PSA Day – Blogathon

network34As a professional, reflection takes up a large part of our lives. Active choices stem from reflective moments steering our professional learning.  Ultimately that learning reflects back into our classrooms with students. 

We were privileged to spend Friday with a group of K-12 teachers and student teachers at Burnaby Central. Titled “Blogathon“, it provided an opportunity to experience the social media world with our blogs. Goals of the participants ranged from a basic understanding of how to communicate using social media, how it could be used to have students dialogue with each other (increasing literacy skills), how it flattens the classroom by inviting experts and other schools (critical thinking), how to share information with parents and community (green friendly world), how to use blogs as a vehicle for formative assessment, how to integrate various web tools as teaching/learning workflow, how digital citizenship plays a key role today.

Beyond the basics, we looked at images and resizing (even the new copyright changes), using widgets to extend information [News Announcement, T-Countdown, Google Language Translator, MailPoet (as subscription), Gravity Forms (surveys)…]
*Written instructions can be found under LEARNING HUB > BLOGS > HOW TO

Throughout the day, participants explored, created, extended comfort levels as well as shared their experiences and challenged personal thinking. What vividly stood out was the collaborative nature of learning; fully hands-on, dynamic, open, questioning and connecting.  Comfort was felt in jumping over and helping others – result was empowerment of others as well as a spark that the ‘helper’ knew more than they thought.  And yes, there were frustrating moments when the technology didn’t work.  The experience served to provide other avenues of learning. Patience was a virtue and we had lots of chances to practice that.
Some snippets of overheard conversations:

  • This is amazing… I can see how this would work in my language arts program
  • You can’t be serious – I can use the ipads with the students to go directly to the blog. This is live ideas gathering if we use Padlet on the blog. 
  • (eyes sparkled) I’ve been waiting for this for a long time; Gravity Forms will ‘change my life’ (in how I can assess)
  • I can’t wait to teach this to my class…it’s more than I hoped for. I can use the math lesson, capture it, put it on the blog and have students discuss it on the blog.
  • You mean I can actually send my news to parents automatically! What will you think of next?
  • I love the web tools – picmonkey, edu.symbaloo, padlet, pixabay… They’re going to love learning these.
  • There’s so much – this is so much fun. I want more.

The success of any Pro-D happens at the intersection between the relationships, environment and the desire to seek out and grow. These are growth mindset opportunities to be in an ‘ideas incubator’ to construct new knowledge, deconstruct obstacles and be re-energized on the journey.

What was your PSA day like? I would love to hear. 

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Dialogue With A Twist

google_storybuilderlogoHow would you create opportunities for students to practice dialogue? Perhaps it’s talk between two people or two characters in a book or a conversation between you and yourself? MMhh…now that would be interesting. A bit of reflective action produced in video format. And practicing a host of literacy elements to boot.

The tool you ask? It’s Google Story Builder —just hot off the presses in April. Check out this online tool to create dialogue, monologue…the possibilities are endless.

google_storybuilder

Type in the names of characters; enter in dialogue. Add some music in the background and capture the weblink to share your conversation online.  I’ve created one on Questions (yes my favourite topic). Here’s the link:  http://goo.gl/mB5bXf

Sometimes you just have to have a conversation with yourself and sometimes it’s just about plain fun. Imagine if this was used as a documentation reflection piece in the classroom?
I would love to hear how you’re using this new tool?

Digital Learning Day – Feb 5

The days of January have been whizzing by, partly due to the start of another term and partly due to our wonderful west coast weather.  Having some sun certainly invites a bit more energy in the steps as well as some hopeful signs of spring just around the corner.

I am hearing about so many projects in flight or in the planning stages of inquiry wonder.  Many have chosen to invite the technologies allowing entry points for learners.  Did you know that February 5th is  “Digital Learning Day“?  Although we know that many of you already use technologies in seamless ways, this is a day designed to invite you to further participate in a little something special.  Maybe it’s a connection with another class across the way through your blogs.  Perhaps it’s an encounter with creating a podcast or using QR codes to showcase/share your work with books.  Maybe it’s questions you post out on Twitter about things you wonder. How about creating a found poem and building it into a wordart piece to post?  This month’s Learning Technologies newsletter is full of ideas for you to ponder and put into action.  Consider celebrating the day with a little something special.  Drop me a line and share your story.

Since I’m a huge fan of Peter Reynold‘s work, I love how he captured the ideas for digital learning. It just looks so inclusive!

Peter Reynolds
Peter Reynolds