January 4: Another New Skill

I have owned a Livescribe Pen for a number of years.  I earned, or was rewarded with my first Livescribe Pen for attending the Keystone Technology Integrator’s Summit at Bucknell University.  I cannot remember if it was as an attendee or a staff member that I received the pen.

My students use the Livescribe Pen to take notes in class, the Livescribe is referred to as “The Magic Pen.”  The notes are pushed over to an iPad and then uploaded to Evernote.  Once in Evernote, the .pdfs are embedded in the class wiki so other students can access the notes if need be.  A written copy is printed for the students who take the notes for the class.

In my quest to take existing skills and tools and apply them to more situations, I decided it was time to learn how to create pencasts with the Livescribe pen.  Needless to say, there was a learning curve for me.  The first couple attempts…or so did not work our so well.  I ended up with an audio file, but no corresponding video to see what was being discussed.

Long story short, I was “pushing” the wrong virtual button with the Livescribe Pen.  I was “pushing” the record button in the notebook, I was supposed to just “push” the little square button on the iPad.

#12DaysofSketchnoting Day 3: Communication/Creative Communicator

So for today’s portion of #12DaysofSketchnoting we have to describe Communication/Creative Communicators. This boggled my mind at first, but that happens at times, especially in the AM now that I drink half-caf coffee.

As a history teacher the first thing that popped into my head was President Reagan, due to his nickname “The Great Communicator.” Bizarre…yes, but par for what goes on inside my mind. Should I try and draw him, or an unfinished movie poster title such as “Bedtime for Bon…” with a partially drawn monkey. My drawing ability is not good enough to draw President Reagan and I was not sure if anyone would get the movie reference. The ideas were non-starters.

I had to do a hard reset and rethink how I could approach today’s topic. I decided to incorporate a blog post to explain my Sketchnote; it would be better explained in that context, than as a standalone image.

On to my Sketchnote:

I believe I can communicate well, for as non-linear as I think. I do lecture more than I should, but I try to make my classroom more of a discussion setting. While doing this, I try and relate issues to local/personal experiences, I have been known to be melodramatic, use various accents, and even act out and model situations. If nothing else, students can recall my bizarre actions, some can even recall the points I was trying to make.

Since communication is a two-way street, listening is a major component of communication. Actually, not just listening, but giving students a legitimate voice in their own educational experience. Listen to them, but put what they say to use, give them a sense of…on second thought, not even a sense, but actual ownership of their experience in your classroom.

The Sketchnote below is the mishmash of visuals bouncing around in my head as I thought about and typed this today.

Sketchnoting: An old dog learns new tricks…again…

Last night I sat in on a PAECT members only webinar about Sketchnoting, or visual notetaking with Sylvia Duckworth.  I have read about this concept before and encouraged a number of my students to work with the concept over the last several years.  I never practiced it due to a very basic level of drawing ability, my wheelhouse is writing.

A free refresher on the topic was too good to pass up, especially when presented by someone as well respected on the topic as Sylvia is.  I was hoping to pick up some new ideas to pass on to my students, which I did.  That being said I also gained a better understanding of of the overall concept.  This came about by actually practicing or trying out the various strategies as Sylvia explained them.  After the hour and a half webinar I can safely say that I am still far from a Skectchnoting expert.  I can say, however that I am much more comfortable explaining the concept to others.

I also see how Sketchnoting can help me when the need arises to study.  Going back to review my notes and sketching out a re-writing would benefit me the most out of the strategies discussed.  I hope to have a Sketchnote to embed in this post shortly.

Here is a short video overview of the Sketchnoting concept.

This is my Sketchnote Review of the webinar.

Baseball Dad?!?!?!

Today one of my students said I looked like a baseball dad…I have no idea what that means or meant.   When I inquired as to the meaning, the students who were sitting there whispered amongst themselves then replied, “We don’t know…like a dad who likes baseball.”

I have no idea if the comment was complimentary or not.  It is dress down day, I have on jeans, my KTI Golf Shirt, tenna shoes (in my best Pittsburghese), and my $1.00 reading glasses on top of my head.  No full selfie to go with the description, I thoroughly dislike the angle needed to show the entire pic, but here is part of me…

 

Later I overheard the term “Soccer Mom” being used by these same students.  It was not directed at me, but knowing how many of these terms have both positive and negative connotations…I must expand my culturally aware vocabulary.

Until next time…

 

 

Digital Breakout.edu: My first attempt

At this past February’s PETE and C  in Hershey, PA, I learned more about a concept called Breakout.edu.  The premise is that students or adults solves a series of puzzles and/or problems to achieve a predetermined learning goal.  Breakout.edu allows for critical thinking,  collaboration, and creativity.

These lessons can be either digital in nature or actual physical lock and puzzle boxes.  There is a growing and strong support network for teachers online, with numerous resources, but that is a topic for another blog post.

I chose to work with a digital breakout to start, it is free and I have access to all of the necessary online resources.

This post is currently under construction.

EverFi Teacher Sign Up

I am blogging about my EverFi trial run with my students.  While our school is in the throes of Keystone Testing, I thought it best to take a side excursion with a lesson on Digital Citizenship; students are sometimes fried from 3-4 periods of standardized testing so why pile on.  There is also a lesson on STEM Education, but I am not attempting that with my students as of yet.

Starting out with EverFi is easy, the URL for the site is www.everfi.com/loginIf your school is not listed in the drop down menu while creating an account, it may take a bit of time to become verified.  You could also email my contact at EverFi Alyssa Mahramus, her email is amahramus [at] everfi.com, I checked with her about publishing her email before posting it here.  

Once you have your account started, the easy to use dashboard allows you to create classes, I made one class for each period, I will explain more in a bit.  You can also use the dashboard to review student scores, review ands reset student information, create student accounts, access your courses, and review support materials.   The entire menu is uncluttered with an easy dropdown interface.  You can also preview the lessons from the students’ perspective which I find very helpful.

I actually started by creating a class for my daughter, jumping right in without previewing the resources, it was easy to maneuver through the lessons.  I did preview the resources before rolling out the courses with my students at school, I wanted to be prepared for any questions they may ask.  

So, I clicked on the “Classes and Codes” tab and set up one class for each period of students, I like keeping the groups organized so I can filter information during class in an easy fashion.  I set up for the “Ignition” course; EverFi automatically creates a course code for the “Future Goals” STEM course if you go this route.  I did find that creating a course for “Future Goals” does not seem to reciprocate for “Ignition” in the same fashion.

Armed with class codes and pre-made curriculum I was ready to rollout the courses to my students.  The roll-out will be discussed in another post.