So I have been a pan of Quizlet for several years. When I was a special education teacher we would use this website to help students study vocabulary, because it had the "audible" option. Now over the years Quizlet has made many improvements and additions. By far one of the things that my teachers are eating up is Quizlet Live. Quizlet Live uses gasification, but takes it up one more notch..It randomizes the student groups for you and the students just about have no other choice than to work together. I am definitely adding Quizlet to my tool box as a top ten!!
Nearpod is the best ever!!! So I saw this tool presented by two different presenters, but until I got in an played with it I had no idea. I had seen it presented and they talked more about finding pre-made presentations. NO NO NO, that is most definitely not the best part. You can drop any powerpoint into Nearpod. I love the fact that you control the pace and it is interactive. Now the students are engaged in the learning process. Oh the the VR field trips are really cool. This is something our district is looking at buying. This is a tool that will work from K-12 in any subject area.
So MECA - Mississippi Educational Computing Association was my first go round with attending and presenting at a educational tech conference.
I took away at least one thing from each session I attended. I think I did pretty well on my hands-on presentation. My goal is give everyone new tips to leave with and give them things to look at when they got home. I am almost positive I did both.
Now my all time favorite part - the PEOPLE!! I learned more from talking to others than I did in any session. I learned new tips from vendors on products we already had. Saw some money saving products and got some great swag. The other tech people in the state who do what I do were AMAZING people. Everyone was so free with their ideas and we all just stood around and openly shared ideas. I left with the feeling, that I am not on this island alone and not only are others on this island, but they are the helpful kind. I brought back so many ideas!!!
Moral of the story: Meet others and have conversations. You never know what the person standing beside you knows.
We decided to make the most our investment into i21Zone Training. The other ITC and I trained SS and Sci Teachers in the middle schools and trained the 5th grade teachers, using the same model we had just seen. Now next step.. How do we get at least a piece of this information to everyone else? Ahh now we have Mini-Tech Camp on the first day back from Christmas Break. We picked people who had recently been trained and they lead 50 sessions on their favorite tool they had picked up. We had 68 sessions (A and B) between two campuses. Part of the model we emphasized was Model - Explain - Help Create. Teachers love the fact they get to see a tool modeled and then get time to create something for them to use in their own class.
Reviews were mixed on the sessions, but overall HUGE success. Have the teachers step out of their comfort zones was harder on some than others. Also getting teachers to try new tools was difficult for some, but in the end teachers who had not been trained learned about 2 new practical tech tools they could use in their class.
Some of our biggest hits -
Prodigy Game - otherwise known as Math Crack
Read Write Think.org
So since I now work out of central office, I participate in the CO Christmas part. Each department has to come up with a fun activity to do. So technically I am under curriculum and instruction, so they looked to the other ITC and I to come up with an activity. So we did we pick?? Well something with their smartphones.. hahaha
Let's just say watching these adults battle over a Christmas Kahoot was HILARIOUS!!! We even won a prize for the best activity..
LOVE this App. The students take a picture of something - it could be themselves, something they have drawn, etc.. Then they record their voice talking about it. The students could have written some sentences they are reading, or just going off the cuff. The kids love this!! They love to see themselves or their creations talking!!!
Ok so during the training there were a couple of new tools I learned about that I am LOVING. Quizizz is a lot like Cahoot, but can be done individually. Quizizz can also be assigned as homework. It will still rank them but the rank will change as students complete the quiz. It is game-based as well and has these really funny memes after each question depending on if the student got it right or not. I always like a new tool that has a sense of humor :)
So in the district's quest to become blended, we brought in Chalkable to do some i21Zone training. This training not only gave our teachers tons of new tools, but the model of professional development is AMAZING!!!
Here it is in a nutshell - The trainer models tools with a class while the teachers observe (the trainer has already been in contact with one of the teachers to know what topics to prepare). The trainer then talks about the different tools that were modeled and may even demonstrate some more tools using the teachers as students. For the full day training we usually broke for lunch about then, which who are we kidding-teachers eating off campus is HUGE. For the rest of the afternoon the trainer helped the teachers develop activities or tools that they would use in their class the next day or two. Now the next couple of days the trainer goes into the classrooms and helps the teachers implement the activities. Having support in the room.. yeah that was really big. Then a couple of weeks later the trainer comes back and meets with the teacher for follow-up.
I can't wait to duplicate this process.
So I think, and remember I am relatively new to blogging, that I will also use this blog to either give shout outs to either amazing products that I have found, teachers who are doing amazing things or just write about a new app or website I am using or showing my peeps.
This week I am loving Kahoot!!!! Kids of all ages are absolutely eating it up!!! What I cannot wait to do is to try it with the itty bitty's. Can we use it to do sight words? Addition facts? Colors? I will post an update once I know more.
Update - why yes you can and kids absolutely love it!!! Rock on Kahoot and Rock on K teachers at NHE for being willing to try it out.
So the district not only decided to roll out 1:1 with MacBooks this year, we also rolled out an LMS. Our district chose Schoology. In theory this is going to become a teacher's new best friend. The teachers we have using it are LOVING it. The fact that there is more work on the front in -the first time- and so much less on the back- is AMAZING. The options on how to use it are endless, it truly is mind-boggling. The other ITC and I have decided to put all PD on there as well. This will serve 2 purposed: 1. Go ahead and push the teachers into using it and 2. Give teachers easy access to information and PD. As one would guess some have loved and embraced the idea, while others look at us as though we have snakes crawling out of our heads.
So far I am loving it. I am just a little overwhelmed trying to understand all the features, and then decide what to go and show the teachers. Macs and Schoology can be a lot to swallow at one time. Here is hoping that my partner do a good job of easing everyone into it...
I am loving my position as a Instructional Technology Coach with Lowndes County School District.
This combines several of my passions all into one position. I have been leading professional development for over 10 years. Most of that was on topics that had to do with special education and RTI - which is now called the Multi-Level System of Supports. It was often my job to show teachers how to work with struggling students. It was also often my job to teach them about the laws and teach other special education teachers how to navigate these laws including new web-based systems and writing IEP's. I thoroughly enjoyed helping my peers understand these topics.
I moved to Mississippi in 2013 and left the world of special education for the world of RTI. Once again I was in the role of training others how to do things, but with that came a lot of paperwork. As my new husband and I are evaluating my options last year, we began talking about how many teachers I was helping with the new technology our district had purchased. We discussed how amazing a job in education that I got to shift my professional development experience over to showing teachers all the wonderful things that technology could do for them. Low and behold our district decided to make the move to a 1:1 initiative. With this came two new positions. Can you guess? Why yes, those were the position of Instructional Technology Coaches.
This position has truly been a blessing and I am absolutely loving what I am doing. I have the privelage of traveling around my district assisting, training and modeling technology tools and lessons for our teachers. I get to research new tools and show them to everyone else. In this process we are also modeling appropriate blending of technology and best practices. I couldn't have hand-written a more perfect job for myself.
This journey has been amazing so far and I cannot wait to see where it goes.