Posts in Category "Web 2.0"
Kanchan Chellani, currently a math teacher at New Milford High School, is a strong believer in making the learning process fun, interactive, and meaningful for students. To engage students in her classroom, Mrs. Chellani has utilized a variety of tools to help her develop an interactive, student-centered learning environment. Through the use of technology, collaborative learning exercises, and teaching mathematical concepts in the real-world and interdisciplinary context, she has managed to successfully work towards creating this desired positive and energetic blended learning environment. Some of the many methods Mrs. Chellani has employed in her daily instruction include integrating Smart Board interactive review games and videos to reinforce prior learning, case studies performed in the computer lab so students understand the significance of the material taught, and team assignments to foster a collaborative working environment.
Since the “flipped” approach to instruction is proving to be a key asset in modern education, one of Mrs. Chellani’s recent initiatives has been to provide students with a means to learn independently utilizing digital content. Starting in December 2011, she began using Edmodo, an online platform that enables innovative and social learning, as a way to share online videos and content on the relevant topic for her students to view and assign online polls to complete in order to foster discussion on the topic the next day. Although enabling the “flipped” approach to instruction using Edmodo has transformed the way material is taught and comprehended by students, it has been difficult to find resources that combine curriculum delivery, real-world examples, and assessments in a cohesive manner. As a result, she has started to create her own online learning modules, using the software Adobe Captivate.
Adobe Captivate is a highly, user-friendly digital content creation software that fosters interactive eLearning content. Mrs. Chellani has made use of the tool by creating learning modules that teach the basic mathematical concepts, as well as, provide practice problems, real-world examples, and assessments that allow for better comprehension of the material in an organized fashion. In these learning modules, instruction is provided using digital content, simulations, videos, screen captures, voice-overs, etc. to meet the visual, auditory, and tactile needs of the diverse student population. Once the instruction has been provided, guided practice problems and real-world examples are then discussed to reinforce the learning of the mathematical concept and to illustrate its’ significance. A variety of prompts and formal assessments are also embedded within the project in order to ensure that the learning has taken place, to develop higher-order thinking skills, and to facilitate discussion in the classroom.
Here’s how it works!
- Students go onto www.learnmatheasily.com and select the assigned video for homework.
- Students view the instructional portion of the video (both mathematical content and real-world applications) and complete guided practice problems, prompts, and formal assessments embedded within the video.
- Students come into class the next day with a solid foundation on the mathematical topic. The teacher utilizes the aforementioned prompts to facilitate class discussion and assigns polls via Edmodo to ensure that the learning has taken place.
- SMART Board interactive review games, case studies, collaborative learning exercises, group projects, quizzes, and tests are assigned in class to reinforce the learning in a differentiated fashion and probe deeper into key mathematical topics.
Using Adobe Captivate, Mrs. Chellani has been able to create an engaging and interactive learning experience for her students that not only helps them understand complex mathematical concepts, but also helps them understand the real-world significance of those concepts.
With so many of us working on collaborative projects like the Gamified Curriculum Delivery System that Mike Skocko’s Mega Students of the Mac Lab developed, many of us are looking at getting a more global presence with our course materials. Others of us just lose every sheet of paper that hits our desks (myself a prime example) and want to eliminate paper from the classroom and have the curriculum available 24 hours to our students. For many of us, WordPress has proven itself a great solution. In fact, here at the educationleaders blog, we’re running a wordpress back end also.
WordPress is amazing. Take a look at this list of benefits:
- It’s free, So it fits a teacher’s budget
- It’s easy, so we have time to focus on content rather than the construction of our sites
- It’s scalable, so we can ramp it up to a school wide or even district wide enterprise
- It’s extensible, so you can add cool features easily, like Skocko’s students
- It’s popular, so there’s a TON of help, lots of free plugins (add features) and themes (the layout and look)
What’s been missing is a great plugin that does all the classroomy, traditional stuff that we’re used to… traditional assessments for pre- and post-tests, monitoring of student access to the site, gradebook incorporated online, etc. I used to run a moodle install alongside my WordPress install for assessment and tracking of student work, but I found it cumbersome to have to manage 2 sites that acted like one.
Finally, there’s a solution that is looking pretty good and it’s exiting beta soon. Don’t have details on prices yet, but it may be a great all-in-one solution for the classroom. I’m mainly looking for something that can track the users and provide pre-and post tests to help find where the kids are not completely comfortable with the content yet… I use tests not to see where the kids failed, but where I’ve failed the kids. If everyone’s missing a certain question, then it’s feedback to me that I haven’t covered this concept well enough yet or they’re still not comfortable with the terminology (and let’s face it… our industry LOVES it’s terminology and acronyms!).
I’ve been keeping an eye on this LMS plugin to replace my missing moodle functionality. I really want an online gradebook so that the kids can monitor themselves… Whether it’s self-reported (easy to do with a test) or actual, traditional testing and assessment, this plugin seems to fit the bill without sideloading moodle in my sites.
LearnDash is the plugin and the plugin’s author, Justin, has been very helpful and responsive- which is great for a plugin that is running your classes! Don’t have to worry about no support at all (which is common with wordpress plugs… you get what you pay for.) I encourage you to sign up for his newsletter and grab a copy when it’s time to test out on your wordpress site for class.
And if you HAVEN’T yet set up yourself with a wordpress blog for class yet… what are you waiting for? Even signing up with a free wordpress.com blog is a great way to get started in sharing your content with other educators across the globe.
And don’t forget to cross post your stuff at the Adobe Ed Exchange!!! It gives you great visibility to teachers that might not find your site elsewhere… but posting to your own blog ensures that all your students and parents can access your classroom resources easily.
Keep your eyes open for a series of blog posts here on setting up wordpress for your classroom and helpful plugins, themes, and tips for keeping it innovative and awesome!
In the process of parenting two kids and growing as an Adobe Education Leader each new year, I realize I have a responsibility as a dad to help my own kids grow into the 21st century. It has been comforting for me and for them to come home after school, telling me with excitement about what they have been learning in their internet safety program at school. I bring up with them about naming files and organizing their assets with computer folders. They tell me about learning about this already. I have moments of feeling humbled and surprised by how much they are learning at school. I decided as a dad to get involved from the beginning, teaching them computer literacy skills. The idea is for my kids not to notice that dad has now just shown up in their technology world. I don’t want them to have this experience of a sudden jolt of dad looking over their shoulder. I have decided to sit down with my kids once a week, becoming a guide and coach for them, having them identify with me as a helper. I have introduced and working with both of my kids on these programs and skills:
Photography: (Adobe Photoshop Elements, Adobe Photoshop, Bridge) – Downloading Pictures, Scale and File Type and Naming, Organizing Their Assets, Importance of Metadata, Photo Safety and Appropriateness).
Video: (Adobe Premier Elements) – Downloading Video, File Size, Video Output, Formats for Publishing, Video Safety and Appropriateness, Editing).
Email and File Storage: (Google Applications, Creative Cloud) – Filtering, Folders, Naming, and Search.
Website: (Google Sites): URL’s, Tables, Photo Scaling, Uploading, Organizing Assets, Color.
Social Networking: They are not old enough to have their own Facebook Account
Mobile: (Adobe Collage, Adobe Connect Mobile, Adobe Photoshop Touch, Adobe Ideas).
My vision and hope is by teaching them basic and more advanced skills of Digital Photography, Video, Asset Management, Emailing and Texting, Online Presentation and Website Development is that when it is age appropriate for them to have their own mobile devices and have access to social networks that they will be leaders amongst their peers, helping educate others what is safe and appropriate, and becoming very skilled for their own future.
This year we wanted to do something a bit different for our 10 minute “speech” to the parents attending the annual Open House Night at our school. So using Adobe Visual Communicator, we decided to create a “video tour” of the units we teach in Technology Education at Amherst Middle School.
Sure we could have pre-recorded these segments, and had the benefit of starting over if we flubbed our lines, but hey what fun would that be? We decided to perform LIVE so parents could see Visual Communicator in all it’s simplicity. Simply put, there is NO other comparable software out there that has greenscreen capability, live output, a built in teleprompter, and so many templates and wizards making video production a snap! All made possible with software costing less than $150 edu retail.
Suffice to say, this will now be an annual event for us as it went over extrememly well and was highly effective showing what we teach in our classrooms. We had a lot of positive feedback from administration and parents, and the video was featured on SchoolTube for all to view as well.
Production Note– nearly all of what you see was created exclusively with Visual Communicator, except for the classroom footage which we used our handy Flip Video cameras for, worked great!
Wow- Adobe Labs keeps coming up with new tools that free education to focus on the CONTENT of learning, not the tools and limitations of shared resources. With just five minutes of playing with Presentations in the Adobe Labs I could see numerous classroom applications.
I work in a high-poverty school that shares just a few technology resources among a large list of classrooms. The Presentations tool has many of the same attributes of Buzzword in that I can have students collaboratively work on a project. With just one laptop or computer in the classroom or if I have the entire set of laptops from our cart, students can focus on the content of the presentation. We don’t have to worry about WHERE the original file is saved, which laptop it was saved to, or trying to access a server that the updated files might or might not have been saved to.
Adobe has just helped the collaboration process- this tool is easy enough to use that with just some basic training students can start the creation process.
In my role at my tiny school district in the central valley of California I find myself in a rather unique position. I wear the hats of classroom teacher (computer lit) and tech support and coordinator. I am also an Adobe Education Leader and in that role I have the opportunity to travel throughout the United States as a trainer and presenter. Whenever I am out of my district training I am often engaged in a discussion about one of the most basic frustrations teachers have around the country (these are teachers trying like mad to integrate technology into their curriculum.) Their frustration source-none other than their own district and school technology administrators and tech support personnel!
Why is it that we have become enemies? Teachers all over the United States tell me that they are constantly locked out and filtered out from most, or all, of the fantastic new free web 2.0 tools that are currently available. Not only are the newest and greatest unavailable, they are frustrated because they can’t even install a simple Flash or Java upgrade themselves. In their efforts to regulate and “keep safe” their networks, administrators have made decisions that often ignore many of the very reasons their networks exist-to facilitate learning and prepare our students for their future. Today’s digital natives are already exploring and using Web 2.0 tools outside schools. Isolating them from these tools at school not only sends them the message that we are outdated and irrelevant, it give them further excuses to tune out, or as they tell me often, to power down, when they enter a traditional classroom.
As a person who also is responsible for most of the tech support for our district I also understand the need to protect the network’s integrity as well as filter inappropriate websites at our district. I’ve had a few issues to deal with over the years that have cost me some time and been frustrating. But I view my job as a facilitator; in a position to use technology as a real innovator that can move our education system toward a student centered, collaborative and participatory environment that supports authentic, real world learning. All my teachers have administrative rights on their “teacher” computers, and you know what, they handle that responsibly, because they are professionals. Instead of locking down their computers, I spend time educating and guiding them so they know what and how to download safely and avoid problems.
According to “Leadership for Web 2.0 in Education: Promise and Reality” published in 2009 and sponsored by CoSN “In order to be competitive and responsible economically, politically, environmentally, and socially, U.S. youth must graduate from school ready to thrive in those realities, one of which is the participatory culture of Web 2.0 technology”*. The current findings suggest that we aren’t even close to having the educational mindset to affect our school cultures to align teaching and learning to the needs of 21st century learners. In President Obama’s inaugural speech he said, “…everywhere we look, there is work to be done. The state of the economy calls for action, bold and swift, and we will act – not only to create new jobs, but to lay a new foundation for growth…we will transform our schools and college and universities to meet the demands of a new age. All this we can do. And this we will do.” I’m glad that our President is so optimistic and I try to stay optimistic too, but until all the stakeholders that support education embrace the need to utilize technology in new ways no real change has a chance.
This issue came to light again this week when the list serv that I belong to (tech administrators for our county) started a new thread concerning Facebook and communicating with students outside of “work”. The implication was that this was immediately a bad thing, and should be monitored, banned, blocked, etc. I found it incredible that no one on the list expressed any value in using Facebook as an educational tool. The originator of the thread expressed his plan of action to issue an “Official recommendation that the district discourage the use of Facebook or any other social networking site to communicate with students out side of work”. His main concern was the hypothetical case that someone might post something that did not positively reflect the teacher or the district. Wouldn’t that be great, if we could prevent all criticism of our districts? Educators everywhere are using blogs and other tools to communicate with their students and avoid the roadblocks the tech guys have laid down-are we going to ban those too? I argue that, again, instead of banning, we educate our professional teachers to use the new tools with caution, embracing their positive potential with careful respect for possible misuse.
Perhaps the cause of this enormous rift in mind set between the techies and the teachers has to do with the fact that most tech support and tech administrators are not educators. I find it interesting in my list serv that the tech personnel refer to our environment as “work”, not school. I know I am at work everyday that I teach students, but I always refer to my workplace as “school”-where teaching and learning is taking place and where I am doing my best everyday to meet the complex needs of my clients, my precious students. The stakes are too high for us to continue down this road. We must ensure communication and respect between teachers and tech administrators. We must work toward the same goals because, as our Presidents so eloquently expressed during he inauguration speech, “we will transform our schools and colleges and universities to meet the demands of a new age.” I just hope we don’t have to fight the tech administrators the whole way toward this goal…
Come on tech guys, can’t we all just get along?
Bill Gates has been quoted as saying (before iPhone) “The computer of the future will be the cellphone.” The implications for educators is profound, and should have us re-thinking our attitudes and acceptance of cell phones in the school. I am not blind to the fact that there are sometimes problems associated with the cellphone in the schools, but we should address those by addressing the behavior, not the object. We don’t take away a pencil the student is tapping, we address the tapping behavior.
As an administrator for highly at-risk students in a Cincinnati charter high school, I found it much easier to have students use Google SMS to look up words and definitions when they were struggling with reading than using a book. Very few of these students would be caught carrying books home, but they would use their cell phone to help complete assignments.
As we look at HOW cellphones may be implemented today, we also look at Adobe and their role. Captivate lets us easily create micro-content with quizzes, saved in Flash. Flash itself let’s students see, create and engage with interactive simulations and games that can have a profound effect on learning. Many Web 2.0 sites are built in Flash, and extend the capabilities of the cellphone beyond what we would have thought possible a few years ago.
The typical smartphone has camera, video, keyboard and voice inputs. It has, through Web 2.0 apps, text (Jott), voice (gabcast) and picture (Flickr) outputs. Starts sounding a lot like a computer doesn’t it? Where will that lead us?
To read more, see an article I wrote for the Florida Education Leadership magazine.
Participants enjoyed a behind-the-scenes look at how Amherst Middle students deliver live school newscasts using Adobe software at the Amherst Tech TV studio in Amherst, NY. Although it was a snowy and cold two days, participants made the drive from as far as North Carolina, Pennslyvania and Ohio. One even flew in from Belgium to take our unique workshop!
We began with a tour of the studio facility, and then discussed the basic hardware items needed to get started. Participants were surprised to learn that for only around $500 you can begin school newscasts using any classroom or office for a recording studio. School newscasts no longer require expensive hardware like years ago. Now any classroom can serve as a professional newsroom! A basic camcorder, microphone, and green sheet is all you really need to begin creating newscasts, classroom video projects, slideshows, and more using Adobe’s Visual Communicator software.
Everyone was impressed at how easy and simple the software is to learn. Below are the links to watch some of their first video projects made during our workshops. Thanks to them for allowing us to share with the world!
Visit our Workshops Calendar to see when the next workshops for Adobe Visual Communicator are offered. We’d love to have you join us, and learn just how simple and affordable Adobe Visual Communicator is for TV production, newscasts, projects, web videos and more.
If interested in Summer 2009 Adobe Visual Communicator Training and Workshops, please complete this survey.
Digital Business Card
I have presented at many different conferences this past year. I try to bring a set of business cards to the event and have them available after my session for others to come by and pick them up. The idea is that educators can have a card to take with them and contact me later.
At the same time, I have been doing more Webinars using Adobe Acrobat Connect Professional. An Acrobat Connect Meeting allows for placing information in a Chat Pod. The information is usually in text form, but someone can also place a Hyperlink in the chat which becomes active once placed inside. I had an idea of creating a digital business card so people could click on a link in the Chat Pod after my Webinar and get useful information about me and have a way to contact me later.
I have provided my Webinar Connect Card, plus an example of an Adobe Senior Systems Engineer’s Connect Card.
I used Adobe Presenter 7 to create my Connect Card. So, check out my examples and have fun creating one for yourself!
Adobe Education Leader