Those who know me know that I am a little obsessed with QR (quick response) codes. You know those little boxes of rectangles and squares that are on almost everything now a days. They really are just about everywhere when you start looking.
Now I am from Sedalia and the biggest thing getting ready to start this Thursday is the Missouri State Fair. As I was taking routine drive through the fairgrounds to check on the progress of set-up, I suddenly noticed… QR codes. A sign is in front of the major buildings on the fairgrounds with a QR code boldly printed on it. Of course I whipped out my phone and scanned and was pleasantly surprised to see a page of historical information about the building. The fair has embraced a piece of technology and utilizing it to teach history by creating historic-walking-tours with QR codes. I love it.
This brought back the memory of a recent conference I attended where a group of teachers presented how they use QR codes in their classroom. Some of the things mentioned for their use were center directions, interactive bulletin boards, information to parents, and links to resources. With the combination of ideas from the conference and what the fair is doing, my mind hasn’t stopped thinking about how a school or classroom might utilize QR codes. I think about scavenger hunts, historic background, or even star student information.
So I would like even more ideas and possibilities. Please share with me how you have used or would like to use QR codes in your school or classroom?
Terri Brines is an eIS and Cognitive CoachingSM Trainer for the eMINTS National Center.
We have often talked about PLN (Personal Learning Networks) in the blog but I thought I might share a specific site that you may want to add to your PLN. It is the Teachers Engage site from Intel. This is a community of educators K-12 and the focus is transforming learning with the integration of technology. It is free to register and provides many helpful ideas and tools to use in the classroom.
There are discussion boards, webinars, unit plans, and various communities you can join to meet your particular interests and needs. The resources that are provided are excellent and there are so many of them.
I mentioned webinars, an example of one of the webinars you should attend is tonight, Aug. 7th at 6:00 Central time. Doug Caldwell, Debbie Perkins, and Julie Szaj, all eMINTS Instructional Specialist, will be presenting a webinar called The FUNdamentals of Learning. In this webinar, they “will present on websites that help teachers and students get, become, stay engaged. Focusing on middle school-aged resources, they will show tools and have participants brainstorm classroom uses with an emphasis on back to school planning.”
If you are interested in the Teachers Engage or just want to check out a webinar, come and join them tonight and see if maybe Teachers Engage is a site you might want to add to your PLN.
Terri Brines is an eIS and Cognitive CoachingSM Trainer for the eMINTS National Center.
I guess I am a bit behind in the game because I just realized you can access your Google Docs in Edmodo now. This new feature came about in March and allows you to Sync your Google Docs (Drive) with your Edmodo Library. That means you can share documents with your Edmodo groups and students can easily turn-in assignments completed via Google Docs.Find the instructions to do this at the Edomod Help site. FYI all users will need to link their Google Docs account with Edmodo before and sharing of docs with users or groups takes place.
Wondering how I heard about this new feature of Edmodo??? Maybe not but here’s the power of my PLN…
In the video Monica Beglau, Executive Director, and Doug Caldwell, eMINTS Instructional Specialist, share what makes eMINTS successful in both improving teacher effectiveness and raising student achievement. The keys to the success of the program lie in its continued professional development spread throughout the year being relevant to the teaching, connected to the learning, and supported by face-to-face coaching.
Doug Caldwell, the eIS featured in this profile video provides that support and more. The Instructional Specialist at eMINTS take on several roles in the eMINTS organization.
Doug Caldwell, eMINTS Instructional Specialist
Doug lives in Lynchburg, Missouri, (pop. 75). He has been with eMINTS for 12 years and has trained countless teachers. While working at the eMINTS National Center he wears many hats. Not only does he facilitate eMINTS Comprehensive Professional Development sessions he also visits teachers in their classrooms to help them implement what they are learning through coaching, consulting, and collaborating. Doug is a Senior Trainer for the Intel program, presents at local, state, and national conferences, supports district technology staff as part of the eMINTS4Techs program, provides custom PD including training for veteran eMINTS teachers, and serves on various committees. He does all this with his ever present easy going attitude and smile on his face.
Tell us about your connection with eMINTS. What eMINTS program/s have you participated in? Who is/was your eMINTS Facilitator? What eMINTS accomplishments are you most proud of? And if you haven’t had the opportunity yet to become part of our eMINTS “family”, what might be the most appealing part to you?
The eMINTS National Center is a non-for profit organization that has provided comprehensive research-based professional development services to educators since 1999.
On July 25, the Edutopia’s Schools That Work profiles the eMINTS program as it has been implemented in the Hartville R-II School District located in Hartville, MO. The Hartville School District has implemented the eMINTS program at multiple grade levels from elementary through high school over the past seven years. The district was selected by Edutopia not only for its high levels of performance on standardized assessments but also for its strong showing on other measures of student performance such as graduation rate, number of students completing advanced courses, and career education placements.
Edutopia, sponsored by the George Lucas Foundation, is a digital treasure trove of resources, ideas, and communication opportunities for educators, parents, and others who are interested in improving the K-12 learning process. Edutopiahighlights evidence-based strategies that prepare students to thrive in their future education, careers, and adult lives.
Edutopia film crews visited the eMINTS National Center offices and the Hartville School District in April to capture footage about the eMINTS professional development programs and how they were implemented in Hartville. The crew interviewed program leaders, Monica Beglau and Lorie Kaplan, about the ways that eMINTS helps teachers learn how to integrate technology into classrooms so that learning can be transformed.
The interviews provide insight into how eMINTS professional development is one of the few programs that has lasting positive impacts on how teachers teach. The crew travelled to Hartville to film an eMINTS professional development session and then followed teachers into their classrooms to observe how the professional development changed their practice.
In addition to the feature video, eMINTS has shared program resources that teachers can use in their classrooms to integrate technology in more effective ways.
eMINTS is excited to announce the next round of the Cognitive CoachingSM Foundations Seminar to take place in St. Louis, MO beginning in September 2012.
The 8-day professional development series is tailored to anyone that wants to encourage self-directedness of others. Participants will learn strategies and techniques to increase others’ thinking potential and mediate thinking when working with someone who is planning, reflecting or struggling with a problem.
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The seminar is split into four 2-day sessions lasting from 8:30am-4:00pm each day.
September 26 & 27, 2012
October 24 & 25, 2012
November 28 & 29, 2012
January 16 & 17, 2013
Cognitive CoachingSM – a research-based model – encourages the process of decision-making to achieve goals through metacognition. The seminar will be facilitated by Brooke Higgins, Carmen Marty, and Terri Brines, certified Agency Trainers of Cognitive Coaching.
Sometimes, we have to apply our knowledge and skills to something that has never been done before. Consider NASA’s Curiosity mission to Mars. The final descent to Mars is affectionately referred to as “Seven Minutes of Terror.” The video below demonstrates this point.
For NASA scientists, they were presented the problem of the unknown. In order to land Curiosity safely, they had to depend on their knowledge and training as applied in a theoretical context.
Think about the kind of tasks we ask our students to complete when applying knowledge. Do we ask them to attempt the unknown? Do we ever challenge them with tasks that are unsafe or untried? Or do we simply ask them to repeat back the content we’ve presented to them in lectures, readings, and research projects?
Rarely do we have problems in our real lives that resemble the problems we solved in school. So, why not design authentic tasks that challenge students to apply the content to new scenarios beyond their limited scope?
I am not suggesting the impossible. To engage students and really push their learning, sometimes we have to ask them to do something they have never tried, maybe even something no one has ever tried.
So, while you reflect on last year’s students and prep for next year’s group, consider the impossible and the never-been-done. Dream of ways in which your students can stretch their learning to new and unimaginable contexts. The results might be as exciting as ”Seven Minutes of Terror” or at least feature the kind of engagement and authentic learning we strive for in our students.
A few eMINTS instructional specialists were able to test out Google’s new “Hangout” feature in Google+ yesterday. The primary intent was to share some facilitation ideas and resources while exploring the possibilities Hangouts offer. Eventually, we would like to invite anyone connected to eMINTS to join us, but yesterday was just a trial run.
What we found is that Google Hangout is an ideal platform for conversation and collaboration. The interface made it easy for our small group of three to speak “face-to-face”, chat, and contribute to a shared Google Document. We also could have recorded the meeting using the broadcast feature but opted not to this time around.
In the future, there is a plan to focus each Google Hangout on a particular topic. Additionally, expect a recording of the meeting to be posted here just in case you can’t make it. Also be on the lookout for the shared document sure to hold many useful ideas and resources. This week’s document will be displayed below.
Next week’s Hangout will focus on how eMINTS facilitators will apply lessons learned from the Center for Adaptive Schools to our professional development program. There will also be time for participants in the Hangout to share online tools they have recently discovered. A video and Hangouts notes will be shared here on either Thursday or Friday.
Would you be interested in joining our Google Hangouts in the future? Add me to your circles on G+ and I’ll add you to the “eMINTS” circle. The tentative plan is to meet every Wednesday at noon, but we are open to suggestions. If there is enough interest beyond the nine-person limit Google offers, we’ll expand to multiple Hangouts.
Again, let me know that you’re interested and we’ll Hangout!
Zac Early is an instructional specialist and blogger with the eMINTS National Center.
Maybe the biggest benefit of the Web is the fact that conversations are happening everywhere about almost any topic. The eMINTS community is no different. We have many opportunities for conversation within our many web-based outlets.
This blog is one of those outlets. Commenting or submitting your own blog posts makes Networked Teaching & Learning a perfect location for finding new ideas and resources as well as interacting with others in the eMINTS community. Even if you don’t submit a post or comment, NT&L offers teachers a variety of teaching ideas, online resources, and updates from the eMINTS National Center.
Like many of you, eMINTS has a presence on Facebook. Facebook has made it easier and easier to connect personally and professionally with various networks of people. eMINTS meets you there with a Facebook Page and Group. Both spaces keep you updated as well as allow you to connect to other educators in the eMINTS network.
For those who prefer the professional connections of LinkedIn, eMINTS has you covered there as well. Join the eMINTS Group at LinkedIn as a way to make connections with like-minded educators in a completely professional network.
Two other places to follow eMINTS-related discussions are on Twitter and Tumblr. My Twitter account mostly shares links from this blog, but I will occasionally engage conversations under #edtech and #edchat hashtags. If you’re a Tumblr user, be sure to follow the posts at the eMINTS Tumblr, primarily set up to share resources.
Finally, I will beginning to host Google Hangouts in an attempt to find new and exciting web applications for classroom use. If you are interested in participating in these Hangouts, add me to your G+ circle and message me about inclusion in the Hangout. Even if the Hangout fills up (there’s a limit of nine participants), it’s an opportunity to chat with other eMINTS educators, possibly setting up your own Hangouts.
Zac Early is an instructional specialist and blogger for the eMINTS National Center.
Grappling’s Learning and Technology Spectrum is an important point of reference for eMINTS. We use the spectrum to help teachers determine how they are using technology with their students, providing depth and context to the “Powered by Technology” component of our instructional model.
While Grappling’s Spectrum does not necessarily provide a hierarchy of technology use, we do encourage teachers to push their technology use toward the “Transforming Uses” so as to make said technology use more purposeful. This can be hard to do, but breaking down a simple lesson for its key components can help us see that metamorphosis from literacy to adapting to transforming levels.
For example, let’s say a teacher is assigning a book report to be completed in PowerPoint form. To prepare the students to use the software, the teacher uses direct instruction to help the class build a generic PowerPoint presentation. Once the students know how to use PowerPoint, they can then apply it to their book report. This use of direct instruction hits the “Literacy Uses” level of the spectrum and the use of that software to complete a somewhat traditional book report falls under “Adapting Uses.” Teaching students how to use software is an important step in insuring their success.
To advance this use of the software to the next level, a slight shift can happen incorporating a constructivist approach. The teacher could simply assign the book report to be completed with PowerPoint, allowing students to learn the program through their creation of the final product instead of teaching the skills separately. There is nothing new about a book report except that students are using a new(ish) technology to complete an old task. Still, it’s important for students to apply traditional tasks in non-traditional modes.
How do we make this a transformative project? The teacher could ask students to crowd- source their presentation through social networks. Interaction through blogging, discussion boards, or Twitter might provide discussion and insight into their book report. Students could use these discussions in piecing together their book reports or even share their presentation online using Google Docs or Office Live. The online, real-world interactions transform the traditional book report into a conversation that reaches beyond the student’s insular interpretations.
The PowerPoint book report was simply moved from literacy to adaptive to transforming uses with slight shifts in approach. Instead of teaching software skills separately from the academic task, the two were combined to adapt a traditional activity. Then, that traditional activity was revised again to include online, interactive components, increasing the complexity of the original project.
Other examples of shifting the technology levels of typical lessons may include…
How to use Skype or G+Hangouts to communicate
Use Skype/G+Hangout to demonstrate and share results from an experiment
Use Skype/G+ Hangout to collaborate the planning and implementation of an experiment, responding and revising each other’s process
How to use Google Sketchup
Use Google Sketchup to design a structure using common geometric shapes
Use Google Sketchup to design a structure using common geometric shapes; share drawings on a blog, inviting submissions for revisions and improvements from architects
How to use an online timeline generator
Use an online timeline generator to retell the major events of the Civil War
Collaborate on a timeline with a school from the opposite side of the Mason-Dixon line to create site-specific timelines that show both sides of the Civil War
Of course, this is a limited list of activities to adjust for the various levels of Grappling’s model. Simply, direct instruction on how to use technology fits the literacy uses level. Learning that same skill by applying it to a typical activity meets the adapting uses level. Finding ways to make that same activity interactive with audiences beyond the classroom can convert this activity to one that applies to the transforming uses level of the spectrum.
Not every use of technology has to be revised to meet the transforming uses level of Grappling’s spectrum. In fact, there are reasons for using technology at all levels. However, as shown above, it is easy to adjust an activity to transform how students use technology to support their learning.
How do you use technology in all levels of Grappling’s spectrum? How have you revised an activity to meet the transforming use level? What kinds of activities best lend themselves to the transforming uses level?
Zac Early is an instructional specialist and blogger for the eMINTS National Center.