Techconnects

Celebrating Connections – Ed Tech In Schools

March 16, 2013
by ncara
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5 Classrooms Hearing News on the New Pope

Washington Post via Michael Sohn/AP

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

As news unfolded recently about the newly elected pope, people around the world were in close touch with the news. Whether via tweets, television, live stream, text or other means, the word traveled fast! This Washington Post article discusses some means of media access and how it has changed over time.

In talking with my son, he recalled being in his 8th grade classroom when Pope Benedict was elected. This memory stayed with him as I am sure thememory of this week’s new papal election will stay with many for years to come.

On the east coast, schools had let out by the time the identity of Pope Francis was announced. They did however, watch prior coverage such as news of the white smoke.  Below are some responses shared on twitter on how classrooms learned this news.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Mike Rogers school in St. Paul, MN had a chance to learn about the conclave in advance.They were on break when the pope was announced but the surely felt connected to the process because of all of the work they had done in advance.

 

February 13, 2013
by ncara
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Skype – No School is an Island

The power of today’s technology is not only in technological capability alone. The difference of technology is in the people connections and empowerment through that technology.

In this post, I will detail some educator and student perspectives on connecting with classrooms via skype. Interestingly, one of the classes profiled here is located in an area called ‘the island city’ in Alameda, California. Teacher Lisa DeLapo said that the Skype classroom connections felt especially meaningful to them given their location. Given that they are in an island type location, students can sometimes feel separate from other schools and students their age. Their skype classroom connections changed that!

We do not exist for ourselves alone – Thomas Merton

I remember the first time my students connected outside of our classroom. It was in the late 90′s and we emailed an author. After a few weeks, the author emailed us back and told students about her writing process. What an amazing feeling it was to reach for the students to reach outside of our classroom and hear directly from an expert – especially one whose books they were reading!

Today the process is easier, faster and quite powerful. The technology of today enables us to use video, voice and images help to enrich the connection. This makes it even more powerful than simple text based exchanges of years gone by.

Skype for Catholic School’s Week – Case Study

I recently had the chance to speak to some teachers and an administrator about a skype connection they established. The Skype calls took place during Catholic Schools Week and included  teachers, students and administrators from various catholic schools across the country. Connection for some of these educators were planned via the twitter chat and hashtag #catholicedchat

No man is an Island – John Donne, Meditation XVII

Teacher and Student Perspectives

Teachers who participated: Barb Gilman, Grade 3, Omaha, Nebraska, Lisa DeLapo, St. Joseph Elementary School , Alameda California Nick Senger, Spokane, Washington and Patti Harju, a 2th grade, Grand Rapids, Michigan.

Barb Gilman, 3rd Grade, Omaha, Nebraska

In Skyping with each other, they did an activity called ‘Mystery Skype’. For Mystery Skype, they ask each other a series of five questions with yes or no answers only. This allows student to guess where the other class is calling from. Students must listen closely and think critically to guess the location of the other class. It is fun too!

Comments from Barb’s 3rd grade class:

  • We loved it!
  • We had fun guessing!
  • They were nice.
  • It was exciting.
  • It was awesome.

Barb’s class skyped with Patti Harju’s 2nd graders from St. Stephen’s school in Grand Rapids, MI and Lisa DeLapo’s 3rd graders from St. Joseph’s school in Alameda, California. Barb said,

‘This was our first experience doing a Mystery Skype and I’m hooked! They loved following along in their atlas and coming up with questions.’

Lisa DeLapo, Technology Teacher K-8, Alameda, California

Comments from Lisa’s technology classes:

Third Graders:

  • It was fun asking questions and seeing how different their weather is.  They get to take a day off when it snows!
  • We learned that there are different ways to sing the Alleluia at Mass.
  • We saw the same teacher from last year, but it was a different class.  That was so cool!

Second Graders:

  • It was like magic.  Their classroom was on the screen, and they’re in a different state! – Victor
  • We got to see another Catholic school and the differences between us.  - Santiago

Patti Harju, 2nd Grade teacher, Grand Rapids, Michigan

Comments from Patty’s class:

Patty said, ‘My second graders enjoyed their first two Mystery Skypes with two other Catholic Schools this week. We prepared by looking at our US maps and noticing the locations of the states in relation to the oceans, other countries and directions.

We had a practice round before our chat. I chose a state and the children asked me yes or no questions about the state. They asked about bordering states, whether it gets snow or not, if it is bigger than another state, and if it shares a border with Canada or Mexico. We then wrote some of the questions we liked the best on the board.

During our chat with Barb in Nebraska, we were given clues to the identity of their state and using these clues and the answers to our questions, we were able to identify it. We were also successful with our second chat Lisa’s class in Alameda, Ca. Both schools were also able to identify that we were located in Michigan.

We hope to engage in additional Mystery Skypes this year. The children pay more attention to the map and to the location of the states when they are forming their questions. One of our favorite games to play to learn about the US states is ‘Stack the States’ which we play on our iPads. I love to watch the children consult the US map as they play the game. They are having fun and learning some needed US geography.’

Kathy Mears, NCEA, Executive Director for Elementary Education

Kathy Mears skyped in to talk with faculty at St. Joseph’s in Alameda, California during their faculty meeting.
Technology teacher, Lisa DeLapo said that the teachers really appreciated hearing from Kathy. Lisa noted that teachers felt special that Kathy reached out to them. Kathy happened to call in from a conference rather than from the NCEA office in Arlington, Va. This showed that these connections can happen anywhere and anytime and connect educators in meaningful ways too! Said Kathy:

“It was wonderful! Skype is a tool that we could and should more fully utilize for educational purposes.” NCEA Executive Director for Elementary Education

Getting Started With Skype

  1. Find another classroom to connect with and contact the teacher
  2. Invite the teacher as a contact on Skype
  3. Arrange topics and formulate questions – Students can generate questions also
  4. Plan the time and duration. Note any time differences and plan accordingly.
  5. Determine any related assessment – How will you assess the activity? How will you evaluate effectiveness?
  6. Check connections, peripherals and software – Make sure you have the needed internet access and software. Connect your computer to a speaker or large screen and projector as needed. Do a practice skype call to test the connection in your classroom.
  7. Assign roles to students  so that information is recorded. These may include taking notes, checking connections and more. You can also record the conversation
  8. Get feedback from students
  9. Plan your next classroom connection via Skype
Whether you are on an island or not, take time to reach out to other classrooms. Connect, collaborate and learn together. As Thomas Merton says, ‘we don’t exist for ourselves alone’ and these connections can be meaningful for learning and for building special connections for students and teachers.
Barb’s Wiki – Skype Resources
Wiki for Connecting with other Catholic Schools via Skype – CatholicSchoolConnect
This post is cross posted at NCEA (National Catholic Educational Association) website

 

October 11, 2012
by ncara
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Connected Educators A to Z – T is for Twitter

Twitter is a powerful tool for connecting with others. It is one social media tool that continues to intrigue us and connect us in new ways all the time.
First just a whisper, twitter arrived on the scene in 2007. Twitter was mocked by some but embraced by others. I started using it in September 2008 to connect with other technology and education professionals. It has been an amazing tool for connecting, learning and collaborating.

I had the opportunity to work with a group of teachers learning about using Twitter for the classroom. Below is the presentation given to Archbishop John Carroll High School in Radnor.

Related Resources

If you are new to twitter and are looking for others to follow, check out this list of people to follow in education by Edudemic.

 

August 13, 2012
by ncara
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Connected Educators A to Z: E is for Evaluation

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

14 Resources for Needs Assessments and Evaluations

In bringing the benefits of technology to education and indeed to any organization, needs assessments and surveys are a valuable tool for School CIOs and school leaders. These can work hand in hand with your school plans and technology plans. Both in the planning stages and during implementation, surveys can provide you with valuable feedback which can lead you to the goals you envision.

Seeking input and feed back is essential to the success of any initiative. This survey feedback can act as a ‘GPS’ telling you where you are currently and what you need to do to get to your destination. Your school or district technology plan is your map. Needs assessments and surveys can get you on the right path and keep you there.

These assessments can look at both classroom technology and overall technology needs in your school or district. Below are some resources for this purpose

Note: These resources have been updated, August 2012

Topics for Assessment – Consider Survey Topics

  • Technology Integration
  • Tech Support and Equipment
  • Communications
  • Professional Development
  • Digital Citizenship
  • Digital Learning and Skills
  • Lesson Planning for 21st Century Learning
  • Emerging Technology, New Ideas

Framework & Assessment Instruments – Below are some existing Surveying Guides and Instruments

Create Your Own – Ways to Customize to Your School/District Needs

  • TIMTechnology Integration Matrix created by the University of Southern Florida – Matrix which has been a model for other states and schools
  • Framework – Base it on given frameworks such as ISTE’s Nets, P21 or other frameworks
  • Local Vision - Base it on current school/district vision and other existing plans such as Technology plans

Tools to Use – Sampling of Available Online Tools

  • Clarity – Brightbytes tool for assessing educational technology. Provides recommendations in easy to use formats for schools, boards. Graphical representation of results. New and dynamic. Ask for a tour.
  • ZoomerangSurvey Tool - Free version or get additional features by subscription
  • Survey MonkeySurvey Tool - Free version or get additional features by subscription
  • Google DocsGoogle Forms – Free. Includes many options. Data imports into spreadsheet format
  • Loti - Loti Survey - Administrative and Teacher Available

Related Posts

August 11, 2012
by ncara
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Connected Educators A-Z: D is for Digital Citizenship

As our lives are led to a great degree online, we are daily tasked with thinking about how our online actions and the actions of others impact us. In the early days of the web, it seems as though there was a big focus on online safety. Safety online is VERY important. We need to assure that there are safe measures employed and advocated by all.

Typically, when people act with mutual respect and responsibility, we say that they are good citizens. When this is in place in online interactions, we call it digital citizenship.

On top of the safety issue though is a real and recurring need to talk about appropriate ways to interact. As technology evolves and reinvents itself daily, these issues are ever changing too.

Digital Citizenship Issues

  • How to comment appropriately
  • How to license your work and cite the work of others
  • How to keep private information private
  • How to speak to a global audience
  • What are the rules for using particular social networks? How can I make sure I comply?
  • What makes up a positive online reputation?

When my children were small, there were daily reminders that were part of our daily lives. Be careful, don’t cross the street without an adult, don’t talk to strangers’. When we look at young people today, do we feel as thought they are getting the right reminders about online safety and responsible online behavior? Are these imparted daily by adults that students trust?  Below I am sharing my updated list of Digital Citizenship Resources. Which are your favorites? What would you add?

When schools and families take the time to share good digital citizenship practice, it is of benefit to us as individuals and to our global family!

17 Digital Citizenship Resources For School Leaders, Teacher Leaders and Families

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Web

These sites have resources for teaching Digital Citizenship in the classroom

  1. Google Interactive Lessons http://www.google.com/edu/teachers/youtube/curric/index.html
  2. Google’s Family Safety Center http://www.google.com/goodtoknow/familysafety/
  3. Common Sense Media http://www.commonsensemedia.org/educators
  4. Netsmartzhttp://www.netsmartz.org/educators
  5. Be Cyber Wisehttp://www.cyberwise.org/
  6. Digital Citizenship Site http://www.digitalcitizenship.net/
  7. Yahoo Safely http://safely.yahoo.com/
  8. Cable in the Classroom http://www.ciconline.org/DigitalCitizenship
  9. FOSI Family Online Safety Institute http://www.fosi.org/

Blogs and Projects

These blogs address topics around Digital Citizenship frequently

  1. Anne Collier – Net Family News http://www.netfamilynews.org/
  2. Danah Boyd http://www.zephoria.org/thoughts/
  3. Innovative Educator Blog http://theinnovativeeducator.blogspot.com/
  4. Digiteenhttp://www.digiteen.org/

Research To Know About

This research is related to the topic and can provide insights

  1. Zero to Eight -Children’s Mobile Technology Use in America by Common Sense Media http://www.commonsensemedia.org/research/zero-eight-childrens-media-use-america
  2. Youth Safety on a Living Internet Study  – Study
  3. The Good Play Project http://www.goodworkproject.org/research/goodplay/
  4. Pew Internet and American Life Project http://www.pewinternet.org/
  5. Netsmartz Statisticshttp://www.netsmartz.org/sitecore/content/Netsmartz/Statistics

Related Posts
Online Safety Bridge Between Home and School -  TechConnects
Getting Started with Digital Citizenship – TechConnects