The Surface and Beyond: implementing the Surface Pro 2 with Junior students: Part 3 – Implementation

Ok, so now comes the fun part (i.e. less talk more action!)  where we actually put the devices in the hands of our students. We have created a vision, planned and collaborated and communicated as professionals, set up routines for support among other steps outlined in prior posts. In fact, in the meeting prior to this stage, I got the impression that all the teachers were ready to get going. I shared this feeling too and but felt it was a good sign that the communicate stage (from the Common Sense Media site) had been comprehensive enough and they were ready to have a go with this disruptive yet exciting technology in the class. In truth though, this communicate stage does not stop ever but shifts some of the conversation from planning to implementing and then reflecting on the learning opportunities for students. In other words, back to business as usual (plan, teach, reflect) but with an added technology platform available anytime or anywhere or any size of learning tasks.

In specific, our Grade Three-Five classes had access to three carts bookable through shared calendars in Outlook and we planned a few initial lessons and pilot projects for each grade.

Below are a few resources I used with students during the first lessons. We started by discussing rules, strategies and routines for the new devices on the classroom. Students had already signed an Acceptable Use Policy (AUP) at the beginning of the year. Next year, the tablet implementation and AUP can go hand in hand in our September rollout. However, this third term rollout was great for a trial run and a short turnaround before we reflect upon the experience and start a entire year with these devices at our disposal.

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I focused on the opportunities for learning that these devices provided and invited students to earn their “Surface licence” through a checklist of activities. I adapted this routine from Suzie Brooks’ excellent GradeThree blog which outlined her iPadding rules and I also drew inspiration from activities teaching in the early days of the internet where students had to earn their “internet driver’s licence” to go online. (These days students earn that “licence” really early at home with all the devices available to them!) However, the idea of the licence is a good one in a classroom as it acknowledges that using the device effectively is a learned skill (i.e. like driving ) and students need to protect themselves and others while engaging in rich learning experiences.

Here is a copy of the Power Point slides I used with our Grade 3 students.

I also provided a few posters along with the Surface Rules and their signed licences and asked if teachers could find a place for them in the classroom. I felt that these could be references by teachers and students if and when needed. All these posters are found from the Common Sense Media site.

After this lesson, the classes were off and running; creating and sharing a variety of pilot projects. In Grade 3, students were adapting their “Hamburger” writing into a recorded slideshow format for sharing. (“Hamburger” writing is of course the introductory and conclusion sentences as the buns plus 3 juicy facts of research in the center of the burger but you knew that 🙂 In Grade 4, the students were researching Ancient Civilizations using collaborative Popplets as a graphic organizers and the Google Slides as their final presentation tool.  Grade 5 students were creating a Grecian Urn and completed sketches on an app called Fresh Paint, researched a report about Grecian Urns(pots)  in Google Docs and the Urn was, of course, clay and bought and decorated to fit their chosen style.

Finally,  I suggested three resources for teachers as “backpocket” ideas (all good teachers have those) for early finishers. My picks were: typing practice (we use an site called typingtraining.com), Scratch for creativity and programming and abcya.com or BrainPop’s Game Up for some educational games.

Overall, this rollout has been reasonably smooth with lots of excellent collaborations and definitions. Going forward we will be analyzing projects using Puentedura’s SAMR model and aim to design learning experiences for students that fall into the “redefinition” area.  It is always a great start to class when the students say “yeah, we’re Surfacing today” when myself or colleague roll the carts into class. A few interesting questions and challenges came up but that is for future posts. Next up, I am building a WBLT (web based learning tool) for teachers to explore at their own pace which mirror our ongoing discussions and activities around technology integration.  I look further to sharing updates on our progress.

~Anthony

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The Surface and Beyond: implementing the Surface Pro 2 with junior students: Part 1 – Envision

surface picWith not much in the way of web-based research materials specific to the Surface (breaking new ground!), I concentrated my efforts on exploring tablet (mostly iPad) and notebook computer rollouts. Since the Surface Pro 2 is a hybrid device that is both a powerful computer (Windows 8,  i5 processor, solid state drive) and also leverages tablet capabilities (i.e. touchscreen, camera, apps etc.) I thought that this seemed a good approach for research and implementation.

I quickly realized this process (as suspected) needed to be team effort between a number of parties (students, leaders in learning, teachers, administrators, technical staff to be successful.) However, I felt strongly that I wanted to emphasize this initiative as a “learning” rather than a “technology” initiative with our students, with student learning in specific, at its heart or center. This approach helped “win over” the “hearts and minds” of teachers potentially suspicious of this disruptive technology in their successful classrooms.

This blog post by Sam Gliksman also provided a number of critical questions to inform and guide discussions about tablet implementation (iPad yes, but many ideas were very applicable to any tablet). I really like how the questions are categorized and this organization made it easy for this nosy and overly keen Technology teacher to initiate discussions and conversations with respected parties. Thankfully, a number of these questions were already answered but some were not. In particular, the vision question was ripe for discussion in order to incorporate the perspectives of all but maintaining a clear, simple, transparent and persuasive vision when asked by any and all in our learning community.

As far as structuring our tablet implementation, the Common Sense media offered an excellent model for 1:1 initiatives that could easily be adapted to our shared model of shared carts between classes. Here is a graphic from the site with a direct link.

3 stages

Here is screenshot from my Notes in Microsoft OneNote on the Envision stage.
Screen shot prep

Next up in Part 2…exploring the Communicate stage with F2F sessions with teachers, leveraging PLN’s and providing materials for self-directed learning for teachers with ultimate goal of getting this powerful devices in the hands of our capable students.

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

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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.
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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 3rd  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!

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.
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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.