Webinars are the hot trend in business that sets successful business ventures apart from the crowd. This session will show how you and your business students can easily connect and collaborate with this free video chat resource, Google Hangouts. Join Nikki as she shares how you can use Google Hangouts to conduct parent-teacher conferences, collaborate with other teachers, or chat with other classrooms. You will also learn how students can work on collaborative projects with students in other parts of your state, country, or the world, as well as ways Fortune 500 companies to small startups are using Google Hangouts to improve the bottom line.
Friday, January 31, 2014
Click on image above for Google Presentation of this session
This Saturday, February 1, 2014, Alabama Business Education Teachers emerge from the Snowpocalypse and converge at Hoover High School for the Alabama Business Education Association 2014 Annual Conference.
The schedule and line up of speakers looks amazing and I'm sure it will prove to be a fun day of learning for all.
I'm honored to be one of the presenters for this event. Below is a description of the session I will present:
Whenever I present I always like to invite those who are unable to attend the session in person to attend virtually via Google Hangouts On Air. If you are interested in this session I am making it available below. Be sure to tune in at 8:30 am CT for the LIVE broadcast.
Thursday, January 30, 2014
Join Hoover High School on Monday, February 3, 2014 to hear Julie Williams accounting of her Uncle Albert Caldwell's first hand recollection of surviving the Titanic with his wife and and infant son.
Albert Caldwell was my great-uncle. He was 26 years old when he survived the Titanic on April 15, 1912, along with his wife, Sylvia, and infant son, Alden. I knew Albert well -- he lived to be 91 and told me the story of the Titanic dozens of times.
I had long heard how he and Sylvia were missionaries in Siam, how they toured Europe on their way home to the United States, and how they wound up on the Titanic. Over many tellings, I heard about Albert's tour of the beautiful ship, the Caldwells' harrowing rescue on Lifeboat 13, their agony at hearing the screams of the people who could not be saved, and the scary night on the Atlantic as they waited to be rescued.
We will broadcast Julie Williams presentation LIVE via Google Hangouts On Air below at these times: 10:05, 11:53, 12:49, and 1:43.
Read more about author Julie Williams and find out how to purchase her books HERE.
10:05 am CT-3rd Period- Stay tuned. The broadcast should start soon.
11:53 am CT-5th AB Period- Stay tuned. The broadcast should start soon.
12:49 pm CT-5th CD Period- Stay tuned. The broadcast should start soon.
1:43 pm CT-6th Period- Stay tuned. The broadcast should start soon.
Monday, January 27, 2014
This week in The Library@HHS was short, yet productive. It was a four day week due to the Martin Luther King, Jr. Holiday plus I was out sick one of those days. After presenting a Google 101 PD session earlier in the month, Ms. Robertson spent much of her time this week working with teachers one on one or in small groups. It has been thrilling to see teachers eager to embrace new technologies and step outside of their comfort zones.
Student Library Aides
Student Library Aide is a class just like any other class. We give graded assignments, midterms and finals. Each of our 21 student aides have been assigned a section of the library. It is their responsibility to shelve books and maintain the appearance of their section. This week students were given the task to create a display to help promote their particular section of the library. Students were provided with directions and a grading rubric via our Edmodo Group. Here are some of the resulting displays that our student library aides created:
We welcomed back the 117th Air Refueling Wing to The Library@HHS this week. The 117th Air Refueling Wing/Hoover High School Mentor Program was developed by Dr. Debbie Grant to meet the needs of those 9th graders who are considered to be high-risk academically, socially and emotionally. The program pairs a mentor with a student and provides the student with a “fresh” adult perspective on their school and home life. The mentors keep in touch with students via email and see them two times each month during their advisory period. The Library@HHS is proud to provide a place for this program to meet.
Sunday, January 19, 2014
Public Library Connections:
Katie Jane from the Hoover Public Library is something all of us look forward to every month. This month Katie Jane read Crankenstein by Samantha Berger. Ms. Vann & Hollis' kids loved how cranky Crankenstein was! Katie Jane then told a story and used felt board pieces to build a "food" man. The kids loved guessing what food would be used for hair, eyes, legs, etc.
Librarians are coming out of the stacks and becoming leaders in their schools. Recently our district made the decision to begin moving away from iPads and moving toward Chromebooks. In an effort to prepare teachers at HHS for this change a four part PD series is being offered via The Library@HHS to assist teacher with the transition and with becoming device agnostic. The first session in the series was offered all planning periods on Tuesday, January 14, 2014. This session addressed the basics of accessing the HCS GAFE, Google Docs and Presentations.
Click on image for presentation & follow up
Wednesday, January 15, 2014 Mrs. Crystal Camp and I attend the BER PD Session, What's NEW in Young Adult Literature, presented by Patti Tjomsland. These sessions are well worth the cost. As a high school librarian it is impossible to read all of the new books that come out every year. Patti does that for us and then treats us to an entertaining day of book talks. I always leave these PD sessions with a list of must read and must purchase titles and ready to book talk new titles with my students.
Dr. Grant used our beautiful library to present an informative session for parents regarding the PSAT & PLAN. We love our HHS parents!
Support after PD Sessions is just as important as the PD Session itself. Our calendar was filled the rest of the week with one on one and small group follow up sessions to assist teachers with the transition to using GAFE. I learned just as much from the teachers as they learned from me.
Saturday, January 11, 2014
This week in The Library@HHS was COLD! Who knew that it could get to -1 degrees in Alabama?!
School was delayed by an hour for students but The Library@HHS was open as usual for students to work on assignments, catch up with friends after the holiday break, and come in out of the cold while waiting for the delayed start of school.
New Year - New Display:
We like to change out our displays in the library quite often. Library displays play an important part of encouraging students to check out books and to make the library attractive to patrons. The Library@HHS is happy with it's Dewey Decimal shelving of books, but I have been adversely influenced by Genrefication Librarians Elissa Malespina, Sherry Gick, and Tiffany Whitehead; thus I choose to throw in a bit of genrefication with a ReadBox Display.
I came into the library over the holiday break to create this display. I wanted to know how long making the display would take without being interrupted (students, teachers, admin, phone calls, fire drills, etc) so I set my stopwatch when I walked in the door and got to work. It took 4 hours 27 minutes and 55 seconds from start to finish to get the final result. The kids have really loved it so far and I have had to replenish the section of books several time already this week.
How do you promote reading in your library?
Vann and Hollis
We were excited to see Ms. Vann and Hollis' classes again in the new year. They just start our week out on a happy note every Monday. This week Crystal Camp read Martin's Big Words to the kids. Here is a great video of this book from Teacher Tube: http://www.teachertube.com/viewVideo.php?video_id=77151
After reading the book Mrs. Camp used a brown egg and a white egg to demonstrate to the students that even though we all look different on the outside we are all the same on the inside.
How do you support and include your special education classes in your library?
Our forward thinking administrators hosted a Twitter 101 Party in The Library@HHS's Community Room during all planning periods on Wednesday. Jennifer Hogan lead the session I attended. Even though I am a Twitterholic I learned a great deal by interacting with the other teachers in my session and then even more when I read Ms. Hogan's blog post about the day.
How does your administration support and model for teachers the importance of being connected?
The Library@HHS is thrilled to have intern Laura Graves working with us in the new year. Having an intern makes you take a step back and evaluate your library program. This week Laura collaborated with Ms. Nowell and worked with the students on the collaborative activity in the library. We have a lot more in store for Laura so that she is ready to tackle a library of her own when she graduates.
Even if you do not have an intern, when was the last time you really stepped back and evaluated your own library program?
Student Library Aides
We love our student library aides at The Library@HHS. Student Library Aide is a class just like any other class and as such there are graded activities, mid terms and finals just like any other class. This week we posted to our student library aide Edmodo group their new assignment for the new year. Students were assigned new sections of the library to shelve, straighten, etc and were also challenged to create an attractive display to help promote their section of the library. Here is a link to our grading rubric for this assignment: https://drive.google.com/file/d/0By0A_rgNWtErNTd2YnpQcDJma0E/edit?usp=sharing
The students have already come up with some great ideas for their displays! I can't wait to see their finished projects.
What do you do with your student library aides?
Just like putting together a display takes time so does good planning of your library program.
I spent a great deal of time this week planning.
This school year our district issued iPads to all students in grades 9-12 and Chromebooks to students in the 7th and 8th grades. Orienting students and teachers to their iPads has been a full time job on top of our library work. Next year the 8th graders will bring their Chromebooks with them to the high school and the transition away from iPads will begin. The Library@HHS starts a PD program starting this month until the end of the school year to assist teachers with becoming device agnostic. We will focus this year on accessing and using the Hoover City Schools GAFE account and will then branch out from there to explore other device agnostic technologies for the classroom.
Over the holiday break I participated in EdCampHome to learn a bit more about GAFE and to connect and network with other educators who have already or are preparing to tackle GAFE at their schools. Here is the GAFE session I participated in:
There were over 40 sessions in all offered during the EdCampHome event that I am working my way through watching. You might also want to check out what you missed. Find Session 1 links HERE and Session 2 links HERE.
Here is the plan for tackling the HHS GAFE PD sessions. First I came up with a plan of what was most important for our teachers to know about GAFE and the breakdown of what to teach each month. Here is the breakdown month by month: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1afG1rTgNplgQdWpsG55-P3auzPIBi-2VuQLCYgUBLWU/edit?usp=sharing
Then because we have such a diverse staff and because I dislike sitting through a PD course I could teach myself, I designed an online course for teachers who have mastered or are proficient in the PD subject of the month to complete for credit and by pass the required in person PD sessions.
I also created an Edmodo group and a Pinterest Board where we can share with each other device agnostic technologies we can incorporate into a mixed device classroom. Please share the device agnostic technologies you have found to be most useful at your school.
Lastly, I designed attractive invitations for the sessions using Canva, my new favorite design tool shared by Joyce Valenza.
The first PD session is this Tuesday, January 14, 2014. Here is the Google Presentation for that day:
https://docs.google.com/presentation/d/112WBnm82e_67XvP4Stjf_xWV6TwMf_LpvDSBHIgW0QY/edit?usp=sharing and below is my recording for those who qualify to bypass the face to face session.
This morning I opened an email from our Assistant Superintendent that mentioned the importance of moving toward device agnostic technologies. It's great knowing we are all on the same page in our school district.
How are you leading from your library?
When I arrived at work this Friday I found this waiting for me on my keyboard. Yay! I love GiGi's Cupcakes & I love my school!
Sunday, January 5, 2014
The masterminds behind EdCamp Home are David Theriault, Kelly Kermode, Karl Lindgren-Steicher, and Shawn White. Organizing a well run EdCamp event in person can be daunting but add to that the element of using Google Hangouts as the means of attendance for approximately 400 attendees from around the globe with computer skill levels ranging from beginner to expert and the complexity becomes astronomical.
Mind baffling is the word that comes to mind when thinking about everything that went into making this event run smoothly. Setting up a website. Establishing a private Google+ Community. Creating an Eventbrite for ticket reservations. Providing detailed, step by step directions as well as video tutorials for how the day would run and how to do everything from attend a session to moderate a session. The real kicker was writing a Google script (program) that would automatically generate results as they were entered by participants to make attending various sessions relatively painless.
Participants were prepared for the day in advance with directions sent from the EdCampHome Team. It reminded me of Flipped Learning in that participants had to really look over and understand the directions provided in advance of the event so that when the day started they were ready to apply that knowledge to participate and generate engaging, informative, high order thinking skill conversations with educators from around the world.
My day at EdCampHome started at 11 am CT. I tuned into the EdCampHome website, click on Opening Organizer GHO and clicked play to watch the live broadcast to kick off this prodigious event. Then it was off to the races! All attendees and moderators had approximately 15 - 20 minutes to sign up/set up Google Hangouts for the various sessions proposed by attendees. This is where the script came into play. Only ten people can participate in a hangout so sorting attendees into the sessions they wanted to attend and getting those invites out was a feat of pure genius. Again, kudos to the EdCampHome Team and to all the volunteer moderators on a job well done.
The first session I attended was Coaching Teachers/Admin/Others. I learned a great deal from this session and before I knew it our time was up. Markette Pierce created a collaborative shared Google Doc so that we could record the great information shared to refer back to later.
Now participants and moderators had 10 minutes to sign up/set up Google Hangouts for Session 2. I begged my way into GAFE in the Classroom as my school is transitioning from iPads to Chromebooks and I want to make sure I have the pertinent basic information my teachers will need for this transition.
Ryan Archer lead this session and did an awesome job. The best part of this session was meeting other educators who are in the same or similar boat as I am, connecting and establishing a solid network of support as we enter this journey together. Our shared Google Doc can be found HERE. Again, the time passed too quickly.
Next was my favorite part of any EdCamp…the SLAM! (aka: Smackdown) This had to be rather tricky to set up as participants had to come in and out of a Google Hangout, not exactly the easiest feat. The Google Doc was overloaded with participants vying for a spot on the SLAM so that added a small kink to the process but certainly did not diminish the fun! The funniest SLAM share goes to Ryan with the Hey Girl chrome extension which replaces all images on a given page with pictures of Ryan Gosling.
Stacey Roshan put together a great Screencast with clickable links to information learned during the SLAM!
The talent found in the EdCampHome Team, the moderators and participants is endless. I feel grateful to have been a part of this event and to expand my PLN with even more incredibly innovative, brave, educators.
There were approximately 40 sessions during the event and I only attended two. My next goal is to watch the other sessions and learn even more great information and find more educators to add to my PLN. All Session 1 recordings can be found HERE. All Session 2 recording can be found HERE.
Katie Ann created a great wrap up video of the days events:
Craig Yen created a great Animoto of EdCampHome:
Friday, January 3, 2014
The #TLChat Team has decided to start the New Year off with a lively discussion inspired by Jennifer LaGarde in her recent blog post, 11 Questions (About Libraries) That Need Answers and Doug Johnson's complimentary post, Questions librarians need to answer.
Here are the questions from Jennifer and Doug's posts so that you can get started generating ideas to share on Monday, January 13, 2014 at 8 pm ET.
- How will you make a difference for students?
- How will you make your work the answer to the priorities/problems that keep your principal up at night?
- How will you use student data to make instructional and programatic decisions?
- How will you measure success?
- How will you connect the dots between your work and student learning?
- How will you share this data with your administrators and community?
- How will you ensure your diverse population sees themselves in your space (as well as in your collection)?
- How will you dispel negative/outdated library stereotypes?
- How will you grow your PLN?
- How will you help strengthen our profession by sharing your work beyond the walls of your school.
- How will you make sure everyone who walks into the library sees a focus on students (instead of stuff).
Doug's Follow Up Questions:
- What new skills will you learn this year that you can teach your students and staff?
- What rules can you change to make your library a more user-friendly place?
- What is your library's "purple cow?" (Boring is always the riskiest strategy - Godin)
- How can you demonstrate leadership in your building? What are you willing to take responsibility for?
- What can you do to get the non-connected members of our profession* who you know connected, changing, and good representatives of the library field?
- Have you asked yourself about your personal commitment to the field? Are you still a librarian in order to make the world a better place?
Thursday, January 2, 2014
Are you a Teacher, Principal, IT Director, Superintendent? Do you have a BIG BUT when it comes to technology, flipped classroom and other innovative advances in education?
Make a New Year's resolution to shed those unsightly BUTs!
BUT my lectures are brilliant! Why would I ever change the way I teach?
Kick that lecture but out the door for the New Year! Your lectures just might be more riveting than the best TED Talk but if the way you are teaching now requires students to sit passively while you disseminate information with the intent of having them regurgitate it back to you on a test…. please stop now!
Students need to be actively engaged in their own learning. Students need you to empower them to be masters of their own learning. Students need to learn how to learn if they are going to be successful in college and in their future careers.
AND…. if your lectures are that brilliant why not share them with the world by flipping your class? Seriously! I know several teachers who are riveting lecturers. These teachers really should record their lectures so that their knowledge can be shared with more students than the ones lucky enough to be in their classes. (Learn how to easily record your lectures with Google Hangouts On Air HERE)
BUT I need to be teaching "to the test" so my students will perform well on standardized tests.
Thom Markham addresses this issue better than I can in his article, Inquiry Learning Vs. Standardized Content: Can They Coexist?
If you’re a teacher in tune with the needs of your students, you sense the disconnect between the curriculum and reality. You’d like the freedom to respond more directly to student needs, but standardized information and testing remains a barrier to innovative teaching.
Education’s core task is to prepare young people to generate new ideas, filter them through a net of critical analysis and reflection, and move the ideas through a design process to create a quality product, either as an idea or a material object. Students need information, facts, and specific knowledge for a successful outcome.
The "teaching to the test" mentality didn't work too well for Atlanta schools caught up in a massive cheating scandal nor has it worked well for other districts caught in the same desperation to improve test scores for fear of not meeting AYP or other measures invented by politicians who have never set foot in a classroom as to whether a school is "successful".
BUT not all of my students have access to technology.
Not all of your students have access to a computer or the Internet at home so there is absolutely no way you could possibly flip your classroom or integrate technology into your lessons.
Way back when I was in school we didn't have computers or the Internet. We had encyclopedias. But not everyone had a set of encyclopedias in their homes. Did that ever stop our teachers from requiring that we use them? Heck no! So why are we allowing it to stop us now?
Here are just a few alternatives schools can offer for students without a computer/Internet:
- Check laptops out overnight. Students can access free wifi from McDonald's, Starbucks, etc.
- Expand the hours at your school library so students can work on projects before and after school. Provide busing (similar to busing for athletics) so students can take advantage of extended hours.
- Work with your local YMCA and/or Boys and Girls Clubs to provide access to computers/Internet.
- Encourage students to use their public library.
Ultimately you have to also take into account that if your students can find a way to be on Facebook and Twitter they can find a way to complete your tech savvy assignments as well.
BUT I don't have time.
Time. Perhaps the number one excuse for not doing something different.
I don't have time to learn all this new technology.
I don't have time to teach what I need to teach and use technology.
I don't have time to flip my lessons.
Guess what? You don't have time NOT to change.
The investment of time in learning new technologies like Google Drive, Doctopus, Goobric, Google Hangouts, Twitter, Flipped Classroom, etc will save you a tremendous amount of time in the long run. You will scold yourself for not getting with the program sooner.
BUT I don't want to look dumb.
"I don't want to incorporate new technologies into my classroom until I am an expert at using them or I will look dumb in front of my students, colleagues, administrators."
Technology changes too fast for you to take the time to be an expert. Jump in with both feet! Turn your classroom into a learning environment for you and your students. Let the kids teach you! Let the kids see that it is ok to not know how to do something but still be willing to learn. Teach them through example that it is ok to fail as long as you keep trying. It's the only way to really learn and develop the skills needed to be a life long learner. An added bonus is that you boost your student's self esteem and build solid, supportive relationships within your classroom as you all learn together.
BUT my students are too dumb. (Yes. I actually had a teacher in a packed room during one of my Flipped Classroom sessions say this…out loud…in front of everyone)
First, if this is what you are thinking, please, GET OUT OF EDUCATION! Every day your attitude, even if unspoken, is being absorbed by the students you encounter. They are internalizing your negative messages and will eventually begin to believe they are too dumb to learn as well.
Have you ever empowered your students to feel confident enough to be masters of their own learning? Are you judging a fish by how well it can climb a tree? Are you providing differentiated learning that goes beyond giving one student a whole worksheet to complete and another student just the odd problems on the same worksheet? Have you made learning in your classroom rewindable for those kids who need to hear your lesson several times before the "get it"? They don't want to look dumb any more than you.
BUT my administrators/parents don't understand.
Yup. I hear you. But I'd rather be misunderstood than hurt the children in my classroom.
When I was a kid in school, math was pure torture for me. I had the teacher who would walk through how to do a new math concept on the chalkboard and then have us open our books to an intimidating page of problems for us to work out on our own in complete silence while she sat at her desk. I made the mistake once of asking the teacher for help because I didn't understand how to complete the work. After she yelled and berated me in front of the whole class for not listening while she had explained it on the chalkboard I sat down, felt stupid, and NEVER asked a question again. To this day I am terrified when I enter a math classroom or have to do anything remotely math related.
When I became a teacher I vowed never to make any of my students feel like I felt. I actually taught math when I was a 6th grade teacher but I taught it the way I wish I had been taught. Lots of hands on learning, engaging activities, laughter and trust. Use of the textbook was a strict no no. My kids scores each year were off the charts yet I received the worst evaluation of my 22 year career from my principal who actually said, "A math class should have students in their seats with there books open and you at the board". Guess what? I didn't change the way I was teaching even with that bad evaluation. Why? Because I'm not going to hurt children in my classroom the way I was hurt. 'Nuf said.
BUT if I learn this [insert technology here] now it will change and I'll just have to learn something else new later.
Heaven forbid you should ever learn something new!
What if the students in your classroom said the same thing to you about what you are teaching in your classroom?
Aren't we as teachers supposed to set an example for life long learning?
Personally, I feel as if my day has been wasted if I haven't learned something new no matter how big or small.
I get it. Change isn't easy and educators are some of the most resistant to change. Here are some examples of how education has been very resistant to change: (Rethinking Education in the Age of Technology by Collins and Halverson (pg. 30))
Starr Sackstein wrote a wonderful post encouraging educators to innovate and excel or face extinction. Below is an excerpt from that post that I hope will help you to kick those BUTs and move forward in the new year.
We need to accept and face the following facts:
- Technology is here to stay. We must embrace it, not fight it. It is a useful tool that can help reach our students in a way that is meaningful to them (which is all that matters). There are a variety of different tech tools and software that actually makes teaching and learning more engaging.
- Learning is collaborative now. Students can work together productively and still learn skills without just cheating.
- Being a teacher no longer means standing in a room in front of rows of students lecturing for a 40 minutes
- Homework every night doesn’t always promote learning; it should be purposeful and that purpose transparent.
- Worksheets and textbooks aren’t the only activities and sources for your class content and work time
- Social media is not your enemy – it is here. We have an obligation to teach our students to use these networking mediums appropriately
- Learning doesn’t necessarily have to happen in the classroom – Blended classrooms offer students opportunities to learn on their own at their own pace online.
- Teachers serve as facilitators now – we are still authorities in our subject matter, but we must also be technology specialists and communication connoisseurs – modelers of skills, practitioners, content and research curators
- A quiet classroom is not necessarily a productive one – noisy can be productive too
- Testing isn’t the only way to gather data and all tests are not the same or appropriate
- Project based learning offers students the opportunity to practice skills and synthesize data
- Choice is an essential and necessary part of learning
- Teachers don’t know everything and they should be allowed to admit it, model it and then get answers by asking or searching on their phones and/or laptops.
- Sometimes students can teach us – especially when it comes to technology
- Flipping a classroom offers a teacher opportunity to work with students on specific needs
- Differentiation and scaffolding is a necessary part of learning in a least restrictive environment
- Traditional number or letter grades shouldn’t be a means of classroom management and don’t tell us anything about what a student know. Standards based feedback that is specific and immediate will provide opportunity for real growth.
- Teacher education and evaluation must be improved to support teachers become excellent educational facilitators – Admin must work with teachers to support these changes. We all need more training, constantly