Good morning Chardon! Welcome to your waiver day. Below you will find all of the information that Garth and I will present this morning. In a perfect world you would all be on your mobile devices searching, exploring, browsing and learning as we speak. If you have a smartphone with 3g please feel free to peruse the internet throughout this presentation. If you have any comments/questions/suggestions feel free to click the "comments" button in the upper right corner of this blog post or tweet directly: @Garthholman or @Professormike1. This morning Garth and I help to inspire and re-affirm your philosophical feelings concerning our profession. Our hope is that as we present you will question not only us, but yourselves. Remember Garth and I are both seventh grade social studies teachers. We understand the trials and tribulations of being a teacher; in fact we live through the same problems every day. In the end, the agents of change must be teachers.
1. Comments on Slideshow
3. Industrial vs. Information Age
4. Change Teaching and Learning:
5. Questions to Think About.
Student created NEOtech Conference Youtubes:
In the podcast below Garth and I discuss a few of the things that surprised us this year. 3 major topics discussed was the success of using role playing in the Middle Ages WebQuest, The discussion of positive digital footprints throughout the school year and the passage of Senate Bill 5.
During the Middle Ages WebQuest we gave students a social class from the Middle Ages and then allowed students to create the story of their character. The students used their characters to gain empathy about life in the Middle Ages. Students followed their characters through the Middle Ages and into the Renaissance and Reformation. Students responded on end-of-the-year surveys that they enjoyed having a character to follow through the story of world history. Garth and I plan on expanding this idea and allowing students to learn the story of history through the eyes of a character throughout the entire school year.
Garth tells a story about a students who gets a FaceBook account and takes criticism from his classmates for using complete sentences and proper grammar. When asked why he was being so conscientious about what he posted, he said "I want to leave a positive digital footprint". It's great to know that students are taking away such important concepts from our class. Here is a students that not only wants to leave a positive digital footprint, but stands up to his friends when they question why he cares so much.
As for SB5, Garth and I were pleased to see so many people stand in support of teachers and really question the motives/effects of such a sweeping change; getting rid of collective bargaining. Below are a few links to information about SB5
SB5 via the State of Ohio Legislature
OEA Senate Bill 5 Central
Our online textbook, created by middle school students over the last four years, has been twitted by Ashton Kutcher, Alan November and many others. Our students created the following youtube to place on the homepage of the online textbook found at dgh.Wikispaces.com.
The basic idea three seventh graders came up with, is that no one person writes the book, so no one person should completely answer a question. They interviewed Mike and I and five students and then took the two hours of interviews and made a 2 minutes introduction for the online book. I was a little unsure of the idea until I saw the final product. They got to the main idea of the book...we are all better off when we work together to produce the content. We are very proud of the kids who did this as a final project for their seventh grade year: they left a positive digital footprint and legacy. They would love to see your comments on the video and online textbook.
Mike and I finished the middle age webquest a few weeks back. Today we Skyped and talked about the success, weakness and how we will change this for next year. We talked about the webquest a few months back before we started it, click here for that post and podcast.
So today's discussion was really about how much the kids enjoyed and engaged in curriculum through this webquest. In total, students put in about 12 weeks worth of work on their journals, blogs, questions/answers, Voki's, Xtranormals, etc. I have to admit by the end I was growing a bit bored with the Webquest, but students were still engaged. Both Garth and I agree that the amount of writing and reflecting students did far exceeded anything up to this point this year. Students enjoyed the independence and creative freedom of the WebQuest.
Some of the things we are looking at editing for next year are the quizzes, some of the Quests themselves and the format of the entire WebQuest. This year the entire WebQuest was hosted on a single web page. We think that this got a bit confusing and clustered. Next year each Quest will have its own page. This will also allow us to put the essential questions, Computer-side chats and any videos we may have at the top of the Quest. Students will be required to listen to the Computer-side chats and answer a few reflection questions before moving on to complete the Quest.
We are also planning on consolidating some of the Quests; combining similar elements and revising our quizzes. As Garth and I were grading quizzes we noticed that the students whom were struggling (remember they had to re-take the quizzes for mastery before they could move on) had some great short answer responses and their journal/blogs showed great insight. The reason, as we see it, is that we have them doing this great WebQuest where they are using higher-level thinking skills to master information and then show how that information would effect the life of their fictional feudal person; while the quizzes were multiple choice. The assessment did not fit the project. The quizzes were really just their to "prove" through data that students were learning. Next year few, if any, multiple choice and a few short-answer questions.
As we have moved onto the Renaissance and the Reformation, some of Garth's students commented that they would have loved to follow their feudal person into these new time periods. We are thinking about giving each student a "past-self" to follow throughout the entire course. Garth and I want students to really gain an empathetic understanding of the story of history. We want the students to create their past-self's history and thus explain the journey of us. Big goals, but totally attainable and this new focus have Garth and myself determined to implement some ground-breaking projects for next year.
As always, any comments or ideas please do not hesitate to leave us a comment.
Here is an article that I wrote, Garth helped edit, for Phonedog.com. Phonedog is one of the leaders for information concerning cell phones and mobile technology.
I work in a middle school full of kids in sixth through eighth grades. Just a few years ago cell phones were seen as the newest teenage addiction, a drug that had to be repressed and condemned by schools. It’s not really all that bad, though.
I am willing to wager my Android smartphone that parents are paying for students’ cell phones. It stands to reason then, that parents are okay with their kids using these devices. So parents are okay with cell phone use, the students are okay with cell phone use, yet schools have adopted zero tolerance policies.
The question of how to provide students with technology plagues the majority of school districts. Rising costs and disappearing school funding makes it difficult to provide necessities like chairs and chalkboards, let alone laptops and smartboards. Challenging obstacles require creative thinking by schools; the same creative thinking that we want from our students. Schools need to realize that many students already have all the technology they need, right in their pockets and lockers. Most statistics agree that upwards of 80% of teenagers have cell phones. These kids are not just making calls, they are texting, checking email, updating FaceBook accounts and Tweeting. They are making social connections, sharing information, collaborating, planning and researching. Schools are becoming more flexible with cell phone usage policies, but it is a slow process.
Our school policy is that cell phones must be kept in lockers and turned off during school hours. Yet, kids text during lunch, in bathrooms and even during class. The invention of “skinny jeans” makes it even easier to see students carrying their cell phones through the halls. As a teacher I have a choice: become cell phone Gestapo, scanning pockets and Uggs for phones, ignore the problem entirely, or turn the problem into an opportunity.
This year I am inviting students to use their cell phones to leave a positive digital footprint in their wake. I want students to embrace technology and learn skills that will help them throughout their lives. I want students to communicate with me and with other students. I want students thinking about history (which I teach) when they are at home watching television, eating dinner or walking around the city. Kids need to develop an empathetic view of the world. They need to think critically about why things happen, what influences their choices and how they can positively impact on the future. This year my students will blog, Skype with their peers at another middle school almost forty miles away, create Delicious accounts and learn to tag. This year’s students will work on a digital textbook that my students last year collaborated on with another school.
My goal this year is to use the technology that students already possess. I want my students to use their cell phones to learn, collaborate and create knowledge. I will be teaching in tandem with Garth Holman, a colleague and friend in a school district some forty miles down the road from us. Everything I mentioned that I’ll be doing, he’ll also be doing - it will be happening in two schools, between two heterogeneous groups of students.
Using cell phones in an educationally appropriate way is difficult. My district is not going change its cell phone policies based on my beliefs alone. This year’s cell phone use will hopefully give me concrete examples of positive cell phone use that I might use to help enact policy changes in the future. For now I will ask my students to use their phones for class participation – homework – beyond the forty minutes I have with them each school day. Students using websites like Wiffitti and Flickr will engage in learning and have active roles in shaping their experience in my class.
For those of you unfamiliar with Wiffitti, you may have used it without even knowing. Wiffitti allows you to create a “wall” where people can post messages. Each wall is assigned an SMS number and short code used to post texts; stadiums and television shows have used this technoology for years. Garth and I have a shared page set up where we can post a question and have all 230 of our students respond and engage with each other in a digital environment. Then we can project our virtual wall on our real classroom walls for discussions, or even discussions between our two classrooms via Skype.
We are also going to post Twitter feeds on our blog and give our students the opportunity to “follow” experts via their cell phones and computers. This will enable students to see, hear and learn from real historians, archaeologists and scientists who post information and questions in real-time. What’s nice about Twitter is that students without mobile data plans can still use their home computers to engage in the world around them.
One last idea to consider concerning the use of cell phones in education: We want students to understand that history and geography are all around them, at all times. Students are going to have the ability to text pictures to our class Flickr account, assemble the more significant photos into a Google Earth layer, and use Mosaickr to turn our collected images into giant mosaic prints.
It’s been said a hundred times: Today’s students learn differently than those of just 10 years ago. Technology is not a choice, it’s a reality that has changed the world in which we all live. School needs to be organic, not linear: It is not about testing and standard, but about nurturing creative question-askers, collaborators, and thinkers. We need students who can use cell phones, Twitter accounts, and the rest of today and tomorrow’s tech to collaborate with field experts, classroom teachers and one other.
I challenge you to open your classroom to the world this year. Adapt, create, and take a risk or two.
Bowling Green, Ohio: August 11, 2010. Mike and I presented "The Giant Eagle Standard". During this presentation we discussed the student created online textbook, skype collaboration, and Google Docs collaboration between two school about 35 miles apart. The link to the wiki is here. Full Presentation is below.
Websites mentioned in this show:
NorthWest Ohio Educational Technology Conference--watch the live webshow from the conference on Aug 10 and 11.
State Standard Student Created Textbook, In wikispaces
Wiffiti Send texts to your classroom computer
Wallwisher add post-it notes for homework help?
Mosaickr: Cool for Open House images.
At the end we shared how we start the first day of school. What do you do?
And who knows, we could have missed some. Garth and Mike
Our webshow was canceled tonight...Mike explains in our podcast. However, the guest was ready, so the show went on via skype and GarageBand. The topic for tonight was Social Networking in the State of Ohio. Abby created a Ning site called "Ohio Educational Technology Network" for teachers in Ohio to share ideas, lessons, podcasts, the list goes on and on. Tonight we discussed the future of this site and the possible directions the site will take. Please visit the site at www.oetn.org.
Abby Thaker's bio is below. Enjoy the podcast.
Abby Thaker manages Professional Development for Smart Solutions K-12 (www.ssik12.com) where she works with school districts throughout Ohio to support effective classroom technology integration. Prior to joining Smart Solutions Abby taught elementary school, first as a Teach for America corps
member in North Carolina, and later at a charter school in downtown Cleveland. Abby has served as an Ohio Education Policy Fellow through the Institute for Educational Leadership and Cleveland State University, and 21st Century Learning Fellow with the Powerful Learning Practice.
Tonight we spoke with Linda LoGalbo, principal at Beachwood Middle School. Her bio is below. Mike and I would like to thank her for taking the time to talk with us.
Linda LoGalbo has Bachelors of Science in Education from Bowling Green State University in Mathematics, Masters of Education from John Carroll University in Educational Administration, and currently is working on her Superintendent Licensure from Ashland University. She taught mathematics at the high school level for 7 years and is about to begin her 10th year of middle school administration. Under her direction, Beachwood Middle School has been named a National School to Watch by the National Forum to Accelerate Middle Grades. Beachwood Middle School also successfully expanded the one to one laptop program to include grade six in 2007.
A few nights ago I was riding home on the motorcycle and I had a nice long hour and-a-half ride to think about things. It was completely freeway miles, so I got comfy in my alligator seat, crossed my arms and let my mind wander a bit…while paying attention to the road of course. I started thinking about something that may be common sense and it may even be too obvious a thing to waste a blog post on, but Garth’s last post relates to what I was thinking.
A lot is being said these days about education and “how we educate”. When I began in this profession three’ish years ago, I always called myself a teacher. Somewhere along the way I started to call myself an educator. I do not think that this was a conscious choice; rather the system assimilating me. If I became an educator, then that means I am part of the “problem of education”. It may seem like semantics, but I really started to think about how important the words we choose to define ourselves are.
Teaching is as old as the human race. Men taught their sons how to hunt; watch me, and then you do it. Women taught their daughters how to sow a field; watch me, and then you do it. Children taught each other games, man taught each other government and religion, so on and so forth. Education though, is a relatively new event if you look at human history as a linear thing. So I started thinking about if the two are the same thing or not; is a teacher the same as an educator?
I decided that they are two different ideas. Education, from its inception and arguable through the present day, has been controlled by the rich and powerful. The children of elite received an education to help their families remain elite. Those that received education through religious institutions were taught to control (and remain controlled) by the institution in charge of the education. It is the same today. Ideas like No Child Left Behind, school funding, state standardized testing, etc all seem to favor those schools in more affluent areas. In the past, students have escaped the oppression of formal education: Copernicus, Newton, Einstein, Zinn, and while more people are able to emerge as free-thinking spirits, it isn’t enough.
To these ends, I pledge to call myself teacher. I want to teach students to think, to create, and to be independent. One of my favorite poets said, “It isn’t enough to question authority, you have to talk to it too”. Maybe the fix for education is to get rid of formal education, but keep teachers. Teachers used to be a valued position in society; they were revered and often poor. I could live my life a happy man as a teacher, and someday I hope to find a way to teach without the bounds and politics of education.