Monday, August 30, 2010

Cultivating a Digital Classroom (Part 1 of 3)

Cultivating a Digital Classroom is the topic that Debbie Harris and myself will be facilitating at the 3 professional development district days.

Debbie modelling how to use Prezi and talking about different ways to communicate with parents and students.
The group that I had was lovely.  We quickly watched a few videos, made avatars and got ourselves set up in Moodle.


For the afternoon, I introduced my top 10 tech tools and the remainder of the day was spent creating something to be used during the first week of school.  While wallwisher failed a few times on us, Prezi and Photopeach were heard around the room.
We left with a commitment to share in October something we did in our classrooms that we learned today.  We also decided in October we want to explore social media and opportunities to connect outside our classroom using Facebook, Twitter and Blogs.

And then left on a happy note....

Smartboard Tips from SRRA

Spent a lovely Friday afternoon at Spirit River Regional Academy where we divided the day learning about Moodle and Smartboards.

Top 5 Tips for Using your SMARTboard

  1. Gallery Interactives - make any lesson interactive, QUICKLY & EASILY, with the lesson activity toolkit. My favourites: vortex, category sort, multiple choice

2. Print to Notebook - turn any file into a notebook file. Just open your Word, PowerPoint or PDF and select Print --> SmartNotebook Capture.

3. Borrow ready to use Notebook Files - there are lots of resources out there, find something to start from and modify it to

4. Link to website or files (make your lesson clickable, no searching!)

5. Install Notebook at home!  You will need to use your PWSD user name and password.

You can find a printable version of these 5 tips here.

While exploring the SMART Exchange we found a morning calender that everyone liked and wanted to use. 

I have modified it to have Canadian icons and it is available for download here.

Thanks for a wonderful day!  Can't wait to come back!

Thursday, August 26, 2010

5 + 1 First Day Suggestions!

1) Create a Game to get to know your class.  Choose from one of the many PowerPoint or Notebook templates (As a Social Studies teacher, the first day always included Current Event Jeopardy)

2) Borrow some of these ideas from 14 Interesting Ways to Get to Know Your New Class

3) Watch an inspirational video, can your class make one?

4) Download Edutopia's Back to School Guide which is packed with lots of great ideas for the start of the school year

5) What is your sentence going to be this year?  My class did this last year and posted them up on the wall as reminders of our goal for the year.

Two questions that can change your life from Daniel Pink on Vimeo.

6) Borrow some First Day of School Notebook Lessons from the SMART Exchange.  There are lot of pre-made and ready to go files for attendance, calender and school routines.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

New Teacher Ed Tech Orientation

I had the privilege to spend an hour and a half with new (or at least new to PWSD's September) teachers to our district.  The time went by way too fast and these lovely ladies and gentlemen are going to keep me on my toes this year.

We did a basic overview of PWSD's systems using this short Prezi.

Some of the WOW, I need to remember this items included:
  • Sharepoint : once you are logged in at home you have access to your My Documents!  No more emailing back and forth or putting things on memory sticks.
  • Resources : if you need some one stop shopping for resources remember that Collaboration has resources for subject & div level as well as Education Technology resources.  You also have access to all my public bookmarks, just use the navigation on the right side to narrow down what you are looking for.
  • E-Community : with over 700 courses created there is lots here to borrow! Browse through other courses and if something jumps out as useful to you, drop me an email and we can move that over to your course page. We did get a chance to work a bit in ecommunity, where almost everyone added a title, link to a website and embedded a video. There are lots of Moodle how-tos here.
Darcy come in from IT to answer all the tough questions
  • Internet filters : yes we have then, they are a site based decision so talk to your administrator
  • Server space: teachers have a soft 5 GB limit
  • Network access forms : need to be submitted before you can do anything on a PWSD system!
So fast and furious but hopefully a little bit fun!

Monday, August 23, 2010

Ideas for a new year

Looking for a quick video to start a staff discussion or get the creative juices flowing.  Consider using one of following...

Social Media Revolution
What does this mean for our classrooms?  How can we harness and work with social media to make curriculum more engaging?  If you are interested in using social media this year and would like some help, please drop me an email.

21st Century Education in New Brunswick
Looks like New Brunswick is doing some fabulous work, but so are we at Peace Wapiti.  Let's lift the roof off of our schools and start recording and publishing the wonderful work that goes on everyday.  Interested and need some help, drop me an email.

Top 10 Video's for 21st Century Schools (Introducing the Book is my favourite!)

Seven Videos all Educators should Watch (Watch "What Teacher's Make!)

Monday, August 9, 2010

Top 10 for 2009/10

In no particular order, the tools that I found the most useful and engaging this past school year!

1) Photopeach has the motto "Fresh Slideshows to Go" and is another tool for student presentations.  It does require the student to set up an account but once in a super easy interface guides them through uploading images, adding captions and finally music.  The slide show then can be linked or embedded in moodle or webpage.
Meiji Restoration on PhotoPeach

2) Word Clouds are an awesome way to make visuals from any text.  Earlier this year wordle, my go to word cloud website went down, and many other word cloud websites popped up.  A favourite of my students was tagxedo, which allowed them to change the shape of the cloud and then save it.  My favourite thing to do is make a word cloud and use it for vocabulary and making predictions about the text.

3) Bubblus is a mindmapping website.  While students can create an account and save their maps to work on another day, they also can just start mapping so long as they finish in one sitting. The map can then be downloaded as a JPG.

4) Prezi slogan is "The zooming presentation editor" and the more it zooms, the more the students love it.  This presentation tools allows videos, images and documents to be embedded into it.  This site does require students to create an account but they can create an educational account.  The final presentation can be embed into moodle or website.  See two examples of how student's used Prezi's here and here.

5) Wallwisher: "Words that Stick" this web 2.0 tool allows you to create a virtual sticky wall.  Students do not have to login, but can double click on the wall you make, add text and image or video.  Check out this presentation for various ways to use Wallwisher in the classroom.

6) Voki allows  you to create personalized speaking avatar.  Without creating an account students have a limited number of avatar choices and 30 seconds of recordable time (from mic, text or upload MP3 file) but with account creation comes more choices and recordable time.  The finished avatar can be linked or embedded in moodle or webpage.

7) Cartoons are a great way to have students tell a story, explain a concept or illustrate big ideas.  There are a number of cartoon creators online but my favourite is stripgenerator simply because it is easy to use.  While there are not a lot of options, it gets the job done.  With an account creator cartoons can be saved, however, I tend to skip creating an account and get student to take a screen shot instead.

8) Big Huge Labs allows you to do "Fun Stuff with Photo's"  My favourites to use with students in the motivator, which I blogged about here, and the trading card.  There are dozens of tools there to explore.

9) Twitter was my motivational tool this year.  Using twitter I connect with hundreds and hundreds of teachers daily.  We share ideas, offer suggestions and encourage each other to try new things.  More on this in the near future!
10) Last but not least Moodle which acts as the glue to hold everything above together!  A one shop stopping place to house the links to the websites, places for students to hand in and embed their work.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Moodle Tool Guide for Teachers

An awesome one page guide created by @catspyjamasnz (follow her on Twitter) that helps you match what you want to do with the best moodle tool for the job! 

Go here to download the PDF.