This year’s PETE & C was very rejuvenating and a great learning experience. I picked up a solid mix of new tools and new pedagogy. Many of the tools I was exposed to I have heard of or seen before, but I picked up new ideas on their usefulness. This is always enlightening, it also precludes the need to learn and/or pay for new tools and apps. I believe these experiences out and about, immersed in these conferences improves my overall concept of education.
My previous thoughts on some “Old School” practices, such as handwriting, which I am biased against due to my messy handwriting, and a few other ideas were challenged. I was forced to look at those notions and adjust accordingly. I see where some concepts, such as reading cursive is necessary for looking over primary documents and still a basic skill set that is necessary, albeit not often used.
I continue to push for student creation of content and challenge the students to think outside of the box, but I need to break projects and lessons down into smaller, more manageable or basic parts. This allows for students who may not be comfortable with these concepts to hopefully have a higher rate of success. (Author’s Note: since returning from the conference, I have experienced my theory in a real world learning situation. That will be a separate blog post.)
I am very interested in Mindfulness and creating a more effective learning environment in my traditional classroom and online class setting. The changes have been instituted on my part immediately, although in small pieces. I find that my students adapt better to incremental changes rather than one major paradigm shift. This is especially true with my Honors US II class.
As stated earlier, I am working incorporating these strategies and tools into my classes by modelling tasks repeatedly, and creating more and more video tutorials. My students have also stepped up and have been mentoring each other more, especially on the current project utilizing my class Padcaster.
As more specific ideas and tools are rolled out, I will add to the story at MrSal.edublogs org.
I am also breaking assignments into smaller assignments to try and monitor and reward students more often. I will follow up on the results via my blog.
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.
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.
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.
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…
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.