Beyond Classroom Tech Tips…

February 15, 2008

How do they do it?

Filed under: Uncategorized — Donna DesRoches @ 2:14 pm
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picture-18.pngThis morning I caught a tweet (via Twitter) from Dean Shareski that pointed to a very interesting photograph and suggested a critical thinking activity.


I thought this photo of Dean could also be used to start kids thinking about how information can be changed and modified.

Others are experimenting as well…see ‘my first attempt at cloning’ and ‘just messing about’.


Cell Phones in the Classroom

Filed under: Uncategorized — Donna DesRoches @ 1:46 pm
Tags: ,

cellphone.jpgAn article in the Saskatoon Star Phoenix this morning the article, Texting 101 caught my eye. Dean Shareski of Prairie South School Division has been blogging about this school’s innovative use of cell phones and today it made the front page of the Star Phoenix.

The article describes how Craik High School is using cell phones in the classrooms. Students are using the cell phone to send audio and video responses about a novel study and they are also learning how to use the calendar and alarm features as organizational tools. The article provides a rather positive look at using this technology in the classroom although it does give some of the critics concerns, “another disruption in class, further breakdown of proper English or a tech-dependency nightmare”.

Dean is quoted in the article as saying, “the cell phone could very well have a future in the classroom. Literacy has expanded beyond reading and writing. Now kids need to know about audio and video”.

February 13, 2008

Read Blogs

Filed under: Uncategorized — Donna DesRoches @ 2:56 am

In response to a teacher who asked him what she should do to become a 21st century educator David Warlick told her, “read blogs”.

Reading blogs, facilitated by my rss reader Bloglines, has been the most powerful professional development I have experienced in 28 years of teaching. It has connected me to educators around the world, exposed me to a wide variety of educational views and helped me clarify my own thinking about learning and teaching. I cannot help but think how wonderful it would be if every teacher could experience the professional growth that this form of learning provides.

David Warlick then goes on to offer a number of other activities that can provide self-development for a teacher wishing to become a 21st Century literate educator. In our school division the small schools and large distances between schools makes it difficult to indulge in some of the face-to-face activities he suggests but it is certainly worth considering how we can use tools such as our blogsWizIQ and Skype to create a group of individuals interested in sharing and tackling some of the following activities:

  1. Find two or more other educators in your school [division] who are interested in learning and using emerging information and communication technologies. It would be of enormous advantage if you can include [a teacher-librarian from with the division]
  2. Identify the appropriate person in your school or district who can provide technical support and configuration for your increasingly utilized computers and network. Bake them some chocolate chip cookies. [food is always appreciated by our tech people!]
  3. Identify some edu-bloggers who are talking about the emerging ICTs you are considering. See the Bloggers to Learn From wiki, contributed to by a world community of educators. [and check out Alec Couros’ Canadian Edublogger’s list.]
  4. Delegate! Assign each member of your team some of the selected blogs to follow, and share specific posts with each other.
  5. Read, study, and discuss books about teaching and learning and the world we’re doing it in. See the Books to Learn From. wiki, contributed to by a world community of educators.[Some titles are available from my library]
  6. Schedule regular meetings (once or twice a month) at a local restaurant, coffee shop, or pizzeria (preferably with WiFi). Meet and discuss what you’ve learned and what you want to learn.
  7. Start a group (A social bookmarks service) account for organizing and sharing web resources. [this is a great way to share resources that we find]
  8. Start a wiki for posting notes, links, and step-by-step instructions.
  9. Join one or more of the Ning social networks, such as: School 2.0, Library 2.0, Classroom 2.0.
  10. Start your own blogs for sharing your reflections on what you are learning and how you are learning it.
  11. Start experimenting in your class and share the results.
  12. Share your results with other teachers in your school and Invite them into your conversation.

These are all great ideas that can be used to reduce the isolation felt by teachers separated by many miles in a large school division.  How do we begin?

February 10, 2008

FlaunR and Comiqs

Filed under: Digital Storytelling — Donna DesRoches @ 8:40 pm

Today I explored and used two very exciting digital storytelling tools.

The first, flauntR was recommended a while back by Pat Cone and today I finally had an opportunity to get in and experiment. FlautR is a wonderful photo editing tool that provides not only editing features but hundreds of effects and ways to enhance and use photos.

picture-3.pngThe second program that I had a great deal of fun with and think that students would enjoy immensely is Comiqs. This program is much like Comic Life only it is available online. It is not as comprehensive but provides many features that students will be able to use to create unique stories. Here is a one page comic that I created.


February 7, 2008

Discovery Streaming Video

Filed under: Uncategorized — Donna DesRoches @ 3:11 am

One of the more interesting projects that our school division has tackled this year has been our entry into streaming video with Discovery Education Streaming Video. To ‘kwout’ one of our new division bloggers, Gary…

Another blogger, Terry, posted a link to a web-based lesson that he had created which can be viewed by school division teachers.

Priscilla provided support and inservice for her teachers:

Allison, also the inschool technology support teacher for her school commented:

allison’s alloqui via kwout

 I am very excited about these initial uses of Discovery Streaming Video and look forward to increased use as we provided more support and professional development for our teachers.

What Am I Doing?

Filed under: Uncategorized — Donna DesRoches @ 2:35 am

Currently I am on a three-month Education Leave attempting to finish my Master’s project – which will bring an end to my program.

My project is to bring everything that I have learned about technology, information literacy and instructional design into a structure that will provide teachers in my school division with instant access to resources about information literacy and to online tutorials that they can work through.

When I began my Masters I was in a teaching position that I had held for over 15 years. I was ready for new and exciting challenges. I am now in a new position as the Learning Resources Consultant for the school division and deeply involved in many new initiatives. I find it very hard to leave behind the committee, the people and tasks that we undertook at the beginning of this year – I find them all so very stimulating that they occupy much more of my thinking time. And, yes I end up spending time working on the projects much more than I should.

Just this week I had an opportunity to spend a morning with Arts Education Consultant and her lead teacher team working on their Arts and Technology Projectshpim0162.jpg

I very much enjoyed the discussions around critical and creative thinking and the new skills that students need to be successful learners and the new skills that teachers need to be successful educators.

One of the goals of this group is to commit to an Arts Ed and technology project using one of the tools available, such as but not limited to:

We spent sometime examining VoiceThread and the teachers then spent the afternoon working and collaborating on their projects.  I am looking forward to watching their work in progress and seeing the finished results.

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