My Digital Identity

I created  two years ago when I became a SMART Exemplary Educator and Certified Trainer. I decided that this would be a great way to showcase all that I have learned throughout my time as a Wilkes graduate student in the Instructional Media program.  Internet Tools for Teaching is my last official class in the EDIM program.  I really enjoyed looking back over the classes and products that I have created over the past two years.  I have definitely grown as an educator through this program.  I feel confident in my ability to integrate technology in meaningful ways for my students and share with other educators.

Broadcast Yourself: Webinar Hosting Reflection

I have previous webinar experience as an attendee and as a presenter but I have never hosted one myself until this week.  The hardest part of setting up the webinar for me was deciding which website to use.  After navigating quite a few sites I finally decided on Web Ex.  I have recent experience as an attendee so it was the most familiar to me.

I started quite a few private meetings to learn how to share my desktop and connect the audio.  I also started a meeting with my husband from a different location so that we could discuss what the attendees would see compared to what I would see.  I chose the topic of Paperless Assessments for my webinar.  I have been trying new ways to assess my students using technology and thought that it would be a good topic to share. I posted my webinar information on Twitter and Facebook as well as emailed the teachers on my campus and in my masters class.

The webinar day and time were not ideal (Saturday at 10:30 am CST) but I needed to work around my children’s athletic events.  The webinar itself went well and I had no issues.  The Web Ex platform was easy to use and navigate.  I presented my session, making sure to include examples of classroom work, and answered questions throughout.  I did not have any technical difficulties and one of the attendees asked me if I had hosted a webinar before because it went so well.  I have presented staff development sessions virtually and in person in the past which helped me be confident in my delivery.

I enjoyed the experience and found it very useful.  This would be a great PD tool to utilize on my campus for busy teachers.  I also plan on scheduling review sessions for my students before Unit Tests.  I will communicate with parents what we are doing and encourage them to be part of the process to help support their child at home.  I’m looking forward to hosting my next online meeting!

PD Now: Live Webinars (u06a1)

Webinars are a great way to extend your learning on your schedule.   You can log in from the comfort of home or on the go.  This anytime, anywhere learning opportunity helps educators learn more about their field of interest without the travel time.  I attend webinars through Discovery Education at least once a month.  I am always looking for new ways of doing things in my classroom.

Many of the webinars I’ve attended have been through Web Ex.  I find this site very easy to navigate and you can sign up for a free account to attend meetings.  One of the things that a webinar does not have is the face to face interaction that an in person event does.  If there are a lot of attendees it is hard to communicate effectively during a webinar.   Even with this problem, attending the webinars are definitely a positive experience and I will continue to engage in this format of learning.

This format would be a great way for me to hold review sessions for my students before tests.  I teach middle school students and it would be difficult to schedule student meeting so that all could attend but providing a couple of times that students can log in to ask questions could be helpful to them.  I could also use this format to record important lessons for students that need to review or were absent.  You could also use this type of meeting to connect with classrooms around the world.  This method of learning would definitely benefit students more as they get older.  With planning and training, students could learn to act as both attendees and broadcasters.  Students learn best from each other and this could be a powerful way to make a school to home connection with both students and teachers.

Integrating Social Networking Lesson Plan

7th Grade Science Lesson: Catastrophic Events

TEK 7.8 A: Predict and describe how different types of catastrophic events impact ecosystems such as floods, hurricanes, or tornadoes.

Engage: Students will discuss their previous knowledge of catastrophic events and personal experience with them.

Explore: Students will post questions about different catastrophic events on a backchannel as they listen to other students discuss their prior knowledge and experience with catastrophic events.

Explain: Students will then look over all the questions on the backchannel and pick a specific question(s) or catastrophic event to research.  Students will base their research on the interests and questions of their peers.  (The teacher can post additional questions to extend student learning.)

Elaborate: Students will share their research so that they can build upon their classmate’s findings.  The teacher will post chart paper or a specific area of the room for each catastrophic event.  Students will write their findings on post its or directly on the chart paper.  Students will then get into groups based on their catastrophic event and combine their research and post on the backchannel.

Evaluate: Students will read through all posts on the backchannel to create a reflection on catastrophic events.  Students will connect their catastrophic event research to other groups hitting key points such as which ecosystems would be most impacted by the different types of catastrophic events.


Photo Challenge Reflection

This week I participated in a 7 day photo challenge.  I decided to post pictures from my classroom.  Each day I posted a picture of something I was doing with my 7th grade Science students.  I really enjoyed this activity and my students loved me taking pictures of what we were doing (even though their faces were not in the pictures).  I don’t know that I will remember to do this everyday but I plan to continue this challenge.  This would be a great idea to implement with my students.  Students could take turns taking pictures of classroom activities for me to post on the school website.  Parents would get a great look into what we do everyday and students could write a short reflection of the activity.  I don’t know that I will start this up now but definitely plan for it to become part of our classroom next year.

I have also started brainstorming ways to use student devices with images for our lessons.  We are getting ready to start a unit on Digestion.  As we study organic compounds and larger molecules breaking down into specific smaller molecules, students could take pictures of something they eat then describe the process of digestion and identify the chemical changes that take place.  Students could also identity if they are eating carbohydrates, proteins, etc.  This would create a real-world connection for them to the content we are discussing in class.  This assignment helped me see the valuable use of images in the classroom and I really enjoyed it!

Click here for all 7 photos!

Using Mobile Devices in the Classroom

I moved from a large, technologically advanced district to a smaller school district this year.  The district is growing quickly and is having a hard time updating and implementing new technology on a large scale.  The district does have a BYOD policy but it is rarely used by teachers on the 7th and 8th grade campus where I teach science.  I interviewed Mr. John Nowlin, a history teacher on my campus, who explained the use of mobile devices by the 7th grade History teachers.

Question: How do you use mobile devices in your classroom?  In Texas History, we use them sometimes for BYOD warm-ups.  Ex. Use your device for 5 minutes to research everything you can about the person on the board.

Question: Do you discuss expectations with students and parents before using the mobile devices?  If yes, how?  So far, there has not been much discussion around expectations with parents or kids.

Question: What challenges do you face when using mobile devices in your classroom?  We experimented last year with trying to do a project using them.  The issue was finding an app that all kids could get to on both I-technology and Android and then also having the ability for a student to turn it in to the teacher.  The other issue is that some students did not own technology and what to do for them.  There was a very strong issue about not letting someone else use your technology.  That made team projects harder to plan.  The person who owns the phone/tablet is the scribe etc.

I think one of the reasons teachers aren’t utilizing the BYOD policy is that they don’t know how.  I have students using their own devices several times a week but started out the year slowly and had to teach them about my expectations.  I also think it might be a good idea if the campus had a separate BYOD policy that is more specific than the district policy.  It should be communicated to parents by teachers that plan to use student devices in their classrooms.  This would keep expectations and consequences in each classroom consistent for the students.

I have started talking to my campus administration about more teacher training on the effective use of our BYOD policy and technology integration.  I’m hoping to get the teachers excited about technology use in the classroom which will help engage students in content related activities.

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