Posted in Learning Environment

iPads and Classroom Management

Now that our school year is in full-swing, it’s a good time to reflect on how you’re managing all those devices in your classroom. No matter what type of device you’re using or seeing in your classroom, it’s good to regularly reinforce your expectations regarding technology:

  • Make your expectations clear
  • Use consistent key phrases and non-verbal signals that signal the end of an activity or a transition between activities (“Apples up,” “Screens down”)
  • Have a consistent routine for your students and their devices. Repeat and reinforce this routine each class period.
  • Make tech behavior clear with every assignment
  • Apply consequences as appropriate

Ideas for routines with devices:

  • Devices stay screens down on top of table until it’s an appropriate time for use. You see where the devices are and students can’t hide what they’re doing with them.
  • Devices stay in their backpacks until it’s time to use them.
  • Only use the iPad for class assignments and not cell phones. We provide students iPads that are restricted and don’t have social media opportunities. Research proves that cell phones are the larger distraction, for students and staff.

As you go through your day, watch for the signs of distraction:

  • iPad is moving around
  • iPad is on lap
  • iPad is leaned toward the student
  • Thumbs or fingers are moving feverishly when there are no notes to be taken
  • Frequent double clicks or 4-finger swipes when you walk by
  • Students doing work on phones instead of iPads.

Redirect as you notice distraction:

  • Use proximity
  • Circulate around the room
  • Remind students of expectations
  • Change seating arrangements
  • Be consistent with your expectations and reactions
  • Speak with the student after class
  • Partner with parents

Don’t become outraged when students are initially distracted. Redirect and give them the opportunity to reconnect with you and the task at hand.

Remember, everyday is a new day to start, practice and reinforce expectations

Teaching in a 1:1 environment will involve all of these aspects of teaching. And while you can get by having students use technology simply as a substitute for what they would otherwise do on paper (read, write, work on math problems), there is a much larger world of discovery and creativity now at their fingertips. – iPad Bootcamp for Teachers

Posted in Innovation, Investigation, Research-Based, Shift, Transformation

When is Digital The Right Choice?

As a School of Innovative Learning and Technology, our Site Plan calls for innovative, technology-embedded programs and experiences for our students. Does that mean that everything we do needs to be surrounded with technology? When is digital the right choice?

The use of digital resources in instruction needs to support best instructional practices, further your learning target, and promote deeper learning. We have amazing digital resources literally at our fingertips every class period, but not to use merely because they’re present.

Digital resources do have the ability to increase personalization, aid in differentiation, provide immediate formative feedback, increase engagement, and provide access to authentic materials (VanderArk & Schneider). Research shows that digital learning can increase achievement by as much as a grade level (Anderson). Thoughtful implementation is essential (Schapiro) in the planning process for this to occur. Merely using the technology without monitoring student use does not increase student achievement (Jacob). Our instruction has to be founded in best instructional practices. Technology shouldn’t replace the teacher, the standards or the learning targets.

As we move forward on our 1:1 journey, consider the instructional practices you are using. Is there a digital alternative? Is that alternative a substitution? Does that substitution offer additional possibilities for differentiation and application? Does that alternative actively engage students in the learning process? Does that alternative encourage collaboration? Does it encourage students to build upon prior knowledge? Does it provide for an authentic experience? Will you receive timely formative feedback through its use? Is it an additional activity or something embedded into your lesson?

Do you need help answering these questions or knowing what possibilities we have? Let’s work together with your collaborative teams to explore the possibilities.

Resources

Posted in Constructivism, Learning Environment, Research-Based

Making Connections From The Start

It’s here, the start of another school year. Our halls and classroom will soon be filled a variety of students possessing a variety of needs.

Last week, Pine Creek High School’s new Mission Statement was revealed, opening the door for our next steps forward. Part of the Mission Statement speaks of “providing a safe and welcoming learning community.” Have you thought about how you might make that happen in your classroom? What would that look like? What would that feel like?

The beginning of the school year is the perfect time to begin making the connections necessary to foster that safe and welcoming environment. Wes Kieschnick, author of Bold School, says that “on the first day of school, if you spend more time talking about rules than connecting with kids, you’ll spend more of your year enforcing those rules than teaching” (Kieschnick). Those connections are a vital ingredient in increasing student achievement (Richman) as well as building the trust needed to make mistakes and ask for help (Hattie, 2012, as cited in Richman).

How are you going to begin this year? How are you going to make those connections with your students? Take the time to make these connections. Don’t lose this opportunity. Your syllabus can wait. Model the behavior and relationships you want in your class. Take the time.

Resources: Safe and Supportive Learning Environments

Resources: Activities to build a safe, supportive learning environment

Resources: Connections

Additional Resources

  • Hattie, John. Visible Learning.
  • Kieschnick, Wes. Bold School.
Posted in Shift, Vision

What is Digital Learning?

What is digital learning? As a 1:1 school, it’s a necessary question to ask. The day-to-day of digital learning may appear different in different content areas, with different teachers, and in different grade levels, but the foundation is still the same: instructional strategies using various technologies that strengthen the student’s learning experience.

This is not using tech, because we have it. This is not about an “iPad lesson.” No. This is about effective strategies and practices that allow for deeper learning, real-world experiences, collaboration, individualized instruction, real-time feedback, equitable access to learning anytime and anywhere, and access to authentic materials.

As a School of Innovative Learning and Technology, we have a mission which calls for innovative, technology-embedded programs and experiences, Alongside our mission, we have a Digital Vision driving us to deliver experiences where our learners investigate, collaborate, create, innovate and demonstrate. Our digital tools serve to support and advance those learning experiences. Foundational are the instructional strategies which foster them.

As we take our next steps on this 1:1 journey with our mission and vision as our guide, we will work in collaborative teams to build that pedagogical foundation, increase our efficacy and craftsmanship, and add to our toolbox.

Resources

Posted in Constructivism, Transformation

That One Thing – Your Place in Technology Integration

That One Thing, that one thing you do. That was the theme of our digital professional learning program this year. What was that one thing for you? Where do you find yourself in the process of technology integration? Embedding technology into instruction is supposed to support that instruction and further students’ ability to demonstrate what they know and are able to do – not to take the place of instruction.

Starting at an entry level where we use digital tools to consume material, to substitute what we might have done on paper into a digital format, we begin to grow. We grow to explore and experiment and find ourselves moving beyond curating resources to creating our own and even having students create to demonstrate their learning.

How do we find that transformative place in our instruction? We find that through collaboration with educators within our department, within our building, and outside our walls, too. We find that as we explore the possibilities online. We use resources like the Technology Integration Matrix filled with models and examples. Resources like that exist for a reason: to guide you, to provide you models, to provide you structures necessary to strengthen their own practices.

Are we expected to be at that transformative place all the time? No! This is a constructive process where we build on best practices, use direct instruction and guided practice. It’s a process where we scaffold learning with students as active participants, collaborating with one another in authentic, goal-directed situations.

As you reflect on your school year and plan for the next year, reflect on where you are regarding technology integration. Technology is available to support your instruction, not take the place if it. What was That One Thing for you this year? What will your Thing be next year? There are so many possibilities – Be Inspired!

Posted in Creation, Curation, Investigation

Consumption to Curation to Creation

Consumption to Curation to Creation – That One Thing
That One Thing, that one thing you do. That was the theme of our digital professional learning program this year. How did you integrate digital tools into your practice this year? What was that one thing you could do with any of our digital resources to facilitate students investigating authentic problems or situations, creating innovative products, demonstrating what they know and are able to do, collaborating inside and out of the classroom, communicating in real time, or even steamlining your workflow? What was that one thing for you? Where do you find yourself in the process of technology integration?

It’s a normal part of the technology integration process to begin with using your digital resources for consumption. It’s convenient. We have a tool right in our hands, the iPad, and we don’t have to wait to logon: email, reading, research at the tip of our fingers. This is an important part of the adoption process, because it gives us the opportunity to become more proficient with the device.

What’s next? Curating materials is the next step. Curating is the process of gathering materials and resources and sifting through them to find the most meaningful ones and incorporate them in an organized manner. Our filing cabinets are physical representations of this concept. Having a digital tool at our fingertips opens the door to an unimaginable world of resources that would burst that filing cabinet. Explore what’s out there!

There comes a time when we need to create our own materials for instruction. Again, our filing cabinets are filled with examples of content that we have created over time to meet our instructional needs. Our digital tools offer the opportunity to innovate what those resources look like. Sometimes it takes just a bit of inspiration to see the possibilities. Where do we find that inspiration? We find that by observing our peers and collaborating with them. We find that by exploring what other educators are sharing with us online.

This really isn’t a linear path into digital teaching and learning. I see this as a circular process of consuming, curating, creating and back to consuming. This is a constructive practice woven in and throughout the Technology Integration Matrix and the SAMR model of technology integration. When we move from our entry into technology integration to adoption, adaptation, and transformation, we revisit the stages of consumption, curation and creation as we refine our art and practice.

Where were you this year regarding your content and use of materials? What was That One Thing you did this year? Next week will bring a look at the Technology Integration Matrix and reflect on where we are in the Matrix.

Resources

  • “Matrix.” TIM, Florida Center for Instructional Technology, fcit.usf.edu/matrix/matrix/. Accessed 30 Apr. 2017.
  • Reich, Justin. “Three Lessons from the History of Education Technology.” Education Week –EdTech Researcher, Education Week, 15 Sept. 2014, blogs.edweek.org/edweek/edtechresearcher/2014/09/three_lessons_from_the_history_of_education_technology.html?r=641074646. Accessed 30 Apr. 2017.
  • Reich, Justin. “Towards a Pedagogy for Tablets: From Consumption to Curation and Creation.” Education Week – EdTech Researcher, Education Week, 25 Sept. 2014, blogs.edweek.org/edweek/edtechresearcher/2014/09/towards_a_pedagogy_for_tablets_from_consumption_to_curation_and_creation.html. Accessed 30 Apr. 2017.
  • Schrock, Kathy. “SAMR.” Kathy Schrock’s Guide to Everything, http://www.schrockguide.net/samr.html. Accessed 30 Apr. 2017.
Posted in iPads, Note Taking, Research-Based

Sketchnotes

Have you seen those illustrations depicting various concepts in journals, magazines or online? Those are Sketchnotes! While some might call these doodles, they are really so much more. A sketchnote is a visual representation of a topic that requires listening and synthesis of information.

What is the process? One description calls the process “circular breathing”: listening, synthesizing and visualizing (Berman). It’s about transforming what you hear into a visual piece of communication, structuring that understanding, giving a hierarchy to the concepts and synthesizing the information. It’s an individual, personal experience that isn’t about being an artist.

What do I need? Most avid sketchnoters agree that there are certain elements of a sketchnote: text, containers (shapes), connectors (lines and arrows), and icons (stick people, smileys, etc.). As you become more comfortable, try adding shading and color. Of course, you’ll need a medium. Blank paper and a comfortable writing utensil are the best places to start. Is there an app for that? Of course! Pair a stylus with an app like NotabilityPenultimatePaper by 53InkflowProcreateSketchbook Express, or Autodesk Sketchbook. Digital or paper, it’s really about what is most comfortable for the user.

Why sketchnote at all? Sketchnoting is personal and expressive experience which encourages the note-taker to interact with the material in new and different ways. The note-taker is engaged, making connections to the material and “adding some joy” to their notes (Irgens). Research has found that as a learning strategy, it can help learners “organize and integrate their knowledge and ultimately be transformative.” It can also provide “teachers with windows into students’ thinking” as well as being a means for peers to “share knowledge, discovery and understanding” (Davis).

What can I do now? Start with me! This is an area of growth for me, one that I’m diving into and cultivating. Take it easy and try some templates like these from “Complete The Doodle” Challenge or join me in 50 Days of Sketches promoting a growth mindset with educators. Follow the hashtag #Sketch50 on twitter to see what others are sharing.

What can I do next week? Want to try bringing this into your classroom? Start by allowing students to sketchnote as they take notes in class. Encourage them to share or present their notes. Students are often really proud of these notes! Check out this Social Studies example or include students in the 50 Days of Sketches challenge.

What can I do next month? Assign sketchnotes to your class. Have students share their notes in an LMS forum, using the Remind app, posting in Schoology, or uploading to a class Padlet. Did your students use pen and paper instead of an app? No problem! Have them take a picture and upload their sketchnote from the camera.

Some additional thoughts on sketchnoting. This is a brief introduction to sketchnoting. There are books, websites, podcasts and YouTube playlists devoted to this. This is about trying something different and engaging using digital tools or a combination of traditional and digital. There are sketchnoters that have turned this into a hobby and have preferences regarding type of paper, brand of pens, apps and stylus. Don’t let them keep you from trying! If you’re ready for more, explore some of the sites and videos linked here for more information.

A few of my favorite Sketchnote links:
http://www.coolcatteacher.com/sketchnoting-resources/
https://www.jetpens.com/blog/sketchnotes-a-guide-to-visual-note-taking/pt/892
http://nuggethead.net/2013/01/what-are-sketch-notes/

Resources

  • Berman, Craighton. “Sketchnotes 101: The Basics of Visual Note-Taking.” Core77, Core77,       21 June 2011, http://www.core77.com/posts/19678/sketchnotes-101-the-basics-of-visual-note-taking-19678. Accessed 2 Apr. 2017.
  • Davis, Vicki. “Epic Sketchnoting Resources: How To Get Started Teaching Sketchnoting.” CoolCatTeacher, Vicki Davis, http://www.coolcatteacher.com/sketchnoting-resources/. Accessed 2 Apr. 2017.
  • Duckworth, Sylvia. “Sketchnotes.” Sylvia Duckworth, Sylvia Duckworth, 25 Jan. 2017, sylviaduckworth.com/sketchnotes/. Accessed 3 Apr. 2017.
  • Elaine. “Blog.” JetPens.com, JetPens, 22 Aug. 2016,  www.jetpens.com/blog/sketchnotes-a-guide-to-visual-note-taking/pt/892. Accessed 2 Apr. 2017.
  • Irgens, Elisabeth. “How To Get Started With Sketchnotes-SmashingMagazine.”  Smashing Magazine, Smashing Magazine, 19 Jan. 2017, http://www.smashingmagazine.com/2014/11/how-to-get-started-with-sketchnotes/. Accessed 3 Apr. 2017.
  • Rhode, Mike, et al. “About Sketchnotes – A Showcase of Sketchnotes.” Sketchnote Army, Sketchnote Army, sketchnotearmy.com/about/. Accessed 3 Apr. 2017.
  • Schrock, Kathy. “Sketchnoting.” Kathy Schrock’s Guide to Everything, Kathy Schrock, http://www.schrockguide.net/sketchnoting.html. Accessed 2 Apr. 2017.
  • “Sketchnotes.” Social Studies Megastore, Social Studies Megastore, 15 Jan. 2017, socialstudiesmegastore.com/2016/04/sketch-notes-assignment/. Accessed 3 Apr. 2017.
  • Thorn, Kevin. “What Are Sketch Notes?” Nuggethead Studioz, Nuggethead Studioz, 15 Jan. 2013, nuggethead.net/2013/01/what-are-sketch-notes/. Accessed 2 Apr. 2017.