Tech Tuesday

Finds and Thoughts about Tech Integration

Massachusetts Digital Literacy and Computer Science (DLCS) Curriculum Framework

May30

I took some time today to review the Massachusetts Digital Literacy and Computer Science (DLCS) Curriculum Framework.

I know at this point in the year, many teachers have full plates wrapping up their school years. I get that you probably don’t have the time or energy (perhaps, if we’re really being honest here- even the desire!) to read a Framework. So here’s a very, quick run down…

This Framework created in June 2016 takes a critical leap from the past, recognizing that students most be both consumers (users) AND creators in our global community when it comes to technology. The four Strands are Computing and Society, Digital Tools and Collaboration, Computing Systems, and Computational Thinking. The Framework outlines a real balance with understanding the impact of technology and one’s responsibilities as a  digital citizen while still getting the nuts & bolts. A key emphasis also is on students being problem solvers.

How will this weave into the rest of our curriculum? That’s where some thoughtful investigation needs to take place. The progressive skills should not be out of context or add-ons.

I am looking forward to my work on the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education’s DLCS Implementation Panel that begins tomorrow. I’m sure there will be plenty of good conversation there as well as with my district colleagues over the next year. Stay tuned.

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.

Update: Here’s a link to the specific Teacher Tuesday sessions!

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.

Ask 3

March21

A common protocol in many elementary classrooms is “Ask 3, then me.”

I’ve used this procedure from my early days of teaching. I quickly discovered as a first year teacher that there would be a line of students constantly around me seeking my answer to routine questions. By having students go to classmates for help, it has made my students more responsible for finding solutions, I think.

Recently, as I was preparing for my Google Level 2 certification, I came across a terrific graphic that reflects a much more modern take on the Ask 3 protocol:

(Poster created by Heather Dowd)

You can see that it’s no longer ask 3 peers before a teacher, but rather friend, Google and then YouTube.

This poster really struck me. How true is it that we no longer have to rely on face-to-face assistance or a person being our sole conveyor of information? That there are so many answers just a Google search away! And then to take it a step further… how many people are sharing their knowledge via videos now? If I want to learn how to do something, I will see if someone has made a step by step tutorial for me to follow on YouTube first.

Should we just let kids loose on these tools? No, not a first, but with guidance and training on how to do proper searches and sift through the information in order to evaluate what is reliable, they will be ready to follow this new thinking and find some really great stuff. We just can’t gloss over these important digital literacy skills. They have to be taught as authentically as different reading genres.

How do you seek information and answers? I welcome your thoughts.

G Suite for Education in the Classroom Ideas

March14

Looking for suggestions on how to use Google tools & services in your classroom?

Check out this slide deck full of ideas from Google.

Since it’s a “living” presentation, go back to it often to see updates!

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