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Monthly Archives: July 2010

Ever since I made the decision to return to the classroom, and Gaston, I’ve been contemplating the purchase of an iPad.  My motivation is twofold:

1) With the amount of papers I organized daily on my clipboard, I wonder if the iPad (with it’s inclusion of Numbers, Pages and Keynote) is a quicker, more efficient, and lighter way to do all this.

2) I LOVE thinking about how we can teach our kids the newest technological skills, as well as use technology to teach our kids in an innovative way.  It’s hard to do this without having the newest tools, yeah?

Or maybe these are just my excuses to play with the coolest new toys on the market…

Either way, I finally bit the bullet and my iPad has been officially purchased.  Sadly they were out of stock at the store so I won’t be receiving it until literally a day before I move.

Some of the things I most excited about…

  • Using Numbers to organize basic grades, missing assignments, homework completion, my daily action plan, etc.
  • While having class discussions being able to quickly look up facts and pictures.  Pictures will be a great tool for visual learners when we’re doing readings and names/places pop up.  We can use Google Image search or Google maps to put a picture to an event or person.  Having the flexibility to do this anywhere in the room is a huge plus of the iPad, especially when you want to get students out of their desks.
  • Quick access to YouTube videos or video podcasts to accompany a lesson.

Some of my concerns…

  • How hard will it be to manage documents between a work computer (PC), personal computer (Mac) and now an iPad?
  • How can I get students using it, as much as possible, without risking damage?
  • How do I find meaningful ways to integrate it into a lesson as opposed to ‘gimicky’ ways?
  • Will I be able to purchase my class textbooks from iBooks?  So far I’ve only found one…
  • I’ve already bought a collection of books to use in class- will I need to repurchase all of them for my iPad as well if I want to use that for reading/highlighting/notetaking instead?
  • How long will it take to finally be able to comment on books on the iPad?
  • Wouldn’t it be cool if I could wirelessly connect it to an LCD and run keynote from my iPad?  Not sure how long it will take until that’s possible…
  • Printing.  Rumor has it this will be fixed in the next software update, but it’s hard to know when that will be.

I’ll keep you posted when I start using it!

After taking two years off to get my Masters in Curriculum Development and Instructional Supervision, I’m moving back to Gaston 🙂  This year, however, I won’t be teaching technology.  Not as one of my main objectives anyway.  I am reuniting with my former students, the Pride of 2012, at the high school, where I will be teaching them 11th grade US History.

I don’t know how to teach without blogging about the experience, and am excited for the opportunities to explore what it looks like to continue to integrate and teach technology in a high school social studies classroom…

I’ve spent the past two years thinking more about teaching in general, and continuing to follow a few of my favorite tech integration blogs, so of course have begun thinking not only about the North Carolina Standard Course of Study (which is extremely necessary for someone with limited knowledge of the content), but also how I can be sure to integrate technology, media literacy and 21st century learning skills into my classroom.  Right now I’m purely in the planning stages, but have found this blog post by Will Richardson on assessment to be particularly helpful.

Titled ‘Assessments for New Learning’, he uses some ideas from Douglas Reeve’s book (21st Century Skills: Rethinking How Students Learn) to analyze how we’re currently assessing our kids.  If we want to teach them these important 21st century skills, we have to assess the same way.  While it’s a bit absurd to think we could reform our entire standardized system overnight (nor am I necessarily a proponent of that), it is not at all absurd to think about reforming how WE assess our students.

So, as I began planning assessments for each of my units for the upcoming year, I’ve decided I need to start using this framework:

  • Learn (What did you know? What are you able to do?)
  • Understand (What is the evidence that you can apply learning in one domain to another?)
  • Share (How did you use what you have learned to help a person, the class, the community or the planet?)
  • Explore (What did you learn beyond the limits of the lesson? What mistakes did you make, and how did you learn from them?)
  • Create (What new ideas, knowledge, or understanding can you offer?)

I’ve literally copied and pasted this into the top of my ‘Assessment’ section on the unit plan, and am labeling each form of assessment with one (or more) of the above.  Similar to hanging a Bloom’s poster in the back of your room to hold yourself accountable to higher level questioning, this will hold me accountable for actually assessing more than just lower level skills in a multiple choice format.

Would love thoughts on your assessments and how you determine how and what to assess.