Global Ed & Empathy
One of the most effective ways I know to foster empathy is to demonstrate the similarities we share. Global education projects provide a great pathway. One of the nicest projects I came across last week is the Kindness Rock project. Our 4th grade teachers have embraced both global ed and several kindness projects which actually just enhance and continue their longstanding excellent class projects. For those who haven't seen the Kindness Rock project:
Two of my champions of Global Ed have been hard at work this past week. Both Lucy Gray and Julie Lindsay have new projects in the works. Julie, over at Flat Connections, is offering a new PD program for educators that looks really interesting. After having taken her Flat Classroom course (twice), I know that I can recommend her professional development offerings for all who are interested in expanding their horizons with their students. This new series is called Playbooks and is divided up into 4 strands. You can read much more about it here.
Flat Connections is also starting a new round of projects for students. The new project this round is Windows to the World for grades 3-6, as well as the familiar favorites. This looks like an updated, revamped model of the A Week in the Life project, which I helped moderate 5 or 6 years ago. Lots of fun, lots of learning. Check out all the projects that are on offer here. These are well managed, global projects that really help you and your students connect around the world.
Lucy Gray is on the road again, currently at TCEA in Texas, then moving on to Mumbai, D.C and Boston. She and Steve Hargadon offer an incredible wealth of opportunities for teachers and students at all levels. Check out her upcoming work here.
Scratch 3.0 Preview
For all of the Scratch fans out there... it's almost here. Scratch 3.0 is due to be released in August, but... you can preview it now!
Check it out herescratch.mit.edu/preview-faq. Lots of info on the FAQ page too. Even more info is available on the wiki.
This is also the summer of the Scratch conference at the MIT media lab in Cambridge. Lots of fun, lots of learning. Amazing group of international educators. I can honestly say that I have met more people from other countries at the Scratch conferences I have attended than at ISTE conferences. I can sit and talk with folks from across the Connecticut River or sit and chat with friends from Mexico, France, Russia, Sweden, or Brazil. More info here.
Curation, Fact-Checking and More...
I had tagged a great article from Joyce Valenza- one of the world's greatest librarians- to share and then I listened to an excellent webinar from the folks over at Common Sense Media about a new game they are creating for middle and high school... but then I saw this image and post from Cult of Pedagogy by Jennifer Gonzalez. I am a dumper. I'll give you the links and maybe do a second blog post on our snow day tomorrow- but enough! I know I tend to overwhelm teachers I work with at times, but at least then I can go in to the classroom and help, can sit down and talk it through. After reading the examples she cited- oh, yeah. That's me. So... maybe tomorrow.
As I mentioned in the email last week- the Tech Tuesday blog is having "technical issues". I checked with Weebly support again today- and it has been escalated... but no solutions yet. The post links seem to work, but when I link to just the site- it is missing the archives, and is squished, etc...generally a mess. So- hopefully this page will be the temporary solution while they figure out what broke.
A couple of things that were in the post last week- but disappeared into cyberspace-
Google Drive changes
GOOGLE DRIVE CHANGES
Matt Miller wrote an excellent blog post with ideas for how you can use the new changes in classroom. Here's a quick video tutorial from that post.
Alice Keeler also has step by step written and screenshot instructions. If you have time, read her take on the use of this for differentiation- interesting.
Diigo is an online bookmarking service. This means that you can bookmark on one computer and see all of your bookmarks at home, or on another device. I've used this service since about 2008 and have over 11,000 bookmarks- all tagged and easy to find. The premium version will also allow you to save cached pages- so that when a site disappears, you can still access the cached version.
All students in grades 4-6 at HES have Diigo accounts. We have a teacher dashboard and can see all the sites the kids bookmark. This can be really helpful for collaborative projects. Diigo has outliners, annotation and has added a new screenshot annotation tool.
If you haven't looked at Diigo in a while- check it out. This page has lots of different tutorials- but does not have the latest features, unfortunately
This is just a quick update on curation tools. I participated in a webinar on Saturday which featured Brad Spirrison from Participate Learning. This is, at least to me, a relatively new tool and I was surprised to hear Brad say that his group has been working on this for years. They started out as Appolicious. This is a link to the Livebinder of the resources shared.
So- what is it? It's a resource tool and a curation tool. I haven't explored all the resource collections - but it is growing and encompasses all grades/disciplines. These resources are being pulled together by educators, folks who have actually used them in their classrooms.
The curation tool is the piece I have tried and can recommend. I know that most of you do not currently see Twitter as an educator's best resource... but honestly, it can be. It takes a lot of time and energy to follow the right people, the ones that push your thinking or have common interests- which is where Participate Learning can help.
Twitter chats have exploded over the last few years and can be challenging to make time for and to follow, but can deliver just what you need- a group of people who share your interests, whether that is grade 4, or modern languages, history, or science- there's a chat for you. Participate Learning can make it easy to follow these chats and save the resources shared- whether you have time to actively participate in the chat or not.
We are moving toward a more individualized structure for professional development. You have the power to create your own PLCs within the school, within the district and within the world of connected educators. Twitter is just one more tool in your toolkit to connect you with the world. Whether you teach English to seniors, work with struggling students or teach second grade, there's a twitter chat for you.
Look at all of the chats you could learn from... and these are just today's chats
It changes every day!
Full Hour Long Webinar Recording
People often ask how I keep up to date with what is happening online, with Google tools, etc. The simple answer is I cannot possibly know all there is to know about all of these tools. Perhaps if they all stopped changing, virtually every day... and time could stand still... perhaps, but doubtful.
Here are some things I use and you will also find links to some free online courses you can check out for Google Apps Skills. But... wait... what if you hate learning online? What if you want a blended course- meet in person and work online? What if you need 1:1 training? My calendar is online... you can schedule time and we can see how to best meet your needs.
I attend edcamps when possible. Edcamps are a great way to choose your own PD. If you come away from an edcamp without meeting some of your PD needs, you have only yourself to blame. I have Edcamp Access, Edcamp Boston, Edcamp Grafton and possibly Edcamp Quabbin on my schedule for the next few months.
I keep up with my PLN on Twitter. No, I don't spend my life on twitter, although one could. For those of you who are just starting out on Twitter, it takes time to find interesting people to follow, so be patient. I use PaperLi, Scoopit and other curation tools to pull the best from my contacts and deliver it to me via email. I do engage in educational twitter chats on Wednesday evenings, for an hour, and catch up on all things Assistive Tech, UDL and Computer Science K-8 by using TweetDeck columns or I can catch up with the Storify edition if I don't have time to participate.
I also use Google+ communities to keep up with topics of interest. I find it much easier to follow the threads of conversations on Google+ than on Twitter. The communities I follow include: GEG Massachusetts, CSTA K-8 Computer Science, EdTech Team Global Community.. and more. It is an excellent place for educators of all levels to find and build a PLN. I get notifications of updates, which aren't intrusive and can choose to look at articles or skip them.
Social Bookmarking and RSS
One other way I stay connected is to get a daily or weekly digest from Diigo communities. These social bookmarking communities offer an excellent way to stay up to date or as a way to curate or vet information when searching on topics for classroom use. I also follow several bloggers and either use Feedly to get the current posts or for a few that I find really useful, get emails with updates.
Below are 2 series of free self-paced modules offered by Steve Wicks.
Teach for Google_
These are free or low cost courses from Texthelp- creators of Read & Write for Google. you get the first 2 courses free and then it's a subscription- I think ~$ 39 for the rest of the 25 courses. They track your progress, give you badges, certificates, etc.
More training modules than you can shake a stick at. What are your goals? Where is your starting point? Google Training can take you from beginner to expert and all stops in between.
Synergyse Training (free trial)
This is a Google Chrome Extension which offers Just In Time training. They also offer a free 20 lesson interactive Google Classroom Course.
Time to spare? Time to breathe? Most of us find that we rarely have a spare minute in the day. Sometimes it feels like you can barely keep your head above water with deluge of information we get from all the various media in our lives. I've often heard the expression of drinking from the firehose to describe the experience of learners trying to filter online content.
That's why learning how to curate and save and share online content can be a real time saver.
Don’t you hate it when you know that you saw a great image, or precisely the right article or video online and then can’t find it again? Curation may be one answer. Curation combined with collaboration may help your whole grade level or department.
You all know what collaboration is, but what about curation? Isn’t that just for libraries and museums? No. Curation of online content can be done by anyone. There is simply too much information available today and aside from web site authentication, this flood of information is an ongoing issue, it’s just plain overwhelming. This is where your PLN, your peers, and the global network of educators can help. Fourth grade teachers across the country are all using very similar curricula. AP bio teachers all need to get through the same material. Teachers across the world routinely create, curate and collaborate.
There are as many ways to curate information as there are people, so I will just go over a few of them. Teachers today can demonstrate and model the use of these tools to help students make sense of the information that they are inundated with.
Social Bookmarking is an excellent way to save resources, to share to friends, a group or a class. Most social bookmarking platforms are set up so that you can use them across devices and access them anywhere that you have an internet connection. Teachers at HES are familiar with one of the tools, Symbaloo as we use it as a start page for students, as well as a start page for teachers.
Here’s a short video from Beth Holland at EdTechTeacher to explain a little more about one of these tools- Diigo, which just happens to be my favorite. You can set up a class to use Diigo, set up or join Diigo groups, etc.
These are a few of the popular curation and collaboration tools:
Aside from these tools I often use curation tools to pull from social media online. These are tools you may want to check out.
Does this take time? Yes. It is generally time well spent. Although I think that social media can sometimes be an enormous time suck, it is also critical to at least take a peek outside the bubble of Pioneer Valley and learn from other teachers around the globe. Hadley has plenty of silos already- open up your classroom walls and create, collaborate and curate with others. I spend about an hour a week on Twitter, look at the headlines from some of the other feeds and if something catches my eye, will investigate further. I learn something new every day- and it's not just about tech- it's about teaching.
The tool I use constantly, on a daily basis, is Diigo. Everyone is different. Pick one tool, try it out. Model it with your students.