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Wednesday, August 13, 2014

FETC Thoughts and Musings

I attended the FETC Fall Virtual Conference and below are the thoughts and links from the courses I attended and the cool stuff I saw. The first 1/2 hour was time to visit the virtual exhibitors.

Here are the courses that I "sat" in on.
  1. Virtual Manipulatives: What Are the Advantages for Teaching Math Concepts
  2. The New Kinds of Tools for New Kinds of Learners: Assess this!
  3. Tech for Tots: Using Technologies to Enhance Early Learning
  4. Playing School or Preparing for Life
  5. Hands Around the World: Projects to Explore, Engage, Enrich, and Empower
1. Virtual Manipulatives: What Are the Advantages for Teaching Math Concepts ~ Ted Hasselbring
Download file "VirtualManipulatives_TedHasselbring.pdf" (attributed to Ted Hasselbring, Vanderbuilt University)

  • When students use physical manipulatives their concept development is better than when students don't use them.
  • Why don't teachers use them? They are a pain. They become projectiles. They are hard to clean up.
  • Can we use virtual manipulatives? Can they provide as much meaningful learning?
  • Charter school was used as research group, urban school, 60% not meeting math standards, single-gender, low SES
  • Students used virtual manipulatives program with 5 and 10 day assessments
  • What was the effect on student learning? No difference when they started. End of day 5 there was still no statistical difference between the virtual and physical condition. By day 10 there was an advantage to being in the virtual group.
  • Took a while for kids to learn how to use the software and computers at this particular school, therefore the early numbers were low.
  • Game play: At the beginning the kids in the physical condition had an advantage due to the fact that kids had to learn how to use the computers at this particular school. But later on there was much more engagement in the virtual condition.
  • Results: There is no disadvantage to the virtual condition. For schools the iPad is a great device for instant activities which creates more time to respond, better performance, and more engagement.
  • Limitations to study: It was a small sample group.
  • Their goal is to build a smart, adaptive, powerful curriculum around virtual manipulatives. Originally their games were lame so they want to build better virtual games. Assessment forms being developed: What do they know and where do they fit in the program (initial placement)? Formative evaluation can be used to fix things en route (cross-platform, web-based, now on iPad). Helps to identify groups of kids that need intervention.
  • Hope to have this in place in schools next fall. By year three they hope to be in schools. Looking for research partners.
  • Use a blended instruction model, not separate entity
  • Goal is to give kids a greater conceptual understanding of mathematics.
  • Update: Into second year of project of three years. Currently testing virtual manipulatives, games, and assessment. Now on iPad. When testing they come to schools with iPads on one-to-one environment.
  • Aren't kids in the virtual environment enough? It helps with classroom management because kids are engaged in the virtual environment. Even if there is no real advantage with the virtual environment (which there is) the virtual manipulatives are easier to use. That creates a teaching advantage.
  • Questions about the absence of kinesthetic learning with this model. Author is convinced that it is more a visual transfer rather than kinesthetic.
  • How did they measure student outcomes? They looked at number of practice exercises the student engaged in. There were more opportunities for practice. They looked at the number of games played and that number was higher in virtual environment. Now they are looking at perceptual understanding and knowledge. Measures are much more stringent than in early on testing.
  • The conceptual understanding will be higher because there is immediate corrective feedback, a la the one-on-one environment. Creating a failure-free environment. They can't move on until they pass.
  • They are continuing to build a computer adapted learning environment.
  • Where do you see this going? They are starting with fractions because they are difficult and is a problem area for advancement. The National Math Panel suggested they start there. They want to move into decimals, percents, etc.
  • This provides more time and opportunities for students to respond and build concepts before moving on.
  • Is there any applications to non-mathematic areas? Bringing in data mining can help all students outside of the math model.
  • Are their collaborative manipulatives? Students game on the computer or iPad using cooperative manipulatives.
2. The New Kinds of Tools for New Kinds of Learners: Assess this! ~ Hall Davidson
Download file "TheNewKindsofToolsforNewKindsofLearnersAssessthis.pdf" (attributed to Hall Davidson, Discovery Learning)

Abstract: We know effective assessment can be more powerful than class size reduction for raising achievement. Take a deeper look at how technology tools (mostly free) can check for understanding. Projects previously requiring a semester can be accomplished in a period. Mobile phones, MovieMaker, iMovie, and a host of Web 2.0 sites can do the job. Even PowerPoint and Google can be tapped. The digital age produced spectacular tools that match the learning style of students native to the touch screen, who create videos for the web, texts on a mobile, and stream media everywhere. These skills and tools, often free, should be adapted for assessment. Fire up your iPads, laptops, and cellphones for interactive examples from a leader in the field."
  • Rethinking instructional software using platform-based, Web 2.0, and mobile devices.
  • It's good for students to work in the participatory environment of Web 2.0. They can be used in a formative assessment environment and it is a good way to quickly understand if they get it.
  • You can use MovieMaker, PhotoStory, and iMovie to turn PowerPoints into movies. You can also do this easily using Keynote.
  • Search for someone else's PowerPoint to see how much they know. You can do an advanced Google search for ppt. Can also search in other languages and download those PowerPoints and then try to understand what they are saying even if they don't understand the text. It's a great way to see how much they have internalized the concepts.
  • Voicethread - You can post a picture or video. Others can visit and leave comments (oral, picture, or video). You can upload many different file formats. The teacher can put in a slide and the students can go back and put in their comments. The teacher can then go back and hear the different responses. It's a good way for a teacher to assess how much the students are learning. New features: You can draw on top of pictures. It's a great way to start in Math. Hearing them describe their strategies while watching them draw gives teachers a great idea if students are understanding. It's a good way to justify to an administrator that students are learning. There are still free options. Here is the site too.
  • PhotoPeach - You can upload photos and create a quiz. Also, PhotoPeach for education allows you to manage accounts.
  • Voicethread and PhotoPeach are not necessarily used in one-to-one classes. They are 24/7, alive, and kids can work on them whenever they want. These are tools for formative assessment and would make a great station for kids to go to when they have time. Another great idea is to have kids construct a quiz, therefore they have to understand the material in order to create the quiz.
  • Blabberize - Upload a photo and then students type in what they want the photo to say. Blabberize animates the picture and adds the text.
  • Glogster - Another Web 2.0 tool to make web pages.
  • Rubistar - A free tool to help teachers create quality rubrics.
  • Comic Touch Lite app - Upload a picture and then you can add labels. You can use pictures of things that are around you so students can explore and learn about their own environment.
  • PollEverywhere - I've already blogged about this here but it's a great tool to use if you don't have clickers. Mobile phones are great for PollEverywhere.
  • Wordle - Let's you create visual representations of words. Word Cloud is also a great tool and more kid-friendly and I talked about it here.
  • Google Search Stories Video Creator - You take a topic and you enter your search term and then you choose which type of search you want to use.
  • YouTube is a great tool for students to figure out how to do stuff.
  • Quick Response codes (aka QR Codes) can be used to get information to kids quickly. Site to create free QR codes.
  • Show Me - A site that lets you use your iPad to create video lessons that can be shared. Here's the FAQ from their site.
  • Web 2.0 is migrating to a pay model but it's a good thing because a lot of them go away because of lack of funding.
  • K-2 tools - Steve Dembo has a lot of tools on his site.
  • How to get colleagues to do these? Use examples and enthusiasm. He uses Twitter and screen capture.
  • Dispostable - Provides you with a disposable temporary email address. You can receive email but not send so it's a tool for students who want to log in to a site but don't have an email address. Here are 50 other disposable email sites too.
  • Similar Site Search - Allows you to find similar sites to the one that you currently use. For example if you use YouTube and want other video sites you can find them with this tool.
3. Tech for Tots: Using Technologies to Enhance Early Learning ~ Gail Lovely
Download file "Tech_for_Tots_Gail_Lovely.pdf" (attributed to Gail Lovely)

Abstract: Using technologies with little learners requires patience, strategy, and excellent technological resources. This session will share management ideas, technological tools, and online resources that will make powerful learning with technology and children under 8 years old do-able and even fun! Selection of resources, management of tools and tots, and some silly little tricks will all be included.
  • SnapPoll - She started with this as a tool to assess where her students are at and here were the resultsMoourl is a shortening service she used.
  • Technology brings the world to the classrooms and pushes them out to the world.
  • Hole in the Wall Project - She showed a video about bringing computers to India. TED YouTube video about HitW. Basically, children can get in front of a computer and figure out how to use it and they made up their own language to describe it to others.
  • She showed this YouTube video about a 2-year old effectively using an iPad. The idea is that it's not the operation of the tool that should be the focus. This changes our goal. It's not about pushing the buttons but using the tool.
  • The goal isn't that everyone has a computer but it should be how it enables us. It's just one of the things we use at school as a tool, not just at home. Technology becomes part of a balanced role. It's an enabler.
Student Learning Resources:
  • iBoard - A UK site designed to be used with interactive whiteboards
  • Read Write Think - Providing educators and students access to the highest quality practices and resources in reading and language arts.
  • NLVM - National Library of Virtual Manipulatives
Tools for Creating:
  • Story Bird - Students use an illustrators work and add their own story. You can collaborate with others on one story.
  • Kerpoof - Allows students to make movies. What is Kerpoof? The answer to that is not so simple. Kerpoof is all about having fun, discovering things, and being creative. Here are just a few ways that you can use Kerpoof (from their site):
    • Make artwork (even if you aren't good at drawing!)
    • Make an animated movie (really! it's easy!)
    • Earn Koins which you can trade for fun things in the Kerpoof Store
    • Make a printed card, t-shirt, or mug
    • Tell a story
    • Make a drawing
    • Vote on the movies, stories, and drawings that other people have made
Project-Based Learning:
  • Project by Foot - Students measure the length of their feet and add it to a collaborative site. Can't find the link but it was one by this teacher.
  • Journey North - Students learn about migration of wildlife
  • Twiddla - a great tool for students to collaborate around drawings
  • TitanPad - another site for collaborative writing
  • Stixy - add a picture and a sticky note and students reply to it
  • Classblogmeister - a place for teachers and students to have a blog
  • Wikispaces - a site to create Wikis
  • Voicethread - mentioned above in Hall Davidson's address
  • Myna - a free online audio editor. This seems similar to Garage Band.
  • Poddy Training - Using iPods in the classroom
Teacher Resources:
4. Playing School or Preparing for Life ~ Meg Ormiston
Download file "PlayingSchoolorPreparingForLifeResourcesMegOrmiston.pdf" (attributed to Meg Ormiston)

Abstract: Playing school means sitting still quietly, listening to the teacher, and completing paperwork. If the purpose of education is to prepare students to be successful when they graduate, we need to look at how different the real world is outside of schools. Today people are hired to Twitter on behalf of their employers, utilize social networking tools to spread the company message, and multitask online. Most schools today are blocking and filtering the very experiences our students will have when they enter the workforce. Investigate how to bring these collaborative tools into the classroom to better prepare students for the world beyond the classroom.
  • Her starting point is about her son, whom she calls 2014, and the computing power he now has in a smartphone is the same as the power of an entire computer lab when he was in Kindergarten.
  • She is talking about why we lock up technology at schools. It's a tool to use.
  • Students nowadays don't know a world without technology.
  • Rockstar by Belkin - plug in multiple earbuds into one iPod
  • School is different these days. Students are different these days.
  • Locking up technology doesn't work. You should know how and when to use it appropriately!
  • Blocking, locking and filtering doesn't work. Students go home and it becomes the Wild West. We need to teach them how to behave appropriately online. Don't block teaching and learning.
Connect to Outside the Classroom
Tools - teaching our students how to communicate
  • Meg Ormiston's Books
  • Gaggle- is dedicated to providing safe email accounts for students.
  • Google Scholar - provides a simple way to broadly search for scholarly literature
  • Diigo - Diigo (pronounced Dee-Go ) is a social bookmarking website which allows signed-up users to bookmark and tag web-pages.
  • Voicethread - group conversations are collected and shared in one place from anywhere in the world
  • Twitter - her most used personal and professional development tool. it's 140 characters or less and that's the beauty of it
  • Skype - a software application that allows users to make voice calls over the Internet
  • BubbleJoy - Quick and easy video cards
  • Qik - record and share directly from your phone
  • Prezi - a cloud-based presentation software that opens up a new world between whiteboards and slides
  • Animoto - video slideshows
What should we be teaching our kids? They should learn to express themselves in the digital world (video).
  • Videos hook students - they pay attention
We have to stop playing school and hook students to prepare them for life.

Updates from her Q & A:
  • Delicious (social bookmarking) - has been revived and is not going away
  • GoAnimate - make your own animated videos
  • ScoopIt - organize your Twitter
  • Academia - a place to follow research
  • Xtranormal - make videos online
  • Google Search Stories - plays research into a slideshow
  • - record and share your presentations
  • Slideology (Nancy Duarte book) - The Art and Science of Creating Great Presentations
  • Teaching and Learning needs to lead the issue of blocking, locking, and filtering
  • If people are on devices we need to supervise them
  • Practical things educators can do now
    • open the conversation and bring it to the curriculum
    • get teachers an override for blocked sites and put in a process to get rid of blocked sites
  • - Consortium for School Networking - Advancing K-12 Technology Leadership
  • Take something from presentation that you can connect to curriculum
5. Hands Around the World: Projects to Explore, Engage, Enrich, and Empower ~ Dr. Howie DiBlasi (website)
Download file "HandsAroundtheWorldProjects_HowieDiBlasi.PDF" (attributed to Dr. Howie DiBlasi)

Abstract: Learn about six "Global" projects using "free" software to connect school communities with "Hands Around the World." Projects can be integrated into several curriculum areas and support teaching and learning while improving digital literacy to make a "Global Connection." Projects allow students to learn 21st Century skills and prepare them to meet the demands of the global community and master core curriculum skills. You can transform educational institutions into model learning environments.

Skills to Become 21st Century Students
  • Communication, oral and written
  • These are part of his resources
Global Connections
  • Classroom 2.0 - the social network for those interested in Web 2.0 and Social Media in education
  • The Educator's PLN - Professional Learning Network for Educators
  • ePals - free monitored email (in and out) for students and connections around the world, 200 countries, built-in language translator, over 150 languages
  • Global Nomads - a non-profit organization dedicated to heightening children's understanding and appreciation for the world and its people
  • This I Believe - an international organization engaging people in writing and sharing essays describing the core values that guide their daily lives
  • Digital Hero
  • The My Hero Project - The mission of MY HERO is to use media and technology to celebrate the best of humanity and to empower people of all ages to realize their own potential to effect positive change in the world.
  • Podcasts
  • The Best Part of Me - students pick an attribute and take a digital photo of that part and write a poem about it
  • My Town, Our Town, Small Town - based on songs, part of process is to get permission to use the songs and tell a story in photos about their town
  • Voicethread
  • Alltop - The purpose of Alltop is to help you answer the question, “What’s happening?” in “all the topics” that interest you.
  • Blogs - the power is they are publishing to a bigger audience
  • Google Docs - his idea was to use the presentation piece, everyone makes their own slide with their name on it, leave it up for people to add to it
  • Etherpad went away but there are alternatives - real time collaborative environment
  • PhotoStory - Microsoft software for creating presentations
  • Picnik - upload photos and edit, change, enhance them for free
  • Freeplaymusic - royalty-free instrumental music
  • Kerpoof - wrote about this earlier in the blog
  • Jing - screencapture tool
  • Voki - create an avatar that talks
  • Google Maps - use overlays to map things and add pushpins
Will you be the 10th person? See his resources for this.

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