Sunday, October 20, 2013

I thought I would share two pieces of info. One is that Math 6 has a full blown (google) website that is used by teachers and students to get information about HW assignments along with resources for learning and practicing skills. Here is the site link if you want to check it out. BUT since that was such a LONG title and kids and parents alike were shying away from using it to get to the site, Steve heard about a site that creates an "addy" for our site. If you go here: you will get to a site that has the longer site as a link and will take you right to the Math 6 site. Pretty cool. You can create an addy for just about anything. Check it out! :)Cathy

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Here is the first movie made in EC this year.  It is called The Shark and was made by novice film maker Naomi Rice.

We're experimenting with a 2:1 student to device ratio this year, with each EC teacher being responsible for a small set of student iPads.  The iPads have finally traveled out of the closet and we've started introducing a few apps to the class.  We had a scan demo this morning and a small group of students worked with a teacher to create some QR codes.  We're slowly moving forward again!
In EC we have been consumed with the teacher parts of technology, and also with sorting out the various bugs and problems that have cropped up.  Our plan to start google accounts for all of our students has forced us as a team to begin to learn how to use Google Drive.  It took quite a while to bring everyone up to a similar starting point with Drive.  It seemed that each device had its own issues to sort out as well as it's own learning curve.   (I was personally gratified to solve a problem that stumped one of our experts through dogged trial and error.)

We're finally (almost) ready to send links to the accounts to families.  At the same time we continue to discuss exactly how much content we want to put in the student accounts and to what end, beyond simply sharing media.  Some questions:  Will we be able to load the conference videos after conferences?  Do we want to do that?  Will these accounts function as a long term portfolio for each child?  If so, how much content will one account hold?  So, as usual, we're cautiously feeling our way into unknown territory in a fairly public way, and learning as we go.  Excelsior!

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Thoughts for Year 3

* Less IS more for me.  I have far fewer apps on my iPad now than I did 3 years ago and my iPad use seems more streamlined, productive, and less daunting
* Less IS more for students.  We have cut back to 4 apps students will use regularly (Camera, DrawingPad, Explain Everything, Scan) and use "skills practice" apps in a guided fashion with students who need work in specific areas (this is where 1 to 1 would make our lives easier!).
* A clear purpose for apps and explanation of intent for iPad use is important.  Last year we had several apps on the iPads that students were using frequently, but I found myself becoming hesitant to bring out the iPads because the benefit I originally intended the apps for seemed lost (for example, Puppet Pals was too tempting for silliness and not the storytelling platform I envisioned, and once they figured out how to change the settings on LetterSchool, there was no going back, defeating the object of letter formation practice).  I have had to think and rethink how we introduce apps and set expectations.  This is very much a work in progress.
* I love the idea of Evernote, but have not fully embraced it, yet.  For meeting notes I have actually found I prefer Notability (due to the ability to write with stylus on agenda, highlight).    Maybe I will take a poll sometime (Poll Everywhere?)
* It is satisfying to have a clear vision and goal.  Student documentation of work is my goal.  Right now students are regularly documenting their work in the classroom with photos.  I hope to get them comfortable with Explain Everything to add audio to their documentation.  I need to become more comfortable with Explain Everything (or we learn together).  There is a lot of potential to be had in thinking of how students (who are often pre-literate) can share their ideas and document their learning.
* iPad minis are much easier for our students to manage, particularly in using the camera (for photos and video).
* iPad maintenance always takes more time than expected.
* Google Drive is better than Dropbox.
* Google Chrome makes it easy to switch between accounts on my laptop.  Chrome has proved less helpful on the iPad since I manage different Google Accounts, but I have not used it much.
* QR Codes are fun and useful
* There simply is not enough time to do it all so choose carefully and prioritize.

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Jess Part I. Hello Google Drive...

...I think I love you.  And I like your friend Google Chrome too.  Collectively, you have been very helpful to me and I have a feeling that I have only scratched the surface of our relationship.  I look forward to getting to know you better and introducing you to my friends.