Thursday, April 28, 2011

So I Have the iTouches, Now What?

It's an exciting time at the Creeks!  Both campuses have gotten some iTouches and have begun implementing their use in the classroom.  Now that we have the resources, it's time to figure out the best way to use them!

Here are my top 5 tips for starting out with iTouches:
  1. Take time to play. Become familiar with the apps available to you.  If you don't know how to use them, you won't be able to assist your students to get the most out of them. (And it's fun!! :)
  2. Make an date with your i-Teamer and/or your team to plan.  Remember that technology integration is not about using technology just to use technology.  Work together to find apps that naturally enhance your classroom curriculum.  The iTouches should be another tool in your teacher arsenal. 
  3. Prepare a classroom management plan.  Just like you wouldn't have students on lab computers doing whatever they found, you don't want your kids to be randomly searching and using apps.  Take time to discuss which apps you will be using and behavior expectations at the beginning of every iTouch use.
  4. Think outside of the App.  Remember that apps are just the beginning.  With Safari, you can create web shortcuts easily on your home screen so that students can use the web on the touches.  Also, think about some of the utilities like the camera, voice memos, iTunes, etc.  They can bring a whole new level to your iTouch use.
  5. Start slow and breathe.  There are many resources and channels that can help you to build your knowledge.  No one is an expert over night.  Start by getting comfortable with one or two apps and build.  Use resources like Twitter, YouTube and Podcasts to learn more about what others are doing.  I highly recommend Tony Vincent's Learning in Hand site.

Got some ideas of your own?  Let us know in the comments!!!

    Tuesday, April 26, 2011

    Becoming a Technology Integrated Classroom

    In the rush of our daily teacher lives, sometimes it is an understatement to say we struggle to "fit it all in." We are pulled in many directions - and it is overwhelming to say the least.

    I say this because I know folks think sometimes that technology is just another straw on the fire. I am here to tell you, it doesn't have to be.

    The goal of technology integration is that it becomes second nature - that technology is folded in to the planning process because it makes sense, not because there is a cool tool or because you "have to".

    There is a great article in this week's TCEA e-newsletter called Technology Integration Process that outlines the goals using a real teacher example.

    I invite you to read the article and then participate in a discussion by commenting on this post or by visiting my Technology Integration VoiceThread here.

    What does Technology Integration mean to you?

    Is it attainable based on the description in the article?

    What steps have you taken or how will you take steps to make your classroom more integrated?

    Sunday, April 10, 2011

    Are You More Techno than a 5th Grader?

    Ever wonder past the awesome tools and projects technology gives us? I do. I think a lot about the basic skills behind creating, producing, collaborating and ooh and ahhing. Because we can create Glogs, stream video projects, backchannel our lessons via Today's Meet, use cool apps, etc. until the cows come home, but none of it matters if a student doesn't have basic skills like saving.

    So what technology skills do students need to know and by what grade?

    My AWESOME teammate, Sarah Daugherty* (Shout out!) thinks about it too. In fact, she just recently took a look at our Technology TEKS and created the Glogs below that illustrate what technology skills each grade should know. I think they are an awesome reference and invite you to take a look and refer to it often when planning.

    Does this mean you should drop all curriculum tomorrow in order to accomplish mastery of these skills?  NO.  Does this mean these skills should be taken into consideration when planning and integrating technology?  ABSOLUTELY!

    1st Grade
    2nd Grade
    3rd Grade
    4th Grade
    5th Grade


     * I am linking these with Sarah's permission, probably because she knows the utter frustration I will experience at a certain poster printer** in her honor later this week.  :)

    **No ill will re: the poster printer is intended.

    Tuesday, April 5, 2011


    The Kindergarten classes at Cottonwood Creek are incubating chicken eggs! We've used, a camera and a laptop to bring you the first annual Chicken Watch! Check out our eggs below! (If you see a big black box, don't worry, our broadcast may be off air depending on the time!)

    Live TV : Ustream

    Friday, April 1, 2011

    Edcamp Plano

    Registration for edcamp Plano begins today!  Edcamp Plano is a free unconference designed to allow teachers to collaborate, learn and share ideas about technology! The inconference set up means there is a relaxed and fluid atmosphere.  Educators meet over coffee the first hour and break into impromptu sessions after.  If you like a session, stay, if you don't, you can move to another one.  If you want to present a session, simply sign up on the main board the day of the event.  All are welcome to attend and/or present!

    Learn more about edcamp Plano at the official wiki for the event. Registration is easy! 

    If you are a teacher at one of the creeks, this event has been approved for flex credit consideration.  You will want to sign up in Eduphoria as well as on the unconference website in order to be eligible for credit!