Each week on a Friday, I get to spend 30 minutes with an amazing young man – my ES Technician – Khun Tua. Recently we’ve been sharing our knowledge and discoveries on the iPad and the Chrome Browser.
Here’s a few things we’ve been sharing:
Chrome Extensions: Chrome has a vast variety of extensions to make your experience with the Chrome Browser slicker, quicker and easier. Switching between Most Visited & Chrome Apps is as easy as a click at the bottom of the page.
These are the extensions that I now have installed for quicker access to the things I use the most. Very easy to install, very easy to access. I’m especially enjoying the pinterest extension at the moment – it’s really appealing to my creative/visual side (more to come on that later!)
I’m not quite sure how many faithful readers I have left ……. but to those of that still have me in your RSS feed or those of you that stop by in the hope that I’ve updated my blog …….. I say thank you. Thank you for checking by or for reading this post.
Image by JetSetWilly http://www.flickr.com/photos/jetsetwilly/1401229809/
Somehow, my blog has managed to end up on a “block this site” list within Thailand. It’s been very hard to get to the bottom of why and it seems that (thanks Jeff Utecht for the brilliant explanation and many, many thanks to the always helpful Chris Craft) my BlueHost hosted website on a shared IP address has had it’s said Shared IP address blocked by the MICT in Thailand. Try to find out why has been next to impossible so I’m guessing that it’s not my site that’s causing the blockage but probably one of the 100 sites that share the same IP Address as me. (I have doubled checked my blog and it’s content to ensure I’m not offending anyone and I’m pretty sure I’m not!).
Enter BlueHost’s Active Chat – extremely helpful and efficient service within 2 minutes I’m chatting with someone at BlueHost explaining my dilema. The solution: Pay $30 per year for a dedicated IP address. Mmmmmm, I was kinda hoping you could switch me from that server ……… obviously not.
So I’m seriously considering doing that. It’s made me take a step back and reflect on whether I want to continue blogging on my own domain ……. in fact, it’s made me really think “do I want to continue blogging in general?” (Given that my contribution to my own blog over the last 9 months has been abysmal to say the least!) Turns out I do. I’m not ready to let this blogging thing go yet. I do have much more to share. I do love helping people and I do like writing when I’ve got something that I feel is worth saying/sharing/explaining.
Right now, I want to make sure that the Shared IP Address is the only reason why I’m experiencing difficulty getting to the backend of my blog. I have this nagging feeling that there’s a bit more to sort out as I can’t even get compfight to load right now!
As we begin our second semester at ISB, I’ve been reflecting on quite a number of things. One of which is how do you bring parents into your classroom (digitally speaking)?
One of the things I really like about my position as ES Technology & Learning Coach is the opportunity to work with a wide variety of colleagues, all of whom are in different places in their own personal technology journey as well as different grade levels of students.
Every classroom in the ES has a class blog. They are “windows into the classroom” and used in a variety of ways. Here’s some of the things our teachers do to bring parents into the classroom digitally:
Newsletter posts (no more paper) Some teachers create a newsletter pdf for parents to download – some write the newsletter right in a post
Class Magazine (using Youblisher) Embeds in a post and turns pages just like a magazine. G4-5 students take turns at creating the magazine rather than the teacher.
All links are in one place – the class blog! This requires the students & their parents to visit the blog to access information
Homework posted on the class blog Sometimes the student homework is to get their parents to comment on a post! Kids love it when their parents have to do some homework too!
Use the email subscription widget – (Especially excellent to have ready at Back to School Night) This handy plugin makes it easy for parents to sign up with their email account to receive an email whenever the class blog is updated. As the teacher, you can also see who is signed up to receive this kind of notification
Facebook Page (Parents can “like” the page & receive status updates) Some teachers have trialed the use of a class facebook page as a “snapshot in time” into the class – due to our policy of discouraging our ES students having a facebook account – only the teacher logs in and updates this page – although wouldn’t it be great if it was a student’s class job to update the class facebook page 4 times a day with what was going on – images & reflections
Each class has a Collection on our school flickr account This collection URL does not change so it’s linked on the class blog – everytime a new set goes in the collection, the link automatically shows the latest images!
There’s some of our ideas. What things does your school/class do to digitally bring parents into the classroom?
Ok, so I really should be updating my professional blog, travel blog AND photography blog with the zillion and one idea posts on my list – but I find myself procrastinating AGAIN and watching inspiring video links from Facebook instead! It started with the gorgeous Amy Krouse Rosenthaland her amazing The Beckoning of Lovely (5 part video) (see previous post) and progressed to this wonderful video below. I am missing being in the classroom with students so much and this is why!
Currently I use Presentation Zen for PD sessions with faculty as much as I can, but when I was in the classroom I used Presentation Zen Keynotes for Readers and Writers Workshop. The result in the classroom was (I think) better conversations, shorter mini-lessons and increased motivation and inspiration – especially for writing.
Recently at the JIS Technology Learning Institute, the Presentation Zen- Introduction session I ran, was very popular. Below I’ve included the Keynote (uploaded to SlideShare) to introduce the basics of Presentation Zen. After the basics, we looked at an actual Readers Workshop keynote that I’d used in the past, then I asked the session participants to begin work on their own Presentation Zen keynote. It was a great way to not only introduce the basics of keynote, but encouraged a really good conversation about Creative Commons and copyright, which a lot of schools are struggling with.
One of the reasons I was fortunate enough to be invited to the JIS Technology Learning Institute at the beginning of August, was because I blog with students – not just my own anymore, but with students right through our Elementary School now in my role as ES Technology & Learning Coach.
Below is the Keynote from the first Blogging Session – How To Get Started that I did with JIS Faculty – unfortunately their blogging platform was not ready – so I did a lot of the talking. Good questions were asked and I hope I answered most of them – especially about why Blogging in the Classroom can be so rewarding for students (and for the teacher – after the initial hard work!).
I also hoped to do another session with the JIS faculty – Blogging – Making it Sustainable! But as with these things, we ran out of time. I’ve included it below as well. Special thanks needs to go out to my twitter PLN mates for their super ideas on sustaining blogging in the classroom – @dakinane @heymilly @lenva @pam_thompson @allanahk @glassbeed – you guys are awesome and included in the credits!
It seems that this is a “hot topic” in a lot of schools as we head back to begin another school year. JIS, was no exception. We started off with a great conversation about ipads vs laptops vs netbooks – why would I want one of these in my class? My personal opinion is, it’s another tool – use what you’ve got – experiment with what you’ve got – make what’s been made available to you work. I’m also one of those people who’s prepared to purchase my own tool to experiment with to see if it works in the classroom for my students and/or myself before I ask admin to consider purchasing said-tools for the classroom.
A couple of days ago, I bought the iPad2. (My son already has an iPad – it’s become his personal device – so I really don’t have the heart to permanently “borrow” his! And that’s exactly what the iPad is supposed to be – a personal device. But, we teachers like to take things that we only have one or two of, and make it work in the classroom environment with many more “bodies” that it was originally designed for! (That’s why we’re such a creative and innovative bunch!). So I believe you can make 6 iPads work in class of 20/22/32. It will take organisation, it will need experimenting, and it will take some effort – but it can be done!
I’m glad we had an opportunity to talk about iPads in the classroom, I’m glad that teachers were able to voice their concerns, their excitement and their questions before we got down and dirty with some top apps for the classroom and ways to use them! JIS has purchased 40 iPad2′s for their campuses. I’m hoping that I’ll hear how it’s going and what teachers are doing with them in classroom over the coming year!
Now, here’s the part of the session that really started to buzz – the apps! Oh the apps! There’s so many great apps out there! So, modeling one of the new online tools that I’d already exposed the teachers too, I used LiveBinders.com to create a resource called iPad Apps for the Classroom. Click on the link or click on the image below to see this resource.
Loved this session – I think it’s the oooohs & the ahhhhhhs that teachers let out when they “dabble” a little with the tools.
LiveBinders was perfect for introducing 9 other fabulous tools to use in the classroom – not just at the start of the year, but all year long. Please, feel free to add your ideas to the side text boxes if you’re using these simple tools in the classroom too.
I loved the format of our session, so I thought I’d share that with you too:
Show sign-up, a few features like edit menu, text layout – set the timer for 7 minutes and have sand-pit (dabble) time
When the timer goes, you have to share something you discovered when playing around with the tool, with the person sitting next to you (3 minutes)
Repeat with next tool – Tab #1 – #9
This is a really good way to minimize the “teacher is the expert” thinking or expectation in your classroom. I always “dabble” a little before I introduce any new tool to my students – but I let them “discover” things too. Almost every time I do this, someone discovers something else I didn’t know about the tool – it’s very empowering for students to discover something the teacher doesn’t know! I love it! And in less than 20 minutes most of the students in your class have a fair idea of how that tool works! Sometimes I’ll ask for 4-6 volunteers to show small group something they’ve learned to do – then we’ll do a round robin of discovery – it takes a bit to organise, but worth the effort too.
Image by Mark Brannan http://www.flickr.com/photos/23403402@N00/1197947341/
It’s been a humbling experience to be invited to Jakarta International School as a consultant for their Technology Learning Institute PD. This is the second time JIS has conducted this kind of PD for their faculty – but this time, if teachers wanted to attend, they returned 3 days early from their Summer Break. And quite a few of them did!
For the past 3 days, they have been taking part in technology PD sessions run by their incredibly talented team of team integrators/librarian/techie staff faculty members from across the Elementary, Middle and High schools. From Moodle to iWorks to iLife to Blogs to Online Tools to PresentationZen – the attendees have had a plethora of sessions to choose from. A flexible, adaptable schedule with time-out sessions added to process or work on something new, added up to a low stress (although overwhelming at times for those new to technology) fun-filled three days of learning. It was an absolute pleasure and honour to have been a part of this experience and special thanks must go to Lindy B (who asked JIS to bring me in, because she’d been reading my blog!)
Special thanks too, to my awesome PLN who helped me with ideas for a couple of my sessions – your input, as always, is the reason twitter remains one of my favourite places for learning new things!
Over the next few posts, I’ll be sharing links/presentations etc that I used with JIS.