Sunday, October 20, 2019

Personalize Learning with Screencastify

One tool that helped me make the shift to creating a blended learning environment and personalizing learning for students is the screencasting tool Screencastify. I will be evaluating this tool as part of my learning through the ISTE Certification process.

1) How would you model this tool for colleagues?

One way that I modeled how to use this for colleagues recently was to create a choice board that allowed them to explore different ways the tool could be used in the classroom and then apply that learning by making a video. The choice board included a "Start" space with an introductory video, and then educators could choose the resources that they wanted to explore. As they explored, they shared some of their favorite ideas on a Padlet board. Their final task was to choose how they wanted to apply their new knowledge by creating a video using Screencastify and sharing that on our Padlet board, also.

As a follow up, I would also like to have the Tech Leaders use their video at their campus and bring the feedback back to the larger group. This would allow us to share ideas that worked, and we could brainstorm ways to improve videos that need a little work.

2) How would you investigate this tool collaboratively with students?

Educators could create a similar choice board to introduce the tool to students. Students could practice making videos, and then they could share the videos. They could also share ideas for best practices when making videos. They could curate all the ideas in a shared space so that they are learning together. 3) How might you use this tool to promote digital citizenship OR empower student learning?

This could be used to empower student learning by using it as a "flipped learning" tool. Educators can record any direct instruction lessons, and then they can share these in a place accessible to students (such as a Google Classroom). Students are then able to control the pace at which they learn because they can stop, pause, and rewatch lessons.

This tool can also be used to promote digital citizenship when used by students to create artifacts of the learning. Students can share the videos, and then they can comment and give feedback to their classmates. This will allow educators to support students as they learn to behave respectfully in digital spaces. 4) How might this tool transform your work with colleagues and/or students?
This tool could transform my work with colleagues because I can use it to create self-paced learning modules for the teachers I support. This will empower educators to start making decisions about their own Professional Development. It will also serve as a model for them so they see how they can utilize the tool in their own classroom to create blended learning environments. They can use the videos they create in models such as Station Rotation so that they can spend their time in the classroom working with students in small groups or having one-on-one conferences.
5) Which ISTE Standard(s) might be met by its use?

1(a): Students articulate and set personal learning goals, develop strategies leveraging technology to achieve them and reflect on the learning process itself to improve learning outcomes.

Students can create videos in which they reflect on their learning on a topic or project. They can include these videos, along with their projects, on a digital portfolio.

1(c): Students use technology to seek feedback that informs and improves their practice and to demonstrate their learning in a variety of ways.

Students can use Screencastify to create projects that demonstrate their learning, such as newscasts, simulations, and "how-to" explainer videos.

Have you tried using Screencastify in your classroom? I would love to hear your ideas!

Wednesday, August 7, 2019

Developing New Curriculum Documents

Yesterday I was feeling a little overwhelmed thinking about the new social studies standards and all the work that has to get done in order to create guides and assessments that will help support our teachers. Luckily, someone from my team came into my office and asked some really great questions that helped me start thinking about what my next steps should be. As I started brainstorming (complete with color-coded sticky notes), I kept coming back to three main thoughts. And, of course, these thoughts just brought up more questions to be answered...

  1. If we create a curriculum guide that looks like most have looked, then teachers will teach like they have been teaching. Whatever we create needs to have a structure that reflects and supports the shift to inquiry-based learning.
    • How can we create guides that support both new teachers and veteran teachers?
    • How can we give examples while avoiding some teachers and admin using those as step-by-step plans that do not take into account the unique skills and needs of their students?
  2. If we create typical multiple-choice assessments, then teachers will continue to teach to the test and focus on regurgitating information. Our “assessments” need to take into account the fact that that inquiry-based learning is messy, and they should, as Holly Clark states, “disrupt the culture of one right answer.”
    • How can we create assessments that reflect our understanding that all students do not learn or demonstrate their learning the same way?
    • How do we provide our teachers with the guidance, support, and time to help make this type of assessment a reality? 
  3. If we want teachers to understand the benefits of inquiry-based learning, then we need to create PD that allows them to experience inquiry-based learning. It makes no sense to preach about the advantages of inquiry learning in a PD session that has a typical one-size-fits-all, sit-and-get structure. 
    • How can we create effective inquiry-based PD that honors the varying degrees of experience amongst our teachers?
    • How can we create learning experiences for teachers that model the type of experiences we want for our students?

Wednesday, July 31, 2019

Leading My First Social Studies PD!

Today was our first social studies PD, and it was awesome meeting all of our social studies educators! I was super nervous stepping out of my comfort zone, but I learned a lot and I’m super excited to take the feedback they gave me and work to improve our next PD session!

Areas for celebration:
  • Teachers learned how they could use a variety of digital tools to promote student learning 
  • Teachers used the class comments feature in Google Classroom to share resources they use to build community and prompt student thinking
  • Teachers shared really honest and useful thoughts on shifting to inquiry-based learning

Areas for improvement:
  • I have a tendency to rush when I’m nervous. Learners need time to process. I need to slow down and give teachers more time to think and talk about how they can use some of the learning strategies we talked about in their own classrooms. 
  • Teachers have varying levels of comfort using tech. I need to find ways to better address and support teachers who are less confident about using digital tools.
  • Some teachers want to integrate tech, but have a lack of access to student devices. I need to share blended learning strategies that they can use. 

Tuesday, May 28, 2019

Getting Started with Google Sites!

Today I worked on putting together resources for my session at the DVUSD Tech Fest. I am presenting a session called, "Getting Started with Google Sites" to help teachers learn the basics of using the new Google Sites. 

One of my goals for this session, and for my new role next year as an EdTech and Social Studies Specialist, is to help teachers learn how they can use Google Sites to have students create digital portfolios. Digital portfolios are a great way for students to demonstrate and reflect on their learning and growth. My hope is that by showing teachers the basics of how to use Sites, they will then be more likely to help their students create websites.

I started a new Wakelet collection to share with the teachers in my session, and I hope others will find it helpful, also! 

Click here for the link to my Wakelet collection!

Do you have any other resources you would add to this collection? I would love to hear your suggestions!

Tuesday, May 21, 2019

Using Wakelet for Curation!

This is the last week of school, but the next few weeks are going to be super busy! I'm presenting four different sessions at the DV Tech Fest (our district tech conference) this summer, so I'll be doing some research and preparing my materials. 

This summer I will be presenting the following sessions:

  • Unleash the Power of Google Slides
  • Cultivating Collaboration with Google
  • Getting started with Google Sites
  • Elevate Your Learning: Twitter for Educators
My session on Twitter for Educators is new this year, and I'm really excited about it! My experiences interacting with other educators on Twitter have really helped me grow professionally. I was able to learn from teachers who generously shared their ideas and resources, and I took those new ideas and tried them in my own classroom. Twitter also showed me the possibilities that exist when we stop assuming that we have to run schools the same way they were run when we were in school. It has been so inspiring to see the innovative teaching and learning practices going on in other schools. I would love to help other educators get started on Twitter and discover all the learning possibilities that it offers!

In preparing for this session, I decided to try using Wakelet to curate the resources that I wanted to share with my teachers. So far it has been really easy to use, and I really love that it allows you to share the collections you create! This means that I can share the link to the collection with the teachers that attend my session so they can revisit the resources at their own convenience. I also really like the Wakelet Chrome extension because it is super easy to add a new resource to a collection!

How have you used Wakelet for curation? I would love to hear from you!