June 13

That time again

Reports…. although it is mandated that we write reports to let parents and students know how we believe they are going with understanding the topics we present them, just how much is really relevant? Are there better ways to report on student learning. At the recent Alan November conference which was a part of #ICTEV2012, he discussed the notion that kids respond best to feedback given within seconds, not days or even months. So it does make me wonder how we can improve our response times, and I have started to explore a few tools which do indeed make life and responding to students much simpler and faster. There are so many being developed, there is bound to be one that suits your needs and environment. Teaching on the senior campus, I know the students always have their phones on them, and in surveys I have done in my classes there are generally only one or two in the class who cannot access the internet on their phones. Here are a couple of Apps I have had some success with!

SocrativeThe first one I will mention is Socrative…. available in Teacher and Student versions… beautifully integrates with ANY device. So I am able to set up quizzes, general questions or use those already created on my laptop, PC, Macbook, iPad, tablet, ipod, iPhone or Android phone, any mobile device which is able to access the internet. This also means you can harness the powerful devices found in the students pockets… their phones – regardless of the platform they use. When you create a Socrative Teacher account you are allocatted a “Room Number”. When students login to the m.socrative.com they are asked to enter Your “Room Number” and then join – no creating accounts, or having to remember passwords…. simple and straight to the action. The exit quiz gives you immediate feedback as to how the kids are understanding the concepts you have taught them. Very much in the vein of Eric Mazur and his Flipped Classroom. The feedback I have had from the students I have used this with is very positive, they are engaged, and enthused to learn more.

Teachernotes in the App store

The second one I will mention is Teachernotes – developed for iPhone and iPad – not there for Android yet. I had been looking for a simple recording device where I can take photos of students work, record their progress, and primarily use it as my marking book…. This App offers all that and more. I can create up to 3 classes with the free version… the paid version is $5.49 and you can have unlimited classes. I can enter the names of my students, and record details of assessments on the fly, from conversations, folio development, interaction etc, the stuff that often gets overlooked in the recording and reflection processes, unless you have an amazing memory. Each note can be saved under the student’s name, and come report writing time, you have a list a mile long to draw from, reflecting on their learning over the semester, including potentially images and voice recordings. But wait there’s more….. as I have been recording my assessment of folios, I am then able to email their assessments/my reflections on areas which need work etc directly to the students! Win – win as far as prompt feedback and reflection is concerned!.

The last app I will mention is Nearpod… currently only available for iOS devices (that’s iPhones. iPod and iPads) and I have been hearing wonderful reports about it…. so once I finish my reports I will put together some personal feedback and a plan of attack.

 

NearPod

Engage and create

 

Of course all of these apps can only be really useful with effective teaching practices. These tools give us the opportunity to reflect on how we teach the kids we have in our classes, and it has the potential to transform the way we teach to produce better outcomes….. if we use the tools and don’t change how we teach, the bottom line will be not much change will happen! Let’s transform learning and teaching!! What do you think? Would love to hear from other people as to what apps they find most useful! And how they have transformed your classrroom…. are you flipped yet??

 

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August 28

Creating your Digital Footprint

This week’s thoughts come from the concerns raised by a staff member when exploring the Redback Project (getting started using Web 2.0 tools), and starting to have to put information online.
“How much is safe?”
“Who will see what I post?”
“I don’t want to share so much of myself with the whole world”.

Try Googling your name – what do you come up with? I used to just get me, but now there is some person in Tennessee on Facebook with my name… hmmmmmm, however, if I Google “Starnott” I get mostly my own posted stuff – in fact the first 4 pages, and only one random one on page 5 – I did come across stuff I had forgotten doing, which was helpful.

Check out the sorts of information you may already be sharing Your Digital Footprint

How much is enough?, and will you be opening yourself up for identity theft? are very real issues which one should consider when venturing into the online world. The amount of information about you is called a digital footprint. How large you make this footprint is entirely up to you, as is the type of information you share and with whom you share it. The bottom line is no matter what level of information you share you need to be comfortable with it, never divulge more than that, and there are the obvious don’ts such as home address, phone number, credit card, license number etc. I will take you through a few points which should, hopefully, help you to make a positive digital footprint, while maintaining your security.

Creating a generic email.
When signing up for blogs, wikis, Nings and other Web 2.0 “stuff” you will be required to give a username and an email. Although it may at first appear easier to use the one email for everything, it is a good idea to keep your work or home ISP email separate and create a new web based email account for your web2.0 journey. I have always done this, just to provide some anonymity when I add my email address to various sites, as both my work and home email accounts include my fullname. You can easily create a web based email account using Google, Yahoo, Hotmail, or a host of others.
My preferred one is Google’s Gmail because of the power of the linked accounts at your fingertips.

Creating an online identity
This can be as much of you or as little of you as you care to share. I have, for most of my online eLearning sites, given myself the online name “starnott”. I know others who have used their whole name, some just a first name and others a made up name entirely. To start building your digital footprint try to use the same name, and this will become a presence you can find. A Twitter friend who uses his whole name also uses that to tag anything he posts online, so all of his information becomes linked to him, and if he has posted something online which he wants to access, and can’t remember where it was posted, a quick Google search will usually turn it up.
You can link your online name/identity with your web mail by using the same name for both.
When filling in your name on random sites I tend to play it by ear a bit, depending on the “quality/reliability” of the site I may use my real name – such as on iTunes, but for the most part I just put a letter, or a couple of letters. Date of birth is the same… you can go a year or so either way, in most cases it is just to check you are either over 13 – laws in the US state children under this age are not permitted to give certain information to web sites, or hold accounts – COPPA – or over 18
No one is going to know if you shed a couple of years, making you… 30 instead of 52…hehehe, again, just think about who may use the information, and why, as to how honest you want to be.
I wasn’t sure about Twitter when I first joined up, and chose a different name, however, I do share my blog updates and information through it, so many of my followers know “who” i am.

Passwords
Clearly these should be kept safe and private – I have a little black (well green) book where I keep all of my passwords and login details for different accounts, which is not kept anywhere near my computers. Handy for those random sites I know I have joined and can’t remember the password I may have used.

These are just some of the ways you can safely create and develop your digital footprint. If you have thoughts or other ideas, please feel free to add your comments.

We do need to think about safety, even as adults, and be aware of the information we post online to create a positive digital footprint, as well as staying safe

I hope this helps you on your journey.

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