What a Week!

I have been finding that the ideas about what to blog about are eluding me lately. I do not know what to contribute to the educational technology world other than what other people are sharing. So after reading several other blogs lately I am going to try something new – making it a bit more personal by recapping what I do on the front lines of the Instructional Technology World. Teachers are doing some amazing things lately and if I don’t take a few minutes to record those, I will forget that I am making a difference at the campus at which I work.

April 22 – 26

Last week was a state testing week and much of my time was spent making sure that the online testing we were trying out was going well. Not exciting and certainly not a memorable ed-tech week. I was able to make into classrooms before and after testing and saw some great uses of technology. Science teachers are teaching biology and anatomy through online exploration of body systems in their annual medical school. In Language Arts students were reviewing for the STAAR test using Socrative and Turning Points to provide last minute clarifications to students on TEKS they were not quite grasping. Now that testing is over technology is in full use for the next month. I will be busy!

The other bright spot this past week was I got notification from Google that I was selected to be a Certified Google Apps for Education Trainer! Last year I participated in training and testing for this certification and finally this winter I finished my application and turned it in for consideration. I am a little overwhelmed at this moment trying to make sense of what exactly this means, but at the same time am excited at the doors that could be opening for me.

My First Flipped Professional Development ~ Reflections

Last week I was able to deliver the face to face portion of the Flipped PD session I had been planning. I asked the teachers to log into the district moodle site and join my PD class. Once enrolled they were to watch a 5 minute video on what an Infographic is and tips on designing one. At the end of the video there were 3 pieces of information to fill out in an embedded Google Form. These three questions were based on what I had learned at TCEA from the Three Tech Ninjas – WSQ.

  • Where did you watch the video?
  • Summarize what you learned?
  • Ask a Question that you have or that someone else might have?

Of the fourteen teachers that were to attend all but three logged in to moodle and answered the questions.  Those 3 teachers were male teachers, not sure if that is relevant, but I found it interesting.  :)    The summaries and questions were good to see ahead of time and let me know what concerns the teachers were walking in the door with and I was able to prepare to address those concerns at the beginning of our session.

When it was time to meet face to face I had prepared example assignments of how a teacher might assign an inforgraphic creation to students.  I included the data they would need to create the final product  so that we could get to the heart of making an infographic with PowerPoint   I tried to make the assignments and data relevant to their current or upcoming units of study and based on a PBL approach more than a straight forward assignment.   I wanted to try to model best practices all around as much as possible.  I also had prepared a handout that covered the basics of how we were going to use PowerPoint and the tools that would be most useful in this assignment.   I made sure to focus on things that were new or different than the normal use of PowerPoint so that I did honor there time with me.

I began by thanking them  for watching the video ahead of time and answering some of their questions they had asked.  I also told them we would now get started with creating their own infographic and I would not be talking about what an infographic was since they had already learned that.   I wanted to re-emphasize that the time they had already invested was worth it and I would be honoring that.

Overall they had positive things to say and were excited to walk away with something practical they could use.  They also appreciated all the hands on time and got a good feel of what would be involved in making an assignment like this for their students.  The biggest confirmation that this was time well spent is that the 8th grade teachers are assigning an infographic to their students for after Spring Break.  Looking forward to seeing this strategy played out in the classroom!  I also look forward to trying out the Flipped PD model again in the future.

 

Infographics

I was inspired at TCEA to start exploring a model of Flipped Professional Development.   After a week of toying with the idea I decided it was time to actually work design and complete a flipped training to get my feet wet.  I’ve learned a lot so far and I am only in the beginning stages.

Here are my take-aways so far:

  1. It is a lot of upfront work!   
  2. Have a good outline of what you want to cover and then create your presentation.  I started with the presentation and had to scrap it as I needed to get a better focus on the outcomes of the session.
  3. Determine the best format to present the information.   What needs to be video, what needs to be written and what should be done face to face.
  4. Choose a presentation tool to fit your audience.   I chose Prezi for this training because it allowed me to zoom in on the images so I could point out the details.   I thought using powerpoint would be too flat for a video and would lose their interest for this.  Also – I haven’t played with it in a long time and wanted some practice.
  5. Make sure you are having a good hair day if you are going to include a webcam shot of you during the presentation.  Vain I know, but this video will be around for a long time.
  6. It takes a lot of work!   I know I am repeating myself, but I have spent hours on a simple presentation becuase my hope is to create something that I can use again and again with different groups.  That makes the time investment worth it.

I am going to set up the video in our district’s moodle and will incorporate an embedded google form to ask questions after the video.  I am choosing google forms to demonstrate how the teachers can use them on their own websites when they are intimidated by moodle.

Here is my Prezi that I will be narrating and recording with Camtasia Studio.   The topic of the training will focus on creating Infographics in the social studies classroom using tools they are familiar with, more specifically Powerpoint.

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Gmail – Undo Send

Have you ever sent and email and then thought “I forgot something!” or “Who did I send that to?”Well – now you can have up to 30 seconds to pull the email back and make those last minutes corrections.

 

In your inbox, click on the cog/wheel and choose “Settings” from the drop-down.

Click on the “Labs” tab from the top menu.

From the list of labs, scroll to the “Undo Send” lab.

Click the radio button to “Enable” this lab.

Be sure to click “Save Changes” at the bottom of the page.

Now under the General Settings tab you can set the amount of time available to undo the sending of the email. Choices range from 5 to 30 seconds.

When you send an email a pop-up will show on the top of the gmail page that will allow you to “undo” the sending of the email.

 

Clicking “Undo” will stop the email from being sent and allow for any changes that need to be made.

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