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Flip Camera Celebration

The power of the Flip

by Charles & Hudson

This week I sadly read that on April 12 Cisco, who is the worldwide leader in networking that transforms how people connect, communicate and collaborate, will close down the Flip business. I’ve fallen in love with this elegant low cost video camera that makes HD movies well and can easily (even for dummies like me) be uploaded to websites like Facebook or YouTube.

For weeks I had my group of EAP Humanities 7th graders working on creating documentary style movies about the 1-1 Laptop Program in grade 6 at our Middle School.  This would give them a chance to demonstrate creative thinking, construct knowledge, and develop innovative products and processes using appropriate technology. (TAIL standard 4)

The idea to do this project came from my experience working with classes that have the 1-1 laptop in grade 6 and with the one and only grade 7 class I teach a few periods each week.

It’s a real advantage if kids have their own laptop versus using the shared laptops from a cart! The accessibility of using laptops as tools for learning isn’t the issue here, but the nuisance of heavily used and therefore run-out-of battery computers by the time we need them is (or was I should say).

 

There isn’t a day that I not have a Flip Camera with me to use for personal VDO making and working with my EAL students. So just on another ordinary day working on laptops with my 7th grade group within less than twenty minutes half of my kids’ laptops ran out of batteries and they all clustered around the laptop cart to plug them in. I took my Flip Camera out and two minutes later the event was documented not even thinking much of what to do with this “proof” that this was an unworkable situation!! Why deprive my students from what the their younger peers in grade 6 have!!!!

Having to deal with that situation on a daily basis gave me an idea for my final COETAIL classroom project for which I wanted to focus on kids as creators and communicators.  There was quite some planning involved and together with them I decided on steps and guidelines for the movie making. For even more needed structure I created a Movie Checklist that helped with the organization. One dilemma was that there weren’t many opportunities to actually do much filming so therefore the 7th graders had my 6th graders and I assigned to do some of the “in class action “ filming with the Flip Cameras during grade 6 Humanities classes. Teams could give us their wish list and I provided the raw material, which they got access to. Also I invited parents of grade 6 students for interviewing. And then there was the research on good documentary style movie making and learning more about the 1-1 laptop initiative.

There were these moments that you just wished you never started this project because there were definitely glitches and there never seem to be enough time or time got wasted. Some teams worked well, especially the groups of three but the pairs kept on arguing about the focus of the movie etc………

After the deadline has passed and our class been observed we have three finished movies out of five and there’s lots more that can be done to improve. I have gained better insights in my students’ learning abilities, English language development, and most of all that learning is in the process of creating the video not the actual product it self.  Today my principal showed one movie from one of my students to the PTA to explain the 1-1 laptop program initiative for next year for grade 7 and 8 in our Middle School. There are a number things that can and should be improved just for this project alone such as teaching kids how to do the credits page and how to use proper language to share information but it is even worse to not involve students in activities using appropriate media and environments so that they can practice to effectively communicate ideas, knowledge, and understanding to audiences ranging from local to global. (TAIL Standard 3)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Letter to Self: Reasons Why I Must Have an iPhone Now!

Dear me,

Even though I’ll be the one ending up paying for it, buying an iPhone seems to be a big thing for me. The voices (don’t worry you know we all have them, the good ones that keep you in line) in my head somehow keep on telling me that I have to prove that I’m worth it. I’m no longer “fine” with what I have had for many years.

 

  1. Size matters! The iPhone nowadays is smaller and smarter looking. It feels and looks like a phone which is the main reasons why I want one. My old, cheep but reliable black and red Nokia is falling apart but still working even after she was accidentally dropped on the concrete floor (by me).  I’ve decided after so much survival ability to keep her as a spare. To me the iPhone is masculine and he could be less reliable when dropped on the floor at times but it’s worth trying him out! After purchasing I plan to secure him in a smart looking wrapper or case and strapped to a leach.
  2. He has a built-in support, which is great for me who loves to walk, jog and sometimes run. He replaces my broken iPods for which I blame the lack of jogging and running lately. Music back again in my ears and now coming out of my phone!!!!
  3. He has GPS so when I travel and go for walks I don’t have to get lost like two summers ago happening to me when I was unable to find my brother’s new house back in a new town trying to get home from an very early morning run.
  4. He’s got email!!! It is a joy to access from a mobile device and read and respond to emails.
  5. His photo apps will always allow me to take snapshots wherever I am without any effort at all compared to carrying another device (camera) to take pictures.
  6. His world clock, alarm, timer just to name a few will keep me organized.
  7. His web browsing ability, using the power of the Google will….empower me!
  8. Playing his endless games to avoid human contact after days of f2f teaching. Mindless games for the iPhone, “BubbleFree.” You know that odd satisfaction of bursting plastic blisters? You can do that forever with this app. Score points for how many you can pop in 45 seconds. It’s addictive, but only for about four minutes at a time, so don’t worry about staying up all night trying to beat your high score.
  9. His YouTube application,…………fun and entertaining!
  10. He makes me feel more officially a mobile digital citizen The true value of the iPhone isn’t being continuously plugged into the Internet, but it will make me feel connected in this digital world.

The time for me has come he’ll be mine soon!!!by Jorge Quinteros

 

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Actions speak Louder Than Words!

When I was skimming through some fellow Bangkok Coetail participants’ blog posts, I came to read about visual literacy and the tracing down of the origin of a famous saying “A picture is worth a thousand words”.  Although interesting to learn that at first it was thought to be a Japanese proverb and then later that it seem to be Chinese, the main issue is how people interact with information.

 

As I know, in order to create an environment for learning, we need to help students develop understanding. One way to do this is use of non-linguistic representation so that students can extend and apply knowledge. Non-linguistic representation is using images, text and sounds.  Tools we use in our classrooms are Keynote, Creative Commons, iMovie and You Tube.

 

Last week we had Kathleen Ferenz visit our school and I learned more about digital story telling and vocabulary development using non-linguistic representation. Kathleen thought us about visual vocabulary cards, cards in iPhoto, from Keynote to iPhoto, academic screensavers and iMovie talking visual vocabulary. Kathleen is very inspiring and I like her perspective about Never Stop Learning.

I praise myself to be very fortuned working at a school that provides opportunities to learn more and to discuss ways in which you can use technology in your classroom to support student learning. Words shouldn’t be totally replaced by pictures but Actions Speak Louder Than Words! We, teachers need to go get out there and interact with the information on hand and help our students learning in this digital world!!!

 

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This is just the Beginning!

Designing a unit or modifying an existing unit using the Technology and Information Literacy Standards should be a piece of cake after everything we’ve learned during the COETAIL course! I believe I am very lucky in one way to teach mainly in grade 6 where we have the luxury to work with kids who have 1-to-1 laptops. The tool is always on hand, the students know how to use it, and there are great opportunities to share ideas with colleagues and to get support. Like I said earlier in my blogs, I also feel that it has enriched my teaching in a way that I can reach out and be connected with the digital world. But on the other hand… it still is a bit threatening too.

There are definitely expectations that come with that and honestly I don’t feel very tech savvy and most likely never will be. But my confidence is growing and I have been able to  incorporate many ideas and strategies from the course in my teaching. I remember the first project I did with grade 8 EAL students using technology and communicate ideas and learning through a class blog I started. There were so many different skills embedded in just one project! As an EAL teacher I always look for opportunities for my students to acquire language and I found that in the combination of a blog and the use of digital communication.

For this semester I want to continue to focus on my EAL students to become effective communicators and effective creators as an ongoing goal and I am hoping to find many opportunities for them to use appropriate media and to use appropriate technology. Although the first week back at school in January isn’t even over yet, I realized that when I plan a lesson or assignment for my students, I always think about ways to share their learning and using technology for it. My 7th graders are using their choice of program to create a New Year’s poem video for which the have to write a poem, find images using creative commons, choose music and upload it on YouTube. It is fascinating to see how my students create this with ease showing their enjoyment. Even more fascinating I found how powerful some of their poems are and the visual and music choices to support it. There are definitely glitches and moments that I feel frustrated not always knowing how to do some of the technical parts because I’ve already forgotten it, but there’s always a kid who has an idea and they help each other using their communication and creative skills.

My other class in 6th grade wrote reflections on their blogs after a visit from Any Pag who drives his bio diesel truck around the word and spoke to our Middle Schoolers about his experiences. There were still so many questions that my kids had that we decided to record that and see if we could find some answers. Unfortunately we could not meet him in person but we made a short movie with a flipcamera and we looked at his website and wrote about it in a blog reflection. Maybe we’ll be in touch with him online in the near future. During this course I’ve discovered the Flip camera as a great and easy to use piece of technology. We are very fortunate to have many Flip cameras at school we can check out from the library and since a few months I have my own. The session we had with Mark was super handy because I learned to also how easy it is to use the Flipshare program to make movies with the students. For me this wonderful piece of technology is the number ONE tool to help integrating technology generally into my work as a specialist teacher who works closely in a team teaching situation with a core teacher, but is every teacher’s job to  integrate social media specifically into the educational process.

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Laptops Teachers and Students

Classroom management for 1-1 computers. I often wonder how we can best manage and especially monitor student behavior. For this week’s Coetail class I watched some clips of teachers explaining how they manage the use of laptops in a classroom environment. These teachers have experience as well using laptops and they discussed various ways to monitor their student behavior. I have noticed that students in our classes waste a considerable amount of time when they use laptops for in-class assignments. Therefore, I am aware that I need to develop better protocols for students who use laptops during class time. I agree with the following strategies and already put them usually in practice

Move around a lot in the classroom and see if they’re on task.  Watch their eyes and see if they’re working on what they’re supposed to be working on. Use timers to keep them on task.

But I would consider a few of these strategies as well:

Walk around with a grade book and pen to grade participation. Tell what’s expected to be done at different parts of the class. Students are all faced in one direction, so from the back of the room each screen is visible. Have daily work sheets filled in showing what they are supposed to be working on to have them stay on task and the teacher will sign that off. They will not get the full points if they haven’t done the work.

Moreover I agree with the following ideas about the most important things that an instructor can do to manage a laptop classroom.

Make sure your lessons are well-developed, high interest, so students want to stay on task, give them some choices, on how to present the product. Simply with or without in the classroom be aware of what is happening in the classroom. Be consistent in expectations and consequences and follow through on it. The realization is that the computer is the tool and not the focus. You need flexibility because it is not a traditional classroom anymore. You need to ease up a little bit and not be the computer police, you try to teach them responsibility and teach them to be responsible

Students need to be aware of what they are you learning and choose the right tool for that kind of learning?  I came across a blog with 23 Things about Classroom Laptops.

Here are some of my favorites and some are good to be aware of.

An interesting behavior – Students often like to ‘waggle’ the screen back and forth in group discussion. They don’t even know they are doing it much of the time, but is often distracting to the teacher. It is a sign that they are in private conversation and off task. Find ways to make them accountable for their own time. Students may ‘prank’ others by locking their keyboard, remapping drives, setting the keys to type backwards, flip the display etc.,

File Sharing – A laptop is an excellent way for students to share video and music they have downloaded illegally. Students will share work via flash drives, hard drives as well as emailing it to each other.

Laptops represent an opportunity to stay connected with friends and there are numerous ways to do that.

Learn about ways for students to ‘search’ beyond Google, and create lessons around how information is shaped to appeal to a diverse range of learners. If you don’t know how to use visual search engines, custom Google search, Wonderwheel yet … now would be a good time to find out.

If you stand at the front of the class, you’ll see the back of laptops, so movement around the class is important. Sitting students in rows doesn’t work like it used to. The best place for the teacher to be is online and mobile – learn to multi-task and be prepared to access and work with students – online after school (great way to build respect).

Find ways in which one or two students can ‘share’ work with many. Create online spaces where students can use ‘friend-networks’. Do not expect or ask students to work alone as they used to – that is the last thing they find motivating. Teachers will not be provided with these spaces – they need to be created in context with the needs and preferences of their learners. Example: Three students take notes; then share with others; who then improve them online.

In our grade 6 team we work a lot with Google Docs and both teachers and students use gmail to communicate and to turn in work. This has proven to be very useful when our school email went down for two days.

Most of all: don’t be boring!!!! Don’t do the same things over and over again. Have your class with a blogpost or comment on it for a minute, or a picture….. End with a youtube for about a minute……let them finish it at home and come back the next day ready to talk about it. Realize that reflection is hard. Model this for your students and be more open about the finish time because deadline learning is so individual. Some need more time like me.

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Likable Library Look

Where does our massive traditional library fit as far as a knowledge piece?

Looking at the space in our school the librarians should want to change the image and make it a place where teachers become lead learners and the role of librarians has now become more to organize information path ways. I’m trying to imagine what it will look like….

If people want to gather they don’t need to be in the same place because there is a worldwide web collection of materials to be found digitally. There is a need of a portal that looks at digital items, tell stories and teach humanities, and develop a teachers network to bring the world together online.

Our Apple consultant, Kathleen Frenez recently visited our school and shared some great ideas of how her traditional role as a librarian changed over time and this is how she described her wonderful “library”.

In my library learning takes place in a social environment. It is a large social spot with smaller spaces for people to work together. There are recording spaces for students, classroom can come together, and there is space for production with headphones. Also there’s a spot that can have 200 to 300 people together. And there are books of all kinds: books on a flash drive, cameras, microphones, on line book reviews etc.

Her library had stopped buying reference books. To me it sounded like a great space like the Kinokuniya Bookstore at Siam Paragon in Bangkok. Her school’s tech people also had their working space in the library. It functions as a collaborative place for the people to come after school as a help center and to do homework. Now our main library already is a great place but with all the space it has it would be wonderful if it gets more updated and gets to function as the one Kathleen describes.

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Taking Shots, Making Pictures!

by Michele Catania

Joseph Linaschke is a photographic storyteller and an educator. He’s been speaking to schools and educators in North America and Asia on integrating photography into their programs. Joseph’s message is the gift of photography has the power to make a difference. You don’t take a picture you make one!

Was Jospeh Linaschke teaching teachers to see this weekend at our school and how can we integrate it in our Middle school program, or are we already doing this?

ISB wants our kids to be effective learners, effective communicators, effective creators, and effective collaborators.

Looking at ISB Technology and Information Literacy Standards profile for Technology and Information Literate Students in our Middle School (grades 6–8, ages 11–14) we believe that students will become independent learners who read, view, listen and collaborate for pleasure, personal growth and to make connections with oneself and the world.

Our MS effective learners will be able to analyze images, audio and video communication to gain meaning from various contexts. (e.g. creating a Presentation Zen style presentation, digital storytelling)

Effective MS communicators present new ideas, understandings and information clearly and concisely, using effective design and layout. (e.g. use digital illustrations, sound, 3D representations, animations and video in non-linear and interactive genres-Presentation Zen).

Effective MS creators creatively represent ideas, information and/or thinking (e.g. create a digital story on their middle school trips using images and audio).

Effective collaborators effectively and consistently contribute ideas and products when collaborating with a group to complete a project, produce original works, and/or solve problems using a variety of media. (e.g. participates in group work, adds ideas and thoughts to a project).

All attending teachers, including myself (I totally lack the interest and have no patience to work with sophisticated photo cameras) felt enthused by Joseph’s creations and eventually by my own creations. I took made almost 200 pictures during the neighborhood walk guided by Joseph Linascke and learned how to look at things form a different angle. I agree with him that when you give students a camera to shoot pictures they will be focused if you hand them the tools and background knowledge and time to practice. Their MAKING of the images can be very purposeful in the attempt to make ISB TAIL Standards fit in with content learning and instruction happening in classrooms. Empower the teachers to empower their students.

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Computer Skills and Reverse Instruction

Great topics for this week’s class that are very helpful for my teaching at this moment! How to fully engage students in learning during class time? Instead of sitting and listening, change the tasks to do at home, come back prepared ready to apply and practice the skills in class with our help as teachers. Reverse Instruction is similar to my teaching role as EAP humanities co-teacher. Knowing in advance what will happen in the core class helps me to prepare the students for my EAP classes. When they come back in the main stream, students will be prepared for, and become experts with some good comparison ready to share and apply their gained knowledge supported by content language.

Secondly my issue/questions about computer skills gets answered partly by reading David Warwick comment on the use of computer applications classes. How much should be taught, to everyone, by who? He suggests that we don’t need a checklist of skills each student needs to know. Instead  students should simply learn to apply computers to solve problems or accomplish goals.  It really doesn’t matter if they are covering all of the tools, or even if each student is mastering all of the same tools.  Students would simply learn how computers can help them do interesting things, and then gain the skills and confidence required to teach themselves, with the guidance of their teachers, the applications to make it happen. An independent study type course!  I really like it so much because I now know that I don’t need to know because someone else will know and will help me to learn it too!  The same idea applies to my EAP class; use computer skills and technology to show understanding and apply learning.

Lastly, by applying students will make contributions to our society which requires a new culture of teaching and learning that engages students as contributors. Our students have already chosen tools such as My Space and Facebook for their own communications and social interaction. Now is the time to take elements of these tools and provide students with the appropriate role models of how to use them to make important and rigorous contributions to their own school and beyond. If we do not teach students social responsibility and ethics, then our worst fears of children abusing these tools will come true.

Photo attribute: http://www.flickr.com/photos/spree2010/ Homework on the Beach

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Visual Literacy Grand Finale

We will always be reading and writing in our classrooms as part of literacy education, but we educators should understand what it means to be literate in this technological age. This course is helping me with the teaching of “new” literacies and I see it as our task to ensure that all students benefit from learning in ways that allow them be ready to participate in public, community, and economic life.

Many students are expected to present visual ideas using a variety of multimedia applications without serious direct instruction. Anyone who has suffered through a text-jammed PowerPoint presentation can see the importance of a good balance between what is verbally presented and visually. As we now live in a more visually dominated culture where students are expected to code and decode complex messages in a variety of media, literacy instruction should include visual media as well.

Visual literacy instruction in the classroom begins by asking a few key questions to start the critical thinking process. Professional visual communicators evaluate visual messages by asking: What am I looking at? What does this image mean to me? What is the relationship between the image and the text message? How is this message effective? Students should learn to interpret these messages in the visual design world.  How can I visually describe this message? How can I make this message effective? What are some visual/verbal relationships I can use? Once students internalize these questions, not only will they be better prepared to recognize and decode advertising messages, they will also be prepared to communicate

Visual literacy instruction will better prepare students for the constantly changing online world they will have to be communicating through.

Our modern technology-driven society demands a level of communication so we have to give our students the tools to take part in this technological age. In my teaching I’m trying to incorporate this in my lessons but I still need time to practice and although I have a lot of fun with it, I struggle at times to keep up with it.

I do not have a specific lesson that I’ve created at this point, but more a plan of ideas I’d like to explore with my EAL students in grade 7.

In their core Humanities classes they will begin next week with Book Club reading where small groups of students will read and discuss the same novel. I’ve introduced the idea of a reading project I’d like to do in my class, to support their English language learning and their reading skills. I would like my students to read fiction and non-fiction texts. To help understand their novels we’ll ask the question what background information is helpful to get a better understanding of the book?  This means researching needs to be done and their findings need to be shared with the class. There will be a choice to present their findings but it has to be done by a visual presentation using the following or any other presentation tools they want to explore or are familiar with.

Voicethread              http://voicethread.com/

Slideshare                 http://www.slideshare.net/,

Flipshare                  https://www.flipshare.com/

You Tube                   http://www.youtube.com/

For images and visuals students should use

▪               http://www.flickr.com

▪               http://search.creativecommons.org/

▪               http://www.behold.cc/

▪               http://johnjohnston.name/flickrCC/

▪               http://www.zoo-m.com/flickr-storm/

▪               http://www.deviantart.com

▪               http://www.freestockphotos.biz/

http://compfight.com/

I could think of a lesson I would like to change but teaching is dynamic business and I see myself more as a facilitator who brings the horse to the water. Maybe I have the best job in the world!! I can design, create and make plans for my English learners to support them so that they can communicate and function in their Humanities classes. I love learning more in the next CoeTail course how to continue providing great learning opportunities for my kids!

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Present with Style

As we know, books tell stories…. every book you read changes you…even if only slightly.  You are learning, collecting material, developing personality, discovering likes and dislikes about yourself.  You are studying the human condition, and this is important because you are part of the world itself.

Reading provides for a richer, more fulfilling life.  Can you live without it?  Sure.  Some of us can. But if we share our reading it may promote reading. This tech version on You Tube is hilarious and does promote…well watch this:

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Last Saturday I worked with two great ladies, Heather and Ali on an assignment to create a digital presentation for students to share their reading. I loved the idea for Ali’s grade 5 and can easy adapt it for my 6th and 7th grade EAL Humanities classes. Like Ali, I would use it to replace the “old” Sell that Book to the Class” standing in front of the class with the book in hand and dressed up as one of the characters of the book to get extra credit!

We all were very pleased with the “5 frames” presentation format, which comes from the pecha-kucha style of presenting. Pecha kucha are 6 minutes 40 seconds long in which 20 slides are shown. This is a good format… primarily images and 20 seconds per slide…plenty of different visual material passing on front of you. It functions well as a storyboard and makes you focus really what you want to say.

This way of presenting is another work in progress for me and has great possibilities. No more boring PowerPoints! However PowerPoint is great to use for presentations but it does not have the capability to embed it on the internet. If you want to share it you can do that with Slideshare when your presentation is 100% complete. keynote is also great to use for presenatations and you can upload it on YouTube like Ali did with our Sahara Special presentation.

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