Learning remotely or remotely learning?

My first reflection in our “brave, new world ” of education in Victoria.

Everyone was wondering how are students would go as they logged in to our classes from home.

Very few of the year 7 and 8 students in my classes have ever had to do this ( only some with a medical issue for a short time). As a whole, the boys at our school have always indicated that they liked attending the school.

I teach mostly digital technologies classes so I also have the advantage of teaching a subject that they all have an interest in (one way or another). These holidays saw me spending a lot of time working through my lessons. Creating videos, putting extra guidelines, more images and trying to make sure they have all the information they need to learn. I like to have small group and whole class discussions as well as individual input in almost every class and this is is very much restricted. I also like to get their ideas about many aspects of technology, that that leads to some wonderful spontaneous learning situations. Again hard to be as spontaneous when we are all distant with our own particular home setups.

However the first two days of classes have been very rewarding and the students indicated their presence in our class forum at the right time. After that they went to the online class space we have been using for the past 2 years. This space is not new to them as I have always put all class documents, links and copies of my class notes and all the expected student work here for them to access.

Our school wants us to use the forum option (that is part of our Learning Management System) as the starting platform for each class. For the moment, within each class forum I set up with 2/3 threads. In each forum I began by clarifying my expectations of the boys, using the following information adapted from the rules I use with other collaborative

Welcome boys to our ……… class forum.

This forum will be used for class discussions and attendance if the College is forced to close.

Lesson plans and activities will be online in Courses section of SEQTA Learn as usual. However you will be required to indicate your attendance at home by replying via this forum.

REMEMBER: This is an online space and, as with our earlier class Padlets, it is a public, school forum and the same expectations apply.1. ENJOY being in this space and “PLAY NICELY”
2. Be RESPECTFUL of the ideas and opinions of others.
3. As this forum space is designed as a school-based one, LANGUAGE and CONTENT needs to be carefully CONSIDERED.
4. No bad or threatening language please. It will be deleted.
5. All members must be TOLERANT towards sensitive issues and the opinions of others.
6. NO SPAM.
7. If commenting on items, please be sensitive and mindful towards others as you expect them to be towards you.

PLEASE make sure you do not start your own threads, separate to what we are doing in class. These will be deleted.

After this I create an attendance thread for the lesson – This is a somewhat clumsy way to mark the roll. There is a lot of jumping between the forum and my online class attendance roll. (But it works well enough!)

The second thread I set up was for the boys to ask questions. It allows me to answer problems or clarify instructions in the lesson. Some of the other boys can also assist in the process. This certainly kept me busy but it seemed to work well with the classes on both days.

16/04/2020 Questions and/or reflections on the lesson

‘Comment’ in this thread any time between –.– and –.–this morning with any questions that you would like to ask me about the work that has been set for the lesson. I will be checking this thread and answering your questions until –.–

Just before year 8 DigiTech classes ended today, I asked the students to respond to the lesson by answering the following questions.

  1. What did I learn in this lesson? Explain in one or 2 sentences

  2. What did I complete everything? Answer by briefly telling me what you managed to do and how.

  3. What was the most important idea/skill I learnt about in this class? Explain in a few sentences           

I was really pleased with the way they answered each of the questions. Although brief, it really did help me evaluate the success of all the lesson components.

So how is student learning progressing? So far, so good. We are all learning and modifying and refining as we go. I am learning what the different classes and different students require to improve on what is already there. In the long run, when things “get back to normal”, I envisage that I will have such a rich supply of material to support my classes into the future.

Useful links

Educational Postcard: ”Grades are not t by Ken Whytock, on Flickr
Educational Postcard: ”Grades are not t” (CC BY-NC 2.0) by  Ken Whytock 

A Handy Collection of Some of The Best EdTech Tools for Teachers and Educators ~ Educational Technology and Mobile Learning “The aim of this multi-purpose collection is to provide teachers with a handy resource where they can access some of the best educational tools to leverage in their instruction. This list is a work-in progress and we will be adding more to it in the next coming days.”
New Code Club Python Projects! | The Code Club Blog The Code Club has updated. New developements explained and new projects. “The projects cover key skills such as sequencing, variables, selection, repetition, as well as lists, dictionaries, functions and files. The projects also focus on data, both using open data sets (in the ‘Where is the Space Station?’ project), as well as data that can be collected and analysed by the children themselves (such as in the ‘Popular Pets’ project).”
4 Apps to Foster Parent-Teacher Communication | EdTech Magazine There are many apps, ranging from Facebook-like social formats to simple SMS reminders, that can provide safe messaging options and communication tools to help create a stronger relationship between teachers and parents. 4 apps are discussed here.
Personalized Learning: Enabling Student Voice and Choice Through Projects | Edutopia “Six tips to bring personalized learning projects into your classroom and build student engagement. “
What Happens to Behavior When You Incorporate Student Choice? – John Spencer ” Is student choice is a privilege or a fundamental right? One teachers reflection about his journey. “I was afraid of student choice. I knew it could work with a typical classroom. But what about a hard class? What about a group where I am regularly missing 4-5 students a week for suspensions around playground fighting, graffiti, and drug possession? I was scared that autonomy would lead to anarchy. I was also proud and even a little arrogant. I had a positive reputation in my district and suddenly I was struggling. I didn’t want to be found out. I felt powerless and so I tried to micromanage….It’s something that all students need. But more importantly, it is something that works. It can feel risky to empower a student who misbehaves. However, it is worth the risk. I’ve learned that so many students, labeled for years as being the “bad kids” do amazing things when they feel empowered to own their learning.”
Top 10 Apps to help improve the lives of Autism spectrum children “The number of apps being developed for autism spectrum children has soared due to the high demand for such tools. Here are ten that are highly recommended.
How do I learn more about different SharePoint topics? | Sharegate Links to almost anythig about using Sharepoint
Google Apps update alerts: Add images to questions and answers in Google Forms “Google Forms makes it easy to create, distribute, and analyze surveys. Starting today, you can craft even more effective forms by inserting images into survey questions or adding images as multiple choice or checkbox options in Forms on the web.”
Cool Ideas to get started with Office 365 in your classroom “Anytime, anywhere access to resources and tools for learning is an essential element for today’s online learning environments. Thanks to the cloud (and some clever technical engineers) digital tools are enabling seamless connections between teachers and learners and transforming the what, when, how and where we work. In this post, one teacher shares some of the productivity elements of Office 365 classroom that he has made use of “
18 Digital Tools and Strategies That Support Students’ Reading and Writing | MindShift | KQED News “From a presentation to the International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE) conference on an array of digital reading and writing tools teachers and students in her district find most helpful. Littleton’s Instructional Technology Specialist, Dana Levesque, started compiling resources on a site that both teachers and students can access to find the tools that fit their needs. The important thing is for kids to begin to think metacognitively about what they need to succeed in school and to advocate for what works. Not every student will use the same tools, but there are lots of powerful ones that could be the slight boost a student needs to feel successful.”

Newsela rolls out Library to help students read beyond the news | TechCrunch Newsela, the exceptional reading site offering the same article written for different reading levels (see The Best Places To Get The “Same” Text Written For Different “Levels”) has unveiled a new “Library” feature offering similar “levels” of primary source documents. Access is free to all Newsela resources, though you have to register on the site. A fee is required, though, in order to use advanced features like a virtual classroom.

Free Technology for Teachers: TurboNote – Take & Share Notes While Watching Videos TurboNote is a useful Chrome extension that enables you to take notes while watching a video in the same web browser window. Unlike some similar extensions, TurboNote isn’t limited to working with YouTube videos. TurboNote can be used on Vimeo, Netflix, and Facebook videos.
Venn Diagram Templates to Download or Modify Online “There are some Venn diagram templates/examples available for you in the Creately diagramming community. You can download them for free or modify then online using our diagram software. New templates are added frequently, so be sure to check back often.”
15 of the Best Open Source Image Sites on the Web A useful annotated list of sites to obtain and use images fairly.

Useful links

 Do YOUR Kids Think that Being Right is More Important than Being Curious? | CTQ #CTQCollab Some good discussion here. “Questions with no clear right answer should be fun to think about and wrestle with.” “Our educational system has failed if it has trained students to think that “there must be only one answer, and the teacher knows what it is, and they have to be the first to guess what it is.”
Detecting Bias, Browsing, Freshness, Backlinks, Red Flags… – ThingLink An interactive fluency model. It is a useful reminder for students about plagiarism, author bias and search strategies. The links to Information fluencey have changed but by going to ythe home page they can be found.

Soundtrap – Make music online Soundtrap allows you to make music online, from any device, with your own instruments or the virtual ones on the site. The free version offers 5 projects, many loops, instruments and sounds as well as other features. It works on Mac, Windows, iPad, Android tablets and phones, Linux and Chromebooks. It allows you to start, edit and collaborate on your recordings and, being cloud-based, wherever you are. You can collaborate with others and share your music on Facebook, Twitter and SoundCloud, as well as Spotify and iTunes. You can sign in with Office 365, Google, Facebook or an email account.

There are premium options with more features and fewer limits.
Did Shakespeare write his plays? – Natalya St. Clair and Aaron Williams – YouTube This is an intersting visual explanation tht offers and interesting way to introduce Shakespeare to students, making it more accessible.
10 of the Most Engaging Uses of Instructional Technology (with Dozens of Resources and Tools) — Emerging Education Technologies Kelly Walsh shares ’10 highly engaging uses of technology in the classroom, along with dozens of tools and resources for implementation’ in 10 of the Most Engaging Uses of Instructional Technology (with Dozens of Resources and Tools). This is a great place to explore for new ideas as the new school year begins.
The Difference Between Doing Projects Versus Learning Through Projects Terry Heick has created a visual comparison of traditional projects versus how current projects can assist in deeper learning. It is helpful for understanding the changes to pedagogy in our schools today.
Digital Content Guide ” The Digital Content Guide has been developed by a group of creative rights holders and creative content industry associations to help consumers find licensed content online across a range of services and platforms. The funding members are: Australian Screen Association; APRAAMCOS; ARIA; Copyright Agency Ltd; Foxtel; News Corp Australia and Village Roadshow.”
Teaching ideas – School libraries – guides at NSW Department of Education “Curriculum and policy support for school libraries – meeting the needs of future learners”
Activity Ideas & Resources – Teen Read Week Links to many ideas to celebrate books and reading
4 secrets to building rapport with students (even when it’s hard to connect) | The Cornerstone “Rapport is a relationship in which the student enjoys working productively with the teacher. It is the single most important facet of a successful educator, and its effectiveness depends upon the character of the teacher and how efficiently this is employed in all interactions with his or her students.”
5 skills students need to be contributing global citizens – Mr Kemp “Educators need to provide students with the behaviors, knowledge & skills to become responsible global citizens who can take action to solve a problem either individually or with others. So what are the important skills, behaviors, and attitudes that students need to become contributing global citizens? Here is a list of the 5 skills (there are many more, but these are the ones this teacher perceives to be most important) they believe students need to demonstrate:”
Teachers Digital Skills Chart ~ Educational Technology and Mobile Learning The chart features some 21st century digital skills that every teacher should be familiar with. For each of these skills they have come up with a collection of web tools that can help develop such skills “
A New Excellent Google Forms Feature to Auto Grade Quizzes ~ Educational Technology and Mobile Learning “Google Forms has recently introduced a new powerful feature that allows teachers to auto-grade multiple choice and checkbox questions.Additionally, ‘Teachers can also add review materials in the form of explanations, supplemental websites or review videos — so students can get quick, actionable feedback. Plus, teachers can get instant feedback on student progress, so they know which lessons need more explanation and what to teach next. We’ve also added a common request from educators to disallow students from sending themselves a copy of their responses.’ We are working on a detailed guide on how to incorporate this new feature in your Google Forms quizzes and we’ll share it with you as soon as it’s ready.”
Arduino or Raspberry Pi: Making The Right Choice For Your Project | YourSpot Good comparison piece explaining the strengths of both . “Arduino and Raspberry Pi are two different boards designed for different applications. The choice of using one completely depends on the type of project one is trying to make or the amount of knowledge one has of electronic components and software languages. “
Free Technology for Teachers: How to Create a KWL Chart in Padlet “A useful way to use Padlet is to have students collaboratively create multimedia KWL (Know, Want, Learn) charts. To provide students with guidance on where to place their notes, I use a custom background on Padlet. The background is a just a screenshot of a three column page that I make in Google Documents (any other document program will work just as well) that is uploaded to Padlet. “
ISTE 2016: 5 Tech Trends Reshaping Education | EdTech Magazine An overview of some current and emerging technological trends that are shaking things up in the K–12 space. These are put under the headings: Big Data, Augmented Reality, The Semantic Web, Extreme BYOD and Transmedia. Interestiing discussion.
6 Must Haves for Developing a Maker Mindset | EdSurge News “Best defined by the research and work of Carol Dweck, Jo Boaler and Eduardo Briceno, growth mindset is the recognition of the brain as a muscle that—with practice, effort, and nurturing—can continue to grow and develop. When you think of an inventor or innovator, past or present, what descriptors come to mind? Creative. Persistent. Curious. Fearless. Passionate. But educators know that most students don’t show up to your class on the first day of school exhibiting these qualities. So how do we provide not only the physical tools but the mental tools to Make? Here, in this post, are the essential pieces:”
9 Excellent Dropbox Features for Teachers ~ Educational Technology and Mobile Learning “Dropbox is a file hosting service that allows you to ‘keep your files safe, synced and easy to share.’ You can use it to upload files, videos, pictures and documents as well as generate unique URLs to share with others. Dropbox has introduced a new suite of productivity features that make creating, sharing and collaborating easier.  Tis post offers a quick round-up of the main features included in Dropbox:”
Minecraft in Education. 30 ideas for using minecraft in the classroom – teachwithict It is well documented how using games in a classroom context can facilitate collaborative learning, promote problem solving and stimulate an engaging learning environment. One methodology that demonstrates all these elements is Game Based Learning. One game that seems to optimise Games Based Learning is Minecraft. inecraft is a sandbox game where players have to build structures, fight monsters, hunt for food and gather resources in order to survive. Because of its sandbox environment, Minecraft is an perfect tool for engaging students and fostering creativity. Due to its open-ended nature, Minecraft also lends itself to a variety of subject areas and some are discussed here..
Why better STEM programs are the key to creating global citizens | eSchool News We live in a society today were facts are at our fingertips through ready access to the internet and search engines. To keep pace, our educational system needs to focus less on memorization of facts and more on how to use facts and how to ask the right questions.
How to Teach Digital Citizenship to All Students – Advancement Courses “In a world filled with blogs, tweets, texts, social media posts, and memes, it’s more important than ever that students understand the norms of appropriate and responsible technology use. No matter which subject or grade you teach, you can help your students live, grow, and work in a technology-driven global community.  Not sure how to begin teaching the many components of 21st century, technology-based learning? The nine elements of digital citizenship are a great place to start.”

99 texting acronyms and phrases every parent should know “By now, texting acronyms like LOL and OMG are pretty pervasive in pop culture; my daughter knew them in preschool, you hear them from the least hip anchors on TV morning shows, and heck, your own parents probably have texted you an LOL at some point. But when you’re the parent of a tween or teen, and you’re keeping careful track of who – and what – they’re texting, it’s good to be able dig a little deeper. Here, 99 texting acronyms and expressions that every parent should know. It’s not complete by any means, but it’s a start. Of course, lots of text speak will vary by region or even school or peer group. This is really just to help you understand that this kind of language exists in the first place. And yes, there will be completely new ones by the time you have these memorized”

Learning in the classroom Some good charts for measuring learning that could be used in most classrooms
Using Scratch in the Curriculum · TeacherCast Educational Broadcasting NetworkbyJeffrey Bradbury “In this episode, Jeff sits down with Kasia Chmielinski to learn how Scratch is being used in over 150 countries in more than 40 languages.  Join Jeff, Rob Pennington, Kevin Donatello, and Sam Patterson as we dive into the Hour of Code and Beyond on TeacherCast Podcast 124.”

Not All Student Engagement is Good Student Engagement Student engagement is a hot topic in schools these days. Students who are bored or disinterested tend to zone out in class, which zaps their enthusiasm for learning—or, so the thinking goes. On the other hand, students who feel inspired and energized in school perform better. Former school principal and education leader Eric Sheninger in a new book out called, “UnCommon Learning: Creating Schools That Work for Kids” says educators should be careful: Engagement doesn’t always translate to learning, especially when it comes to the integration of school technology. Sheninger says the key to a strong technology implementation is to establish clear measures and “observable evidence” that learning has actually occurred—and he outlines several questions school leaders should consider. Listed here are a few of his ideas

Education & Skills Today: How to transform schools into learning organisations? “The OECD-UNICEF Education Working Paper, “What makes a school a learning organisation?” should be seen as a first step towards building a shared understanding of the concept that is solidly founded in the literature and is recognisable to all parties involved, i.e. scholars, educators, policy makers, students and parents.

Based on an in-depth analysis of the literature and informed by a small network of experts, the paper identifies and operationalises an integrated model that consists  of seven over-arching ‘action-oriented’ dimensions which show how to transform schools into learning organisations”
Questions you need to ask when developing a digital strategy | Jisc  “Digital isn’t just a nice to have, it’s a necessity in the modern world. A digital strategy that unifies effective use of technology to enhance teaching, learning and assessment, and makes processes more effective and efficient, is a must for providers to deliver for learners and stay competitive.”
Blended Learning Slides and Resources #iste2016 @coolcatteacher” At ISTE Tom Arnett, Jon Bergmann, Mike Gwaltney, Aaron Sams, Stephanie Sandifer, and Jerry Obermyer all did an incredible job discussing blended and flipped learning. Shell Terrell shared the session on Periscope” links and slides

Pay attention, please… Engaging students in their learning

I like the opening lines above this infographic. After being a teacher for quite a few years now, all my observations show that one of the most important things for a teacher in a class of young people is to remain passionate about your subject and about learning. The students at my school will forgive quite a lot if you have that passion. If you have that deep interest, chances are that you will also be constantly reading and developing your knowledge and looking for new ways for students to learn about it.
The infographic offers a lot of practical ideas to be proactive about ways out of difficult moments without resorting to negative options.
Keep the passion, maintain the fire for learning and enjoy the time you spend with developing minds.

An Ethical Island

Sometimes

it is the students who are bored

and

sometimes it is the instructor who is boring.

Engaged students pay attention.

payattention
Creative Commons License
This work by Mia MacMeekin is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.

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Technology and Students – Infographic

I love the great infographics that are being produced. This is another one that I thought I could use to begin a discussion with the students at my school. Many of our boys relate to visual stimuli and I think they would respond well to this one. I am trying to get them to think about how they learn and study best so this is quite timely.

This infographic is from a post entitled “Using Twitter Improves Students’ Grades, And Other Surprising Tech Usage Facts” written by Alyson Shontell on Aug. 10, 2011, in Business Insider

 
Students Love Technology
Via: OnlineEducation.net