Thursday, February 28, 2013

Monthly Tech Integration Idea: February 2013 - "Resource Catchers"

Hop on over to my blog to get your very own "resource catchers" that are aligned to Bloom's Taxonomy!  These provide a great way to provide students with choice in their learning as well as integrating technology.

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Making Your Files Work for You - Cloud Storage

Let's face it, we are all busy people.  Our schedules sometimes vary from day to day, our workload isn't confined to a 7:00am-3:00pm day, and our access to technology resources sometimes varies depending on our location.  As a result of this busy life of an educator, we often have digital resources saved in different locations and have different kinds of file types.  As part of a service provided to Godfrey-Lee Public School employees, all employees have access to their files saved on the district's network through Stoneware (also known as "RebelNet" in the district).  One of the great features of RebelNet is that it provides anytime, anywhere access to network files from any device.  Although this is a fantastic feature, in working and talking with some teachers, they find that they would sometimes like a little more flexibility in access to their files.  Sometimes Google Drive provides the necessary functionality, but other times a different option is still needed.

This is where Dropbox enters the conversation.  Dropbox provides a way to sync files across multiple devices.  The great thing about Dropbox is that users can easily manipulate files, edit, and have real-time access to all files saved to Dropbox.  By simply creating a Dropbox account, users are not only provided to online access to files, but have the ability to download the Dropbox application to their device to have even easier access to their files (allowing users to open files in windows similar to their "My Files" on Windows devices or "Finder" on a Mac).  The video below further describes how Dropbox works.

As a Technology Integration Specialist, I utilize many different tools.  I use RebelNet to store some files, I use Google Drive heavily for others, but I also frequently utilize Dropbox.  I have had people ask me how I utilize these tools, and I thought I would share a bit how I put these tools to work for me.

  • I am <ridiculously> over-connected.  I have 3 computers I use (2 for work - 1 Mac, 1 PC; 1 for home - Mac), an iPad, and a smart phone.  I use all of these devices almost daily, but use all of them differently.
  • Why I Like/Use RebelNet
    • Ties many resources into one common location
    • Stores my passwords to several web resources utilized by the district
    • Provides secure access to district files and resources
  • Why I Like/Use Google Drive
    • Allows me to share files easily with others
    • Can collaborate with others to create files
    • Allows me to create files and easily share and embed them in other places so that others can easily view them without having to have a specific program
  • Why I Like/Use Dropbox
    • It syncs all across all 5 of my devices
    • I can access it online as well as my devices
    • Very user-friendly
    • Easy to transfer large files - I sometimes take pictures and edit them on my personal computer, put them in Dropbox so then I can access them when at work.
Regardless of which tool you use (even if it is something other than one of these), the important part is that it is something that works for you.  Just because everyone else is using something, doesn't mean that same tool will be the best fit for you.  So, feel free to try different tools until you find the one that best suits your needs!

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Google Forms in the Classroom (& Flubaroo)

Hop on over to my blog to read more about how you can utilize Google Forms for assessments in your class in conjunction with Flubaroo for some awesome self-grading capabilities.


Monday, February 11, 2013

Getting to Know Discovery Education

Many of you have been taking time to familiarize yourselves with Discovery Education. If you are having trouble getting started check out some of the video tutorials provided by Discovery Education that walk you through the process of managing your classes and students. These tutorials are located inside of the Teacher Tools section under steps 1 & 3. Click on the Overview Tutorials link to see what they have to offer.

Another helpful resource provided by Discovery Education is the Help Guides page which gives step by step visuals of assignment creation and management. This page is different from the Help & Guides section that provides some helpful quick start videos and more basic navigation tools of Discovery Education.

You can also follow Discovery Education on Twitter @DiscoveryEd or follow their customer support team @DESupportStars for a more instant stream of information from Discovery Education.

As always, if you can't find the answer you are looking for through the website, I am always available to help you work through any problems you may be having.  Any feedback you have is welcomed. 

Rebel U {Virtual Edition}: Evaluation Data

This a post in a series about Rebel U {Virtual Edition} 2013.
At the end of each district-wide professional development day that our Tech & Media Team organizes, we ask all participants to complete an online evaluation.  We understand that sometimes it is difficult for people to complete at the end of day that has been packed with learning and sharing, but the results are extremely important to us as we reflect on our planning, implementation, and future professional development opportunities.  We try to ask questions that help participants reflect on their learning throughout the day as well as how their experience connects with their personal/grade level/content area/school goals.  Our team strives to help build an environment where technology is integrated seamlessly and that it is not something "extra" that teachers need to take on.  In addition to this approach to seamless integration, we try to align our professional development opportunities to the GLPS Teacher Evaluation Framework to help teachers identify ways that technology can be incorporated into their teaching and professional practice.

Some of the questions we asked teachers on the Rebel U {Virtual Edition} 2013 survey are listed below as well as charts representing the data collected.

To view a further breakdown of evaluation data by building, see the links below.

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Digital Learning Day 2013 #DLDay

Digital Learning Day 2013 will take place tomorrow, February 6, 2013.  So, what is Digital Learning Day you might ask?  In a nutshell, Digital Learning Day is a day that celebrates the use of technology by students and educators.  For more information and resources about this day, please visit the Digital Learning Day website.

GLPS Digital Learning Day Teacher Challenge
At Rebel U {Virtual Edition}, all GLPS teachers had the opportunity to create a website.  We hope that this day provided teachers with the tools to get started with a website or the time to further developing an existing site.  Now, we would like to celebrate the work you have done in establishing your site and making it a place for communication, collaboration, and learning.

We encourage you to share a link below to something you have created or posted on your website.  This could be a link to a blog post, reference tools for students, highlights of student work, documentation of something in your classroom, or anything else that you have integrated into your teacher website!  No contribution to this online celebration is too small - all accomplishments are great accomplishments!

Or, if you are interested in following the discussion on Twitter, check out the DLDay2013 feed here.


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