Posts Tagged ‘Technology’

Want to learn how to integrate technology into your teaching? If that question isn’t enough to hook you, then maybe4 gaining free resources, enhancing your professional development skills, sharing lesson plans, and improving your teaching techniques will be enough to reel you in! Personal Learning Networks (PLNs) consists of the people and information that have the ability to bring learning to life in schools. This includes the dedicated members and endless sources of information that together help learning goals develop. Building a successful PLN calls for members to not only search for learning opportunities, but to also utilize their available networks, and support others that are learning alongside of them. Regardless of content, or subject, a stylish PLN can serve as a powerful learning tool. A PLN is a network of educators around the world who serve as an inspiration to many, whether it be through their comments on Twitter, blog posts, or successful teaching strategies. Although you may never meet some members of your PLN you will still benefit from them, as you go over teaching philosophies and invent goals for students far and wide.

3Many of you may already be apart of this world: have a Twitter where you connect with others, or a blog where you post your innovative ideas, but this is not enough! It is great to choose the people you interact with and learn from, but you also must focus on your community: the place where you spend your day, the school where your students are learning, and the faculty room filled with the teachers you work with, because they are equally important as every member of your digital world. These are your colleagues, whether you like it or not, and I challenge you to make it your responsibility to collaborate with them, so the educational needs of your students are met. Developing a community may be harder than developing a network, but it will be worth it.

Teachers have a bushel of responsibility, but they don’t have to deal with it all on their own. Teachers should never feel isolated and a well-designed PLC will provide every lonely teacher with a little tender, love, and care. This Personal Learning Community (PLC) will come hand in hand with professional development, and often, it is the principal, consultant, coach, or whoever the “instructional leader” is in the building, that decides what everyone needs to learn about.

How and why does this happen?  5

These instructional leaders are not just being nitpicky. They are looking at student results, looking at the gaps, and2 then they are using professional resources to determine what strategies will close those gaps. Despite a teacher’s best effort, students will struggle, but when teachers are comfortable enough to announce this struggle, their PLC team can jump on board and strategize. This issue will then be deconstructed from multiple perspectives until it is solved. Since we cannot choose who is in our PLC it is important to keep the focus on school improvement and students achievement. I firmly believe that we need to consider ourselves lucky to have the opportunity to bring our digital lives into school buildings. This informal learning network will produce knowledge as members share their questions, successes, and failures.

As soon as you get a PLC up and running in your school I am sure you will notice the following:

  1. An increase in professional development.
  2. Teachers sharing useful resources.
  3. Teachers’ enhancing their original lesson plans.
  4. Teachers working together to find collaborative solutions that are geared towards struggling students and will get them back on track.

1Students will also learn to collaborate and connect with others through their in depth work with specific topics. Digital PLNs will foster creativity in the classroom, engaging students in the course material. This will also give students an authentic audience as they learn to master their communication skills and produce meaningful work.

Once again, I encourage all of you to take the next step, and not only get involved digitally but bring your knowledge into your school. Don’t simply read a blog post or listen to a podcast, but formulate questions that you will work to answer with your current colleagues. Reach out to them and prove that together you can do more for your students, and make teaching less stressful. Contribute to your school and share the benefits of working closely with others.

New School

Posted: February 13, 2013 in Uncategorized
Tags: , , ,

Schoology

Do you need a place to organize all of your lessons, assignments, quizzes, and grades?

There’s an app for that! I recently discovered the world of Schoology. This website/application allows educators to work together to manage lessons, engage students, share content, and easily connect with other educator’s all around the world, to distribute or review material. With Schoology educators can keep track of their schedules, and have all of their material in the same place. This also offers more than the basics; as it enables its users to conduct online courses, provide one-on-one remediation, or host complex class discussions.

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Schoology also brings everyone together; its parent feature connects students, parents, and educators. This provides parents with the class material, and offers them a safe, secure online environment to contact their son/daughters teacher. This is a great innovative learning tool that will allow students to interact with each other through social networking, while also sharing important academic content.

Schoology is widely known for its extreme similarities to facebook, it is often referred to as, “the educational facebook”.  The website set up, as well as the application, mirror the layout of facebook, which allows students to navigate the website autonomously. As students cruise through their homework and activities with ease, educators will be able to choose from a variety of content types, and embed useful text and media.

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Schoology allows teachers and students to interact with one another in a variety of ways. For example, it allows teachers to post documents about the class, such as the class syllabus, and any notes that they think their students may need.  Once the teacher posts something new, a “notification” comes up on the right side of the screen showing the student that there is a new document that was uploaded.  Along with this, Schoology allows students to interact with each other, but also offers them the privacy of sharing assignments with only their teacher. It is simple to make homework private between only the teacher and student. This allows students to post and answer discussions, and also contribute to their classmate’s submissions.

Schoology_homepage_screenshot

Schoology also allows the students to send direct messages, and keeps track of friend’s profiles. Students can also enroll with their entire class to keep everything organized. Along with this, it also allows classmates to become friends with one another so they can always stay connected. Students can also customize their page with a picture to make a more authentic learning environment.

Since this website/application has so many commonalities with facebook, students understand how to use every aspect of the site quickly and efficiently.  Instead of having to spend several classes on having to explain the specific functions to the Schoologyclass, a teacher may only have to take a few minutes because the students will be able to understand it without delay. This website takes blackboard, or any other online forum used by schools to the next step, it enables students to stay connected 24/7 in a personal atmosphere.

Educators will find it so easy to create, organize, and find content. There is a widget that enables each user to connect their Google Docs, there is also a place to search, browse, and integrate public content. It is simple to create and manage tests and quizzes; there is a place to score quizzes/tests and enter grades automatically. Another portion is available to provide students with direct feedback. One more awesome feature is the educator’s option to see what students are spending the most time on, and the steps they are taking while completing assignments.

This is a fully functioning classroom management tool, but at the same time provides Schoology_logo_blacka great social networking platform for teachers and students. It is easy to use and all instructional components are free for teachers and students! A mobile app is offered for Andriod or iOs. This will serve as an outstanding collection of resources for every class that participates.

Do you think this tool will be beneficial in your classroom?

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To download Schoology or find out more information:

https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/schoology/id411766326?mt=8

http://allmyapps.com/apps/schoology-students-teachers

http://blog.schoology.com/2012/03/schoology-for-android/