Digital Literacy: Three-Pronged Project

ALTERNATE TITLE: Weekend with #geekdad

So, my daughter just LOVES the Elephant & Piggie series by Mo Willems. They are simply illustrated stories for beginning readers. We were so inspired by the series we (well, mainly I) wrote a story hopefully in the same tenor.

But why not make it somehow more?

We made it in Keynote (see more on this here). We recorded it as a video (below) and then I then took screenshots to import into Photos for producing a proper analog book to read at school (screenshot of book below as well as this link to the pdf online version).

You can see the creativity. You can see how it would inspire students in your own class (or family!). Make one yourself. You’ll be happy you did!

Keynote for Digital Story Telling

Screenshot of book layout in Photos Book dashboard:

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Posted in Digital Learning, Literacy, New Media, Producing, Producing, Publishing, Sharing, Publishing, Visual Literacy | Leave a comment

What is an Innovation Coach?

The short answer:

It’s about:

  • More focused collaboration with colleagues to improve learning (ideally supported by a team)
  • Improving good practice through collaborative design of better outcomes and learning objectives
  • Not starting and ending with technology (though it matters!)…

For a start.

The Long(er) Answer

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The idea of educational coaching is not entirely new but, like many relatively new ideas, it has many meanings to different people. I am sharing my thoughts on it briefly here.

Step 1, The Historical Context: Educational Technology Coach
It seems to me that more widely known is the development of educational technology coaching. Most agree that technology integration in schools is necessary. With no more time available and increasing demands on curricula, teachers seek to embed the development of technology skills and understandings into their prescribed units of work.

The pace of technology, however, can add strain to overworked teachers making it difficult to keep up. Enter the technology coach. Ideally experienced classroom teachers from the start, these people combine the best of specialist teacher and co-teacher. These coaches:

  1. Bring new ideas based on the ever-changing technology landscape
  2. Offer insights into how technology can be integrated into the curriculum
  3. Support teachers and students in the development of related skills
  4. Help students and teachers reflect on the bigger picture of how technology fits into our world and how it supports learning (the meta aspect)

 

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Evolution of the Tech Coach
As technology becomes a more and more natural part of the planning process, however, many begin to wonder if this position is still necessary. Now, this is my take on things here but…

For this to be true it must address the facts noted above; most importantly, the fact that teachers still have increasing demands made upon their time. Valuing a position in which teachers have access to new ideas from an in-house expert should not be disregarded.

 

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Enter the Innovation Coach
This is a natural step, hence my reference to it as evolutionary. As also alluded to, the need for innovation with technology is widely accepted. This transformation to innovation coaching addresses the fact that it will always be necessary but that innovation has never and should never begin and end with technology.

The idea of developing proven talent with the passion for teaching with and through technology, the introduction of a more far reaching role, not limited to technology, seems quite natural in this context.

Professional Learning vs. Professional Development
At their best these change agents support teachers empathetically to develop strategies for reflecting on practice to constantly improve (see cognitive coaching).

And this is all done in-house, in an ongoing fashion to support teachers through taking responsibility for their own professional learning and development. We’ve all attended weekend workshops that may be inspiring at the time but fail to help us achieve lasting change. This obstacle can be overcome to some extent by participating in high energy, learner driven events where professionals choose their own learning pathways and work in ways that best support their own unique learning styles (As we strive to enable our students to). The constancy of in-house, learning communities, however, is still the core.

 

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Of course, when professional development is mapped out and informed by a clearly defined and monitored vision of professional growth this can also be a powerful force for change. In a model in which selected groups are sent to workshops with the directive of developing action plans (see ASCD action research) then we achieve the best of both worlds. Taken further to a departmental and school wide level by administrators you can get a sense of what a school may become through the strength of a synergistic approach.

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Employing further an actively global networked approach allows educators to reach further outside of these immediate communities for fresh ideas to share within their school groups of practice as well.

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Go here for more on:

 

 

There is far more to consider than is practical for this (short?) blog post. We’ve only brushed upon the ideas of cognitive coaching and action research without even considering the use of standards such as the International Society for Technology in Education’s famous “ISTE’s“. These are an effective source of reflection for teachers to use in order to assess to proven standards and supply students with appropriately reworded rubrics for formative, reflective and summative assessments (another whole blog post there).

A Final Word for Coaches and Would-be Coaches
Be generous. You are learning all the time in your drive to support others.

screen-shot-2017-01-28-at-2-06-02-pmShare it within:

  • your department
  • your school community
  • your area
  • your region
  • the world.

When you need to support someone with a more skills related task make a digital record of it. Make the screencast. Make the Google Slides tutorial. Then set up some sort of repository (see personal example here) to share with others for inspiration or as a resource that can be used again and again as more people become interested.

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Share this around!

tpack-new

TPACK is an effective visual on the ideal of integration

Still need more? Check out Seán McHugh’s more scholarly post on Digital Technology Coaching (DTC, another term for plain old Tech Coach though descriptive) here.

Also look for:

  • Technology Integration Specialist
  • Technology Integrator
  • Educational Technology Coach

Oh and speaking of ideals, check out:

 

Posted in Digital Learning | 5 Comments

YouTube Child Safety Training 101

OK, let’s talk YouTube.

Recently some students at school saw some shocking things on YouTube. We went into full mobilisation on how to deal with this. We briefly considered locking it out of the school’s Google environment but then decided to take the higher road. Students can and will still see YouTube in their lives so let’s do some research and prepare them for it.

The videos and slideshow below, along with classroom and parent discussions are how we began. I hope they can be of some service to others as well.

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Lower Primary ICT (#EdTech)

As part of a LinkedIn discussion on what to do with younger (elementary / primary) learners in ICT (#EdTech) I thought I would share some of my thoughts with the wider community.

I presently work with children K-4. I am a firm believer in teaching with technology for the following reasons:

  1. It imparts fundamental digital age skills
  2. It is multi (trans)-disciplinary
  3. It enables better collaboration
  4. It empowers independence
  5. As children spend more time interacting with curricular content, they further develop understandings
  6. As they craft messages and consider how to best communicate, they enhance their ability to do so to demonstrate understanding

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With younger learners we are often the doorway to this digital world. While I would never advocate proper typing practice for children before Grade 3 we do start good habits. If children are using a keyboard, keep it simple, encourage them to use both hands!

Data storage and retrieval are key skills students must have the opportunity to develop. There are a number of apps out there, like EasyBlogger, Jr. that allow for children to use the technology without the capacity or need for reading and writing.

Perhaps it would be best to share out a curriculum I have been developing based on these ideas.

Upper Kindergarten

Much of the work can be done in less fundamental ways with mere substitution such as practicing Fry words on an iTouch app (SAMR blog post here). Last year, however, we achieved full “redefinition” when we collaborated across departments to create an original ABC Phonics video. Children created artwork in Art class that was used in conjunction with musical accompaniment from the Music department that was then used to record them singing with the Technology Specialist who combined in all to produce this video:

Grade 1

In Grade 1 we created characters in Keynote allowing children to:

  1. Develop data storage and retrieval skills
  2. Become familiar with a typical application interface
  3. Extend work with shapes and shape language from mathematics
  4. Get introduced to the credo of independence and supporting others

Naturally, it ended up as a video on our YouTube channel as well:

Later in the year we tied it to traditional literacy and digital citizenship when we created weekly green screen News casts reporting on our progress:

Based on this success we have committed to developing this approach with a proper green screen set up already being used by more classes school wide and with better technical results.

Grade 2

We integrated technology into our International Primary Curriculum by making Documentary videos in iMovie, allowing us to learn new technology skills, develop a better understanding of copyright, creative commons and citation (great resource for classes/teachers here) while further developing and demonstrating understanding of the unit’s objectives:

As this is the year we start spending more time online we spent a good deal of time focused on Digital Citizenship. We used a variety of means including the Nearpod/Common Sense Media curriculum and went so far as to produce Books for library and as gifts to Grade 1 classes to better prepare them for the next year when they would do likewise.

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Student pages online here.

Grade 3

We introduce children to Google Apps from this year (Great resource for teachers here). So much to say here could be it’s own course, never mind blog post!

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In this year level students produced Tour Builder projects demonstrating understanding of time zones and learning about latitude and longitude. Naturally, the screencasts of their work found their way to the school YouTube channel after a quick polishing in iMovie:

This year we have added Ebook creation with Google Slides in our IPC Rain Forest Unit. This gives students the opportunity to develop skills with this app (including how to source images and reference material through the Tools>Explore function) as well as the fundamental skills of visual literacy and digital story telling.

We are using Google Classroom to support the students in the development of self-management skills and taking greater responsibility for directing their learning and tracking their own progress. The checklist shared through the classroom includes a peer assessment chat as well and, along with their eBooks, will be shared in their portfolios.

Grade 4

We take this work with Google Apps further here, including the incorporation of student produced Puppet Pals videos into Google Slides:

As part of the technology integration program at the International School of the Sacred Heart students made a presentation to the class based on their collaborative research and Puppet Pals videos.
Girls were given skill building and introductory lessons on:

  • The Google Slides application and interface (including styles, animations, embedding video, the use of Speaker Notes and how to use the Present function)
  • Principles of C.A.R.P. design (right)
  • Notes on basic presentation skills

Naturally with an assessment rubric used by Mr. Thompson on their first attempt at presenting in this manner in Grade Four.

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We also introduce programming without the code via Scratch (Loads here). We are looking to go much further with this having Grade 3 work with Scratch starting this year and introducing programming via Scratch, Jr. for the iPad, Swift Playgrounds, Osmo Coding and Tynker as well.

//scratch.mit.edu/projects/embed/106963406/?autostart=false

There is much more that we do and will continue to integrate and/or teach independently but this post has to end somewhere so let it be here. Feel free to visit giveitaway.net for WAAAAAY more and seansensei8 on YouTube for tutorials and don’t forget to subscribe to them all!

Good luck:).

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Mad for Sharing Free EdTech Site

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OK, if you’ve been to this blog before you know I am mad for the share. Networking and supporting one another IS the way of the future. Technology empowers and drives it.

If you are involved with educational technology in any way or just want to learn more about it.

Or how to use it.
Or share better with digital tools.
Or communicate better.

This is the site for you.

Sign up for community updates, how-to / classroom  and school wide support, freebies and a pdf copy of

Five Steps to Fire Up Your Social Media & PLN TODAY.

THE 5 things book image

Or stay here and read as much as you like, naturally. Or SUBSCRIBE to this blog too!

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An Open Letter to Apple

 

Dear Apple,

As you know, I am very fond of you. We’ve been through alot together over the years. We’ve grown together. So I want you to know that what I say, I say out of love.

OK, here we go…

You’ve completely missed the boat!

Continue reading

Posted in Digital Citizenship, Digital Learning, Literacy, New Media, Producing, Producing, Publishing, Sharing, Professional Development, Publishing, Remix, Sharing, Visual Literacy | 4 Comments

Free Kindle eBook

I’m proud to be sharing out my first Kindle eBook for free this week. Over 10,000 readers of the original pdf from the giveitaway.net edtech site. I hope it may offer some insights to those interested.Screen Shot 2016-03-06 at 9.37.26 AM
Go here to get your copy. (Caveat: Kindle Direct Publishing only allows for 5 days of free posting every 3 months)

 

Posted in Digital Citizenship, Digital Learning, Literacy, New Media, Producing, Producing, Publishing, Sharing, Professional Development, Publishing | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Redefining SAMR?

OK, let’s go out on a limb here.

SAMR. We know it. We love it. But have we thought about it? I mean really thought about it? It is doubtlessly a fantastic tool for reflecting on how we integrate technology into the classroom but it also suggests something else.

SAMR?We humans can often be all about hierarchies. We want to see what the top (mistakenly best?) looks like so we can achieve it. A wonderful part of our nature and I wouldn’t change this if I could, but, if I’m not mistaken, (and I would love to hear your thoughts on this) the SAMR model apparently screams at us that Redefinition, doing things in new ways, is what we should be after in our practice.

I’m not sold on this. Why?

John Nash revised Adam Smith and changed economics forever. This was because of a new intellectual approach to an economic theory not because he felt it needed new interaction with digital technology. Why must things be redefined to be made better? Art galleries are now online. The Google Art Project redefines them and this is a good thing. We have greater access but it is not the same as actually going there. The pieces themselves, the point of the art, is in no way enhanced by this redefinition of the galleries in which they are housed and displayed. Is this wrong? Do they need to be redefined? What of student creations produced in the same manner? Is this end no longer a valid outcome if it cannot be redefined?

All I am really saying is that we should never lose sight of the fact that we need to consider the whys of what we are doing in our practice before we get too swept up in the hows.

I love SAMR but do not think we should accept the implications embedded within it blindly.

Or maybe I’m wrong? What do you think? Is the image below correct? Let’s talk about it!

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Posted in Digital Citizenship, Digital Learning, New Media, Professional Development, Profundities | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Keynote for Digital Story Telling

This post could as easily be titled, The Best Tool on Your Mac.

There is so much about Keynote that can be used in innovative ways for not only communicating but introducing virtually ALL of the fundamentals of computing to younger students it needs to re-imagined. More on that here but…

In terms of digital story telling, I have created a page to house all of the videos I recently created as a YouTube playlist and as the basis for an online course. The videos introduce vector graphic creation, digital story telling, the tools necessary to take it deeper, animations and the use of multiple slides to take the process further than Apple ever intended!

It also contains a classroom resource and a link to a workshop session on the same subject along with more session pages (many still under construction) covering an entire conference with Mac/iOS, Google for Edu, Coding and MakerSpace/Design Thinking strands.

Oh yes, there is also a free udemy Crash Course in Keynote available here. It is full of great stuff but was a first attempt at using the platform so please, do review it, but do be kind as this is a free resource.

 

I hope you find all of this useful.

Feel free to share it around!

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Educational Material Development

If you’ve been here before you know this blog is dedicated to creating and sharing. I have recently been asked about materials development and “what I do.”

Well, I’m a teacher at the core of it all. I do what I hope we all do. I share.

As such, I’ve always been an educational material developer. I started, as many of us do, drawing, cutting, pasting and building as a kindergarten teacher where I was largely unable to share what I produced for/with my students with other teachers. With the increasing prevalence of the internet, however, I now almost feel guilty if I don’t share actionable ideas and resources with my growing professional learning network (PLN).

So yes, back to materials. I am a BIG sharer so I have complied a number of some of the most popular (likely translating to most useful) shares here. There have been a number of resources over the years. From MYP Technology:

To supporting students with the transition to the MYP Technology Programme through the PYP Exhibition:

 

To sites created for and collaboratively with participants to continue the learning long after the events themselves have ended:

There have been student created sites I cannot share here because of a school’s policy. Please see the video below for a full treatment of one comprehensive unit in which students used design thinking and flat classroom practices in concert with the International Society for Technology in Education’s (ISTE) Students Standards (NETS) as rubric points.


Other sites have been created for students to develop understandings and share:

And, of course, supporting students with the PYP Exhibition from a technology standpoint:

Not all of it is my own. This is a fundamental point. We need to impart to students the facts of living in a connectivist world:

  • We need to share what we do
  • We need to share what other people produce (curate)
  • We need to become valuable nodes in the networks of other people

A perfect example would be this Design Cycle, based on the Tokyo Yamanote line, shared with me and generously given consent to share with the world.

This is a screenshot of the overall design (below). This link takes you to the full thing with each section elaborated larger.

Design Cycle Suzanne Kitto
But I a most proud of my educational technology site giveitaway.net. This was started as a personal repository as I completed a post-graduate certificate course in educational technology. It has grown since. Often I make a page as part of my note-taking process when attending workshops. Free for all and a great resource to share around.

I have included my Apple Distinguished Educator application video here for the sake of comprehensivity. It is a great program to get into if you are so inclined.

If you like any/all of this feel free to contact me as I deliver keynotes and workshops and am available as an educational technology consultant and affiliated with DEEP Learning as a Cooperative Team Leader.

Posted in Collaboration, Digital Citizenship, Digital Learning, IB, Literacy, New Media, Producing, Producing, Publishing, Sharing, Professional Development, Project Based Learning, Publishing, PYP, Remix, Sharing | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment