Monday, June 11, 2012

Flipping the Classroom

There is a great deal of talk lately about the need for mobility in the education world. What does that mean for teachers though? What does it mean to the administrative support teams (and especially technology specialists like myself)?

I was reading a great blog about this today and thought it answered these questions fairly well:

Whatever the answer turns out to be in your neck of the woods one thing is for certain: It means change. I am a huge fan of the Flip Your Classroom model. I have watched it grow from its infancy ad seen the research to back it up. If I were in a classroom I would be the teacher to try it out all on my own, spend countless hours in a sound booth, and fight the battles with administration to make it work. Unfortunately I am not and I cannot force teachers to give up any semblance of a social life for the next 18 months to give it a shot.

Salman Khan has great ideas on the subject as well.

Here is what I would recommend in a perfect world, perhaps one with a one-to-one laptop initiative... Create a 3 year plan to migrate from the traditional classroom setting to the Flipped model. The first year said teacher would record common activities and lecture while presenting to the class in a normal fashion. Resources for the lesson would be organized in a digital format and posted to a shared location. Ideas for this location range from internal share points to Google Drive. As long as the area is relatively secure and functional, it should work fine. If the first year is too stressful to capture the entire course, try focusing on one class or section.

Once successfully captured, it is just a matter of transitioning into the "workshop" model of class time with lecture and individualized instruction at home. Without internet access this could be a bit of a challenge ate home, so be sure to provide multiple means of interacting with the teacher's content.

Year two is a time to practice the methodology of Flipped classrooms and streamline procedures... not to mention evangelize for the cause! By year three the teacher is a pro (fingers crossed) and the students are familiar enough with the process to make it work. Participation at home will be a key, of course but it is definitely a real possibility. For more information about tools that can help you streamline the Flipped transition click here. Contact The Chariot Group in Anchorage, AK for more details.

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Social Media

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This is a board report I prepared for a meeting this week. I thought I would share it for informational purposes to LYSD employees and anyone else interested...

Social Media
in the Lower Yukon School District

  •       Technology Dept maintains the content currently

  •      Currently there is a YouTube channel, Google Plus account, Facebook Page.

  • All content is posted and managed within the LYSD filtering protocols between 8am and 5pm.

  • Social media is not a fad or a waste of time. If students (and everyone else for that matter) are engaged by it’s use, then we should capitalize on it!

·      NETS (National Educational Technology Standards)
·      CIPA (Child Internet Protection Act)
·      District Technology Plan must include it

“Elevator Speech”
·      External – Not to be confused with the SMT; After hours
·      Meaningful - Not “just for fun”; community related events, photos, etc…
·      Educational – Not yet…

 Playlists include various topics:
o   Teacher Testimonials
o   Information about the district
o   Old recruiting videos
o   Training videos
YouTube EDU is content filtered and automatically rerouted
User account is controlled by Google user: Anica Azachorok

What are other organizations doing with social media?


Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Smart Notebook 11

Smart Notebook 11 Adds Browser Embedding, Adaptive Toolbar

Smart Technologies has released version 11 of its collaborative learning tool, Smart Notebook. The company has also released an update to Smart Response and 3D Tools for Mac OS X.
Smart Notebook is a standards-aligned collaborative learning tool that operates in conjunction with Smart interactive whiteboards. It provides access to curricular resources--Flash objects, videos, images, and other elements--and tools like an object animator, shape recognizer, and recorder.
The new version, Smart Notebook 11, gains a new browser that allows users to embed live Web pages directly within a Smart Notebook page. It also includes tools that let users annotate over those embedded pages and open the embedded page from within a lesson.
In addition, the new version includes a contextual toolbar that changes with each tool that's selected. And it adds a new activity builder that allows objects to "react to actions by accepting or rejecting other objects or by triggering animations or sound."
Other new features include:
  • A crayon-like drawing tool;
  • Customizable, image-based pens;
  • Audio recording directly into a Smart Notebook lesson;
  • Revert page;
  • Improved text formatting; and
  • Support for a new gesture that allows users to shake objects to create or release groups.
Smart has also updated Smart Response assessment software, which works with Smart's student response systems. Smart Response 2012 (version offers "improved tagging and reporting based on education standards and cognitive levels," according to Smart. "It also enhances image handling and language support for Smart Response VE, which supports students who use Internet-enabled mobile devices."
Other new features include support for Mac OS X Lion, support for multiple receivers to connect more devices in a single class, and the ability to manage multiple device types.
Smart has also made 3D Tools for Smart Notebook available for Mac OS X.
Additional details and links to update information can be found on Smart Technologies' support site. Smart Notebook toolbar widgets can be downloaded from the Smart Exchange site.