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Teaching about Intellectual Property – #HyperDoc style

Teaching about Intellectual Property – #HyperDoc style

I love the many ways teachers in my district – and probably your district too – are guiding student-centered conversations  about building positive digital footprints, protecting online privacy, and confronting cyberbullying. A shout out to Common Sense Media, iKeepSafe, and Netsmartz for the wealth of free resources and lessons you provide to schools on these key digital citizenship topics.

There is a fourth digital citizenship topic that many teachers are increasingly recognizing the need to address: intellectual property. By 5th grade, most students have been warned about the consequences of plagiarism, a conversation that is typically repeated throughout their middle and high school days. While plagiarism is certainly an important topic, in a digital age, copyright,  fair use, and Creative Commons also need to be included in the conversations.  Given how easy it has become to download, copy, remix, and upload online content, students need to have an understanding of both their intellectual property rights and responsibilities.

Elk Grove USD’s 4 digital citizenship themes – BY NC SA

As a co-director of my district’s Digital Citizenship initiative and co-curator of the Digital ID project, I am always seeking teacher-friendly/student-friendly resources on intellectual property. I also facilitate district-wide and national workshops ( e.g., CUE and ISTE) to help teachers understand that copyright is different from plagiarism and that fair use and Creative Commons are also options for our students.

Digital ID Project’s 4 digital citizenship foci – BY NC SA

Based on questions from workshop participants, two years ago I created Can I Use That? A Guide for Teaching about Creative Commons. I always review the guide prior to a workshop to check if I need to update any information or add new resources.  This year, in preparation for the March CUE Conference, I’m adding a #HyperDocs* lesson that invites students to delve into copyright, flex their fair use muscles, and license their own creations via Creative Commons. So here it is: Can I Use That? Exploring Copyright, Fair Use, and Creative Commons.

Hope you can join me and the fabulous Jane Lofton for our CUE Can I Use That? session (Saturday, 8:00)! If you have questions about the lesson or suggestions for updates to the Guide, please respond with a comment or contact me @GailDesler.

*#HperDocs is a term invented by @LHighfill.

How to Bring Teachers in Your District on Board with Technology

How to Bring Teachers in Your District on Board with Technology

I’m very grateful for the opportunities I’ve had over the years to attend and present at educational technology conferences hosted by outstanding organizations such as ISTECUE, Google’s EdTechTeam, National Writing Project, and NCTE. Being able to attend keynotes and sessions by nationally known educational visionaries, such as Will Richardson or Kylene Beers or Rushton Hurley, provides sufficient inspiration and innovative ideas to energize my teaching throughout the school year.

When I attend conferences outside of the Sacramento region or outside of California, I’m also aware that very few teachers from my district have been able to find the funding to cover registration and travel costs. Many are just dipping their toes into the technology integration waters and are not yet ready to submit a workshop proposal, for instance, which might entitle them to attend a conference with registration fees waved (a benefit I frequently take advantage of). And those who do attend some of the two-day, three-day, or four-day conferences often share with me that they ended their conference experience a bit overwhelmed by all the mind-blowing tips and tricks from the many technology rock star presenters.

I love what my district is doing to bring teachers on board with technology integration. Last Saturday, we hosted our 2nd annual Digital Kids, Digital Classrooms Saturday Seminar at one of our high schools. For a mere $20 (which covered breakfast and lunch costs – and was waived if you volunteered to present), teachers could begin the morning with an amazing keynote from nationally/internationally known technology innovator and #HyperDocs queen Lisa Highfill. Following the keynote, our teachers could then select four 1-hour, hands-on sessions to attend.

Photo of Lisa Highfill presenting at Elk Grove USD's Digital Kids, Digital Classrooms Saturday Seminar
The ever-inspiring Lisa Highfill rocks the Digital Kids, Digital Classrooms house!

To give you an idea of the wonderful variety and range of topics, here are a few session descriptions:

  • Teaching in a [Semi]Paperless Google Classroom – Teachers of all grade levels can learn tips and tricks to setting up their Google Classroom and implementing assignments.  Basic knowledge of Google Drive very helpful, but not required. I will show you what it looks like from teacher view and student view.
  • e-Portfolios for PRIMARY Students – Start an amazing journey to meet CCSS with authentic assessment using 21st century tools. Come learn how to create digital portfolios of student work to provide them with important opportunities to reflect on, curate, and showcase their learning beyond the classroom walls. Engage easily with parents and connect them to the heart and soul of your classroom.  It’s EASY, versatile, and accessible from ANY device. You’ll love it!
  • Extension Must-Haves for TeachersChrome extensions can make you a millionaire! Okay, so not really, but they can help you and your students be more productive and isn’t that more important than money? Come learn how to install and use the top must-have extensions you need now.
  • NASA & Project Spectra – Come learn about various tools you can use to teach astronomy & magnetism, grades 6-12.  Get hands on practice with interactive games, find resources that augment your regular class materials and try your hand at mapping magnetism on another planet. “Project Spectra!” is a science and engineering program for 6th – 12th grade students, focusing on how light is used to explore the Solar System. “Project Spectra!” emphasizes hands-on activities, like building a spectrograph, as well as the use of real data to solve scientific questions.

I believe what makes our Digital Kids, Digital Classrooms Saturday Seminars so immediately relevant to attending teachers is that, other than our keynote speakers, every presenter is a district teacher. Across grade levels and curriculum, our presenters share best practices that work with our students – students who the attendees may have taught in the past or may be teaching in the coming years. Add to that motivating factor the fact that all presenters are easily accessible for an on-site visit or via district email, I know many attendees left ready to implement on Monday new ideas, strategies, and tools.

photos of teachers attending session to learn about Twitter
Awesome group of Elk Grove USD teachers delving into the power of Twitter.

It was my privilege to co-present Extending Student Voices Through Videoconferencing with Erica Swift and Twitter: What’s all the fuss about?! with Cathe Petuya. Already several teachers have contacted me with questions and ideas for weaving videoconferencing into their curriculum and others (via Twitter) to express their awe at the power of Twitter.

Given the manageable scope – and reasonable expense – of organizing and hosting a district-centered Saturday technology conference, I highly recommend this concept as an effective way to encourage technology “newbies” to explore how different tools offer new possibilities for teaching. I’m pretty sure the “newbies” who attended our Saturday Seminar are now ready to head off to CUE, ISTE, and other popular technology conferences – minus the intimidation factor. And based on the above session descriptions, I will be encouraging ALL of our presenters to start submitting proposals – beyond our 2018 Digital Kids, Digital Classrooms event.

If you are already sponsoring district-based/centered technology conferences, I would love to hear any suggestions or answer any questions!

 

 

Two Reasons Why January 21 Was a Great Day

Two Reasons Why January 21 Was a Great Day

I loved Saturday, January 21, 2017! Thanks to two events in the Sacramento region, I think I’ve stepped out of my post-election slump.

Event #1: EdCamp121 – Thank you CapCUE and Folsom High School for hosting Saturday’s EdCamp.

logo for EdCamp Folsom

From the moment I entered the multipurpose room, I could feel the combined energy of the awesome CapCUE team and the group of attending educators from across the Sacramento region, all looking forward to a day of sharing and learning about ways to enhance student learning and engagement through technology and best practices.

So if the EdCamp concept is new to you, here’s how it works:

  1. Participants start the morning by jotting down whatever they would like to learn about on a post-it note and then posting their notes on a wall.
  2. The CapCUE team then sorts through the post-its and assigns the most requested topics to  designated classrooms.
  3. The day’s program is then shared on a Google Doc. Here’s a link to Saturday’s EdCamp program.
  4. Participants head off to whatever sessions best suit their interests. Although there will be a room facilitator, there is not a main presenter. All are invited to share their knowledge and/or ask questions about the topic or tool.

EdCamp Session 1 – I joined a group of teachers interested in discussing ways to use blogging and podcasting to promote student voice. Typical of EdCamp sessions, our group consisted of several teachers already very proficient with and excited about blogging tools, a number who had just started dabbling with blogs, and several who had not yet started their blogging journeys. All were also interested in learning more about podcasting with students.

As a long-time blogger, I really enjoyed being part of this conversation and was able to share a few resources on the Padlet site (which the CapCUE team had set up for each session as an easy way for participants to share resources).

As for the podcasting component, although I’m familiar with several audio recording and editing tools, such as Audacity, I haven’t used any of the growing number of programs/apps you can download to your phone. We were lucky to have Ryan O’Donnell join the session. Ryan and the equally awesome Brian Briggs produce the Check This Out with Ryan and Brian podcasts. Here are some of Ryan’s recommendations for podcasting apps:

  • Audacity – Like me, Ryan is also a big fan of Audacity, which allows you to easily edit your audio recording, add music, fade in/out, and then export and upload. Audacity is free and works across platforms. However, since you have to download the program, it’s not a good solution if your students are using Chromebooks.
  • Spreaker – Has a “freemium” option.
  • audioBoom – Here’s a review of audioBoom from Common Sense Media.
  • Soundtrap – An easy way to create podcasts with accompaning music.
  • TwistedWave – Will work on an iPad.
  • Podomatic – Once you’ve created your podcast, you’ll need an online hosting service. Ryan recommends Podomatic. When you’re set up and have created a “show,” Podomatic will send you a .xml file, which allows you to tell iTunes each time you have a new podcast. 

Blogging and podcasting … oh the possibilities!

EdCamp Session 2 – I joined the Virtual Reality group. With the dynamic duo of Brian Briggs and Ryan O’Donnell as room facilitators, this session was mind-blowing! Be sure to visit the session Padlet to learn about the apps that were shared.

Brian Briggs and Ryan O'Donnell having fun to virtual reality camera

I started dabbling a bit with virtual reality (VR) at the previous weekend’s EdTechTeam Summit by attending Jim Sill’s session on Google Cardboard Expeditions. So I was excited to learn about even more VR options. My plan is to little by little explore each of the sites and resources posted to the session Padlet. But, really, if I never venture further than Expeditions, I could already open the walls of the classroom exponentially.

A few months ago, Larry Ferlazzo asked me to contribute to an EdWeek article on how to prepare students for field trips. I recommended that teachers incorporate videoconferencing in preparation for, or as follow up to, or even (due to school budget constraints) instead of a real time field trip. From the California State Parks PORTS program to NASA’s videoconferencing options, students can easily take virtual field trips to national and even international sites. No more permission slips, paying for transportation, hoping it won’t rain, etc.

But if I could rewrite my article for Larry, I would be adding VR as a powerful follow-up to videoconferencing.  I’ve been thinking about a teacher in my district who recently took his 5th graders on a virtual visit to Yosemite through a videoconference with our National Parks. The videoconference was an extension to a story the students had read about John Muir and Teddy Roosevelt. I think a teacher-led Google Expedition of Yosemite would be one more powerful way technology can open the walls of the classroom (especially in our Title 1 schools).

Thank you again, EdCamp Team, for an engaging, energizing morning. I apologize for not being able to stay for the afternoon – especially since you included a delicious lunch from Olive Garden as part of this FREE event – but I needed to get to downtown Sacramento for the 2nd event of my unforgettable Saturday ….


Event #2 – Sacramento #WomensMarch
– It will be a long time to come before I forget Sacramento’s #WomensMarch. To join 20,000 other marchers for this uplifting, unifying, inspiring event filled me with hope and a renewed commitment to hold our nation’s leaders accountable for their words and actions.

photo of Sacramento's January 21 Women's March
#WomensMarch Sacramento – hundreds in front of me; thousands behind me – coming together as an empowered community

Start to finish, I am grateful for every minute of January 21 and appreciate all who added to the day’s events in so many ways. It’s a substantial list of shared ideas, innovative thinking, and hopes and dreams for the future of our schools, communities, and nation.

Fall Cue 2015 – Some awesome takeaways

Fall Cue 2015 – Some awesome takeaways

Fall CUE 2015

Loved the energy, innovation, and conversations shared at last week’s Fall CUE Conference. Definitely two jam-packed days! Below are some of my takeaways:

Writing in the ShedLisa Nowakowski shared a wonderful resource for English Language Development (ELD) students: The Literacy Shed, a collection of short video animations with no narration. Lisa has her students collaborate on developing a storyboard for what they think would be a logical dialogue. To narrate the videos, students use the record option available through SnagIt. What a great (and free) strategy to motivate students to put their language skills into practice!

Teaching with YouTube – I first heard Lisa Highfill speak at the 2012 Google Teacher Academy (Mountain View, Calif), where she inspired all present with her integration of R.J. Palacio’s novel Wonder into her elementary classroom. I’m pretty sure all who attended her packed Fall CUE session left equally inspired with Lisa’s approach to YouTube video in the classroom: Find It, Playlist It, Pair It, Package It. Such a fabulous listing of videos to get students moving, thinking, doing! EX: Try pairing Daniel Cui, a soccer video, with a KQED DoNow question, What can you do to be a change maker? 

Key Principles for Digital Tools for EL Instruction: I regret that I arrived late to Martin Cisneros’ session (got caught up in conversations out in the quad). His knowledge and passion for teaching ELs left me wanting to delve deeper into the topic, starting with California’s ELD Standards (which do not replace the California Common Core Standards, but help with with meeting them).

So how can technology help ELs gain proficiency in English?

  • Social media provides opportunities to practice literacy skills.
  • Google Translate is a great starting point for teachers to make connections with their EL students.
  • Blabberize makes it easy for students to practice their speaking skills. It’s way less intimidating to have a character speak for you.
  • Padlet allows for voice recording
  • Screencasting with tools like SnagIt or Screencastify
  • Blogging!
  • Need instant curriculum for your ELs? Head to Pinterest!

From Blog to Book: Rescuing the Writing Process’s Neglected Step, Publication – As a long-time blogger and supporter of student blogging, I was thrilled to see this session listed in the program. David Theriault and Sean Ziebarth are awesome presenters and an awesome team.

In one very fun, fast-paced hour, they’ve inspired me to ramp up my district blogging workshops. Somehow, with all the focus on all things Google, I haven’t really been promoting blogging. Yet in all my Google workshops, I tend to start with the SAMR model as way to generate conversations on taking technology integration beyond “substitution” and “modification.” Blogging is often the tool that takes a project up the SAMR ladder to “redefinition” by providing students with a platform for publishing – to an authentic audience.

The gap I need to help bridge is helping teachers move from blogs (noun) as a website for simply posting assignments to blogging (verb) as a shared conversation and step into publishing. I know in my upcoming blogging workshops, I’ll be referencing David’s post Shop Talk: The Nuts and Bolts of Student Blogging.

The Life Aquatic: This is Adventure – Closing Keynote

It’s rare that I stay all the way through at a two-day conference to the closing keynote (I’ve usually reached the saturation point by 3:00), but I’m glad I made the exception to hear David Theriault’s keynote.  I’m hoping CUE will post a link soon to the recording of his keynote as the slideshow below is not narrated. If you read the keynote description and then go through the slideshow, I think you’ll have an idea of how intriguing, fun, and thought-provoking David’s delivery and content both are.

The Life Aquatic: This is Adventure

Nobody knows what’s going to happen. And then we “try it, share it, and reflect on it.” That’s the whole concept. -Steve Zissou

The stories that define us, that we share with others, are built of memorable moments. Create
meaningful, memorable moments for your learners, and the world by stepping off the yellow brick road and diving into the deep sea of pedagogy. Steven Zissou, Harry Potter, Kenny Shopsin, Frederic Friedel, and Lynda Barry are just a few of the deep sea creatures we will meet on this adventure.

Bring your wetsuit and diving equipment, no one is staying on the boat in this keynote.

And one more great Fall CUE “session” – dinner at the Dead Fish Restaurant (just across the Benicia Bridge in Crockett) with Cathe Petuya, Mary Barelson, and Barbara Bray.

Embedded image permalink

CUE 2015 Take-Aways

CUE 2015 Take-Aways

Just returned from three fabulous days at CUE 2015. It was definitely worth the 10-hour drive (each way). Many thanks to Mike Lawrence and the CUE team for a well-organized, exciting event, start to finish. Below are a few of my take-aways.

Thursday

 

  • Common Core = Technology Integration – I was only able to attend the tail end of Jeremy Davis’s session. His workshop description sums the importance of meaningful technology integration for the elementary schools:

Gone are the days of teaching a “technology lesson” a few times a year, as the Common Core State Standards have technology integration and digital literacy skills embedded in standards starting in Kindergarten. Come dig into the standards and discuss the need for cultural change towards technology integration into all curriculum areas.”

Big take-away: I love how the Capistrano School District (Jeremy’s district) has built on and tweaked Long Beach’s CCSS K12 Technology Scope & Sequence Plan, starting with the title: (Draft) Digital Literacy in the K-12 Classroom. I agree with their statement that “This document provides a roadmap for teachers and administrators to adapt curriculum to ensure that students are building digital literacy competency as well as technological skills for college and career readiness and online assessment” and I applaud their K-12 vision (as opposed to separating elementary from secondary).

 

 

  • Teaching above the Line – OK, I didn’t actually make it to Pablo Diaz, Ann Kozma, and Holly Steele’s SAMR session, but, oh my, what a great resource their slideshow is. Thanks for sharing! Like Gene and Karen’s session (above), this team makes visible what “giving students a chance to develop their own voice and purpose in learning through SAMR” looks like.

 

 Friday

  • Jennie Magiera’s bring-down-the-house keynote – Wow! What an amazing kick-off to Friday morning’s events! I was fortunate to be in Jennie Magiera’s group during my 2012 Google Teacher Academy experience, so I already knew her keynote would be like no other. And, yes, that is California Superintendent of Ed Tom Torlakson dancing out in the audience.

 

  • Google Certified Teacher’s Panel – A great session that definitely lived up to its description: “The latest and greatest tips, tricks and tools for Google Apps, and other Googly things.” Loved the energy and the excellent tutorials each of the presenter provided. I think you’ll want to checkout all 9 presenters. Biggest take-away for me would probably = Alice Chen’s Choose Your Own Adventure template for Google Slides, with the sample of introducing class rules via interactive slides, as opposed to teacher going over the rules.

Saturday

#PopBOMB – Creating 7 second videos that can change the world – Sorry that Matt did not include a link to his presentation. It was awesome. I heard Matt speak three years ago at Fall CUE and have ever since been a huge fan all of the options KQED offers teachers and students – starting with DoNow.

Matt explained “#PopBomb” as “infiltrating stoical  media conversation with short, visual, satirical arguments.” He demoed how 3 apps – Twitter, Meme Generator, and Vine – can be used to build “#PopBombs.” His samples of parody and satire wonderful (and great example of arguments for “fair use.”):

  • SNL’s Mister Robinson’s Neighborhood – 10 years ago, this SNL series was a great sample of many to  many model – incredible democratization of media (participatory culture alaHenry Jenkins). But you needed some media background and skills create these.
  • Vader Sessions – Darth having nervous breakdown?!

The tools for digitizing mashups are now readily available to all of us: democratization is powerful!

Big take-away = Using Vine to create 7-second video that you can start and stop to make multiple cuts. Checkout the powerful juxtaposition of sweatshops and fashion juxtaposition in Matt’sine 7-second remix.

 

Be a Graphic Artist without Going to Art School –  Nick Cusumano’s was my last session for #CUE15. I attended because I wanted to explore Canva, a great resource for adding a graphic wow factor to your presentations. In a nutshell:

  • Register as an educator. If there’s a $ sign, you only pay when you print – It’s the pic that might have the fee, not the template. So you can upload your own images – which you can then download for free. You have 24 hours to use download – or you pay again.
  • Great for infographics – many freebies
  • You can share for collaboration
  • Try combining Canva + LucidPress for brochures. LucidPress for K12 and higher ed = free.

A few more take-aways:

  • Google Cultural Institute – Historic Moments – Google gives you a template to use. You can upload your own.
  • PicMonkey – Cool effects to add to images. Now a Google AddOn
  • photofunia.com – Just plain fun. Upload a principal’s photo, for instance, and convert it to a historical figure.

Again, a huge shoutout to Mike Lawrence and to all the great #CUE15 presenters for three amazing conference days!

CUE 2013 – Day 2 Take-Aways

CUE 2013 – Day 2 Take-Aways

Continuing on with my reflections from the fabulous 2013 CUE Conference, here are my take-aways from:

Friday, Day 2:

Opening Keynote with Sir Ken Robinson – I’ve been a long-time  fan of Sir Ken, starting with his first TED Talk and his Changing Education Paradigms animation. It was great to  hear him in person and be reminded that:

“Every single one of the 100 billion lives who have walked the face of this earth is unique and unrepeatable…To be born at all is a miracle, so what are you going to do with your life?”

“We have to get away from standardizing to personalizing – in ways that celebrate diversity. Technology drives this revolution.

“Educating is not a process of directing instruction, but to inspire, to feed curiosity, to facilitate. If we aren’t facilitating learning, then education is not happening.”

Session 5 – Elementary Flipped Teaching – Using the Cycle of Learning to Innovate CCSS Instruction – For a window into Lisa Highfill’s innovative teaching, start with a visit to her website. Lisa asks both in her teaching and in her session “What is it I can do now (with new technologies) that I couldn’t do before?”  The video below illustrates her  “explore, explain (flip), apply” cycle for delivering curriculum:

 

Session 6Get slammed With Google – Loved the energy in this session! Definitely click on the link to see for yourself how Mark Hammons, Diane Main, Jen Roberts, Bill Selek (no live links yet), Scott Kley Contini, Joe Wood, Megan Ellis rocked the audience with their Google tips and tricks (AKA slams)!

During my whirlwind 2 days at December’s Google Teacher Academy, Mark’s Google News Archive Search was my favorite “slam.” Judging from the post-CUE 2013 conversations on my flight home from Palm Springs, Mark once again wowed an audience. Grand Slam!

Megan Ellis (a MERIT 11 colleague) shared a simple but very important Google tool: custom Google search engines. For educators  like me, who teach tough topics, such as the Holocaust, Megan’s How To Tutorial is a gem, simply explaining how to create, for example, a Researching the Holocaust search engine with middle-school appropriate links.

But seriously, you will want to check out each Google Slam demo!

Session 7 – Visual Storytelling, Digital Storytelling, Cinematic Narrative: Literacy Across the Curriculum – Because it is so easy to get sidetracked in great hallway conversations at CUE, I arrived half way into Ken Shelton’s dynamic session, something I immediately regretted. Ken laid out the key elements of digital storytelling:

  • understanding of topic
  • content curation – simply grabbing a bunch of pictures is not going to to do it – 7 image limit. If you can’t find images that work, create your own
  • media literacy – what is the value of an image? How about music? Does if fit the narration?
  • develop a storyboard  – Great motivational stratgy that Ken uses with his students (in case they’re tempted to gloss over this important pre-producation step): switch storyboards & threaten to grade group on another groups completion of the project
  • production
  • reflection – what did you learn? what would you change?

What’s missing from my session summary are the powerful images and and stunning videos he used to illustrate each key element.  For example, to show the difference between “digital storytelling” and “cinematic narrative,” he shared this BMX video and this stunning Inspired Bycycles video.

If you missed Ken’s #cue13 session, but will be attending ISTE 2013, I’ll see you in his Making Movies with the iPad, iPhoneography, and Photoshop Basics session. I plan to arrive early!

Session 8Explore, Flip, Apply: Empowering the Learning Cycle Through Technology – Although I caught only the tail end of Ramsey Musallam’s session (once again caught up in great #cue13 hallway conversations), having heard him present before (MERIT 11, CVCUE Fall 12), I wanted to end Day 2 with his winning style of brilliant + hilarious. I wasn’t disappointed.

Explore-Flip-Apply model

I think many teachers are put off by the idea of “flipping” instruction because they are concerned about putting hours and hours of time into creating instructional videos that students will be required to watch for homework, another form of lecture-based instruction, often limited to lower-order thinking. Ramsey’s approach to flipped instruction definitely taps into Bloom’s  higher order thinking skills (applying, analyzing, evaluating, and creating).

Using the Explore-Flip-Apply model, Ramsey has his AP Chemistry students explore a concept first.  Then the “flip” comes in. Rather than introducing a concept with a video, he jumps in on the spot and creates “short, tailored video designed to address misconceptions and assimilation errors that arose during student exploration.” Rather than spending hours creating detailed screencasts, the “technology became a slave to the pedagogy, rather than vice versa, and the videos became, if you will, ‘inquiry spackle'” (quote from OnCUE, Spring 2013, Vol 35, No. 1).  For tons more resources, strategies, and samples, visit Ramsey’s personal website and Cycle of Learning.

Be back soon with Day 3 Take-Aways.

 

Back from Fall CUE

Back from Fall CUE

Image from http://www.cue.org/fall

I’m back from my first Fall CUE Conference. Two wonderful, jam packed days of connecting with colleagues and attending great sessions!

Here are my Friday take-aways:

The Personal Is Political: Remix and Fair Use – KQED’s Mathew Williams gave an awesome session on “learning opportunities for creating remix videos using found video footage online with an emphasis on fair use and critical thinking skills.”  Mathew presented remix as as  research method – and a critically important skill.

It’s been a while since I last visited KQED’s website, but I plan to make time to explore their awesome Quest page.

Designing Online Communities of Practice with Brokers of Expertise – I’m a huge fan of Brokers of Expertise (have even given a few BofE workshops), but couldn’t pass on an opportunity to hear Jon Knolle present. News flash: If you’d like to provide the California Department of Education and State Superintendent Torlakson’s Task Force with some feedback, here’s your chance, through Brokers, to share your vision for Education Technology in California Schools, share your vision for visual and performing arts and creative education in California Schools, and share your vision for STEM education in California schools.

Prezi Primer – Christine Olmstead and Randy Kolset did a great job of touring the newest features of Prezi to both those familiar with or new to Prezi. I really like the greater variety of themes as well as the option to easily upload PowerPoints.

KQED Do Now: Engage Students with Topical Issues Using Twitter – My second workshop with Mathew Williams was equally excellent. Check out the rich ways KQED’s Do Now program engages students with current issues using social media tools such as Twitter.  I’ll definitely be including this site in my upcoming district Twitter workshop for administrators.

Saturday Take-Aways:

Feedback Machine: Using a Mail Merge with Google Spreadsheet for Student Communication – If you’re impressed by Flubaroo (as I am), then you will be in awe of how Alice Keeler takes instant online feedback to the next level with her Google spreadsheet tips and tricks.  She’s posted the session links and tons of extras to her tech page.

Licensed to Drive … Google Style – Loved Mark Hammon’s humor, injected throughout the hour.  Glad to know that when inserting images to Google Drive, the citation is automatically included. Cool.

Do You Flubaroo? How to Use the Auto-Grading Script Effectively – I’m pretty familiar with Flubaroo, but I really liked presenter Roni Habib’s suggestion to use it at the beginning of the school year to build online communities – and take it to a Wordle.

Digital ID Project – My project co-creator/curator Natalie Bernasconi and I were at first a little bummed to see our session was scheduled at the end of the conference. That soon changed, thanks to the opportunity to spend our session with some pretty incredible teachers:-).

Will definitely plan to attend next year’s Fall CUE Conference. It’s not often that a fabulous conference is within driving distance of Placerville;-)

 

Digital ID Project – An invitation for collaboration

Digital ID Project – An invitation for collaboration

Bringing digital citizenship into the core curriculum

I just returned from a 4-day trip to the fabulous CUE Conference in fabulous Palm Springs, California. In addition to joining some outstanding speakers and sessions (which I’ll blog separately later today), the conference was also the first time my National Writing Project/MERIT colleague Natalie Bernasconi and I were able to co-present our Digital ID project.

We were fortunate to have a wonderful group of teachers and administrators, ranging from elementary through high school, joining us for the session – with a several jumping right in to join the wiki and add to the resources.

The goal of the Digital ID project is to collectively and collaboratively- in one online location – provide students, teachers, and parents with the resources and strategies to make digital citizenship an integral part of the core curriculum – while addressing the legal requirements of current legislation such a AB 307 and the Broadband Data Improvement Act.

Natalie and I warmly invite you to download, tweak, share, and contribute to our growing bank of resources. We especially want to draw your attention to our Digital Citizenship PSA Challenge. We would love to showcase your students’ projects!

 

California’s Great ‘Bait and Switch’ Trick

California’s Great ‘Bait and Switch’ Trick

saveedtechI’m headed to the Capitol this morning to fight for our EETT ARRA funding. CUE director Mike Lawrence sums up the issue in a sentence: “California directed schools and districts across the state to spend millions to support Educational Technology, then failed to distribute the over $72M in stimulus funds to pay for it!”

Having seen first-hand the positive ways the meaningful (beyond multiple-choice) integration of technology into the curriculum can impact teaching and learning in my district’s EETT classrooms, I have a few thoughts to share with our Assembly members:

Honorable Members of This Subcommittee:

My name is Gail Desler.  I am a technology support teacher for the Elk Grove Unified School District. I am here to today to urge you to honor the primary goal of the EETT ARRA grant:

“to improve student achievement of the state content standards and technology literacy in grades four through eight with expanded access to technology, electronic resources, professional development, and enhanced communications.”

In EETT Rounds 1, 2, and 4, the Elk Grove USD met and exceeded performance goals, with students in grades 7 and 8 at all 5 targeted middle schools showing substantial growth on California Standardized Tests (CSTs) in the academic area of English/Language Arts. As for technology proficiency, students and their teachers also exceeded performance objectives.

We are currently in our second year of EETT Round 7, this time working with grades 4 and 5 at three elementary sites.  Two have been classified as Title 1 for a number of years; the third school more than meets the requirement for free and reduced lunch and awaits reclassification.

I recognize that, when looking at student achievement, the State restricts its definition to standardized test scores.  Last year, all three EETT 4th grades improved their CST scores in English/Language Arts – and showed huge gains in technology proficiency.  At David Reese Elementary School, for example, 4th graders showed a 6-point gain in English/Language Arts (which included the 4th grade writing sample) over the previous school year and substantial gains in their abilities to use information technology.

Regardless of the EETT Round, thanks to the on-going assessments of our external evaluators, the explanation is clear and simple: the gains in student test scores can be attributed to the fact that EETT funding is being used as intended – providing students with access to digital literacy tools and providing teachers with the training to effectively integrate those tools into the English Language Arts curriculum.

Through a partnership with the Area 3 Writing Project (local affiliate of the National Writing Project), teachers receive professional development on  best practices for improving  literacy, with the recognition that new definitions for literacy no longer distinguish between literacy in general and technology literacy in particular.

At a time when low test scores have locked many Title 1 schools into a daily grind of students working in isolation on multiple-choice/fill-in-the-blanks test prep, I have watched our EETT sites use the training, support, and tools to unlock higher order thinking skills, allowing students to engage in complex tasks that foster collaboration and creativity, much like their counterparts at more affluent school sites. I have witnessed what can happen when EETT funding gets feet walks into classrooms.

I invite you to visit Elk Grove’s EETT sites so that you too can see first-hand how the technology and training are providing an at-risk student population with opportunities to expand and learn beyond the confines of ‘basic’ or ‘proficient,’ beyond the walls of the classroom, and beyond the margins of their surrounding communities.

California should seek alternative funding for the CALPADS program and not take away from this already established and effective program. On behalf of the Elk Grove USD and all the districts that have applied, I implore you to stop holding EETT ARRA dollars hostage and to immediately release the funding – while there is still time to ensure that teachers will receive the professional development needed to bridge unacceptable achievement gaps and digital divides.  Using the EETT ARRA money to provide students with better access to information technologies and teachers with the training on how to use those information technologies makes a key difference in our schools—not just in improving CST scores but also in increasing students’ and teachers’ abilities to use 21st-century literacy tools.

I’m told it’s basically a done deal: the Assembly will take the EETT money from the classroom and use it to fund the P-20 data-gathering program Calpads.  Already knowing that yet one more program for measuring academic acheivement is not likely to directly benefit students, I think it’s worth our time and effort to fight for a program that is making a difference, especially in our Title 1 schools.

CUE 2010 Take Aways

CUE 2010 Take Aways

I attended some great CUE sessions, both for the resources shared and the presenters’ engaging presentation styles.

Thursday Sessions:

  • Internet Safety Awareness: I blogged this  outstanding session live- and a week later am still thinking about the question Larry Magid poses to ‘tweens and teens: What does it mean to be a friend in 2010?
  • Sharing Stories with Google Earth – Joe Wood – Between the resources Joe shares and his engaging, energetic, humor-infused style, his sessions are always fabulous. I’m going to keep checking his website where he has promised to upload a live recording of the session.  As soon as  that happens, I’ll update this post, so you can see first-hand how Joe used Google Earth and Google Maps for a digital story of his childhood.  In the meantime, for Google Earth resources and ideas, check my Friday section below.

Friday Sessions:

  • Google Tools for Educators: LACOE’s Nancy Moore and Chris Jones led this hands-on session. They set up a great resource page to guide us through the workshop and for later use.  It’s been a while since I’ve looked at Google Books, but, oh my, the huge assortment of books and magazines in the public domain is pretty impressive, including Life Magazine from the beginning!I really liked the main workshop activity: Using Google Maps to annotate the stops mentioned in Thomas Slocum’s 1899 book Sailing Alone Around the World. Having Nancy and Chris’s handy Google Maps tutorial as a reference really helped everyone delve into the task.
  • Teaching Internet Literacy as a Genre – Heather Wolpert-Gawron – This presentation just hummed along, starting with Heather’s opening statement: “We can’t assume that a good offline reader is a good online reader, or that a good reader of one genre is a good reader of another.” A few take-aways from Heather’s session:
    • Think aloud – Narrate everything!  Teaching Internet literacy is about methodical think aloud.
    • Tap into Amazon.com. Use the “largest mall in the world” for teaching navigation tools. “Without navigation tools in their heads, students will fall into shopping traps.”
    • Twitter – If you follow science feeds or history or news feeds you can break for a “syn-nap” and check out the link. “Syn-nap”  = spontaneous learning – stop and act on Twitter news item.
    • Teach basic rules of netiquette for commenting on a blog.  Let students use emoticons, which help them to find their writer’s voice.  Have students take a netiquette quiz.
    • Formal writing vs. texting – there’s a time and place (compare to shorthand – a great analogy to share with administrators who are concerned that text-speak is eroding students’ writing skills) – use for notetaking. There’s a time and a place.
  • Extreme Makeover: Education Edition- No Blog? No Wiki? No Twitter: No Problem! Steve Dembo. I picked this session because I’ve never heard Steve Dembo present before. I have to say, he’s right up there with his DEN colleague Hall Davidson – what a stage presence! I didn’t think I would have any take-aways from this session (just because I’m already an enthusiastic user of blogs, wikis, and Twitter), but I was wrong: iPadio.com!It took about a minute to register for this extremely user-friendly tool. Thanks to iPadio, I’m over the heartbreak of losing GCast.com  as my favorite tool for podcasting from my cell phone.  Three minutes after posting my first ‘phlog,’ I had an email from the iPadio team, welcoming me into the community and providing me with more tips.  Checkout iPadio’s speech to text feature…Oh my, oh my, think of the possibilities…


Saturday Sessions:

  • Using Technology to Make the Reading/Writing Connection – Arnie Uretsky – I’m not sure  by paraphrasing Arnie’s key points that I could do justice to his unrolling of the reading/writing connection, so I’m pulling some direct quotes from his handout:

Everything we read was written first.  It’s a simple idea but a profound one. Understanding the structure used to construct a story or essay can provide powerful entry into developing reading comprehension and fluency….We all give lip service to the fact that reading and writing are interconnected skills, but often we don’t directly teach the common elements that are critical to both activities…

…With my students I use the analogy of multiplication and division to illustrate the relationship between reading and writing.  Multiplication and division are opposites of the same concept.  The same is true of reading and writing.  When you read information, you put the information together from the text you are reading, much like putting together sets in multiplication.  When you are writing, especially when you are writing in response to literature (or science, social studies or math), you are deconstructing the elements of the story or essay so you can cogently explain them to others.  Good readers also systematically deconstruct what they read.  …”

Throughout the session, Arnie stressed the importance of explicitly teaching schema to our students.”Students need something to hang their thinking on.”  Graphic organizers are a must!

  • Read/Write/Think – I’ve been a long-time fan of NCTE’s site and am familiar with their Student Interactives, such as the Diamonte builder and the Story Map builder. The one drawback to this great site is students can’t save their work on this site – so print it!
  • Scholastic Graphic Organizers – All the graphic organizers provided by Scholastic are PDF’s, so you can save them and print them. Another take-away from this session: If your students have been working with Read/Write/Think’s character traits graphic organizer, you can pull up Scholastic’s printable Character Sheet and Traits List, print it out poster-size and now you’ll have a character chart for you wall.
  • Tools for Reading, Writing, and Thinking – Need graphic organizers for teaching cause and effect? Checkout these cause and effect formats.
  • Writer’s Companion – This is the companion website for Arnie’s program.  I’ve looked at this well-thought-out program before  – and always walk away with the understanding that Writer’s Companion offers more for the reluctant writer than Inspiration.  If I had $ to purchase software for grades 4-8, I’d chose Writer’s Companion in a flash.

CUE 2010 – Ah, so many tools, so little time; so many great presenters, so little time; so many opportunities to connect and re-connect with the CUE community…

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