Tech Tuesday 6.3.14 – Makey Makey May Term Session 1

On May 28th, we completed session 1 of our May Term program at Allendale Columbia School. Without a doubt, it has been an overwhelming success. Below is a write up and a short video overview of what happened during the Makey Makey (if you aren’t sure what a Makey Makey is click here) session that I co-taught with AC Senior, Martjin Appelo (he is assisting as part of his Senior Study Project).

Post written by 8th Grader, Caroline.

Makey Makey was a fun way to use everyday objects in different ways. We plug in alligator clips to a key, the key is hooked up to the computer and anything you hook up to the alligator clips will work as a keyboard on a computer. This allowed us to be creative and use use our imagination to invent something with common objects. Some of us got a view of reprogramming the Makey Makey (using Arduino software). The group I was in, made a band out of fruit, water, old cans, and cardboard. Other groups made controllers for video games. One group made a one hand controller for Pokemon for people that are disabled and hungry. Two boys made a life size Minecraft controller, and another boy made a motorcycle game controller that looked like the handlebars of a bike. All of these ideas wouldn’t have been possible without the Makey Makey. The Makey Makey was a fun way to use our imagination, and I would take the course again to create even more complex devices.

 

All the music playing in this recording was created using Makey Makey instruments!

Tech Tuesday 5.20.14 – Chromebooks in 2nd Grade

Recently, our second graders received Chromebooks to use in their classroom. Lower school Digital Literacy Instructor, Kristen McKenzie, and I guided the children through the process of creating a Student Code of Conduct for Technology Use. Because the second graders were the first students in our lower school to use Chromebooks in a 1:1 environment, they were charged with helping to create the Code of Conduct for Technology Use for all lower school (K-5) students. After finalizing their Code, students presented it to John Sullivan for approval. The same group of students are creating plans for sharing the Code with other lower school classes in the fall. Here is the Student Code of Conduct for Technology Use that they created.

Tech Tuesday 5.13.14 – Protecing Digital Learners

Too often, Internet safety is presented to kids in a way that only shows the negative side. Kids are told what not to do, and often they don’t understand why. There is a positive side to the web, and learning to navigate it safely is easy. This is so critical, as the term “digital native” is thrown around too often as we assume our young people will innately understand the ins and outs of their online footprint. This assumption causes frustration for educators and students alike. We, as teachers and parents, need to be role models for our children. There is great power in the Internet and with that power comes great responsibility. There is more truth to this now than ever before. We all have a great resource, the Internet, and like any super power, some people don’t know how to wield it. We must be taught. Our children DO NOT possess this ability just by being born. If anything, children and adolescents need more guidance than ever. Scaring kids into believing that the Internet is a bad place where bad things happen is not going to teach them anything. We need to be proactive and teach responsibility. Being safe online is really no different than being safe in your neighborhood.

Below is a link to some excellent resources collected in a post published on the website Educators Technology and Mobile Learning. If you end up using any of the information from this post or if you have any other great ideas or resources, please share in the comments sections. I would love to know what people are trying and how they are using these tools in the classroom or at home with your families.

Tools to Protect and Raise Digital Learners ~ Educational Technology and Mobile Learning.

Tech Tuesday 4.8.14 – What Do You Want Kids to Do With Technology?

I stumbled upon the following image on Twitter the other day and I was impressed with its simplicity. Too often, technology use is viewed as a learning outcome, when it is really just a means to an end, a tool. Technology can be transformative for learning and engagement, but don’t lose sight of your curricular objectives.

So, ask yourself… what do you want kids to do with technology? If your ideas are only on the left hand side of the image below, you need to rethink how you are utilizing technology in your curriculum.

This image was created and shared by William Ferriter.

Tech Tuesday 3.25.14 – Authentic Learning Experiences

At Allendale Columbia School, creating authentic or experiential learning opportunities for our students is one of our top priorities. One of the most difficult aspects with incorporating this shift is the “how.” It can be overwhelming to change how you teach. Even if it’s for one lesson or unit. Below are some resources to help you start.

Bringing Authenticity to the Classroom – This is an excellent post, short and to the point with some realistic ideas on how to integrate project-based learning and authenticity into the classroom. Post written by Andrew Miller via Edutopia.

Free Resources and Tools for “Authentic” Assessment – “New York’s School of the Future shares their assessment plans and rubrics, classroom projects, schedules, web links, and other resources to help you implement “authentic” assessment today.” Via Edutopia.

Also in the library:
“In this practical guide, Sylvia Martinez and Gary Stager provide K-12 educators with the how, why, and cool stuff that supports classroom making. The active learner is at the center of the learning process, amplifying the best traditions of progressive education. This book helps educators bring the exciting opportunities of the maker movement to every classroom. Children are natural tinkerers. While school traditionally separates art and science, theory and practice, such divisions are artificial. The real world just doesn’t work that way. Architects are artists. Craftsmen deal in aesthetics, tradition and mathematical precision. There are now multiple pathways to learning what we have always taught and things to do that were unimaginable just a few years ago. The potential range, breadth, power, complexity and beauty of projects has never been greater thanks to the amazing new tools, materials, ingenuity and playfulness you will encounter in this book.”

What might teachers need to consider in order to shift to more Authentic Learning?

Tech Tuesday 3.4.14 – What is Project-Based Learning?

I am a regular reader of some excellent blogs and I frequently come across some outstanding resources for teachers. Here are few about project-based learning. Enjoy!

What is Project Based Learning? Check out this Common Craft video:
“The Buck Institute for Education commissioned the cutting-edge advertising agency, Common Craft, to create a short animated video that explains in clear language the essential elements of Project Based Learning (PBL).”

“This simple video makes the essential elements of PBL come alive and brings to light the 21st Century skills and competencies (collaboration, communication, critical thinking) that will enable K-12 students to be college and work-ready as well as effective members of their communities.”

Do you have any favorite resources or blog posts? Share your favorites below in the comments section.

Tech Tuesday 2.18.14 – Some things to do over February Break

This post was originally published 4.02.13. I made a few slight updates. Enjoy!

Have some extra time over break? Yeah right. Well, just in case you do, here are some ideas.

Review our Tech Tuesday blog posts:

Watch a TED Talk or two:

Think of ways to change 20%  of what you do in the classroom using concepts from PD Day:

Watch this video: Did You Know? Shift Happens 2013 – 2014 / Higher Education

Have a great Break!