Techconnects

Celebrating Connections – Ed Tech In Schools

September 26, 2013
by ncara
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40 Apps for the 4C’s of 21st Century Learning

Communication

  1. Facetime
  2. Skype https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/skype-for-iphone/id304878510?mt=8
  3. Google+ https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/google+/id447119634?mt=8
  4. Podcasts
  5. Audioboo https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/audioboo/id305204540?mt=8
  6. Twitter https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/twitter/id333903271?mt=8
  7. Lino https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/lino-sticky-photo-sharing/id416718906?mt=8
  8. Linkedin https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/linkedin/id288429040?mt=8
  9. EasyBib https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/easybib/id436768184?mt=8
  10. Resume Builder https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/resume-mobile-professional/id517974972?mt=8

Creativity

  1. Flickr
  2. Haiku Deck https://itunes.apple.com/app/id536328724
  3. SonicPics https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/animoto-video-maker/id459248037?mt=8
  4. Showme
  5. Educreations https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/educreations-interactive-whiteboard/id478617061?ls=1&mt=8
  6. FontArt
  7. Fotobabble https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/fotobabble/id353078443?mt=8
  8. Animoto https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/animoto-video-maker/id459248037?mt=8
  9. 3 Minute Retreat https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/3-minute-retreat-enhanced/id364683715?mt=8
  10. Doceri https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/doceri-remote/id412443803?mt=8&ls=1

Collaboration

  1. Dropbox
  2. Edmodo
  3. Ted Talks https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/animoto-video-maker/id459248037?mt=8
  4. Groupboard
  5. Screenchomp
  6. Lecture Tools
  7. Socrative
  8. QuickOffice
  9. My Big Campus https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/my-big-campus/id464196976?mt=8
  10. Cloud On

Critical Thinking

  1. Khan Academy
  2. Mind Meister
  3. Scoopit
  4. Flipboard
  5. Digg
  6. Audiobooks Free
  7. Common Core Standards https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/common-core-standards/id439424555?mt=8
  8. Kindle Reader
  9. ItunesU
  10. Ibooks

 

February 3, 2012
by ncara
0 comments

Web Tools for Learning

I enjoyed working with teachers this week in West Chester discussing learning in the 21st Century, NETS Standards and sharing the Tpack Model and some online tools to enhance lessons in their classrooms. These teachers are in classrooms where students have access to one to one netbooks daily in their classrooms to support learning. What a creative and energetic group! They had additional suggestions of great tools to explore. Above you’ll find the ones we looked at. Which ones would you add?

October 16, 2010
by ncara
4 Comments

Teachers Learning about Digital Citizenship

One only needs to read the headlines to know that there is a pressing need to emphasize both safe and responsible use of the internet. With the whirlwind pace of change in technology there is no doubt that ongoing discussions of what is right, what is true and what it means to be a good ‘Digital Citizen’ can benefit us all. In fact, they are essential.

The teachers in our Philadelphia area Archdiocesan schools were invited to a session called Digital Citizenship for Classroom Teachers held on Oct 14th online via Elluminate. The goal was to discuss Digital Citizenship in support of safe and responsible uses of technology in their classrooms on a daily basis.The was part of a series of Virtual Academy sessions held last year and this year in conjunction with Powerful Learning Practice.  We were fortunate to have Robin Ellis, Clarence Fisher and Alec Couros as presenters. Each shared richly from their experiences with working online in innovative and effective ways with teachers and students. Below are the links shared and a link to the online session in Elluminate. Please share any other resources that you suggest for classrooms.

5 categories of Digital Citizenship Outlined

  • Etiquette, Safety and Privacy,
  • Research and Truth Finding
  • Online Ownership
  • Literacy and Communication
  • Tools

One Liners for Digital Citizenship

During our online session with Robin Ellis, teachers created some Digital Citizenship one liners. Just as we say ‘Be careful crossing the street’ or ‘Drive safely’ we should have some one liners for being a good online digital citizen. One that many are familiar with is the famous, Think Before You Post’. These are ones our teachers came up with. What would you add?

  • Digital Footprints are forever
  • Digital Footprints never disappear
  • Develop a clean digital footprint
  • Nothing posted online is ever truly private
  • Be the best self you can be everywhere – in person and online
  • It’s like posting a sign on your front lawn
  • Just because you can, doesn’t mean you should

Websites to Support Digital Citizenship

http://www.netsmartz.org Lesson cards http://www.netsmartz.org/resources/activitycards.htm

http://21stcenturylit.org/

http://www.pipl.com

www.safe-google.com

www.yippy.com

http://www.brainpop.com/spotlight/digitalcitizenship/

http://www.catholicschools-phl.org/images/Keeping_Kids_Safer_on_the_Internet.pdf as found on www.Netsmartz.org

http://internetsavvy.wikispaces.com/

https://sites.google.com/site/lchslibrary/cc

http://flickrcc.bluemountains.net

www.creativecommons.org

http://creativecommons.org/about/licenses/

http://www.afrigadget.com/

http://globalvoicesonline.org/

http://www.whois.net/

http://turnitin.com

Videos

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=79IYZVYIVLA

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M3bfO1rE7Yg

Netsmartz Real Life Stories http://www.netsmartz.org/resources/reallife.htm

Netsmartz Public Service Announcements http://www.netsmartz.org/resources/psas.htm

Related Posts

Five Reasons to Teach Digital Citizenship http://ncara.edublogs.org/2010/04/22/digital-citizenship-to-empower/

http://coolcatteacher.blogspot.com/2010/10/facebook-photos-your-delete-doesnt-mean.html

Stalking in English Class http://www.evenfromhere.org/?p=1611

Watch our Virtual Academy – Digital Citizenship for Teachers  Archived Session

Archived Sessions – Digital Citizenship for Teachers – Virtual Acacemy held Oct 14, 2010 :

Afternoon Session  – Given by Robin Ellis

Evening Session in Elluminate – Given by Clarence Fisher and Alec Couros

View the Presentation below

September 8, 2010
by ncara
0 comments

A New Year, A New School

“There is nothing like a dream to create the future.”

Victor Hugo

Today I attended the Teacher Training day at our new high school Pope John Paul High School In Royersford. This was the day set aside for teachers to become familiar with all of the high tech features of the new high school which opens to students on Friday, September 10th.

Technology Features at PJP

  • Wireless access in all areas and classrooms
  • High Bandwidth Connectivity
  • One to One Access with Acer Netbooks for all students
  • Distance Learning Classrooms
  • Mobile Distance Learning and Video Carts
  • Video Streaming and Broadcasting System to and from all areas
  • Classroom Interactive Whiteboards, Projectors and Video Systems
  • Several computer labs
  • Science Labs with Computer
  • VOIP Phone System
  • Exterior Remote Hookups to Gymnasium
  • Theater Quality Sound and Display system in Auditorium
  • More details here

IMG_8636Teachers View High Tech High Features

Enthusiasm was high.  In the Distance Learning session, one class was with the presenter from the MCIU and another full classroom watched remotely. This really gave teachers an opportunity to see the effectiveness of remote learning, see how it was done and to see the unique capabilities available.

The video broadcasting system was showcased and the internal PJP channel unveiled.  This system will debut at PJP with morning video announcements next week.

The Smartboard training focused on the latest software release from Smart and the many means of supporting instruction within. Teachers were eager to learn more features and began to share resources and strategies in future session.

Gym, Cafeteria and Auditorium systems were showcased.  All were wowed by the beautiful sound quality in the Audtorium.

IMG_8331As teachers were shown the technology capabilities, they discussed ideas for using them in the classroom to enhance student learning. The day ended with teachers heading to their own classrooms to set up their newly received laptops.

Coordinated by the administration, Fr. Okon, Principal Judy Owens, Superintendant Mary Rochford, Builder EDIS and Comstar and Technology Coordinator, Darian Dinenna, the day was a success and a great building block for technology enriched learning and teaching.

As with any new construction, this school was years in making. Now that it is finished, it is like a dream come true for many teachers, students and families. It is one where the future is sure to hold exciting new ventures in innovative learning for the 21st Century and beyond.

Links Shared

August 1, 2010
by ncara
4 Comments

7 Ways for Leaders to Stay on Top of Tech

Crystal Ballspaceball looking

Crystal Ball for Tech Changes

Crystal Ball for Tech Changes

For Leadership Day 2010, many in the educational arena took Scott McLeod’s challenge to create a blog post on leadership. Though my contribution is being posted two days later I wish to offer it as a support to school leaders in their quest to incorporate the best that technology has to offer to our students. It is a best practice for education professionals to keep up on changes and news in the their field. The same is true for leaders of any  field. In education, as in any field, there are many excellent resources for doing so. In spite of that, many express that keeping up with technology is difficult or even impossible. Technology changes impact all segments of society.

Visionary Leadership

If we are to provide engaging 21st century classrooms and if we are to practice Visionary Leadership as outlined in (Nets-A) in schools, it is helpful to keep an eye on technology changes to see what is on the horizon. By staying up on the latest tech news, we can then think about how those changes might impact our students and our schools. Planning groups and teachers can benefit as well. Below I offer a few technology news sites that are continually updated on news, research and new releases. I add some tool supports and questions to consider when hearing about new changes in technology on the horizon. Think about adding some to your reading list.  To do so, you can simply visit websites, add them to your blog reader or follow them on youtube or on twitter. Set up a Google Reader if you don’t have one already. You can even set up a separate folder entitled Visionary Leadership, if you wish. Whatever you decide to do, staying on top of changes in the technology field can act as a crystal ball into changes that impact us all. Also, please feel free to suggest some others to follow.

7 Tech News Sources to Follow

  1. Mashable – News.  There are categories for Mobile Technology, Social Media and others. Add separate feeds for each as desired. RSS, Twitter
  2. Tech Crunch -Group edited Tech Blog RSS, Twitter
  3. Wired – Technology News, Reviews and How to’s.  Rss - (many to choose from) , Twitter
  4. Gizmodo Guide to Gadgets – RSS, Twitter
  5. Tech Land -Gaming  on Twitter
  6. ZdNet - Tech News, Analysis and Reviews – Youtube, Twitter
  7. New York Times – Technology Choice of Rss Feeds

Tool Supports

  1. Blogs 101
  2. Getting Started with Google Reader
  3. Setting Up a Twitter Account
  4. Getting Started with Twitter

Questions to Ask About Technology Trends

  1. What impact could this have on current systems? on people in general?
  2. How could this impact me, my school or organization?
  3. How can my school or organization benefit from this?
  4. How should we be planning for this type of shift?

These are my suggested Tech News Sites and Blogs for Leaders.  What would you add to this list?

April 28, 2010
by ncara
1 Comment

Truly Making the Grade

The April  Archdiocese of Philadelphia school administrators and curriculum Mary Rochford, Archdiocese of Phila, Alfie Kohn

leaders in-service focused on Engaging the 21st Century learner and effective assessment strategies.

At this session, entitled De-Grading not Degrading, Alfie Kohn was the speaker and he emphasized how important it is to focus on the learning process rather than strictly on high scores and grades. Engaging students in the learning process and fostering life long learning are surely goals for the 21st century. In this post, I will share points from this in service and some thoughts and resources on the use of technology for alternative assessment.

According to his research, Kohn indicated that a focus on grades only can have a very negative impact on student motivation.  Kohn was inspired to investigate this when, as a teacher, he noticed that a large percentage of parents were inclined to reward students and even pay them to have high grades.

Grading is a well established practice.

Why we focus on grades

1. We grade students to sort them.
2. We grade students to motivate them
3. We have control over the classroom
4. We have always done it. It is established practice.

Intrinsic vs. Extrinsic Motivation

There are definitely students who are motivated by having high grades. However, Kohn emphasized that these students are extrinsically motivated – not intrinsically motivated. Intrinsic motivation supports a love for learning.  Extrinsic motivation does not. The focus on grades squashes intrinsic motivation. We should care HOW they are motivated. Students should be intrinsically motivated. With only extrinsic motivation in place, students  lose interest in the learning itself.

Intrinsic motivation is there because students are inspired and engaged. Extrinsic motivation is there because of the reward.

As extrinsic motivators go up, intrinsic motivators go down. We want students to learn with proficiency and enthusiasm. Focusing on high grades can only do harm. We need a better way to assess students than with grading. If schools want to inspire depth of understanding, joy in learning and ability to apply  they should find some other way to assess students than giving tests.

For children to do well, we have to think affirmatively about what they do. What end result would we like to see? We want them to read, we want to learn. We want them intellectually engaged. Social, behavioral and ethical goals are important. We need to keep the focus on these larger more far reaching aims.

Six Problems Caused by Focusing on Grades Instead of  Learning

1. Students become less interested in learning. It is about the beliefs and desires under the surface. If we are focused on scores, we are only reaching children on a surface level. The more we focus kids on their achievement, the less well they do. Veer away from choosing competitive learning over cooperative learning. Ranking students in a classroom forms a dynamic which works against learning.

2. Students don’t see themselves as having power over learning -Power over learning comes from factors outside of the student. When your schools are all about achievement and performance, children are more likely to attribute their success to things outside of their control (such as intelligence or luck) . We should be helping students to focus more on the difference their efforts can make.

3. Students will pick the easiest task – If children have a choice, they will pick the easier thing to do. Students won’t take intellectual risks and challenge themselves when grades are the focus.

4. Children will fall apart when they don’t achieve because grades are the focus. They focus on the end result rather than the process.

5. Negative social impact to high achieving students – Social Psychology supports that they will be less open to others because others are obstacles to their success. They may be inclined to place themselves apart from others.

6. Students won’t ask for help when they need it. The more we are about achievement, the less likely students are to ask for help when they need it. This hampers learning.

What Can Administrators Do?

  1. Examine your list of activities and events that focus on grades. Examples are honors awards, posting high grades,standardized tests.
  2. Foster programs and strategies that focus on the learning tasks as opposed to strictly the grades.
  3. Become interested in having graduates who want to learn instead of graduates who know facts.
  4. Ask yourself this question: Is my school a grade oriented school or a learning oriented school?
  5. Have a year of learning – No grades
  6. Remove grading on a bell curve. Remove the effort grade.
  7. Look at Alternative Assessment – See Bruner’s Law below
  8. Work with faculty on constructing an assessment system which counteracts the six problems caused by grading.
  9. Have student led learning showcases
  10. Get feedback from parents
  11. Visit schools who have made the shift from focusing on grading to  focusing on learning.
  12. Work on designing a different environment based not in ‘what has always been done’ but what we want for children

What Can Teachers Do?

  1. Make grades as invisible as possible for as long as possible. Give comments not grades.
  2. Talk Less. Ask More
  3. Talk about what students are learning and the process
  4. Engage students in conversations about their learning process
  5. Look at alternative assessment strategies. Set up learning tasks for active learning and for getting ongoing feedback.

What can Parents do?

  1. Talk with your children about what they are learning and the learning process
  2. Don’t focus on report cards and grades
  3. Ask schools for examples of how they focus on learning as opposed to grading
  4. Think about your long term goals for your children (Research shows that 80% of parents surveyed want the following types of things for their children( To be – caring, generous, moral, happy, lifelong learners, problem solvers)

Quotable Quotes

Alfie Kohn

Everyone loses when education becomes a competitive sport.

I am not interested in kids knowing but rather in having them want to know

Positive reinforcement can backfire. Kids who are told ‘good job’ are less kind to their peers. They do the act for the reward instead of how they made the other person feel. Rewards or punishments are things we do TO children. Instead we should work WITH children so that they understand their role and the impact on others. This helps them to understand how to make a difference.

Rewards are a means to an end. With rewards in place for grades students see the positive reinforcement or reward as the goal as opposed to the result or process.

“Some of the best teachers never give tests. A. They set up learning tasks for active learning, getting ongoing feedback. B. Tests don’t provide useful information about the learning process but rather how well students

BGUTI – Better get used to it. – The only reason to give grades in high school.

If you want to inspire depth of understanding, joy in learning and ability to apply – Find some other way to assess students than giving tests.

We need to do what is best for the learner not the comfort of the teacher. We  have to move quickly as the world is quickly changing. The learner should be in the center of all we do. Mary Rochford, Superintendent of Schools, Archdiocese of Philadelphia

We want kids to regard success and failure as information, not as reward and punishment. – Jerome Bruner

What Can Technology do?

In my work with technology in education I have seen that strategies that effectively use technology for learning are ones that also engage. Technology supports alternative assessment. A wealth of alternative assessment strategies abound and many use incorporate technology infused strategies for both teachers and students.  These can be easily at our fingertips with the click of a mouse. Exploring and selecting assessment incorporating the latest of technologies can engage and inspire students.  I list some resources below.  What are your favorites? What might you add?

Using Web-Based Tools for Alternative Assessment

Alternative Assessment Primer – Using Technology

Ted Sizer – Coalition of Essential Schools

Creating Schools We Need – Discovery Blog – Chris Lehman

Digital Portfolios and 21st Century Assessment – Sheryl Nussbaum Beach

Constructivist TIP - Jerome Bruner

Intrinsic vs. Extrinsic

Resources – Alfie Kohn

Related Articles – By Alfie Kohn

Video and Audio -Free downloads too -  By Alfie Kohn

Books