Hub(ba) Hub(ba)… I think I have a plan…

Yes, I want to be the female version of Cybraryman. I want to have my digital learning hub set up for others to visit, navigate easily and be an efficient site to keep on their list of “go to” sites. And when I click on Cybraryman’s site… I say… hub(ba) hub(ba)…

I have spent some time exploring Google Sites. I have found a variety of exemplars on line that will help me get ideas for how I want my site to look. The exemplars and templates that are available through Google Sites have really shown me what is available and what is possible. I have found that Kyle Pace has an excellent resource to help me get started, as well as using Ian O’Byrne’s post from his Digitally Literate site entitled Use Google Sites to Build Your Own Digital Learning Hub.

Kyle Pace has a list of Google Site examplars that have helped me narrow down how I want my hub to look. An excellent example is this 8th grade Language Arts team page (https://sites.google.com/site/bcmsela/home). This site includes teacher photos, links to email and Twitter, class syllabus, grading policy, supply list, a tech survey and useful links for student resources. This seems like a great way to begin. A lot of foundational work goes into creating a digital learning hub and working together as a team and using a platform that has an emphasis on collaboration.

I know this adventure is my own at this point, but my goal is to be able to help teachers build their own digital learning hubs, as well as collaborate and share resources district-wide for professional development and parent communication.

I’m fighting with how to change the template at this point… This will be worth it in the end, I know it will.

Shifting mindsets and not eating cookies…

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I think for the first time I’m understanding what the word “synthesis” means when it applies to metacognitive development. Whether I haven’t been open to it or challenged enough to “think,” I feel as if I have truly just grown up a little as I sit here in Barnes and Noble trying to work on my assignments.

I was reading through Researching New Literacies: Web 2.0 Practices and Insider Perspectives (Lankshear and Knobel, 2007) when a few words jumped out of the page at me. The first was mindset. Our district had a book study on Carol Dweck’s Mindset: The New Psychology on Success. It seems as if it’s a no-brainer… we all need to grow in order to be successful. We need to be open to new experiences and fail in order to know what success is and how to achieve it. Table 1 Some dimensions and variations between mindsets (Lankshear and Knobel 2006a: 38) is an excellent breakdown of how our educators view technology in the classroom. I have always understood the battles my teachers have with feeling comfortable enough to integrate technology into their lessons. Now I am understanding that their mindset is different. Knowing this, I can continue to build on my relationship with them in order to help shift their thinking.

In the article, it discusses “relationships” in the sense of technology. This is the other word that has struck a chord. I am realizing that with the relationships that I have built throughout my 18 years in district, I can help shift the teachers’ mindsets to help develop new literacies in a safe and open environment and not a forced initiative. My digital hub will help connect teachers to lessons that will show them the change in technology, how digital tooks will improve student learning and how to prepare students for jobs that haven’t even been created yet.

Now, speaking of shifting mindsets… I was given a “free” cookie because my order got messed up. I no longer eat cookies. But… who can throw away a free cookie???? This has been a shift in my mindset to eat and be healthier. It’s not easy, but I’m doing it… It can be done!

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The Creation of my Hub…

I have been pondering what would be included in my school website or aka “Digital Learning Hub” for quite some time. As a building reading consultant, I was not responsible for my own classroom page for parent communication (posting assignments, calendars, etc.). I have, however, envisioned a page similar to other useful pages from around the web that can be a one-stop spot for teachers who need some ideas.

My issue is the ever-changing pace of “new literacies.” There is no way around this, so I know that there is going to be a constant need for updating. There is nothing worse than visiting a site and having bad links sprinkled throughout. So, my vision NEEDS to come together not only as a task for this class, but as proof that I can walk the walk.

My thoughts are as follows – one page for parents (how to help students at home, latest research on best practices, schoolwide assessment results), one page for teachers and one for students. The page for teachers will take time and will need input from others. I want to connect CCSS to certain sites so teachers can easily find examples or idea-spurring activities. I believe that searching is a refined skill that needs a lot of practice, but I would rather have buy-in locally with my teachers than shut-down. If I could work with our current curriculum and embed links to videos, pages, activities that are relevant, then it would provide a direction. The student page will be different examples of school-wide projects. These exemplars will assist students in seeing what a certain expectation is and how they can achieve. I know that I do not want to stifle learning by having student copy projects, but if it gets them in the right direction, that will be helpful.

I am currently trying to decide which hosting site to use. I want to be able to post in school, so I know teachers can access and share while at work. This means a nice cup of coffee for the IT Director and a conversation about what we can use and what I can have released for the district. Pinterest is not accessible, so this may take 2 or 3 cups…

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Networked Learning Project… Complete

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What a “process” this has been. I have totally surprised myself with finding out that it was not as much the project as the process that taught me something new. I learned more about online tools for photo editing and slideshare presentations than I think my actual assignment. However, I did find out that some people think I have hoarding issues. (Not true)

The project has also made me realize how important it is for file managem. ent and thinking through the resource collection piece of a project. It’s amazing how one can quickly click through resources and not realize that they are actually using ideas/insights from websites and not providing the proper recognition. I know I need to investigate licensing and creative commons more.

I am including my final presentation on my Networked Learning Project Within the presentation, I have reflected on process, as well as where I plan on going next as it applies to learning in the classroom. Thank you UNH and the IT&DML program for yet ANOTHER amazing class. So excited to share it with my colleagues!

 

Kizoa- a new digital tool to try…

This is turning out to be a much longer process than I originally thought. On my journey of project learning, I am discovering things I had no intention of learning. Through the project, I have not only completed a task I have wanted to accomplish, but I have learned more about digital photo editing and slideshow creation. Here is the video I created using Kizoa, an online slideshow maker. Can not wait to show it to staff and students!

 

Edcampct – Very Inspiring

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Today I got to attend EdCampCt – an “unconference” in Simsbury, Ct. A beautiful scenic ride up Route 8 into Litchfield County to spend the day with old and new classmates. It was great seeing familiar faces, as well as meeting new people to connect with and have discussions about what inspires us the most – technology in education.

One of the first sessions was Assessing Technology Integration with @andycinek. In this session, I had great conversations with other members about how we integrate technology, how do we know it’s working and how do we plan on taking it further. The second session turned me on to the Nearpod app. I have heard about it, but seeing it in action made me want to use with students. To see the ease of use and the outcomes of engagement and motivation just among the group was inspiring.

The third session started as a moral support endevour for @Eaferry316 and her quest for information on technology coaches and their importance. The participants were amazing and shared so much information on how each district utilized their “integrationists” and what worked/failed. A great discussion was had, and inspiring words of how to get local school boards on deck with creating more of these positions was shared. @Eaferry316 wasn’t sure how the session would pan out (“if anyone even goes”), and I am happy to say, there were people sitting on the floors in order to be a part of the inspirational Ignite Talk. I also am interested in using the kizoa app to create/share a presentation using photographs. Thanks Elizabeth for your amazing talk!

I attended a discussion on “project based learning”, which has been changed to “problem-based learning”, which is now “inquiry learning.” What I connected with the most was how our assignment for our EDUC7714 class was the perfect example of inquiry learning. Loved that I had the experience of “the process” to bring back to my teachers and students for the start of a new school year.

Overall, it was an INSPIRING day filled with the buzz of tech talk and excitement of a new year. A perfectly executed un-conference which offered more in a day than years of mandated professional development. And… there were #chips!

Networked Learning Project Update…

It’s DONE!!! A very satisfying feeling to be finished with something that has been a focus for the entire class. I am so happy with the results of my tribute to my cat Smudge. I had to put her down in March after being my fur baby for 18 years. She lived with me through good times and bad. I had her ashes in my living room, but never felt that I have given her the tribute that she deserved.

I will putting together the video that goes along with the assignment. I learned more on this assignment than I have with most voluntary soul-searching or other professional development. By only using the Internet, I was able to identify the steps necessary to initiate the project (via Pinterest) and then support the completion by using CVS online photos. I haven’t decided on exactly how I want to present the project to the class. I’m thinking Animoto or Screen-castomatic… I will sleep on that one! I used an app called Pic Collage in order to highlight the process of selecting, prepping and painting the window frame and then inserting the photos. I didn’t realize what an issue I would have with the photos.

Please view the collage and check back for my video!

Here are the highlights of the Networked Learning Project - selection to finished product.

Here are the highlights of the Networked Learning Project – selection to finished product.

Week 5 – Create and Curate Digital Identity – 12 month reflection

The last year has been spent developing my online identity… some would think it was a chance to be reborn. Others know it could make or break their livlihood. I have had 12 months to reflect, debate and develop how I want to be seen my the educational community. I have control over what I share with others in a professional setting. I have learned to keep personal and professional platforms separate. I value the conversations I have had with other members of the class about how they feel share out their learning, findings, and other sundries of knowledge. I feel as if I almost cheated on this assignment because I’m on the two year track. I do not have to plan out at this point, but I have to maintain and grow. I have learned through my coursework that it’s not that we are at the cutting edge with all of this new found information about digital citizenship and new literacies, but it’s Google that is controling what I search and see… paranoia aside, I do believe that I am going through this journey with an amazing group of instructional leaders and amazing peers. The ability to network with so many educators from across the state is irreplaceable.

After reading Sloep & Berlanga’s article “Learning Networks, Networked Learning,” (2011), I have discovered a very wonderful prospect. The members of the cohort for this program are the trendsetters that our schools need (both students and staff) in order to grow. We need members who have experienced learning in this online community of networks to prove the relevancy of this “new way” of professional development. The different aspects of Learning Networks are what we are working on exploring and developing as a group. The exchange of experience and knowledge, working collaboratively, setting up workgroups and communities, and offering and receiving support is what the IT&DML program is founded on. This has unconsciously crossed over for me in my own district.

I am currently working on providing training for teachers to use iPads in their classrooms. Not realizing what I was creating prior to putting the training in motion, I now realize I am creating our own Learning Network. I thought it was imortant when being charged with ordering technology for our school that there be equity in how students consume, collaborate and create with digital tools. It’s not fair that depending on the luck of the draw with creating student lists, that certain students get teachers that “embrace” technology and others get teachers who fear the words “interactive whiteboards.” Another unfair reality is that our teachers are not given enough time to process what they are expected to be assessed on (sounds familiar). TEVAL includes being rated on effective use of technology implementation and CCSS calls for the use of digital tools and development for mastery. I thought it was only fair that teachers have the summer to get familiar with the iPads so they can effectively use them in their classrooms. This was a volunteer only community of learners who got nothing but a reassurance that I would be there to support them any way I could. We had a one hour PD session at the end of the school year where I took care of logistics (log ins, how to load apps, how to access Google groups community). The teachers then had a month to play. We met in July to touch base, iron out kinks and then “assign” something that they would use in the classroom in the fall. the apps that I wanted to support were Educreations and Good Notes. We will meet again at the end of August to share out… no pressure, no requirements, but definitely a local group of support to help out when in need. I am split between buildings, so I need to build up the teacher capacity in-house in order to have teachers get the most out of their tools.

I will update you all again after our August meeting. I am hoping to share out what some of the teachers have created. To see a clearer image, clicke here: Digital Identity

Digital Identity

A Speed Bump… but more room to learn… Networked Learning Project Update

Summer school is over, no excuses (besides the GORGEOUS day outside and a classroom that needs to get ready for next year)… getting this project done has been a learning experience. I thought I would only use the Internet for ideas, because in my head I knew EXACTLY what I wanted to do. However, I didn’t have all the answers.

Using online photo developing has been something I’ve done numerous times. It’s truly never been an issue… until now. I am trying to crop and edit pictures to be used in the thematic window frame. This is not working out like I planned. I thought I was well versed in all of this online editing/processing/ordering stuff… I mean, I have been doing it for YEARS! Well, this is a time when size matters. The photos I am choosing do not fit the criteria for one hour processing and ordering. Yeah… didn’t think this through. So, I had to go onto the help section of the website to get help. I need much more than what they offered. I actually have to go and resize the photos that I have chosen, then RE-upload them into a different album. Oh, and if you use the backbutton… there go all of the editing “saves” you just made. Sigh…

Here is an update of the physical part of the project. I am hoping that this is done sooner than later, and comes out nice enough to display. I have about a dozen more in my garage… they would make nice Christmas gifts…:)

 

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Window is now scraped and ready to be sanded… hoping that it’s not lead paint.

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Sanded and ready to be painted. 70% persperation, 30% application… wise words from a friend about household jobs.

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Removing the painters tape… the best part!

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All painted and waiting for pictures to be inserted.

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Continuing the process… Networked Learning Project update

So, the window is out of the garage, all my pins from Pinterest are clustered together for easier access, and I have my materials ready to begin. The window needs to be scraped, sanded and painted (today’s goal). I did not have to google that piece of what I am doing. I have had enough experience painting and dealing with chipped paint to know that I need to remove the old and make a new starting place for the fresh paint.

The photos show how I had to work on prepping the window in order to make it what I want it to be. Removing old hardware is necessary to be able to display the unit. I am still debating whether or not I am going to hang the window. I dread making a crack in the wall, but I am running out of free space around the house. We will see.

Here are the pictures so far. I am using the app PicCollage on my phone to help track the progress. I figured it was the most handy way to display what I need to. I am also considering which platform to use when showing off my project. I am tempted to fall into something familiar (like Prezi or Animoto), but then know I need to branch off into unchartered territories. I am considering revisiting a type of slideshare tool, or possibly Skitch. Now that summer school is over, I feel like I have more time. photo