of the alphabet and the name of the teacher. This way we were not only identify which class the tablet belonged to, but also we were able to sneak in some curriculum. Each student is then assigned a letter that they need to remember. Keep a list of these.
  • Use it with a purpose. Like everything, make a plan and have the tablets be used to accomplish this goal.
  • Teach them how to use the app and explain the purpose of it. Connect your tablet the projector and go through the steps they would take to use it.
  • Use apps for whole class learning. If you don’t have a smartboard, connect your tablet to the projector and use a pointer. Select students to come up and point to the correct answer. Repeat the answer together as a class.
  • Change things up. Don’t always say, today we’re working on…, instead say, I would like you to practice your Math skills today. Please choose one Math app.
  • Have a system. Elementary teachers are awesome at developing procedures. Have a role for someone to distribute or help put the tablets away. Where are kids allowed to sit while using them? How long are they allowed to use them?
  • Use this time to target student needs. Work with the high and low students one on one while everyone else is engaged in their game. Use the apps to target more advanced or lower level skills.
  • Allow teachers to choose the apps they want. Many times administrators make the mistake of wanting to control every aspect of technology in schools. Teachers are credentialed professionals, allow them to make choices that are appropriate for the needs of their students.
  • Don’t just limit the tablet’s use to gaming. Allow students to create and explore with it as well. Otherwise, they will associate the tablet with just games. It does that, but also much more. Take a walk outside and have them take pictures of three things they see that start with a certain sound or letter. Have the students share their photos with the class.