Monthly Archives: July 2013

Do you ever find yourself spinning your wheels…..

After returning from ISTE in June, my brain has been flowing with new ideas/resources that I want to investigate.  I go away for the summer to a more simple life in Vermont because of my husband’s business.  Unlike the city where I can drive to any store in less than 15 minutes (and spend way too much money), the rural mountain life forces me to slow down, spend time outdoors with my two little boys and “hopefully” forget about the stresses of the school year.  I have found myself getting lost on my iPhone a lot this summer, more than others.  This is primarily due to Twitter.

Here’s why Twitter is a bad thing for me:  I find myself getting caught up in the posts  and blog links for over an hour (multiple times a day) until my kids start fighting/break something or my husband yells at me to be more interactive or I stay up WAY PAST my “bedtime” :).  I felt like this with Facebook a year ago but it was different because my mind was lost in petty things like pictures of my friend’s kids or their vacations or whatever…..I don’t like the feelings that unearth when I saw the posts that seemed so egocentric.  The difference with Twitter is that I have made it primarily a PD tool, inspiring me to be a better educator and do greater things.  The bad thing is that I start getting overwhelmed and anxious that my summer is going to end and I won’t be able to get all of the things that I originally set goals to complete.

Here’s why Twitter is an AMAZING thing:  The educators that I have connected with just in these past few months on Twitter have been incredible.  I have been inspired to start this blog, participate in Google Hangouts, sit in on chats via Twitter and collaborate with individuals who are doing similar things in their classroom.

Here’s why I titled my post “Do you ever find yourself spinning your wheels?”.  I have spent a good portion of July investigating sites like Sophia, Haiku, Edmodo, Evernote, 3ring, Live binders to establish a better management platform to organize my flipped videos and other sources of media (pdf’s and word docs).  Last year I had my students go to screencast.com to watch a video because of the embedded quiz function and auto grading that would not work on YouTube.  I really want the ability to have everything available for my students in one place (with some links to other resources).  TURNS OUT I HAVE BEEN SPINNING MY WHEELS!!!  My school’s website got a make-over and I was one of the few that got to test it out early.

Here is a picture of my new dashboard.  Includes links, downloads, news, announcements, RSS feeds, Video/Picture/Audio and Remind 101 widget

Here is a picture of my new dashboard. Includes links, downloads, news, announcements, RSS feeds, Video/Picture/Audio and a Remind 101 widget.     NOTE:  Whole page is not shown.

I’ve been spending a lot of time investigating other sites and now (July 30th) I am going back to my original school website!  SPINNING WHEELS?? This is the way I need to go the upcoming year.  I am able to combine everything that I want to work with (links, downloads, video, media, widgets, RSS fees, etc.) and combine into one main page.  There are tabs on top for assignments, gradebooks, calendar, grading, dropbox, roster.  One of the neat things I am excited for this year is the topics tab which I am planning on having as an online lesson planner (yet another way I can eventually go paperless!).  Here’s a picture:

I haven't filled in all of the information yet but you can see how each topic is a chapter and will include various for forms of media.

I haven’t filled in all of the information yet but you can see how each topic is a chapter and will include various forms of media.

This picture shows you a specific  topic.  As you can see, I have added my flipped video lessons (that include the embedded quizzes), assignments and laboratory exercises.

This picture shows you a specific topic. As you can see, I have added my flipped video lessons (that include the embedded quizzes from a screencast.com embedded code), assignments and laboratory exercises.  There is also space for discussion.

I am excited that this popped up on me.  Our old version was not organizing my videos in a unit.  I had to just provide the links.  I am liking the aesthetics of the topic folders.  Some of you may be thinking, great but my school doesn’t have that.  I have found that Sophia and Edmodo were organized in similar fashions where I could group a topic together with various sources of media.

So now that I have conquered this hurdle, I can now move on to what I wanted to do this summer which was to tweek my Fall videos (via Camtasia) and prepare a flipped video presentation for August.  I am slowing getting back into that but there are also other apps and projects I am wanting to integrate this school year.  I’m looking into incorporating The Answer Pad app into my assessments, Ask3 by Techsmith for classroom sharing and review utilizing video, Aurasma for augmented reality projects, Doceri for screen sharing and collaborative screen work, and CargoBot for a club which is a fun way to learn programming.  I am still planning on placing a lot of my paperwork/lesson plans on Evernote, starting a Remind 101 class texting group and updating my blog with the happenings of my class.

That’s all for now!  I hope I can provide insight and ideas as the school year progresses!

Thanks for reading, Ashlie

Advertisements

My first post: Reflections and what lies ahead…

I feel like I have been sucked into an edu-tech tornado….

It all started a few months back when I casually mentioned to a colleague, Erin Klein (@kleinerin), how I wasn’t satisfied and needed more with my career but didn’t know what.  I was half way through the year of  “flipping” my classroom lectures but felt that something was missing.  She introduced me to Twitter and quickly my PLN and ideas for the future took off.

As I sit here and reflect on the amazing people I have met, friendships I have created and projects I now am looking forward to implementing into my classroom, I can’t help but wonder, “why was I in the dark for so long?” and “why aren’t more of my colleagues taking advantage of this other world of teaching?”

Ashlie and Erin at the Renaissance Center in Detroit.

Ashlie and Erin at the Renaissance Center in Detroit.

My journey started this past March when I attended the Michigan Computer Users in Learning (MACUL) conference held in Detroit, MI.  I basically “shadowed” Erin because I had no idea what I was doing, which sessions I should choose and didn’t know a soul.  Luckily, I was blessed with the gift of gab because I quickly made friends and figured out which session fit me.  I attended a gadget workshop and a Web 2.0 workshop both presented by Leslie FisherRedesigning Schools with Flipped Learning presented by Brian BennettThe Epic Evernote Experiment with Nick Provenzano, Adam Bellow’s favorite apps and a social media session held by Erin Klein.  I was also privileged to listen and be inspired by Kevin Hunnicutt, Adam Bellow and Steve Dembo’s keynote addresses.  Each one of them had a message I needed to hear.  They definitely got the wheels turning in my head.

The connections that I made during the MACUL conference were unlike most first-time attendees;  David Prindle (@dprindle), Gwyneth Jones (@thedaringlibrarian), Ben Rimes (@techsavveyed), Jennifer Bond (@teambond), Adam Bellow (@adambellow) and Nick Provenzano (@thenerdyteacher) were some of the people that I developed a great connection and friendship.

Dinner with Jennifer Bond, Erin Klein, Nick Provenzano, Adam Bellow

Dinner with Jennifer Bond, Erin Klein, Nick Provenzano, Adam Bellow among others.

Christine Garland (@CAGarland) in particular got me totally “geeked” about implementing Remind101 (a safe way for teachers to text message their students and stay in touch with parents) into my course this Fall.

Remind 101 guys, Todd Nesloney (@techninjatodd) and Amber Teamann (@8Amber8)

Remind 101 guys including Christine, Todd Nesloney and Amber Teamann (Photo actually taken at ISTE)

After the whirwind of MACUL, I couldn’t relax my brain, I needed more.  Hence, my “off the wall” request to observe Nick Provenzano’s 9th and 10th grade English class at Grosse Pointe High School in Grosse Point , MI.  Now, I teach 8th grade physical science so you are probably wondering why I would want to observe his class.  Nick has been doing some incredible things in his classroom including the implementation of Evernote as a tool to change his traditional English classroom into a 1:1 iPad, paperless, environment.  AMAZING, I thought!  I needed to learn more and how to apply it to a science classroom where my students draw pictures of experiments and diagrams.  How could I use this program to help me go virtually paperless?Nick Provenzano classroom

Have you ever heard of a paperless English classroom?  Nick’s 9th and 10th graders come right in, grab their assigned iPad and sign into Evernote to begin class.  If they want to brainstorm or prefer to write that day, Nick’s desks are covered in Idea Paint, which is this amazing product that you can paint anywhere to create a white erase board.  Nick’s students use it to jot down ideas and notes then take a picture with their iPads to place into their Evernote e-portfolio.Nick Provenzano classroom 2

This got me thinking, and although I will not have access to a classroom set of iPads everyday, it’s in the back of my head.  I definitely am using Evernote now to organize everything from faculty meeting notes, to my lesson plans, to my assignments.  I plan on keeping them in organized folders in my Evernote account.  And the great thing is, I can access them from any device!

You can imagine how I felt when I returned from Nick’s class that day.  So many ideas, again brain was bursting (and just a side note, all of the above happened over my 2-week spring break!!!).  I immediately returned to school and began writing a grant to attend the ISTE 2013 conference held in San Antonio, TX this past June.  Needless to say, I won the grant that sent me to ISTE!

ISTE was unlike anything I have ever experienced.  While I attended some amazing keynotes (Jane McGonigal on Gaming) virtually (Adam Bellow’s “You’re Invited to Change the World”), workshops (Nick Provenzano’s Evernote), sessions (Bellow and Dembo’s Untangling the Web and Alan November’s) and Ignite Sessions (Erin Klein/Jennifer Bond), nothing compares to the “out-of-session” connections I made with other ed-tech junkies!!  I think this is one of the main reasons to attend these conferences!

Ignite session with Amber Teamann (@8Amber8), Kyle Pace (@kylepace), Steven Anderson (@web20classroom), Ryan Vanden Heuval (@techsavvyclass), Brad Waid @techbradwaid), Drew Minock (@techminock)

Ignite session with Amber Teamann, Matt Gomez, Kyle Pace, Nick Provenzano, Steven Anderson, Ryan Vanden Heuvel, Brad Waid , Drew Minock ISTE friends Matt Gomez (@mattBgomez), Joan Young (@flourishingkids), Angela Watson (@Angela_Watson)

Ignite session with Matt Gomez, Joan Young, Angela Watson 

The bloggers cafe was a happening place to be.   Two Guys and Some iPads (Brad Waid @techbradwaid and Drew Minock @techminock) practically camped out there talking non-stop about how augmented reality is a game-changer in education (and I agree!!).  They had tons of people stopping by to see real Aurasma and DAQRI demos.  Andrew Vanden Heuvel (@avheuv)/Google Glass Guy/STEMbite was there explaining how he uses glass to virtually teach SCIENCE!! Way cool! You can guarantee we are Skyping this up-coming school year.  Check out his youtube channel.

Here me wearing Andrew's Google Glass.

Here’s me wearing Andrew’s Google Glass.

Todd Nesloney (@techninjatodd) and I spent a lot of time together discussing how we flipped our classroom this past year.  He has done some amazing things with his 5th graders and has gotten me excited about exploring SOPHIA.org as a means to organize my videos and upload various other media.  I’ll leave a flipping discussion and what I discover about Sophia to another blog post.  Drew Minock and I also spent a lot of time discussing an ipad app called Cargo Bot where students can learn programing!  This is something I will be implementing as a club this upcoming school year.  I’ll let you know how it goes!

I ended up spending quite a bit of time in the Expo Hall, not to browse all of the vendors and collect all of that free junk, but to get one-on-one time at the Edmodo booth so that I could learn all about their platform and figure out if this is something I want to implement in an 8th grade classroom.  Turns out I ended up winning $100 in Edmodo money to use in their “store” to buy apps!  The other booth that I spent a lot of time at was Techsmith.  Now, I have a little place in my heart for Techsmith, #1 because they are from MI and #2 I fully immersed myself in Camtasia (their video editing software) this year.  I also presented an “off-the-cuff” session about flipping and Camtasia at EdCamp Detroit with Dave McCollom (Techsmith guru).  I consider myself an honorary Techsmith cheerleader 🙂 I learned some new animation tricks courtesy Ryan Eash and did a Google Hangout with the guys back in MI from TX to get more information on their product called Ask3 (which I am also looking to implement this year).

ISTE Social w/ Jennifer Bond

ISTE Social w/ Jennifer Bond, Drew Minock, Brad Waid, Kyle Pace, Nick Provenzano, Erin Klein, Joan Young

Erin Klein, Tom Whitby and Adam Bellow

Erin Klein, Tom Whitby and Adam Bellow

I could go on and on about ISTE but recognize how long MY FIRST POST is! Like I said, it’s been a whirlwind!  I’m up for it though, I was in a rut for the past couple of years.  I feel like I have been revived!  There is so much out there to make your classroom the best it can be.  Erin Klein said it best in her ISTE Ignite presentation, “Would you want to be a student in your classroom?”.  I really think I would.  I’ve flipped my lectures (an ongoing project) and plan on implementing some pretty cool things into my curriculum this year that I have picked up on from some inspiring people.  Stay with me now, my posts won’t be as long in the future (I promise)!  I also promise to give you a taste of what it is like to be a student in my classroom!  Your comments are welcome!  I hope to learn from you as much as I hope you may learn from me!

Thanks for reading! -Ashlie