Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Using Twitter for school collaboration - Random Acts of Kindness

I have been using twitter for several years to connect with other educators and expand my own learning.   Twitter has been an invaluable resource for me, it has allowed me to connect with other educations and grow my PLN.

I have been waiting for an opportunity to use with teachers and students to show the professional power of connecting.  Our district has a new communication policy that allows staff to access twitter.  

I was asked by a teacher last week to help out the Student Council and Sunshine Society to get staff and students to participate in 26 Days of Sunshine. Inspired by the national campaign entitled "26 Random Acts of Kindness" honoring the memory of the 26 students and teachers who lost their lives at Sandy Hook Elementary school.  We set a goal of 2600 random acts of kindness to be carried out during the 26 days from 1/18-2/13. Random Acts of Kindness (RAK) performed by students and staff will be written on paper suns and hung in the cafeteria.  Today I was asked how get more community members involved and a better way to collect information.  I created a form using googl,  link here to view and posted on our school website to follow on twitter (#nashoba_rak). I am curious to see if this will take off!  

What better way to use technology for collaboration for a great cause!

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Learning and Planning for the New Year

Over the past few months I have been working with staff and students on a few new initiatives and have neglected to update my blog.

Here are some of the items we have been working on.

  • Chromebooks - We have implemented a Samsung Chromebook Cart and we are planning on two additional carts this month. Part of our decision for the expansion was due to the price, for only $249 you can access your Google Drive and the web through your Chrome browser. Given that we are a Google Apps for Education school and big users of Google Docs, Presentations, Forms and Spreadsheets, this unit fits our needs. Students can log on in a matter of minutes and the battery life is great. 
  • iPad for Special Education Pilot is going very well and we plan on expanding into our Life Skills classes. 
  •  BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) Pilot. I have been working with administration and a group of teachers over the last few months to visit schools that have implemented BYOD along with 1:1 initiatives. We plan on allowing certain classes to pilot using their own device later this month. Several teachers have registered their own device, mostly iPads on our network and have been using a variety of Apps with students. A few teachers are using the iPads with Reflections along with their SMARTBoard.

    Apps and Websites 
  • Apps -  Several teachers are trying out Socrative, which allows the teacher to create interactive quizzes which students answer can answer using their iPhone or any device with access to the web. Students can see immediately if they are right or wrong. You can also show a graph of the answers after students have responded and use that to spur discussion about the topic. 
  •  I attended a presentation last month by Luis Rodriguez from DESE, (Office of Digital Learning). He presented using Joinme which allowed us to connect to his presentation and follow on our devices. I plan on testing out Joinme and Nearpod this month. Nearpod allows the teacher to control what students see on their device. Teachers can upload any PDF file and Nearpod separates each page into a slide. Students sign into a "room" and the teacher takes control of the slides that each student sees. Nearpod also allows you to intersperse different types of interactive questions throughout the presentation to check for understanding. 
  • New Website - our district has updated all our website templates and I am working to refresh the content. - Our district updated our "Communications Policy" and we now have access to more social websites in school. I am thrilled to be able to access twitter to use professionally with teachers and students.