iTeach180 Project Day 4

Google Docs Part 2

Day 3 Recap:
Yesterday we started working with Google Docs. In groups, students were given a specific task to learn, and present to their peers.
1. Create a new document, save it, and share it.
2. Create a new folder and label documents accordingly
3. Create a shared folder
4. Upload a document and an image file
5. Publish the document to the web and get the embed code
6. Collaborate on editing a document
Students also had to address the following questions while they were presenting their task:
1. What problems did I encounter?
2. How did I solve this problem?
3. How can we apply my task to the class? To other classes?
Objectives:
  1. 1. Students will be able to use Google forms to collect data
  2. 2. Students will be able to embed a form to acquire data
  3. 3. Students will be able to problem solve using Google forms
Process:
Today we are going to design, embed, and gather information using a Google form. Start this lesson by asking students a few questions about how they collect information. Students may respond with text message, email, facebook, mail, etc. And while those methods are all well and good, you have to do most of the organizing grunt work to bring all those different methods together. Explain that with Google Forms you can deploy one form that will gather all of your information and house it in one central location. Your data will be collected, transmitted, and saved for you. The only task required is that you set up the form.
1. Have students log into their Google Docs account. And before they select create form, set them up into groups of two (or more depending on your class size).
2. Using your smartboard or overhead projector, model on the screen how you set up a form. Show them the steps, options, and how to access the results after the form has been created. Show them themes and how to embed and email their form once it is created.
3. Once students have learned the rudimentary functions of a Google form, give each group a specific task in which they have to create a form.
Some ideas for tasks:

1. Prom Planning Committee
2. Theatre production
3. Baseball Team Registration
4. Relay for Life Fund Raiser
5. Band Registration
6. Student Government

Give the students very general tasks like the ones listed above. Have students create a form that will gather information for each of the specific tasks above. You may choose to model one for them to get them started. Please see the video below for an example model. (Video to follow).
4. Once students have finished their tasks and set up their forms, have each group present their form to the class. Ask them to explain their reasoning for specific questions they added to the form and how they plan on using the data they collected from the form.
Have the class respond constructively to the choices each group made with their form presentations. Does this form style work the best for what they are asking? Will this type of form yield results that we can work with? Etc.
Once the presentations are finished you may want to do a brief reflection on what students learned about Google forms today and ask students to come up with other situations that they may use a Google form. Review the objectives and make sure all students understand and have mastered the form.
You may want to give students an exit slip that has a problem or task on it as they leave the room. Explain that tonight they are to take that problem and create a Google form for their problem. You can review these at the beginning of class the next day and ask students to discuss any problems or setbacks they encountered with Google forms.

iTeach180 Project Day 3

Day 3: Google Docs Part 1

Day 2 Recap:

This week we are building our classroom infrastructure. We are using the Google Apps Suite to maintain open communication within the classroom and the school. We started with an iGoogle page and explore new iGoogle page widgets that will be essential to the infrastructure of our class. Today we will begin by exploring Google docs.

Objectives:

  1. Students will be able to access Google Docs
  2. Students will be able to Share Google Docs with shared folders
  3. Students will be able to edit a Google Doc

The Process:

1. Have students go to http://www.google.com/docs

2. Once students have accessed the Google Docs startup page, arrange them into groups of two (or more depending on the size of your class).

3. Give each group a task on the Google Docs startup page to discover, learn, and present to their peers. Include the following tasks:

1. Create a new document, save it, and share it.

2. Create a new folder and label documents accordingly

3. Create a shared folder

4. Upload a document and an image file

5. Publish the document to the web and get the embed code

6. Collaborate on editing a document

While students are performing these tasks scan the room and sit in on each group for a short time. Answer any questions, but push the students to find out how each task works on their own. I would allot ten minutes or more (depending on your class time and size).

Remind students that they must answer the following questions when they present:

1. What problems did I encounter?

2. How did I solve this problem.?

3. How can we apply my task to the class? To other classes?

4. Have students present their tasks to the class and require that the class take notes. You may choose to have students take notes via a Google Doc. As students are presenting, make sure you fill in any missed information so that students get a well-rounded idea of Google Docs.

Homework:

Have students create a new Google Doc, share it with you, and answer the following prompt:

In a short paragraph, describe how you learned how to use Google Docs today. Use at least two examples to support your statement.

iTeach180 Project: Day 2

Day 2: Google Calendar

Day 1 Recap:

Yesterday we covered the iGoogle page. Student’s set up their iGoogle start page that will serve as their yearlong daily planner. Students will start each class by logging into their

iGoogle page and discovering their dynamic daily agenda.

Also, students explored, researched, and presented new iGoogle widgets that would be an asset to the classroom. This activity allowed students to have ownership over the way they organize, communicate, and collaborate in this class.

Objectives:

  • · Students will be able to create a Google Calendar
  • · Students will be able to embed a Google Calendar
  • · Students will be able to subscribe to a Google Calendar

Set up:

Day 2: Google Calendar

One of the widgets students will be using this year will be Google Calendar. As an Instructional Technology Specialist, one of my goals this year was to create school wide Google Calendars that would house our academic, sports, and events calendars. Also, it was my goal to have each teacher posting assignments and projects on classroom Google calendars. This would allow for students to subscribe to every school related calendar and house them in one central location.

Google Calendars also allow students to access their schedules on their smart phone. In short, taking the time to set up a Google Calendar network will create organizational bliss and allow for effective communication throughout the school year.



The Process

1. Have students go to http://www.google.com/calendar

2. On the right hand side of the page students can log in with their gmail username and password. If your school has the Google Apps Education Suite, then instruct them to use that email address, however, if you do not have this option simply have them set up a gmail account.

3. Once students are logged into their Google Calendar allow them to get in small groups. You may choose to coordinate groups however you like. In their groups, allow students time to use Google Calendar without explaining anything to them about its functionality. Give them roughly ten minutes (Time will depend on the length of your class) to discover one element of Google Calendar that they can teach to the class. In order to avoid repeats have one representative from each group bring you a post it of what they will be teaching to the class. If there is a repeat lesson, have the group choose a backup.

3. Once the time is up, have student groups present what they have learned to the class. Have

the class take notes or follow along with each different lesson that is presented. Remind students that for

homework tonight they will have to set up their Google calendar and have it displayed with their class schedule.

4. Once presentations finish, depending on time, reflect on each student lesson and fill in any gaps with Google Calendar. If students did not figure out how to use “subscriptions” make sure you cover this.

NOTE: Later on in the year we will be setting up a class wikispace to house our presentations and lessons that both teacher and student deliver. You may want to record these lessons or simply have the students type up their process and then they can post them to the wiki. This way you can have sustainable resources from year to year.

Having a Google Calendar network present in your school, or even your classroom allows students, teachers, parents, and administration to access events in one central location.

If you would like further instructions on how to set up and maintain this calendar network in your class or school, please email me and I will provide resrouces.

iTeach180 Project: Day 1

Day 1
Today I begin my first class of instructional technology lessons. As I mentioned before, this project is happening because I was cut out of a budget this year. Initially I had intended on integrating an instructional technology curriculum at my former charter school, but it was not to be. Therefore, I will be presenting a different technology lesson for the next 180 days. I will be taking the curriculum and standards that I had created for my school and presenting them to all via my blog, iTeach. I will be teaching a in a hypothetical context, but presenting material that can be used for any classroom. Also, I will be allotting my time throughout the year to conference with other Instructional Technology coaches, specialists, and teachers. My hope is that I can do the job I was supposed to do, and enhance learning in a variety of schools. I ask that you follow along on this ride and welcome your comments and constructive criticism about my lessons.
I will begin this class and the next few classes differently than I would most. The structure will be setting up our digital environment and instructing the students on various tech procedures that will help this class move, communicate, and organize effectively. Today’s lesson will focus on setting up the student’s iGoogle page.
The iGoogle page will serve as our start up and hub for acquiring and communicating information throughout the year. Here is how we will set up the lesson.
1. Start by showing the students a daily planner. Ask them for the first five minutes to list how a daily planner book is effective and how the daily planner is ineffective. Take some time with your students to discuss the answers.
2. Transition this discussion into a brief presentation on how the iGoogle page is just like the daily planner but is much more dynamic than the static book planner.
3. Have each student set up a gmail account and if you have the Google Apps Suite for Education than you can use the emails that are included in your package. Explain to the students that this is the ONLY email that you will accept messages from and this email should be used in a professional manner. Students will lose participation points for spelling, grammar, and formatting errors within the body of an email.
4. Once you have covered all the basics for email, have them set up different apps and widgets on the iGoogle page. Tell students that they must have the following widgets on the first page:

5. Once they have their essential information set up on the page, allow them a few minutes to explore the possibilities of an iGoogle page for class. Allow them to partner up for a few minutes and find one widget that they could use effectively for class and have that group of students present that widget to the class and explain ways in which it can help classroom communication, collaboration, or learning.
That is our instructional technology lesson for the day. Again, the next few days will be focused on setting up our “command center” for the year. I have decided to use Google Apps because that is the platform that I would have been working on with my students. You may find another platform more practical for your teaching, and I encourage all to share ideas in which this lesson can be enhanced and evolved.

The Value of A Comment

About a year ago I started “The One Comment A Day Project”. The purpose was to generate buzz and comments around blogs. My hope was to have every member of my PLN comment on one blog post that day, then post the link to twitter with the hashtag #onecom, and generate a conversation via blog comments. This project was short lived, however, it did produce some good conversations and comments.

The blogging community is rich with talent and resources; we blog to share, to inform, to educate. Many times blogs are simply read and passed over without any comments. While comments should not be a requirement for blog readers, it sure means a lot to a blogger to receive a simple comment.

A comment can generate a new conversation and provoke thinking for the blogger and the reader. Many times the blogger can gain constructive insight from a comment and see a new perspective on his or her blog. In short, the comments feel good. Comments are not why we write, but it is part of the learning process for all involved.

It is not always easy to post a comment, especially during the hectic schedule of a school year. Many times we can only fit a quick read into our day. Plus, if you are like me, your Google Reader can get backed up rather quickly and finding time to read more than one post is impossible. So what is a practical solution to this dilemma?

Here is one way in which you can begin to organize your blog reading and commenting habits.

1. Each day, set up 20 or 30 minutes (as much time as your daily schedule can afford) and plug that time into your Google calendar as BLOG. Use all caps, make it bold, and set various reminders. This is your time to read and respond to one blog.

2. After you have thoroughly read the post, leave the author a valuable, constrictive comment. Don’t simply say you liked reading it or it was neat, but give them some feedback as if they were sitting in a department meeting across the room from you. Personally, if I am offering ideas on a post, I love to hear how others will use said ideas in their own practice. Plus, it continues the dialogue and offers other readers new ideas that are now expanding in various directions.

3. Take the link and post it on twitter. Tell your entire PLN that you just left a comment on this great blog by Random Author and it is the must read blog of the day! If we highlight the talents of each other and continually spread the wealth in a focused manner, we all benefit.

Again, acquiring comments or followers is not why we blog. Bloggers write to share ideas, resources, and techniques that will improve our classroom and enhance our own learning. There are so many excellent bloggers out there and I wish we could create a new day in the week just to read them all. Until that motion passes, I will make sure I set aside my time each day to focus on one blog. If I have more time I will surely expand my scope, however, if we all commit to one comment a day, we all benefit.

**CC image by kpwerker via flickr

The iTeach Project

Today should be my first day of school. Today should be my first day as an instructional technology specialist. Today I am doing neither.

As I shared earlier, I was laid off from my position this past July and cast off the island by my former charter school. What bothered me most about this situation was that I would not have the opportunity to teach and evolve the position I created last fall. I am currently sitting on curriculum, wikis, google docs, videos, etc. that are going unused at the moment and that bothers me. So I am going to change this.

I am embarking on a project – unnamed at the moment – in which I will perform my duties as an Instructional Technology Specialist without a classroom. Each day I will create lessons and generate ideas that any content area teacher can synthesize with his or her curriculum. I will provide standards, lesson outlines, instructional videos, outcomes, hypothetical student projects, etc. that will fulfill vision that I set out for this year.

I will be turning my blog, iTeach, into my forum for this endeavor. I ask you to join me, comment often, provide constructive criticism, question my methods, suggest lessons and projects,etc. I ask you to steal all of my lessons and pass them on to your Colleagues, Administration, and Parents.

I will also be adding a public google calendar to this site. You may sign up for time throughout the week to chat about lessons or projects that you may need help with. If you are a new teacher this could greatly help. If you are a veteran teacher and are looking to implement technology for the first time or are still nervous about using it, this could help you as well. Sign up for as much time as you need and I will consult with you via twitter, gchat, skype, or telephone.

Beginning next Monday I will start my first unit. I ask you to be a part of this project and spread the word to your colleagues.

The Grassroots PD Movement

There is a movement happening in Philadelphia Education. In case you were asleep for the first half of 2010 you might have missed some amazing conferences in the city of brotherly love.

In the past 6 months, the city of Philadelphia has played host to two great conferences: Educon 2.2 and EDCAMP Philly. Although different in style, both conferences – edcamp falling in the unconference model – displayed contagious passion for education and how we can make it better. In July, NTCAMP will take place at The Boys’ Latin
Charter School in Philadelphia. This event will follow the unconference model and focus on bringing new and veteran teachers together for a day of impromptu professional development. All three conferences will be annual events and next summer Philadelphia will welcome ISTE2011. This makes Philadelphia a must attend city when it comes to education.

So why is this such a big deal? Great, Philadelphia has a few Education conferences every year, why should I care? So does every other city in the country.

What’s unique about Philadelphia is that teachers are banding together and creating conferences specifically for teachers that are run by teachers. We are not aiming to bring in the big keynote speaker or major vendors, but simply create a dialogue about the current state of education. Philadelphia is creating a grassroots professional development movement.

This movement is bringing teachers together from all over for one day – usually a Saturday – or maybe more, for an engaging discourse on everything from IEPs to information literacy. Everyone has the opportunity to present and the sessions never feel like lecture halls. After attending edcamp Philly twitter began to illuminate with #edcamp ideas across the nation. edcamp Boston, edcamp Detroit, etc. began surfacing all over the country. There are currently 10 cities in the US that will be holding edcamp events and ntcamp which will take place in Philadelphia on July 24th. The word is spreading and things look bright in the world of educational professional development.

Teachers across the country should pay attention to Philadelphia this summer and next. The movement to create worthwhile professional development for teacher by teachers is happening. Teachers are tired of sitting through the lecture model of professional development just as much as our students. We don’t want to sit in front of a vendor pitchperson and attempt to take something away from a man or woman who recently got into pitching educational software because the economy was bad and figures it’s hard to outsource classrooms. In short, teachers need to learn from each other.

If you haven’t looked into starting an edcamp in your city, you should. Bring your administration in on the plan, in fact, bring your entire district in on the plan. Show them the value of this event and prove to them that it will produce better classrooms. I learned so much about my classroom practices and new ways in which I can incorporate technology and 21st century learning skills and assessments. I walked away from edcamp Philly with so many great resources and ideas that I could immediately implement into my classroom. I also gained a wealth of knowledge about my new position at Instructional Technology Coordinator.

At edcamp Philly I decided to run my own session not because I wanted to present, but simply, I wanted to have a conversation about my new position as an ITC and hopefully bring together other ITCs for this discourse. In short, it was a success and I walked away with a better understanding of my new position and a lot of great educators who I could now incorporate into my network.

This summer as you spend time basking in the sun at the beach or climbing up a mountain, think about what you want to learn in your practice and what questions do you have about how you teach. Could you be better? Of course. Think about attending an edcamp in your area or creating one if there are none available. Attend ntcamp in Philadelphia if you are a new teacher or an experienced teacher who thinks they could share some experience or learn something new from the kids. Think about professional development that YOU want. Don’t settle for the pitch.
*image courtesy of http://tn4th.files.wordpress.com/2009/05/grassroots.jpg

iTeach EduBlog Coming soon!

iTeach will be a forum for educators who are interested in synthesizing their content and curriculum with web 2.0 applications. There will be a variety of lesson plans from various disciplines and grade levels. It is my hope, that this site will generate creativity and progress in the classroom of the future as well as stimulating collaboration between educators all over the world.