Muddling through the blogosphere

October 15, 2008
by blogwalker

Technology for English Language Learners with Alice Mercer

Alice Mercer, my friend and next-door-neighbor from Sac City USD, is starting her session on tech for EL students – and special ed too, starting with her third Grade on Friendship.

Alice’s tips on where to infuse technology:

  • record pair shares and oral responses
  • Use online visual tools (Inspiration)
  • Scan and post student drawings
  • Photograph realia and post
  • Post student writing with voice over and images to support
  • Record Readers Theater
  • Do reports on topics

On to  Alice’s take on VoiceThread – like PowerPoint online – Uses VT for front end loading. Concept & Question board. Flickr – sign up for Safe Search parameters + Creative Commons licensing. Teach older students how to do favoring. Select images, right click and save image location. Into menu of VT. Flickr = your own. So use URL, right click and paste to import pictures. be sure to add URL links for credit. Using comment tool, have kids record.

Other tools and suggestions:

  • Anita Archer technique: What would be an example of friendship – or non-friendship.
  • Advanced unit: – Online thesaurus. Has speaker option too.
  • Motivator – makes posters.
  • Start PowerPoint and move into MovieMaker- upgrades PPt because kids write script. Amy Bissonett – Intellectual Properties attorney – helped get permission to transform a Hampton-Brown story. Transformation intellectually by extending the character’s actions via radio show. Transformation = Fair Use.
  • BrainPop – use at beginning or end? Gary Stager upset about BrainPop’s simplicity – but serves as great into our summation.

Lots of well-deserved applause for Alice’s preso:-)

October 15, 2008
by blogwalker

Google’s Cool Tools and Possible Projects with Rushton Hurley

I’m heading into ILC Session 2 with Rushton Hurley, one of my favorite presenters from NECC 2008. He starts in a few minutes, but already has Simon’s Cat playing for our waiting entertainment.

Rushton’s starting with statement that kids learn more when they’re having a good time – and I’ll add – teachers too – which is pretty much guaranteed with Rushton’s style.

Address for Rushton’s preos resources:

Why Google stuff?

  • powerful
  • collaborative
  • well-prices
  • time-efficient

Google Doc, Spreadsheets, and Presentations – Allow us to create Office application stuff online. Google Docs online eliminates “living hell” of sending versions back and forth. Shared spreadsheet of collaborative blogging projects. Google Presentations – allows kids to get to presentation at anytime as long as you identify kids as viewers and collaborators.

Google Notebook – Another collaborative piece. Download a plugin for browser (piclens or CoolIris- calls up photo wall – great way to get kids’ attention. Great for vocabulary. You have option to right-click and note cooliris in Google Notebook. You can put things in sets (like photosynthesis). Just identify someone as a collaborator. But you do have to download plugin. How to use with kids – teaching them to cite their sources.

Google Sites – compared to wiki

Google Earth – Requires plugin

Google Maps – Rather than filtering – is it a good thing that you can see someone’s house? Message to kids: don’t put your address out there. Checkout Google Map on California MIssions.

Sketch Up – 3D modeling program – essentially FREE audocad program. Great tools for designing area, for instance. 3D warehouse – bring in trees for example. Shadow tool, for instance, as you scroll through year, great for initiating discussions.  “We need to use tools in such a way as to really get kids asking questions.” Could be great science tool to because you can do inside too.

Google Book Search – full view – find Danger and Other Stories (Arthur Connan Doyle) – let kids read it on the computer

iGoogle – add widgets (online stopwatch, Nat’l Geo pic of day) It’s a front page

Advanced Search – storyboard template. By file type very useful.

Educators Group – use online resources to find other teachers – classroom posters, organizations, and more!

PowerPoint – Being a Project Amigo Video. ( No video – all pictures. Big question: is kid listening or not?

Why we do this:

  • another way to show learning
  • confidence
  • improve quality of student work
  • good for ELL, LD kids
  • personal impact
  • expanding the audience

I’m only two sessions into the conference, but I’m sure Rushton’s session will remain at the top of my favorites list.

October 15, 2008
by blogwalker

ILC Session 1 – Learning in a Digital Age: The Differentiators

I first heard Cheryl Lemke, from the Metiri Group, three years ago at a CUE conference. Every conference since, I’ve looked for her name in the program. So here I am at the ILC conference in San Jose, waiting for Cheryl to start her session – already knowing I’ll be leaving the kinds of research gems I can use for future grant writing ventures, such as her recently released paper on multimodal writing.

Her opening question: what are the 2st Century tools that serve 21st century learning? The research shows that it’s not enough to just focus on the cognitive – we have to focus on the social/emotional perspective of learning. Fact: adolescents are now learning 24/7 via mass collaborations. But are we preparing our students to come into venues: peers, home, distributed resources – to work effectively and ethically. It’s all about “learning with understanding.” We now know that it’s not just having the information, but how students take the information and tie it into a schema – which requires out being on board with them.

  • Sustained Discussion (Fred Newman) – Like the ball of yarn. Blog example = Meyer’s AP Government – Our Daily Show. How do we jump from just posting to sustained conversations. Having one’s name referenced (via a find) reveals threads = sustained conversation. But how do you get kids to go back and add substantive comments?
    • IES Practice Guide – Sustained discussion increases adolescent literacy, but not much in way of sustained discussions happening in typical classrooms.
  • Authenticity
    • Deep Learning (higher order thinking) – Example 1 – ASCEND, Oakland CA, in collaboration with George Lucas Foundation. Uses “expeditionary” learning. Students identify area of inquiry. Teachers tapping into student interests.
      Example 2 – Actionable Algebra (Oklahoma high school teacher)- Teacher poses question that students investigate: for example, what kind of cell phone plan would be best for your family? Students investigate and then turn findings into algebraic formulas. She has podcasts available for students, such as quadratic equations.
      Example 3 – WISE – out of Berkeley. Inquiry science – free! Check out TELS Project or Deformed Frogs (allows teams of students to sign in and saves their work).
    • Student construction of knowledge
    • Relevance beyond the classroom
  • Setting up for authentic learning units:
    • Determine what’s the topic (ie Ancient Greece)
    • Who cares about the topic? (travel agents)
    • Potential projects – Kids create historic tours of Greece
  • Make preconceptions visible – ie, What keeps a COKE cold? tinfoil or sweater? if you don’t deal with those, they’ll always serve as barriers. Software: Read 180 software: scaffolds prior knowledge, uses video to lay a foundation, and then builds reading, writing, and spelling off that.

Engagement matters! Even the US Dept of Ed realizes this fact.

Measuring levels of engagement – 5 levels:

  1. instrinsically motivated – kids tend to have learning goals
  2. tactical kids – also learn, but have extrinsic goals ($, get into Harvard)
  3. compliant
  4. withdrawn
  5. defient

Ways to engage kids:

  • link content to their interests
  • give them choice
  • enable collaborationBlogWalker › Edit — WordPress
  • ensure intellectual safety
  • differentiate
  • clearly outline expectations
  • assign relevant work
  • focus on effort, not intelligence
  • facilitate presentations

Visual learning:

Democratization of digital content – David Bolinsky via TED – cell biology and animation at Harvard.

Research behind visual learning: Mayer (UCSB) – Great graph on working memory. Shows that we need to worry about motivation in order to get information into students’ working memories. “Just to use text and sound is not to fully tap into learning.”

Great session! I’ll be back for Cheryl’s afternoon session.

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