Excellent PD Opportunity
I attended this digital conference last year and this year it looks even better! I didn't have a chance to attend this weekend, so I have some catching up to do. "The Ditch That Textbook Digital Summit is a nine-day, FREE virtual event. It brings together some of the brightest minds in education to discuss technology, pedagogy and more." Sign up here. There are new speakers featured each day. The videos will only be available online til December 31st. Try it- great PD, on your schedule, and it's free.
New Assistive Tech Book
Chris Bugaj has a new assistive technology book coming out in April, but you can pre-order now. I have had the opportunity to read a bunch of different books on various aspects of assistive technology and to be honest- most are just "textbooks"- read 'em once and done. Chris's first book was the standout in a series of typically informative, but boring, textbooks. It was funny; it was informative; it was inspirational. I kept it. I even still look inside it. Now how many textbooks have you used for college or post college courses that you can say that about?
Here's the blurb: " School districts often struggle to develop consistent practices for meeting the assistive needs of special education students. This playful yet professional book will help public school educators select, acquire and implement technology to help all students, but especially those with special needs."
What's blog post without #FlipGrid?
I got to introduce Karly Moura and Sean Fahey on Classroom 2.0 live this weekend. These two educators have been at the forefront of #Flipgrid Fever and have come up with so many ideas that you can take and use tomorrow. This is thelivebinder link from the show. There are resources for all age groups and disciplines. Here's a whole padlet full of ideas embedded below.
But- what I wanted to tell you- something new this month is the ability to get
transcriptions of the videos- automatically- in 26 different languages!! You can set up captioning in the admin panel. It worked well for me in English- although I don't know how to tell it to put in punctuation, etc. I tried speaking English and having it transcribe in French. It didn't look to me like it translates and transcribes, only transcribes, but I could be wrong. Play with it and see. My thought was that this could be a way to make the videos more accessible- with the captions. Have to check this one with my AT experts and let you know.
A Welcome Addition to Osmo
I just got myCoding Duo game pieces and downloaded the new app. This is the latest game from Osmo and I think it's one of their better games. It is a "collaborative coding experience that features Awbie and Mo, and is designed for all kids who love Osmo Coding. " The coding game introduced last year is fun, but it's meant for an individual to use. This game is collaborative by design. You do need to have both the Awbie coding game and the Coding Jam game in order to play (you use those game pieces). While I am not a fan of the Coding Jam game, not having a musical bone in my body, using the pieces for this collaborative game was fun! With the exception of the Hot Wheels Mind Racer game (what were they thinking??), the entire line of Osmo games can be a welcome addition in the classroom.
Last week I attended an NEISTE webinar called Making Rough Drafts Easier: Integrating Writing, Review, and Revision with Writable. "Writable is a writing practice tool for 3rd-12th grade students that uses feedback to drive more purposeful revision. Troy Hicks and Heidi Perry have an excellent product to help teachers help develop strong writers. You can find the webinar recording here. Troy also shared links to his wiki.
Another writing/teaching writing resource that I hadn't seen, was mentioned recently by Heather Marshall (on Twitter @MsMarshallCMS). Not being an ELA or English teacher, I hadn't seen this site before. "826 National is a network of seven nonprofit organizations dedicated to helping underserved students, ages 6-18, with their creative & expository writing skills." Follow them on Twitter, but check out their web page and join for access to some great lessons. The book store looks great too. You can learn more about the organization here.
What got me really interested was this book: From STEM to Story! Check out the promo:
National Writer's Project
You can check out more resources for teaching writing here- with the Educational Innovator project. Western Mass is fortunate to have an excellent program and a very accessible liaison via Kevin Hodgson, who teaches sixth grade in Southampton, Massachusetts, and is the technology liaison with the Western Massachusetts Writing Project. You can catch up with Kevin on Educational Innovator webinars or @dogtrax on twitter, on his blog or class website.
Book Snaps?? How to...
For those of you who haven't used BookSnaps as a way to have kids quickly show what they have been reading... Kevin had one on his site that I will show as an example.
How to create Book Snaps Tara Martin is the booksnap guru. You can find all the how tos here... Don't worry, they do not have to be created with snapchat... lots of ways to do this! You can use SeeSaw, BookCreator, Google Slides and more. Tara has step by steps for you!
This is just a very small sampling of some of the PD that is available. I subscribe to blogs to stay up to date- FreeTech4Teachers, CrtlAltAchieve, and many more. I am no longer on Twitter 24/7, but check in on a few edu chats that I learn from. I try to attend every Classroom 2.0 Live session that I can, on Saturdays at noon, but if I have to miss it, I know that I can catch the recording and check out Peggy George's famous livebinders with amazing resources for the topic. Vicki Davis creates a 10 minute podcast, just for busy teachers. Matt Miller and Kasey Bell put together an excellent podcast, the Google Teacher Tribe. I follow folks on Twitter, on Facebook, etc- to learn from. Teachers all over the world are willing to share their expertise and make connections. There is no "one-size" fits all PD, but there are so many choices, you can be sure to find something that works for you. Try a podcast, try an edcamp, subscribe to a blog or a facebook group like Breakoutedu, Hyperdocs or GlobalEdCollaborators. Make connections, forge your own pathways. Show your students how to be a learner, by example.
Read & Write for Google Chrome- Texthelp
As I mentioned at an HES staff meeting, we have a district-wide subscription to Read& Write for Chrome. This is not just a tool for special education, but an excellent UDL tool for all. Students will not naturally "just know" how to use this extension. They will need to be shown, or at least pointed to either the self-paced course or the playlist for older students.
I saw this article the other day, and since information literacy is such an important topic, clicked through to see what this bootcamp entailed. I had been to KQED Teach before, but the offerings have been expanded dramatically. Well worth checking out.
You may have checked out Coursera in the past, but once again- courses change and I love the course I am "enrolled" in. It's called Tinkering Fundamentals: Motion and Mechanisms, by the good folks at Exploratorium. I pop in and out, not taking it for credit, but learning a lot as I go. There are courses for whatever you would like to learn. Exploratorium is a favorite of mine, with 3 different courses offered.
MassCue offers all it's active members a free subscription to Hoonuit, formerly Atomic Learning. This is an excellent resource, especially for teachers, with resources like Integrating the 4 Cs into Your Classroom, Flipping the Classroom Training or Tech for Students with Dyslexia. If you are a new Massachusetts teacher this year, you can even get the membership to MassCue for free for a year! Check it out here.
Simple K12 can offer one stop shopping for quick shots of PD with a short video, or you can spend an entire day listening to various experts- other teachers- talk about how they are using tools or strategies in the classroom. It's a subscription site, but they continually offer free one day PD deals. This coming Saturday, 12/9/2017, brings an online Google Event called The Ultimate Guide to Google Basics: Using Google Tools in the Classroom.
EdWeb offers a series of webinars on topics of interest to educators across all disciplines, preK- higher ed. I love the variety of topics and speakers and the fact that these are recorded to view at my leisure. You can earn PD certificates by attending live or by watching the recorded session and taking a quiz. They also have online PLC groups that you can join. Check out the amazing schedule here. Below is just a screenshot of the webinars coming up- this week and next.