Tech Tuesday

Finds and Thoughts about Tech Integration

Teacher Tuesdays Coming to the Apple Store

May16

At the New England Apple Tech Update it was shared that Apple Stores would begin offering Teacher Tuesdays. What does that mean? Free Professional Development!

I contacted the Apple Store at the Pheasant Lane Mall in Nashua, New Hampshire for more details. I was told that beginning in June they will be hosting Teacher Tuesday workshops. Sessions will be every other Tuesday. The time was not disclosed, but right now, the topics are as follows:

  • June: Encouraging Creativity with GarageBand on the iPad
  • July: Collaborating with Keynote
  • August: Storytelling with iMovie

I am waiting to hear more. I am hopeful that this opportunity could turn into a valuable resource for teachers. Perhaps, even a study group that takes field trips to the Apple Store for the sessions?!

I will keep you posted.

In the mean time, here’s Apple Teacher, a self-paced professional development program that you may want to check out. It’s also free and has starter guides for Apple products.

Pineapple Chart

April4

I was introduced to the idea of the Pineapple Chart at a conference recently. And wow… such a simple concept seems like it could be so affective in offering PD and building community!

What is a Pineapple Chart?

Basically, it’s a chart or calendar that teachers can post an invitation to what’s happening in their classrooms. Other teachers see the postings and can visit that particular lesson/activity at the specific day/time.

A key element is that participation is not mandatory for staff. It’s also not a time for administrators to do observations. It’s all about sharing in a safe, non-evaluative way!

I’ve seen examples of physical bulletin boards, but at my school we are going to try an electronic version using Google Calendar and the ability to set up notifications. In the spirit of sharing, here’s what I have put together for our school. This resource includes links to a blog post about Pineapple Charts as well as step-by-step tutorials.

So it’s time to give this a go!

I welcome people’s thoughts, successes and failures about Pineapple Charting.

Google+ Communities: A Great Way to Connect with Educators

February14

I was looking for more information about using Google Hangouts in the classroom, and during my search I came across some great education Google+ Communities.

First of all, what is Google+?

Think facebook which most of us have some familiarity, I’m sure… most likely personal. Google+ is an online community where you can share and interact with people through posts and comments.

Communities in Google+ are groups formed around a particular topic of interest. All you have to do is click on Communities when you are in Google+, and you will see lots of recommendations. When you find a Community that you like, simply click on the Join button. You then will be able to participate fully in posting and commenting.

So why should you join a Google+ Community?

First, it’s a wonderful way to exchange ideas with other educators as well as ask questions about tools & services. Furthermore, the Communities are a great place to make connections and collaborate with teachers and students around the world on projects!

Here are three Communities that I have joined so far:

Google for Education – They are talking G Suite here!

Google Classroom – Share and learn about Classroom. Ask questions, get answers and be inspired by how others are using  service.

Connected Classrooms Workshop – Looking to Hangout with other classrooms? This is the community to find them!

I’m hoping to start a Google+ Community for Westford teachers. Would you be willing to join?

Summer PD

June21

Looking for some free summer PD to help you make progress with student and professional practice goals?

Here are a few places that may help:

SimpleK12 Educational Webinars

(Don’t forget that Westford has accounts if something is not FREE, and you can make an individual professional development plan to earn PDPs from the District!)

Verizon Mobile Learning Academy Course

edWeb.net Webinars

Education Week Webinars

HarvardX

Inspire: Virtual Community of Practice Course

(For Westford educators through the “University of Westford”)

EdTechTeacher Webinars

(Subscribe to find out when they will become available!)

Happy Summer!

Hoarders: iPad Edition

September24

Hi, my name is Lisa, and I’m an app hoarder.

Everyday, I watch my PLN Twitter stream and subscribe to app review blogs all in hopes of snagging a FREE app.

I download, download, download. All with good intentions, of course. That app may be good for grade 3. That app may be good for science. Oh, my. Can’t let that app get away. It may be useful to someone at some point! And right now it is free.

I do try my best to try out the apps, but there are so many. I keep adding them to the iTunes account; however, there isn’t enough time in the day to get them installed on the iPads and figure out which app would match which teacher’s style and curriculum. I admit it: I just can’t keep up. I’m trying to drink from the fire hose.

I read some good advice recently… and unfortunately, I’m not sure where as my mind is filled up and clouded with apps (and allergies- that’s another issue)… but someone said just find a few good apps that work across grade levels and subjects. Then give those apps a chance. Show them to teachers. Get people thinking about the possibilities. Try the apps out with students. Experiment. Hopefully, this will lead to the discovery of new applications, and of course, learning.

Going in this new direction, I only have loaded a few (well, a decent sampling of) external apps from my extensive downloads on our iPad Minis. Instead of making particular subject matter folders of apps (which would be bursting at the seams… and I’m pretty sure they all wouldn’t fit any way), there is a folder titled: Create.

The Create folder contains:   Animoto, ComicBook, iMovie, My Story – Book Maker for KidsPic CollagePicPlayPostScreenChomp, Story Creator, and Tellagami

These are apps that I think can be used in multiple ways to help students analyze and even synthesize their learning. Some of the choices are based on last year’s trials as well as other teacher’s recommendations. (Yes, a couple are similar types of apps, but I think I will have more of a chance to evaluate which one works best. Then I’ll slim things down more.)

So, I am moving forward. Of course, I can’t help myself and still will LOOK at those free apps and reviews- just in case. (Did I mention I still have dozens of laundry detergent caps and shoe boxes still stashed away from when I taught first and second grade in the late 90’s?! You know- I may need those some day!)

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