Tag Archive: collaborative

Jun 09

Course 4 week 6 Learning with Laptops/Computers…the saga continues


One to one

Having just completed a year with 5th graders piloting a 1:1 program with homerooms experimenting with iPads and Macbooks, it has been exciting, challenging, and filled with teacher and student learning opportunities.

When students brought their iPad or Macbook to class, it was important to be very clear when the expectation was for the students to use or be on their devices. It was especially important to establish the routine of having students keep their devices on their desks to help avoid any wandering off to e-mail or other more attractive applications. When calling the class’ attention, we made it a routine to turn off the iPad screen or shut the lid of the Macbook. This definitely helped to limit off-task behavior and the urge to surf the apps or the internet.

iPad, MacBook dongle 2

The dongle--A funny name, but it is never funny to be without one in today's classroom


 With students being able to store all of their work on one device and also be able to take the hardware with them allowed students to maximize their time and efforts on a given assignment or project.  With the connectivity provided with a dongle for either the iPad or the Macbook, students could easily bring their devices up to the data projector and quickly switch into presentation mode for the class.  For a teacher usually pressed for time, this was definitely a positive for me.

Summer Program

Now that the regular school year has ended, I am now in summer school mode.  I am very lucky to once again be able to teach social studies and geography utilizing the computer lab to access the resources available on the internet.

One surprise…

The shared drive for the elementary school was immediately taken offline once summer started.  As a result, I had a bit of a scramble finding an alternative for sharing files, hyperlinks, video clips, etc.  I know that I did not want to load each computer with the files using a thumb drive.  Thankfully, Josh Raub, our assistant head of technology came to a quick rescue.  We decided that Googlesites would be the way to go.  Josh gave me a crash course lesson on how to embed videos and some of the other related functions and then I was on my way adding links and content.


photo by Daryl Imanishi all rights reserved

While only a forty-five minute block of instructional time with 2nd to 4th graders, I work on mixing-up the class time so that we are not just heading straight for a computer and staring at a monitor for the entire class time. At the start, we all gather on the carpet.  We do a quick review of what we learned in the previous class.  In groups of two to three, students have to share their thoughts with their peers.  Everyone gets a chance to speak within their small groups, and then I ask for some sharing to the whole group.


using the data projector

While students are all together on the carpet, I may share part of a video and pause along the way checking for understanding and asking for students to turn and talk to their neighbor.  While on the carpet, I also can give an overview on a specific skill–how to important a picture into Power Point or how to add a text box in order to credit the source of information or media.




Permanent link to this article: http://www.coetail.com/dimanishi/2012/06/09/course-4-week-6/

Jun 09

Course 4 week 3-Project Based Learning

Project Based Learning (PBL)

Project based learning or PBL is something that my colleague (Machi Nakamura) and I have been working to incorporate with our lessons.  While challenged by the minimum amount of contact time, PBL has helped keep students engaged and allowed for differentiation within the classroom.  A project requirements could be adjusted in order to accommodate the needs and abilities of learners on both ends of the spectrum.

Challenged Based Learning

While Challenged Based Learning is an exciting approach to learning, I see this being more applicable to older students with more sophisticated language ability.

Looking closer at the application of PBL in the language classroom, I was happily surprised to find that a Japanese language teacher won the ACTFL Teacher of the Year Award.  Yo Azama shows the viewer how he scaffolds the lesson and activities to provide meaningful practice.  Looking closer at Azama-sensei’s presentation notes, the reader can see the additional resources that support the students for their culminating project of creating a brochure and video.

Teaching Foreign Languages Library clip

When it comes to PBL in the classroom, Connie Weber who teaches in Ann Arbor, Michigan, is quoted in a Edutopia article on the importance of creating a classroom culture that is conducive to PBL.

What is essential, “is establishing the learning atmosphere, how the class feels.” Instead of generating rules with her students, she invites them to “generate tendencies, [and] positive ways to be together.”

Japanese Only

The Japanese Only sign allows students a time during class to try out their Japanese. Since the students are "forced" to speak in Japanese, mistakes are more easily forgiven..

“They (students) suggest that they want each other to be nice, honest, respectful, patient; to have integrity and perseverance; to be safe to make mistakes and safe to share their views.” She adds one more quality to the list: “It’s important to play.”

English Ok

The English Only sign allows students a chance to confirm their understanding by using English. Students who were unsure about the conversations that took place during Japanese Only time have a chance to reinforce their learning.

In the classroom, I too have found that creating the culture is key to increasing student achieve.  I strive to have my students feel…

  • safe to take risks and make mistakes without fear of what people will say
  • open enough to be able to share their personal stories in a foreign language in front of the entire class
Getting Around
One project that does get positive feedback from students is from the Getting Around Unit.  Students learn how to research train schedules and routes on the internet.  They then choose to research one travel destination near Tokyo (predetermined list with the possibility of accepting new proposals from students).  Students create a promotional poster that includes all of the relevant information (train route, entrance fees, operating hours, etc.) and then the final piece is making a field trip proposal in front of the class.

Field trip proposal poster

Telephone pizza order 

Another project that was a first this year had students “act out” the telephone pizza order in the Common Craft style.  While it was not required, I recommended for the students to try creating their “skit” in this new style.  I showed a Common Craft video (in Japanese) and then helped guide them along with the video creation process using simple story boarding, a digital camera, and Movie Maker.  The students were excited and worked hard to create a finished product that could be shared with the class and other classes.

As always, any feedback is welcome.

Permanent link to this article: http://www.coetail.com/dimanishi/2012/06/09/course-4-week-3/

Jun 09

Course 4 Final Project-Dream Academy

How it all started
For the final project, I teamed up with our ES counselor, Naho Kikuchi to dream up a promotional video for our ideal school.  While were stretched for time, we were committed to work together for one last time.  We knew that two heads were better than one so we carved out some time to sit down together with a MacBook Pro and a few loose concepts.

photo courtesy of Superkimbo

The process
Before beginning to write things out, we started some conversations with some of our colleagues.  We talked to variety of faculty members to get some ideas flowing.  One of our conversations was with one colleague who discussed some of the take-away’s they had after recently reading Tony Wagner’s book, Creating Innovators: The Making of Young People Who Will Change the World.   While many points were discussed, one of the main ideas that stood out was creating a learning environment for students not focused on the content, but more on the process.  A school where teachers and administrators nurtured a learning community where they acted more as facilitators of the learning rather than the dispensers of knowledge.
We also watched and enjoyed Sean Thompson’s promotional presentation for Doshisha International School.  The slide show told rich story with a strong narrative and corresponding photos.
Naho and I wanted to keep the presentation inline with the teachings Presentation Zen–clean and simple.  Therefore we tried to keep it to as few of words as possible.  We also wanted to keep the presentation generic.  Inspired by a presentation that we had seen previously related to professional learning communities, we kept to a simple format of a black background with white letters.
Without any pictures included in the original presentation, our thought was that we could ask students and staff for their participation.  Students and staff could submit their photos of what they thought captured the essence of the ideas presented.
A final product would be the work of the community–photos submitted by a class,  grade level, or a division.
Technical details
We first started the project with Google Presentation.  Naho and I could easily share our ideas and make edits as necessary.
Later, as we started to work on timing and transitions, we transferred the project to Power Point to help work on the details.
Thanks, to my colleague and ITC, Mike Moody, I learned of Slideboom, an online service that allowed me to maintain the look and feel of the presentation by maintaining the slide transitions and accompanying sound track.


We had a bit of a challenge with working with appropriate files that would upload correctly.


The end result

Of course this project is still a work in progress, but I am happy with the result that is included below.

I ran across many technical issues with trying to get the transitions and music to be saved or uploaded without having some aspect of the presentation lose integrity.

In the end, this is what worked best to create a presentation that would retain the transitions, timing, and sound track with a minimum number of glitches

Please let me know your thoughts or send in any photos that you think would go well with the presentation.

Permanent link to this article: http://www.coetail.com/dimanishi/2012/06/09/course-4-final-project-dream-academy/

Apr 22

Who Should Teach the NETS?



So who should teach the NETS?  The technology teacher/Instructional Technology Coach?  The homeroom teacher?  Counselors?  Specialists?

Thanks go to my fellow COETAILer and future colleague, Tim Pettine for his posting of the video by Matthew J. Koehler and Punya Mishra-Thinking Creatively Teachers as Designers Content, of Technology, and Pedagogy.   I thoroughly enjoyed and encourage readers to view the entire presentation.   To keep things brief, Koehler and Mishra skillfully illustrate how educators work lies at the intersection of pedagogy, content, and technology.  I have embedded part 5 of the 5 part video series in order to give the conclusion of their 40+ minute talk if you do not have the patience.

YouTube Preview Image

ISTE Music Video: Say Hey (I Love School)

YouTube Preview Image

Technology is a part of our daily lifes now.  The connectivity that we experience with our laptops, desktops, handhelds, and so on has changed the way we not only access information, but produce content.  I am thankful that ISTE has created a framework and standards for thoughtfully integrating NETS in education.

I thank ISTE for having a specific set of standards individualized for the role of students, teachers, coaches, and administrators.  Having the key players in schools understanding their roles is beneficial for the bigger picture–improving student learning utilizing the technology that is available today.  With the changes that have occurred with IT, it is important that educators can talk about the incorporation of IT using the same vocabulary and standards.  How is IT being utilized in the music room, PE, 5th grade homeroom, etc.?  How and where does the use of technology overlap?  For example…How is the use of technology scaffolded so that the first graders reinforce and build upon the skills developed in kindergarten?

Searching the Internet, I found several school districts have already implemented use of the NETS.  Many of the schools or districts that I saw, however, had the NETS as a stand alone document.  I was able to find that Washington State had incorporated the tech standards with the subject area standards in what they called, Standards Crosswalk document.

Crosswalk tech standards, core curriculum standards

I find that this way of documenting the tech standards along side the subject matter standards makes it a much more user friendly format.  It is a given that teachers are busy, therefore, providing such resources to teachers, empowers teachers with the ability to evaluate current or past units of study and to identify how each lesson addresses standards in both the areas of tech and subject matter.

nets administrator

(A shout out goes to my colleagues–Mike Moody and Wouter Laleman, who found the Nets for Administrators booklet for me.)  As I will be moving from the role of classroom teacher to the role of administrator, my lens on the question, “Who should teach the NETS?” starts to zoom out to the bigger picture.  Is the current educational environment supportive of leveraging technology for student learning?  ISTE highlights the aspects of the bigger picture with the Essential Conditions document.
nets tech essential conditions

The infrastructure needed for supporting (not only) a change in hardware , but also, a change in school culture is multi-faceted and crucial to supporting a Professional Learning Community and improving student learning.  If teachers are expected to learn to use new hardware, software, incorporate new standards, change teaching practices, curriculum map, etc. then as many obstacles as possible need to be removed.   As I once again put on my educational leadership hat,

Just as the African proverb goes, “It takes a village to raise a child”, now more than ever, I believe this saying holds true.   With technological advances changing at such a rapid pace, it is a challenge to stay abreast of what latest technologies work the best to enhance student learning.  Documents such as the NETS help keep the focus on student learning and provide a common lens for educators and students to look at what is happening with technology in the classroom.

Permanent link to this article: http://www.coetail.com/dimanishi/2012/04/22/who-should-teach-the-nets/

Jan 28

Winding Down with Course 2: Keeping it Simple—Acceptable Use Agreement (KIS-AUA)

Long Keyboard by Daryl Imanishi Some rights reserved

For this project, our group consisted of Naho Kikuchi, Carl Knudsen, Jamie Richard, and me.  We represented the elementary school and middle school and we decided on creating an acceptable use agreement/poster that could be used across divisions (elementary school, middle school, and high school).

Some rights reserved Kim Cofino

In the early stages of the project, we sought out the documents and resources that were already being used throughout the school.  We discovered that there was a range of detail and format provided across the divisions.  We found that two posters (one directed towards middle school students and the care of their laptops, the other was directed towards general use of technology), and a different user agreement targeted at each division were currently being used.


While we were initially thinking of the modifying the current acceptable use agreement for the elementary school and creating a more kid-friendly version focused on students in the lower grade levels, we eventually broadened our focus to encompass all grade levels.

Some of the questions that our group encountered were…

What were the common core elements?

We asked ourselves, “What are the main points that we need to focus on for this poster?”  “What areas will keep students headed towards creating positive digital profiles and making positive contributions to the online world?”

We narrowed the big ideas to four–respect, responsibility, safety, and honesty

  • How can we keep the language positive?
    • We wanted to focus the students on their goal, not on what we didn’t want them to do.
    • How can we keep it simple?
      • Being selective with the ording.
      • We eventually kept it to one statement per category

ASIJ Acceptable Use Agreement Some rights reserved

ASIJ Acceptable Use Agreement Video






Permanent link to this article: http://www.coetail.com/dimanishi/2012/01/28/winding-down-with-course-2-keeping-it-simple-acceptable-use-agreement-kis-aua/

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