Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Busy time of year--but we need some feedback

Today, we had a training session with Dr. Z. As we get closer to the holidays, it gets harder to make time after school for extra training, seminars, etc. However, tonight's session had smaller attendance than the prior trainings. I'm curious as to the reasons for this. If you have been a regular attendee at the tranings, and could not make it this week, please send me an email to let me know why. I hope we are just dealing with busy schedules. On the other hand, if we are not hitting the target with our training, we need to know so that we can improve the model. Please send me an email at mikewrd042@gmail.com

Monday, November 9, 2009

Farmingdale Elementary

At Farmingdale I have used Google Docs several times to gather input from the students. They prefer using the computer to send me their information over the traditional paper/pencil method. Unfortunately, using Google Docs does not give me the option of really showing the students what they got correct or incorrect.

One of the projects I did recently was to have the fourth grade students tell me what program they would use for a particular project. The programs were all something they had used in the computer lab in the past. Many of the students struggled with that project because they don't pay attention to the programs that we use in class. I tell them what program to open, so that's what they do.

My third graders recently completed a project where they typed in a web address on the internet, then they needed to determine several things about the website they visited: subject of the site (math, reading, etc.), grade level appropriateness (pre-k, 1st, etc.), material available on the site (games, information, worksheets), and determine if there were advertisements on their site and why they were there. The students did okay with the project, but this was another one where there were no hard and fast answers, and they struggled with determining the information on their own.

The fourth graders created their first PowerPoint in technology class. Once the students satisfied the minimum requirements for their presentation, I encouraged them to try out the different options available in the program. I told them to try the buttons to see what they did. The students at the elementary school are not used to having that kind of freedom with a school project. Many were wary of doing "something wrong" in the program.

This year I will be having my fourth graders contributing to a blog website. I will post the web address for my website and that blog page at a later time. I had the students write on a blog last year, and they did enjoy it. What they enjoyed even more was the ability to respond to one another's postings. I have been considering switching from a blog to a wiki so that there is the "threading" capabilities.

I do have more of the technology projects for my third and fourth graders. Kindergarten, First, and Second grade students use their technology class to reinforce the skills they are learning in their classrooms. I use software and websites for the early grade levels. The older students then have a chance to work with more of the programs available.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Some examples of technology at the high school

With so many people using websites, wikis, and blogs, it would be nice to create a directory of your work. Please list the address of your site below. I would like to eventually post it on the school wiki as well.

Plainsschoolstuff wiki: http://plainsschoolstuff.wetpaint.com/

John Langley:

Mr. Langley's Digital Classroom http://sites.google.com/site/mrlangleysroom
Mr. Langley's Classroom blog http://mrlangleyclassroom.blogspot.com

Plainsman (yearbook staff workspace) http://sites.google.com/site/pphsplainsman
Thoughts of a Pirate blog http://piratedjlangley.blogspot.com
Lesson Plans and presentations/handouts http://www.casscomm.com/~pirate/school.html
Online book club http://pphsreadingrally.wetpaint.com
Public yearbook forum http://yearbookrocksforum.wikispaces.com
PPHS Yearbook Facebook group (private) http://www.facebook.com/piratedjlangley?ref=profile#/group.php?gid=34811273438

Brian Conklin:
All courses on the same site, including a tentative science club calendar (when it works...)

Emily Chrisman:

My website has links for each class, calendar for big events, list of assignments as they occur, my powerpoints and other documents uploaded to it.

I also text students with reminders - not a blog but is communication
I just created a survey for my students to evaluate my classes. The link to this Google Doc is on my website.

Jenni Durbin:

All of my courses are linked off the main page http://sites.google.com/site/jdurbin5/

Krystal Oh:

website for all classes, including an assignment calendar, links, and attachments of handouts, etc. needed for class

wiki for DEAR postings and peer responses

Google Spreadsheets make collaboration easy!!

Recently, the building RTI team had the task of completing a records review to look for students who are in need of additional supports. Essentially, we had an excel spreadsheet full of test data (ISAT, Explore, and PLAN). In the past, the team would have taken the excel spreadsheets, analyzed the data, and then complete an assessment. Each assessment (there are six people on the team) would have to be reassembled and then re-distributed. This process would have required an additional meeting and a lot of data rearrangment.

Instead, we uploaded the excel data into the google spreadsheet. Each team member was invited to edit the form. With that, the team members could analyze the data, indicate which students were a concern with a yes or no in the cell and add any comments as needed. The result was that each person, working at his or her convenience created a complete document that showed consensus on who needed attention. From there, we could identify the students and enter the next phase of the screening process.

Uploading the data was very easy. We saved time and got great results.

I can see this type of use in the future for any type of data analysis that a team has to do. I'm curious if anyone else has used spreadsheets in class settings, and how those activities could adapted to use google spreadsheets.

What Have You Done Lately

This blog is created for staff to describe how technology is being used in the classroom to expand the opportunities for students. It can also be used to post questions and get technical advice. You are invited to share your experiences.