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November 5, 2011

05 Nov

Blog for November 15, 2011

I’ve been referring to TPACK over the last few blog entries.  There is a school division in Saskatchewan that has done a lot of work in this very area.  They have taken the outcomes for all the core classes and offered various tech related tools to assist in meeting those outcomes.  Thanks to Ken from Champion, he pointed out this site to me – http://blogs.gssd.ca/mmorley/ (Good Spirit School Division).  When you get to this page, check along the top for the menu providing the link to the grade level you’re interested in.  Michelle Morley has provided the teachers which a valuable resource that would be my exemplar for demonstrating the role that TPACK can play for all teachers.  This is something that I would love to provide Palliser and all Alberta teachers with – all the outcomes matched with the various web tools and proprietary programs to assist in the attainment of the said outcomes.

I mentioned how we were trying to use the iPad Bridgit app to allow a legally blind student to view the teacher’s SMART board.  Well, we have everything working now.  Turns out our server that is hosting our Bridgit software wasn’t updating itself.  As a result we were two versions old which is what prevented my iPad from connecting.  Once the upgrade was completed, the app worked very smoothly.  We were able to share the teacher’s desktop and the student was able to take control via the iPad and manipulate the objects that were displayed on the
notebook document.  From what I’ve told, the Bridgit app is only for the iPad.  I’m sure it won’t take long before the Bridgit app will be available for the other tablets.  For now, Apple has the advantage!

I referred to the SimpleK12 Unconference site in a previous entry.  I have found this site to be a great PD site.  There is a cost associated with the registration – but in my eyes, it’s worth every penny.  I’ve taken part in numerous webinars, which if you can’t take part live, they are archived for later viewing.  The site also shares a huge library of resources which I hope to share more with you in future entries.  The webinars I mentioned previously are sometimes opened up to non-members.  I’ll try to provide some of these upcoming sessions so that you can view and judge for yourself if there is any value in these for you.

Khanacademy – I’m sure most of you have heard and possibly even made use of this site.  This is a “not-for-profit with the goal of changing education for the better by providing a free world-class education to
anyone anywhere.”  It started out as a site where Salmon Khan created a bunch of short videos explaining a wide range of math concepts.  Since 2006, the site has evolved into a very valuable resource.  Besides providing a full range of math concepts (elementary to high school), it now provides a great video library of high science concepts.  Now, the Khanacademy site offers yet another dimension which I’m sure is going to be of great use in the future.  Students can now register and their teacher can register as a coach!  The teacher is
then able to monitor the students’ progress on the site.  The Khanacademy site offers a well laid out learning table which guides the students along as they progress from one topic to the next.  As one teacher shared with
me, this could be that one tool that could provide the students who are very strong in math, the opportunity to push themselves in a self-guided, self-paced approach.  And best of all, it’s available anywhere – anytime!!

In my travels and visits to the various schools in the district, I have seen and heard of various teachers using backchannel sites during their classes.  One teacher used the backchannel while viewing videos.  The students would be watching a video and when something happened that they were not sure about, they could ask for clarification.  Through the backchannel, these inquiries were carried out which allowed the video to be played without having to stop it.  I just came across this backchannel tool – it has to be one of the easiest to use.  You simply log into http://simplemeet.me/#  and share the four digit number for the channel generated.  There is no limit to the number of participants who can join and at the end of the session, you can have the entire log emailed to yourself for use at a later date!

Check out the following link about nine uses for backchanneling in the classroom – http://derekbruff.com/teachingwithcrs/?p=472.  The uses include:

  • Notetaking
  • Sharing Resources
  • Commenting
  • Amplifying
  • Asking Questions
  • Helping One Another
  • Offering Suggestions
  • Building Community
  • Opening the Classroom

iPad sites:

I’ll leave this weeks blog entry which a link which outlines 44 benefits for collaborative learning.  This is truly one of the cornerstones in the 21st century classroom.  Collaboration is a practice that every teacher should be incorporating in the classroom and the very nature of the Web Tool 2.0 environment is that of collaboration.
Check out this link and see what you think – http://www.gdrc.org/kmgmt/c-learn/44.html.

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