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Lori’s Learning Log for Module One: Differentiating the Classroom Environment through Technology in the #diffimooc. February 19, 2013

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Thus far, she has learned:

  • What a MOOC is
  • A little bit about tagging and sharing
  • About the following tools for teacher productivity and managing student progress: edmodo, dropbox, evernote, moodle,
  • About the wonderful universe of cloud tools.
  • About the plethora of options for younger students to use ipads for everything educational
  • How To:
    • How to form a group using Google group
    • How to use google reader to read updated shared information
    • How to create and maintain a blog
    • How to create a video (and about reflector)
    • How to tweet and use Tweedeck to track the whole mess
    • How to use livetext for submitting assignments and receiving feedback
    • How to use diigo
    • How to use wikispaces (wikis)
    • How to locate learning style inventory online instruments

Am I able to put all this together to improve instruction and create successful differentiated learning opportunities for students? Yes, with practice.

How I would implement these tools to allow students to self-assess, to set and track goals, to analyze student differences, and to manage formative and summative assessment, have been elaborated on in this wiki page.

 

Clouds February 11, 2013

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IMG_7576

I’ve looked at clouds from both sides now
From up and down, and still somehow
It’s cloud illusions I recall
I really don’t know clouds at all

Written by Joni Mitchell

Cloud illusions: using the imagination to envision cloud dragons, dogs, elephants, faces. Now we imagine apps in clouds, yikes!  My first “cloud” search returned this result: cloud manufacturing.  What?!  How to make clouds was part of the first grade science curriculum when my teaching career began many years ago.   Of course info on cloud manufacturing sent me off on a cybermethodolgy tangent.  Then, the morning news sent me down another path researching cyber warfare: Cloud Computing Brings Cyber Warfare and Cyber Attacks.

Finally, after all my curiosities were satiated, it was time to focus on the task at hand, not clouds, but the tools therein, for managing and delivering feedback to students. Some suggestions came from the twitter sessions:

  • “Show Me app is a cloud app. Students and teachers share video tutorials. I use it for formative assessments in math religiously.” Chris Carlson @thelearningcube.
  • Also looked at Voice Thread as per the tweet suggestions of the same night (Thursday, 2/7)
  • http://www.myschoolnotebook.com/ was suggested by another diffimoocher.
  • Learned about screenshots (cmd-shift-3 or cmd-shift 4 to select what you want to screen shoot on a mac) via tweets from Colin and Chip, and subsequently how to insert the shots into Word Docs.
  • Reflector app was referred to, but have not investigated it yet, although I think I know what it does.

Looking at other sites and suggestions from Dr. Graham’s resources, I learned how some students use Evernote in this wonderful summary:

This is what a day looks like … I use Evernote to review my notes before going to class. At class, I take notes. If there is a paper handout, I snap a photo of it during class and annotate it with Penultimate or Skitch, then save it to Evernote. If the professor is saying or drawing something that is specifically important, I would record audio or snap a photo respectively. When I get home, I may read some articles in Flipboard, and then save them into my Evernote notebook that fits the subject. I might watch a video on Khan Academy and take screenshots of important moments in the video. Afterwards, I will take notes on the video and insert those screenshots for visual memory. In addition to all of this, I keep all my files in Evernote. All of my paper documents, I scan at home right into Evernote. All of my digital docs are always in Evernote. So I have one place to search for everything. Great!

Besides these suggestions, I looked at the offerings for the cloud by Dell, Microsoft, Apple icloud (of course), Lenovo, AWS (Amazon Web Service offers a cloud too), Adobe, and of course Google.

Here’s what I gathered into my learning nest from the #diffimooc Connectivist Daily:

Bon Stewart defines my circuitous learning path so well:

Part of the problem is filtering: I’ve realized recently that in my dissertation work I’ve failed, so far, to build a robust framework through which I can filter the seven hundred vaguely-related-to-the-Internet-and-learning-and-identities ideas that I encounter out here every day in my brilliant network. I meander in circles, fumbling to re-word and re-work things, trying to translate or adapt concepts I encounter and figure out whether they fit into the big picture of what we’re doing out here in this world of networked practice. Sometimes they do. Often they are rabbit holes. Seldom can I tell the difference in advance.

I read a powerful blog post on Technological determinism, much of which I could relate to.  Managed to fit the concept into my schema by summarizing:

Bon Stewart, the author, purports that determinists believe technology gives us the solutions, not the users. Stewart refutes the determinist concept as faulty, reasoning it is the human connections enabled by technology that gives us solutions, not, for example, the app itself.  Says the author, it is important that we “being able to recognize technological determinism and address it directly might give those of us who find value in networked connections and connected learning an important tool for building better conversations about this, and therefore better connections.”

Went to check out a link from #etmooc Erin about Wordle.  Exceeded my computer knowledge when a pop-up said I had to have Java, so I stopped.   Without spending hours and hours, I tried to figure out how to use the blog post option in Microsoft Word, but gave up on this and went back to plan A: paste a doc into new post.  I’m such a wimpy techie.

Took a look at the Best Ipad Apps for Classroom Video Production suggestions, and book marked them for future reference.

Because I’m not much for the being center of attention, don’t like to speak before crowds, don’t like to have my picture taken, much less broadcast, and I’m sure my thoughts will really have no effect on the universe, I’m not sure I have the personality for being a blogger.  Hoping to find some empathy at this site, I make them blog, but do they want to? , but did not.  However, the rhizomatic learning twisted around and around resulting in gathering some ideas to effectively use blogs with students.  A comment from another struck a chord regarding connectivist learning and moocs:  I am not just learning HOW to connect by WHY connect.  Next link took me to a wonderful essay, Let’s Stop Talking about Teaching with Technology, and Start Talking about Teaching, where I studied this graphic and stellar gem of wisdom:

The basic work of teaching has not changed. Teachers still collaborate, still communicate, still find and share resources, still manage student behavior, still deliver content, and still assess students.

The difference is that we now have more tools and resources to improve our efficiency.

Look back at those six tasks that teachers do. The basic work of teaching has not changed. Teachers still collaborate, still communicate, still find and share resources, still manage student behavior, still deliver content, and still assess students.The difference is that we now have more tools and resources to improve our efficiency.
  1. Cloud computing is nothing more than finding a more efficient way to collaborate with students and staff
  2. Content managements systems are nothing more than finding a more efficient way to communicate with students and parents
  3. Personal learning networks are nothing more than finding a more efficient way to find and share resources
  4. Behavior management software is nothing more than finding a more efficient way to give formative feedback of soft skills and track student behavior
  5. Flipped classrooms are nothing more than finding a more efficient way to deliver direct content
  6. Electronic portfolios and digital quizzes are nothing more than finding a more efficient way to assess student knowledge

From the #diffimooc, I really value the reflective learning graphic from Barbra D.  Somehow I got really off task with this brilliant philosophical post and subsequent links.  .

Am I connected with the above people?  Not really.  Am I learning from them? Absolutely.  Ultimately, will I use the cloud resources the district uses?  Probably.  Why?  Even though I believe it is better to teach five ways to communicate one thought than one way to communicate five thoughts, standardizing for students and parents, simplifies the task of being a connected learning community.

 

Moocluk Cognitive dissonance February 5, 2013

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After reading the MoocGuide‘s 5 key challenges for moocs, please read the article below.

  1. It feels chaotic as participants create their own content
  2. It demands digital literacy
  3. It demands time and effort from the participants
  4. It is organic, which means the course will take on its own trajectory (you have got to let go).
  5. As a participant you need to be able to self-regulate your learning and possibly give yourself a learning goal to achieve.

Coursera MOOC overwhelming

 

Part 1: Kardashev’s Crystal Ball February 4, 2013

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Today’s meanderings brought this to the frontal lobes. Check out this scale, then look at the tech trends.

The Kardashev scale is a method of measuring a civilization’s level of technological advancement, based on the amount of energy a civilization is able to utilize.  More on this concept later!

Ten Breakthrough Technologies for 2012  These are the 10 most important technological milestones reached over the previous 12 months. To compile the list, the editors of MIT Technology Review select the technologies we believe will have the greatest impact on the shape of innovation in years to come. This impact can take very different forms, but in all cases, these are breakthroughs with the potential to transform the world.

 

The Trough

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This week, I looked at many sources for tracking and managing differentiated student progress.  My first choice would be to go with what the school already has in place, whatever that be.  In the case of Juneau Schools, it is Power School (PS).  PS has a component called Schoolnet, which I’m not sure JSD uses, but ideally it should.  Among other options, Schoolnet offers: dashboards that track goals; differentiated class lists for intervention; interactive lesson planner; loadable and searchable instructional materials bank. PS is created by Pearson School Systems the creator of Learning Studio which is appealing for the social learning aspect.

Among the other commercial packages available, this standards based grading system looked appealing http://activegrade.com/.  For students, this site caught my interest https://www.edcaliber.com/.  From the connectivist aspect, Canvas had some attractions.

Other free tools were examined such as wikispaces and wiggio, especially for group work.  Am attempting to learn wikispacesWiggio looks fun and I’ve been thinking all day about other uses for it.  But, am not going to intentionally add anything else to the learning trough for awhile…smiley face smiley face. 

 

Differentiate Between a Chicken With Nuggets and One Without. January 29, 2013

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Week Two Essential Question:

What tools might provide me insight into the learners in my classroom and how might I use this information?

“Do not confine your children to your own learning, for they were born in another time.”

Chinese Proverb

Multiple formal diagnostic tests exist in Special Education for isolating learning differences, as do an equal amount of formal inventories and surveys.  Rarely are these formal instruments used by the regular classroom teacher. Generally, it is the more informal items which classroom teachers find to be more user friendly: simpler to administer and easier to interpret.  A variety of learning style inventories, observations, anecdotal records, pre-tests, readiness tests, and formative assessments, are a few of the tools available to identify how students prefer to learn.  Ultimately, relationship building helps all educators gain insight into understanding how their students learn best.  “The teacher understands that learners bring assets for learning based on their individual experiences, abilities, talents, prior learning, and peer and social group interactions, as well as language, culture, family, and community values.”  (p.12, Standard 2: Essentail Knowledge, l) Outside of the legally mandated identifiers of learning, the interpersonal and informal tools are what I have found to provide me with the best understanding of how young people prefer to learn.

By analyzing the information gained about student’s learning styles and multiple intelligences using the above tools, I can decide where a child is on the path to learning.  This requires me to use the higher order thinking skill: differentiation! (Bloom’s Taxonomy) From what I know about each learner, I can create a differentiated learning environment.  The process of differentiating instruction involves research and development of strategies to incorporate into culturally responsive, inclusive lessons.  The goal of the carefully crafted learning opportunities is to authentically engage each learner to learn, at their own level, in their own way, at their own pace.

 

Nine months of skiing, three months of bad winter.

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Week one Essential Question:

What are the characteristics I will need to be successful in this MOOC?

The characteristics of an experienced mountain climber hauling skis up a steep scree slope during the three months of bad skiing are similar to what is needed to be successful in the  Differentiating the Classroom Environment through Technology MOOC (#diffimooc).   The skier’s target is to reach the pinnacle of a glacier in summer.  First, at the trail head, the survival supplies are packed: food, water, first aid (sun screen too!).  Then, tools necessary to reach the goal: skis, poles, ski boots.  Finally, documentation necessities are brought along: friends, cellphone/camera.  Dressed in hiking boots, sunglasses, hat, and doused in mosquito repellent, the hiker shoulders the load and embarks. Hours are spent hiking to the bottom of the snowfield.  There, the trade is made from hiking equipment to ski equipment for the final ascent up the ice.  Summiting, the cruise down the ice takes only a few minutes.  What makes the trek successful?  Is it defined by climbing the mountain or skiing down?  Getting to the ice field is an accomplishment in itself, but returning to the starting point, the trailhead, is always the same: it’s all downhill.  What goes up must come down.

As a master teacher and lifelong learner, it is the following characteristics of the summer alpine skier which contribute to my success in this first Diffimooc model:  preparation, organization, enthusiasm, optimism, perseverance, resource management (time and energy), self-motivation and self-direction, risk taking, problem solving, sense of adventure, flexibility, understanding of social media, sharing, collaborating, advocating, participation, focus, sustainability, practice, and common sense.

 

 
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