All posts by kshevy

Sharing Humanity in the Classroom

If you’re like me, I love engaging students with short videos. I especially love short inspirational videos that get my students to think. I use them as starters for writing, discussions, or even teaching specific concepts. Strangely, most of my videos are advertisements. My students have even begun guessing half way through the video what the company behind the message is. “What are they selling?”

Recently, I came across a blog post by Larry Ferlazzo about StoryCorps. I had never heard of the series which records everyday people’s stories to share with the world and archive experiences for future generations through podcasts. As their website reads, “We do this to remind one another of our shared humanity, to strengthen and build the connections between people, to teach the value of listening, and to weave into the fabric of our culture the understanding that everyone’s story matters. At the same time, we are creating an invaluable archive for future generations.” And the stories are incredible.

StoryCorps has taken many of these stories and turned them into animations. Watching a few of them, my heart has grown three sizes! As Ferlazzo points out on his website, these short videos are perfect to use in the classroom. Check out Ferlazzo’s blog post here and add StoryCorps to your list of video resources. You might even want to take some time today to get lost in these beautiful shared human experiences.

AR and VR: Hype or Real Engagement?

I am completely fascinated by augmented reality and virtual reality. I mean it is freaking COOL! Of course, cool doesn’t always mean it’s the best tool to use in the classroom. Sometimes a tool is just flashy new gadget, without any real payoff for student engagement and learning. However, I’m following the glitz, the glam, the uber cool technology and wondering, will this be the next big tool to change my teaching? In order to invest time and money, most educators need some serious reasons (data would be good, too) to use any new technology. Hype and flash can only take us so far.

Luckily, I like to do my homework. A few days ago EdSurge hosted their #DLNChat (Digital Learning Network) on the topic of AR and VR being worth the hype. If you didn’t catch it, Michael Sano of EdSurge, put together a nice recap on their blog post: Can AR/VR Improve Learning? Integrating Extended Reality Into Academic Programs. Check it out. Are we looking at the next revolution in the classroom or is it not worth the investment?

Your Inside Google Scoop

If you are a Google Certified Innovator or Trainer you probably have been bursting at the seams with some serious news! Google is rolling out some amazing updates this coming Fall, and it’s time to share that inside scoop.  So what is next for educators who use Google?

Google Classroom

First, you may have heard about the updates coming to Google Classroom. A new Classwork page will give teachers more organizational functionality with the ability to group and reuse assignments in one location. Next, the Stream page will get a new look, allowing a collapsed view, so students can see more content. Google has also reorganized so all stakeholders are on one page called People. Settings will also be consolidated, making it easier to use. My favorite update, though, is the ability to create Locked Quizzes in “locked mode.” If you are interested in getting early access to these features, simply fill out the form Google provided.

Google Earth

At ISTE, Google launched the Measure Tool, Teacher Authored Voyager Stories, new data layers, and recently localized the Google Earth website to eight languages. Looks like I’ve got some exploring to do!

CS First

CS First is a new program brought to educators to teach Computer Science. The curriculum utilizes block coding with Scratch, as well as lesson plans all created around themes. Check it out!

Chromebooks

With apps for creativity, the new Staedtler stylus, and VR capabilities with AR coming this fall, Google is excited about the new Acer Chromebook Tab 10. At ISTE, Google also shared locked mode in Quizzes in Google Forms only on managed Chromebooks, and exciting admin features such as Off Hours, where students can bring their own devices and have them managed during school hours. Stay tuned for more exciting news coming this fall.

Google AR / VR

The AR functionality in the Expeditions app enables teachers and students to bring virtual objects into their physical space, bringing abstract concepts to life. Students can see and walk around the object as if it were right there in the room. Watch out for that tornado on your friend’s head!

Tour Creator is a way for anyone to easily create virtual reality tours, using footage from 360 cameras or picking from the existing Street View content. You can annotate it to provide details and facts. Then, you can publish to Poly, Google’s library of AR/VR content (https://poly.google.com/), to be viewed on the web or embed to your website. Later this year, Google will add the ability to import these tours into the Expeditions application.

Applied Digital Skills

Google is also rolling out new free digital curriculum, Applied Digital Skills. The curriculum integrates video-based and blended learning content for teachers to use to enhance their classroom lessons. Plus it has a path for students to practice problem solving at their own pace. Stay tuned for more!

There’s the Google inside scoop. Almost as tasty as a double scoop on a hot July day!

 

Learning like Fortnite

A student is sitting at his desk, face down in his lap, eyes engaged in something on his phone screen. No, he’s likely not texting. He’s probably playing Fortnite, the most popular game of its kind, a third-person cooperative, base-defense game. He’s completely tuned out all round him and doesn’t even notice you standing by his side. How can we utilize this kind of passion in the classroom? If you’re like me, you are always looking for ways to engage students even half as much as their favorite video game. How can we make learning as fun? How can our content be the subject for which a student is clamoring to get to his screen? One way is to create our own games.

While there are plenty of online games students can play, often we find the content is general or not exactly aligned with the standards we are trying to teach. This list of ways to create your own games from Free Technology for Teachers, by Richard Byrne might just be a great solution to add even more fun to your lessons. Plus, summer is the perfect time to explore. Check them out and share out any games you’ve create. Let’s make the classroom the next Fortnite!

Forgetting ISTE

As I settled in to relax this holiday week, I thought it was a good time to look back and reflect on the #ISTE18 or rather for me, the #NotatISTE experience. I read lots of Twitter posts during the conference, gathered some great inspiration, but like anything else, most has already been forgotten. I mean, it’s summer. Unless I write it down, these amazing ideas are not going to find their way into my classroom this August.

Luckily, as I was catching up on my my blog reading, I came across Steve Wick’s (@WickedEdTech) post on his site, Know Your Why. Not only does he offer his own reflection, but has many links to Google awesomeness! Check it out here.

And don’t forget to write those ideas down! As you’re learning over these warm months, whether it’s from conferences, posts, books, or Twitter chats, find a way to gather your own thoughts: start a blog, create a Google Doc, add to your Google Keep, or do what I do–write those ideas down on paper. I actually have a composition book specifically for this purpose. Let’s not lose amazing edu-nuggets to the summer abyss.

Finding the Balance of Technology

I’m a digital junkie. I have a phone full of apps, a browser full of extensions, and a device in my hand, on my lap and on my arm. Of course, the one thing I love about summer as an educator are the times where I don’t even look at a screen. Finding that balance of when to put down the device is something adults struggle with, but as educators we are called to teach students to do the same. I find this extremely difficult.

Reading this blog last week by Cal Newport really had me thinking. Is using tech to balance our tech habits the answer? My watch tells me when I need to stand, move and even take deep breaths. Is this what we want for the future? Is this how we teach and learn self control?

Read Cal Newport’s blog here. Do you think tech is the answer to teach us to put the tech down?

The Dilemma of Being a Teacher Leader

As I sit in my living room, trying to press out the FOMO of #notatISTE18, my mind keeps drifting back to the place I flounder as a leader and classroom teacher. Being a Lead Learner for CUE means I get invited to deliver sessions to educators around California for events that districts and other organizations hold. These are paid gigs that offer me the opportunity to share my successes with other educators, as well as learn new concepts and innovative pedagogy right alongside them. As a classroom teacher, these experiences help other educators, but also facilitate my own growth. Unfortunately, there is no easy way to leave the classroom to do this.

Many educators feel this same push and pull. Tom Rademacher, an author, presenter and classroom teacher, wrote a blog this spring that really hit home with me. I have been thinking about it since and felt it was worth sharing. I see it as a real problem with our current system. Take a moment and read his thoughts in: It’s Damn Near Impossible to Be a Teacher-Leader and Still Teach. Is it possible there is a better way?

Ease the Pain of #NOTATISTE18

As most of you know, ISTE (The International Society for Technology in Education) holds a huge conference every year in a different city in the United States. Educators and vendors from all over the world gather and nerd out on the latest in education technology. This year Chicago holds the honor. Unfortunately, most of us have to watch from home, jealous of learning along side great thinkers and deep dish pizza. We hope for any crumbs of innovation that make it on to Twitter. The FOMO isn’t just a fear. It’s real. Those of us at home are missing out and it hurts.

Thankfully, to ease the pain and fill the emptiness, edublogger has put together a great list of ways that you CAN follow along at home. Time to wipe the envious tears and read all the means you can be part of the learning. Plan your virtual trip now! Watch a Cubs game, make an Italian beef sandwich, and get ready. ISTE is only a week away.

Read the blog, written by Kathleen Morris here.

Confessions of a ClipArt Junkie

This post originally published at http://blog.cue.org/confessions-of-a-clipart-junkie/

 

 

If you follow Ryan O’Donnell (aka creativeedtech) on Twitter, or around town like I do, small pieces of brilliance seem to drop from the sky. That’s mostly because he has a way of taking new tools or tech ideas and creating practical ways to use them in the classroom. He’s also a pretty tall guy so his ideas tend to fall on normal humans like rain. Lately, O’Donnell has been creating these amazing graphics of listicles. Not only is this idea a great way to disemminate ideas to fellow educators online, it’s also a great template to use with students. Of course, O’Donnell is quite the Jedi Master of templates. Check out his website for some awesome ideas.

A few weeks ago, one of his listicles caught my eye. O’Donnell’s tweet read,

Confessions of a Clip Art junkie: I LOVED clip art. Tried to find the perfect image & even bought those mega-pack CD’s. Finally kicked that habit though. Now it’s all about photos & graphics.

Therefore, on behalf of Ryan O’Donnell, I am here to urge you to stop using clip art! Here are the ways you can shift your addiction to something more contemporary and relevant:

  1. The Noun Project— Icons are the answer for your latest projects and the Noun Project will provide you over a million for free. Simply sign up, search and download as Creative Commons. (Royalty Free requires a membership). I even found some really cool Star Wars icons! Credit is embedded in the icon already. 
  1. Flaticon–Much like the Noun Project, this site is about the icons, but this site groups icons into packs. Therefore, if you are working on a project, you have a set of icons all downloaded that go together. Download for free with attribution, just like Noun Project.
  2. No Backs— This site offers high resolution images in PNG format. No need to sign up. Free to use as long as proper credit and a link to the site is given.
  3. Pixabay–One of my favorite sites for stock photos. Over 1.4 million. Each image designates the licensing. Most are labeled Creative Commons, with no attribution needed.
  4. Freepik–This is a large search engine of free vector designs (which is graphic designer talk for computer images). Not all are free, but many are, only requiring attribution. No sign in required. Just search, find one that’s free and download.
  5. Unsplash–Supported by a large community of photographers, this site allows you to download beautiful images. They ask that you credit the photographers only out of appreciation and for the photographer to gain exposure. Absolutely stunning images!
  6. Pexels–Thousands of free stock photos that are completely licensed as Creative Commons. No attribution required. When you download, they offer ways to say thank you to the photographer: add a link, follow him/her on Instagram, or embed the citation. Another site I could spend hours looking for the perfect picture!

Adding images effective to your projects gets results. Consider using one of these sites. O’Donnell also suggests busting out your camera, or simply taking out your phone and snapping your own pictures. Those are always free.

Now that you have been educated in all the great FREE sites out there, it is time to break up with your clip art. Snip it out of your life. It is far more picturesque on the other side.

 

Coaching is not just for the New Teacher

The traditional model of coaching in education has always focused on supporting new teachers. This assumes, of course, that the rest of us who have been in the classroom for years are not in need of growth and improvement. In this recent article, published by the ASCD, Kim Greene suggests that every teacher deserves a coach. Instructional support should not be focused on deficits, but the idea of growth as an opportunity. The culture of coaching needs to change. Teaching is not something that you master, but something that is constantly evolving. Building relationships with educators of all levels and giving opportunities to reflect and collaborate, coaches can make huge differences. As Jessica Johnson, principal of Dodgeland Elementary School in Juneau, Wisconsin, states, “Sometimes it’s easy to think my best teachers don’t need me in their rooms. But if you want to grow your other teachers to be like your best teachers, you need to get into the minds of your best teachers.”

Isn’t it time to change our culture of coaching? Read this eye opening article here.