Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Paying it Forward

What does Benton Community Middle School have to offer other schools in their thinking about becoming or improving their 1:1 program?

That's the premise of today's post.  How can we share our 1:1 learning with other schools so they can sucessfully implement their 1:1 program?  This is a huge question -- but I really believe an even more important question is "How can we really make the school of today relevant for our current students, not the students we were thirty years ago?" (I'm aging myself -- yikes!)

Today, we put a technology device in student's hands -- but if our systems don't fundamentally change the "what and how" of the experiences students are receiving in our schools -- we have created a much larger gap for students to overcome once they graduate.

Recently, I listened to Steve Jobs and Seth Godin on TedTalks highlighting their beliefs focusing on the importance of moving beyond the industrial age in schools.  They speak enthusiastically of having students and staff create "more passionately" and connecting the dots, not collecting the dots from students. Godin ends his talk by saying "If you care enough about your work to be willing to be criticized for it then you have done a good days work!"

So, opening up our doors to visitors who want to learn and be willing to ask us critical questions will hopefully teach us how to get better and continue to strive to meet the needs of the students we have in today's classrooms to prepare them for their tomorrow.  Thus, creating educational experiences, as Jobs implied might help "connect dots looking forward", both for our students and our staff. 

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Here is a quick bulleted list of what is happening with iPad’s in our MS as of 10/11/12 (gotta love this date:).  By no means is this list a reflection of the only ways in which iPads are being used.  
The Middle School staff are integrating the iPad in a variety of ways to focus student learning at levels that reflect organization, critiquing and generating new ideas and products.  These skills, which correspond with the Characteristics of Effective Instruction, as outlined in the Iowa Core, are also at the higher end of the revised Bloom's Taxonomy

The Middle School saff are also collaborating with one another to increase their own knowledge level on ways to use the iPad to increase student learning and create classroom websites that students and families utilize both at school and home.

Here's our list...
*QR codes being used our MS pass book with a google doc being used to record passes for MS students (restroom, office, nurse, etc.) - thus seeing trends in student behavior

*QR code being used to upload a document that students work with in an English classroom

*Spelling app being used by students to input spelling words verbally and then being able to practice typing (spelling them) and hearing them again before the assessment at the end of each week

*1st days of school students taking screen shots of schedules – giving staff ideas of ways to utilize the camera – now students take pictures of textbooks so they don’t have to take textbooks home

*Students creating spreadsheets with the Numbers app to record classroom data

*Students observed during classroom walk-thru the first week of school utilizing:  google calendar, google mail, simple physics, notes, notability, edmoto, imovie

*No issues with wireless network with addition of 250 devices plus 15 apple tvs -- way to go "Magic" (aka our Technology Director)

*MS Staff presented to HS staff @ one way they are using iPad in the MS on 9/5/12 (only 11.5 days into the new school year)

*As of 9/26/12 – 4 teachers had not used any paper – all documents for class work were accessed on the iPad

*Ag Science – using iPad to create notes on parts of plants

*Music classes (band and vocal) accessing quizlet to have students demonstrate competency with pre-determined learning targets for the course

*All google email accounts and Edmoto username and passwords were made to be the same for every MS student
*Students accessing websites for learning about the changing population in the world and historical events

*Teachers giving both written and verbal feedback to students on homework and assessments

*Students creating EduCreations to demonstrate learning – both written and orally

*Biggest challenge to date - - students remembering passwords

Thursday, October 4, 2012

O'Connell HR wins iPad shirts with Box Top Collection

Ms. O'Connel's homeroom collected 945 Box Tops for our 1st Box Top Collection of the 2012-13 school year. They each won an MS iPad t-shirt.  As a middle school we collected over 4500 Box Tops during homecoming week and will use the money to purchase iPad apps that will help enhance the learning environment of our middle school.

Monday, October 1, 2012

iPad cases

                                                 Benton Community MS iPad Case

Our process for chosing cases included the following criteria:

1.        Durability – tough case (we’re working with middle school studentsJ)

2.       Corner protection

3.       Cover that puts the ipad in sleep mode when covering the screen

4.       Strap on back

5.       Stand to set iPad up on desk or table for typing

6.       Multiple colors for different grades

7.       ID holder for student ID (approximately 3.25 X 2.25”)

We didn't end up with our case meeting all of our criteria -- but we are satisified with our case, the Griffin Survivor.  We had over 100 free case samples sent to our school.  Students were a huge help in this process -- they would spend their study hall in my office researching cases and then we'd email the company and ask for free samples.   Companies were great about working with us and even giving us suggestions about other products that may meet our needs!  Below is a picture of some of the cases we tried out.  The box on my desk is full of iPad cases, as well as the one's spread out on my desk.  The Apple project manager that worked with us was very impressed when he saw this -- but Apple was not impressed enough to send me a FREE case:)