Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Teaching in the Digital Age - Online class starts August 3rd

Teaching in the Digital Age

Ready for an infusion of skills to help you teach today's digital learners?

Teaching in the Digital Age is an eight week, online professional development course starting August 3rd, 2015.

Topics of study in this course include pedagogy, digital literacy, data literacy, content creation and curation, communication, collaboration and learning environments.

Teaching in the Digital Age is a 50-60 hour course of study. Participants are expected to spend an average of 7 hours per week on the following activities:

  • Reading course materials and exploring examples
  • Completing projects and assignments
  • Sharing and reflecting with other class participants in discussion forums
digital age quote.jpg

Be a part of the 2nd cohort of this engaging and informative class, register today.

This course if offered by the Del Norte County Office of Education

August 3 - September 26, 2015
$100 course registration fee

3 extended education units offered through Humboldt State University at $50 per unit

Rae Fearing, M. S.

Click here to learn more and register for this course

Thursday, May 7, 2015

How to add more fonts to Google Docs

Here is a quick Google tip on how to add more fonts to Google Docs. Google has many cool fonts that can add some pizzazz to your docs, watch this short tutorial and get your docs font-ilicious.

Monday, April 27, 2015

5 Things We Have To Stop Pretending

I accepted this challenge from +Lisa Nowakowski as part of the #MakeSchoolDifferent Challenge started by +Scott McLeod.

Here is my list of 5 things we need to stop pretending so we can improve education.

  1. Students learn best in classrooms of 30+ students with one teacher. Seriously, it is time to get creative and create learning environments that support student needs. A single teacher can't possibly support all learners, even with technology.  I know we can't renovate every school, but we can take down walls and make better use of our classroom spaces and let teachers collaboratively teach.
  2. Teachers will just 'figure out' how to teach effectively with technology. Teachers are learners too and need time learn how technology can be used to improve student achievement. Too many teachers are given devices, a couple hours of professional development and expected to make magic happen. It takes a lot of time, research and practice to transform teaching into the digital age.
  3. Students working in table groups = collaboration. Preparing students for the global world we live in means we have to provide opportunities for them to reach out and talk with people everywhere. A student in a classroom who doesn't communicate with anyone outside of the classroom is at a serious disadvantage. Every group project should require one team member from the global community. Imagine that!
  4. Completing assignments that ask for a right answer promote learning. A worksheet is a worksheet whether it is on paper or on a computer. A right answer limits creativity and critical thinking. If a student can Google the answer then why are you asking the question? Where is the learning?
  5. My students can't do that. I have had teachers tell me that their students can't to do things like create digital books, come up with genius hour ideas or create videos to teach others. Students can do amazing things, quit limiting them with your fear. Stop it already.
I challenge the following five people to create their own post about what we have to stop pretending in order to #MakeSchoolDifferent +Charlene Knowlton+Tracy Campbell+Rick Phelan+Angie Marshall+Matthew Weld 

Monday, April 20, 2015

Check out these teacher's new blogs!

This week I finished teaching an online course called Teaching in the Digital Age. I built this course as a personalized learning opportunity for teachers in my county. The course was an adaption of the Leading Edge Digital Educator course blended with some of my own content. After eight weeks of learning together, the teachers have impressed me with their growth and insights. 

The class was closely aligned to the ISTE Standards for Teachers and particpants tracked their learning throughout the course. One requirement was for them to create professional blogs to respond to weekly reflections and post their work. They produced a variety of creative works during the course, but their blogs are my favorite. Several teachers mentioned that they plan to keep blogging now that the course if over and I hope that they do.  Please take a look at their blogs listed below and follow and comment on them. Teachers need comments too! #Comments4Teachers

Thank you to the final nine educators that completed the course. Keep sharing your learning.

Below are some other highlights from the course.
+Victoria Schoonover's Sketchnote on Modern Learning Environments made with FlipInk
        +Angie Marshall's reflection on her progress with the ISTE Standards for Teachers. Infographic built with Easel.ly

Sunday, March 15, 2015

Multi-class Digital Citizenship Lesson with Google Hangouts on Air

Integrating digital citizenship curriculum into classrooms can be tricky for a variety of reasons. Two of the main issues for our teachers are time and comfort level with the material. Teachers have never been asked to formally teach digital citizenship and many need to learn the information themselves. Earlier this year I put out the expectation for lessons to be taught and grade levels decided upon specific lessons and put them on a shared calendar.  Still, these lessons went largely untaught this year. I reflected on this in my Share The Mess post in January.

I took this issue to our Educational Technology Committee and they came up with an idea to use technology to teach and model lessons. A few 3rd and 4th grade teachers committed to being a part of the first collaborative lesson and we decided to use Google Hangouts on Air so we could archive it. We chose to do the lesson, "You've Won a Prize!" from Common Sense Media

A week before the lesson, we did a practice Google Hangout so the students could meet each other and learn video call etiquette. We discussed how to mute when others were talking and how to take turns asking questions and sharing ideas.  The practice hangout was pure magic as the students discussed things like what they were learning in math and how many students were in each class. They were beyond excited to see and talk with each other in real time. One of our more rural, small schools was surprised to see how big the other classes were.

For the Hangout on Air we had the awesome +Tracy Campbell deliver the lesson and she asked the other classes to respond to discussion questions, always letting them know that they would be on deck to respond after having time to brainstorm in their table groups. Here is a copy of the lesson outline in case you are interested. You can also watch the full lesson below.

The lesson went amazingly well. Student collaboration and communication were elevated in this real world situation. Students from +Stephanie Disrude's class said they enjoyed 'sharing the workload', but that it was hard to sit still and be quiet during the lesson. They definitely wanted to do it again because 'It was fun!' and 'We learned something!'  Teaching this way directly addresses the ISTE Standards for Students: Communication and Collaboration, 'Students use digital media and environments to communicate and work collaboratively, including at a distance, to support individual learning and contribute to the learning of others.' (ISTE, 2007)

In the future we would like to conduct more lessons this way so that other classes can view them and we can also use them to show teachers how lessons work with students in the classroom. We are also thinking about doing math or science lesson via Google Hangout on Air. What an amazing tool to bring our classrooms closer together and show us the we are all #bettertogether.