Tag Archive: collaboration

Oct 21

Course 5-Post 3: iPads in the Elementary

On Friday, October 5, 2012, our school held an entire day dedicated to thoughtful integration of IT with the curriculum.

21st Century Learning Day
Tim Pettine, our IT Director, started off the event sharing Dr. Reuben Puentera’s work and the SAMR model to the entire faculty.
21st c day schedule
Teaming up with Dainty, our Information Technology coach for the elementary division, we planned and delivered our first PD for the elementary staff.

While uploading the presentation to Slideshare, the website recommended the following presentation. Not only did we gain an additional iPad resource when sharing online, but also we gained over 100 views!

In our Mac Lab, we just had the IT technicians set-up the lab space for wireless connectivity. As a result, our staff was also able to try-out the web-based iPad apps.

21st Century Learning Day
Learning together on the iPads.
Teachers and staff did well learning and exploring with the iPads during our short introductory session.
ES iPads #1

Small steps forward using technology are ok. I appreciate Benjamin Sheridan sharing his thoughts on how iPads can be used to improve a lesson. Here in the photos is one teacher trying out using the iPad with a small group of students soon after the workshop.
iPad in the first grade
Teachers are excited to utilize a new tool in the classroom. As the rest of the building becomes wired for wifi, upgrades in the infrastructure are being done to support the use of iPads+ in the classroom.

At the end of the workshop, we asked for names of teachers who were willing to serve on the iPad committee to help make shared-decisions on how best to facilitate the learning and manage the iPad roll-out. After our initial workshop, we have 22 iPads available for use in the ES and an initial four people on the iPad committee to help decide what will best meet the teacher and student needs.

Permanent link to this article: http://www.coetail.com/dimanishi/2012/10/21/course-5-post-3-ipads-in-the-elementary/

Oct 23

Cross-curricular Connecting and Collaborating


For this final project, I feel fortunate to have been able to collaborate with Carl (art teacher) and Naho (counselor).  The process of creating the unit combining art, guidance and Japanese was an exciting time.  Working in the elementary program where students run through a 6-day cycle to include the many “specials” such as PE, music, library, art, guidance and Japanese, this cross curricular project allows students to interpret and apply their learning in a broader sense.

The cross-curricular approach is a win-win situation.  The students can increase their exposure time to the topic of emotions, approach emotions from different angles and make greater connections, and hopefully deepen their overall understanding.  We as educators, learn more about each other’ s programs and also benefit from understanding the what knowledge and common experiences students bring to the classroom.

YouTube Preview Image

Start with the end first…

Here is a little on Backwards Design (please note the easy to understand visuals)

The main idea behind the backwards design model centers on the design process beginning with identifying the desired results and then “working backwards” to develop instruction.  Since I joined the group after the art and guidance section of the unit had been pretty much solidified, it was initially more of a challenge to engage the backwards design.  In the end, I wanted students to use the vocabulary to communicate.  One possibility I thought of was to have the students interpreting the photos taken using Voicethread.  My initial thoughts were students could view the photos that were previously taken in art and then make a comment in Japanese.  Visualizing what students might be able to produce orally, I started to realize that students would not be able to produce much language.  What they produced via Voicethread probably would not have been very communicative and applicable to the students’ own lives.  I also thought of the idea of using the Wiki (Wikispaces.com) and including Japanese there.  Again, the students would possibly write down the word and a sentence or two and that would be the end of it.

While I thought that I wanted to use the Voicethread to have students use their Japanese speaking skills, I later realized that I actually wanted the students to have a communicative dialogue with one of their peers.  What would students be able to use with one of their friends?  As a result of talking with one of my colleagues more experienced with Voicethread, I was asked the questions…

  • What do you want the kids to be able to do?
  • Who do you want the final product to be viewed by?
  • How do you want feedback to be given?  Oral?, written?

I was told that asking these questions first make the end product and selection of the proper software, website, or application easier to select.  Yes, this is Understanding by Design.  If we want to know what we want the students to do in the end, we can then plan the lessons that need to occur in order for the students to be successful.

This is what I thought the students might be able to use an example.

Sample dialogues:

A:うわあ、うれしい!(Yeah, I’m so happy.)

B:どうしたの? (What happened?)

Aひゃくえんをみつけた。(I found 100 yen.)



A: どうしたの?(What’s the matter?)

B: さびしい。友達がアメリカに帰りました。(I’m sad.  My friend went back to the US.)

A: だいじょうぶ。(Are you ok?)


Students could use the example dialogues, or work on substituting or adding to the dialogue according to individual level.

Once they had decided on a dialogue, they would work on completing a simple storyboard for the project.

storyboard example 1

Storyboard example 2

Storyboard video

Also, I would give students a brief introduction to using iMovie with the iPad 2.  I would use a simple Apple movie demo in Japanese, and also have students view the movie demo in English to enhance their understanding.  Using these resources and guiding the pairs with some ways to individualize their videos, would help produce short, communicative examples that students could share with their classmates.  Best of all, they could practice the language from the examples and have a greater chance of being able to apply it to a real-life situation in the future.


All in all, it was fun collaborating with Naho and Carl.  I definitely learned more working with my team members than if I had worked alone on the project.


Unit Plan




Permanent link to this article: http://www.coetail.com/dimanishi/2011/10/23/cross-curricular-connecting-and-collaborating/

Oct 16

Geeking Out and Speed Geeking

It was an inspiring weekend, participating in the 2-day workshop, “The Networked Educator”. There was a wealth of information and resources that flowed on the first day. Thank you Kim and Chris for organizing and running the event. I appreciated the second day of the workshop to help solidify the learning from day one and also to help clarify and try out some of the ideas.
At the workshop, I experienced Speed Geeking for the first time. Not only was it informative, but also it was fast-paced, and a little exciting. (Am I getting a little too geeky now?) The set-up was a little like surfing the web. I could have just typed in “IT that can help me in the classroom” into the search engine window and it would have pulled-up a page view of different links. With speed geeking, I had real people, who were armed with laptops sharing their expertise and advice about their application of technology to education. I learned about Wolfram online computative system, Wiki’s used in the classroom, iPad projects for lower-elementary students, and more. The list continues on and with IT now, I can go to the shared document to refresh my memory about the presentations and tap back into the notes and links posted. The connections made in this brief speed geeking session were not longer than a few minutes, but with today’s technology I can strengthen the learning from particular sessions by reading the presenter’s blog or connecting via Twitter. On a tangent, but related to my learning from Speed Geeking, I was reading about the features for the soon to be released iPhone 5. It mentions that one of the new features of the phone will be the ability to directly connect to Wolfram. While I am not especially a fan of Wolfram, it is interesting that once you do get “networked”, certain topics or bits of information surface up in different areas–a news article, a Tweet, a blog post, etc.

This euphoria from learning a new thing about technology was a motivational moment for me. It reminded me of a time my 5-year old son just recently discovered how to download an app[ ] lication from the iPad. I had recently downloaded an application and my son had gotten his hands on the iPad before the 15-minute window expired. Whether he planned it or not, he went for the flying game and in a few minutes he cried out, “Dad, I downloaded a game!”. He was excited and proud of his accomplishment. I couldn’t really get mad at the boy for successfully navigating the iTunes store and finding a game that he found interesting. I asked him, “How did you do that?”. He showed me the process and then later exclaimed, “I am a genius!”. It was a classic moment. But what does this show, it shows that 5-year old boy is motivated to get tech saavy and he feels rewarded when he learns a new skill. Way to geek out, son!

Permanent link to this article: http://www.coetail.com/dimanishi/2011/10/16/geeking-out-and-speed-geeking/

Sep 14

How my thoughts on use of IT in the classroom are evolving…

In the article, Connectivism: A Learning Theory for the Digital Age, George Siemens writes a conclusion about the skills needed for the future.  The conclusion is as follows:

The pipe is more important than the content within the pipe. Our ability to learn what we need for tomorrow is more important than what we know today. A real challenge for any learning theory is to actuate known knowledge at the point of application. When knowledge, however, is needed, but not known, the ability to plug into sources to meet the requirements becomes a vital skill. As knowledge continues to grow and evolve, access to what is needed is more important than what the learner currently possesses

The role of the educator has evolved into the person able to teach students how to skillfully access knowledge at the right times.  Building of the “pipe” is an essential skill that allows for the acquisition of content within the pipe.  I have enjoyed using Twitter to connect to various groups to find out information related to Japanese language and culture and teaching and learning.  The Reader set-up is another way of setting up a new pipeline and routing different feeds my way.  While I may be challenged to read up on and take in all the additional input, there has definitely been some interesting leads that have branched off to other ideas and thinking regarding my practice.

The blog, Twitter account, Delicious account, etc. have been ways to make use of the newly acquired information.  The tools also allow me to better organize the links and information.  The blog has been a good way to put items in a centra

Making connections

l location for easier access at a later date.

Permanent link to this article: http://www.coetail.com/dimanishi/2011/09/14/how-my-thoughts-on-use-of-it-in-the-classroom-are-evolving/