Thursday, 8 November 2018

Digital Fluency Intensive: Exam day

Most of the colleagues I have been doing the DFI course with over the last 9 weeks sat their 3 hour exam today. I decided early on in the week I would wait and study some more before taking the exam.

Over the 3 hours whilst the exam was taking place I went next door and went through parts of the course that I had been having difficulty with. This was really useful as I had 2 other colleagues with me who were doing the same thing and we managed to bounce a few things around supporting each other.

I decided to test myself and went on to the Apple Teacher Learning Centre where you have the option of testing yourself on your i-pad skills or your i-mac skills. I decided to test myself on my i-mac skills. I had time to complete 4 of the 8 mini tests and passed all 4.

Deep down while I was next door I felt like I had let myself down in way for not taking the plunge and sitting the exam. Especially when I went back in after the others had finished and the air was electric with nervous excitement. Everyone was discussing parts of the exam they found difficult/ easy/ confusing and I wasn't part of the discussion.

So I suppose what I am trying to say to anyone who is lucky enough to be given the opportunity to attend the DFI course, do it and definitely do the exam at the end. It doesn't matter if you pass or fail the first time, its all about the learning journey you take on the way.

Thursday, 1 November 2018

Digital Fluency Intensive: Class Sites

In this lesson we went online and looked at different schools sites.

From a visual appeal we all tended to like the sites that were bright and colourful and grabbed our attention straight away. The size of the larger labels and buttons  really stood against those that were smaller and off to one side. Having an accessible Home button somewhere clear was also a big winner on the day.

Once we started to go into and explore the sites the ones that stood out were the sites where the students did not have to click too many buttons to get where they were going. The easier the site is to navigate for students, is obviously better, as this enables them to be independent learners.

Many sites we were unable to access as the privacy settings were not turned on to the correct links. This is no good for parents trying to access these sites to see what their children are up to at school. Something that is easily overlooked when creating a site but so important.

Opening up folders and sharing these folders to anyone with the link as soon as you start the school year is an easy and simple way to ensure your privacy settings are always right.

I got some great new ideas for my class site next year and look forward to playing around over the holidays and trying to implement what I have learnt during these lessons.

Wednesday, 24 October 2018

Reflection So Far

My time at Digital Fluency Intensive has been just that.....intensive.

I have been shown many new tools, Apps, programmes. Some of them I have found incredibly useful and others I will never use in my classroom. It is a fast paced learning environment and at times I have struggled with this. My way of learning is quite visual as I am an artistic airy fairy type person who would rather work at a more slow pace where I can go over everything 2, 3 or 4 times so I have the hang of it. But in saying that Dorothy, Gerhard and Fiona who are running the course are more than happy to help you any time.

I really enjoyed the site making lessons. I have always felt quite intimidated by this and as I have a colleague who I work with in a shared space who loves creating sites and is quite happy to do this, I have left it up to her, while I do other creative things in our class. This will probably not change but I have helped my son create a site for his school project which made me feel confident about what I have learnt. 

We had an opportunity to look at other teachers sites and this was also useful. I saw some great ideas that I will talk to my colleague about implementing on to our site for next year. 
The teachers I am doing the course with are great to bounce ideas around with and I have enjoyed meeting new teachers from other schools.

We have talked a lot about Learn, Create, Share. This is the ethos of our cluster. This has helped me in my teaching as it makes me think about the lessons I am planning. Are they interesting? Are they going to engage my students? Are my students going to feel empowered, excited, and connected. As I am a creative person I usually like to start with the create side of things. I find this to be a great way to get my students hooked in to their their learning. It allows for great class discussions where new language can be introduced, new concepts taught, and great peer interaction where they get the chance to share their ideas and learn off each other. 

Apps like Toby have helped me to organise my groups so easily and made my planning for each group a breeze. This has been my favourite App so far. 

Looking forward to the last session this week where I hope to consolidate anything I am having problems with.

Sunday, 14 October 2018

Movement Art

During Term 3 Room 19 looked at our bodies and how they move when we dance, run, play sport, stretch, leap, bounce etc.  I was thrilled with the language the students were using in their writing and even in our small group discussions. I have been trying so hard all year to get them to open up and have the confidence to share their ideas with their peers. After each class discussion and before their writing I would write up some great descriptive language the students had come up with. I found if I repeated 3 to 4 words a day and used them all the time the students would remember and use the same words. So after many months of sitting in small groups and trying to get them to talk about their art and use sophisticated language its really as simple as choosing 1- 4 words and using these words as many times as possible in the next couple of days. I noticed these words were popping up in their writing, I would hear the students using these words when talking to their friends. It made me smile a lot. As always we start each activity by doing something creative and below are some examples of the students art for their Inquiry "Move Your Body".

First they had to get a friend to take their photo on their i-pad doing some sort of movement. After tracing out their image they sent it through to their drive where I could then print it out. Then they cut out just their body. Next they chose 3 different coloured pieces of paper and traced out their bodies. Then they cut these out. Finally they designed their background of abstract art and stuck down all their images. I was thrilled with the result.

Thursday, 6 September 2018

Taming Your Tabs

Session 2  (Digital Fluency Intensive)

Today started with organising my book marks. 

At the end I felt like I do after spring cleaning my house......awesome.

I got rid of old bookmarks, replacing them with ones I open everyday. I also got rid of the names and just left the icons, this enabled me to have many more bookmarks open. 

I am very excited about Toby. This Chrome extension allows me to organise my browser tabs and access them quickly anywhere and create and store sessions to make collections of tabs to access. As I work in a shared space with 52 students we have 12 Reading groups. I organised them all under 1 tab so when it comes to my weekly planning I will have only 1 tab open not multiple. 

We did quite a bit of learning around gmail. Now anyone who knows me understands that reading my emails is one of pet peeves. I have organised my emails and have decided to archive weekly the ones I have not already deleted. There were many other tricks but I am not interested in spending too much time in this area. Get in, read the important ones and get out. 

One Tab was another great Chrome extension that I was introduced to today. You can use One Tab to close all tabs that are open in the window then create a list of the tabs that you can revisit all at once.

Dorothy spoke to us about the power of rewindable learning. As a year 3 teacher and also having spent many years teaching Year 2 and New Entrance, it reminded me how important this was. Inserting voice recordings in students activities on their i-pads allows them to be independent learners. If they are unable to read the question or remember what to do next they simply push a button and can hear my voice giving them the next instruction.  

I had a great idea for 2 of my students using rewindable Learning. These 2 girls are 8 and have a reading age of 11. (level 30) They are both very tech savvy. Next week I am going to give them a book at level 9-10 (blue) and get them to make a digital activity using voice recordings. It will be interesting to see what they think is important for the students reading this book to learn. 

It was another great day and lots to think to think about.

Tuesday, 4 September 2018

Digital Fluency Intensive

          Manaiakalani Digital Fluency Intensive

First Session:

We started the session learning about the origins of Manaiakalani. After working at Point England School for seven years and hearing this story many times I still find it inspiring.

I have been working in a 1:1 digital environment for 5 years  but I still discovered many new tricks I could use both in my classroom and in my personal life. Google Keep was an amazing new tool. I have already talked to the teacher I work alongside in a shared space about using Google Keep to help us keep a list of our 52 students and who has blogged their work.

I got more familiar with Google Docs and how to make a presentation look aesthetically pleasing. Below is a link to a lesson we did last week. 

Goldilocks and the Three Bears

I learnt how to use the Explore button instead of opening numerous tabs. 

I got familiar with the Add Ons, however my favourite new tool I will be implementing in my classroom immediately with some students is the voice typing tool. I have several Year 3 students who have some wonderful ideas but they struggle to write these down. Using this tool I can get a true idea of what they are thinking and it will allow them to write a narrative using their imagination to the fullest.

It was great to meet some new teachers to share ideas with and discuss what they are doing in their classrooms. 

Looking forward to session 2.