The Secret Door

The Secret Door is presented by Safestyle UK

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So What’s the Big Idea?

My final thoughts on NewSpaces4Learning:

Big Ideas:

  • It’s not all about technology!
  • That Pedagogy naturally leads to using technology tools.
  • Transforming how we teach makes us 21st Century Teachers
  • Not teacher lead, not student centered but Learing Centered
  • Twitter, LinkedIn, Blogs–can deliver almost all the Professional Development you will ever need!

Specific Insights:

  • I still have a long way to go–getting to the sweet spot in TPACK2
  • I am headed in the right direction
  • I want to lead my staff to transforming how they teach!
  • There is so much to learn!
  • I am energized by the challenge
  • I need more time in my day to spend in all my social media sites
  • That I closely align with the Tool Belt Theory
  • That  I need more collaborative time with my staff, and other media/tech specialists

Questions Raised:

  • Finding that balance in my life–to get to social media, fitness, putting down work and finding my hobbies again.
  • Perhaps my hobby is technology!  LOL!
  • The challenge ahead is how to move staff.  How do I get them to want tech PD?
  • I need to take a new approach to lesson planning–thanks for the new form
  • I need to post on a wall–the four negotiables–for students and me
  • When is the next PD class–I am ready!

Implication for Action:

  • Lesson Plan Makeovers for the summer!
  • Google PD–anywhere I can find it for increase in student collaboration
  • Continue to explore, play and reflect about technology and how to use it in the classroom
  • Spend time continuing to build my Twitter network

“If we teach today’s students as we taught yesterday’s, we rob them of tomorrow.” – John Dewey

 This quote is very meaniful still today!

Thank you Cary for an awesome class!  I have some others primed for the next round! 🙂

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Symbaloo Certified

When I take a class I like to pick one or two things to focus in on that I think might be good to institute at my school–so I picked Symbaloo. I first decided to use it myself and see if I liked it! I love it!

  • It saves me a lot of time–I have put all the websites that I go to all the time
  • I have all my web tools in one place
  • I have a place to put tools or websites that I want to revisit
  • It organizes me!

I have set up webmixes for:

  • School Websites–calendar, cowboy tube, school blog etc.
  • Tech Club–sites for them to explore
  • RSS Feeds for Education
  • RSS Feeds for the Library
  • Widgets
  • Web 2.0 Tools
  • Authors and Book Trailers–fun!  Always handy always ready!

I have taken the  symbaloo author webmixcertification class and I am now ready 2.0 symbalooto try it with students.  I want to run two pilots–I have hit a road block–email address–IT setting them up and permission slips.  Working thru this now.

I have spent a lot of time making my webmixes visually appealing–a little time-consuming but it will be worth it when I start to share out!

Time spent in symbaloo for this course:  8 hours

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The end of one class is the beginning of the next

Our final face to face meeting was on May 13th.  What a great day of learning and reflecting.

What stuck with me from that day–“Let it Rain” I like the Death Valley Blooms analogy to education.  It truly was a transformation!  And transformation is where I want to be heading–I want technology to transform my teaching.

We spent some time reviewing all the different matrix we talked about over the course of this class–which was a good review.

We had a guest designer–who was great!  She was from Canada and she has her 1st graders blogging–it was precious!  But what struck me the most was the use of social media with these elementary students.  When she asked for help on Twitter she had many responses–I felt the need to ask how many she followed and how many followed her—thousands!  That was inspiring.  Made my hundred + seem like nothing!  It is great to see an educator in action using 21st habits.

A couple of days after the class was over I went back to our agenda to look at the additional tools that Cary shared.  I have used Cool Tools for Schools before–great resource.  The two that I signed up for was Thing-A-Link–which looks like Pinterest and Screen Leap–which intrigues me that you can share your desktop with anyone. Still looking at the privacy settings with this web tool. I also signed up for Show Me What’s Wrong–thought I could share this with my mother-in-law—since she always asked me for help–but we are not speakng the same language–desktop, folders, icons–all meaningless words to her!

Work part of the day–I felt this was the part where it was hard to find my focus.  Kris and I spent some time just looking for websites on research and trends–a few good hits that I put in Diggo.  Kris and I spent a lot of time talking about research but did not upgrade a lesson.  I also picked Cary’s brain on research—I heard her tell me loud and clear to make sure I give up control.  What I decided to work on is making the research relevant and purposeful.  My focus for topics is going to be on 8th grade topics covered in 4th quarter.  I am going to collaborate with the 8th grade staff on getting topics they cover in 4th quarter and see if students can co-teach that topic with teacher or lead a discussion.  I am going to continue and refine my practice of students writing an Essential Question–that answers the question “why do I care about this topic” to make it relevant to them.

I really like the lesson plan and have adopted it to be my template for future lesson plans.

I need to find the final article listed in agenda that talked about practical ways to transform lesson plans.

I have printed out a couple of pages on the “T and P” of TPACK2 to help me as I write lesson plans.

Although I did not update a lesson formally–I am on my way to making some needed changes to research.



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Growing Professionally through Social Media

As always when I take a class I get really excited about everything I am learning–which is the good thing but the bad thing is sometimes I feel like I am not a master on any of them.  That I just have these pieces of superficial learning–so my goal this class was to apply some of what I am learning immediately and find one or two items that I can find depth in.  Social media and Symbaloo is what I have choose to focus on.  Symbaloo will be an upcoming post so stay tuned.

Twitter–now I dabbled in Twitter before–I had set it up, had twenty or so that I was following and another 20 that were following me (for whatever reason).  LInked-In–I had kept up with this tool since in the beginning it did not involve as much reading as it did networking–adding people to my network–all kinds of people!  Facebook–sorry my friends–social-social networking is a lower on my priority list but I have made the effort to get on at least once a week–to check things out (sometimes just too much drama there).

So back to Twitter–now that I use it on a regular basis I find that it is an invaluable resource for growing my network, finding and following experts in my field, and most importantly growing my professional development.  I am now following 111 people and have 113 followers.  I am not a huge tweeter–coming in at 244. But I am good at favoriting and sending email links of the Tweets to my non-Twitter colleagues.  I have also taken an interest in getting my husband into Twitter as a way for him to connect, educate and market the Freestore Foodbank.  Let me just tell you that he is Twitter Maniac!  I started him in Twitter in February and he has 1100 Tweets and 69 Following and 73 Followers–he even has Prez Ono following him–which as we know is addicted to Twitter. 

I also worked with a superb techy colleague James Z. to have a Lunch and Learn for WMS staff on Twitter.  We had about 80% of the staff attend and we got a few new Tweeters!  I set up a wiki for staff Tweeters to put their suggestions of ‘who to follow’. It also had directions how to set up their own account. We have Cary Harrod listed as an Educational and Tech Guru–perhaps that will get me extra credit points!!!  LOL   Here is the link: So as I take this class for my job it is not about just my learning–my role is to move WMS staff toward the center of TPACK2.  I do know that I have to be using and believing in what I want them to use–so my usage is very important.

I also like to follow some blogs–a few technology ones and a bunch of library ones–I have been using Google Reader as my aggregator but since it is going away this summer I have decided to follow fewer blogs and use symabaloo as my aggregator. I have gotten so many great ideas from blogs and twitter–it is just so hard to keep up!  I keep up my Reading Reiber Blog–where I write about the books I read–a place to keep all the information and to share (although reading YA books has definitely been cut back this semester by taking 5 credit hours of classes) 😦  Here is the link to that blog:  I have been working on changing the look–so that is under construction.

As an added thought about students and social media– at our Learn 21 Day with some high school students they said they are not using email and some them said facebook is on a rapid decline that they are using Texting, Chat Apps like Instragram and Kik and some are even using Twitter.  It seems like their social media is moving at the speed of light–snail mail now is email.

So these are my reflections on how this class has helped me to grow Professionally Through Social Media.  It is really hard to put a number of hours on part this part of the class–with using Twitter, preparing for Lunch & Learn, setting up the WMS Tweets Wiki, and blogging I am going to take a modest 7 hours.  I write this early on a beautiful Mother’s Day morning in sunny Cleveland, Ohio while my husband is sitting and tweeting next to me!


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What’s My Vyew?

Vyew was the virtual meeting space for this week–which was interesting!  If it worked seemslessly it would have been great.  But as with many tools sometimes you just have to work through it.  Cary always does such a great job working through the kinks.

This tool allowed  audio and text chat, use the white board by typing, writing, or post it notes.  I think it is a great collaborative tool.

Okay my vyew–on the content–I think Cary and our class is doing a great job pulling together 21st century habits.  First we talked about web tools–what our favorite tools are and how we are using them.  I think it is great that Jen and Jane are doing so much collaboration.  I think adding the global element is challenging–get a class that is a good match and working around the time issues.  It would probably work best with tools like voice thread, glogster etc.

Then we looked at Simple Books (which I need to explore) we looked what ressonates with me–I think that tool belt theory.  I think that through this class I have a better understanding of interconnection of content, pedagogy and technology.  I like the idea of talking about instructional strategies and then look at various tools to see what tool might be used.  Not to substitute a tech tool for an old way of doing something but looking to see if learning can be transformed using a tech tool.

I sometimes feel like I have a whole different take on what we are doing in this class–I see my role as moving our staff ( a whole group of people) in a direction toward the inter circles of TPACK2.  So as I reflect on this last class I have a great respect for Cary as she has moved an entire district in a postive way toward those inner circles.  This weeks class and preparations—2 hours.


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Creating a Lesson that is Learner Centered


The first thing I thought of when I reviewed this unit was WOW!  What great essential questions to explore! I wish I was taking this class!  I was wondering since the title is 6th Grade PLUS if this is a unit for a gifted group of students? I was a little overwhelmed when looking at the project in it’s entirety. I like all the high level thinking activities that are in this project and the technology used.

What I saw that supports the TECHNOLOGY & Pedagogy circless in TPACK2

  • students must have a lot of access to computers –perhaps a 1:1 environment.

  • using plot diagram and story map

  • finding digital resources–to allow them evaluate and analyze information–defining then compare and contrasting information to come up with their own definition of a memoir and finding good interview questions and examples of podcasts

  • brainstorming/crowdsourcing was done a couple of times–perhaps an online resource to collect all of these ideas

  • Reflections

  • Choice of many different tools that they could use to present their final product

  • Interdisciplinary approach

Since last weeks class and some further reading I think that looking at Pedagogy/Teaching Strategies was an important to design first and then fit technology tools that will transform learning.

  • Set the project up as a real world project–they have been hired to write a memoir of 2-3 generations of their family.  What would people like to read about?

  • After story map and plot diagram share essential question–perhaps turn some of the project over to the students–Problem Based Learning–perhaps create a Choice Board from their suggestions so that students can select something they are interested in.

  • Connect (they used this day in history) major events, inventions or famous people that influenced their lives

  • Have students activate what they already know about their family

  • Instead of many different projects perhaps focus on depth of one project

  • Use a tool that can collect all their information over time (I am not sure if Google Docs is the tool–not so familiar with it)  But a blog or wiki–where students can comment on others students work and give feedback

  • Create with students a Rubric to clearly define all the requirements

My thoughts kept coming back to how can we turn this learning over to the students and how  can we as educators become more of a facilitator/coach.  

One of the article I read said, “The characteristics of the 21st century classroom will be very different from those of in the classrooms of the past because the focus is on producing students who are highly productive, effective communicators, inventive thinkers and masters of technology.”   From the article:  Characteristics of a 21st Century Classroom

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Reflection from Twitter Post ….This Little Teacher Went to the App Store

From Tweet 4/23/13 From Steven W. Anderson

The blog post talks about teachers being all over the board in relation to technology–my reflection from my own school earlier this week!!

The question is posed:  How important is technology and when integrating technology what’s really important?

District implemented a 1:1 in some classrooms –although in our jobs we might think instructionaly technology is the most important feature–so did this schools IT people but they decided to look at and focus on Pedagogy–as they feel with the recent implementation of CCC–teachers have the content.  They found making the classroom more authentic using PBL instead of the teacher being in front of the room has made a huge difference.

The end result–“this change has led their technology  implementation rather than the technology taking the lead.”   This post supports the discussion we had in this week’s on TPACK2–and how instructional strategies naturally leads teachers to integrate technology.  It follows the activity that we did with Cary this week in class!

Spent 1 hour looking and tweeting.  Symbaloo–1 hour working on a webmix of authors and book trailers.

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Tonight’s class was held in Twaddle–I thought this was a great space!  It appears that as an attendee I could create my own white board and share as well as the mediator.  We had one class member who could not get on 😦

The Tool:

This tool allowed for natural conversations–which was nice but had to be careful not to talk over each other–could raise hand.

I love being able to collaborate all at the same time–typing.

I think this is a tool that I would be able to use in class with students or adult learners.

The Content:

Tonight we looked at breaking down the TPACK2 and the application of it.  We took the three circles from the Venn Diagram (Pedagogy, Content and Technology) and looked first at instructional practices–what does the group do now–we just listed as many as we could think of.  Then we thought about what technology tools we were using and how they might team up with a specific instructional practice (ie:  concept mapping–  Next we were asked to list some content.  Our instructor choose one and then we brainstormed what instructional practices could be used and then what tech tools might work.

It was a great exercise.  The final piece was to see did we move closer to the sweet spot in the center–were we truly integrating the tech and not substituting.   I still struggle with the global piece–this is an area for improvement for me.  In research this year–as a starter more for me than for students–I asked the students who might they contact who might be considered an expert on their topic.  I was able to move a few students forward–like the student who did Brain Cancer–he contacted a doctor at UC Hospitals Brain Center.  He asked what new treatments were available (need to work on the “expert” to make sure to talk in 8th grade terms.)  Another student did a report on Cedarpoint and because I told her it could not be a report about the rides–I made her research what economic impact Cedarpoint has on the community–and I asked her to contact the Chamber of Commerce.

It was tough for me to come up 150 experts–as the students were not quite skilled enough to figure this out on their own.  I think I will start keeping a master list of who students contact!

My Reflection for the night:

Sometimes I forget the P & T’s in TPACK–the instructional strategies–it was nice to get that list–I book marked it (and okay–printed it too).  Today we were forced to think purposefully about content, instructional practices and of course technology!  It was a great exercise.

Time:  1 hour F2F 30 minutes in reflection and checking out different things that were talked about.

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So Where Are We?

We met 4/18/13 for F2F class. It lasted about one and half hours.  Topic of discussion:  TPACK2, TIM and SAMR.  We talked about we thought the Venn Diagram represented and where we were on that diagram.  Interesting conversations.  But I love watching everyone in class moving forward–taking that next step on that continum.  What the great thing about this class–is that there is a desire to more forward and take technology to the next level–it is so exciting!!  This is what lifelong learning is all about.  I can’t wait to add more people to this group.  Now I need to go some thinking about how to move our staff forward.

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