We are lucky in our school board to have Google Apps for Education for both staff and students, and I have been very enthusiastic about using the apps for a variety of tasks. Recently in my AQ course, we were presented with the task of looking at curriculum from a TPACK perspective. We were given one cue card with some content we had to teach, one with a teaching style or pedagogy, and one with a technology tool. Our cards said: DRAMA (content), DESCRIPTIVE FEEDBACK (pedagogy), and GOOGLE FORMS (technology).
“Impossible!” We all said (I was working in a group of 3). And then we started thinking about it. We were all familiar with the way our students give descriptive feedback to their peers on a regular basis: the 2 stars and a wish model. Essentially, the students raise their hands after watching a performance, and give feedback that is either positive, or a wish for improvement.
I wondered what would happen if instead of having the same 3 students always raising their hands to give stars and wishes, we gave them the Chromebooks and had them type their stars and wishes online. We assumed that the students would be much more willing to comment if they didn’t have to speak about their stars and wishes in front of the whole class.
Last week, I put it to the test. A grade 3/4 class that I teach was ready to perform the dances they had been creating. I signed out the Chromebooks, and handed them out to students. I showed them how to get to the form I created.
On the form itself, the students had to select the group they wanted to comment on from a drop-down menu. Then they had to select whether they wanted to submit a star or a wish. If they selected star, they were sent to another page of the form where they typed in their comment. Likewise for the wish selection. When they were finished typing their comment, they clicked “select” and were then prompted to either close the form or submit another response (allowing them to comment more than once if they wished). I gave them no further instructions.
I was amazed by what I got from these students. Most of the students took the initiative to give both a star and a wish comment, and all students framed both their stars and wishes in positive terms. Here are some of the examples of comments from the students. These are copied word for word.
What’s more is that the students LOVED completing the form. They all wanted to say something about each group that performed. We still have some more performances to go through, so there is the potential for the novelty to wear off, but I can see them being interested for a long while.
They rembered there dance and did it at the same time
I loved the flow, so much!
You guys did amazingly awesome I love your cool movements
I like how you took it nice and slow
They had graseful movementes and I love the dance moves.
I like the costumes.
they used powerful strokes in the dance.
they cept in syince
My wish for them is to make the dance a bit more longer.
Next time be prepared for the dance and maybe you should have made your dance longer.
They should work on doing their performance faster and taking their dance more seriously
I wish they could make the hiding part more clear
My wish is for them not to be silly and not laugh when there doing the play it kind of messes the play up.
They should work on their time
My next goal is to create a form with a video of the performance embedded right beside it. This would be for the students of the group to self-evaluate. What do you think?
I want to start this post by saying that I am feeling overwhelmed right now with all of my new learning and the way I have started using technology in my PLN. I have a bunch of blog posts in my head and am trying to filter them so that they are relevant and useful to people who may be reading, rather than just spewing thoughts from my head as they appear there.
On Saturday I attended EdCamp Hamilton with my colleagues from the AQ course I am currently taking with Brenda Sherry (Integrating Information and Computer Technology in Instruction, Part 1). I had never been to an event like this before, and I honestly have mixed feelings about it.
For those of you unfamiliar with the EdCamp model, it is what is referred to as an “unconference.” Basically, you show up to the event with some ideas of what you would like to discuss with like-minded attendees. Everyone meets at the beginning of the event to pose their questions, and then the questions are posted on a schedule. You choose the discussions you want to join, and everyone contributes. There is no leader.
There are, however, organizers who set up the event and run things on the day. For EdCamp Hamilton, we had a great team of organizers, who did an absolutely amazing job. The event ran smoothly, and there was a great turnout. Lunch was delicious, the space was great, the scheduling was done quickly and efficiently, and the organizers were extremely helpful.
I first want to say that since joining Twitter I have met so many educators online, and the best part of EdCamp for me was seeing a bunch of them face to face. However, I was a little outside my comfort zone, and therefore didn’t talk to many people or introduce myself to them. In retrospect, I think this is the problem I had with the EdCamp model.
I took part in some great discussions with some amazing educators, doing amazing things in their classrooms. But I don’t think I enjoyed the event as much as I could have, simply because I was more reserved and introverted than a lot of the people in attendance. I also missed having someone to lead the discussions and present a visual to accompany my learning.
In short, I’m not sure what this model can really offer that I can’t do on Twitter or by reading blogs. Yes, it’s nice to chat with people about what they are doing in a face to face atmosphere, but how is it really that different from a Twitter chat? I think I prefer the traditional conference model, although I do recognize that my reserved attitude on Saturday may be to blame. Perhaps if I had put myself out there a little more and introduced myself to more people, I may feel differently right now.
This past weekend I was extremely lucky. I got to attend the first Google Apps for Education Ontario Summit.
I have been telling everyone that the Google Summit changed my life, and it is absolutely true. I really feel that I am looking at education and technology in a completely different way than I did before I attended this amazing event. Yes, I learned a lot of cool things about Google Apps and some impressive tricks that I can wow my friends with. But that wasn’t the best thing I took away from the Summit. Not even close.
What I came home with was a deeper understanding of what it means to be a teacher and a student today. And what I have discovered is that it’s okay to not have all of the answers. As a teacher I have a plethora of tools to help me find the answers, and a world-wide network of like-minded teachers, to help me and inspire me, at my finger tips.
And most importantly, it doesn’t matter what technology tools I prefer to use in my classroom, because the fast pace of these innovations is fostering a mindset of testing things out and seeing what works. There will always be new and better things available to me and to my students. But taking that plunge into something new and exploring it together is an authentic learning process that will be repeated over and over in my life and in the lives of my students.
As a teacher, I can lead my students into responsible digital citizenship, by being a responsible, innovative, and inspiring digital citizen myself. And that is now my major career goal.
As part of my goal to learn about and incorporate technology in my teaching of primary students, I set out to complete two major events this year. First, I got really excited about the first Google Apps for Education Ontario Summit. Subsequently, I made the commitment and signed up for the Integration of Information and Computer Technology in Instruction, Part 1 AQ course.
I was back and forth on doing the AQ, because I have always been pretty comfortable with technology, but it really became more about improving my learning overall and cultivating a learning community for myself.
In our very first class we created a 6 word story by finding an image about learning or teaching online and using Pixlr to add words to the image. We could only use 6 words, to sum up our ideas. I like this idea, and will definitely be trying it with my students. I am attaching the story I made here, as a focus of the blog, and to hopefully get the ball rolling.