Friday, February 12, 2016

Fantasy Geopolitics Draft Day

It all started with a Tweet by someone (can't remember) that touted Fantasy Geopolitics, the online game that includes everything from geography to current event articles to education gaming!  I looked into it and proposed it to Mrs. Brylski our Human Geography teacher.  We created a "teacher league" as a test run and realized right away that Fantasy Geopolitics was a legitimate contender for including during one of our units in social studies.

Set up was easy!  We created the league and acquired the "invite link".  We placed that link on Canvas, our LMS.  Students clicked on the link and entered our "code" for the league which required the students to create an account.  We used our school email address.  We had NO problems working on the iPad as you will see, but some students did open the "Fantasy Geopolitics" site "in Safari".
View a condensed version of the 35 minute learning experience.

To keep students interested in the three week game we will:

  • Create discussion questions in Canvas 
  • Require students to trade one country
  • Reflect on one current event article from one or more countries that they own
  • Create a reflection on the process one to two weeks into the game

The energy and enthusiasm by the students was evident.  We look forward to continuing the "gaming" of geopolitics.

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Imperialism Takeover - iPad Consumption

We are really trying to focus our learning opportunities with iPads to be "more than just projects".

Mrs. Brylski, Mrs. Krause, and Mr. Emmerich, our World History teachers, allowed seventy-five students using iPads or personal devices at the same time to effectively research the "best African country".

View how it's done.

Monday, February 8, 2016

Digital Learning Day Resources For Teachers To Use Within Canvas

On Tuesday, March 1, 2016, all Juniors will be taking the Wisconsin state-wide ACT assessment at Pulaski High School.  All Freshman, Sophomores, and Seniors will have a Digital Learning Day.  We've informed parents that students may stay home and complete "Tuesday Only" material via Canvas or come to school and use a "PLT" resource area to complete the day's learning opportunities set forth by the teachers.

While worksheets, lectures, and digital links can be connected quite easily to Canvas, the Discussion Tool and Edpuzzle will provide opportunities to truly engage students during this time.

Some tools that will contribute to the day's learning.
Canvas Discussions:
Ideas For Use:

  • Provide a link to a reading via URL or PDF and pose writing prompts and questions
    • Students will not see other student responses until they post their ideas
  • Require students to reply to a certain number of students
    • Grading the initial responses and replies to students is accomplished using SpeedGrader
  • Provide an image or video for watching and required response
  • Post a file of any type

Canvas Discussion Video Tutorial

Canvas Text Discussion Tutorial
Complete Discussion Guide For Educators
How Do I Create a Discussion?

Edpuzzle is also an amazing tool that can help with a video resource.

  • Monitor exact student watch time
  • Add questions and comments 
    • Questions will grade themselves
    • Comments can be text or audio
  • Prevent students from SKIPPING portions of the video
  • Create own content through a screencast
  • Upload a video from TEN different areas

Edpuzzle Video Tutorial

Edpuzzle Presentation Tutorial iPaddiction Blog Post

Thursday, January 28, 2016

Tundra Toolslam 2016

Last night at the Tundra Toolslam, I presented Flipboard to about 80 people at the Neville Museum.  Ten innovative educators, five minutes each, one tool at a time!

View the presentation
View all the tweets

Find one tool and stick with it!

Friday, January 22, 2016

PLN Under 2000

Everyone knows the famous people in the educational Twitterverse!  Those voices that have ten-thousand, twenty-thousand, even fifty-thousand followers.  However, there are plenty of educators on Twitter that have less than 2,000 followers that have amazing insight into educational practices.

This reminds me so much of our classrooms.  There are always one, two, or possibly three students that speak all the time.  They may or may not have good insight, but they definitely take most of the energy from the room.  Leaders are needed, but their are many quiet voices in the room (and on Twitter) that have loud thoughts that can change the world.

I encourage you to find a few teachers and educational voices on Twitter that may not have thousands of followers and see what they have to say.  They may just inspire you to create the next great thing!

May I introduce you to @RMWynkoop@JulietDPark, and @mh_coach.

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

3 Digital Artifacts Every Graduate Should Have Before Leaving High School

As we progress through our Flex Mod homeroom, we have a Universal Learning topic every Thursday.  This Thursday, we are presenting students with "3 Digital Artifacts Every Graduate Should Have Before Leaving High School".  I incorporated an iRig Mic, iPad, and iPad stand to record the "guest speakers".

Appreciate George Couros for some direction.

Monday, January 18, 2016

Global Issues: Flipboard for Current Events Finalized With a TED Talk

Our Global Issues class with Mrs. Schartner began a journey at the beginning of the year to learn more about current events.  Mrs. Schartner and I discussed the power of current events using the iPad and decided to utilize Flipboard.

Throughout the semester students discovered issues through articles and reflected on them.  The iPad and the Flipboard app was an amazing tool to engage students with global issues that they may not otherwise be interested in.  I personally use Flipboard for gathering technology news related to education and have created three of my favorite magazines.  

Students also watched numerous TED Talks on Global Issues throughout the semester similar to the one below. 

Fast forward to the end of the semester and students combined two global issues articles they found through the Flipboard app and created their own personal TED Talk.  

On Stage. In Front of Peers.  TED Talk.  Our Students.  Watch Some of Them.

Sunday, January 17, 2016

Transition: Microsoft To Google

2009 was the first year that Google and all of it's products was piloted in our district.  Since then, collaboration, creativity, and sharing has occurred thousands of times among Pulaski Community School District employees.

Starting in March 2016, All Microsoft products will be unavailable for teacher use.  

Specific questions have been asked with our Director of Informational Technology answering them:

Per email from Mr. Fraedrich on Friday, January 15:
Q.  Why March 25th and what is happening on that date?  What do I need to do before March 25th?  
     A.  Our goal is to have Microsoft Office removed from staff computers that aren't keeping it by the start of next school year (September 1st, 2016).  The reason we picked March 25th is that it is the first day of Spring Break and it gives us a chance to get a start on the removal process.  We will be starting the process on March 25th, however it doesn't mean that during spring break it will be removed from all computers.  With some staff teaching Summer School and staff taking their laptops home frequently it gives the Technology Department plenty of time to complete the process by September 1st.  We will have a better idea of the timing of the removal and will communicate that schedule as we get closer to March.  Before Spring Break we ask that you start looking through files on your U: Drive to determine what you want to convert and what you want to leave in Microsoft Office format on your U: Drive or upload to Google Drive for storage.  We ask that you try to do this before March 25th so that you can be sure you have access to Microsoft Office to help in that process.

Q Can I use my classroom or department budget to purchase Microsoft Office?
     A.  The transition from Microsoft Office is primarily a budgetary decision, but it is also to encourage collaboration with staff and students, utilize free unlimited Google Drive cloud storage, and take advantage of the access from anywhere that Google Apps for Education provides.  For these reasons and in fairness to all staff in the district we are discouraging the individual or department purchase of Microsoft Office licensing.

Q.   Are the files in my U: Drive going away if I don't convert them?
     A.  Nothing is happening to any files in anyone's U: Drive.  Microsoft Office files that aren't converted and/or uploaded will remain, you will just no longer have Microsoft Office installed on your computer to open and edit them.  All other files (videos, pictures, PDFs, Etc.) will remain in your U: Drive.  We encourage you to use this opportunity to do some file cleanup to help identify what files you want to convert and upload, what files you can delete, and what files you might want to upload without converting to store in Google Drive.     

Q.  Can I request to be on the list to keep Microsoft Office installed on my computer?
     A.  We are currently conducting meetings with departments or content areas to determine Microsoft Office needs and working with staff to determine alternatives or making decisions on retaining the software.  See question below for more information.  

Q.  Who do I contact to get help with Google Apps or for help finding alternative programs to accomplish tasks I performed in Microsoft Office?
     A.  Your building LMS can assist with helping you accomplish what you need in Google Apps or find an alternative.  They will try to help you with your question and if need be reach out to the Technology Department for assistance.  We are also conducting Google Apps basic training sessions with building staff over the next couple weeks.  Elementary training sessions will be during the January 22nd inservice.  High School and Middle School staff training opportunities will take place in the next couple weeks as well.  There will be time for questions during the training.  There will also be Apple Core training classes focused on utilizing Google Apps for Education to its fullest potential.

On Tuesday, January 19, at 7:10 AM, Mods 7-10, and 3:10 PM, Adam Juelich and I will show a few steps that will make the transition efficient.  The entire presentation is below.  We will be answering questions and giving further details about the presentation.

Friday, January 15, 2016

Blessed By The Day - St. Paul Lutheran

I was blessed by the teachers and principal of St. Paul Lutheran School by their energy and enthusiasm to learn something new.  We worked to understand Google Forms, uses for them in a K-8 educational setting, and creating two Google Forms that could be used immediately.  Today it was all about Mission First, People Always! #M1PA

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