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Archive for the ‘Professional Collaboration’ Category

Using Skype in the Classroom

September 4, 2012 Leave a comment

Skype is a free download that enables users to make video calls using a computer. Skype can be used in the classroom as an easy way to expand classroom walls to create amazing learning experiences. Teachers can connect with experts, share ideas with colleagues, and provide opportunities for students to learn from others around the world.

Mystery Skype calls are one way to bring geography to life! Mr. Avery’s Classroom Blog describes how he used Skype to enhance his class. Students were given the task to determine the location of a class in another state by using clues. Students could only ask yes or no questions. When given a yes answer, they could then ask a follow up question. Students were assigned various roles in the activity, including inquirers, question keepers, Google mappers, runners, logical reasoners, and clue keepers. Each role played a part in helping solve the mystery location, and provided opportunities for students to practice reading maps, using online mapping tools, working together, and using problem-solving skills.

Image: renjith krishnan / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

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Edublogs Teacher Challenges: Free Professional Learning

August 28, 2012 Leave a comment

Edublogs Teacher Challenges provide opportunities for teachers to increase their instructional skills while participating in an online learning community. Each challenge lasts for 30 days and includes a series of tasks that can be used to increase knowledge of Web 2.0 technologies. Teachers who participate have opportunities to make connections with a global community of colleagues. The best part is that each challenge can be completed in just minutes right at your computer, a huge plus for busy teachers looking for creative ways to enhance their technology skills.

Have you ever wondered how Twitter could be used for more than simple entertainment? Have you ever wanted to start a classroom blog, but weren’t sure how to make it happen? Are you looking for webinars with hot topics just for educators? Are you looking for ways to connect with colleagues around the world? The Creating a PLN series presents ways to increase your Personal Learning Network (PLN) using Web 2.0 resources.

Image: sheelamohan / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Interactive Internet Resources for Whiteboards

Promethean Planet is a collection of interactive, Internet-based lessons that can be used with whiteboards. The site contains educational resources for all subjects and grade levels. The Professional Development link provides an overview of features to help you get started using the site. Interactive community features provide the means for teachers to share lesson plans and resources and connect with fellow educators. Selected lesson plans may be saved for future use. Thousands of resources can be easily searched by subject and keyword and by categories such as games, professional development, links, projects, simulations, and worksheets. Some resources are free, others must be purchased.

The Birmingham Grid for Learning website offers resources arranged by category: foundation, primary, and secondary. Resources are further arranged by subject area. You will find a variety of educational materials, from a moon globe to road safety to suggestions for innovative ideas for using whiteboards.

The Lee’s Summit, MO R7 School District Instructional Technology Team maintains a list of interactive resources for the SMART Board. Resources include SMART Board tutorials, pre-made SMART Notebook templates, and sites that provide instructional resources for use with whiteboards. Instructional resources listed on this site are primarily for elementary students. There are a few resources that can be used in secondary classrooms, most notably Freeze Ray, which contains simulations that can be used for physics, chemistry, and biology.

Image: jannoon028 / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

ISTE NETS-S Implementation Wiki

April 12, 2012 Leave a comment

Image: Matt Banks / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

The International Society for Technology in Education hosts the Nets for Students Implementation Wiki. The wiki is a resource that provides opportunities for educators to collaborate to design learning activities that implement NETS-S standards. Wiki topics are organized by standards and by grade level.

On the Critical Thinking, Problem Solving, and Decision Making page, Debbie Kritikos presented an algebra project (Scenario B) in which students created an automobile sales flyer. They used the Internet to locate the invoice price and MSRP for a new vehicle. Then, they calculated the discount, tax, and financing costs using Internet-based loan calculators. They also calculated savings between the prices by using percent of change. Then, they created an automobile advertising flyer using a template within Microsoft Word. Kritikos reported that her students identified with the realistic situation of buying a car. They learned the concept of paying interest and the fact that to afford the car of their choice, they needed to get a good job.

Another member of the wiki, Thomas Wright, noted that the scenario presented by Kritikos allowed the students to:

* Identify and define authentic problem with significant question for investigation. The students were instructed to find a car of their choice and develop a sales flyer to lure customers to buy the car.

* Plan/manage activities to develop a solution/complete a project. The students were to find ways to provide financing to customers so that they could afford the cars through discounts from invoices, tax breaks and special financing.

* Collect and analyze data to make informed decisions. The students calculated finance costs in different ways to see what would be the best rate. After comparing financing options, students decided which option would best benefit the customer.

He suggested that an additional step should be added to require students to add insurance costs to the cost of owning the car. He stated that many times, insurance can be the final step in deciding whether to buy certain types of cars. This addition would allow students to see that financing does not determine whether a customer can afford a car–insurance plays a key part, too. The scenario was made even stronger by adding Wright’s perspective.

This project is well-suited for applications in secondary math or technology. It effectively integrates technology concepts with practical math applications. In a secondary technology classroom, this project might be used for teaching a unit on desktop publishing applications.