Teague's Tech Treks

Learning Technology and other Tech Observations by Dr. Helen Teague

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Content = Identity

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Authentic Learning

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Pride and Prejudice Loses to Comet Landing

Wondering a bit today why Wednesday’s ESA’s Philae probe landing on a comet after 10 years traveling in space did not garner more attention. The probe hit a moving target after a decade of flight…and I did not hear one thing about it! Given that I have been rather cloistered away from the news, I asked several teacher friends, neighbors, and the girls in the office…and they were not aware of it either! It certainly was not the national frenzy of the rocket times of “October Sky” or the Space Race.

Using my favorite Google Trends algorithm, KimK beat the comet landing in newsworthiness and so did Dancing With the Stars, which aired two days earlier. I had to go back to an even more obscure reference, my favorite book “Pride and Prejudice” before the comet won. In the age of social media, I wonder why the news did not permeate more…

cometlandingonGoogleTrends

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Webinar: 5 Trends for the Future of Ed Tech

The Horizon Report for K12 outlines the trends that will be important for students, schools and districts in the next five years. They encompass empowerment; communication, collaboration, and success; innovation and creativity; online learning, and even the way we think about learning environments. Attend this webinar from Tech & Learning to learn what they are, why they matter, and what all of us should be thinking about now from Bruce Michelson, a Distinguished Technologist. Click here to register

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Webinar: Guided Inquiry Design: Inquiry and 21st Century Literacy Skills

Upcoming webinars on many different topics from edWeb.net

Check out the upcoming free webinars, recent webinar recordings and explore our PLCs. You’ll receive a free CE certificate for attending or viewing any of our webinars.

Tuesday, October 16th – 4PM Eastern Time
Presented by Leslie Kuhlthau Maniotes, Ph.D., teacher effectiveness coach in Denver Public Schools and curriculum specialist and national consultant on inquiry learning
Join the community LMC @ The Forefront

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Back to School with PBS TeacherLine

BacktoSchoolBack to School…for You!

Get a head start on the skills and resources you need for the year ahead with cool PD offerings from PBS TeacherLine, starting September 19th. Our convenient and flexible online courses provide you with the expert guidance and useful insight to help you and your students succeed. Choose from courses that span all grade levels and the entire curriculum.
Check out these teacher favorites open for enrollment:
PreK-2 Teaching Vocabulary: Word Meanings & Word Knowledge (RDLA172), 45 hours
K-6 Children’s Authors on the Web: Online Sites That Motivate Students to Write (RDLA125), 30 hours
K-8 An Introduction to Underlying Principles and Research for Effective Literacy Instruction (RDLA152), 45 hours
K-12 Graphic Organizers for 21st Century Learning (TECH195), 30 hours
K-12 Connecting Family, Community and Schools (INST320), 30 hours
Pick Your Course. Enroll Today— Fall Classes Begin September 19th!

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Tech BFFs: Naiku

techbff_thumbnail  BFF is an acronym for “Best Friend Forever.” These websites and tips are so good that they will become
your technology 
BFFs!

How do you know if your students, your audience,  (your family) is “getting it”?

How do you check for understanding quickly, efficiently, and without spending more effort checking than your learning
group has spent learning?

Use Quick Question from Naiku.

Naiku (referring to the Lao word for teacher)  is a utility web program available online for eLearning or MLearning.  Teachers and older students can create assessment tests and quick questions which can be answered using mobile devices in the classroom or from home.

Now that school is “in session” this is the perfect time to beta test Naiku.
Using Naiku’s Quick Question is easy. Simply go to www.naiku.net, and sign-up for a free account. When you are read, click on Login at the top of the page, and enter your username and password to start a session. Press one of the question types to ask your students a question. That’s it.

Quick Question Tips:
1. Remind your students to go to q.naiku.net and enter your Quick Question session number (as shown in the middle of your teacher account window)
2. Click on Show Results to display the results on your screen and send to the student devices
3. Click on one of the bars in the chart if you wish to designate that as the correct answer
4. Click on a question type any time you wish to start a new question

naiku

If your students are not connected in a 1:1 ratio, you can employ Naiku in a learning center, a webpage as a follow-up, and/or project to the whole class to answer with pencil and paper as an exit ticket or close activity.
More tips and help are available at www.naiku.net/quickquestion. We love to hear from you. Comments welcome. Email us at support@naiku.net .

For additional ideas see this post.

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What to wear to a Skype Interview

What to wear to a Skype Interview

Skype is an video-calling web tool that allows users to connect with each other. Med Kharbach writes, “educators and teachers connect with each other and organize online meetings from everywhere in the world. Check out Teachers Guide to The Use of Skype in Education to learn more about this platform.”

Ok, that is the pedagogy. Now for the nitty-gritty.

There are 28 million Skypers online. I was one of them… four years ago. I created a cute, but oblique username, cryptic password and jauntily clicked on the web cam to take my Profile picture.

A creepy image manifested itself into my view. Horrified at the way my face rendered on the huge laptop screen, I slammed my laptop screen down and skittered away from Skype. I begged my handyman to reopen my laptop, deactivate my account, and I resolved to stay a Flintstone in the emerging Jetson world of video communications.

I nurtured my Luddite point of view until recently when a job interview request mandated Skype as the communication interface. Here are ten essential lessons I learned from my DeMille close-up moment.

Be Techy: Always hard-wire your Skype sessions. Wireless is just too risky when accepting important Skype calls. If your wireless connection fluctuates and frazzles when your neighbor downloads a NetFlix, your face will freeze in the absolute most unflattering Rorschack pose EVER!

Be Aware: Skype will settle nicely into an automatic Start-up when you boot Windows, meaning that you in all of your make-up-free glory will be available for any available insomniacs  unless you also know to …

Be Covert: Always set your status to “Offline”.  Also, wait until you are offline to accept Skype Friend requests. Unless, of course, you always look like Cindy Crawford while lounging around after work or first thing in the morning. Ready and rowdy friends can immediately pounce on your Friend  acceptance, leaving you unprepared for the Skype call fall-out.

Be Clear: My first Skype practice session friend Sue commented that I appeared fuzzy and blurred to her. Taking her advice to heart, I bounded outside for a soul-refreshing  hike and swim. Still no luck. I lacked the clarity I reasoned that only a new pair of shoes would refresh. Ditto for a latte and a matiness of “The Best Marigold Hotel.”

It was my LA-based friend Beth who surveyed the situation and immediately ordered me to take off the oval lens protection tape covering the webcam orifice. The instant clarity rivaled face-lifts and Lasik surgery.

Be Design-conscious: Skype definitely awakens the necessity Set Decoration. Definitely accept no calls until Skypers can see the whites of your walls. Or “Neutral Urban Dusk” as the stylish, young girl coos to describe a wall color the next Design Star. I’ve also set the DVR for Love It or List It to pick up as many set decorating tips as I can after the afore-mentioned Beth called me out on my minimalist  background style.

“Throw something on the wall so they don’t think you are speaking from a vacuous void! You had an orange room in junior high, what happened???” Only a childhood friend could offer such poignancy.

Definitely check the 360-degree view of your Skype landscape. Move sock puppets. Ditto any velvet renderings of dogs playing poker or Elvis in any decade. Don’t commence a Skype interview from a “Slash Room” you know…an office/study/guest bedroom/storeroom. It’s just too creepy.

(Let there) Be Light: My company cohort, Mary says, “check the lighting. I look infinitely better on webcam when the light is right. You have to be like Sheldon and find your ‘spot.’ otherwise your grandkid thinks you are the Monster Who Hides Under the Bed. My niece-in-law from China has her webcam hooked up to 50 inch Samsung HD and that’s how she Skypes.

Be Mindful: Time passes. Be mindful of the passage of time: Webcams are unforgiving little demons. My personal view is that because they were invented by children younger than my potted fern, they are oblivious to wrinkle creep and turkey-neck. Using a scarf to hide unsightly folds of skin is just too Grey Gardens. Turtlenecks are too Lands’ End, especially in the sweltering Southern summers. The best alternative is to doff a high-necked jacket in a warm-coral-based color. Unless you are a man, in which case, wear anything you like except a Metalhead t-shirt with mustard stains. My friend Reggie did this and I can testify that even from 2000 miles away, mustard is mustard and the stain does show.

And, as Always…Be Taylor-tastic:  Finally, learn from Elizabeth Taylor: Elizabeth’s grooming quote of the 1950’s has merit today:

ETaylorQuote

Did I forget anything? What would you add?

Picture Source

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Back to School~ QR Codes

BacktoSchool

qrcodesinclassroomhelenteague

As you return back to school, consider adding QR codes to your bag of tricks Teaching Strategies.

QR codes are the little boxy graphics popping up everywhere.* Originally used in Marketing for Business, they are fun for students, parents, and those who love them. The purple QR Code on the left represents this blog! Although some school filters block all mobile devices, even employee owned, QR Codes extend learning beyone the school day and your classroom.

Use QR codes as a type of shorthand for content, as a shortcut for link URLs, as a mystery prize, even a staff development tool.

 I recently delivered a professional development training session powered entirely by QR codes scattered on posters in the hallway leading to the training room and around the room. Using their BYOD of choice equipped with a free, downloaded QR reader app, educators could satiate their curiosity at will. (This also circumvented the disharmony of posting presentation links, waiting for inaccurate/slow typists and smiling through diatribes along the lines of “this internet proliferation equals an end to civilization as we know it.”)

Educators could also return later to the presentation with a click, negating the need for handouts. In my online courses, I created QR codes to represent our content chapters. Each week had a different QR code that relayed back to the online content. Next term, I am going to supply the codes and encourage students to save the resulting content in offline format.

* Complete QR Code Definition: QR codes, abbreviated from Quick Response Code, are the matrix barcodes readable by QR scanners, mobile phones with a camera, and smartphones.

Here is a sample of More Classroom Uses for QR Codes:

—12 Ideas for Teaching with QR codes from our friends at Edutopia 

—Always on the techie edge, Miguel Guhlin writes this great post on Updating an Image in a QR Code

—50 ways to use QR codes in the classroom at this google docs link

—Encouraging our youngest writers, Frances used QR codes and iPads with Kindergarten students. The students created stories using an app like Educreations, created a QR code and then their parents access their work with their iPhones.

—Kudos to Scott Hagedorn for this easy-to-implement application of QR codes in the classroom. He places the scanable block patterns on any poster or wall artifact that he wants his students to inquire about. One favorite: an old-school Bo Jackson READ poster (what fifth grader knows what Bo Knows?). Students scan the QR codes using the handful of iPads that Mr. Hagedorn has available in his classroom and then explore the topic.

—High Five to Megan V. who is using QR codes to add book trailers to the books in the school library. Have students create a video instead of writing a book report and then link the video to the book through a QR code. Her blog post covers the basics http://www.mediacastblog.com/book-trailers/

—Mark B. labels equipment and trolleys with QR Codes – linked to a document of contents

—Link the answers to math, science, grammar problems to a QR code

—Attach a QR Code to your email signature, pointing back to your website, blog, school webpage, latest fundraiser, weather report, etc…

—Place a QR code on your website and/or blog for easy retrieval. This is the one on our website.

—Check out this resource: Lisa Mims has curated great ideas at her ScoopIt site called Engaging Students Using QR codes

—Jason Dixon Jr. Chief Learning Officer at Tequipment, Inc. said, “If one simply thinks of a QR code as a printable hyperlink it may help to expand the possibilities. Here is a quick video our team created to highlight using and creating QR codes.”

No tech options? No worries! With lesson comparisons to fingerprints, Students can also draw their own QR code and provide a caption deciphering it or where their code would lead.

—My tech mentor, Linda Uhrenholt says: “As the Nike ads say “Just do it!” I started by exploring what others had accomplished. Heck, the first time I captured a QR code it led to a free cup of coffee at a new coffee shop. This was several years ago. The second time I captured one from a ketchup bottle!!! That led to a short video about a local community college! It’s fun not only to view QR codes but create them! “

Here are  more great sites to use to create your QR Codes:

Create QR Code http://createqrcode.appspot.com/

Kaywa: http://qrcode.kaywa.com/

Creating QR Codes from the NYTimes

How to Create a QR Code in 4 Quick Steps

Enoy!

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