I learned a new game today…

I learned a new game today, well I heard of it Saturday at EdCampPGH, but I tried it out with my students in class today.  The game is QuizletLive.  Students are broken into random teams and must communicate and collaborate to answer questions correctly.  My students loved it and I was able to use my existing Quizlet flashcards as the basis of the game.  There was no need to build new material, which a a HUGE time saver.  QuizletLive motivated my students, the vocabulary review grew into a repeated competition for class supremacy.

There is a brief tutorial video embedded in the site so there is no need to repeat instructions here.  You see live tracking of student progress while the students are playing.

In my not so humble opinion, the random grouping of students is probably one of the biggest benefits of this tool, along with using pre-existing resources.  Having students step out of their comfort zone to work with new group members is important.  They can no longer become complacent and work with their usual band of cohorts.

If you get the chance check it out…SOON.

Hour of Code: March 2 2016

My students participated in another Hour of Code today after school. I had to cover Senior Interviews so I let my students in the volunteer Hour of Code group work independently with another teacher as a monitor. The started using the Ozobots while I covered the interviews. One of my students had worked with the Ozobots in our last session, so he was given the role of chief facilitator for the session; he seemed to enjoy the role.

After Interviews were over I crossed the hall to the library and saw four intrepid students working intently on creating their ow pathways for the Ozobots to follow.

We moved back to my room and continued working on various endeavors.  One of our computer teachers came in while the students were working.  They explained to her in detail and with a lot of enthusiasm as to how the Ozobots worked.

Our Hour of Code evolved into setting up our Class Internet Radio Station on BlogTalkRadio.com.  One of my students created a music file on JamStudio for the show’s intro, other students looked over the BlogTalkRadio dashboard and our class site.  We ran out of time before we could run a broadcast.  I am hoping next Monday will be our first broadcast.

Storify from TRETC November 4 2015

TRETC, the Three Rivers Educational Technology Conference was held at Bethel Park Senior High School this year.  TRETC is an excellent educational conference held in Western Pennsylvania every year, it has been growing regularly since I began attending them back in the early 2000’s.

Below is a Storify of the event, I collected Tweets and here they are:

 

Motivation

My daughter has supplied a huge amount of motivation for me to improve my blogging efforts and overall writing endeavors.

Last night while I was posting to my personal blog on Blogger, as opposed to my professional blog you are reading now, she asked what I was up to. When I told her I was writing a blog post, she asked to read it. Her reaction can be found here. The post she read can be found here.

I hope to finally ensure I make time to contribute ideas regularly across my social media sites. The goal is to add positively to the world around me, leaving it in better shape that I found it.

PAECT Radio: Member Showcase Rachelle P

Last night we interviewed Rachelle Poth, PAECT member and foreign language teacher at Riverview School District.  You can access the show recording here.

This is the Storify of our Twitterfeed from last night.

 

Admittedly, we have not had a lot of Tweets, but we will continue moving forward.  It will catch on.

 

Hour of Code 2014: Day Two

On Friday, December 12, 2014, four of my Honors Civics students stayed after school to participate in an Hour of Code.  I would have had more students, however many students had an early release for the Christmas Dance which was later that evening.

Two of my students came back from the previous day’s activity to continue their work.  This was the first time the two new participants were available to stay after.  All four worked on iPads and used one of the free Lightbot apps available for an Hour of Code.  We continued to use an Edmodo group dedicated to this endeavor as the platform for communication and organization.

I stood back after a brief overview and let the students discuss the events of the previous day.  The two students who participated Thursday opted to continue on with the Lightbot puzzles instead of creating code via PageStudio.  The new students joined in and they began working on individual tasks.  I mirrored one student iPad onto my Interactive Whiteboard, IWB, using Apple TV.

The students were very quiet as they worked on their tasks, which was not what I was hoping for.  The students were super-focused on what they were doing which was good, but I was hoping for more teamwork.  As I observed what each was doing on their iPad, the student who was mirroring her iPad onto the IWB hit a snag and was stuck on a puzzle.  I encouraged her to ask the others for help and reiterated that I was hoping for a group effort.  As she asked for help, the students realized that they were all around the same puzzle and having similar issues.

JACKPOT!!!!

The four students began to talk, collaborate, and test out possible solutions on their individual iPads, sharing their ideas with each other using the mirrored iPad.  This went on for the rest of the sessions, almost the full hour.  Their ability to work through the increasingly complex tasks increased in speed and the tasks were less tedious as they joked and talked out the solutions.

Overall, the session seemed to be a success.  I posted an assignment in the Edmodo group to add to the enrichment assignment; write a reflection blog post on the Hour of Code, or record a short podcast reflection of their efforts.  I am looking forward to seeing their thoughts on the activities and hoping for honest opinions.  I would like to expand upon this event and getting their opinions on how to improve it is key.  I also offered to continue with activities like these throughout the year if they are interested in doing so.  Hopefully I will find out soon via blog post or podcast if they thought the effort was a success.

My major epic fail for the project was forgetting some Christmas cookies on my dining room table at home that I bought as a snack for the participants.  I did remember to bring juice pouches for them, and had some animal cracker/cookies for snacks, but forgetting the good treats bothered me.

Hour of Code 2014: Day One

Thursday, December 11, 2014, we made our first attempt at Hour of Code 2014.  Hour of Code is an optional enrichment assignment for my students.  To organize the efforts of my students I created a group for them in Edmodo; which I used to survey them via the quiz feature and poll feature.  Links to all resources were also posted there, though I just used Code.org‘s site as the main resource.

Due to scheduling conflicts we all agreed that the only two days this week that we could meet would be Thursday and Friday; with the majority of students only being able to attend one after school session.  For our first day, I had two students stay after school, both have had experience with coding.  They participated in CodeHS last year when they were in Middle School and this November they participated in a Hack Day, I was not the teacher of record for these activities.

The two students came in and jumped on the class iPads and off to Edmodo they went.  Once in Code.org’s site they chose to use Litebot as the tool to complete exercises.   The apps are/were free for Hour of Code.  Both students were gracious enough to answer all of my questions about their coding experience as we worked through Litebot.  They will actually be the main facilitators for this with other students, since they understand coding much better than I, you can see my previous post on this topic.

We were having technical issues with the school wireless that had crashed several times during the day and was currently running rather slowly.  I handed off my iPad to a student and they worked on tasks while I tried to get Litebot downloaded on other devices.  I was successful, but it took most of the time we had to get the iPads set up.  This will make tomorrow easier, although it limited what we could do today.

We projected my iPad screen over the Apple TV, practicing for the larger crowd expected on Friday.  Overall, they seemed pleased with the effort, they will be back for Friday’s session.  For Friday, they can use other code apps to actually work on creating code, while my other students can focus on levels that match their ability level.

I hope to have more to post soon.