#techwoo

Screen shot of the UNIS Portal for #techwoo

Every now and then UNIS asks teachers to run workshops to show how they are using technology to enhance learning in the classroom. I was approached, said yes. Finding the time to put together something worthwhile was going to be difficult with all of the current demands so I teamed up with Emma Collins from the English department. Emma’s Grade 12 students have indvidual blogs. A nice contrast in what was going to be a blogging workshop from my class blog that is teacher managed (for now).

Due to time constraints but also excitement about what we could share our blurb to entice people into our workshop went like this:

Literacy and Numeracy join forces with Bite Size chunks of tech woo. We will  explore how to make independent learning through online woo more effective (or not?).  Numeracy chomps on reflection – a new class blog and Wallwisher with Youtube. If you are interested in improving student writing or want to explore ways to go about digital publishing, then chew on WordPress, and Youblisher (or not?). Want to see folks willing to take risks and make mistakes right in front of your faces (or not?) – we’re the workshop for you.

The (or not?) meant we’d try our best to get through it. To support our colleagues who attend I put together our resources on the school portal. This is a lockdown type of place, so I’ll post some of it here. We didn’t get through everything, but that was due to some excellent questions from our participants.

Some people believe the art of conversation is dying as we dive further into our tech gadgets. I am still talking ’til the cows come home and I dig my tech, but I can see some truth in this. In my middle school classes we play NBF, New Best Friend. Seating is random every lesson and students have to begin by making small talk or discussing their current investigation. My lovely classroom assistant has been sticking questions to the table. Funnily enough I was about to shoosh my class the other day and then I heard many of the students using the conversation starters. I wanted to start #techwoo with NBF, but this didn’t happen as we lost about ten minutes, but the idea was shared and everyone could see the conversation starters on the tables.

Then Learning to Learn, or using resources independently.

Teachers  experienced a Readers Digest version of what I do with the kids in my class. Here is a previous blog post about multiplication tricks and origami foxes.

 

Class Blog

Screen shots of the #techwoo wiki at UNIS

The class blog has been loads of fun as well as a great way to share information and work, kick off collaborative projects and for kids to reflect in one place. Click Click Click and I can sort the comments and see who has been participating. They know it will count towards their final score for Reflection.  There is a communal understanding that this is a new thing and we’ll get better at it together. Some are ready to be guest bloggers.

Individual Blogs and Digital Publishing

Emma (@collins_emma) showed what her kids have been up to in DP English Literature. Here is one of her student’s blogs. It was cool for me to read some of them as I teach the same students mathematics. She also showed them the world of ISSUU and youblisher. These are groovy, but I am wondering about how to kindle something…all I need is time…

Some examples: ispliterarymagazine (wonderful), fonts (from when we used to print more things at school), the leech (a quickly made example for a grade 7 class)

The last bitesize chunk of #techwoo was wallwisher with youtube videos. 

We shared some wallwishers, like my Grade 8 percentage poems and we had one ready for our session. Due to time lost our participants didn’t have time to post, but I think they really enjoyed that part.  I learnt about wallwisher with youtube through David Miller’s Making the Most of Online Tools through the Scottish Book Trust

I’d like to give big thanks to:

Emma Collins, my #techwoo partner (tweet at her if you’d like to participate in Literary blogs – Hamlet is currently being discussed). If you are here because you are more mathematically inclined, then perhaps you would know someone in your school teaching literature and even, coincidently, Hamlet.  @collins_emma

Clint Hamada, my #techwoo guru and UNIS’ technology facilitator for teaching me many of my tech tricks and his patience  @chamada

David Miller, for our new favourite #techwoo the wallwisher David Miller’s Making the Most of Online Tools @DavidMiller_UK

…and all my tweeps, whether they follow me or not, I get a lot out of them.

There is no way that #techwoo could have run without them

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Been Busy Elsewhere

Our class blog for grade 8 mathematics
It’s been quite a while since I blogged and I feel guilty about the work I am not doing right now. The pace of the year has not lessened, feels busier than ever before. I may not have blogged here, but I’ve been setting up the class blog. Yesterday it was unveiled to the students with three posts and some pages ready for them to read and comment on. Most commented on MangaHigh because they love it.

For them to enjoy I posted their poems on wallwisher and there is a page on TEDtalks. TED is new to most of the students and many of their parents. Homework from time to time will be to watch these and do so with their parents.

Tomorrow I will attempt the music lesson. I’ve never read a note let alone written or played any music properly. Banged on a few drums, was passed the triangle. My voice is nothing to write home about either. Mathematics is a key player in composition and making it all sound so pleasing. I figured it would make sense to look at it when we are covering fractions and order of operations. The latest blog for the class blog (for grade eight) has some extra music links for students. Hopefully they will comment on that post. We need to discuss writing comments and replies a little bit more. Most said they don’t ever read blogs.

Little bit nervous about the lesson due to my lack of musical knowledge, but all in all it should be fun and the kids should see how mathematics isn’t just in a textbook. This being one of my main goals of the year, oh, and making the mathematics class fun and inviting. Is this an assessment? No, just a one off lesson with links for kids to pursue the theme if they so wish. The blog being the perfect medium for such things.

Hopefully by the end of the year the kids will be posting and myself and my teaching partner will be only commenting.

And maybe just maybe things will settle down somewhat. I’d like to get back to my blog a bit more often so I can reflect on things.