I watched an interactive webinar called Collaborative Online Projects: How to get Started. This webinar was held by Abena Baiden. She is originally from Northern UK, but currently lives in Malaysia and is teaching there. This webinar was neat because it was interactive and it allowed participants the opportunity to participate by writing on the screen! 🙂 I also enjoyed the idea that there were participants from all over the world. Many of the webinars I have ever listened to only included people in the US. The webinar talked about collaborative efforts in the classroom such as using Google docs to connect people around the world. The main focus was on diversity and how to connect globally. Sources such as Google docs allows teachers the opportunity to connect around the globe!
I am ashamed to say this, but my school does not have an AUP in place. The school has been run by nuns for the past ‘X’ amount of years. They are not really with the times, to put it nicely. They are not very forward thinking, especially when it comes to technology. Our new principal (3 years at the school) has done a great job implementing new procedures. She has been able to purchase the iPads for all of the staff and updated the wireless network. She is also on the verge of rolling out iPads for the entire middle school (less than 60 students). With this comes an AUP which is currently being worked on by the technology committee. I have not seen it, but I am confident it will be detailed and nothing will be overlooked.
I have to start this blog with the idea that BYOD is not the best terminology to use in a school setting. I think it is clever, but certainly not age-appropriate for schools. I am not suggesting a term or acronym to take its place, but if I did roll something like this out I would not use this terminology. I think it is great if a school district can afford a 1:1 initiative and completely fund it. I am skeptical starting a BYOD initiative at my school. My first thought is income disparity among the students. What if a student’s device is not compatible with the apps the teacher chooses to use? What if it lags in speed and cannot keep up with the class? What if it can be compromised and a security issue arises? It is my understanding that devices would need to be approved by the network which is a very difficult and time consuming process. I believe issues can arise with theft and I don’t even want to think about the social media issues that could arise with devices not controlled completely by the school. Is the school reliable if a tablet breaks at school? If the devices can be taken home, what limitations can the school push? It is also difficult to find that a 1:1 initiative truly increases test scores Until firm research comes out that devices raise test scores, I would not want to sit in front of a board without strong research to back me up.
I would like to talk about Webinars first. Webinars are VERY helpful. I watch between 3-4 each month. They are a quick way to get pertinent information for my subject area. It also allows me the opportunity to collaborate with other professionals in my field. It can feel like I am on an island at times, but the webinars create a community of learners that I can benefit from, and hopefully help others in the process! I enjoy the interactive piece of webinars. Far too often, when I attend a mandatory PD session for school, I sit and take in information with very little involvement. In webinars, discussion and questions are encouraged to drive conversation and instruction. Many webinars allow the opportunity to print an attendance certificate for PD. Keeping these in a binder is a great resource to show administrators for observation.
Podcasts have been around for a good time now. I remember having to do projects for a tech class in undergrad. I remember the process being very cumbersome at the time. This included going to the library to rent a portable microphone, hooking it up to the computer. Adjusting voice levels was always an issue. I know the process is much easier today with portable technology and built-in microphones. The flipped classroom is another buzz term in education these days. After reading about it, thanks to Lori’s post, I find myself becoming more interested. I am always looking for ways to improve and push my limits. I will certainly use a flipped classroom model this school year. I am hopeful it will work and I can help to implement it at my school next year or when I become a principal!
I have never used mind mapping before, nor have I even heard of it. I investigated a few of the sites in the textbook (dabbleboard, creately, edistorm, twiddla, wallwisher) and I found them hard to navigate. I imagine myself trying to implement these as an administrator, or even now as an AD, and I cannot find a use for them. I am not sure if this is because I am so use to Goog Docs (or biased), but I will not be using these tools. On that note, everyone marches to their own beat and I am sure there are hundreds of thousands that prefer sites such as the aforementioned. As I continue to play around with them, I may find a site that suits me and I may begin to use it. I mentioned them to my principal and even showed her a few on her computer. She was interested and may look to use them in some of her PD days at the school.
After taking over as AD at my school, I instantly started to use Google Calendar for all the team schedules to share with the community. It is a streamlined way to organize all of the events that will take place in a given day or week and where they will take place at! I also give my board of commissioners the ability to edit the calendar in case of a change in schedule. This has streamlined my life by 100%. My school also tried to use Goog docs to professional development, but it did not pan out so well. I think it is a great idea, but it is up the leader of the school to stay on top of it to see that staff is communicating on a regular basis. I can see it as a tool that could eventually take the place of weekly faculty meeting. ( I know teachers would love that! ). I can certainly see myself using Online Tool Suites as an administrator. They will simplify my life as they gain popularity. Why not use them for teacher observations!? I will certainly try!
This chapter gave me new hope and life! I am preparing to use digital video in my classroom after the Christmas break for the first time ever! The students are required to take a current game ie. football, basketball, castleball, etc. and change or modify exactly three rules to make their own new game. It is a collaborative project that I am sure will engage some of the students that do not enjoy physical education. Students will be required to record a presentation of the new game to show all of the other students and to post on YouTube with parental consent. It will be a great learning experience for my students as well as myself! As the chapter states, I am sure my students are more knowledgeable with video editing than I. I now just learned that they could use present.me to upload the videos, so I can save them for later use!
I was excited to read this chapter in the book. I do not have as much experience with CMSs although I have heard a lot of good things about Moodle. I find it strange that PD at my school only exists at the physical building in a classroom setting. I find it even more interesting that once the PD is over, there is no follow-up or banter regarding the topic. It seems as though the teachers simply sit in the PD, biding their time to get their Act 48 hours and then they are done. This is hardly an effective form of PD. Educators should be encouraged to share their thoughts regarding topics and have a positive and professional conversation. I have used Blackboard in past undergraduate classes and just thought it was a venue to turn in projects and papers. I also like the idea of using CMS to build community. They are a great way to get parents and stakeholders engaged into the workings of the school. I am excited to research more about Moodle and begin to use it this grading period!
I believe instructional video games can be a useful tool in the classroom. It breaks up the day to day monotony and gives the children something fun to look forward to. I like that you can find games that include built-in tracking and statistics. Children are highly motivated by competition, and this will encourage them to achieve at a high level. I use something called exer-gaming in the classroom. Exer-gaming uses games such as Dance Dance Revolution and Zumba for kids via the XBOX360 or Wii gaming console. It gets the kids motivated to try new and exciting physical activities without the embarrassment or peer pressure. We also run a skiing league that the kids can sign up for. They compete to race down the slopes in a great ESPN game. The line is out the door to participate! Teachers can use these types of games in the classroom as well for motivational or behavior management techniques.
I think a 1:1 initiative is great for schools that can afford it. There are many hidden costs in rolling out a 1:1 in a school aside from just the mobile devices. The wireless network needs to be updated which can be a very costly. Another costly expense is software licensing and security upgrades. Every professional development class I have taken has been less than helpful. If a teacher does not know how to properly implement devices in the classroom, the initiative will not work. It is simply not enough to hand a teacher a device and trust they can make it happen. They need to be trained and given tools to use in the classroom. This takes time and money. Also, some teachers are reluctant to change. Getting teachers to buy-in to the initiative can be a daunting task.