Monday, June 30, 2014

My Thoughts on Going 1:1 Part 3

This is the third post in a multi-part series for the Summer of 2014

I wanted to share some of my thoughts, ideas, suggestions, helpful tips on embarking on our digital learning initiative (aka 1:1 with Chromebooks) at the Senior High.

My First Classroom
Now, before you say, "What does Mickie know about teaching in a 1:1 classroom?", consider where I have been. I spent seventeenish years as a business teacher. I worked for three different school districts during that time. In each school my "classroom" was a computer lab. Each of my students had a computer to use during my classes. I was 1:1 before 1:1 was a thing! So I do think I have something to offer when it comes to teaching in a 1:1 classroom environment.

This series of blog posts will give you some "food for thought" when it comes to each of your students having a device to use during your classes. I am by no means saying "Do it this way!" Rather, I am giving you some things to consider from the perspective of someone who has been there.

My favorite apps to use with students and Chromebooks are Two Feet and Two Eyes. And they work best when used together!

When I want to know what a student is doing on his or her Chromebook, I start by using the Two Feet app. I get up out of my seat from behind my desk and I walk over to the student. It is at this point I activate the Two Eyes app and I look at the student's Chromebook screen.

Now this is of course a tongue in cheek way to look at this situation but also a good piece of advice. I learned very early on in my teaching career that if I gave students an assignment on the computer and then sat down behind my desk to monitor them, that students could/would get off task and more importantly, students wouldn't ask me questions if I was behind my desk. Once I started walking around the room, monitoring what students were doing, hands went up as I went by, questions were asked and students stayed on task. So in each of my classrooms, a path was worn around the desks because I would walk it every period of every day. (If you go down to Eric Brandl's room and look very closely, you will probably see my path.)

So if you want to know what students are doing on their Chromebooks, use my favorite apps Two Feet and Two Eyes!

Monday, June 23, 2014

My Thoughts on Going 1:1 Part 2

This is the second post in a multi-part series for the Summer of 2014

I wanted to share some of my thoughts, ideas, suggestions, helpful tips on embarking on our digital learning initiative (aka 1:1 with Chromebooks) at the Senior High.

My First Classroom
Now, before you say, "What does Mickie know about teaching in a 1:1 classroom?", consider where I have been. I spent seventeenish years as a business teacher. I worked for three different school districts during that time. In each school my "classroom" was a computer lab. Each of my students had a computer to use during my classes. I was 1:1 before 1:1 was a thing! So I do think I have something to offer when it comes to teaching in a 1:1 classroom environment.

This series of blog posts will give you some "food for thought" when it comes to each of your students having a device to use during your classes. I am by no means saying "Do it this way!" Rather, I am giving you some things to consider from the perspective of someone who has been there.

In the first post, I suggested establishing a routine for using the Chromebooks. My second suggestion is consider where your teacher desk is located. For most teachers, the teacher's desk is located at the front of the room. In my classrooms, my desk was located in the back of the room. Why? Because I wanted to know what the students were doing on their computers when I as sitting at my desk. Now if you don't care what students are doing on their Chromebooks you can leave your desk where it is at. Or if you do care and you don't want to rearrange your room, you will need to get up from behind your desk and walk over and see what your students are doing!

So think about how your classroom is arranged. Does it need to change? Do you care what students are doing on their Chromebooks? If so, how will you know?

The next post in this series will share my favorite apps for using Chromebooks with students, Two Feet and Two Eyes. Stay tuned!

Monday, June 16, 2014

My Thoughts On Going 1:1 Part 1

This is the first post in a multi-part series for the Summer of 2014

I wanted to share some of my thoughts, ideas, suggestions, helpful tips on embarking on our digital learning initiative (aka 1:1 with Chromebooks) at the Senior High.

My First Classroom
Now, before you say, "What does Mickie know about teaching in a 1:1 classroom?", consider where I have been. I spent seventeenish years as a business teacher. I worked for three different school districts during that time. In each school my "classroom" was a computer lab. Each of my students had a computer to use during my classes. I was 1:1 before 1:1 was a thing! So I do think I have something to offer when it comes to teaching in a 1:1 classroom environment.

This series of blog posts will give you some "food for thought" when it comes to each of your students having a device to use during your classes. I am by no means saying "Do it this way!" Rather, I am giving you some things to consider from the perspective of someone who has been there.

My first tip is establish a routine. And my suggestion would be for you to have your students start class with their Chromebook lids closed. Chromebooks have an 8 second start up time and that is from a completely powered off state. You will not have to wait for your students to access their Chromebook like you have to wait for students to log in to the desktop computers in the computer lab. Starting class with the Chromebook lids closed will allow you to take attendance and set the stage for the day with your students focused on you and not what is on their Chromebook.

So begin thinking about how you will incorporate the Chromebooks into your beginning of class routine.

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Teach Like a Pirate

So this post is going to probably start out being about Teach Like a Pirate but will end up being about Twitter--I can just feel it! So here goes!

Those of you who know me know that I love the book "Teach Like a Pirate" by Dave Burgess. I first heard about it last summer on Twitter. As a matter of fact, Twitter was all abuzz over this book. Since so many people were talking about it (it has its own hashtag, for goodness sake! #tlap) I had to check it out for myself. The book is a quick read and full of practical applications that any teacher can put into use in their classroom. Needless to say, I was hooked! And I knew that I wanted all teachers in Norfolk Public Schools to hear the PIRATE message.

So we developed our technology training for the year around Teach Like a Pirate. For the first Geek Gathering of the year we were able to purchase 20 books and give them to the first 20 people in the door at our Geek Gathering. Along with the help of Lisa Pospishil and Leann Widhalm, we introduced PIRATE to our geeks and had a great time!

Around this same time, we were looking for a keynote speaker for our January inservice. Of course I wanted Dave Burgess. So I DM'd Dave on Twitter and he replied that he would be interested. We exchanged some emails and it turned out that Dave was already booked for the day we were looking at. I was not to be deterred! I wanted to get Dave to Nebraska somehow! I forwarded Dave's speaking fees on to Bonnie Sibert at the Nebraska Department of Education who in turn sent them on to Rick Katt, director of Career and Technical Education. I was hoping that NDE would have Dave come for the Nebraska Career Education Conference in June.

In the meantime, we were ready to have our second Teach Like a Pirate Geek Gathering. This one I wanted to be special--I wanted to see if the pirate himself could join us via Google Hangout. Dave was absolutely game but he was already booked the day of our event. So instead of doing a live Hangout, Dave joined Lisa and I in a Hangout on Air which we recorded to show at our Geek Gathering. Dave was great! You could feel his energy coming across the screen. It was a great conversation that could have gone on all morning! So we showed the HOA during the Geek Gathering and our attendees were amazed that we had made this connection. The actual author of the book was there before them on the screen! I was Tweeting as I was watching and Dave who was flying to or from somewhere joined us on Twitter! How small does Twitter make the world?

Just before Lisa and I did the HOA with Dave, it was announced that Dave would indeed be at the NCE Conference as a featured speaker. So during our HOA, I told Dave that I would be in Kearney and we would definitely have to get together.

Last week was the NCE Conference. I got to meet Dave face to face. Even better, we took him out to eat one evening. The conversation was great and he even entertained us with some magic tricks. I was able to sit in on three of Dave's sessions at the NCE Conference. I think I have found someone who talks even faster than I do when I present! Dave's energy and enthusiasm are contagious! I would love to be in his classroom watching him work his magic. I tweeted during one of his sessions that I love watching a presenter who truly loves presenting. Dave is absolutely, hands down, one of the BEST presenters I have seen.

So back to the Twitter thing. None of this would have been possible without Twitter. I wouldn't have read the book, I wouldn't have had a Hangout with the author and I wouldn't have taken the author out to dinner! Even though I had never met Dave in person, I felt like I knew him since I have been following him on Twitter. Total strangers had tons to talk about because of the connection we made on Twitter.

A few things to take away from this post. Number 1: get on Twitter! You simply do not have the time to NOT be on Twitter. It is about connections. It is about people. It is about learning. Just do it! Number 2: read Teach Like a Pirate. And then read it again and again. I've reread the book several times and it never gets old. It is full of practical examples that you can put to use immediately. Number 3: if you get a chance to see Dave Burgess in person, do it! He is a great author. He is a great follow on Twitter. He does an awesome Google Hangout. But he is simply AMAZING in person!