Jan
26

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Social Media Resources for Teachers and Students

Researching and finding many sites that may inspire you and your students to join, read, and share with those who are interested. In this post you will find the facebookEDU page, InspirED pages and TechPrep links.

Facebook Edu page: Where learning is Social.  Teachers get together and share ideas. If you’re already scrolling facebook for ideas like Pinterest, this page is one more resource to find something new and share it with colleagues.

SEL Resources:

InspirED Website SEL site full of resources promote a positive climate at your school

InspirED Group (for Educators) Engage with Educators and experts who are passionate about bringing Social and Emotional Learning (SEL) into the classroom and working on improving the lives of students and communities. They share links throughout the day!

InspirED Group (for Students) for the changemakers, many resources for them to grow and be inspired.

Computer Science and STEM Resources

TechPrep Website

TechPrep is a free website to help you discover computer programming, learn about jobs available to programmers, and get started building programming skills.

TechPrep Facebook Page  

TechPrep Group This group gives you the tools to help a student in your life gain programming skills, even if you don’t have programming experience yourself.

 

By Chrystal Hoe, Secondary Technology Integration Coordinator, GET & GCI

Jan
23

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Why Edcamp?

It was October when my colleague, Chris Basile, and I discussed the idea of bringing an edcamp experience to Elmwood School.  Although it would be mini, modified, and optional, we received immediate support to offer edcamp style professional development during December’s building based meeting.

The first thing Mrs. Basile and I did was hold a fifteen minute informational session in late October explaining what edcamp is all about.  Although ours would be unique, we used this video to help with understanding the concept.

We then created video advertisements we would share over the next couple of months, and Mrs. Basile even came up with a catchy slogan: “Remember December!”  Our message was clear; On December 18th our colleagues would have the option to lead each other and ignite conversations around topics in education they’re passionate about.

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Capturing attention was a priority.

Since we would only have an hour and a half (most edcamps are several hours), we knew we needed to reach out to our colleagues to identify who would be willing to lead or facilitate a session.  In order to include everyone, we sent out a basic Google Form with a few important fill in the blanks.

*I would like to ___________________ sessions. Check any that apply. *

 *Attend (I do not wish to lead or facilitate a session this time around, but pumped to learn:) 

*Lead (I’d like to share a topic and lead a conversation)

I would like to LEAD a session on…
I would like to FACILITATE a session on...

Including Mrs. Basile and myself, there were five of us who chose to lead or facilitate.  With a few teachers willing to team up, lead more than one, or both, we were able to offer two rounds of three half hour sessions.  Meeting as a team was important as edcamp is new to most and pretty unconventional.  I wanted all of us to be prepared to be unprepared.  I made sure to stress the importance of honoring the conversations that would unfold as this is what edcamp is all about.

Teachers and administrators knew the schedule beforehand in order to save time.  We also made sure that each session would have at least a couple of people by asking teachers to submit another quick Google Form allowing them to choose the two topics they wanted to learn about the most.  Luckily, we had plenty of interest in each.

To share an educational passion we have in common, Mrs. Basile and I decided to go with a PIRATE theme representing the many PIRATE books and authors making a huge impact in education.  Although there are many books, we displayed those that have the acronym, P.I.R.A.T.E. (Passion, Immersion, Ask and Analyze, Transformation, and Enthusiasm)  Although Learn Like a PIRATE is unique, it supplements Teach Like a PIRATE beautifully.

 

At 3:30 on December 18th,  twenty colleagues showed up to the library ready to learn.  After a quick introduction, teachers as well as our principal dove into meaningful conversations around social emotional learning strategies, Breakout EDU, video creation apps, Seesaw, the PIRATE revolution, and Genius Hour, which included Thrively and Ignite Your S.H.I.N.E.®.  Although mini, modified, and optional it was certainly an edcamp experience.

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Teachers explored Breakout EDU together finding and sharing videos of students in action.

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Do Ink, Chatter Pix, and Clips oh my! Many teachers shared ideas on how these fabulous video creation tools have (and could in the future) enhance learning and empower students. Immediately after this session, my colleague led another on using Seesaw to capture student learning including with the tools above.   

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What’s in your toolkit? Chris Basile has created her own to help students regulate their learning readiness and was willing to share her research and creations!

Although a small group, we dove further into the PIRATE mindset and the impact on teachers, students, and administrators.

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One teacher shared her Genius Hour experience and how Thrively and Ignite Your S.H.I.N.E® lessons within Thrively played huge roles.  Curiosity was sparked as well as a thoughtful discussion on how teachers might be able to make Genius Hour happen in their own classrooms.  It was such a rich conversation, it’s hard to identify who’s leading. 

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Edcamp style PD doesn’t happen without a CREW willing to be unconventional right along with you. (A second grade teacher who led sessions on video creation apps and Seesaw, is not in this picture but did one amazing job.)

Staying true to the edcamp model, we wrapped it up with sharing experiences and giving away prizes.  In fact, the last ten minutes were simply a joy to witness.  Enthusiasm and laughter filled the room. High on their priority list, teachers also took with them something they could try with their students the very next day.  Most had walked in with only an idea of what to expect, and went home that afternoon craving more.

There is no better way to learn than from your colleagues! Thank you to everyone who shared- it was a great experience and I learned a lot!

I loved learning more about such exciting opportunities. It was so great to talk to my colleagues and to share their excitement – and my own!

I loved the enthusiasm brought today. Such a great change of pace and it was engaging. I would love to be able to do something like this again!

So why edcamp?  Because teachers leading each other, sharing what they’re passionate about, and creating enthusiasm around education is one outstanding way to learn.

 

 

 

 

Jan
18

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Your Ad-Blocker and You!

In an age where the majority of households have at least one device connected to the internet that is used for family browsing, the desire for a “Cleaner” experience takes hold.  When we talk about a cleaner experience, we don’t mean it shines or smells like lemon Pinesol, we mean free from all the clutter the internet has to offer!  Some of this clutter can be useful to website developers and really doesn’t bother anyone, like small ads on the side of a blog post about that lasagna recipe you tried last week.Others though, are much worse.  They are annoying, inappropriate, or are harmful to your computer and the data on it.

Safe browsing habits are important for a variety of reasons.  They can help keep surfing the internet an enjoyable activity, keep your device safe, and keep your sensitive data out of the hands of people who would misuse it.

When you are trying to read an article about finance, and somewhere on the page is a video that is playing an ad for something completely irrelevant, like OxyClean, it can be very distracting.  Even worse can be trying to download that cool application that you heard of online.  You Google the application name and are brought to a site that claims to have a free download for you.  There are then 5 “Download” buttons and you aren’t sure which is the right one.

EX of misleading links

EX of misleading links

 

These are, at best, distractions that make us pull our hair out when trying to use the computer, and some can have malicious intentions behind them.  At worst they facilitate someone getting a hold of your data or installs a virus that limits the functionality of your device!

The easiest way to reduce the impact of these malicious ads, fake links, and misleading download buttons is to install a piece of software known as an Ad-Blocker.  This software analyzes the web page you are looking at and attempts to block and hide the types of ads and malicious software that had been highlighted earlier.

Here at HPS we have all students using the uBlock Origins add-on for Google Chrome.  This is an ad and pop-up blocker that has returned great results while being completely free.  It has a 5 star rating in the Google Chrome Web Store with several thousand installs.  Below is a picture of the same website as above regarding misleading links with uBlock turned on.

If you notice, the page looks much cleaner!  It is easier to read, with less “junk” in your face and on your screen.  This cleaner page helps prevent accidental downloads by simply removing them from view!

There are hundreds of quality Ad-blockers around, each with their own special features and tools to make customizing your online experience easy and intuitive.  Many of the same ad-blockers are available for multiple browsers as well.  So don’t worry if you are not a fan of Firefox, and only use Safari!  You can still have a safe and clean browsing experience without having to change web browsers.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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