Tag Archive: IT

Oct 28

Course 5-Post 5: iPads in the classroom

Halloween Read Aloud

While using a new tool in the classroom can be scary, ideas are flowing and the ball is rolling in the right direction at RIS. Our ES iPad team (a balanced and dedicated group of early-adopters and not-so early-adopters) met during their lunch time to help make the decision-making process what it needs to be…shared.

ES iPad Team
As a result of our meeting, the iPads are being distributed to the classrooms (Pre-S up to 1st grade) so that teachers can familiarize themselves with the iPad and various apps that have been downloaded. Also, teachers can then experiment with the use of the iPad with small groups.

The second grade took the initiative to try-out using the iPads to help showcase their learning of insect life-cycles via Voicethread.

Screen Shot 2012-11-06 at 10.26.40 PM

Here are the examples from Ms. Lisa and Ms. Supen’s class. I invite readers to listen to the students’ projects and leave a comment. Since the 2nd grade just started posting on their website, I am sure any comments would be received enthusiastically. :)

Just recently, the kindergarten class was working on describing emotions. They used Comic Life to take pictures of the students showing the different facial expressions associated with emotions such as sad, happy, excited, disappointed, etc. Even though it was the first time for the students and the teachers using the iPad, but the students were engaged and the lesson went smoothly. After taking the photos, students added the emotions in the speech bubbles in Comic Life.

In a later I will share the student versions along with the teacher versions.

Permanent link to this article: http://www.coetail.com/dimanishi/2012/10/28/course-5-post-5-ipads-ii/

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 21

Course 5-Post 2: The Digital Landscape

At RIS, the ES has two Mac Labs and all classrooms have recently been equipped with data projectors, document cameras and a teacher desktop computer.

Prior to this year, HRs were regularly scheduled for technology classes. As a step towards a more integrated approach to the use of technology, it was decided to eliminate the separate technology class and create the role of Information Technology Coach (ITC). Faculty ask the question where the students will get the keyboarding and other basic computing skills. In an attempt to check on teacher expectations, Dainty, the ITC, and I went to grade level meetings to introduce or reintroduce the ISTE NET Standards.
nets tech essential conditions

Like kids from Japan and the US, students at RIS have iPhones or other smart phones, iPads, laptops, and access to other technology. How much access students have to mobile devices is still under investigation, and this is an area where our Head of School and K-12 IT coordinator would like to collect more data. How many students have use of a mobile device outside of school? How much are students “connected” and is there a future possibility of a Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) time for the upper grade levels in the future?

International Cultural Week_0004

The teachers and staff in the ES are a diverse group of educators with skills and expertise that runs wide and deep. I appreciate their warm welcome and openness to take on new challenges.open house specialists

While some teachers have actively incorporated the use of a class website, Edmodo, and other online resources the range of experience with educational technology is wide.

Gmail and Google Docs was just introduced to the staff this school year. Our first attempt at a collaborative presentation, the specialist teachers worked individually on their “slide” for the collective presentation. At one of our staff meetings, I took everyone’s pictures, placed them in a Gdocs folder, and shared it to the group. Depending on comfort level, individual teachers or teacher teams created their slide directly on the presentation, or offline (which I later added). While timing, coordination, and differentiation for the presentation was a challenge, the end product was a success. I applaud our faculty and staff for embracing the new system and trying out a new way of communicating and collaborating.

Permanent link to this article: http://www.coetail.com/dimanishi/2012/10/21/course-5-post-2-the-digital-landscape/

Jun 09

Course 4 week 4-Game Based Learning

Big ball relay

Big Ball Relay---The object: roll a huge ball down the field and back with your partner as fast as you can without rolling over your teammates or getting "rolled" by the ball

Let the games begin…

Aka ganbatte (Go red team), Shiro ganbatte (Go white team)

Play hard

Play fair

Nobody hurt

These are the simple rules from the Japanese Sports Day event that happens in the elementary school every October.  Who wins or loses is not the important part of the day.  The important part is students doing their best to compete in order to bring out the best from their fellow classmates.  Every year, kids, faculty, and parents have a fun-filled, memorable event on this day.

Whether it be a physical game, a quiz game, a card game, an online game (the list goes on), when designed and implemented correctly, games are fun, motivating and engaging for students.  And yes, learning takes place.

I thank my colleague, Machi Nakamura for sharing with me a fun listening comprehension game used to reinforce the vocabulary for family members, and the counter for people.  This is how the game is set-up.  Multiple “families” are illustrated on strips of construction paper that has been laminated in order to take the abuse that usually occurs  due to overly excited students.  One family might have mom, dad, two older sisters, one older brother and me/I.  Another family might have mom, dad, one younger sister and me/I.  The teacher starts the game by describing who is in the family.  Students listen closely and once they have enough information, they reach for the illustration that matches the description.  The quickest student to touch the correct illustration wins that card.  Below is a picture of some students playing the “family” game.


Listening comprehension game-Listen to the family being described and then be the first one to grab the corresponding picture

Set up at the beginning of the game with the basic rules, students are provided an engaging listening activity that is relatively low risk for students to practice their listening comprehension.

Nobody hurt

Important when including games in the classroom is to make sure the level is appropriate for each learner.  Does the student think that they will be able to adequately perform?  There needs to be enough of a challenge without the task feeling too overwhelming.  Grouping the students with similar abilities helps challenge kids appropriately without feeling overwhelmed.

Like the popular game, Angry Birds, the replay button is easy to find.  Also, as you get better at toppling over the different structures, you unlock levels that get increasingly more difficult.

With Angry Birds, the replay button is large and at the top of the control buttons

With the game, students should have many opportunities to practice.  Also, all students should experience some degree of accomplishment.  Since it is a competitive game, it might be important for the teacher to have only certain groups of students participate until all students have at least one card.  If students are able to, they could be asked to describe the family in Japanese in order to “keep” the card.

Angry Bird-sensei

Aaron Biebert has a great post entitled, 12 Most Surprising Leadership Lessons Learned from Playing Angry Birds, Biebert writes:

The Angry Birds game has been downloaded over 300,000,000 times and more than 100,000,000,000 angry birds have been shot through the air.  That’s a lot!  In fact, every day people spend over 200,000,000 minutes playing this addictive game.

That is a lot of game time.  I have played Angry Birds and it is not easy–especially when you get to the higher levels.  That doesn’t stop my two boys (kindergarten and second grade) from playing the game, however.  I recognize their achievements with the game.  So despite the increasing level of difficulty, the draw and structure of the game nurtured their growth.

While leadership is included in the title, I believe students can relate to and take away similar lessons from the game.  Dr. Angela Duckworth, Assistant Professor of Psychology at the University of Pennsylvania once wrote the following:

learning is hard. True, learning is fun, exhilarating and gratifying — but it is also often daunting, exhausting and sometimes discouraging. . . .

For many, learning another language, especially Japanese can be a daunting challenge.  Emphasizing the fun and “hooking” the students into practice helps build the skills necessary for overcoming the challenges.  Cultivating the trait of grit in students is one overarching goal that I have for students in my class.

Because I believe in the power of games and I am excited about the possibilities that today’s technology has to offer, I have spent a considerable number of hours researching, investigating,  and testing applications useful in the Japanese classroom.  Below are a few of my favorite applications for the iPhone or iPad.

Kids Fun-Touch the hiragana characters in the correct order to spell out the name of the object. The characters form the word and then a kid's voice pronounces the word.

Hiragana Trace-Practice writing the hiragana characters (katakana trace also available). Make sure you write with the correct stroke order in order to advance to the next character



Japanese My Way-Practice reading/writing hiragana, katakana, and kanji with or without the tracing guide. Dictionary and flash card generator also available.

These games have definitely been a motivator for students.  What is even more exciting than the impact in the classroom is what has happened outside of the classroom.   There were several students (or their parents) that  downloaded these applications to their own devices.  With this occurring, students were making use of their commute time and other time outside of class to strengthen and improve their language skills.  It was fun, engaging, and self-directed.  This year, I even had one first grader move ahead of the class and learn katakana in addition to hiragana–wow!


Original board game (#1) designed by a student

For an advanced non-native Japanese class in the fourth grade, students went a step beyond game playing and into game designing.  Students learned vocabulary related to game playing, designed and created their original board game, and then played (in Japanese) with their classmates.  Here are a few students examples.  


Original game (#2) designed by a student

Next year as fifth graders, the students will once again bring out their game boards to review their game playing vocabulary in preparation for the fifth grade exchange visit with Katoh Gakuen.   For the next school year (and beyond) I encourage my students to keep “game playing” and follow the simple rules from Japanese Sports Day–

Play hard

Play fair

Nobody hurt

We did it!

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

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/

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