Challenge - Final: Flat Classroom® Certified Teacher
(March 7, 2012)
We presented our final global projects in Blackboard Collaborate, which was the final step in the process of becoming a Flat Classroom® Certified Teacher.
Module 9: Putting it all together
(February 13, 2012)
Module 8: Advanced Global Project Design and Management
(February 6, 2012)
This week included a discussion about our projects and will be working on putting the final touches on our project.
Module 7: Celebration
(January 23, 2012)
This week we talked about the Celebration step in flattening your classroom. Since I have not yet completed my first project, I don't have anything to report at this point.
Challenge #12: Celebration and Summation
Module 6: Global Project Design Elements
(January 16, 2012)
implementing our 21st model of change. I applied to be involved with the Cadre and was asked to do a presentation on my project idea. My project idea was to get involved with the Flat Classroom project. I was later approached by a elementary school teacher to participate in a collaborative project across schools. While this may not be a global project reaching across countries, I think this will be a good start to flattening our district's classrooms. I have developed a website (a work in progress) describing this project. The name of the project is When Missoula was Young. In this project, third graders will be collaborating with high schools students and will be given the challenge to discover the identities of ordinary and extraordinary individuals who where children in 1883 when Missoula, Montana officially became a town. Thinking and acting like historical researchers, students will use primary sources to reconstruct life in their community in 1883 through the eyes of children living at that time.
In this place-based project, third graders and high school students will deepen their understanding of local history through exciting and exploratory investigations that engage them in the learning process. After visiting local historic sites, examining photos, family histories, letters and diaries, creating photos, video, and GPS data, and conducting interviews, students will share their learning with other students and members of the community through multi-media photo stories that will be linked to the Missoula city cemetery website. Finally, they will create Google Earth Place Tours that will become a story map of their subject's life and a video will be developed presenting their learning activities.
While this project is just the first step in the Model of Change for the 21st Century at Missoula County Public Schools by bringing down the walls of classrooms in our district, it is my goal to expand this experience to include schools around the world with a common interest.
"I am really excited about your project and feel that it is a great example of a 21st Century Innovator. On the 25th we are going to be doing some “speed dating” of sorts where tables of 5-6 innovators will each take 3 minutes to share their project idea and to hear others before moving to another table to do it again."
I have not presented in this type of format before so I am not really sure what to expect. I am looking forward to it. I understand that I should have an internet connection and plan on bringing my laptop and iPad to show the websites. I also see that there is a Flat Classroom brochure that I will print out as a handout. I have read and own all three books that these concepts are based on (The World is Flat, A Whole New Mind & Growing up Digital) and will bring those with me, too. Here are links to the websites:
When Missoula was Young
Flat Classroom Projects
I am hoping to get other teachers in our district interested in this. I am also hoping to do a book club at our school about the book and some professional development about the Flat Classroom concepts and projects - using Moodle.
Module 5: Choices and Creation
(January 9, 2012)
To take this a step further, two weeks ago, I gave Adobe Illustrator topics to learn, broke the students into groups and had each group teach the other group how to do certain things in Adobe Illustrator. In the past I have just taught them what they needed to know (as a sage on the stage) to be able to produce a final project. This time I wanted to experiment with being the guide on the side. When we were done with this method (guide on the side) I had students fill out a Google form and give them their feed back on learning this way. I would say that 95% of the students said that they would rather be taught by the teacher instead of their peers. They felt the teacher knows everything, so they felt they could learn it better from the teacher. Wow! This actually surprised me. In this day and age, I really thought they would rather research and learn from each other. I can see I have a lot of work to do to get this thought process changed. I believe to effectively change this, it should start at a much younger age. By the time students get to me in high school, they have had so much instruction with the sage on the stage, they seem lost with the guide on the side method. I strongly believe this can change and should. I also believe it needs to start in elementary school. I will do what I can at the high school level - but to truly embrace this method, I think they will need to begin learning this much younger.
Another method I have successfully used is presenting information in many different ways. I will verbally give instruction, also have it written in the class Moodle and have a video available - all on the same topic, trying to differentiate instruction. I understand that students learn differently and I want to provide them with the best opportunity to learn the information. I didn't realize that this had a name: dual encoding theory (by Paivio) - presenting information in both visual and verbal forms. This is supported by Vicki Davis & Julie Lindsey in their Book, Flattening Classrooms, Engaging Minds, "More modalitites in instructional delivery equal more learning." I like that!
District Social Studies Standards
- Describe cultural traditions and contributions of the people of the Missoula Valley.
- Use primary source material to investigate how individuals and families contributed to the develop of the community.
- Research and present findings on an individual or group of people.
Office of Public Education (OPI) Indian Education for All Essential Understandings
- Understand that tribes have their own valid oral histories.
- Understand that history is a story most often related through the subjective experience of the teller and may conflict with mainstream history.
District Technology Standards
- Develop the technological skills needed to support their success in the 21st century.
- Use digital tools and resources for problem solving and decision-making.
- Collaborate and communicate globally in a digital environment.
- Apply digital tools and skills with creativity and innovation.
- Possess functional understanding of technology concepts and operations.
Module 4: Contribution and Collaboration
(December 12, 2011)
Diigo to bookmark their websites and have them all in a class group so that they can see each others bookmarks. I have expanded this assignment to include any information or websites that they feel have helped them in the class.
The hard part about the wiki is that only one person can edit at a time. This makes for a slow process if you are trying to complete this in a class period. I used to assign this for homework and explained ahead of time how the wiki worked. I have not only used Diigo for keeping track of good websites and sharing them (the social part!) but have used Google docs for in class editing on a project. I use the teacher console for this. I find this works well.
As a district we also use wikis:
My father, who is 80 years old, is working on a book about Patchogue, New York, and boat builders, their families and the boats they built from the area. My dad used to be a boat builder by hobby and spent a lot of time with various boat builders and sailors on Long Island. He gave me a copy of his "book" this past summer to check for typos, etc. I thought it might be fun to see what Wkipedia had to say about Patchogue and some of the boat builders that he did his research on. I think I could have gotten carried away with this because there was not a lot of information available for the various boat builders I was looking for. Since there is so much information to sift through, I thought it is possible, I just couldn't find what I was looking for. I decided instead of creating a whole new page, I would just edit the Patchogue page. I found a little tidbit in my dad's research that wasn't on the page already - so I added it. Who knows if it will stay, but this process has opened my eyes to the real possibilities.
Module 3: Citizenship
(December 5, 2011)
It was easy to create this push technology with its built-in modules/widgets. I think I actually get more information this way because I don't have to specifically search for it. I also liked the ability to customize the look using existing themes or creating a theme. Below is a screen shot of the monitoring portal I set up and will continue to work on:
I made my Flat Classroom Monitoring Portal public so I hope everyone can view it. If you can't, please let me know. For those with a smart phone and a QR Code Reader, here is the QR Code:
I used the Flat Classroom® Project RSS Feeds and Netvibes Bootcamp Video to help me better understand monitoring portals and Netvibes.professional development, online learning, technology and learning, policies and procedures subcommittees. We had our curriculum review last year and one of the classes I pushed for was a Digital Media class. I tried to get it as a required class for all Freshman, but that didn't happen. This course starts with ethics, online safety and digital responsibility. This includes a unit on digital footprints. We then move into productivity (How do I interact with and how does media influences my life?). We include such Web 2.0 tools as Google Docs, Diigo, Prezi, and VoiceThread. We then move into Audio (How do I introduce myself in a digital age?). This includes listening and creating podcasts. We take a look at video asking, How do I make my presence known in a digital age? This includes using programs such as Movie Maker, Animoto and Extranormal. We also cover graphics (How do I visually communicate?). This is an important one in that research from 3M says that the eye processes and interprets images 60,000 times faster than it does words. This is because the brain is much more suited to processing visual information than anything else (Jukes). We include using such programs as Gimp, Photoshop.com, Picnic, Aviary and Wordle. We also address the question, How do I promote myself? We talk about e-portfolios and use Weebly to create a website. All of this is done while discussing digital citizenship.
Most students these days use Facebook as their social media choice. That is why I created the class Facebook page (see above). I want to find a way to extend the classroom and into their own environment. Again, this opens up the conversations about digital citizenship and digital footprints. The hope is that this class will open new roles for both the student and the teacher.
In addressing "reverse mentoring," I think of the following video: "We must realize that they live in a different world and speak a different language. If we ever want to take part in nurturing those who will be the architects of our future, it is up to use to learn that language and step into that world; to allow them to lead us in as much as we must lead them so that we may truly understand the digital generation."
I think it is so important that we learn from each other. I think as teachers, we can become more of a guide or a facilitator, instead of the one on the stage that knows it all. With access to the internet, students have access to all sorts of information that generations before them never had. The key is to educate students on what constitutes "good information."
Module 2: Communication
(November 28, 2011)
Challenge #3: Connect & ReflectI have followed the K12 Online Conference website for years. The other day I had the opportunity to listen to Anne Mirtschin's presentation called The World is My Classroom. My reflection notes are posted on my blog: http://modelofchange.blogspot.com/
Challenge #4: Communication with New ToolsOne of the synchronous tools that I have used is Blackboard Collaborate. This also allows for synchronous communication. If a student is absent for the presentation, they can watch a video of it. I have found this to be a great way to extend learning beyond the classroom and to connect and communicate with people that have similar interests.
One of the asynchronous tools that I use is Moodle forums. I teach all of my classes with a blended method. In other words, students meet face-to-face, however, all of the work is done online. All assignments are posted online and all work is turned in online. All the grading is also done online. One common use of the Moodle forum discussion is for students to present their work and complete peer review on other student's work. This is typically done on their own time, for instance, from home - extending the classroom. I have found this to be a very powerful way to keep students connected outside of the classroom. This also allows students to fit my classes into their schedule. If I teach Graphic Design 1st and 3rd period but the student only has 4th period available, they can be in my 4th period class, which might be Web Design, and take the Graphic Design class. I simply put them in the Graphic Design moodle, where they can meet and interact with students from other periods. I currently have four Graphic Design classes that never physically see each other, however, they are required to complete peer review from students in other classes besides their own. This seems to fit nicely with Level 2: Interconnection (with the School or Geographic Area).
1. Moodle Calendar - myself and another teacher teach Moodle to teachers for district professional development. We want to keep track of who is teaching which level of Moodle class, when. We both share this calendar and enter our classes on it. This calendar is then shared with the people in charge of Moodle professional development so that they can get a visual of what is being taught when and where.
2. Traffic Education Calendar - I am currently the director of traffic education for our district. There was an issue with which teacher had which car, when. I created an Outlook calendar and shared it with the other traffic education teachers (giving them editing rights) so that they could sign up for which are they needed when. This was a great way to communicate asynchronously.
I have also created a Google calendar (and used the Moodle calendar module) for students to be able to sign up for their presentations. We were doing presentations on Fridays and students could go directly into the calendar and sign up for which Friday they wanted to do their presentation. If another group already signed up for that day, they would have to find another day. This was great in that it took me completely out of the loop.
I have also been able to sync my Google calendars (which I prefer) with my Outlook calendars. This way I can see all of my calendars while I am at work using Outlook. I have also linked to the Flat Classroom Google Calendar.
I have used Remind101in my Business Co-op class. This gives students a message to text to a particular phone number which allows me to send them reminders about assignments. "A safe way for teachers to text message students and stay in touch with parents. Free." At our school students can only use their cell phones before school, at lunch and after school. So I usually schedule these reminders right after the lunch bell rings or the end of the school day bell rings.
Challenge #5 Bonus: Student PLN Construction
I have done a couple of things in this area. I introduced students to social bookmarking, since most of the social networking sites are blocked at our school. I started by talking about bookmarking and then what would make bookmarking social. We used Diigo to bookmark good websites related to Graphic Design. I created a group so that they could share this information with each other. We discussed how this could be useful for other classes and in the future.
I created a Facebook page for Graphic Design. I put a link to it in the class Moodle. The downside is that they cannot see the link at school and cannot access Facebook at school. They do access Facebook at home and thought this would be a good place to extend the classroom. I post student work and interesting Graphic Design related images or website links. It seems like it is getting a slow start, but I am not giving up. I think it may take a while for the word to get out. I also need to figure out what the hooks are to get students to want to visit the page.
Interesting example of "push" technology: http://www.washingtonpost.com/socialreader
Module 1: Connection
(November 21, 2011)
Challenge #1: Set up your RSS Reader. My RSS Reader of choice is Google's Reader.One of the blogs I follow is by Jason Neiffer and Mike Agostinelli. They are the more Tech-Savvy Teachers in Montana! Working together since 2008, Jason and Mike are leaders in the State of Montana and Pacific and Rocky Mountain West in classroom technology innovation, professional development and are incredibly nice guys!
Another blog I follow is by Kathy Schrock. Her blog, called Kathy Schrock's Kaffeeklatsch is always has up to date with information that I can use personally or apply to my classroom. She has a great list of EdTech blogs that are worth taking a look at.
My RSS Reader: https://www.google.com/reader/view/?hl=en&tab=my
I open my browser to my iGoogle page as follows:
Blog: http://modelofchange.blogspot.com/ (a work in progress)
These are just some of my random thoughts and reflections after reading the first chapter of the Flat Classroom(R) book.
In reading the first chapter of the Flat Classroom(R) book, I was struck by the statement: "Learning is a social experience that can be enhanced with social networking tools and Web 2.0 technologies." While this seems like a simple statement, it is quite complicated when trying to use them in a classroom, where many websites are blocked at our school.
I like the statement "sharing unlocks unlimited potential". When I think about this statement, I think about Google and I think about the many teachers that I have shared my Moodles and Moodle knowledge with. I have worked with some teacher that don't want to share what they have learned with other teachers and I guess that is their right, however, I feel like we should all share a love of learning and be willing to share our knowledge. It is really just a different philosophy.
Another statement I liked was, "We believe effective use of technology can build bridges between classrooms, nations, and humankind, and that 21st century skills not only harness the power of technology but the power of people." I would like to add effective communication and use of technology. I feel that communication is a large part of this.\
I think there is some truth to "students who miss out on global collaboration opportunities may just be missing out on their future." I am very concious of this because of the rural nature of Motnana. I think more than some other states, it is important for Montana's to participate in global collaboration projects and the earlier the better.
I have already subscribed to many of the people listed in the first chapter, but there were some that I have not. I added these and appreciated the information. Reading this chapter has expanded my PLN.
(November 14, 2011)
We had our first meeting for the Flat Classroom Teacher Certification program today, November 14, 2011. This included introductions and an overview of the program. Both Vicki Davis and Julie Lindsey attended. The Flat Classroom Certified Teacher course is designed to train educators to be able to manage a global collaborative project built upon best practices of student collaboration and co-creation. The content for this certification is from the new book co-authored by Vicki and Julie called Flattening Classrooms, Engaging Minds.
One of the things I hope to accomplish with this certification is to offer a book club based on their book. I think that this could be a wonderful way to set an example for the model of change the district would like to accomplish.
From what I understand so far, the course will run for approximately twelve weeks and there are nine modules that need to be completed. In addition, we will complete fifteen challenges and be involved in one of the Flat Classroom projects as described in their book. I understand that we will be meeting online once a week to review progress and to discuss content of the course. This will include the seven steps to flatten our classrooms:
- Contribution & Collaboration