Trending now in #STL #edtech from @ETAofSTL members

etatopics

At our Welcome Back meeting for ETA of STL, the Education Technology Association of St. Louis, we asked our members what is happening in their districts and what topics they would like us to cover at ETA meetings this year. Above is an AnswerGarden of their responses.

In thinking about how technology integration can transform learning, SAMR (Substitution, Augmentation, Modification and Redefinition) is a big topic to kick off the school year, and one that my Academy has been using to frame our technology pd. Many ETA member districts participated in a summer #METCpd SAMR institute sponsored by Edplus.  They brought in Dr. Ruben Puentedura, who developed the framework. They will also be partnering with the Clayton School District to offer a free SAMR unconference on Saturday, Sept. 9.

STEAM & MakerEd continue to be big topics in the region as well. Mehlville School District opened MOSAIC this year, a new school of innovation for elementary students, and Ferguson-Florissant has a new middle school STEAM Academy. South Technical High School has a new makerspace this year, which we hope to be visiting at a future ETA meeting. For those looking for professional development in this area, you might check out the year-long STEM Academy or the new MakerEd Academy being offered by Edplus.

Chromebooks seem to be the 1:1 device of choice in area, with many districts rolling out new or additional Chromebooks including a K-12 program for Winfield, 1:1 Chromebooks at North Technical High School, and Rockwood District rolling out Chromebooks to 6-9 this year. In Ferguson-Florissant the STEAM students are 1:1 with new Dell touch screen fold-able Chomebooks.

Digital Citizenship and related topics are also in focus this year. Our next ETA meeting on September 20 at Hancock Place will be centered around Digital Citizenship, Digital Footprint, and Student Data Privacy. Educators may want to follow the lead of Orchard Farm School District, who is hosting a  Teen Digital Citizenship day for their students October 13. METC’s middle school summit on digital citizenship is Sept 21, and Oct 6 is DigCit Day: Moving Beyond Internet Safety .

As always ETA members are looking for innovative and “new big ideas.” I’m excited to join Tierney Brother’s free STL Tech Tour on October 24. If you are interested in joining in, you should contact Dawn Shuler (dawnshuler@tierneybrothers.com).

It’s sure to be another busy year in #STL #edtech, but we hope you will take time out each month to join us for my favorite local #PLN: ETA of STL.

 

20 #BYOD Apps to Empower Students @etaofstl #edtech

Put your students in the driver’s seat of managing their learning with these free or inexpensive apps.

When we talk about BYOD, we often focus on apps/tools to use with our students in class. That was the focus of the October meeting of the Educational Technology Association of St. Louis (@etaofstl). However, another great benefit of BYOD is harnessing the educational power of the cell phones in their pockets. So, instead of banning cell phones in the classroom, empower your students to use the technology to make them better students with these great apps.

Taking Notes & Staying Organized for Class

1: My Study Life Digital planner Android iOS

2: myHomework Digital planner Android iOS

3: Notability Note-taking iOS (Anyone know of a great Android app for this?)

4: Cam Scanner Capture PDFs and more Android iOS

5: Keep To do, note-taking, audio & visual notes Android iOS

Group Projects Made Easy

6: Trello Stay organized with this app to keep track of progress & who is doing what on group projects Android iOS

7: GroupMe Group chat for your group projects & more Android iOS

Test Prep & Study Tools

8: RealCalc Scientific Calculator Android (Anyone have a good alternative for this on iOS?)

9: Wolfram Alpha Expert-level algorithms to automatically answer questions for STEM & more Android iOS

10: Study Blue flashcards and quizzes Android iOS

11. Khan Academy Practice exercises, instructional videos, and a personalized learning for STEM & more Android iOS

12: GoConqr Create and access crowd-sourced mind maps, flashcards, notes, and quizzes Android iOS

13: Gojimo 150,000 quiz questions covering SAT, ACT and AP, and others Android iOS

14: Vocabulary Builder  Expand your vocabulary with this 1200-word game. Android iOS

15: DuoLingo Learn a language Android iOS

16: Open Study Find a study group online iOS (no Android app, try the Web version)

17. Forest Leave your cell phone alone while you study. Whenever you want to concentrate, you can plant a seed in Forest. In the next 30 minutes, this small seed will gradually grow into a big tree, but if you use your phone it will wither.  Android iOS

Reading

18: Overdrive Borrow books from the library Android iOS

19: Scribd The Netflix of books Android iOS

Other

20: Scholly Scholarship search (curated list) and tips Android iOS

What apps do you recommend for students?

5 Attitudes of Successful #Edtech Integrators Every Teacher Should Adopt @etaofstl @greglawrence

At the September meeting of The Education Technology Association of St. Louis (@etaofstl), Wentzville ed tech specialist Greg Lawrence (@greglawrence) had 5 teachers from his district share their experiences with managing the digital classroom. As these successful integrators of technology spoke, some themes emerged that I think are worth sharing. 

Here’s how you can emulate them:

1: You don’t have to know everything about an app/web tool before trying it with students. 

The days of the teacher as “sage on the stage” are long gone (or they should be!). Some teachers let fear of not being an expert on tech hold them back. Successful ed tech integrators know you can use a tech tool with students without knowing all the ins and outs of it. Even if a lesson doesn’t go perfectly, there’s a life skill to be learned with that, too.

2: Tinker time is not wasted time.

Students can become proactive in their learning if you encourage them to problem solve and allow them to tinker.Given the time and opportunity, students will pick up new tricks with tech tools, and, perhaps, even teach you a thing or two.  One successful strategy to try: make a tinker project for a resource to get them familiar with and excited about that resource before using it for a bigger assignment.

3: Just because your students are tech savvy, don’t assume you can ignore tech instruction.

Personal technology use doesn’t automatically transfer to knowledge of tech for educational purposes. Successful tech integrators understand the importance of building tech competencies among their students. As one middle school teacher pointed out, if the next grade level’s staff can tell a difference between student tech skills based on which team the student was on, you know there are discrepancies. Find a way, not an excuse.

4: Value the rich experiences available at students’ fingertips. 

Successful tech integrators do not see technology as “one more thing” they’re expected to teach, they value the real world applications for students. As one high school math teacher pointed out, the rich access to real data on the web reinforces what students are learning and makes the learning more relevant. Try this: Post short urls/qr codes around the physical walls of your classrooms that link to enriching content or video tutorials for students to explore and use Google Classroom to push links to kids online.

5: Embrace opportunities for professional learning and sharing.

Whether its the ability to give more timely feedback on writing assignments with Google Drive, quickly assess what students know with Kahoot, flip your lessons so you have more individual time with students or completely redefine a lesson, technology improves your teaching practices. Successful technology integrators know this, so they embrace opportunities for professional learning. At Wentzville, teachers can gain knowledge via leveled courses with the option for discounted graduate credit, attending tech mini-lessons on their plan periods or watching Greg’s 30 Seconds of Google videos. Being able to share lesson plans and collaborate across buildings was also cited as a major advantage of using GAFE in their district.

A big thanks to Greg, as well as Constance, Richard, Amanda, Stacy and Stacy for demonstrating attitudes that make tech work for you and your students!

3 Tools to Differentiate Reading & Research #METC14

We sent Jennifer Frazer, one of our high school English teachers, who also serves on our tech committee, to the METC preconference workshop on integrating technology tools in English Language Arts to Meet Common Core Standards. She came back with lots of great ideas to share with her department colleagues, but we also asked her to do a short screencast of some of the webtools she learned about that would be of interest to all subject areas. So, Jen chose Newsela, Rewordify, and Instagrok. I particularly like how Rewordify makes a text easier to read not by shortening it (which most automated sites do rather in-eloquently), but by substituting easier words or phrases, while still allowing students access to the original word and its pronunciation.

Hargadon’s Big Event Announcements

If you’ve never attended a virtual conference, you should check out Steve Hargadon’s announcement this week about some upcoming virtual conferences including Learning About Learning, Reinventing the Classroom, ISTE Unplugged, Gaming in Ed, and Library 2.014. All of the conferences are free to attend online.

There are also some opportunities to present at some of these conferences. I’ve presented before for Hargadon, and he truly makes it easy to do! The deadline for calls for proposals for The Learning Revolution Conference is April 15, with the conference happening April 21-25, 2014.

5 Good Options for Creating Digital Portfolios

Even with all of the snow days we’ve had, the end of the school year will be upon us before we know it. So, it’s time to start thinking now about possible end-of-the-year projects. If your students aren’t already keeping a digital portfolio, creating one can be an engaging and useful reflection and synthesis of learning. On Free Technology for Teachers this week, Richard Byrne suggests 5 Good Options for Creating Digital Portfolios. Byrne is great at suggesting web tools that are easy to use. A digital portfolio is also a great opportunity for students to show a little creativity and produce a product they will be proud to share with parents and guardians.