Been needing that place to keep all of your notes organized and together?
With Evernote, you can keep all of your notes in one spot, and since it is online, you have your notes with you at all times without carrying around that stack of papers.
However, nothing could prepare me for the tremendous paradigm shift that 1:1 iPads brought to my classroom. I truly felt like I was trying to building an airplane while it was already in the air.
I began that first year with trepidation and frustration. I had no clue how I was going to manage a classroom full of students with immediate access to the internet and to all of the other wonderful advantages the iPad would allow. Recognizing the awesomeness of the iPad was the first step in overcoming my trepidation. Managing it effectively was the second and more difficult hurdle.
It forced me to give up some control of my classroom and to allow students to choose applications that aligned with what we were learning and with needs of each individual student!
iPad Workflow: The Early Days
I had the students utilizing the iPad to research, create, synthesize, analyze, draw, record, and conclude. They were USING the tool. Yet, the MANAGEMENT was literally causing me to want to throw the iPads out the window.
In my mind, there had to be a better way than the system I was using. In the first year, I used email exclusively to send and receive information. I would send an email to a class or a grade with an attachment of what I wanted the students to do. They would complete the task (hopefully), and with any luck, they would send the item back to me via email. Imagine having 120 7th and 8th grade students from 6 different classes! On any given day, I might receive 120 emails with 120 attachments in my email inbox. The emails were received in no particular order at no particular time. Some students would forget to attach the document. Some simply wouldn’t send it. My first intuition was to create email folders with email rules so certain emails from certain students would enter into that class’s folder. For example, Sally is a student in my 3rd period 8th grade class. Any time I received an email from Sally, it would enter into that folder. This helped in de-cluttering my inbox, but the folders were still overwhelming me. If I gave three tasks during the week, I might find time to look at all of them, but how was I going to give the students feedback on their work? How was I going to sort through the multiple assignments to know which email from which student contained the particular assignment or task I was wanting to grade?
The next idea was to encourage students to title their documents. Before this revelation, most students were simply attaching documents that were entitled “blank” or “blank 12” (since it was the 12th untitled document they had created). I figured that if I told them to simply name the document, it would cure all of my ills. It helped, but it wasn’t the answer. Next came titling the emails with an appropriate subject. Instead of sending untitled subject lines, I will tell students to send an email with the title of the assignment (cell venn diagram, for example). Did this improve my 1:1 “work flow” nightmare? Not really.
Year Two Solutions
Year two brought about the revelation of using a website to “post” all of my documents for a particular unit. This helped the kids to have access to my materials whenever they wanted, but it provided no answer for how students were going to submit their work to me. It also provided no effective mechanism for providing feedback to students for the work that they had produced. Year three was just more of the same old, same old. I was posting documents on my lame website and students would try to remember to attach the appropriately named document to an appropriately titled email and send it to me on time. At that point, I would open the email, open the attachment, and evaluate the work. I would then reply to the email with comments about the work that they had completed.
I clearly remember having one class complete a task via this method, and I had another class simply complete the task on paper. Assessing the electronically submitted version took me 3 hours for one class. The paper assessing process took under 30 minutes. It was at this point last year that I was ready to throw in the towel. I would have the students use the iPad for its internet capabilities but would I was no longer to going to use the iPad as my “work flow” management system.
Finally, Google Classroom!
This fall, Google Classroom was introduced. It has solved my nearly all of my “work flow” nightmares. According to Google, “Google Classroom is a learning management system for schools that aims to simplify creating, distributing, and grading assignments.” Google Classroom was the solution to my problem. No more emails. No more laborious grading procedures via email and other apps. No more “blank 12” documents. No more wondering whether a student submitted their assignment in on time. Google Classroom has a cure for all of those ills.
Each assignment has its own subfolder within each class folder. Google Classroom has been my “work flow” savior. It does everything it says it does. My students love it. I love it. I truly feel I am utilizing and managing my 1:1 devices to their maximum potential. My classroom is being run more efficiently. My time and my students’ time are being used more effectively.
Google Classroom Screenshots
This is a screenshot of a stream. Each classroom has a stream where you can post assignments or announcements. Note that each assignment can have a due date assigned to it. Documents are attached to the assignment. Classroom keeps track of who has and who has not turned it in. It will even show you if they turn it in late.
This is the view you get as a teacher when you click on a specific assignment. Note, I have not graded this one yet. It gives you a choice regarding what point value you want to assign the task. You can post the grade right on this screen. You can also post a private note to the student. Know also that whatever you grade you post can only be seen by the student that receives the grade. The student screen will only show their grade.
This is the first time I've ever gone to the ITEC conference and I'm so glad I got to go! I've always been one who loves technology and using it to enhance student learning and build independent critical thinkers. This conference and its presenters just reinforced my beliefs regarding the benefits and importance of using technology to build 21st Century learners.
Adam Bellows was the Keynote speaker and I also attended his session that provided many different tools and websites. He made a very good point, we don't always have to know all the tools available just be willing to try 1 new thing each week. Pushing ourselves to utilize all technology has to offer our students. He provided so many tools that I have found very useful!
These are some he gave that I've found as a Special Education Teacher helpful in adapting and accommodating learning for students with academic or behavioral needs so they can access the same education as their peers. For students who have difficulty spelling, on the iPad they can use Siri for speech to text. For students struggling with editing or revising work they can have their writing read back to them. My students who have high listening comprehension benefit from the use of apps that can have books read to them (Read to Go, Raz Kids, Story Builder), practice building fluency with (Read Live), or create their own story and bring it to life on the story builder website (www.clpgh.org/kids/storymaker/).
Motivation or incentives for students to take an active part in their learning can be very challenging. Some of the apps he discussed that I think could be used as incentive or a way to engage students in learning are: a website where you can create your own music- www.ujam.com/ujamstudio. Then Remind.com where you can set reminders for certain dates, send attachments, assignment reminders. I've used this with my students and its been a great tool for learning responsibility.
What are your favorite things about Team Shake?
1. Team Shake quickly sorts children into any number of groups needed.
2. It can also pick one random student from the list.
3. You can easily mark absent students before sorting.
4. Multiple lists of students can be placed in it for special teachers.
5. Student lists can be imported.
6. Team Shaker allows you to put in information about male/female and an ability level with a range of 5 levels. You can mark in settings to sort students by gender and/or ability.
How does this app save you time?
No more scrambling to get students into groups. Groups are made quickly with the push of one button. No more days of spending time making groups, then students are absent, so you need to rearrange. Once groups are made, the groups can be projected for students to view.
How much does this app cost?
99 cents. It does go free sometimes.
The third graders at Southeast utilized technology in the classroom in a new way. I created a math worksheet that would allow the students to practice their computation skills. Each math problem had a corresponding QR code. Each code led the students to a note page with the answer to that particular math problem. After creating the QR codes, I printed them and stationed them around the room, two codes for every iPad, with a total of 10 codes. The students took a completed math worksheet and went to the different stations around the room where they had to scan the QR code to help them correct their paper. The activity allowed students to get acquainted with the QR code app and learn how to scan codes.
Post by Cassie McCaslin, 3rd Grade Teacher at Southeast Elementary
"Patience is always a virtue when working with technology."
Let me introduce myself, my name is Milora Johanns and this is my first year in the technology department here at WSR Middle School. My current job title is Technology Associate, but I have worn many hats and worked within the district since 2001. Special education para-educator was my previous job, this position sparked my current interest in technology. When I took the job of Technology Associate I was not sure what I would be doing. My job description was "duties as assigned," and to this day, I don’t believe they have all been assigned!
We have a spreadsheet with the running total of iPads that have been repaired within the District. To date, there have been 130 repairs in grades 5-12, with three techs making these repairs. The paperwork needs to be filed for each repair documenting parts and explanation, in case anyone calls with questions. I also send a letter home with the student whose iPad was repaired with an explanation and bill for repairs. Finally, I enter the bills in Infinite Campus, allowing parents to pay online if they choose.
In addition to working with iPads, as my desk is in a computer lab, I am also in charge of maintaining the 30 computers and a printer/copier located there.
There are various programs that need to be added or updated on the lab computers, and the printer is the only place the iPads in our school print to, creating a steady stream of students coming in for printing. In addition to these responsibilities, I also troubleshoot other building tech-issues such as connection problems with Apple TVs or general computer issues.
Between assisting students, fixing iPads, and more, there is never a dull moment as a technology associate. My husband wonders why I’m tired when I get home...I get to play with iPads all day, how hard can that be?
Blog written by Milora Johanns, WSR Technology Associate
"We had three goals in mind: talk to students about their digital footprint, bring awareness to cyberbullying, and ask students to make a commitment to do the right thing online."
Having access to technology, especially in a 1:1 environment, comes with responsibility. When I think back to my own years in middle school, I vividly recall being teased via a handwritten note that circulated in my 5th period science class calling me unmentionable names. As devastating as that was for me as a 12-year-old, I can only imagine what that same experience would be like today with the access to technology that our middle school students have at their fingertips. Would I have been bullied via Facebook? Twitter? Instagram? Instead of an audience of 25 students in my science class, would the audience have been in the hundreds?
In response to this data, Lyndsi Luck, MS Media/Tech Coach, Barbie Bass, MS Interventionist and I immediately started planning a school-wide Digital Citizenship Campaign. We had three goals in mind: talk to students about their digital footprint, bring awareness to cyberbullying, and ask students to make a commitment to do the right thing online.
One of our Tech Team students created a touching video with clips of students showing what they see happening online and what they will do to stop it. The powerful song, “Stand Up” by Sugarland played in the background. At the conclusion of the assembly, all students and staff were on their feet!
AEA267 1:1 Conference Reflection
I started using Pinterest shortly after its creation several years ago. Since my first day of messing around on it and creating different “boards”, I have been slightly addicted. It is so easy to sit down and spend hours pinning and organizing hundreds of fabulous ideas. For years, I used Pinterest solely for ways and ideas to better myself: recipes that were sure to turn me into a gourmet chef, exercise plans that would make me look like a fitness model, DIY projects and crafts that would allow me to rival Martha Stewart, and home improvement ideas that were sure to land me a job on HGTV. It was fun, easy-to-use, and motivating (even if it really didn’t accomplish any of those things).
Here are some of the takeaways I left the session with:
1. Have students use Pinterest boards for group projects. You can create boards that multiple people can pin to, so students in a group could all originally pin ideas that they want to bring to the group. This would almost be like an individual brainstorm session before the group came together; it would give a “voice” to every student in the group. Additionally, it would allow them to all visually see and keep track of ideas. They could easily delete things they want to at any time. For example, they could pin pictures they want to include in a presentation, YouTube videos that deal with their topic, great websites to visit, etc.
2. Have students individually use a board to keep track of research. It would almost be like creating an annotated bibliography. They could pin each site they visit and write themselves a brief note in the Comments area about what information was on that site. This would be a great way to keep all of their sources available in one place.
3. Use a Pinterest board as a book project. Students could create a board named after their book title and then pin things that relate to various aspects of the book such as plot, characters, setting, theme, symbolism, etc. Again, they could explain their pins in the comments section. It would be a fun and easy way for the students to view each other’s’ projects as well; they would simply have to follow each other’s boards.
I’m sure there are numerous other ways students could use Pinterest in a classroom, but these were some great ideas to get me started!
Post written by Ashley Petersen, 7/8 Grade Language Arts Teacher
AEA267 1:1 Tech Conference Reflection
One of the sessions I attended at the AEA267 1:1 Tech Conference was a session on apps led by Sarah Tapper Staudt. Sarah is a PreK-4 Teacher- Librarian and Tech Integrationist. She had many wonderful apps to share with the group and also offered a variety of ideas for how she uses these apps with students at her elementary school. Her list was far too long to share here, so the best way to view these apps and see if they'll work for you in your classroom is to follow Sarah on Pinterest and go to her App board. Once inside this board, you'll find apps for reading, science, math, classroom management, common core, or simply folders with specific apps such as "Top 10 Music Education or Book Apps."
Sarah is a great educator to follow on Pinterest. She has a large collection of boards on literacy, and many library boards. Staudt also includes boards on online read alouds, teaching reading and writing/ CAFE, or topics such as RTI and Common Core.I would highly recommend following Sarah Tapper Staudt and learning more about all the technology apps and resources she has compiled on her Pinterest boards.
Post written by Sally Kittleson, Southeast Elementary (3rd Grade)
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