Quick Edline Homework Posts

I love video tutorials. You can watch, re-watch, rewind, and try right along with them. If you feel lost on Edline, start with this video tutorial to see the basic steps for posting homework assignments. By the end of the video, you’ll know how to put assignments in a folder and on the class calendar!

Still have questions? Send them along!

Back In The Saddle…

This is my first actually blog post so I better make it count.  As much as I dislike leaving a digital footprint, I believe that my failures may help others avoid the same mistakes.

I’m happy to report that my first day back in the classroom in over four years went very well.  While I spent days banging my head against a desk trying to fine tune a syllabus that didn’t truly speak to the type of classroom environment I hoped to create, I finally surrendered and ask our administration for an extension which they graciously approved.  So, with no syllabus, what did the first day of class hold for a small group of Freshmen?

As my brilliant wife suggested, just talk to the boys.  It was the final class (3rd period) during their first day at a school that most of them have looked forward to attending for years.  Mental exhaustion and fear probably weighed heavy on most their shoulders so I asked them about their experiences throughout the day.  The smiles coming from their energized stories were contagious.  I know for a fact that my first day in high school was never like that.

I tried to ride that wave to the assignment I had prepared for the remainder of class.  Prior to class, I had accomplished a few tasks:

1)  Posted a multiple page PDF of plexers in a folder on the Edline class page.

2)   Created a QR (Quick Reference) Code that, when properly scanned, would lead them to the plexer worksheet – http://qrcode.kaywa.com/

3) Posted the code on the class page.  Please see below:

To begin the assignment, I told all the students to go to the class page on Edline and explain to me what they saw.  (Immediately, I was able to identify the students that had not activated their Edline account and gave them the task of accessing their school email, locating their account information, and activating their account.)  A little over half the class had ever seen a QR code, and only one enterprising young man knew what is was called.  I made their task to find out where the code would lead them.  Several students wanted to use their phone since some of them had a QR scanner installed but, while a good solution, I took that option off the table.  Students accessed the Internet and then started downloading QR scanners from the App Store.  (I just verified that they are on the student WiFi and have a working Apple ID.)  Soon those who found a solution were quietly helping guide their neighbors to the same app.  When the first few students found the document, I asked that they start writing their answers directly on the PDF.  It didn’t take long for the student to determine that Notability the best app suited for the task.  (Core App check complete.)  Most the boys had a few minutes to start working on the worksheet before close of the class.

While the main purpose of the assignment was for students to discover a solution when faced with a problem, the task also doubled as a spot check whether students were meeting the tech requirements.  There were about five students with issues requiring a little extra help but, once given direction, were more than capable working on their own.  Overall, I was able to assess class dynamics, help get some students up to speed with iPad requirements, and have a little fun.

Collaborating with Google Apps for Education

I’ve been making my way through the modules at Google Apps for Education’s training site. The whole time I’ve been dying to try things, or at least to see some other people trying things in real classrooms. Edutopia posted this video (part of a series on tech tools) to Twitter earlier today, and I clicked on a whim, not knowing it would be Google-based. Even though the students in the video are not using iPads (except for one shot at 2:46), I think I’ve found evidence of the value of moving toward easy collaboration – both in class and out of it. I can’t wait to try it out!

Edutopia

edutopia

I’ve long been a listener of NPR. Driving to and from school, it’s just about the only thing my  radio plays unless there’s a Giants game on. NPR only has a few different national sources for underwriting (or so it would seem), and one of them I’ve always wanted to check out was this foundation called Edutopia, “a source for what works in education.” To be perfectly honest, I’ve been most curious to see if the George Lucas Educational Foundation is affiliated with that George Lucas. (It is.)

I finally got around to looking at the site after one of Edutopia’s Twitter posts was promoted/suggested in my feed. Turns out it’s a great resource for all kinds of things, and the site curators also have a feature called “Schools That Work.” One thing I’ve found myself wondering a great deal as we move toward 1:1 next year is what will it look like? And another – will it work? In the time I spent poking around the site the last couple days, I’ve found valuable resources that can help any of us roll out technology in lessons, classes, even whole departments – and even some videos to prove they work.

So as you think happy thoughts about next year, consider rooting around this site for items of interest. What’s the worst that could happen?

www.edutopia.org

Bonus: I think this source will be valuable even more as we look at moving to a modified block schedule. Lots of their resources relate to the kinds of learning that 80-minute block periods can help to facilitate.

edWeb.net

edWeb.net is a free online social networking site where educators exchange ideas, webinars, resources, and best practices in the use of technology. For example, I belong to the Mobile Technologies PLC and the the Gaming PLC and receive regular updates on best practices across the world. Joining is free. If interested, click on the link below and sign up.

http://www.edweb.net/

iMovie in the Classroom

iMovie is proving to be a very creative and innovative classroom tool that students can easily use.  It is a great means to material application and accountability.  In Language classrooms, it is a vehicle in which students can roll play and perform in the target language and other students can enjoy the show!!

iLunches Increases Frequency

In an effort to accelerate the move towards iPads next year, the Tech Mentors are offering Tuesday, Wednesday, AND Thursday iLunches for the rest of the semester. The lunches will cover various topics of interest and be headed by the Tech Mentors. Because so many of you requested it, we have an ongoing iPads Basic class once a week to help you become familiar with the iPad and its capabilities. Some of the more veteran users might also benefit from this class! We will publish the schedule of classes in two week blocks. If you have any  special requests on what you would like to see offered, let Keegan or me know and we will get it on the schedule. Remember you get 1/2 PGU credit for each session attended! See you there.

Faculty Meeting

Because of the success of the Technology In-Service Day last week, there will be a slightly different format to the Faculty Meeting this coming Thursday, February 14. There will be a “fourth rotation” of the in-service with the three most popular presentations being offered again. If you didn’t get a chance to see the iMovie, iTunes University, or Notability presentations, now is your chance. After some opening remarks, the rest of the meeting will be devoted to the presentations. No sign-up will be necessary — simply go to the presentation of your choice. More information forthcoming. . .