Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Connected Educator

I had a short presentation at our monthly admin meeting this morning where I wanted to show the power of being a connected educator.  An hour before I was to start I tweeted out:
I have been tweeting for just over a year and know that Twitter is something that makes my job easier, more fulfilling and generally just makes me happy to connect with all these fabulous people.  However trying to show that is sometimes difficult, but not today!!

Thanks to my wonderful PLN I think we have a number of administrators that are convinced!

Here is some quick ways to get started:

1) Watch this...Twitter in 60 seconds

2) Sign up for Twitter

3) Download Tweetdeck, it will make your Twitter experience so much better!

4) Find Friends and Hashtags to follow

Might I suggest: #pwsd #abed #edchat and #cpchat
And this list of fine PWSD educators

cc licensed flickr photo shared by The Daring Librarian

Monday, November 29, 2010

November Administrators Meeting

At this meeting we will be going over the Educational Technology in our district for this year. We will also start working on becoming Connected Principals.

Back Channel: either Tweet wtih #pwsd or join http://todaysmeet.com/novadmin

Digital Storytelling: A Day

For a recent school assignment I had to create a digital story.  Being some what creatively challenged I told the story of a day in the life of my job as Educational Technology Coordinator for Peace Wapiti School District.  Wanting a bit of a challenged I set out to create the story completely on my iPhone.  Here are 3 different versions.

This first story was created using a free application called StoryKit. You can find the story here.  What I liked about this application is that I could use capture multiple voices for my story.  I could also crop the images right on my phone.

The second story was created using StoryRobe, another free app.  What I liked about this is how it rendered as a YouTube video.

The final story was created using PhotoPeach which is a free web application.  It is crazy simple to use.

PWSD Educational Technology on PhotoPeach

For a more complete analysis please visit my other blog.

5 Things I Learned at #atle10

1) It's about relationships! I met so many people in real life for the first time. They were just as open, genuine, caring, willing to listen and share as they are in the virtual world. So many new friend were made too, some of even connected to find out we live just down the road from one another. And it is always nice to spend time face to face with the Northern Tech Group. Significant steps forward we made in creating a provincial Moodle sharing spot. It was about the people!

2) iPods are for entertainment and education. I attended an awesome session about Chinook's Edge iPod project. Terry-Ann Robertson is so excited about the project and the changes she has seen in her school that you can't help but be excited along with her. I tried to get all the apps she mentioned down, but she was flying, and promised us a website in the near future. I am wondering if I can swing down for a visit, I would love to see their project in action.

3) Google Apps or Live @ Edu ? Does it matter? There was lots of sharing about what these cloud computing tools can do for students! For students! These tools hold the potential for students to have the anytime, anywhere, anyplace access that is needed.

4) Twitter was fast and furious and I think we have a few converts. Every session I was in had someone helping show twitter or tweetdeck or hashtags. Lots of covert looking at name tags, happy introductions and trying to figure out who actually looks like their avatar. We even had a few twitter stalking moments as people finally met up for the first time.

5) I love elluminate! I got to help moderate the elluminate sessions and learn from the master himself Pat Bohnet.

For each session our virtual room filled and the back channel was awesome. What was not so awesome is the 3 second delay that I listened to, but with the recordings here I get to back and review them again and again.

It was an awesome 3 days and I can't wait until next year!

A Story Before Bedtime

Guest Blogger: Terry Hildebrand, Bezanson School

The web site is called AStoryBeforeBed.com. It is a site with many on line books for ages 1-9. You can record the books orally and with a web cam there is a picture of you reading the book. There are some free books to practice on to just try the site out. You can purchase a classroom licence for $99 and a school licence for $499.00. This give you the ability to record about 29 books unlimited number of times. Lots of classics and old stories that children love. They add to the site often.

Here is an example of Xavier and the Wind:

How we are using it:

1. I first found this site as a free app for my I-Pad under educational sites. It allows me to read books for my grandsons and then e-mail the books to them and they can hear and watch Gramma read them a story before bed.

2. We presented the site to parents at our literacy night as a place they might like to take their children to read a story on line and send it to grandparents, uncles, aunts - etc.

We had a few students demonstrate the recording of a book. You can practice it several times before actually submitting it. Once it is submittted it is your book you can send it to multiple people.

3. We are using it now in our school to have students read stories, record themselves reading and then send them to family or fellow students. For the younger students we received e-mail addresses from their parents so they have control over who the stories are sent to.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Importing Flash Animations to Notebook

Guest Blogger: Tina Sauder, Savanna School

I love PD days and see them as a way to continue to network with my “people” (other science teachers) and I always leave sessions having at least one ah-ha moment that jump-starts the creativity in my classroom. This year, my PD role has changed from teacher as learner to teacher as facilitator. I have been working with junior and senior science high teachers to show them how SMART Boards can be used in their classrooms as part of their everyday practice.

We began our sessions by using a web polling application (polleverywhere.com) to see where everyone was in terms of availability to SMART Boards and their experience using the Notebook software. Most had boards, but fewer were using the software. I was glad to know I really did have something to offer (I truly had my doubts when I first said I would do this!) and we got to work. The material covered was basically the same for the junior high group as it was for the senior high group, but the thing that had the most impact was learning how to import Flash animations (those that end in .swf) from the web into SMART Notebook. For science teachers, there is a bonanza of Flash objects on the web that make teaching topics like diffusion, osmosis, the circulatory system and titration so easy. We spend so much time mining the net to find these animations it is very discouraging find that when we go back to them again the next year using a saved web-link, the link is often dead. By bringing the Flash object into Notebook, once the file is saved, it will always be there …no more dead links to deal with!

I made a video showing the steps for saving Flash objects into Notebook from Internet Explorer. There are other ways to do the same thing in Firefox and Safari that are much easier, but most of us have Explorer as our default at school. I am certain that teachers of other subjects will have as much use for this how-to as science teachers do.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Tagxedo & Social 7

Tagxedo is a word cloud creator that runs on Silverlight.  Silverlight was recently added to PWSD core supported software list, which means it will be installed on all machines.  There are lots of interesting ways to integrate word clouds into the classroom but here is just one.

Working with Ann Nordhagen from Hythe Regional School we developed a lesson using word clouds around the Social Studies 7 curriculum.  Specifically the effects of Imperialism. 

In class students brainstormed all the effects of imperialism.  They came up with 3 pages worth of effects.  When they came to the computer lab we asked them to narrow it down to the top 5-7 effects and start making a word cloud
Once their cloud was created and they played around with the settings we asked them determine what they believed was the number one effect of imperialism.  The size of a word in a cloud is determined by the mode, or frequency, of the words entered, so the effect the student determined to be the greatest would then be typed over and over
to make it the largest word in the cloud.

With a little time left in class we asked the students to make an explorers word cloud.  This time adding the names of famous Canadian explorers and then give the 5 characteristics that made them great, again typing the characteristic that is most significant more often.
Students created a beautiful visual of a difficult critical thinking skill, siginficance of a criteria. 

Monday, November 1, 2010

Cultivating a Digital Classroom (Day 2 of 3)

The whole gang.
Another fabulous day with an amazing group of teachers.  Thanks for hanging in there as I coughed, sneezed and made the FM system make horrible noises.  All of the resources for the day can be found here, under intermediate.

We started the day by signing up for Twitter.  I just finished posting on the PWSD twits below.

Team PWA
After a little inspirational video, we shared what we had been doing in our classrooms in the two months since we had last met.  In August when we met we spent the session working on creating) There were some amazing stories shared about what worked and what didn't work.  PWA teachers shared students were using what they learned in their classrooms, Prezi and Glogster, and were transferring that to other classes and their personal life.  Bezanson shared this fabulous website, A Story Before Bedtime, that they highlighted to parents at the literacy parent's night.  And there were a few that just could not hide their love for Moodle! There were also some challenges shared.  Quite a few teachers have created Facebook groups for their classes but students are just not joining.  Technology had failed at times, files were lost or computer labs were full.  However, the good definitely outweighed the bad.

Team Bezanson
Team Sexsmith

Another video, Changing Education Paradigms and short discussion before we set to work on designing some technology projects for the upcoming weeks.
After lunch we launched into using Outlook to subscribe to RSS.  Since my voice was going and the technology failed me slightly, I created the video below to add some clarity to what I was trying to demonstrate. (This is 2nd only to Twitter in my personal technology toolkit) 

Thanks to all the teachers that participated, they day could not have happened without you.  Looking forward to our next meeting in January!