Authors & Voice – Using Google Classroom/GAFE

Storytelling is about discovery; discovery of oneself, discovery of our relationship with the world, discovery of questions within ourselves. Purposefully and intentionally immersing technologies that are simple to grasp, amplifies the discovery allowing the power of voice to lift off.

This year’s joint project between Learning Technologies and Literacy accessed the collaborative nature of Google Classroom to strengthen writing, voice, and empowerment in every student. The simplicity of the environment made it the best alternative to focus on writing communication, not learning the tool. Pre-assessment set the groundwork in maintaining the focus. Activities ranged from heart maps, personalization to self-reflection of goals. All classes learned and accessed the many tools embedded to support inclusion (eg. audio, voice-to-text (sometimes it’s easier to speak and watch it flow out on a page), dictionary with images, integrated web research (no leaving your page), auto translation (ELL inclusion from day one), text-to-speech, word prediction…). Again, these were done purposefully when need arose and all students engaged when they felt the need or wish. Immediate timely support through teacher and student comments provided opportunities to focus on growing the writers voice. The values of core competencies were evidenced throughout their writing process. 

These stories of learning are captured in the words of students and teachers.

 

More stories are on their way and will be posted as our project teams round off the year. 

It’s 2018 – Moving Forward

It’s already  22 days into the new year! Recently we moved all classroom blogs and student BlogFolios to a new service allowing for growth over time. It’s been exciting to connect with people from all the team initiatives and be a part of their learning stories. 

LOOKING AHEAD:  As I’ve said before, change is the only constant one can depend. While I have written about available opportunities with regards to tools and platforms  in past posts, a few others are worth mentioning. You may wish to forward this information to anyone who might be interested – extending the learning for others. 

Synergy – Focused on innovative practices in communication, these teachers (primary and intermediate) use iPadcaster and green screen to bring experiences of past, present and future to life. Imagine having your own portable TV recording studio. What’s involved is a whole lot of research skills, organization and practice in oral speech; lots of practice. See the connection?

WordPress Class Blogs/Student BlogFolios  – Start the new year with a new theme look to wake up your audience, especially if you’ve been on the same one since you started. New themes (Frindle, Emmy, Lavelle, Merriment, NewFangled, Renden, Child Ed, Hand-drawn) and features like calendars, tables, Forms collection or direct notification to parents, serve to communicate the ongoing story of learning. Capture the heart by pulling “aha” moments, and connect them to curricular standards – leads to great dinner table conversation. Extend these stories in student BlogFolios as opportunities for private reflection. Engage student thinking as they work through the “evidence of their learning process” – I see core competencies here, don’t you? These connecting parent-student-teacher conversations are not restricted by time or place (happens anytime, anywhere).  

Google Classroom – our longstanding integrated approach to written output in a collaborative conversational environment. Simple interface allows any grade level access to this powerful tool. Take advantage of new extensions that support struggling writers (eg. voice typing. We’re working towards adding Read/Write).  Use any device available to you. 

O365 – all secondary teachers and students now have access to connect/work within this online suite of Office. Pilots will go out to elementary soon. This extensive suite includes all that you expect and more (eg. Sway). Consider this environment for collaborative teams (teachers or students). Another any device available to you.

iPad Apps – a couple to strengthen our Top Twenty List

  • Image Compress and Resizer – compress any image taken on ipads/phones for uploading to any site. Extremely simple slider makes a successful entry point for any age. Instructions here
  • Compressor – oldie but a goodie. This one uses a slider for that simple touch.
  • Video Slimmer – want something more? Add editing tools to the mix. Worth the small price. 

ADST – if you purchased Spheros and need a little support, find our instructions under the Curriculum tab of ADST. If you are interested in adding more Spheros to your collection or starting one, please email us. 

*Check the Learning Portal (Staff Development Calendar or February District Day) for upcoming sessions. 

*Check our Resources links on the sidebar for any new connections.

If you have any stories to share, please add your comment below. We’re always interested in what’s happening at the school sites. 

Unplugged Activities – Hour of Code (ADST in Action)

Last week we discussed the term ‘computational thinking‘. Tick, Tock – BUT there’s only so many hours in the day! I hear this often – it’s our reality. How do we include ADST so that we’re being efficient and not go crazy? We do what great teachers have always done – tease out the important standards and connect them to our curriculum. We remove the ‘bling’ projects that take up a ton of time but give us questionable gains. 

“We do not learn from experience… we learn from reflecting on experience.”
John Dewey 

The act of reflection offers opportunities to analyze, evaluate and synthesize the experience. I think this is a perfect connection with Core Competencies

The following are unplugged activities you may not have seen that engage students in a variety of computational thinking processes. These are split into sections for organizational purposes. The goal is to explore 1-2 activities, not complete the list. Above all else, have fun and talk about your discoveries. 

Primary 

Intermediate/Secondary