Friday, October 13, 2017

Global Connections

Making Global Connections October 2017Globe Clipart Free Stock Photo - Public Domain Pictures

Have you wondered how to connect your students with others around the world? How does this connect to instruction in the classroom and why is it important?

Global interactions show all of our different cultures, perspectives, and life experiences. Hopefully, the communication will allow us to learn common interests and shared experiences with those outside our environment.

Connecting to instruction can be as simple as using maps to explore geography to collaborating on storytelling. Making Global connections are a part of Virginia’s Computer Science standards and are at the Infusion level of the NKCPS Framework. Global connections do not need to be separate from instruction but an integral part of extending learning.

Pernille Ripp, the creator/ educator of the Global Read Aloud project identifies 7 steps to starting a global connection in this ISTE Article:
Find your passion and purpose. Passion drives the energy and dedication you’ll need if obstacles present themselves during the course of the project. Consider where something will naturally fit into your day because you already have a lot of passion for it.
Pick a focus. Will your project support reading, writing, speaking or another component of instruction? Narrow your focus to avoid feeling overwhelmed. Similarly, decide in advance how much time you have to dedicate to the project. First-timers should start small.
Check in with students. Make sure that your students feel comfortable sharing their thoughts with others outside their classroom or school. There are times when students don’t want others involved, and educators should respect that.
Similarly, be sure students are actually ready to collaborate and can mind their manners.
“You need to have a community in your classroom before you set them loose in the world,” Ripp says. Do they know how to behave on a Skype call? Have you practiced working together, say with an in-class project, to avoid student embarrassment or awkward situations during a live collaboration?
You gotta believe. Believing in your idea is essential for getting others on board. Your conviction will convince others to spend time doing the project.
Find your people. Educators should be connected so that their students can be connected, Ripp says. To make your project work, reach out to your PLN on Twitter, Facebook, Skype in the Classroom, email or even just a face-to-face conversation. If no one jumps on board, it’s time to rethink your idea.
Dream a little. If your project concept is a little loose when you start seeking collaborators, that’s OK. True collaboration means all partners have a say in the project. As the creator, you should be prepared to figure out the details with your partners. “So you have to have a dream and an idea of what it may look like, but do leave room for others’ dreams as well,” Ripps explains.
Let go. There will be times when things don’t go according to plan. Count on it. That happens with learning and teaching. Allow your project to take its own path and resist the urge to shut it down if it takes unexpected twists and turns.

Where to make connections:

A website for making global connections with video set up by the Kind Foundation. This site had all the information and tutorials to get you and the students started connecting synchronously.

New Google oriented website from an educator and Google Innovator. Teachers sign up and go to the “find classes” page to filter and make connections.

Make connections and explore the activities from the news feed. Filter by age and class size. Teachers can connect before setting up a project and filter by age. students will collaborate directly with other students within the teachers set up classroom.

Two educators source of connections with large range of projects students can participate in throughout the year, including Global Read Aloud and Global Collaboration Day.

Penpal schools has been connecting for many years.  Asynchronous projects focus on reading and writing collaborations.

Tools to use to connect:

If you are using a desktop computer you need:
A webcam (the IPEVO document camera will work)
USB plug-in Microphone
Always test first!

Take the leap and learn more about Global Education by participating in Global Education conference Online (free)November 13-16

Works Cited

“7 Steps to Starting a Global Collaboration Project.” ISTE,

Wednesday, July 5, 2017

Curating Resources

Help there is too much information! Or how do teachers keep resources and ideas together for students to use?

Curate them! What does that mean? Defined it means “select, organize, and present (online content, merchandise, information, etc.), typically using professional or expert knowledge” Thankfully there are also many programs to help teachers do that, here are a few to get started with that can be easily shared with students through Google.

Symbaloo is a great place to start, set up links for students with picture tiles, great for the “littles”
Link the Symbaloo to a website page or share through Google Classroom.
Screenshot 2017-07-05 at 1.51.17 PM.png

Another way to share links to websites with students is to use One Tab extension for Google Chrome. When teachers search for ideas for students, multiple website tabs get opened and tend to stay open while the teacher keeps searching. Once the One tab extension is applied to the teacher's account, clicking on the One Tab icon will put all the open website tabs in a shareable list that even gets its’ own QR code. Students can click on the links in the list to access any of the websites the teacher found for them.

Bookmarking is a great way to save resources until there are too many single bookmarks. Create Folders with Google's Bookmark manager and Bookmark Manager Extension. Bookmark Manager for Google Chrome is accessible from right-clicking on the bookmarks bar or from the 3 dots under the X in the very top right corner of the screen. Have a folder for each topic. Add images and notes for each bookmark. Export bookmarks to Google drive for sharing.
Diigo is another bookmarking service that allows annotations to bookmarks and sharing by group or by email. After a bookmark is created, it will come up in the right side of the screen when the teacher does another Google Search for the same topic.

An alternative word to curation is creating a “Playlist” for students =A series of video or media for students to interact with. With any of the resources below teachers can use playlists already created or create their own. Share with students through Google Classroom, Google account sign in, or PIN number.
  • A free resource made just for Virginia teachers are emediaVA. All resources are aligned by SOL
  • TES Teach is another free resource to create or use already created multi-media interactive lessons for students. TES (formerly named Blendspace) is very easy to use, works on Chromebooks and has an app for easy access from other devices. Students can access by class code.
  • Edpuzzle allows teachers to add video’s from any source and create questions to go with the video for students to answer digitally.
  • Nearpod - teachers can use this rich resource of quality interactive lessons or create their own. Some lessons are free and some have a cost.
  • TEDEd shares playlists with students through Google account or PIN number. Teachers remix lessons already created with new questions for their classroom of students.
  • CK-12 includes interactives and simulations as well as video to put together in a playlist with the flexibility to add teacher's own content.
  • OER Commons - a digital library and network of educational resources.

So many resources, too little time!! Let’s get organized and ready to share with students to save time for everyone.

Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Digital Learning Day

FROM:  Steven R. Staples, Superintendent of Public Instruction, VDOE
SUBJECT: Digital Learning Day 2017
The Virginia Department of Education (VDOE), in cooperation with the Virginia Society for Technology in Education (VSTE) and the Alliance for Excellent Education, is pleased to announce February 23, 2017, as Digital Learning Day. This event is part of a national campaign designed to celebrate innovative teaching; highlight practices that make learning more personalized and engaging for students; explore how digital learning can provide all students with the opportunities they deserve; and build the skills students need to succeed in college, career, and life. It also provides an opportunity to highlight the use of digital learning resources such as the Virtual Virginia Mathematics lessons in eMediaVA, GoOpenVA, and other Department of Education technology initiatives.
To access the full schedule for the VDOE/VSTE Digital Learning Day 2017 events, go to link takes you out of the Virginia Department of Education website for more information. To learn more about Digital Learning Day, go to http://www.digitallearningday.orgThis link takes you out of the Virginia Department of Education website.

From the Alliance for Excellent Education: What do we mean by digital learning?
“Digital learning is any instructional practice that effectively uses technology to strengthen a student’s learning experience. It emphasizes high-quality instruction and provides access to challenging content, feedback through formative assessment, opportunities for learning anytime and anywhere, and individualized instruction to ensure all students reach their full potential”

There are many ways that you can incorporate digital resources into your classroom.  It can be very overwhelming, so the idea is to take one step at a time and consider the technology that is available close to you. Ask your colleagues what they are using.
  • Have the students use digital tools to develop their own learning in a classroom Genius Hour. (shout out to Ms. Spangler and her class doing their second genius hour project this year.
  • Try out a hyperdoc to charge up student engagement.
  • Assign observations from a virtual tour with Google Street View
  • Use Digital Learning Day to focus on CyberBullying or digital citizenship
  • Allow students to use a tool to reflect on learning by creating with WeVideo, Thinglink, Little Bird Tales, or Pixton

  • Create playlists for self-directed learning with these tools and connect to Google Classroom or Seesaw assignments:
    PowerMyLearning Connect - activities for self-directed learning
    Blendspace -put together videos and interactive presentations for a complete student directed lesson.
    Youtube Edu - Upload youtube video’s for education to your own youtube channel by categories for each lesson.
    emediaVA - free educational content searchable by VA SOL that can be “collected” in a folder for use by students.
    Educreations or Edpuzzle- use or create a video of a favorite lesson and post it for students responses.

A spotlight is shined on Digital learning on this day to encourage everyday digital learning. Digital learning should take place every day!

Share what you and your students are doing to highlight DLDay:
#DLDay #stuvoice