- opinions on the descriptions and appeal to the classroom teacher.
- resources I can use to further strengthen the offerings
- how you might want to adapt them into your offerings
- if you are interested in participating via skype or any of the myriad conferencing options we have now.
Presenting with Google Earth in the Social Studies Classroom
Teaching has become such a visual profession, with great emphasis placed on the context within which you present the material to the students. Using traditional methods of presentation such as PowerPoint can be augmented with several emerging technologies. Google Earth allows teachers to create dynamic, visually engaging presentations that employ the use of video, image, and geographical interfaces.
The Classroom Blog: How to move your students writing to a secure, online community
Our definition of literacy is quickly changing, so much so that we really need to rethink what it means to be “literate” in this century. According to a study commisioned by the National School Board Association, more than 50% of high school students have produced content on the web. Whether that means they are posting to a MySpace or Facebook page, or building a website or wiki, our students are active online. Just as with anything else we teach them, we need to be able to teach them how to create good content, content that has real value both in design and delivery.
Blogging with your students is a great step in this direction. Student writing proficiency and their desire to write will amaze you when you give them the freedom to create on their own blog. We will use 21classes to create your classroom blog. Depending on your level of comfort, we will allow your students writing to be viewable to others, or just to registered members of the site. Other topics to be discussed: online safety, online collaboration, and copyright.
The Media Rich Classroom: Using Video to Engage and Assess students
We have a multitude of resources at our disposal on a daily basis, and our students live and consume digital media on a daily basis. How can you get that media into your classroom in a manner that allows for thoughtful discussion and dissection? This workshop will focus on ways in which you can embed media into your teaching style without completely redesigning everything you do. Primarily, we will look at unitedstreaming‘s Quiz Builder, which allows for the creation of independent assessments based on videos. These assessments are completed online by your students and the results are emailed to you.
This class will also utilize YouTube, Google Video, TeacherTube, PBS, and other video sites that allow for the legal playback of material on a website or in educational materials. Participants in this workshop will leave with several assessments created, and lessons augmented by video and other digital technologies.
Feedback Matters: How student feedback can change your lesson design: before, during, and after
We spend a good portion of our school year assessing our students on what have learned in our classrooms. But how often do we assess them on how they learned best? Asking students for feedback on your classroom practices, lesson design, and subject choice can lead to great strides in your professional practice. A simple five-question survey, skillfully designed, can yield feedback from the students such as what presentation mode the students enjoyed most, what articles mattered the most to them, or what area they would like you to have spent more time on.
The Wiki Way: Using Wikis as Collaborative Environments
Several teachers in the district have begun to use the power of wikis to enable their students to work collaboratively on web pages centered around a particular subject or project. Sites that use “wiki” technology are turning the ideas we have held about online research upside down. A Wiki is defined as:
a type of web site that allows the visitors themselves to easily add, remove, and otherwise edit and change some available content…. This ease of interaction and operation makes a wiki an effective tool for collaborative authoring. The term wiki also can refer to the collaborative website itself (wiki engine) that facilitates the operation of such a Web site, or to certain specific wiki sites, …and on-line encyclopedias such as Wikipedia.
Wiki technology lends itself inherently to collaborative learning and creation. The very idea that several students can work on a body of information both simultaneously, independently, and from any location where they have an Internet connection, immediately extends the classroom beyond the 40 minutes that we see them and beyond the physical walls of our classroom. Participants from any content area will benefit from the balance of student freedom and teacher control afforded by wikispaces. Some examples of projects that teachers using wikis have created are: classroom study guides for full and half-year courses and even individual exams, collaborative projects with other schools in other countries, choose-your-own-ending stories, and student-driven tutorials for all levels of mathematics.
Internet Safety: What you need to know about keeping your students safe online
If ever there was a hot topic among educators, it is the issue of how to keep yourselves and your students safe as they venture into the realm of online content creation. We wrestle with our fears and those generated by the media regarding the dangers of online activity, but we long to connect our students to the growing amount of quality information, interaction and creative outlets that the web offers. Where is the line?
This workshop will delve into common-sense strategies to help you feel more comfortable about using the internet in the classroom, working with your students in an online collaborative environment, and teaching your students true online ethics.
Google Docs and Spreadsheets: Track Student Writing and Foster Collaboration through Google Docs
Working with students as they learn to become writers is often a trial and error process, and we struggle sometimes with the ability to track changes in their revisions. Also, sometimes we have students that truly need more than just a conference or two to set them on the right path to creating a quality piece of writing. What if you could write alongside your students from the very first sentence to the final revision? What if you could provide scaffolding for the students to help them organize their thoughts and see the changes they make to that structure in real time?
Welcome to Google Docs and Spreadsheets, where you can collaborate on a document with a student from the outset, and track changes in their work as they complete it. This application, free from the folks at Google, also allows for a permanent storage place for student writing that is secure and trustworthy. Have a student that loses work, CD’s, or flashdrives? Google Docs automatically saves writing every 30 seconds and allows the students to access their writing anywhere they have an internet connection. If you are serious about improving the quality of your student writing, think about taking this workshop.
SearchSmarter: Increasing Online Productivity through more efficient research
How do you judge the worthiness of an internet site? When we search for information, or ask our students to search for information, we need to be able to use as many filters as we can to eliminate excess choices that detract from our task at hand: we need to search smarter. The percentage of students who venture beyond the first three or four hits on a Google search is minimal. As those charged with teaching them to delve deeper, providing them with failsafe strategies for making those top three quality sites is imperative.
Using simple Boolean search strategies, as well as alternative search methods and search engines, this workshop will arm you with a multitude of methods for helping your students find a higher percentage of useful information with their searching. You will also be shown how to create a custom search engine that limits the sites that students can search to only those you want them to access.
Introduction to Social Networking and Personal Learning Environments: Using Smarter People to Raise your Level of Thinking
Professional development is often thought of as being the “sit and get” variety, however, with the emergence of new social networking software professional development can be taken to a whole new, interactive level. This workshop will explore the power of using a network to help you learn “socially,” through the use of professional networking sites, social bookmarking, and RSS, participants in this class will learn to find intelligent people in your field and “attach” themselves to them. As they learn and acquire resources, so will you!
Some of the applications used in this class will be the Classroom 2.0 Social Network, del.icio.us bookmarking, and Google Reader. Teachers and staff with familiarity with any of these applications are strongly encouraged to attend.
Copyright or Copy Wrong
As a district we are entering a phase where our student work is becoming increasingly public, as is the content we create for educational purposes. At what point do we as teachers leave the protection of “Fair Use,” and enter into the area of copyright infringement? This is information we need to know.
Our society, and especially our students, are becoming increasingly a “cut-and-paste” society, where information, pictures, audio, and video found on the internet are viewed as free for the taking. This is far from the truth; having a clear understanding of what is copyright and what is “copywrong” will help you steer yourselves and your students away from potential legal issues down the road.
Additionally, this workshop will explore the idea of Creative Commons, a non-profit organization dedicated to “creative works set free for certain uses. Like the free software and open-source movements, our ends are cooperative and community-minded, but our means are voluntary and libertarian. We work to offer creators a best-of-both-worlds way to protect their works while encouraging certain uses of them — to declare ‘some rights reserved.'”
flickr photo credit:”Fresh Development Business Card – Front“ pickledshark’s photostream