Stories Told: Risk-Taking and Connected Relationships

We left off last year with celebration events for all of our teams. Many things stood out from those gatherings: risk-taking is built on trust, possibility thinking and time to ruminate, ideas start from what we know (a launch page), integration of purposeful technologies requires focused play, assessment is not an afterthought, articulating clear goals and process with students offer a stronger chance at connected learning, explicitly sharing the learning offer opportunities normally not experienced by teachers (eg. standing in front of peers). None of these are new. In each instance, what rose to the top was the consistency of story.

Story plays a valuable role in both grounding a culture (as in the discoveries in Sheila’s class) as well as generating ideas and connections in others (as in Carlene’s or Vicky’s story). They tug at emotional heartstrings. Some may question the need for blogging as another “add on”. I will suggest however, as Clay Shirky put it, “Our ability to connect with one another is transforming the media for organized sharing…”
Our conscious use of blogging or sharing digitally allow our stories to fly to others outside of our brick-and-mortar walls; they invite conversation and grow ideas. imagineercollage640They are not meant to end with us but spark connected thoughts and creativity, going deeper and broader.

These stories are captured for you to explore (click here, or on the image). They are also found under TEAMS > ImagineerTech. If you would like more information, consider contacting the teacher so they can share their story.

Digital Citizenship

2014_ribbonHappy new year. Like all new years, it is a time of  anticipation and new beginnings. Especially with all the technological changes that our students have at their fingertips. While they may be really comfortable at texting and bouncing from one interchange to another, there is a significant difference when using technologies for organized multiple purposes. Powerful research skills, understanding bias in published content, online communication and decision making all need practice to be proficient. Questions such as how do we teach internet safety, what happens to our digital footprint, how do we engage in dialogue on cyberbullying,  what about copyright as we consume and create online, what about privacy, are all front and center in our lives. These topics can all fit under the larger umbrella of Digital Literacy and Digital Citizenship.

Digital Citizenship might be described as the ability to integrate technologies to fully engage in  an increasingly global and digital world. These skills or competencies reflect the need to analyze, learn and explore a world, that for the most part has not yet been conceived. A bit daunting, yet each topic area can be broken down. The key is to purposefully embed these into your everyday curriculum from early elementary upwards.

Over the next months and year, we will be actively delving into this area with practical ways that support the classroom.  You can start by joining us at our District Pro-D on February 21th.   Come and be a part of the developing journey as it unfolds. More information and registration will be in the District Pro-D calendar.

Send Fast Information to Class iDevices

You’ve prepared your lesson well, details carefully thought out. While the iPad or iPod/Touches can be used as pickup-and-go device, having a workflow in mind gives a stronger experience.  Imagine my “oops” after handing out 25 iPod/Touches,  I forgot to set the website URL on the devices so my students could easily launch the site I wanted.   You’re thinking – easy – just write the crazy long URL on the board and have them type it in.   I can hear it now:  “It didn’t work… I can’t see…Is that an O or a number?…”. I can feel the tension rise.

No Problem! I had just downloaded the app, Chirp to all the devices. app_chirp This app uses sound waves (reaching above the pitch of classroom buzz) to send out information (links, images, notes) to all launched Chirp devices in the general vicinity.  (Recently it was used in London’s Topshop to send out backstage Fashion experiences to other chirpers.  I digress.)  So I launched my Chirp app, quickly typed in the URL and sent it out (my fingers were crossed).  I was absolutely amazed when I heard ping, ping, ping across the room as each device connected and automatically launched the website.  Two devices didn’t work so I cranked up the volume on my iPod/Touch and sent it again.  Success!  Right away, my brain went to how this little app would save me precious time so that I move ahead with curricular activities.

Have you used Chirp?  And what did you do with it? I’d love some real live examples of what happened.