I remember over 20 years ago when my sister moved all the way to Houston, Texas from our humble home in West Virginia. We had never been away from each other for more than a few days and now it would take a few days to drive to her house. My dad had a friend who always had the latest gadgets. He let us borrow this machine that looked like a mini television. Somehow you hooked it up to the telephone line and you could take a blurry, black and white picture of yourself and send it to the other mini television. You still had to use the handset to talk and to hear each other, but after about 5 minutes you could "see" the person hundreds of miles away. We thought it was revolutionary. We had no idea.
Now the pictures are crystal clear moving, speaking images of the person on the other side of your smartphone with only milliseconds of a delay. I use Skype to stay in touch with my daughter who moved to Virginia for college. My parents can talk to my kids from 3 hours away. And after going through the 23 Things module, I plan on connecting with other classrooms across the country and hopefully around the world. With websites like Read Across America and other Skype classroom connections, it's possible to have a book discussion with another class in a different state or learn about an entirely different culture with question and answer sessions. It's creative, it's collaborative, and it's free!
Skyping is more than just a teenage communication tool. It's the 21st Century classroom.
I've finally made it to the end of my 23 Things experience. Actually, there was so much information to digest that it feels more like 2300 things! The possibilities are endless and at times, a little overwhelming. So many tools exist to make learning and teaching effective, creative, and fun!
Sharing what I've learned comes in many forms. I've already had opportunities to share on a one on one basis. I'm talking to a colleague and something I've discovered in this module pops into the conversation. The opportunities to meet people where they are and provide the information they need at the right time is the ultimate role of the TIS. However, I've learned ways to share ideas virtually and asynchronously. I will continue adding to my Teacher Resource site, and my role on the school leadership team and Professtional Development Coordinator for the Benedum collaborative provides even more opportunities to share with our staff. As the library media specialist, I get the chance to collaborate and co-teach with several teachers in our building. This provides me yet another opportunity to integrate all I've learned into the curriculum on various levels and disciplines.
I enjoy the way this module introduces you to the ISTE standards in a hands-on, less obvious way. Anytime you can have someone explore content for themselves and teach others what they've learned, you've enabled them to reach a higher level of understanding. The use of tools such as blogs, backchannel, interactive sites like Padlet take teaching to a new level. It isn't about the technology itself; it's about using the technology as a learning tool and teaching students to collaborate and create in this technology rich culture.
The 23 Things module could be perfect for Professional Development for staff that wants to become more digitally literate. It allows them to explore the technology instead of read about it, incorporate it into what they are doing in the classroom, and pick and choose when and what order to complete the module. I can also see using this with students. I'm a huge advocate of choice and real world application in the curriculum. This would be the perfect venue.
I've learned so much through this module, but more than anything, I've grasped an example, a template for teaching/learning that will work well
Reflection by Yvonne (Webinar on Google Apps in the Classroom)
I admit that I am not the most technological individual. In fact, the only technology I use is my iPhone and laptop and that is only for the most basic necessities. I happened to mention to Melissa just the other day my desire to have an electronic portfolio, and she immediately jumped at the opportunity to help me. She educated me about websites, blogs, wikis and other things I never heard of. I don't even have Word on my computer, so developing an electronic portfolio using things that were foreign to me was out of my league. Melissa assured me that it wasn't as difficult as I imagined, and then she sent me a link to a Google Apps webinar on Classroom 2.0.
I was totally in awe of the technology tools available to me as an individual and an educator at no cost! With Google Drive, I discovered I could create an electronic portfolio using the presentation tool. It was as easy as using PowerPoint, actually easier, and I didn't have to shell out bunches of money to purchase the programs. I learned that I could import pictures, include hyperlinks, and even put in videos I created all from Google Drive and sharing is as easy as clicking on a link! I was also impressed with the document tool...thesaurus, grammar, and even research and citation help! This is something that even the most technologically inept (speaking of myself) can do. As a matter of fact, I jumped right on it and created my first electronic portfolio using the presentation tool. You know what they say: "You learn something new everyday."
I discovered a blog that challenged my thinking as an educator and especially as a Technology Integration Specialist. The blog is called "Moving At The Speed Of Creativity" by Wesley Fryer. This blog concentrates on using technology integration in unique and innovative ways. Not only are the posts relevant for those of us who are "technology geeks," but it serves as an excellent example of an effective blog. The blogger uses words (of course) but couples them with visuals, video/audio clips, and web links.
I am as excited about creating an e-book myself than I am for showing my students how to become published authors. Book Creator app is only $4.99, but it is worth every penny. Teachers and administrators can create handbooks and publish curriculum that can be electronically published through platforms like iBooks or iTunes. The material can then be exported as a PDF file to be printed as a hard copy.
Below you will find an example of a library guide I created for parents and students of riding sixth graders during transition fair. The resource can be found elecronically online or as a printed copy at the Library booth. It's a user friendly app that yields professional results.
Anne Frank and the Holocaust Unit For 8th Grade
Example of a ThingLink Image
Instead of trying to explain it, just explore it!
With TechSteps being abolished in WV, at least as we know it, and the need to educate and document lessons on Cybersafety, Creative Commons lessons are effective ways to deliver content legally without reinventing the wheel.
I discovered the following website, CyberSmart. http://www.cybersmart.gov.au/Schools/Teacher%20resources/Middle%20secondary.aspx
CyberSmart allows teachers to address Internet Safety, creating strong passwords, web etiquette and other topics with resources for all grade levels. One of the best things about it is the Creative Common Licence allowing teachers to share and use this content as it fits into individual classrooms. This is not the only educational site for legal sharing of ideas. Check out https://sites.google.com/site/gwebsearcheducation/lessonplans
I have tried various things in the past to keep me organized from sticky notes all over my house, car, and office; to Evernote reminders, to Google Calendar. And honestly, my one "constant" go-to for organization is Google Calendar. I can create a personal calendar, a work calendar and view them separately or together. It also automatically syncs on my iPad, desktop computer, and Android SmartPhone. I am totally dependent on it to keep my life on track.
However, I am a list maker-always have been. I like the feeling of planning my day then checking the box when I complete my goals. For that reason, I started using an iOS app called Errands. I downloaded the free version, and it has everything I need. I create folders like "Home" or "TIS" and add events that need to be completed. I schedule due dates, set alarms or notifications, customize the icons to help organize, and check off completed items as I go along. At this point, the free app does not have syncing capabilities between devices, but that is in the works. Below you will find examples of my organizing tools. I need all of the help I can get!
I have been married to a wonderful man, Steve, for 25 years; have 3 beautiful girls; a job I love; and a passion for words, whether it's writing them, reading them, or singing them!