Category Archives: teaching

Green Screen Practice

For Tuesday’s class, my students are thinking about leadership, vision and the standards. As part of the class, they will work in groups to create a slide about one of the Education Leader standards and how it relates to the other sets of standards. Once they create their slide, they will use Do Ink to narrate the slide in front of a green screen either using video of themselves or paper avatars. I have two green screen stations: one with a table cloth and one with a pizza box. Both items came from @gemilltime  who gave them to me after her presentation about using green screens in the classroom.

My sample was for the ISTE certification course and featured a paper doll of Emily Dickinson talking about flipgrid and how I use it as a check in tool for the genius project. Pretty dull stuff…it was proof of concept to make sure I had a basic understanding of how it works. I’m relying on at least some of my students being familiar with it. I think, as an exit ticket each week, I need to see how familiar students are with the coming tech activities. It will help gauge how far we might go and who might need extra support. I have some pretty techy folks this semester.

We are going to do a “stations” approach next week. There will be five groups–one for each standard–and all of them will spend the first 20 minutes planning their slide and their video. Then, two groups will work on their videos in the classroom while the rest of the students head out to the library to work independently on developing the twitter PLN, part of their passion project. They will find and follow experts in the area they want to pursue, identify potential twitter chats and then spend some time just interacting with Twitter. I feel like I used to as a reading teacher: if I wanted you to read, I needed to give you time. If I want you to use Twitter, I need to give it class time and priority.

As groups finish their videos, the other groups will rotate through with the goal of being done in time to watch them in class. If not, I’ll post them to the course site later.

My own attempt is not for prime time but I may play a bit tomorrow. I have these great paper dolls of famous American writers along with props that would make fun tableau. Maybe Shakespeare, Jane Austen and Mark Twain spend some time chatting.

What I Teach Face to Face

My School Technology class met last evening for the first night. I joined 14 practicing educators who have chosen to pursue advanced degrees and principal certifications at a university in Richmond. They come from surrounding divisions including urban, suburban and rural schools. One class member works at a correctional institution.

My course is a bit free wheeling as I want to make sure students have time to explore and experiment with technology while considering its potential uses to support student learning.

Last night, we spent time playing with Merge cubes. I had collected enough of them during the $1 frenzy earlier this year that I was able to give one to each student. All of them quickly followed the simple instructions to download the app and get up and running. But soon, one of them wondered aloud, “How is this educational?” Discussion ensued even as they continued to interact with the cubes. I’m sorry I didn’t grab some video! But one student went home and posted some after class  as his second Twitter post ever!

I teach online and enjoy the convenience but you can’t have the kind of experience we did last night where everyone explores in real time, sharing, helping, laughing.

I am really looking forward to the rest of the semester!

First Day of School Visual Agenda

My first class for School Technology is Tuesday night. I always feel a lot of pressure that night: I need to address lots of differing objectives, including making sure they can connect to wifi, login in to the course site and create a blog post using text and images (something they need to be able do before the next class), while introducing them to the big picture ideas and questions around educational technology. I’m working through the agenda and did a visual draft ala Linda Barry’s Syllabus:

Class Agenda

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I just did this with a regular pen and then tried to do a fancier, full color version but the pressure to make it perfect proved too much for me. I know many sketchnoters use a digital tool so I may start exploring, although I love the feel of pen on paper.

The Shifts Aren’t Always Seismic

We hear so much about transforming education: it conjures a vision of lightning striking and suddenly everything is new. But, I wonder if transformation happens in small often imperceptible ways.

For instance, this article on open education resources is mostly about the concerns of commercial providers. But buried deep in the last paragraphs is a shift in how schools approach both teacher work and professional development:

The department official agreed that adopting open resources can require teachers and other staff to devote much more time to content selection and curation than they otherwise might. “It definitely takes an investment,” he said. But he said a growing number of districts are finding ways to pay teachers for that work. Some of them are redirecting existing money spent on professional development to do so.

Two big points here: paying teachers to do the work AND repurposing professional development funds. I’m hoping the latter means that they are also repurposing professional development, counting the work of review as PD.

Investing this time can lead to a better understanding of the curriculum:

Teachers and administrators said they gained a much stronger understanding of the curriculum, and they were heavily invested in making sure it made sense for their classroom peers and students.

Rethinking teacher pay and professional development could be one of those small changes hidden in larger conversations.

 

On Choosing Resources: An Anecdote

This semester afforded another reminder of the need for differentiation. In addition to other articles and online resources, I use two texts for my ed tech project management course:

A Guide to the Project Management Body of Knowledge (PMBOK Guide)

Scrappy Guide to Project Management

The PMBOK Guide is the widely accepted industry standard for project management and at least a few students have thanked me for including it as they were asked about their familiarity with it during job interviews. It’s not an exciting read by any stretch of the imagination, but it is a comprehensive approach to the process.

The Scrappy Guide is part of a series and take a seriously light-hearted approach to the process of project management, revealing the sometimes chaotic underbelly that PMBOK mostly ignores. She includes some excellent exercise ideas for team building and planning along with ways to avoid some of the well-known pitfalls of project management.

So, two books that cover the same topic in much different ways and for much different purposes. I think they complement each other and I wouldn’t give up either one of them. Students tend to either love them or hate them. This semester, one student told me how much he disliked the Scrappy guide: too messy for him. Another student told me PMBOK gave him a headache. I wondered if their personal preferences have any bearing on how they might function as a project manager.

But, it was also a reminder that differentiation is essential at all levels. I also include a “video of the week” in the course and take advantage of videos created by ProjectManager.com.