Revisiting Digital Citizenship

With heavy tech use and technology integration being the order at AES, it calls for a sound help system that directs and guides students through the best use of technology. Technology use calls for a lot of introspection on part of the educational community so it’s dealt with in a fair way and used ethically.  The students are expected to make a positive digital footprint so they can project themselves worthy of positive and fair tech use. Middle school at AES has been propagating Digital Citizenship with gravity.  The students are taught various aspects of being good digital citizens. They are educated in various ways during classes about the crucial elements of digital citizenship to maintain a positive and safe online presence. The units planned for classroom practice and home assignments expect them to work in a connected culture, where they express their opinions based on their class learning and respond to other people’s work in a respectful manner. Students are also educated about some pressing issues like cyber bullying, hacking into peoples work, Creative Credit and Copyright laws.  They are also educated on how and who approach in case of any such emergencies where their online presence is thwarted or they being bullied for irrational things.  Digital Citizenship is included in the curriculum so the students learn to follow it in their daily classroom practice day in day out. Middle School teachers having been exercising digital citizenship by making assignment rubrics in such a way so students essentially follow the guidelines.  Also, MS Tech is all set to use the Launchpad on Digital Citizenship perceived and implemented by Ms. Watts, that takes one through variety of topics that help students understand the technology expectation standards at AES.  It  holds links to tutorials based on the software, apps and web based programs that are mostly used in school in regular classroom practice.  The tutorials help educate students to grasp the program and be resourceful in enhancing their learning. Student assignments are inclusive of most of the nine elements of digital citizenship which helps them understand on how to handle and treat the following Respect, Educate and Protect (REPs) when online Respect Your Self/Respect Others - Etiquette – Access – Law Educate Your Self/Connect with Others - Communication – Literacy – Commerce Protect Your Self/Protect Others – Rights and Responsibility – Safety (Security) – Health and Welfare The students have a variety of ways to grasp the functioning of an app or software.  They are guided by their teachers and encouraged to use them when attempting to do their class work, assignment, discussions, commenting. Besides the class learning, if a student ever stumbles to remember any features of the used apps they can refer to the online tutorials made by the tech staff.  The online tutorials prove to be a great help, as they are accessible by students, parents and teachers alike.  These resources enhance community learning and propel everyone to extended learning with positive impact. The parents and teachers feel enthused for trying new tech resources in classes. Strengthened with the school used tech tools the student feel confident about integrating tech in their class and make good use of the resources. Parents can also guide their children at home with the help of these tutorials. The teachers can engage in self-learning and direct students to access the tutorials online.  Its like a online 24×7 help resource that can be utilized by all. There are many ways of letting the community know about this immense resource available on the school website for everyone to use.  It is for the benefit of all and a great learning platform to start and  to fall in step with everything students are learning in school.  The technology, Counselling and administrative departments work together to provide parents with the day-to-day events taking place at school.  The parents are kept in loop with all the crucial information that impacts and molds their children’s learning, so they can relate to their ward’s learning and progress.  Parent suggestions and concerns are taken into consideration in order to make a sound-learning environment. Students are encouraged to use technology for learning in a way, where they enjoy lessons and come home with understanding that stays with them forever. Some of the ways through which the awareness to this resource can be spread are listed below:

  • Parent letter
  • Parent Coffee
  • Week at glance (WAG)
  • Link on MS Calendar
  • Emailing the link and information through Veracross
  • Link imprinted in the Student Agenda
  • A mention in the Student Bulletin

This past year has been a great learning experience for our Middle School Students and Faculty. The advent of iPads opened up a whole new window for transformational learning. The students and faculty got a huge opportunity to work in more meaningful and interactive environment.  We noticed tremendous tech integration, keeping the curriculum needs in place.  The students benefitted a lot with this learning tool. I saw the Tpack and SAMR models of learning being practiced in classrooms.  Variety of dedicated apps for science, math, humanities, Foreign language, PE, Music have been put to use to enhance student learning.  They visually watched the concepts being taught in class, which eventually helped them in comprehending the same. I went to a couple science and math classes where the teachers redefined their teaching strategy by engaging their students in real time learning where they create, share, discuss and present their understanding to their peers and teachers.  Middle School students and faculty used Google apps enormously, and synced their data to various apps to improve upon accessibility. This easy accessibility of data in cross platform gave them ability to learn better and share better.  It also prodded them towards being confident digital citizens. Teachers are constantly using technology for sharing ideas with mediums like Google hangouts, skyping peers, blogging and twittering their experiences and receiving feedback from across the globe to make for transformational learning. This makes them capable of using technology to optimum best by creating new learning ways for their students, which could sustain and stimulate their interest for learning.  Our tech coordinator has been actively engaged in sending new ways of making teachers and students maintain their digital portfolios.  They are constantly advocated on using variety of apps and online programs that can be used to gain more and more learning in an independent way.  Students and Faculty were so iPad driven this past year that they optimally used the resource for learning.  They created some spectacular learning videos, blogged and shared their experiences with their teachers and parents.  Eight graders used them during their regular classroom practice and UbD project.  They collected and compiled lots of information on ipads and created cool videos with the information collected.  IPads proved to be a great learning tool for the Middle Schoolers and with many of the apps with new versions are even getting better and more apt for classroom use. Substitution Online tutorials are sure a substitution for the printed tutorials that the technology department circulated to its teachers. It also is substitution for the workshops that were being help to teach certain aspects of an app.  Given to the growing tech needs in classrooms online digital citizenship tech resource page has been put in place for all to access. It not only benefits the teachers and students but is also be available to the parents. Tech trainings are also conducted from time to time to make the teachers aware of the new surfacing tech tools.  Parents are addressed in the parent coffee meetings where some are solely based on technology, that students use in daily classroom practice. Augmentation The functional improvement in the tutorials is that they are in presentation form and can guide the user step after step.  They can be accessed from school and home to facilitate learning.  It is a helpful improvement for students to get uninterrupted instruction hence proving the productivity. This practice makes the students more independent. Modification As mentioned above in step one, the tutorials were either laminated sheets or set of instructions to comprehend an application or process.  Now they are being substituted by easy to follow presentations and videos, which demonstrate the sequence of steps with snap shots and text. The tutorials are accessible 24×7 by all (students, teachers and parents) Redefinition On a quest to make AES a paperless school the students and faculty totally use the digital tools to create, express, share and collaborate.  With AESMS going 1:1 iPad, required a lot of planning in place.  The Tech department at MS School headed by Ms Watts kept devising tutorials to improvise upon strengthening the skills of students and staff.  Ms. Watts wrote a book “Learning with iPads” which was distributed to all the MS Students. It covered all the essential topics of being a good digital citizen and highlighted on the ethics that need to be followed around technology. Besides this Ms. Watts conceived and crafted digital citizenship web resource, which elaborately covered all the essential elements of being a good digital citizen. It certainly is a redefinition of the practice we were following in the past. These steps were so required to support the students and faculty in the direction of learning independently. AES is devising seamless ways to imparting education where learning can take place effectively.  IPad has proved to be a wonderful learning tool where students could easily collect pictures, videos, create interesting presentations and videos out of the same and share them with teachers, peers and parents. The entire tech staff and teachers can contribute towards creating helpful tutorials. The tutorials are created collaboratively and are supported with graphics and videos. I see SAMR and TPACK both being practiced with MS tech advocating tech practice so passionately, as the teachers are clear of the content with strong pedagogical skills, they are also integrating tech in curriculum using new strategies to improve the student learning.  Most teachers are at the redefinition level where technology comes naturally in classroom practice, and focused learning takes place.  With the easy access to these tutorials on digital citizenship the educators will be able bring home the curriculum effectively.  They are able to fulfill the ISTE NETS for Teachers and Students both where teachers provide ample room for critical thinking, collaborative and interactive work within the confines of Digital Citizenship. Both these approaches give teachers adequate feedback for reflecting on their own teaching strategies and prod them to do even better with their planning new lessons.             I was assigned the task to create some Online Tutorials of web based apps that are regularly used in classroom practice and will also benefit the new arrivals (students and faculty both)  24X7. It was a great learning experience for me as I felt that all these apps are potential learning tools that help promote collaborative learning environment.  The participation of all counts and real time editing, manipulation and quick feedback help students and teachers take learning to a whole new level.  I feel its a complete redefinition of teaching and learning where all the aspects of ISTE are met. The tutorials that I was assigned to make and a couple extra are as under

Streamlining the Resources

Technology being integral to curriculum calls for a meticulous technical assistance for it to be seamless.  To avoid confusion and frustration while implementing new teaching strategies during classes, teachers are required to be well equipped with the pedagogy and aware of the best-suited tech tools to bring out the best in student learning.  The tools do not need to be the latest but the ones that comply well with the class requirement.

Middle School at AES is already piloting 1:1 iPad program and is preparing the students to become members of the so-called 21st Century workforce. The tech department is trying to push a one stop shop for a set of guided tutorials, to benefit the entire AES Community (Students, Teachers and Parents) so they continue to grow in their learning with complete (24X7) tech guidance.

For students to become independent, a learning environment is being created, where students, coordinate, collaborate, think critically, are motivated,  are productive and self directed.  The classroom practice at AES fulfills the curriculum and the ISTE Nets standards for Students and Teachers to great extent.  Such enormous step towards digital citizenship propels the students toward enanced learning and sets them for future, higher learning objectives.

Introducing students to Digital Citizenship in Middle School-AES 

All the student when in Middle School at AES, go through tech sessions fabricated into their regular classes, where they are briefed about all the programs mentioned below, so they can stay connected and receive/share information.  Students are required to use the tech resources ethically and treat it as a privilege. They attend a digital citizenship camp to become aware of how to use technology in their favor and have a positive electronic footprint, which could help them in future.

The tutorial for each of the mentioned program below is on the following site. The site is still under construction and the tech team from MS is working on competing the page soon.  The page is accessible to faculty and students.

1. Gmail accounts – making students comfortable with the email program so they can use email program features effectively (text and video)

  • Inbox

Google offers a complete environment for easy accessibility to data and effective collaboration.

2. Veracross – is an online program that holds the students information including their grades, schedules, attendance, and personal details. Parents also have an access to this program and they can check their ward’s progress in school via this medium.

  • Student Attendance
  • Student Grades
  • Student Assignments
  • Student Schedule

3. Blogs – offer a great platform to students and teachers to assimilate, share their thoughts.  Their assignments are also posted on the teacher blogs, and in case of any absence from school; the students can check the teacher blog for assignments.

Students have also used blogs as a platform to lead their Parent/Teacher Conferences where students share their work from different subject areas to give their parents a insight into their school life.

The students are taught to do the following in their classes and advisories.

How to

  • Make a Post for (Quarterly Reflections)
  • Make a Page
  • Add links (teacher blog and calendar links,external links)
  • Access the widgets
  • Insert images on the posts and pages
  • Insert videos
  • Making hyperlinks
  • Update and preview the page

Teacher Calendar links – From here the students can get to their teacher blogs.

4. MS/HS library (Database password-aestigers) (text and video)

Library site has some great databases links for the student research work.  The databases can be accessed with a username and password provided to students.

5. AES Learning Portal    (go.aes.ac.in) 

AES Learning Portal is a one-stop shop to access all the crucial programs used in school.

6. Saving data on the School Server

  • Z drive-Personal space with capacity of 8 MB
  • MS-Student Shared-accessible to all students and faculty
  • Pen drive-Properly formatted

The student’s can use the server space provided by school for storing their class work.  Each student has been allocated space on server to save his or her school related data.  It proves handy as the server can be accessed from any laptop or computer when in school.  The server is accessible only, when in school.  No access to it when outside of school.

Students also are made to create drop box accounts so they can transfer their data from home to school and vice versa.

They use their USB also to transfer data.

They send files as attachments via email

They share videos via youtube.  The students upload their school videos using the school youtube a/c. 

7. Helping students with setting up of their iPads 

For the students, to be able to use the school provided iPad, their iPads need to be registered and connected to the MS server.  Then students are taken through a tutorial on how to create their own free apple id. 

After the successful creation of apple id, they are given the access to Self Service. Self Service gives students access to all the apps that school has purchased on teachers request, so they can implement upon, during classes.  This practice strengthens, student learning and comprehension of the subject matter.

8. Installing the Self Service 

Getting their ipads connected to the MS server (providing their MAC address to the tech office). Setting up of apple id, for installing the Self Service and availing school            purchased, educational apps, for classroom use.  How to add Self Service to your iPad

9. Printing from laptops and iPads 

The students are made aware of the printers available in middle school. They are educated on how to do economy printing (back to back and gray scale).

The students are not hugely encouraged to print, when in school, they mostly share their data, electronically, with their teachers, and print only when asked by their teachers.

Students can print from iPads also using the wireless Airprinters

10. Uploading videos on YouTube. 

Students are required to put their assignments and class learning in form of video, on their blogs.  They upload their videos on youtube and plant the link on the blogs post or pages respectively.  It good learning resource for later reference and sharing with the peer in distant location. They are expected to use the school youtube account for school work.

11. Email Etiquette

Picture Source

Building a PLN

Building a PLN for Faculty at AES

We need to strengthen the tech skills of our educators as they can inculcate a healthy practice of using technology ethically in our students. This entire exercise is done with the intent to provide the teachers with a tech Launchpad so they learn to grow more independent.  This platform gives them a window to communicate and collaborate and plan a curriculum that works best for students.  Every teacher aspires to teach in way so they could instill higher-level thinking and problem solving skills their students.

Middle School at AES being the first one to go 1:1 is pioneering the role for the other schools. It leaves the entire tech crew and teachers with a huge responsibility.  The teachers constantly engage students in class activities, which requires for them to use tech heavily. The students are using tech all the time in math, humanities, science, world language, multimedia and robotics class.  The teachers are redefining the teaching strategies so students get better with comprehending the content taught and integrate across the classes.

The teachers are also collaborating, communicating with their counterparts across the world to know more about different means and platforms of teaching.  The school has purchased quite a few apps on teacher’s demand, that they regularly at different grade levels.  The students now are free to try, test, experiment, take videos and photos and print them out with the same device.  The students feel inspired in a tech based learning environment where they are constantly interacting with their peers and the real world.  They feel independent and equipped with slick means of technology that is easily available and very good in quick response.

I would also like to share some resources from other educators.

I have shared a few resources, that talk about the measures different schools take, to advocate and improve upon digital literacy.  Loved Kim Cofino’s Blog, which has a great deal to offer.

Worth going through, Online Resources

10-digital-citizenship-tips-from-your-mother

10-reasons-to-try-20-time-in-the-classroom

The definition of digital citzenship

Facilitating a student tech team

Increasing Teachers Digitial Efficiency

Technology in Education

Accessibility to Resources

Technology benefits us all manifold, if applied conscientiously and ethically and this can be justified by putting in all the right pieces in form guidelines for students, teachers and parents.  It is always a collaborative effort of the three groups that can make a safe and productive environment for learning. It is our duty as educators that we put forth a guided path for our students so they embark on this digital journey with complete confidence and perspective.

An effort towards fulfilling my goal of making easy to use instructions for our students and faculty, the tutorials have been saved on the

Digital Citizenship

The tech tutorials available on the page, are a collective effort of tech professionals from AES(MS and HS). The site is still under construction, and the tutorials are being added constantly.

My aim is to propagate this immense resource to the entire AES community (Students, Teachers and Parents), so they can be empowered and be more independent.  I am aiming at the following means for spreading the word around

  • Link School website
  • Parent newsletter
  • AES Portal
  • Veracross resouces
  • Google Calendar
  • A link in student blogs

This process will empower the community to justify their need for effective learning at their own pace. It implies at strengthening our students for a better tomorrow where they find themselves equipped, independent and skilled with digital tools.

Digital Citizenship – Perspectives in Place

I felt that this could a part of tech class and the students are made to read such articles on how to save their identity on web and be mindful of what to post.  I have been through some of the practices that other schools are following and some interesting opinions from people across the world

Student Tech Team: Student Leadership in Action – Kim Cofino

Kim’s blog is very inspiring and has a lot to offer for digital literacy and tech integration. It’s worth looking through. I liked to see the flipped role as students being the digital natives take the ownership of teaching and present it to their peers.  What a great way of learning and sharing.

Digital Citizenship – Using Technology Appropriately

Increasing Teachers Digital Efficiency

How You’re Unknowingly Embarrassing Yourself Online (and How to Stop) by Alan Henry

How Does Technology Facilitate Learning?

Budding Technology

“Technology is just a tool. In terms of getting the kids working together and motivating them, the teacher is the most important. “

-Bill Gates

 AES is a multicultural school with students from diverse locations.  Being an international school, students join AES at different times of the year and their experience and exposure to technology is varied.  The counseling and technology department work hand in hand, for students to have a smooth transition. A well-tailored landing stage for technology is arranged for them. The goal is to have them roll into the class routine as quickly as possible.

This all is achieved with the easy to understand tutorials arranged for the students and their parents on one to one basis.  They are made aware of process and tech procedures that are followed at AES. The tutorials cover the following

For Students

  1. Creation of personal ids for the server use, email access, calendar syncing for quick homework access, blog access for sharing the reflections and Veracross for checking the grades and schedule
  2. Facilitating the access to educational apps for school use. AES is piloting 1:1 iPad program in Middle School.  The students get to keep their iPads for the entire school year and use them in all their classes based on the class criteria, hence helping students  to create their own apple id so they can avail the school purchased apps
  3. Educating students about the digital citizenship and fair use of technology. It covers the following
  •      Internet Safety
  •      Privacy & Security
  •      Relationships & Communication
  •     Cyberbullying
  •     Digital Footprint & Reputation
  •     Self-image & Identity
  •     Information Literacy
  •     Creative Credit & Copyright
  1. Educating students about the printer locations in Middle School
  2. Making students aware of the library databases for research

For Parents

  1. To stay tuned with their ward’s progress at school
  2. Communication with their ward’s teachers and administrative staff
  3. Getting information of day to day and upcoming events

The students are educated about the technology norm that our school follows via tech session arranged by the Technology department at school level.  It is mandatory for the students and parents to attend all the tech sessions.  The students are taken through the tutorials in parts so they don’t feel overwhelmed with too much to begin with.

The Middle School also plans on putting the videos of these key tutorials on the school website, so the students can take advantage whenever they feel stumped. These tutorials are a one stop shop and can be accessed from school and home likewise.  The tutorials will provide timely help to the students and also help them enhance their troubleshooting skills.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Resource Links

http://www.jigsaw24.com/ipad/store/fcp-category/departmenthome

http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/topics/topic_technology.html#8lzhhULx7fpdjSVm.99

Revolutionizing Education Through Technology

It’s hard to predict what future has in store for us but looking at the upward swing of technology, tech will never cease to exist but will get more sophisticated.  There is no way to avoid but be part of the digital revolution and imbibe it in our daily lives like necessity.  Classroom teaching will still stay integral to the education system.  Online mediums of learning will continue to blossom and offer opportunities of learning to everyone.  I see a great change in education from the time I went to school and did my college.  I have  seen the environment change tremendously from “the sage on the stage”  to the one with total engagement and active participation from students.

Students will always be exposed to technology in their journey of learning.  But they will always need a direction to know of ways to use it effectively and ethically.  Immense tech resources can confuse the students in making fair choices for themselves so they need to be taught of all the measures of being a law abiding netizen.  Digital citizenship needs to be propagated with fervor so the students understand their responsibility around technology.

https://docs.google.com/present/view?id=0Aa-o9fErvSCiZGRmanI4NnRfNjNkZms5cndjbg

Teachers are facilitators of education and their role is to inspire and motivate students to be imaginative, critical thinkers who can think differently and make connections to their daily life. I am a total fan of the TPACK strategy which professes that one does not need to have high end technology in classrooms but make use of all the available resources and using it for one’s benefit.  I also believe in the teacher knowing their content fully well and fabricate technology around it to keep the essence of class.

Classroom teaching I feel will still be prevalent as teachers will always remain important in student’s life.  They inspire students, motivate and introduce them to new ways of learning` and a one to one connection with teacher will always be needed.  It is very important to maintain student interest in class and a teacher plays a very crucial role by juggling through various teaching strategies to achieve the same.

Students today, are tech savvy and have a natural inclination towards technology. They welcome a leap into new ways of teaching that involve tech integration.  Teachers are constantly learning ways to integrate technology in classes so the content is conveyed by interesting methods which in return sustains the essence of class

“In order to integrate games into the existing school environment, they must address

several common concerns of teachers:

• Their need to cover mandated content areas;

• A healthy skepticism of new technologies (combined with a lack of infrastructure for these technologies);

• An unfamiliarity with games, and no easy route to game competence.”  Moving Learning Games Forward

Students have a natural bend towards gamification as visuals tend to have more impact on human mind. The students relate more to spatial learning.  The concepts stay with them for long as they are able to make references to their learning from other subjects. The students learn to strategize and learn ways of solving problems.  Angry bird’s app is an excellent example of learning hyperbola – a math concept.  I also agree with the opinion thrown in Role of play where a child gets to sense or feel

1. freedom to fail;

2. freedom to experiment;

3. freedom to fashion identities;

4. freedom of effort;

5. freedom of interpretation

Dr. Pink’s video is also quite true when it talks about the various measures of motivation.  Teaching is one profession which is gratifying when students are responding well to encouragement, innovation, and inspiration. A positive behavior from students is an indication.    Teachers engage students in activities that are interesting, stimulating, and are good learning source for the students. Such activities are fulfilling and contribute towards learning.

It is very important to maintain student interest in class and a teacher plays a very crucial role by juggling through various teaching strategies to achieve the same.  Students today, are tech savvy and have a natural inclination towards technology. They welcome a leap into new ways of teaching that involve tech integration.  Teachers are constantly learning ways to integrate technology in classes so the content is conveyed by interesting methods which in return sustains the essence of class.

I would love to highlight some interesting examples of student curiosity and achievement. They all followed their passion with perseverance.

A Camera into space to capture the curvature of earth

An airplane with remote by a 10th gr from Pune

Samarth’s Airplane in action

A group of four girls from Rochester, New York have developed an ingenious, low-tech method for pasteurizing milk to make sure it’s safe for human consumption. The group, calling themselves the Hippie Pandas, heard about the plight of women being sickened by unsafe milk in Nicaragua from a relative in the Peace Corps and decided to create an easy way for people in rural areas to pasteurize their milk.  http://www.care2.com/causes/teen-girls-saving-lives-with-award-winning-invention-video.html#ixzz27rDZYS2s

Robotics Unit for Students

The students use the project based learning in this class as they collaborate and work together on any given challenge.  They use their strengths to evolve a good functional design. The students are required to use their imagination to come up with a program to meet the challenge. The students go through a complete integration cycle where they make decisions to choose the best workable solutions. (First the students need to understand the requirement of sensors they need to use for the task. Upon deciding that they test and try the potential of sensors so they can be effectively utilized.  In this challenge the students have to make some connections with science and math. They make use of sensors to detect the difference of Light and dark surface.  They sense the hurdles on way and try means to go around the obstructions).

The students follow a design cycle in which they work in stages

  • identifying or clarifying a need or opportunity -The students identify the problem . They students understand the problem before offering the solution. Eg. The sensors required for meeting the challenge, the bot design effective for task.
  • analysing, researching and specifying requirements – They look for the criteria that fits the strategy. They discuss the constraints that would be key in mould the ideas like the availability of key components for building the bot
  • generating ideas and solutions – They brainstorm for possible solutions. It is divergent thinking with no ideas termed as wrong or bad. The students generate ideas and come up with more than one workable solutions.  Explore various possibilities and then combine their findings and choose the most effective workable solution.
  • developing the chosen solution – The students work on team management and share the tasks among their groups. They after building a model or prototype the students test it for working.
  • realising the chosen solution – They continuously refine the design and make changes to make it better and more effective. The test is conducted against a variety of criteria’s so the design is successful
  • testing and evaluating the chosen solution – Finally the design is ready for trials.

http://www.nasa.gov/images/content/183836main_edc_flow_5-12_540.jpg

The Robotics challenge that students take – challenge

UbD designed for students – Robotics_ubd

Tech Integration in Robotics

The nature of my class demands a collaborative environment where students work together on robotics challenges. They work in teams, brainstorm through a variety of ideas and engage in critical thinking.  Their goal is to devise the best strategy to come to a solution.  Their troubleshooting skills get strong with every successive class. They get to learn about the various robotics parts like motors, sensors, gears and their significance in the making and maneuvering of a robot.  They are able to make connections to the automated mechanisms like touch technology (phone, automated video games, and much more, they use in their daily routine.  Technology adds flair to content by letting the students share their experiences and with other students and vice versa.

The activities planned are project based and the students are given simple tips on how to approach the challenge by breaking it into small parts and dividing the task to every team member.  Everybody gets to do their fair share of work. In Robotics, the students are required to put together a simple taskbot for starter.  They use an instruction manual for building their first bot.  They are introduced to the programming editor where they put programming blocks together to maneuver their bot.  The students are also given extra credit for being supportive and helpful to their peers outside of their group.  They are constantly applauded for the efforts they put in.

After these baby steps, they are taken from mild challenges to some difficult ones.  They also compete against each other on various challenges.  After a couple robotics tasks they feel equipped and confident and are able to experiment with the design of their robot and programming.  The students capture videos of their accomplished challenges and post them on youtube to share with their classmates and family via their blogs.  They use ipads to record video conveniently and post them various digital mediums with ease.  In the robotics club some students at times use android phones to maneuver their bots like remotes.

They also devise their own challenges and practice them.  Since it’s a hand on class they truly enjoy this class and stay engrossed through and through. They learn to be independent, interactive, innovative and inspiring individuals. They enjoy this stress free environment. It is a step towards a cohesive classroom.

This branch of technology can get a lift if more robotics resources and other school’s engagement with robotics can be shared on the web.  One such great site is NXT Programs.com  It shares the simple and complicated Robotics designs with their building instructions and programs attached.  It’s a great resource for the creative students who get inspiration for creativity from this site.

I am thinking of students making videos of their challenges and also recording a voice over to share the challenges they faced while accomplishing a task and the strategies they used to overcome the problems.  Their experiences can help other students across the globe and can be a good authentic resource for all beginners.

The Playable Classroom is an interesting article that throws light on surge of technology that has been around and changing the traditional classroom into a complete digital classroom.  This changes forces teachers to shoulder more responsibility.  The teachers need to constantly upgrade their skills so they can stay ahead of their students by creating interesting and engaging lesson plans. The teachers also need to know their content, pedagogy and then use technology in balance so it remains a meaningful lesson for students. I recently went to attend a class in High School where a science teacher was using NearPod, an app on ipad with his students. He used this app to share a powerpoint with his class that had illustrated slides on it.  All the students got to see the same slides as their teacher.  He taught the topic, quizzed them for answers and also asked them questions throughout to check their understanding.  It was a complete interactive and tech integrated class which had all students tuned in.  The students had no control over their ipad display.  The teacher was in complete control of his class.

I also liked reading 5 Strategies For 1 to 1 Classroom Management which talks about 24/7 access to resources for nonstop learning.  The web based learning environment like cloud computing, google docs, blogs and many others are some of the refined tools that facilitate learning.  True the students should also be aware and should be made to practice the Acceptable User Policy for digital use.  The grading system should be such which is inclusive of giving credits for any external resources used.

“This stuff is new to me and I don’t know it all.  But I am excited to learn it and I know that it empow­ers you as learn­ers.  There­fore, I am will­ing to embrace tech­nol­ogy because I know it will make your edu­ca­tion more valuable. The line underlined is very inspiring as I have seen technology bring about some positive changes in the educational system at AES.  AES is a great example of tech integration as the teachers are involved in learning new strategies for a collaborative environment.

They are also required to teach students the ethical use technology via file sharing and being respectful to other people online and every other possible way.  I also agree with Rich Kiker’s viewpoint of introducing the important tech sessions to students so they stay abreast of the latest tech trends and be skilled, capable and responsible users of technology.

The NMC report talks about the substantial shift in education which is more activity and challenge based.  It’s more collaborative than ever before.  It’s easier to access educational resources, share resources, problem solve with discussions, access the experts in far flung destinations. The modern age tech tools have given access and freedom of expression and knowledge to one and all.  The NMC Horizon Report is not a predictive tool. It is meant, rather, to highlight emerging technologies with considerable potential for our focus areas of education and interpretation.”  http://www.nmc.org/pdf/2012-horizon-report-HE.pdf

Online courses, testing, immediate score retrieval, getting accreditions was never so easy before. The traditional education trends are changing gradually to give more freedom to the the learners so they are in sync with the changing tech platform.

Credits – Thanks to Mr. Hoover for letting me be a part of his science class while he was using NearPod with his class.

My Class Video demonstrating the tech integration