End of the Year: Edmodo Clean-up

The end of the school year is upon us; time to wrap up loose ends and organize everything so summer is productive after a brief shut down and decompress.  It is at this time I usually archive my Edmodo classes for the current year, deleting them erases everything, archiving saves information for later access if necessary.  Yes, I am a hoarder…but that was a previous post.

This year, PAECT pushed out a student survey for inout about technology, I received it yesterday.  The link to the Google Form was promptly sent out to students via Edmodo, with an update via Cel.ly.  Archiving needs to wait until the survey closes out next week.  I thought about what to to do with the classes in the mean time, I have good students, but I did not want to chance inappropriate comments being posted in the group feed.  If comment were to show up I could delete them, but there would be no way to handle the issue with the students.  I am fairly certain that 99.99% of my students would not post anything inappropriate to the class feed, but when it comes to silly comments and goofiness, the number drops to 95%.  *

I decided to go in change students in all of this year’s classes “Read Only.”  Students can still message me with questions and concerns, but they can no longer comment in the classroom feed.  To do this I clicked on the “Members” tab on the left side of each group.  This pulls up my students in alphabetical order where I click on the “More”  tab to the right of each name.  A drop down menu appears and you click on “Read Only.”   It may seem a bit cumbersome if you have a large number of students, but it is nice safeguard against a possibly bad decision.  In reality, it did not take long to accomplish this task.

*Yes, the numbers are unscientific, but I did have a large number of students who forgot to sign out of accounts on the shared iPads this year.  The students who found these issues gleefully shared the incidents with me, but did not post anything in the other students name.  Therefore I think my numbers are fairly accurate based on informal observations.

Touchcast App for iPad

“Wow! Why have I waited so long to try this out!!!!” Those were the initial thoughts I had yesterday when I finally tried out Touchcast. Touchcast is a video recording app for iPads and in beta for PCs. I have had this app on my iPad for awhile now, but never attempted to use it. My personality changes when I record myself, I become very introverted and quiet, not very good qualities for recording oneself.

Nevertheless, I jumped in yesterday to record a couple of short videos to introduce myself to my next school year’s Honors Civics Classes, you can read more about this here. After about 15 takes I came up with two videos that explain a few things about my class, important links, what is expected, and attempted to show a glimpse of my personality.

Videos are limited to five minutes at a time and you are given sixty minutes of storage on their site, which is not an issue since you can automatically push videos to your YouTube account for archiving. Touchcast has some neat built in perks such as sound effects, green screen, audio file insert from iTunes, and whiteboards. Best of all, it is FREE!

The videos were pushed to YouTube where I grabbed the embed code and shared to my Edmodo classroom for my incoming students to view. Super easy, super quick, and a great way to communicate with students and parents.

Check out Touchcast here.

School Year 2014/2015

Well, the current school year of 2013/2014 is coming to a close…as of Thursday, June 5, 2014, my students are sone for the year. Before the end of the year we started having what was called “Step-up Day” where students would go around with their next year’s schedules and meet their teachers for the upcoming year. We are a smaller school, so most of the high school students and teachers can at least recognize each other on site if not know each other already. The big introduction comes from the Eighth Graders who come up from the middle school. This year due to a myriad of issues, there will be no “Step-up Day.”

I will have two Ninth Grade Honors Civics Classes next year. The transition from 8th to 9th Grade is a tough one for some students; add to that jumping in to an honors course AND the non-traditional structure of my course…it can take a bit of time for them to adjust. To combat the changes I have already set up my Edmodo classroom for the Honors Classes and emailed the code to their 8th Grade Social Studies Teacher. Students will not be given mandatory summer assignments, but will have the opportunity to voluntarily check out resources and items that will be posted over the summer.

Those who participate will receive badges, or some sort of fun reward for taking the time out of their summer to peruse the Edmodo group. The direct benefit for them will be that they will be comfortable with the online classroom and resources before the school year even starts. Hopefully they, and their parents, will also be comfortable enough to communicate and ask any questions that may arise during the upcoming year. My goal is to make them more prepared for the challenges they will be facing next year and beyond…(sorry Buzz Lightyear, I could not resist stealing your line.)

It has been less than 24 hours since the students have had the Edmodo join code and 4 students have already joined the group. They will be greeted with a typed message and two Touchcast videos from yours truly, but that is another post…

edcamp PGH, April 5, 2014

edcamp PGH, April 5, 2014

Notes from Saturday’s edcamp Pittsburgh.

  1. Amazing how different #edcamppgh from #edcampcbus. Same approach, both totally compelling, surprisingly distinct takeaways. #ohedchat
  2. To all my educator friends, here is a great write up about today’s #edcamppgh  http://www.mrharrold.com/ebl.html  By far the best PD experience yet!
  3. “Just because they are compliant doesn’t mean they are learning.” – @mr_harrold #edcamppgh
  4. Eating a left over sticky bun from #edcamppgh – wow Zeke’s Coffee is amazing!
  5. Thanks to all the attendees & especially to the organizers of #edcamppgh I just got back to Philadelphia, I had a wonderful day
  6. We all need to become advocates to incorporate technology into education – 9th grade former @ECSInnovator student #edcamppgh
  7. Look at this handsome group of math teachers lucky enough to go to #edcamppgh together: @lmhenry9 @JustinAion @JamiDanielle @reilly1041
  8. @Flipslegitz inspires #edcamppgh to create more engaging and connecting learning opportunities in order to get to thriving communities
  9. You can FEEL real learning. How much we forget as we grow up. How much we can learn from students like Phillipa. @LrningInstigatr #edcampPGH
  10. Being a Connected Educator at 11:00 with @lmhenry9 and yours truly! #edcamppgh
  11. We all need to become advocates to incorporate technology into education – 9th grade former @ECSInnovator student #edcamppgh
  12. CAPA Student now addressing #edcamppgh, what learning is and should be from student perspective. #edcamppgh
  13. “I know what learning feels like, its exciting. So when Im in an academic space & I dont feel it, its kinda weird.”#studentwisdom #edcamppgh
  14. “We are spending our time preparing for tests that test what we’re being taught. Is that learning?” 8th grader Phillipa Zeng #edcamppgh
  15. “We are spending our time preparing for tests that test what we’re being taught. Is that learning?” 8th grader Phillipa Zeng #edcamppgh
  16. “I know what learning feels like, its exciting. So when Im in an academic space & I dont feel it, its kinda weird.”#studentwisdom #edcamppgh
  17. We all need to become advocates to incorporate technology into education – 9th grade former @ECSInnovator student #edcamppgh
  18. 6-word memoir about my gift as a teacher. “I am a learner as well.” #edcamppgh
  19. Let’s harness the creative power of our youth to solve some of our greatest problems #edcamppgh @LrningInstigatr
  20. 6-word memoir: write a summary of your gift as a teacher. Go… @LrningInstigatr #edcamppgh
  21. We should use abundance thinking not scarcity thinking #edcamppgh
  22. Students need to be a part of the conversation about justice. #edcamppgh
  23. Teachers should be collaborators – have best interest of the student in mind. via @LrningInstigatr #edcampPGH #edchat #gtchat
  24. The network is more powerful than the node. -From a slide from @LrningInstigatr #EdCampPGH
  25. Are we not a commonwealth? Love it! We should work towards the well being for all in the state, amen! #edcamppgh
  26. @LrningInstigatr “we are all connected, children need to do well no matter what school they go to.” #edcamppgh
  27. We need to have a healthy discourse about learning and education. @LrningInstigatr #edcamppgh
  28. We need to shift back from debate – where there are winners & losers – to discourse – where we hear one another. @LrningInstigatr #edcamppgh
  29. Via @ LrningInstigatr we need more intelligent discourse. #edcamppgh
  30. “Everything around us is created! Someone thought up everything around you, why can’t it be you?” – @LrningInstigatr #edcamppgh
  31. We need to shift back from debate – where there are winners & losers – to discourse – where we hear one another. @LrningInstigatr #edcamppgh
  32. “Everything around us is created! Someone thought up everything around you, why can’t it be you?” – @LrningInstigatr #edcamppgh
  33. We need to have a healthy discourse about learning and education. @LrningInstigatr #edcamppgh
  34. “I’m not here to raise consumers. I’m here to raise responsible citizens.” – @LrningInstigatr #edcamppgh
  35. Learning as an ecosystem! Powerful thought! #edcamppgh
  36. Learning Institutions are rapidly becoming part of a larger ecosystem via @LrningInstigatr #edcampPGH #gtchat
  37. Create conditions in which people can fully evolve into themselves – @LrningInstigatr #edcamppgh
  38. Good Morning from Los Angeles everyone. I’m following virtually and wish I were there with you #edcamppgh
  39. What if we create conditions where kids are sad that we have a snow day? @LrningInstigatr #edcamppgh
  40. “What if we could create the conditions in which students are sad when school was closed?” –@LrningInstigatr #edcamppgh
  41. Think about learning as an ecosystem – where are we connected throughout our communities – @LrningInstigatr #edcamppgh
  42. Let’s harness the creative power of our youth to solve some of our greatest problems #edcamppgh @LrningInstigatr
  43. So far 2 new confirmed @PAECT members joined this AM, many showing interest @swpaect #edcamppgh
  44. Nwpaect is represented too here at #edcampPGH we are talking collaboration for some summer social events and tech meetups @swpaect @PAECT
  45. How we learn is through movement and yet there is more and more seat time – @LrningInstigatr #edcamppgh
  46. How can we create the cndtns to awaken a childs spirit to the point that they are bummed when a snow day comes? @LrningInstigatr #edcamppgh
  47. Let’s harness the creative power of our youth to solve some of our greatest problems #edcamppgh @LrningInstigatr
  48. What if we create conditions where kids are sad that we have a snow day? @LrningInstigatr #edcamppgh
  49. The keynote just said that Minecraft is awesome! My 8 year old is hooked with it! Fun! #edcamppgh
  50. Via @LrningInstigatr need new metaphors for learning. What is the overall purpose?Creating conditions where we can fully evolve #edcamppgh
  51. “What is the purpose of education? Eudaimonia…human flourishing” @LrningInstigatr #edcamppgh
  52. Create conditions in which people can fully evolve into themselves – @LrningInstigatr #edcamppgh
  53. “A lot of the tools that we’re supposed to access to, not allowed in spaces for learning.” @LrningInstigatr re: Youtube #edcamppgh
  54. “How many of you have the freedom to change your curriculum year to year.” 1/4 hands go up #edcamppgh
  55. Grades 1 -12 account for only 18.5% of our learning cycle in life. via @LrningInstigatr #edcampPGH #gtchat
  56. If you haven’t heard @LrningInstigatr speak about her views on learning vs. education, you are missing out. #edcamppgh
  57. “I love learning but over time, I’ve become anti-education.” @LrningInstigatr #edcamppgh
  58. “I love learning, but over time, I’ve become anti-education because it robs kids of the love of learning”. #edcamppgh
  59. @LrningInstigatr taking the floor to be disruptive for the sake of learning. Love her! Lets hear it for the troublemakers! #EdCampPGH
  60. Nwpaect is represented too here at #edcampPGH we are talking collaboration for some summer social events and tech meetups @swpaect @PAECT
  61. @edcampPGH please post some great pictures/comments today so I can what I am missing…#edcamppgh
  62. Can’t believe I am missing the day with my fellow @edcampPGH committee members…have a great one…save me a M shirt!!! #edcamppgh
  63. @edcampPGH I’m on my way, ready for an awesome day of learning and sharing #edcamppgh
  64. @TheEllisSchool is filling up quickly with eager educators excited to learn from each other at #edcamppgh
  65. RT @TeachToDream: Love my Twitter PLN. A MUST have! great way to grow your pedagogy & connect w others wanting2 grow! #edcamppgh #edcamppkb
  66. @Mr_Oldfield My PLN has made it so I’m not stuck with the same old ideas within my 4 walls but have the insight of Ts everywhere #edcamppgh
  67. It’s a beautiful day for some meaningful professional development!! #edcamppgh starts in 67 minutes!!
  68. @Mr_Oldfield Love my Twitter PLN. A MUST have! A great way to grow your pedagogy and connect with others wanting to grow! #edcamppgh
  69. Can u guys help me share w/ #edcamppkb the power of building a PLN through Twitter?! Share ur thots please. Use our hashtag. #edcamppgh
  70. @mpelochino tomorrow at #edcamppgh I’m going to get feedback on which #2minPD to create next! Hope to make 1 per week.
  71. @ksivick I’m from the Philly Suburbs! We should bond tomorrow at #edCampPGH! Thank you so much for coming out for it!!
  72. Come to #edcampPGH and taste the fabulousness of @MetzCulinary for lunch, awesome chats w Ts & screening of @IfYouBuildItDoc movie!
  73. Classroom flexibility needed with gamification, student must work on something in room, but they pick what to do. #edcamppgh
  74. @Learn21Tech Thank you! Ellis School is fantastic, had a great day at #edcamppgh sorry we had to leave early.
  75. @EduCait_Tech @Dsalvucci Thank you for sharing. Learning a lot here virtually from Cali!
  76. Classroom flexibility needed with gamification, student must work on something in room, but they pick what to do. #edcamppgh
  77. Classroom flexibility needed with gamification, student must work on something in room, but they pick what to do. #edcamppgh
  78. @Dsalvucci This is why I love SBG! Rewards kids for what they’ve shown, no punishment for failure. encouragment to try again. #edcamppgh
  79. CAPA Student now addressing #edcamppgh, what learning is and should be from student perspective. #edcamppgh
  80. @LrningInstigatr my summary is: learning, collaborating, facilitating, modeling, motivating, connecting, #edcamppgh
  81. Heading to @edcampPGH tomorrow at the Ellis School, stop by the @swpaect table if you are there.

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Collaborative Assignments

So, my students are winding up their collaborative projects that I have posted about previously, click here to view.  The last couple of days students have made a a concerted effort to finish up the projects.  Students have been staying after school, using my open door policy by coming in during their study halls, lunch periods, or any other free time, and asking questions after hours via Edmodo.  While I admire their efforts, I believe that if they started out this focused on the project, there would be no need for as much effort now.  I do realize that the dreaded, state mandated, standardized tests were last week which created a different atmosphere for the start of the project.  Being entrenched in the holiday season and weekly threat of “SNOWMAGEDDON X” from the local weather forecasters has added to the ongoing list of distractions for this project.