Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Taking notes by hand or on a computer

Being the Tech Lead at a 1:1 chromebook school means that I have to decide what is best for my school’s technology needs. As students move from class to class and take notes in these various classes, I’ve wondered if continuing to take notes by hand or if typing them is what is best for them. Will they retain the information more if they write it, than if they typed it?


For the first few months I decided to use both methods of taking notes and observe what my students had to say.
  • Some students said that they could remember the information better if they wrote it down in their notebooks. I wondered if that was truly the case, or if that’s what they were use to.
  • Others said that they prefered to take notes on their chromebooks. They could type faster than they could write and they were better at organizing digital documents than paper ones.
Looking at research:
  1. Mueller and Oppenheimer (2014) concluded that writing information by hand was more beneficial to students, because typing it was “shallower processing”. Students that were typing the information were writing word for word what they were hearing, whereas the students writing the information on paper where synthesizing and reflecting on it.
  2. Hembrooke and Gray (2003) tested two groups of students. One was allowed to take notes by hand and the other on a computer. The results indicated the students that were allowed to take notes on the computer were often distracted by the other uses of the computer, such as email, IM, and chat, which influenced a lower retention of the content.

Putting Education in "Educational" Apps: Lessons From the Science of Learning Psychological Science in the Public Interest May 1, 2015 16: 3-34

Saturday, July 18, 2015

Tweeting Teachers

Tweeting today has become a good way for teachers to connect with other teachers, share ideas, learn new tricks, and question our own practices.
tweeting teachers.jpg

A few things to consider while using Twitter as a Professional Learning Network (PLN):
  • If a teacher, librarian, principal, assistant principal, follows you, follow them back.
  • If a retired or pre-service teacher follows you, follow them back.
  • Don’t limit yourself to just following educators in your subject area or grade level. I’ve taught every grade level PK-12 and college. From experience I can tell you that you can learn a new approach, a new idea from other subject areas and grade levels.
  • Participate in Follow Friday #FF. Pick a group of educators that are new to twitter, need more followers, you know, you would like to know, you feel others would benefit from following, and mention them in a tweet.
  • Compliments go a long way. Like what someone is doing on Twitter, say it!
  • Participate in #pedagoofriday . Take a photo of an activity that worked well for you and share it.

Thursday, July 16, 2015

Digital Divide

brick wall 2.jpg

Having an internet connection at home. Knowing how to write an email and use a computer seem like common and expected part of society today. While many of our students today do have these resources at home, several still don’t. About 10% of my school population doesn’t have internet at home. The economic situation at home does not allow for these students to have what seem like essential resources to some of us and luxuries to others.

What can we do?

  • helps match internet service providers and donors with projects that need computers and internet solutions.
  • Google will soon offer a free internet solution for low income families in an initiative called Google Fiber.
  • Students working with Chromebooks can enable offline editing, so that they can make changes to their Docs, Sheets, and Slides while at home. These will update once they are at school and have an internet solution.
  • Telling students to go find a place with free wifi like a Starbucks or McDonalds is not always a good solution. Some students live in rural areas and don’t have the transportation to go to such places for internet.
  • Provide students with an additional day or two to complete assignments that requires the use of the internet.

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

My ebook is now available

My ebook Teaching in a Chromebook Classroom is now available on Amazon. In it I share my experiences as my school's Technology Lead and teacher in the implementation of Chromebooks in a 1:1 school. I also provide specific steps and tips for teachers on how to teach using a Chromebook, as well as how to better help the 21st century student learn.

Thursday, July 2, 2015

Educreations: Screencast: Explain it to me

Screencasts are video recordings of on screen activities which include the mouse movements, the voice, and the changes on screen. It allows for a more clear explanation of concepts, because the students is not only seeing the information, they are also hearing it.

Educreations allows you to create screencasts for free in the basic package. Educreations is accessible online. It seems to work just fine with a chromebook. You don't need to have an iPad to do it.

Use in the classroom:

  • Create a screencast to explain a concept to the class. Share the link with the students via Google Classroom or your course LMS.
  • Assign the students a problem and have them create a screencast and explain the concept to you. Remember, the have to understand the concept really well in order to explain it to others. 
  • Have students upload a photo of something being covered in class, for examples, a volcano, and have them explain what it does, what are the stages, etc. 
  • Assign each student a vocabulary word. Have them write out a sentence and explain it's meaning.

Here's my sample Educreation screencast. 

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Chrome Ext. Coggle

Coggle is a great mindmapping tool. It allows you to add pictures and change the colors of the lines to better represent your idea.  Coggle auto-saves your work, so you can back to it and pick up where you left off.
It's connected with Google Drive, so your Coggle's are auto-saved to your Drive. You can also easily download it as a pdf. You can invite others to work on the same image.

For my lesson, we watched the movie Stand and Deliver. I know, really old, but the themes are still applicable today. Then, I asked my students to create a mindmap using Coggle on "ganas" or the desire to succeed. They had to think of all the people and things that help them and all the obstacles. They added pictures to the main themes and changed the color of the branches if they were a different idea. The last thing they did was to use their Coggle to write a self-reflective essay on Google Docs. Because Coggle syncs with Google Drive, it made it easy for students to submit their Coggle to me on Google Classroom, as well as pull the image up to write their essay.