Information for New ITS

Archive for March, 2010

Trapped – Old Instruction – Spring Forward

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Observing this daffodil and how it was trapped with the dead weight of last year’s leaf, made me think about students and how they too may be trapped. Trapped with the old, dead  traditional ways of instruction from years past. Who will release this leaf and lift off the dead so that this bud will blossom? Who will shed previous years’ instructional strategies and gather new ideas and tools to help our digital natives learn and grow?

Many classrooms abound with teachers weeding out the old and planting new ideas to engage, but what is happening to educators  that haven’t looked beyond their traditional gardens for ways to engage our digital learners. As Instructional Technology Specialists it is our defined role that keeps us moving forward to collaborate with all teachers and together become facilitators and celebrators of learning.

How can you remove the dead so that students that are trapped under traditional instruction can be engaged and bloom? How can you move forward to work with unwilling teachers to build that collaborative culture? How can we seek out the unwilling and make a difference in their classrooms?

Kim Cofino shares a cyclic, collaborative model that has no beginning or end. Cofino shares, “Bringing together the pedagogical expertise of the classroom teacher and the technological understanding of the coach not only provides consistent embedded professional development, but makes the most of the extensive resources most schools have to offer in a way that effectively meets the needs of today’s students.” Read more at Creating a Culture of Collaboration Through Technology Integration.

Four for Friday – Grab the Interest of the Reluctants

Edu.Glogster – Glogster EDU is a tool to create online multimedia “posters” that can incorporate all types of elements into a web poster that contains links, images, text, videos, music, and more. Be sure you use edu.Glogster instead of Glogster and collaborate and plan a layout for content and structure to keep the students on target.

ABCya Word Clouds – Word Cloud site for educators that lets you right click to delete an unwanted word. Here is an example of text copied from this blog. This ABCya site also offers education games for grades K-5.

The Tired Teacher – Here is a reference site (part of that offers many resources to enrich teaching. It is a no frills site but has some awesome resources that can engage interest and spark new ideas.

Classroom Learning 2.0 - This free site from the California School Library Association program offers 23 activities educators can complete in 9 weeks to become a tech-savvy teacher. This easy going online experience could be the ticket for the technophobic educator that likes to learn on their own. If you organize a group of educators to participate, they offer a free management guide.

In Conclusion

Read more on how three-quarters of K-12 teachers are now using digital media @ The Journal. This is up from sixty-nine percent in 2008. A full report is located @ PBS Teachers. Don’t forget about the twenty-two percent infrequent users and those trapped kids. Reach out to that infrequent user and move them forward. Are you willing?

Photos shared from irewired.

Daffodil still struggles from being trapped too long.

Information Overload – LiveBinders

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This past week with the help of Twitter and educators freely sharing an abundance of information at several technology conferences across the country, I experienced an information journey without leaving the confines of my office. I was excited about the journey but tired by the huge amounts of information.  This information journey began with NCTIES, North Carolina Technology in Education Society and MACUL, Michigan Association of Computer Users in Learning.  Using the hash marks for both conferences(#ncties & #macul10), I was able to view valuable information on presentations, presenters and attendees and learn about so many resources and strategies for the classroom. The information came fast and furious and as I viewed, I quickly categorized and bookmarked for later reference and reflection.  The amount of material shared was overwhelming. Gathering the material brought me back to the old days when so much of our information was gathered, printed and saved in three-ring binders. My shelves were packed with different colored binders with information concerning software how to’s, integration ideas and student work samples as well as  professional development artifacts. Of course teachers had their own technology binder with information they collected from year to year. Thankfully today we work harder at saving paper and ink since documents and resources are saved digitally.

One new archiving resource, LiveBinders, was discovered in a tweet from #ncties.  LiveBinders is a free online knowledge sharing place that lets you create online three ring binders. It is very simple to use and a great tool for many educational purposes. Check out my New Tools Binder to see the format of LiveBinders and also view a few other new online tools by selecting the tabs. How can LiveBinders help with Information Overload?

“Know where to find information and how to use it – That’s the secret of success.” Albert Einstein

Five For Friday – LiveBinders in the Classroom

Ten Great Ways for Educators to Use LiveBinders – Great information to get you started!

LiveBinder4 Teachers is information overload but provides tons of information. Remember…Keep it Simple!

A Teacher’s Use of LiveBinders – This teacher created a binder for students to use over the summer. Notice that this binder has sub tabs under the main tabs.

4th, 5th and 6th Grade Math Word Problems – Great collection of math sites!

Promethean  Activ Resources Binder – Be sure to notice the sub tabs.

Tech Bit

Thank you #ncties and #macul10 for sharing two great venues of information. Social Media is a teacher lounge for this retired educator. Read Guest Blog: Making the Case for Social Media in Education shared by Betty Ray with Steve Anderson for Edutopia and think about moving toward cybercitizenship conversations instead of cyberbullying.

Photo courtesy of irewired.

Motivating Morale – Movies

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BA on Uncompraghre Listening to my peers and reading many blogs online has made me ponder on the state of teacher morale and motivation. This Tuesday’s #edchat was on this particular topic and shared many tweets. As I read a few of the comments posted at Steve Anderson’s Blog, Morale…Get Some!, it confirmed what I believe is occurring in schools today. Anderson shares that teachers and administrators have to work together and build morale. There is an archive of the tweets located on Anderson’s blog and a few are shared below. You can learn more about #edchat and view archived transcripts at the #edchat workspace. What can you do to motivate and improve morale?

“Teacher morale can be contagious.” Stay positive even on days that are not going well and things are not working out the way you hoped they would. Keep smiling, it makes a difference.

” I find that the kids are the best way to boost my morale…reminds me why I teach.” Get in those classrooms and connect with the students. The things you do with students definitely puts a twinkle in your eyes!

“Supported and empowered teachers are more likely to have high morale.” This is what you are doing and we thank you everyday for the support you provide our district’s educators.

“The morale of an organization will only be as high as its leader. Low teacher morale is the result of low leadership morale.” Supportive and strong leadership is a key to an organizations morale. Interesting information concerning principal support is shared in a recent survey of 40,000 teachers on improving education.

“My morale would be boosted by recognition for hard work. When I became NBCT, only congrats I got was blurb in district newsletter.” If there was a way to provide more positive feedback with more than a blurb, it would be there. With the Academy Awards on the horizon I think about the Oscars and all the recognition that is is given to these outstanding actors. What could be earned by an educator other than a blurb?

Speaking of the film industry, we do love watching movies and are often inspired.  Edutopia shared several great teacher inspirational movies in their recent e-newsletter. One favorite listed is Mr. Holland’s Opus, with Richard Dreyfuss.  It is rewarding to see that there is now a Mr. Holland Opus Foundation. Take time out to watch one of these motivational movies and remember to stay on top of your world. It is contagious!

“If the teacher is unhappy, the kids are unhappy. And when kids are unhappy there isn’t any learning going on.” Steven Anderson

Five for Friday – Movies and Motivating Morale

neok12 – This site offers free educational videos, lessons, games and quizzes. Could some of these learning objects be used when creating Units in Angel with Agents.

Making Stop Motion Movies – A great resource for educators and young people who want to learn more about how to create stopmotion and claymation movies. Kevin Hodges, a sixth grade teacher created this  site to inspire you.

Common Sense Media and Alice in Wonderland – There has been lots of anticipation for this movie that will certainly mesmerize the kids. Common Sense always provides useful information about age appropriate viewing and it is a Disney movie. Take the time to get out your 3D glasses for Alice in Wonderland! A few classroom ideas for using Alice in Wonderland are located at Discovery Education and G -Souto’s Blog goes into depth on using Movies in the Classroom.

Big Huge LabsMotivational Posters – The image above was created at Big Huge Labs – Motivator. Create your own with images from your building or environment. Very easy tool to use with the capability of saving and inserting in later publications or presentations. They offer many more formats for your enjoyment.

Friday Giveaways from Edutopia – Here is an opportunity for you to win something! Go to this link every Friday for a chance to win. As educators we love to receive gifts of all shapes and sizes. Could you have a small reward offering in your building to boost morale. Let’s keep them happy!

Photo above contained in the poster was taken on a wonderful climb up Uncompahgre Peak in July of 2006. Pictured is my son taking in the view over the Uncompahgre National Forest.