Professional Development ClassOnline Communication Tools in the Classroom Mrs. Sara Hunter January 8, 2013 4:00-6:00pm
Professional Development Class To create this class, I submitted my idea to “MyLearningPlan,” our school district’s site for tracking teacher professional development and licensure points. Once approved, teachers could register for class! To remind teachers about my class, I sent out several school-wide e-mails to encourage participation!
Welcome to class!Class took place directly after school, from 4:00-6:00pm A total of 11 teachers from various subjects and grade levels attended the class, including: • Self-contained Special Education • Foreign Language • Keyboarding • Art • Social Studies • Science (Also, several administrators, including two Assistant Principals, attended the class – this was a surprise – they showed up unannounced!)
I. Brainstorming To start class, teachers were broken up into four groups. They were given a large piece of white paper and markers and asked to create the following chart:
Some of the posters created by teachers I. Brainstorming
I. Brainstorming Teachers were given 5 minutes to brainstorm in their groups and write down their answers. After the timer sounded (set on Smart Board), teachers shared their answers and I completed the chart on the Smart Board
I. Brainstorming Then, I added a bit of a twist! I asked teachers “What types of problems do you have with technology in the classroom?” Teachers were very excited to answer this question and the room was suddenly abuzz!
I. Brainstorming Teachers were more than willing to share their troubles, which included: Misuse of technology by students Websites not working Difficulty connecting to Wi-Fi Laptops broken/not working Students have a wide range of skill sets Students working at very different paces Technology not available for use
II. Kidblog Next, teachers were introduced to one online communication tool called Kidblog. Teachers were given an information sheet I created, which had the purpose of Kidblog, pros and cons of the site and direction for setting up accounts.
II. Kidblog Next, I asked teachers to examine a Social Studies performance task in which Kidblog was used. Students were given historical figures and “became” these figures on the blog. Students did not know each other’s characters on the blog. Teachers were asked to look through the blog to see how students responded to various historical questions. Note - There was a lot of laughing during this part! The teachers were really surprised at how serious students were on the blog and how creative their responses were!
II. Kidblog After spending some time discussing how to use the blog, I asked teachers to log into a “test” class. Teachers were given “Test” usernames and passwords to access the test class (I created these prior to class). Once logged in, teachers were asked to answer three questions focusing on technology use and blogs in the classroom. If you would like to visit test class: Go to http://kidblog.org/testclass-30 Select “Moderator” from drop-down menu Password – abc123
II. Kidblog After instructing teachers to log into Kidblog and respond to questions, I walked around the room helping teachers. It was interesting to note that several teachers struggled using the program. They had difficulty following the directions for logging into the website and difficulty finding information on the site. It struck me as very similar to what I do in my classroom – helping small groups of students who do not have many technological skills, while the other students zip right through!
Question #1 How could you use Kidblog in your classroom? Think about your subject area and where increased communication could help support classroom instruction.
Question #2 Why do you think some teachers are reluctant to use technology in the classroom? What problems do you foresee with implementing Kidblog (or other blogging tools) in your classroom?
Question #3 What benefits do you see from using online blogging tools such as Kidblog? How could Kidblog increase student involvement in the classroom? Do you think your students will be receptive to using Kidblog?
III. Edmodo Next, teachers were introduced to Edmodo, another online communication tool. Teachers were given a handout with information about the site, pros and cons of its use and how to set up classes.
III. Edmodo Next, teachers were asked to examine a fellow social studies teacher’s Edmodo site. Mr. Waskiewicz (who I work with) began using Edmodo at the beginning of the school year. I asked teachers to look through the site and pointed out how he uses Edmodo. He uses Edmodo for: Posting homework - Answering homework questions - Posting pictures of his Table of Contents - Linking interesting websites -Posting class reminders
III. Edmodo To help teachers understand how to use Edmodo, teachers were given instructions on how to register for the site. Teachers then created accounts, using a given school code. After creating an account, teachers were asked to join a “Demo class” that I created for this class. Teachers were asked to post something on the class site (some teachers had a lot of fun with this!) Prof McCarty – I registered you as a student to Edmodo (in case you don’t have an account) To see the Edmodo site teachers used, visit www.edmodo.com, then log in: Username: ProfMcCarty Password: abc123
IV. Setting Up Classes At this point, teachers selected a program – Kidblog or Edmodo – and set up one of their classes. I circulated around the room, helping teachers register for the website and create log-in IDs for students.
V. Feedback At the end of class, I asked teachers to complete an exit ticket, reflecting on the class. Teachers were asked to answer the following questions: How did this class help you better understand online communication tools? Name one tool you may begin to use in your classroom: How could I improve this class to help teachers better understand online tools?
V. Feedback How did this class help you better understand online communication tools? • “It helped me to understand the difference between Kidblog and Edmodo” • “Awareness of Kidblog and Edmodo” • “I am now familiar with some different ways to help encourage student interaction with teacher and each other” • “I have some understanding of the use of online communication tools” • “Taught me to use the tools correctly – Fabulous!” • “I had no idea Edmodo existed or how to use it” • “It presented me with two new tools I can use”
V. Feedback Name one tool you may begin to use in your classroom: • “I think I will use Edmodo” • “Kidblog – Excellent engaging tool” • “Edmodo” • “Kidblog and Edmodo use (Telecomm. Unit)” • “Kidblog – relevant to students – fun” My favorite… • “Taser? HA – Just kidding (not really)”
V. Feedback How could I improve this class to help teachers better understand online tools? • “Maybe next time in a lab…the laptops are cumbersome” • “More programs related to subject matter” • “This was a great class – good presentation – demonstration was great!” • “N/A – You did awesome!” Of course, I had several teachers be witty…. • “Magic tricks” • “Perhaps provide pizza and beer – it always helps me understand things”
Reflection Teaching this class was a wonderful way to reinforce what I’ve learned in TECH507. I was surprised by the number of teachers who still struggle using technology in the classroom and how many incorporate little or no technology in their lessons. Also, I was surprised by how many teachers haven’t even heard of Kidblog or Edmodo, two of the most popular blogging tools! I had a lot of fun exposing the teachers to these tools and seeing their reactions to reading student examples.
Reflection I think if I am to teach this class again, I would break it up into two parts. A two-hour class after teaching for seven hours is a lot for teachers! By 5:30pm, I could tell that my teachers were starting to get tired. While my participants were pleasant and appeared to be having fun, I know that some were overwhelmed by the material (especially those teachers who use little/no technology). I think two one-hour classes, one dedicated to Kidblog and one dedicated to Edmodo, would allow teachers to focus on one tool at a time.