Leadership and Technology: becoming a transformational leader

I learned much in my Leadership and Technology course. (So busy to even update this blog recently.) However, one of our tasks was to create a learning log of my journey which is available at http://arclearninglog5103g.wordpress.com/ which allowed to me exercise my writing and blogging instincts on a new page.  (So hopefully, I am not totally out of practice!!!) My main takeaway was to apply new learning in my role as a technology leader in my school. To me a transformational leader requires vision, collaborative skills, creativity, supported by well founded research and interested in good pedagogy that improves learning.

I also added the text and some of the elements of my Learning Log to my professional blog after some feedback from colleagues. Next up, I begin a Technology and the Curriculum class in May.
highlights here

Thanks!

Digital Citizenship for the m-generation (K-6 edition)

infographics_digital_citizen_k-5 Untitled Infographics_Post a Photo_letter_051712_letter size bf u click iphone Poster version
In this age of anytime, anyplace and any-device connectivity, this “always-on” m-generation (m is for mobile) has unprecedented opportunity to share and connect globally. Children are challenged everyday to make ethical decisions and choices that impact their digital footprint now and potentially forever. Increasingly, our children are seeking opportunities to share and connect using their favourite apps, devices and even popular social media tools like Instagram or Twitter. So how do we guide them to protect their privacy, act ethically, demonstrate empathy and use technology appropriate to the their age and stage. How do we teach them (as Oprah?! suggests) to be “heroes who do good when no one (and everyone…now and in the future) is watching?”

The umbrella term for this concept is “digital citizenship” and its presence in today’s Ontario curriculum is small but change is no doubt coming as influential organizations like ISTE with their Standards for Students (formerly NET-S) include it as a major strand of learning for technology. In addition, technology like social media, mobiles, tablets and web 2.0 tools are increasingly integrated (I like the phrase, embedded) across an increasing amount of our curriculum. I believe we have a responsibility to teach, empower, protect and guide our students to use technology safely both inside and outside the school walls for the good of others and themselves.

And their exposure to technology and sharing tools is happening at an increasingly younger age. At school, conversations about sharing I am having with students in Grade 5 are increasingly happening in Grade 1 or 2. The advent of popular creation (and connection) tools like Minecraft and the opportunity to connect through a myriad of game systems,  plus the ease of use with apps like FaceTime etc. means that we need to advise, help and manage our younger techies who have the savvy to use the technology but are still developing the judgment and ethical guidance to protect themselves and others. Open and transparent communication about digital citizenship and careful and considered access to technology from the early primary years and up (“sandboxing”) will help to build trust and aid students to make better choices when using a variety of devices in a variety of situations.

Here is an overview of the resources we use to promote and explore this topic with our students starting in Grade One.

Students learn Digital Citizenship (Internet Safety) as part of our Information and Communication Technology curriculum.  About twelve years ago, I began teaching our students in Grade Five about how to keep themselves safe on the internet (back in the day we called it the “Internet Driver’s Licence” and they had to “pass the course” to access email and use the “Internet Super highway” !!) Each subsequent year, our curriculum expanded to include more elementary students as they access the internet, play games and use a variety of devices (in variety of settings) at an increasingly younger age.

In Grade One and Two, we focus on accessing safe and approved websites, protecting their privacy, maintaining a good digital footprint, creating our own digital projects and acknowledging the creativity of others. Most importantly, students are encouraged to protect themselves and to ask for help when learning about the online world. We primarily rely on the Common Sense Media resources which offer excellent guidance and resources for students, teachers and parents.

In Grade Three, students access educational games and resources using a resource called Digital Passport. This site (and now app) from Common Sense Media includes age appropriate and educationally rich activities and resources on privacy, safe passwords, digital etiquette, protecting against cyberbullying, fair use of media, safe searches and good use of digital communications. Here is a link to my detailed review. Other resources include digital citizenship videos and activities from Brain Pop (Gr.3 and up) and Brain Pop Jr. (Gr. 1-4) as well as other lessons and resources.

In Grade Four, Five and Six, our students are using the internet frequently to learn, play and communicate with others. There are a number of lessons devoted to Digital Citizenship throughout the year as students increasingly use email, our Learning Management software (Blackboard) and other tools to learn and communicate their learning. Connect Ed. has an excellent curriculum guide called reallifeonline.ca with grade specific resources, lessons and activities. Another excellent source is a site called Media Smarts which includes activities and games on media and digital literacy. Their Passport to the Internet resource covers netiquette, maintaining a safe digital footprint, online privacy, security, preventing cyberbullying, harassment, impersonation and hidden identities. In Grade Six, students learn Digital Citizenship as an online course and topics include: making smart choices online, using technology and games in moderation, risks of social networking, responsible use of media, cyberbullying and setting up good privacy and security settings on devices and other technology.

Here is a partial list of useful resources for K-6 educators (most are free)

Common Sense Media - a complete K-12 scope and sequence, adopted by schools in a variety of countries.
Digital Passport - Games, videos and activities, recommended for Grade 2 -5 students

Kidsmart – Early Surfers Zone- 2 digital citizenship ebooks with lesson plans, games, videos and resources for SK-Grade 2 students
Kidsmart – KnowITall: online videos, activities and lessons on internet safety for Grade 2 -5 students

Mediasmarts.ca - comprehensive Canadian website on media and digital literacy and Passport to the Internet* (Gr.4-6)

Cyber café – Learn about email, social networking, safe searching & mobile technology for Grade 3 -6 students
Cyber-5 – Story and quiz on online safety – Grade 1 -3 students
Brain Pop* – digital citizenship videos, quizzes, lesson plans and activities for Grade 2 to 6
PBS Webonaunt game – a digital citizenship game for Grade 4 to 6
Digizen – a digital citizenship resource site with good resources on the risks of social media
Even Google have gotten in the act with their Digital Literacy and Citizenship curriculum
A comprehensive list of the Kidsmart resources  for K -12 students and educators

Let me end with a quote from a recent study which emphasizes the need for digital citizenship to be embedded in the Ontario elementary curriculum. “Some teachers whose project was in the early elementary years, felt that getting notions of digital citizenship in from the beginning of school life would alleviate many problems later as that knowledge would be taken for granted as children moved through the grades.” from a research paper posted on the Ontario Ministry of Education website called “Shifting landscapes…” by Pauline Biggs from Curriculum Services Canada.

I hope those resources aid your digital citizenship discussions in your class and school. On Twitter, I use two good hashtags for this topic: #digcit and #cybersafety. I can be reached on Twitter @anthonychuter and at my professional blog at ict4kids.ca.
~Anthony
qrfree_kaywa blog post

* not free

Going “QR Qrazy” with QR codes in our iPad BYOD middle school environment

One look at the walls and displays in our new iPad BYOD  middle school demonstrates  some exciting changes to our school environment. Displays on walls and hallways are now “alive” , as teachers use QR codes to create scavenger hunts, links to videos, documents, sites, student work even text messages. The walls are well and truly interactive which makes sense as each student has a tablet (and/or phone) in their pocket ready to scan.
Here is are some examples.
IMG_4590 edit    IMG_4588     IMG_4592 edit    
IMG_4589 edit     IMG_4591  qr code slidedeck

1. Schedules 2. Important Links 3. Student created QR code 4. wifi information. 5. Student work 6. Slidedeck for teachers

The 5th is my favourite. Students often decorate the lockers of their friends on birthdays. This group of friends actually covered their locker in QR codes with birthday wishes and messages which appeals to my both my geeky and sentimental side. A typical sign of how millennials seamlessly use and weave technology in their personal and social lives.

What is a QR code?

A QR is a scannable barcode that can

  • take you to a website
  • open an online file
  • link to a video
  • generate a text message.

At the beginning of the year, I had the opportunity to lead our teachers in a hands-on perhaps “scan-on” workshop where we discussed and explored the possibilities of using QR codes in class. Tony Vincent’s Learning in Hand website and Twitter feed proved to be a valuable source of resources and ideas for using this technology to aid and support students, parents, teachers and other members of our learning community.

Here is Tony Vincent’s excellent introductory video.

Scanning QR codes

Using these apps you can turn your smartphone or tablet (or even computer) camera into a programmable scanner. To effectively use QR codes in the class, you will need to create QR codes and provide resources for students, colleagues to read or scan them.
I-nigma QR app - Free
Scan - $1.99
More examples are listed here on this excellent blog site.

Three QR code creation sites on computer

http://qrcode.kaywa.com/
http://goqr.me/
https://www.the-qrcode-generator.com/

I usually create QR codes and use them to share, print or insert in a variety of digital or print materials. They can be copied and pasted like any digital image.

Further possibilities for QR codes
I love this idea of creating a QR code voice message. Do your students ever mention that they hear your voice at night? Now you can really make that happen.  Create a message or instructions to students using this website. and put in their handouts, notes or even textbooks (cue evil laugh) http://qrvoice.net/
How about student book reviews as a number of librarians have began putting QR codes in books so that students can hear from peers while browsing.

QR code scavenger hunts are also fun too. Here is an example at http://www.classtools.net/QR 
  
Useful QR code articles and source material
Vicky Davis’s awesome QR code classroom implementation guide
Tracy’s Watanabe iPad blog - some great ideas and resources for QR coding in the class.
Monica Burn’s article from Edutopia – 5 reasons I use QR codes in the classroom
Mr. Avery’s “Going Rate” Math QR code scavenger hunt
Richard Byrne’s review of QR Voice - lots of other good QR resources below the article too
Jackie Gerstein’s Mobile learning activities
Tony Vincent’s Learning in Hand blog – http://learninginhand.com/
Online QR creating with Kaywa Code Generator - using this on all my devices
Stylish QR codes with Visual Lead
Janiet O’Hara’s site on QR codes - love tagmydoc and visual lead
YouTube QR code generator

And here is the QR code for the site. Coming to a wall or screen near you!

Dec. 9th-13th Computer Science Week – Resources for The Hour of Code and beyond

Each day this week, we have been coding with our Junior and Senior students to celebrate Computer Science week and the Hour of Code. Each day I have been tweeting some thoughts, ideas and resources on this topic. —- >

Here are some resources I have found useful to explore and share programming and coding with students.

Why learn Computer Science?

 Kodable’s 5 reasons to teach kids to code  
5 reasons to code
Here is a very cool resume programmed in the style in Super Mario World by Robbie Leonardi
cool programming resume
Google celebrates Comp. Sci. week with a Google Doodle on Grace Hopper
unnamgrace hopper

The ScratchEd has produced an activity to celebrate this week. Who wants to send a Holiday card this season when you can send a holiday code instead?!

HOC studios
Here is the link.

Finally, here is a link to my programming page with ideas for using Scratch in the classroom,  some articles and resources for coding on tablets and/or computers. I also outline 4 key concepts for introducing programming through tools like Scratch. Having a great Comp. Sci. week so far. My highlight this week was on Monday when a very quiet and very new Grade 5 student who burst into my class during his playground keen to show his progress in Scratch despite ONLY a 10 minute introduction the prior morning before he had to leave for his basketball game. It was a teaching moment I won’t forget!

Happy Coding!

~Anthony

Countdown to #ecco13

Busy times at the beginning of the school year (new classes in a new division+new responsibilities+coaching+AQ courses (not to mention 2 little kids and a very supportive family) = busy times! However, looking forward to attending #ecoo13 seeing some familiar faces and sharing my experiences with programming Scratch. Here is my link to my conference page on Lanyrd. Here is a link to my Scratch resource page. Visit again for upcoming posts on our iPad implementation, Google Apps for Education implementation, QR codes craziness our and First Lego League experiences too!

Here is my slidedeck on Scratch.

~Anthony

Programming to think on the Internet of Things

My daughter and I exploring retro games at the Game On exhibit at the Ontario Science Centre.
s c64
Walking around the exhibit, I started thinking about the impact of programming on my life. Consider that we now have a well established “internet of information” where the majority of programming takes place on a specialized device (computer) and are beginning to experience an additional phase of programming on an increasing number of connected everyday devices (through wifi, Bluetooth etc.) AKA the internet of things. Who is going to have the expertise (and time) to connect and program all these new devices in the coming days?!

My first programming memory starts with my Commodore 64 back in the day (ok I’ll own up, early ’80′s). Many an hour (or four+) was spent tinkering and playing with the keyboard, basic OS and removable media of that day (cassette tapes and then floppy disks). This machine helped me learn to program in Basic, Logo and of course play (and manage) many applications and of course many, many games with friends. It was often SO slow that complete games of hockey, baseball, meals or general socializing could take place (while waiting for games like Jumpman, Grand Prix or California Games (among many other good and not so good games) to actually load! In retrospect, I think perhaps more time was spent talking about, finding, saving and sharing than actually playing them…but the chase is sometimes the best part. However, this slow unreliable but well-loved computer taught me much about programming and computer operations like keyboarding and even web browsing through a basic modem (remember the BBS anyone). In this stage, programming was confined to speciality devices like computers and its interest was confined to us geeky kids. (Although, I’ll bet that all the best tech-savvy individuals you know from Generation X group probably have a some history with an Apple III, C-64, VIC-20 or even Amiga etc. but I digress.  (For fun here is a list of the 100 most popular C-64 games.)

My next programming memory takes place in Cambridge in the United Kingdom sometime in 1998. My then savvy girlfriend, now my beloved wife told me that the engineering department was working with AT&T to create a programmable fridge. The fridge would record the contents inside through the barcode  and presumably send the results to someone’s computer. Sounded cool but this was still outside the daily experience of the everyday (especially us on an starving student budget). Although it was early days I would characterize this as a key moment in the “internet of things” as an everyday object (fridge) becomes “smart” enough to connect with another speciality device (computer).

However, the world of mobile devices is where connected devices become quite handy and a ready technology for the everyday. With an increasing amount of devices on the network our smartphones become our “remote control” for the home and potentially the world. In this new phase of programming, the “smart” fridge has increasing functionality, presumably as an app for our phones, making a list so we can check it twice, before we receive a message geo located and timed when near the local grocery store. We can control objects through specific settings and have those objects are set up to predict our needs. (i.e. think scheduled recordings on a PVR but for every object.) This article from Wired’s June 2013 issue called “Welcome to the Programmable World” by Bill Wasik probably best describes up the benefits and challenges in this new phase of programming.

In this new world of “smart” objects, programming skills like designing, debugging and re-mixing are going to become increasing mainstream. In October at ECCO 2013, I have been asked to present about my work with a visual programming language called Scratch in my technology classes. My junior students love Scratch as it is a digital extension of playing, tinkering and creating. I look forward to sharing my experiences, successes and resources with programming. (Here is a link to my Scratch resource page.) The UK education system has already adopted programming as a key revision of their ICT curriculum in 2014. The United States also has a strong movement to champion programming represented at code.org. So I feel in good company support the need for programming in the already busy elementary curriculum.

I look forward to chatting about my Adventures with Scratch in the classroom and especially the increasing interaction between digital and physical objects. (My Makey Makey kit is in the mail and I look forward to exploring this intersection of the digital and physical in the new school year.

Here is a link to my presentation at ECCO 2013. I look forward to sharing, discussing and evaluating new and exciting pedagogy with technology.
ARC BIT_LG_schpxy

Here is a cool info graphic on the Internet of Things with a link back to the original source.Internet of things

Mobiles in the 1 device classroom and beyond

Everywhere you look mobiles are having a dramatic impact on the world around us. Ask yourself…how have you used your “phone” in the last week? I sure your answers are varied and will amaze you.

But what about the classroom…teachers are realizing the potential for the anyplace, anywhere, anytime aspect of mobile devices as an powerful resource for learning, creating and sharing.

“In addition, since the fourth quarter of 2010, smartphone and tablet sales have exceeded PC sales – and the growth trends continue to favor these newer devices. Mobile devices now account for 13% of global Internet traffic – and rising.”

Source: http://readwrite.com/2013/05/13/mobile-is-taking-over-the-world

Here are 3 examples of sample activities for teachers in the one device classroom.

1. Use your phone to record (i.e. oral assessments, collaborations and for multimedia projects) I use Evernote, VoiceThread and an app called  Recorder Pro)
2. Take pictures as Assessment as Learning (i.e. spreadsheet with check boxes or take photos for reviewing, sequencing and reflecting)
3. Access and edit critical files (schedules, team lists, check lists, PDFs )through apps like Skydrive, Dropbox and Google Drive (in the last one, up to 50 people can collaborate on one doc, spreadsheet or presentation)

My examples are from the Apple App Store but if that specific app is not available, there are many similar alternatives in other app stores (most are free too!)

With mobile technology (phones and tablets), learning is now anytime and the “classroom” anywhere. Many people are using apps to learn, create, communicate and share in new and exciting ways. However, I believe it is a mistake to focus on the apps themselves. Instead, perhaps the focus should be on how mobile tech. creates new and engaging learning opportunities for ourselves and students. Dr. Puentedura’s research examines how we use the technology to transform and redefine learning experiences for students. See my blog post on Puentedura’s SAMR model which has been a great influence on my integrated approach to educational technology. How can we use this technology to provide new pedagogies to prepare them for the future? As for apps…as the iPad ad says: “there is an app for that!”

Here are some learning opportunities for mobile devices and some example apps.

  1. Read (and discuss) Professional Development articles on your subject or interest (i.e. Zite, Flipboard, Twitter…)
  2. Collect and curate articles, graphics, videos… for sharing (i.e. Delicious, Diigo, Pinterest…)
  3. Scan, display and analyze student work (i.e. HD Scanner, Camera app,)
  4. Create a digital notebook of student work for assessment and sharing (i.e. Evernote, Good Reader)
  5. Transform text into audio (i.e. Qwiki, Speak! or adjust assessability settings in an iPad)
  6. Create a collaborative digital poster (i.e. Padlet, Lino it)
  7. Create a collaborative graphic organizer (i.e. Popplet)
  8. Create, edit and share a slideshow or movie (i.e. iMovie, VoiceThread, Animoto)
  9. Connect your class with experts, teachers  or other classes (i.e. Google Hangouts, Skype etc.)
  10. Write, record, sketch your notes (i.e. Penultimate, Notability)
  11. Compute complex calculations (i.e. Calculator, Numbers etc.)
  12. Organize, share and manage your school calendar (i.e. ITeacher Book, Google Calendars etc.)
  13. Quickly contact groups of students or teachers through text messaging (i.e.  Remind 101)
  14. Make sketches to teach and share (i.e. Educreations, Explain Everything, Show Me)
  15. Sign or annotate and return a .pdf without printing (i.e. Acrobat Reader, Good Reader)

This is list is far from exhaustive and I hope not too overwhelming.

Hopefully, you have had at least one takeaway tip. I have enjoyed sharing my research and ideas from colleagues to help you and your students. Thanks for reading the final tip before summer. (Yippee!)

Anthony

My Twitter handle for questions and further discussion – @anthonychuter
F
or further discussion of this topic check out my group project and research on mobile technology in the class.

9 YouTube tips and tricks for teachers

These tips are great for supplementing your own flipped videos uploaded to YouTube or other videos you use in class i.e. Khan Academy.

  1. Tubechop – This site allows you to choose a specific start and end point for a YouTube clip. This is great for reviewing parts of videos in lessons, differentiating clips for students and editing longer videos. I use a one minute per grade guideline (i.e. Grade 5 students should not watch clips of more than 5 minutes) in order to keep instructions short, sweet and specific.
  2. ViewPure– All the great YouTube video goodness minus all the ads and links. I have it on my Internet Explorer+Firefox toolbars for easy use.
  3. Hyperlink to specific point in a video
    1. “It’s possible to link directly to a specific point in a YouTube video. Play the video, and keep an eye on the white blob that moves along the timeline below the video, (the thing you drag to move forwards/back through the video). When you get to the point in the video that you want to jump to, right click on the blob and choose “copy video URL at current time”.

If you now use this link as a hyperlink in your IWB software or PowerPoint, the video will start playing at the point that you chose.”

Number 3 was from this site

4. Video Notes – a very useful web app that allows you to create and save notes with a YouTube clip. Perfect for teachers and students in the flipped class and saves nicely with Google Drive too. Here’s the URL since it is not a top link from a web search. http://www.videonot.es/

5. Tubesnack – Create a playlist of YouTube videos. Great for a collection of clips on a particular theme or topic. Share by URL or embed in a website or LMS like Blackboard

6. YouTube to .mp3 converter – Sometimes you just need the audio of a particular clip, this site helps you convert your video clip into audio. Shout out to language and music teachers on this one but all teachers will benefit from another nice handy tool for YouTube.

7. Watch2gether

It ,as its name implies , allows its users to watch YouTube videos simultaneously. You can now share and enjoy YouTube videos with your colleagues (and students) in real time on their devices.

8. EmbedPlus

EmbedPlus enables its users to start their videos at a chosen time , skip self-defined chapters, and add captions and annotations

9. Tubesnack – Enables you to build a YouTube playlist of videos on particular theme or topic.

This is my list of sites that I use frequently in my classroom. Here are two excellent blog posts that I used for reference and contain similar and additional links.

From Danny Nicholson’s Whiteboard Blog

From Med Kharbach’s Educational Technology and Mobile Learning Blog

My top 5 Avatar creation sites for students

Can you match the avatar style with the websites below?

mrc.2voki sampledoppleacmiiacmrc lego head

Here are my top 5 favourite (Flash-based) websites for creating student avatars. Creating avatars allows students to include personal digital representations of themselves for online or in digital materials without relinquishing any privacy. Plus they are fun to create and a kid-friendly addition to any project, presentation or learning material.
  1. Nintendo Wii – Who doesn’t love creating a Mii!
  2. Lego – A class favourite but try “snipping” only the heads and shoulders to avoid “lightsabers” and other Stars Wars© paraphernalia
  3. Manga - perhaps better suited for students 11+
  4. Bitstrips or BitstripsforSchools.com – Now a Facebook app but a popular choice as all Ontario students have freeaccess to Bitstrips for Schools.
  5. Dopple Me -  Another favourite!

+1 Bonus – Voki - Why not add your voice to an avatar too!

It should come as no surprise that students love creating them and they are great as signatures for wikis, blogs, documents, websites etc. I find them especially useful in Voice Thread or other online sites or games that offer the option to upload a picture. Remember that blank is always an option but a cartoon avatar is fun and safer than a photo. Use the “snipping tool” or another screenshot tool to take a .jpg (or other picture file) of your avatar to share in other sites.  I keep a .jpgs of cartoon avatars in my Dropbox account ready to be used in projects or uploaded to sites. Now if only those the avatar creation sites for The Simpsons and Diary of a Wimpy Kid start working again…

P.S. Did you guess them all? Perhaps you will have to visit each site to find the answer.  While you are there, go ahead and create+save an avatar of yourself too! Consider it your professional development for the day! :) Below is an avatar of one sad little lad in our house with the current states of the TFC, the Toronto Maple Leafs and Blue Jays this year! “Maybe they will win next year Dad!” I am crossing my fingers for him!
sad matty

Cheers,

Anthony

Creating and sharing graphic organizers using Popplet

digital popplet2
Popplet is a great mind-mapping and graphic organizer tool to aid planning and writing. Not only can you add text to your graphic organizer but you can also add a variety of sketches, graphics and multimedia. Collaborating with multiple authors is easy through a shared link as your file is stored in the cloud. (The hidden notes page is great for assessment or feedback from you!) Finally, the presentation mode allows you to create and navigate through a path of views from one “popple” (box) to another through your arrow keys.

Here are a few screencasts I made, that you are welcome to use in your classes. Lots more available on YouTube.(without my squeeky voice through:P)

Creating an account in Popplet

Getting started in Popplet

Student sample –Gr.4 Canadian physical region http://popplet.com/app/#/311851
Gr.4 Muslim Influence on the Medieval Europe - http://popplet.com/app/#/812393
Diversity of Living Things – Educator sample http://popplet.com/app/#/901161

This software is available in Windows and iOS and recommended for students from Grade 4 and up.