Monday, April 21, 2014

1 on 1 Collaboration to Support Technology Integration @CrystalMiddleCA

We lost one of our veteran teachers earlier this year when he moved on to become an Ed Tech Specialist for the District. It was initially seen as a huge loss to our site, but now has become a huge benefit. Josh Harris who is now an Ed Tech Specialist has begun to hold One on One coaching days at our site. His expertise is now spreading beyond the walls of his own classroom into multiple classrooms at Crystal. Our teachers are on a journey for mastery with their technology and see a true purpose for implementation. As word spreads on campus, more and more teachers are signing up for a time slot to work with Josh. After hearing from several teachers about how much they were able to learn and what they were excited to implement after their one on one session, I wanted to share. I told Josh that I wanted my next blog post to be about his most recent One on One sessions. I am so happy to see so many of Crystal's teachers taking on new ways of incorporating technology and streamlining their classrooms. We have embarked on a very exciting time at Crystal. Teachers are willing to take risks and try new things when they see the academic benefits for their students.

"There were a couple of things that I worked on with all of your teachers. One of the main items that seemed to be universal, and was seen as unanimously valuable by your teachers was signing into the Chrome browser. We talked about how this is different than just signing into your Google account, and how it syncs your bookmarks across all of your devices where you have signed into the Chrome browser. This makes Chrome, at least for web-based things, an excellent bridge between devices since it allows you to look up what web page tabs you have open on other devices. Also since the bookmarks and pages are saved to the Google account, as opposed to the computer itself, when we change or upgrade computers or mobile devices we don't lose all of our bookmarks. I also showed Carole Schneider a Chrome extension that adds a timer to the web browser.

On Monday, I worked with Tammy Collin and Carole Schneider. They both just got their Apple TVs and TVs installed in their rooms recently so we were talking about some ways to transition to the new technology.  We worked on some basic things in transitioning from laptop/desktop and SmartBoard methods of teaching, and using Microsoft products to using iPad and Google Chrome, Drive, and Docs. I'm proud to report that Carole has already started putting her lessons onto Google Slides. She was actually rather quick and comfortable to abandon PowerPoint.  As mentioned above, I had them both sign into their Chrome browser and then showed them how to use that along with signing into their Chrome app on iPad to bridge between the two devices. As well as preserving bookmarks, homepages and other data. They both were enthusiastic about working from different devices in different places at any time they liked.  

On Monday I also worked with Paul Walpole, and then on Tuesday I worked with Katie Molina, Barbara MacFarlane, Lisa Lewis and Shannon Balthazor and on both of those days, with all five of those teachers we basically worked on some digital workflow solutions. The digital workflow solution that we implemented was based on the gClassFolders script that runs in Google spreadsheets and its companion script, called Doctopus, that also runs in Google spreadsheets.  Pulling a query from the account that I have, I was able to put together a class roster spreadsheet for each one of the teachers. Then, using Google Drive I transferred ownership of the spreadsheet to the teachers, and then walked each one through the relatively simple process of setting up the gClassFolders. 

Consequently, this also afforded us a side opportunity to look at some of the features and uses of spreadsheets in Google Drive.  I also informed them that, probably over the summer, we will be upgrading to the new Google Sheets, and that some of the procedures would change. After seeing how simple the process was currently, none of them seemed to be daunted by the prospect of having to learn a new set of procedures after having just seen this one. 

gClassFolders automatically creates an individual folder in the teacher's Google drive for each one of the teacher's students that is shared only between the teacher and the student. However, it also sets up two additional folders for all the students in that particular course.  It sets up a course-wide view folder, and a course-wide edit folder. We discussed some of the possible uses for the course edit and view folders as those are new tools in the teachers' toolbox. Not only do these folders give the teacher's whole class digital options for assignments, but they also allow for period-to-period collaboration on assignments and activities in a way that has not previously been known.  Doctopus is a sort of digital photocopier that can work with gClassFolders to place assignments that are individualized for each students automatically in their personal folders, but it allows the teacher a lot of control and quite a few more options (for example: switching all of the students from editors to viewers with 2 clicks) over the cycle of that particular assignment.  All of the teachers were really happy to have this digital workflow and turn-in solution for their Google Drive – especially because it streamlines the sharing process and cuts down on notification emails from Google Drive from sharing.

This next thing was one of my favorite incidents that happened during these two days of one-on-one visits with your teachers, and is one of the most enjoyable parts about individual teacher coaching--when the teacher and I stumble upon something new together.

While demonstrating Doctopus for Paul, we found something that I didn't know, but is going to be a really cool way to do an assignment using art and images. We distributed to each student a copy of a JPG image of the painting, American Progress. We then discovered that using the commenting function we could have the students select certain parts of the painting, and then using the commenting feature in Google Drive, write explanations of each portion's symbolic meaning in the historical context in which the painting was created.  We talked about how he might demo that to the whole class (using I-do, we-do, you-do) before turning them loose on the actual assignment themselves. That way he would be implicitly teaching them Google drive and computer skills while explicitly teaching his history assignment and content.  

We generally think this is the best way to teach computer skills: we teach them implicitly as the means to an end of an academic goal or objective. We don't spend time separately teaching specific computer skills that make it seem like the computer is used in a separate domain of knowledge. Thereby, the computer becomes a tool we use in all areas of knowledge, instruction, and learning as opposed to something separate from what we do in the rest of school."   --Josh Harris, Ed Tech 

#edcamp: I have read a lot about #edcamps on Twitter and I am intrigued by the idea of an #edcamp and how it works. Several teachers at Crystal have also expressed interest in being part of an #edcamp. Well, there is no better time than the present to try it at Crystal. I am excited to announce that our May staff meeting will be run as an #edcamp. I shared this idea on Twitter last week and....... it looks like Tim Goree, Geoff Belleau, and Josh Harris will be joining us too!! Here is a Youtube video to give you an idea of what an #edcamp is and what it looks like. #edcamp101YouTubevideo

PROPOSITION: Proposition is a statement that consists of a carefully considered opinion or judgment. 

Many more great things are in store for Crystal!

Continue to be innovative, creative, and a model of excellence! 


No comments:

Post a Comment