Friday, February 21, 2014

World Language Embraces Technology

From formative and summative assessment to student projects, World Languages has incorporated the iPad in a variety of instructional settings and situations to best meet students needs.

Mari Albright offers an acronym, i.P.a.d., for how iPads are used in World Language Lessons:

  • i: Inquiry/Discovery-Learning
  • P: Presentations
  • a: Authentic practice (native speakers - music videos, songs, commercials)
  • d: Developing/Supporting Study Habits

She has also collected apps and tools from the department that support each element of the acronym (see image below or download the PDF version).



Below are few of the more recent examples of how these devices are being integrated into all facets of listening, speaking, reading, and writing World Languages.

Latin: Translations with iMovie and Google Drive 




Natalie Cannon's class uses the Google Drive app to collaboratively translate a document.


An additional spin on translating Latin passages is to create an iMovie trailer based on the translation using the iMovie app.



Truly, the iPad allows students to creatively translate the passages in a variety of ways.


video

German: Explain Everything Presentations

Scott Gardner's class uses the Explain Everything app to address the speaking and presenting component of a shopping assignment.


They also utilize the app to provide a German weather report with their own audio narration.




American Sign Language: Video Assessments and Green Screen Movies

Barbara Vinson uses iPads to assess student's sign language translations using the iPad video camera and eBackpack.


Vinson's class also uses a combination of iPads and laptops to prepare their Green Screen Dream Home ASL project. Their iPad serves as a teleprompter.




Spanish 1-3: Projects & Formative Assessment with Nearpod

Margaret Ellis' Spanish 1 class tackles a family tree project using Popplet...



... and Spanish 2 summarize their winter break using Bill Atkinson PhotoCard.


Margaret also uses Nearpod with her Spanish 2 and 3 as a way to get real time language assessments. Each student receives the photo prompt and offers their own text response. 


With this instantaneous student input, she is able to address misconceptions and errors in real time with the class.


Spanish 3: Projects & Choice

Mari Albright's Spanish 3 classes research an Olympian and create a multimedia presentation that includes, text, images, and a speaking component. 



Students are given the option to orally present live in front of the class or embed videos and/or audio narration within their presentation that effectively explains the information while also addressing tense, speaking fluency, and presentation skills.



If you are interested in learning more about the World Language department and iPad integration, visit some of the past posts:
Stay tuned for info about future updates to this project. As we progress through this year, we will also continue to reflect upon the changes to classroom, pedagogy, and instruction throughout our 1:1 iPad implementation.





Monday, February 10, 2014

iPad Site Visit -- Students and teachers Sharing "What Works"

Twice a year, we host site visits for educators in other districts who are interested in the details of our iPad implementation the last few years.   Today we had the opportunity to share the point of view of students in the classroom, staff involved with implementation (the Information Services department, administrators, instructional tech, and librarian) and of teachers with visitors from other districts.

Part of the advantage of inviting these site visits is that not only do we make contact with other school districts, but we are able to see our own school in action.  Always most fascinating is hearing our student and teacher panels and hearing what comments students make informally during the classroom visits.

Today the group first visited Melissa Dupre's English IVAP class.

 Recently, the students have been reading novels in small groups, and collaboratively discussing their reading in Google Docs.  Visitors were invited to mingle with the students and ask them questions individually about their learning.

The visitors to the classroom were particularly interested in how student use has evolved over the last two or three years.   One student commented on the fact that his initial "playing" with the device has now turned into very purposeful educational use for classes.  Another student commented on the way she uses the tool to stay more organized.  Several mentioned using Google tools or eBackpack as efficient methods for doing their work. When asked about how they cope without a mouse, two students mentioned how innate that sort of touch technology was to them and demonstrated the ease with which they use it.  Students were also fans of doing their work paperlessly and suggested that future apps that allow side by side reading and note-taking would be helpful.  The visitors also saw a CTE Child development classroom, Latin classroom and AP statistics class all using the iPad as a normal part of their lessons.



Later in the morning we held a teacher panel where five teachers shared the impacts of 1:1 on their classrooms and how the iPad's technology has been helpful.  In general, teachers commented on the increase in students' "academic talk" in the hallways, in class during free time, etc. --  sharing the device to pore over details from their classes.   All of the teachers commented on the richness of experiences that students can have when they have access 24/7.   Additionally, they commented that the iPads afford students opportunities they might not otherwise have.  In line with Ruben Puentedara's SAMR model, they noted ways the technology can be used to perform tasks they previously could not conceive of doing.

For example, English teacher Lee Bergen shared the power of the Subtext app which allows for 'in-text' conversations, polls, questions, etc. in a collaborative reading climate.   AP History teacher Cathy Cluck shared how she has implemented iTunesU as a gathering place for all of her classroom materials for students.  And recently, she commented, that she realized how transformative a tool like Facetime was when she was able to bring students who were not physically in the building into her classroom so they could still participate.    Band director Kerry Taylor shared some of the transformative apps being used in the music department, like Tonal Energy, which allows students to hear the tone of an instrument, then play their own and try to match that tone, and also the ability to record themselves so they can hear the difference..   Apps like Coaches Eye allows athletics and band to direct and choreograph movements.   Environmental science teacher Bob Murphy uses Nearpod after instruction as a way to gather input from students by posing questions to them via the app and reviewing their responses.   Cathy Cluck reflected her openness to being a learner in her first experience using the Nearpod app--"I told my class we are all learning this together."  It's an important mindset  to see teachers and students as co-learners.


One of the things that the visitors were interested in is the process teachers worked through in their adoption of technology.   Teachers on the panel represented a variety of levels of adoption, but shared how much they rely on their subject area colleagues (either at their campus or contacts they have at other schools) for input into apps and instruction.   Spanish teacher Mari Albright shared an acronym she developed in concert with the World Languages teachers to represent the ways apps can be utilized in the study of foreign languages, from immersion to presentation to authentic immersion.  The model helps her in her own implementation of apps in her classroom.



There are structures within the campus that help support the implementation of 1:1 as well.   Lisa Johnson, instructional edtech, pointed out that common planning times help improve the ability for on campus staff to provide training and assistance to teachers in a timely fashion, for example.  This is an important consideration when planning any 1:1 implementation -- how will ongoing sorts of learning opportunities be enabled by manipulating the schedule so that there is more "teacher learning time?"

Overall, what came across most significantly in the classroom visit and teacher panel is that the willingness of educators and students to share their journey with others is important.  Not only do the teachers involved learn from and inspire one another, but on our campus, the instructional technology department and library also benefit from these sharing opportunities because it helps improve our intracampus collaboration.  One of the most powerful parts of this implementation has been a transformation of educators into learners--willing to learn from students and one another.  Because so many apps and practices are constantly emerging, (unlike the somewhat static set of software that most of us have used on our PCs for years), there is an invitation to keep experimenting and learning from students and from one another.

The takeaways from today:
Talk to students about their thoughts/processes/experiences
Create opportunities for teachers to learn with/share with one another
Create a climate where risk and experimentation are encouraged/allowed
Trust your staff as professionals
Visitors ask good questions--be open
Open up your school doors and be a part of the larger learning community
Seeing teachers and students blooming, growing, and experimenting is inspiring





 

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Student Audio Recordings in World Languages


World languages has started utilizing the audio feature in eBackpack to record and submit oral assessments. Scott Gardner, WHS World Languages Department Chair and German teacher, notes that the process saves class time and affords more instructional time with students as teachers do not need to devote an entire class period to interviewing individual students.




He went on to say that the technology improves the accuracy of the assessment,

"I find it easier to assess the student's speaking because I am listening with headphones, and can rewind." - Scott Gardner

The feature not only benefits the teachers, but the students as well. The recording process simulates AP exam testing procedures and prepares students to feel more comfortable with the process of recording themselves. The procedure also meets the needs of different learners as the live interviews oftentimes prove stressful for some students.



While students and teachers are still troubleshooting minor technical difficulties form time to time, the students enjoy the digital recording process. 




Though the electronic approach does afford multiple benefits, it is important to note that live interviews will not disappear all together as it is still important that the student be able to carry on a conversation in a live setting.

The instructions for recording in eBackpack are posted on the WHS WIFI Tutorials page.





Stay tuned for info about future updates to this project. As we progress through this year, we will also continue to reflect upon the changes to classroom, pedagogy, and instruction throughout our 1:1 iPad implementation.



Friday, October 18, 2013

WHS student Builds ASL Finger-Spelling app to fill an Educational Need

As we continue to dive into our 1:1 iPad implementation at the HS, we find more and more students using the iPad as a creation tool (see last post for more examples). While some students create content ON the iPad, others opt to create content FOR the iPad. And this is where our story begins...


ASL 2 WHS Student practices finger spelling with Michael's app


At the end of his Sophomore year, Michael found that there was no iOS friendly fingerspelling app that truly met the needs of a secondary student  (e.g. vocabulary, speed, age-appropraite graphics and feedback) and/or was reasonable in cost. So what does a High School Computer Science student taking American Sign Language classes do to fill the void? With a little help from fellow WHS students (hand model images from Maddie Bitting for each letter of the alphabet and background graphics from Akash Thaker), Michael went to work over the summer to code his first app using Objective C, ASL Finger-Spelling and released it October 3rd.


ASL Finger-Spelling app by WHS student Michael Bartmess



Rather than using a default batch of dictionary words, Michael's fingerspelling app uses over 5,000 of the most commonly used words. He also has plans to add ASL 1-4 lists of words in an upcoming release or upgrade. The current features of the app are listed below:


Features:
-Over 5,000 words built in
-Three adjustable speeds
-Control over the maximum length of words
-Keeps score of number missed and correct
-Replay button
-Easy to use interface




Multiple students currently enrolled in WHS's ASL classes truly appreciated Michael's lend-a-hand approach to filling a need for this resource and note that the app was "the only way we can practice and recognize finger-spelling (short of) standing in front of a mirror" and that the practice the app provides allows them to "catch up with someone that fingerspells really fast."





Mrs. Vinson's ASL classes are even providing valuable user feedback to Michael so he can polish the app for the next update.

WHS ASL class feedback for Michael


Stay tuned for info about future updates to this project. As we progress through this year, we will also continue to reflect upon the changes to classroom, pedagogy, and instruction throughout our 1:1 iPad implementation.



Thursday, October 3, 2013

What Do Student Projects Look Like in a 1:1?

Over the past two weeks, students in Natalie Cannon's Latin 2 classes have been working on a Roman Bath Project. While one might think that being in a 1:1 ultimately dictates that every project will be completed on an iPad, many teachers are opting to design projects that offer differentiation and choice of media and allow students to showcase their creativity.

Student hand drawing scenes to be used in a stop-motion film

Students were provided with 5 options ranging from cartoon storyboards and multi-media publicity campaigns for the Aquae Sulis to travel brochures and building models of hypocaust systems and ancient Roman Bath complexes.

"If they weren't using it (the iPad) to create, they were using it to be able to create." - Natalie Cannon

While some students utilized the iPad for research and outlining, others opted to create their projects on the iPad using apps like Designs for Pages to compose a travel brochure, Strip Designer to create a multi-panel cartoon, or Minecraft to virtually model a Roman Bath complex.

Student creating a Roman Bath complex in Minecraft

Truly the project was not about the tool, but the ability to create something that thoughtfully represented and showcased a deeper understanding and analysis of the content. Completed projects poured in ranging from multiple modes of digital media to Roman Bath complexes built of cake and household items to poster boards of multi-paneled cartoons.

Student presents her hand built model of a hypocaust system
using her iPad so the class can see the detail.

A presentation piece was also added to the project. Natalie Cannon is piloting a Justand in her room and found the tool to be very useful for this portion of the assignment. Students could project their iPad and use the stand as a podium or tilt it to share their project using the video camera on their iPad.

Student presents his model of a Roman Bath complex created in Minecraft
Student presents her multi-panel hand-drawn cartoon storyboard detailing
how ancient Romans used the bath-house
Student presents her digital multi-panel cartoon storyboard detailing
how ancient Romans used the bath-house
Student used Google SketchUp on a computer to create his models
and then presented the images in a keynote off of his iPad

Prior to the submission date, students also conferenced with Mrs. Cannon to document their progress and receive formative feedback.

Student sharing his presentation for teacher review

While most projects were submitted digitally via eBackpack (our district's online classroom product that allows students to submit work via and iPad or computer), others were submitted by hand to the teacher. A few of the students even posted their projects on an online video server for ease of sharing.





As we progress through this year, we will continue to reflect upon the changes to classroom, pedagogy, and instruction throughout our 1:1 iPad implementation.

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Mobile-Friendly Classrooms

As we enter our third year of 1:1 implementation at the HS, 3 classrooms began piloting mobile furniture. The desks selected for the pilot are Steelcase's Nodes. After collecting some preliminary anecdotal feedback on these mobile friendly classroom solutions, the results are in.

Steelcase Nodes in Mrs. Taylor's room

Limited Desktop Real-Estate: Multiple students did report that the desktop itself is a little "small for their liking"when trying to display iPad, binder/notebook, and textbook. It is important to note that the iPad itself can be removed from the case and placed in a special inset on the desk to free up space. This innovation makes it a little easier to include a keyboard or multiple pieces of media as necessary.



While the desktop itself may be smaller than its earlier counterpart, the features and nuances of the desk itself make up for the limited desktop real estate.

Groups Collaborate in Mrs. Dupre's class


Ease of Collaboration and Self Regulation: When students shift in to groups and collaborative situations, they reported the desks were much easier to move rather than picking up or dragging a metal desk. One student even noted that he could regulate his learning environment as he could easily scoot up to the front or side to see the board or hear the instruction better without drawing attention or disrupting other students. Another student mentioned that the swivel capability "helps me think." And one more commented, "I have no complaints... think they should go in every classroom."

Groups Collaborate in Mrs. Victor's class

Grouping and Classroom Configurations: Each of the 3 classrooms is set up a little differently. Typically students select their seat and are reorganized throughout the class period. All 3 classrooms have 4 colored desks (e.g. picasso, blue, red, and element). The beauty of having different colors in one setting is the ability to have flexible grouping. One teacher may say, "I need a chair of each color in your group of 4" or "meet with a student in a red chair and then a blue chair to review your essay". At the end of class chairs can be moved back in to an original configuration. Mrs. Victor uses masking tape in vertical angles to make it easier for students to place two chairs in a group before leaving for the day. Mrs. Taylor mentioned that these strips of tape are also useful when strategically placed to assist students in moving into particular spots for quiz and test situations.

Collaborative Groups in Mrs. Victor's Class
Mrs. Dupre found drawings on the board to be helpful for students to duplicate with the chairs (e.g. three horseshoes, a circle, or rows). She even mentioned that the current desks actually take up less space than there former counterparts.
Desk Configurations in Mrs. Dupre's Class

Whatever the configuration or procedure, clearly from the pictures and student reports, these chairs aid in collaboration and self regulation while supporting ease of flexible grouping.

Steelcase Nodes in Mrs. Victor's room


As we progress through this year, we will continue to reflect upon the changes to classroom, pedagogy, and instruction throughout our 1:1 iPad implementation.




Friday, August 30, 2013

Back to School

August 26th marked the first day of school of the 2013-2014 school year for Westlake HS students. Students entered the halls with devices and determination... ready to learn. Many paid a visit to the Juice Bar to get their iPads in top performance.

WHS Juice Bar Open During A and B Lunch

Some had the opportunity to explore new classroom configurations in a few of our classrooms piloting new seating options from Steelcase.


Steelcase Nodes Piloted

Others got a taste for guided inquiry using POGIL (Process Oriented Guided Inquiry Learning)
"POGIL is a learning cycle of exploration, concept invention and application... to guide students to construct new knowledge." 
This student-centered strategy is the basis for Denise DeMartino's Organic Chemistry classes this year. And all Chemistry classes are incorporating at least 2-3 POGIL lessons into each 9 week grading period.



Denise cleverly shared the 4 student roles (e.g. Spokesperson, Facilitator, Quality Control, and Process Analyst) for this student-centered interactive process of refining one's understanding and developing one's skills using the Tellagami app:


video

video


For more information on POGIL and discovery-based teams, visit this video. And check back regularly this year to the WIFI blog for more updates on our 1:1 iPad implementation.