Last day of school … time to shut down and enjoy a well-deserved break. After that initial sigh of relief, there lies tremendous potential. There are many ways to seize the moment and take the opportunity to refresh, rethink, and revitalize. There is one simple yet effective path/tool to achieve your summer time professional development goals … Twitter. Twitter is easy to set up (resource), follow people and topics, and share your ideas quickly and effectively. Here you can start by passively observing shared thoughts and information or get active and dive right in by composing your own tweets and get actively involved with Twitter chat.
Microsoft Innovative Experts have created a vibrant, growing, and welcoming presence within the Twitterverse. This community provides resources on a variety of Microsoft Tools, creative and innovative classroom hacks, and a supportive and helpful professional learning community. You would also receive timely information about unique learning and professional development opportunities such as the Microsoft Hack-A- Thon, Skype-A-Thon and Microsoft Innovative Expert applications. A world full of inspiration, resources, and support awaits and all in the comforts of your backyard or at the cottage or on a trip. So grab a lemonade (or other favourite summer-time beverage) and connect … you and your students will be glad you did. Enjoy your summer!
CTA – Follow @MIEExperts or #hacktheclassroom
When I first applied to become a Microsoft Innovative Expert (MIE), I thought that this would be a great experience if I was fortunate to be selected. The application process itself was an opportunity to reflect upon how I use technology in my classroom and how I would like to expand my skills, knowledge, and personal learning community. When I received the email informing me that had been selected in to the MIE program and that I would be attending the E2 conference in Budapest, Hungary, I felt like I won the lottery. I knew there were many great educators doing great things in their classrooms that put their names forward, so it was a humbling experience to be accepted. The weeks leading up to E2 were ones of anticipation and preparation. I was excited to meet new friends, understand the program, and gain new insights into various tools. The time spent reading through materials, attending webinars, and exploring the process was very much worth it. The moment of truth finally arrived and on a beautiful spring like day in Saskatchewan as I stepped on a plane ready for a journey to Budapest. It was a long and tiring plane ride, but as soon as I got there … the city, the luxurious Hotel Corinthia, and meeting my Canadian cohorts were more than energizing. The next three days were outstanding to say the least from engaging keynotes and panels, creating a hack with wonderful teachers from across the globe, earning my Microsoft Certified Educator certification, sharing ideas and smiles during the marketplace, and experiencing a variety of hands on workshops … E2 had it all. The opportunity to explore the beautiful city of Budapest and meet some locals was appreciated, enjoyable, and educational. The people I met from my Canadian teammates, my hack the classroom group, the outstanding educators from around the world in attendance was the highlight for me. It is an honour and a pleasure to be associated with such amazing individuals. I definitely left the conference a better educator and for that matter person than when I arrived. I met many inspiring people and made some strong connections and new friends in the process. I deepened my knowledge and skills of a variety of Microsoft products, came up with an idea to revolutionize a class I have taught back at my school, shared stories about education from around the world, grew and strengthened my personal learning network, and had a few bowls of Hungarian Goulash (don’t forget the paprika). The E2 experience was a complete success and one I won’t soon forget. Hopefully, I will get a chance to do it all again someday as a fellow. Still the best is yet to come as I now feel part of a global family that’s mission is to provide students all over the world with a quality 21st Century education and eradicate borders and biases. I would and have highly recommended becoming a MIE to anybody doing exceptional things in their classrooms with Microsoft tools. You can get started down this rewarding path today by going online and exploring the Microsoft Innovative Educator website (https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/education/educators/miee/default.aspx), take some of the online courses (https://education.microsoft.com/gettrained), and reach out on Twitter (#MIEExpert). Applications to join this amazing community is coming up soon so stay tuned and be ready. The family atmosphere that becoming an MIE presents is second to none and I am fortunate to be a part of such a dedicated and passionate of group educators. Budapest was beautiful in many ways and it is fair to say I was blown away, but this is only a beginning!
CTA – Check out the following Sways for more insights
My Day In Sway March 8 https://sway.com/ZC6RHwYNPP1pSC7x
My Day in Sway March 9 https://sway.com/JBbDD25rw9ATtKMS
My Day in Sway March 10 https://sway.com/BDE53Ai6Py5up6i1
Beautiful Budapest https://sway.com/V1DQIG7KxAHsSH5h
Using Minecraft In Math https://sway.com/b8kNs42T8hzJ5DeY
It’s been a great winter. One to remember for sure. Which brings me to this column’s topic … how do you want your class, your school, our teaching profession to be remembered? We need to get the word out and promote all the positive lessons, events, successes, and happenings at our schools. There is a lot to be proud of and a lot of information to share with all our stakeholders.
Here are a few ideas to help you spread the good news.
There are many websites out there that can offer help. Two books you may find useful are: The Power of Branding : Telling Your School’s Story by Tony Sinanis and Joseph Sanfelippo and All Hands on Deck : Tools for Connecting Educators, Parents, and Communities by Brad Currie. Good luck telling your story … it is vital that we do. Please share/connect with me @vendi55 on Twitter.
Hi Everyone and Happy New Year,
Looking for some ideas for a New Year’s Resolution in your teaching craft. I offer you a few ideas/possibilities to explore.
Originally posted Thursday, February 13, 2014
Tweeting … It’s Not Just For The Birds
Hi, and welcome to the second installment of ‘Teacher Tech Talk’. A valuable teacher resource that allows teachers to create a useful and meaningful Personal Learning Networks and provides enriching classroom possibilities is Twitter. The 140 character limit social media platform has many educational purposes. Twitter can be used by teachers to communicate and collaborate with students, parents, and fellow colleagues in education.
With Twitter, one can simply start up and follow topics or people that interest them, or get collaborating and sharing ideas and resources with fellow teachers, students, and more. For a quick primer on what Twitter is and how it works go to http://www.commoncraft.com/video/twitter. For more tools and resources for teachers using Twitter check out http://bit.ly/1iMtPPZ. A few interesting people I follow are @courousa, @tomwhitby, and @Larryferlazzo. A few topics that I follow are #ipadded, #edtech, and #byot. One can simply follow and learn from others using Twitter or can contribute as well. For example, one may tweet out links, homework assignments, and important dates to teachers, students, and parents. You can also do a collaborative project with students using Twitter as a way to exchange thoughts and ideas or reach out to an expert via Twitter. After you master the basics of Twitter, you can go on and check out some useful resources such as bit.ly, tweetdeck, and Twitter search to step up your use of Twitter.
Much like the blogs that were mentioned last post, Twitter can provide teachers and students a chance to comment on ideas and concepts in class, work on a problem, or merely vent or share ideas and thoughts. Please check out http://teachertechtalkwithdean.blogspot.ca for this article and past posts, e-mail me at email@example.com, or follow me on Twitter at @vendi55. Thank you for your time and remember to innovate, inspire, and collaborate.
Originally posted Sunday, March 30, 2014
I went to CUE 14 in Palm Springs and saw keynote speaker Sal Kahn of Kahn Academy. He made a great analogy in his speech I wanted to share.
Imagine that instead of building a student’s knowledge you are building a house.
You get a contractor to work on the foundation with a specified timeline. He does what he can in the time given, and an inspector comes to take a look. He examines it, says its about 75 percent good. You say, "OK, that’s a C+, so let's move on to building the next floor!" The contractor builds it, and inspector says it’s about 90 percent. You think "Great!" and move onto floor three.
Eventually you're working on the sixth floor and the whole house tumbles down.
You want to blame the contractor, claiming he wasn’t good enough. You will also want to blame the inspector. But the truth is, you were aware of the deficiencies. You just ignored them.
Originally posted Tuesday, April 22, 2014
Hi, and welcome to another edition of ‘Teacher Tech Talk’. I love using technology in the classroom. I do not believe that technology is a substitute for the craft of teaching; however, I do believe it can make us more effective and productive. Also, Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) is making its way into the classroom, and teachers need to be aware of the opportunities for learning that this initiative affords. There are a myriad of useful tools out there—I will review a couple apps I feel that teachers will love.
The first app to review is Remind 101. This free app allows teachers to communicate with students and parents in a safe and efficient environment. The teacher creates their own unique portal in which students or parents can subscribe via text or e-mail. The great thing about this app is that everyone’s contact information remains private—subscribers can’t reply to messages sent out, and students’/parents’ text or e-mail information is not accessible to the teacher. This allows for a private area in which reminders as such ‘Test on Tuesday’ or ‘Bring your permission slip’ can be quickly and efficiently communicated. Two new features that Remind 101 recently added is the ability to send reminders to individuals rather than one message to all, and the ability to send attachments via text message. I find this app to be great for coaches or advisors in charge of organizing practices, rehearsals, and more. To learn more about Remind 101, visit www.remind101.com.
The next free app that I find extremely useful is Socrative. This app allows you to create quick evaluation instruments that teachers can easily administer and collect meaningful data. This app, which is cross platform and can be used on computers, allows for a quick poll of the students, or can be used as a review of previously taught material. The exit ticket function also allows for a quick recap of student comprehension and questions. Data comes as an easy-to-view and understand spreadsheet, so teachers can see which student may need more assistance or what concepts need a little extra coverage—it’s a great app for AFL! To learn more about Socrative, visit www.socrative.com.
I hope you find these apps useful! I plan on doing more reviews in the future. I will be presenting iPads in the Classroom at the IT Summit in Saskatoon this May, and will be offering a couple Summer Short Courses. If you would like information on apps and using technology in the classroom, please check out http://teachertechtalkwithdean.blogspot.ca for this article and past posts. Feel free to e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org, or follow me on Twitter at @vendi55. Thank you for your time, and remember to innovate, inspire, and collaborate!
Hi, and welcome to another edition of ‘Teacher Tech Talk’. Technology influences our lives in many ways. This has led to great opportunities, but is also a cause of great concern. I have recently participated in a MOOC (Massive Open Online Course) on Digital Citizenship*, lead by Dr. Alec Couros from the University of Regina, and put forward by the Saskatchewan Ministry of Education.
Technology has provided us with access to information and communication opportunities never before afforded in the history of humankind. We have more computing power in our hands now, than that of the computers that sent a human being to the moon. So how do we harness this power for the benefit of education and all its stakeholders?
The use of technology is a double edged sword; it can lead to cutting edge opportunities that are exciting and innovative, or it can lead to cutting ties from traditional and important values. Exploring concepts like copyright, privacy, digital footprints, e-portfolios, netiquette, and more, lead teachers down a path with more questions than answers. This is a new reality for society. Education needs to adapt to a world where content is no longer in the hands of the few and communication and collaboration is at the click of a mouse or the touch of a finger.
I feel the keys to help teachers with helping themselves are to: 1) become informed of what’s out there, 2) get involved with some type of technology or social media, 3) see how one could incorporate a new tool in the classroom, 4) model what a positive technological experience should look like, 5) inform parents and administration, and 6) have fun with it while being open to new paths that will be created. Don’t worry about doing this on your own! There are many excellent mentors here in our province, and around the world, that are ready to connect and share (check out these hashtags on twitter, go to these blogs).
Hope you have enjoyed ‘Teacher Tech Talk’ this year. If you have suggestions for topics or ideas for future articles, I’d be glad to hear from you. Please check outhttp://teachertechtalkwithdean.blogspot.ca for this article and past posts, e-mail me at email@example.com, or follow me on Twitter at @vendi55. Thank you for your time, and remember to innovate, inspire, and collaborate!
First Posted Saturday June 28, 2014
I have blogged about many topics that are relevant to digital citizenship. My first blog was on blogging and the opportunities to communicate and collaborate that blogs offer. This was discussed through out the DCMOOC course and many educators are now using this tool and making many valuable contributions to education. I know that through this blog I'm trying to create a place to share my experiences and thoughts on using technology in education and digital citizenship. My second blog was on Twitter. This is a tool that I am becoming more in tune with. I commented on the amazing Personal Learning Network that one can develop through Twitter. Through DCMOOC twitter chats, I was able to share my thoughts and resources via posting and reflecting on the tweets of others. I found this to be a very valuable professional development opportunity. My third blog post was on the use of apps. There are many tools out there that teachers can use to enhance and redefine their classrooms. I shared a couple of the many tools I have tested and found to be valuable. The DCMOOC course also shared many tools to incorporate into the classroom to improve student success and digital citizenship. I had used or heard of many before, but as always picked up a few more tools for the tool box. My fourth blog dealt with the overall importance of talking about and understanding the many facets of digital citizenship and the necessity that educators should be aware and ready to positively incorporate the issues and challenges of our digital world. This theme ran throughout the DCMOOC course and the facilitators and participants were great champions of harnessing the power technology. I am submitting this as a fifth blog post towards the completion of the DCMOOC course, as I will continue to share ideas, resources, and thoughts to promote successful integration of technology and best practice into our classrooms.
First Published Wednesday, November 26, 2014
Hello and welcome to a new year and a new instalment of Teacher Tech Talk. I hope everyone had a great summer and is looking forward to a new year filled with excitement, passion, and learning opportunities in classrooms around this great province.
The Ice Bucket Challenge has been a wonderful phenomenon that has went viral and has touched the lives of many. So I’m throwing out a Technology In The Classroom Challenge. I am hoping that teachers around our province will try at least one new tool or lesson using technology in their classrooms or professional development. There are many ways to do this and sometimes it just takes a leap of faith. A few ideas that may help you get started are:
Flip A Lesson - use video to be viewed at home to introduce a concept instead of a direct lesson (http://www.knewton.com/flipped-classroom/)
Kahoot - try engaging your students with this interactive quiz making site, make your own or look through their archives (https://getkahoot.com)
Explain Everything - try this app to create how tos, screen capture your work or your students work with this intuitive and easy to use app (http://www.explaineverything.com )
Twitter - can be used to develop your professional learning community, share ideas with others or follow those with insight and resources - (http://rossieronline.usc.edu/twitter-for-teachers/ and join #saskedchat)
These are just a few ideas and there are many others out there. Technology has the potential to make our classrooms more engaging and provide new and unique learning opportunities. Still the most important factor to learning in the classroom is the teacher … we can never forget that.
If you take the challenge and want to share please contact me and I will include these in future tech talks. Also feel free to tweet out your attempts with the hashtag #techintheclasschallenge. Please check out http://teachertechtalkwithdean.blogspot.ca for this article and past posts, e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org, or follow me on Twitter at @vendi55. Thank you for your time and remember to innovate, inspire, and collaborate.
Dean Vendramin. Educator for over 20 years. Currently Education Leader for Math/Science at Archbishop M.C. O'Neill Catholic High School. Have a passion for all things in education with emphasis on technology integration, assessment, professional development, and 21 Century Education. Posts are articles he has written for the Saskatchewan Teachers' Federation monthly newsletter The Bulletin, Saskatchewan Math Teachers' Society The Variable, blog requests from memberships he is a part of, and his own thoughts.