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Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Turn an iPad into a Document Camera

For years I have been wanting a document camera for my classroom, but simply couldn't justify the price.  I recently discovered how to turn an iPad into a document camera.  Below are the step-by-step directions and pictures.

Apple TV

1) Turn your iPad camera on

2) Flip the camera direction around so it is capturing you

3) Hey look, that's me!
4) Connect to the Apple TV

5) That is what the students see, a projection of what the iPad camera is seeing

6) This is what I see, me in front of the iPad camera
It is that simple!  It was quick and easy to set up, and now my students can see all the small things.  This whole set up may be enhanced with some sort of iPad tripod where I can securely adjust the angle.

Saturday, November 23, 2013

MLTI iPad Apps iBook

I have attended several meetings and conferences this fall since the roll out of the iPads as one of the devices offered in the state-wide one-to-one program.  One of the constant challenges that I have heard from classroom teachers is being unsure what all of the apps that come pre-loaded on the iPad do. Often I have heard suggestions to "just Google the app", but many classroom teachers simply don't have time to look up the 100+ apps.  Below is a link an iBook that I wrote in response.  Simply put, the iBook is a "just Google it" summary of each app that comes pre-installed on an MLTI issued iPad.  I turned to the MLTI RFP, the Apple iTunes store, and a few other websites for descriptions.

                                            MLTI iPad Apps iBook
                                            MLTI iPad Apps PDF

Digital Docent - The Bridge to Connect Digital Generations

Digital Docent - The Bridge to Connect Digital Generations

Sarah Irish

Recently I have been learning more about and giving presentations on the students who walk into our classrooms every day.  A common phrase uttered by teachers is "my students today just can't ______ like they students in the past have".  What I have found from my learning is that the students in todays classrooms simply aren't wired the same way students used to be, so that means they don't learn always naturally learn in the same ways.  

The students who come to school today are accustomed to interacting with the world in a digital way, they are known as digital natives.  "They were all born after 1980, when social digital technologies, such as Usenet and bulletin board systems, came online.  They all have access to networked digital technologies.  And they all have the skills to use those technologies” (Palfrey & Gasser, 2008, pg. 1). 

On the flip side, there is a second term used for people are do not interact with the digital world as natively, they are known as digital immigrants.  “A person who has adopted the Internet and related technologies, but who was born prior to the advent of the digital age” (Palfrey & Grasser, 2008, pg. 346).

I would like to introduce a new third term: digital docent.  When you go to any museum in the United States the who gives tours is known as a docent.  The word docent is from the Latin word docēns, which means to teach.  These are the people who grew up on the edge of all of this technology.  They can connect with how both the digital natives and the digital immigrants view the digital world. 

Currently in the education world there are is a huge push to integrate technology into the classroom.  The challenge is that many of our current educators are digital immigrants. This isn't a bad thing, it just adds another challenge when trying to integrate technology.  The digital docents who are also teachers are essential to ensuring the successful integration of technology.  It is their job to act as the bridge between the digital natives and digital immigrants.  The digital docent has the capacity to teach as the Latin root of the word suggests both of these groups.  The big question is how best to facilitate this teaching bridge.  

Digital Natives Resources

Marc Prensky Essays

Suggested Reading List
Palfrey Born Digital: Understanding the First Generation of Digital Natives

Saturday, October 19, 2013

Technology as the Bridge for Customized Learning

Customized Learning is not a new concept in education.  In the 1920’s, Mastery Education was introduced where students could move at their own pace until they had mastered a set of standards.
Entire textbook series were created in order to allow for this.  So why did Customized Learning die out the first time?  Money.  A school needed to be able to invest in this new series of textbooks.  In the 1960’s, Bloom and his protege Block reintroduced the idea of students progressing at a pace that was appropriate for them and demonstrating mastery of a skill.  So why did Customized Learning die out the second time?  Again, money was an issue, but there was also a resistance to educational reform.

It is 2013, and Customized Learning in education is here for a third time.  What makes it more possible this time?  Technology.  This is the bridge that allows for Customized Learning to happen in our 21st century digital classrooms.  Rather than having to purchase an entire series of textbooks as schools had to in the 1920’s and 1960’s, technology is already at the fingertips of all of our teachers and students. Customization has what it needs to finally be implemented.  

There are two types of technology use in Customized Learning.  First, there is technology to track student progress through the standards that students, parents, and teachers can access.  Second, there is technology to demonstrate and facilitate learning.  This second type of technology is utilized by students to demonstrate mastery of a standard or to demonstrate an activity that students work through to prepare for standard mastery.  Although Customized Learning utilizes technology, it does not replace teaching, facilitating, and guiding from teachers.  Students still interact with peers and teachers in a Customized Learning classroom, but technology allows for the facilitation of learning at their pace.


Wednesday, September 25, 2013

21st Century Skills

This is a cross post from www.irishmathclass.com, my classroom blog.  Tonight I was getting caught up on email and Internet reading when I cam across this - A Parent's Guide to 21st Century Learning. This guide got me to thinking about how important 21st Century Skills are and that it we as educators really need to help educate parents on this topic.  

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Google Calendar Enhancing the Home/School Connection

Since the dawn of time teachers and parents have been trying to make better connections between home and school.  When parents ask their child "What do you have for homework tonight" the child either can't remember, or gives the default answer that they don't have any.  Google Calendar can help solve this problem.  

Google Calendar is a free online calendar website where you can keep your personal calendar, a shared calendar with a group of people who can all add to it, or a shared calendar with people where online one person can add to it.  

As a teacher with a Google Calendar you could create a calendar where you enter assignments and then share this calendar with students and parents.  You could also embed the calendar with assignments into a classroom website.  Below are the steps for creating a Google Calendar, steps for sharing the calendar with students and parents, and the steps to embed the calendar into a blog or website.  In order to create and share a Google Calendar you need to have a Google account already set up.  If you don't have one, follow these directions.     

Steps 1 & 2

Creating A Google Calendar

To create a new calendar, just follow these steps:1) Click the drop-down arrow to the right of My calendars
2) Select Create new calendar
3) Enter information about your new calendar
4) Click the Create calendar button

Steps 3 & 4

All of the calendars you create will be listed under My Calendars on the left side of your page. For each of the calendars, you can add, delete, and edit events any time you like.
Please note that there's a limit to the number of calendars you can create at one time. If you're receiving an error message when creating additional calendars, please wait 24 hours before trying again.

Sharing Your Google Calendar

Setps 1 & 2
1) Click the drop-down arrow to the right of the calendar that you want to share
2) Select Share this Calendar

Steps 3 & 4
3) Check the box to make the calendar public
4) Click Calendar Details
Step 5

5) In the Calendar Address area select the way the user of the shared calendar user will view the calendar.  
  • Select iCal if the user is going to view it in Apples program iCal.  
  • Select XML if the user is going to view the calendar in another calendar program.
  • Select HMTL if the user is going to put the address into an internet browser to view the calendar.  
6) Copy the address in the box that pops up and share this with the people you want to share the calendar with.  
Step 6

Embed the Calendar In A Blog or Website

Steps 1 & 2
1) Click the drop-down arrow to the right of the calendar that you want to embed
2) Click on Calendar Settings
Steps 3 & 4
3) Select and copy the code 
4) Paste the HTML code into your blog or website