Links of the Month: April

This month, we chose to think about some overarching educational reform topics.  The Bit By Bit and the Teachers Teaching Teachers podcasts highlighted below fall into this category.  The November Learning Flipped Classroom Podcast demonstrates application of some of these ideas.  We also highlight a few sites we have used in our own classes.  Read on for more details and links!   
Kacey’s picks:   
Panel Discussion on Race to Nowhere: Bob Sprankle posted a podcast of a discussion that took place after viewing the movie Race to Nowhere. The discussion was part of the Wilcard Movie Series at the Portsmouth Music Hall.  Bob has listed the names and links of the panel on the Bit By Bit web site.  It contains interesting discussion from the perspective of parents, teachers, and principals about issues such as homework, utilizing class time better and differently, customizing instruction, and much more. We both enjoyed this podcast since we watched  Race To Nowhere and discussed it earlier in the year.

Cheridy’s picks: 
The Flipped Classroom: When Kacey and I started talking this summer, I recall thinking that one of the first visible signs of ed tech integration changes within the classroom would take place in the form of videos and audio, both in the hands of teachers and students.  Over the past few years, I have watched digital storytelling spread and enjoyed using it my own classes.  From a language acquisition standpoint, the use of video has long been accepted as a good means of instruction. With that background, this November Learning podcast caught my attention this month.  Jonathan Bergmann and Aaron Sams talk about how they use The Flipped Classroom Model in their high school science classes.  This podcast can be accessed here.  The basic idea is that the teacher creates vodcasts for students.  The students watch the vodcasts at home, pausing and rewinding as needed, for homework and then come to class prepared to do the hands-on stuff and receive support from the teachers.   The videos become one way of supporting student learning and individualizing instruction. Below is a video demonstrating their Flipped Classroom.  They also have an interesting  Ning site called The Flipped Class Network.  Their ideas remind us of the Khan Academy, which we discussed in this previous post.

Digital and Media Literacy: A Plan of Action:  In this Teacher’s Teaching Teachers podcast, Renee Hobbs discusses her white paper.  You can read, listen, watch and learn more about her plan of action here.   I like how she looks at the bigger picture of tech and ed, talks about the tools being tools but need for more, and looks at grass root community level implementation, involving stakeholders, etc.  These ideas reminded me of Kacey’s March podcast picks and the importance of attempting to put this thing called tech and ed in a larger framework.

Kacey’s picks:  Mr. Salsich’s third grade blog  is a fantastic example of a class blog that works. Be sure to check out the students’ Poetry Madness and the links to their Blogging Buddies in Australia, California, and New Zealand.  If you would like to spend some time looking through a whole slue of student and class blogs and even take the “Blogging With Students” challenge, check out Teacher Challenge supported by EduBlogs .  
This month our class has also enjoyed Noises Everywhere – Interesting internet tidbits for kids to ponder. Excavating a giant ant hill and watching baby eagles hatch have been our favorites.  

Cheridy’s picks:   This month, I have experimented in my College of Ed. class with some collaborative writing and sticky note web 2.0 tools.  I set out to find collaborative tools that are simple, low frills and have no login for my students.  Titan Pad and Primary Wall have worked well for us and allowed us to build on the same document both synchronously and asynchronously.  Titan Pad can be public or private.  It has some fun features such as the timeslider where changes to the document are displayed in video mode. Primary Wall is similar to Wallwisher, but with a background geared for elementary students. (See more collaborative tools under our web2.0 tab.)  I have also enjoyed experimenting with classroom tools.net and some of their online graphic organizers.  The Teacher’s Challenge blog gives a good overview of this site.

Happy listening and exploring!

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