#edtech #edchat #elearning
Yesterday I spent a few hours reviewing my notes from all of the edtech conferences that I attended this past summer. While going through my notes I kept a list of the ideas that I wanted to try with my students this upcoming 2011-2012 school year. By the time I was done with my review, my list of was over 38 items! How do I incorporate 38 new ideas into my classroom this year?
One of the general problems with today’s society is information overload. But how do we cure it? How do we stay up-to-date with our lessons without feeling like we are just chasing our edtech tails?
The reality is that you cannot do everything — you need to prioritize. So I went back over my edtech idea list and I started to rate each item; one star=cool but I can like without, two stars=I really want to try this, and three stars=I must do this.
After I rated each item, I ended up with only 6 – three star items. My pulse rate started to slow down as I realized that I could deal with 6 new edtech ideas this year.
I then opened up my scope and sequence for all of my classes and started to look for areas where I could incorporate these new ideas. Within just a few minutes I had these items in, and I started to revise my lesson plans.
Now that I was done with the “must haves,” I moved on to the edtech ideas that I really like but were not critical – I had 10 of these on my list. By the time I was done with my lesson planning I had 7 of the 10 ideas included. So from 38 I now have only 13 new ideas, a much more manageable list. But it was still a list of 13 ideas that I needed to figure out before school starts again in 10 days. So the next thing I did was to open my Atomic Learning account and start looking for tutorials on these edtech ideas. I found out that most of my new ideas had tutorials — now I could sleep at night.
Teachers: you can’t do it all — but you can do most of it with a little strategic planning.
- Brad Flickinger, Tech Teacher, Bethke Elementary School
#edtech #edchat #elearning
For years I have been all alone in teaching my elementary students about the world of technology, I’ve made all my own lessons from scratch as I tried my best to give my students the tech skills that they so desperately need in this new world of the 21st Century.
That was all perfect until I came across Learning.com this summer at the ISTE conference in Philadelphia. I just wandered into their booth drawn by the free candies that they prominently displayed at the back of the booth. “Candy,” I thought in my head, saying it like I was Homer Simpson. I was just inches away from my reward when I was approached by a rep from Learning.com who asked me if I would like a demonstration of their products.
I was beat and needed to sit down so I agreed.
The first product they showed me was their web based tech training for elementary students called EasyTech.
“This should be good,” I sarcastically thought to myself believing that I had the best tech lessons on the planet..
I watched as they demonstrated how easy it was for students to log on and then follow along with an animated lesson about certain tech subject.
Learning.com blew me away with EasyTech.
The lesson I watched was done with a cool animated character named Lukas Blackwell, a young rocker who is on a european tour and wants to stay connected to his friends and fans so he starts his own blog. I was pleasantly shocked at how much detail this little lesson covered, they really went into all of the deeper aspects of blogging, not forgetting to cover Internet safety all along the way.
The animation and narration of EasyTech is top notch and it is not just a “sit and watch” lesson, on every other slide the student needs to interact with the lesson to make sure that they are understanding the content that is being presented. Learning.com has got strong academics backing these lessons — something that caught my eye from the first of the demo.
Here is a link to the same lesson on blogging that I saw at their booth in Philadelphia.
Just click on the Curriculum link and then Grades 6-8 Sample.
The other half of the EasyTech program are the lesson plans for teachers to use once the online lesson is over. This is usually a PDF that has it all spelled out for the teacher. Here is a quote from the blogging assignment:
In this activity, students create and respond to blogs as they read and write about literature. To begin, the class is divided into two teams. Each team brainstorms prompts about the current reading and theme for the other team. The teams then break into pairs to respond to the prompts in their blogs. Students post blog entries in first person as one of the main characters, and respond to other students blogs in their own voices. In a culminating project, students watch a modern-day movie version of the literary work and blog a final movie review essay that compares and contrasts the movie to the original work and provides a movie review.
Learning.com’s EasyTech is a fee-based subscription service that is for the K-8 market. They also offer other products like: Aha!Science and Aha!Math, which I will review at a later date.
Here are some photos of my students using Learning.com’s EasyTech on their netbooks:
EasyTech lessons are aligned with the ISTE NETS-S standards (something that I strongly believe in), and that they are available in both Spanish and English.
What really ticks me off about this particular EasyTech lesson on blogging is that I worked for years to develop and refine my own blogging lesson and in the end I didn’t cover half of what was covered by Learning.com And what really hurts is how my kids think that the rocker character “Lukas Blackwell” is so much cooler than me.
I should have never fell for the candy!
- Brad Flickinger, Bethke Elementary SchoolRead More
#edtech #edchat #elemchat #foodfactor
I just uploaded a new episode of Elementary Tech Teacher’s Journal.
Episode Number 36 for the week of August 8, 2011
Getting Ready for Another FLL Competition
This week I talk about what I do to get ready for the upcoming FLL (First LEGO League) competition. Our school usually has 3 or 4 teams that compete in our local qualifier.
This week’s episode is sponsored by Atomic Learning.Read More
#edtech #edchat #elearning
I remember my first day of teaching technology to kindergartners, sweat formed on my brow as I tried my best to see technology through the eyes of students that are so young. I struggled with this age group for years until I came across the drawing program Pixie by Tech4Learning.
You see, I am adamantly opposed to letting young students just play games — I want to teach tech skills. I tried everything before finally stumbling across Pixie. At first I avoided drawing programs because I am NOT an artist. Besides, have you ever tried to draw anything with a mouse?
So this is how I use Pixie with kindergarteners:
The first thing you need to do is to buy these two books; Ed Emberley’s Drawing Book of Animals, and Ed Emberley’s Drawing Book of Drawing Faces. The thing about these books is that they show you step by step how to draw, your students just follow along with you.
I draw two pictures with each kindergarten class. The first drawing I make, say a tiger, we draw together step by step. Then I have the students sit on their hands as I draw another picture, this time a fire truck and then I say, “Ready, set, draw!” Then they try to draw the same thing, trying to remember each step. The kids love this.
Now about Pixie: Let me just start by saying that I have tried many different drawing programs and Pixie is head and shoulders above any of these other ones. My students love to use it, and not just my kindergarteners, all of my K-5 students use Pixie in one way or another through out the school year. The older students use Pixie to illustrate ideas for projects, like how a plant cell looks. Pixie has all of the basic functions that you would expect in a drawing program; brushes, eraser, paint bucket etc. But where it really excels is in it’s extras; stickers, clip-art, text, etc.
Here are some photos of my students using Pixie…
- Brad Flickinger, Bethke Elementary School
#edtech #edchat #elearning #elemchat
While I was sitting and enjoying the opening keynote for the TIE Colorado conference, I could help but notice that the presenter, Roger Pryor, was wearing a tshirt with a elephant’s head printed on it. If fact, he even referred to his shirt a few times in his keynote. The elephant’s head is of course the logo for Evernote. I had never really though very much about Evernote, but the keynote references to it were just the beginning. It seamed that everywhere I went this summer I kept running into people that love Evernote.
So take I finally gave in and I downloaded the Evernote app to my iPad, then to my iPhone and then finally to my MacBook. I will install it on my school PC when I get back to work next week. I know nothing about using Evernote so I started with some online tutorials form Atomic Learning. You can see from this image that they had a lot of quick little lesson videos about Evernote. These lessons are part of their much bigger workshop called “The Social and Interactive Web.”
I spent about 15 minutes watching the videos all the while pausing every now and then to practice what I had just learned. I am now using Evernote lickety-split. I’m no pro — but I know way more about Evernote than when I woke up this morning.
Part of being a 21st Century teacher is always being ready to learn new things — and today I am glad I did, I can already see how this little program is going to help me get a little more organized as teacher.
- Brad Flickinger, Bethke Elementary School
- Keep it Forever Using Evernote’s Web Clipper (techie-buzz.com)
- Evernote Tips Tricks and Resources (ismckenzie.com)
- App of the week for journalists: Evernote – A must-have app ‘like having a second brain’ (blogs.journalism.co.uk)