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As I sifted through our whole iPad workflow, there was one itty little bitty thing missing...an interactive whiteboard! After we shopped around and tested the top reviewed apps, we settled on Explain Everything because of ease of use, Schoology integration, and bulk pricing. After 4 months, we don't have any major complaints.
EE allows us to take a whole bunch of existing materials we have in paper format and bring it into the app to push it up a few SAMR notches. We needed students to be able to interact with content in a visual, auditory, and explanatory way. We needed them to demo their learning through close reading, annotation, and math scribbles - all instructional practices we've been relying on since common core.
The added bonuses are the audio recording, especially for our ELs - it's really pushing their speaking and listening skills. It was one of those "oh...my iPad can do this??!" moments for our EL students - they couldn't quite believe they could hear their voice come back at them. Although there's a ton of apps they can practice reading fluency with, we like that the teacher can set up an EE template and have them practice right there - with a leveled text, picture, or video.
Although we love the Pages and Notes for quick scribbles, taking notes, and larger text formatting, EE adds some additional design tools that allow our students to create - and that's a big win for us. It hits the Innovative Design standard on the nose.
The options to use formulas and some simple functions is useful, although we wish it had a built-in graph background (we can add one....just take extra clicks). We've been using it often to write around math, a mysteriously missing feature with our online textbooks...
It's definitely an app that is quickly becoming one of our core apps along with the Apple apps. It has many functions and applications for every content area. There's a music teacher who's testing out using it to annotate sheet music this week! Sweet!
We're definitely still learning about all EE has to offer. We want to spend more time learning about creating screencast tutorials. But, a few times a week I hear, "just pop it over to Explain Everything" from teachers and students alike. Splendid investigations!
Did I miss anything? How are you using interactive whiteboard apps to help design happen?
Check it out: www.explaineverything.com
And the iOS ipad App
And their video tutorials are pretty sweet too!
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School-o-gy.. School-OL-ogy. Whatever you call it, our Learning Management System (LMS) is here to transform learning for ourselves as learning facilitators and our students as learners. If used effectively, Schoology has the possibility to truly help us prepare our students for the world of digital work and ongoing learning.
What is an LMS?
An LMS is a web-based system for the administration, documentation, tracking, reporting and delivery of electronic educational technology (also called e-learning) courses or curriculum.
There are DOZENS of LMSs out there in the educational tech world. Schoology is one of the few that really connects all the people, content, and systems that fuel education. Schoology allows us to curate, create, and collaborate. It allows us to personalize learning for our students in a safe learning space. It's easy-to-use for many different purposes and allows us the opportunity to create a variety of digital learning environments.
So what? Now what?
Technology integration isn't always easy. The only way I've really learned how to integrate technology meaningfully into my life and work is to spend time playing with the tool. I've had to stay curious. Always curious. The passion comes from the deep knowledge that we need to embody the skills our students will need. Our job is to prepare them for their future. So let's get busy working smarter.
I'm going to be writing the next few weeks about my top 5 skills that will help you out with getting a handle on Schoology. First up? Watch these quick intro videos from Schoology if you're just starting out, or, skip down to learn how to create and customize your profile! Feel free to add questions/comments below!
How do you want to represent yourself to your learning community? You can access and update your profile by clicking on your name on the top menu. Any SDOL Schoology user can click on your name in Schoology to be taken to this profile page, so make it awesome!
Post Updates on Your Profile
The updates posted on your profile page are available to those who have access to your profile page (within our SDOL network), and can also appear in the Recent Activity feed for your Connections. You can control who can view your updates by adjusting your Account Privacy Settings. Updates are a great way to share your ideas, reach out for answers/resources, celebrate success, or just connect with your learning networks.
Customize your update in the purple bar.
In addition to texts, files, and links, you can also add images, resources, audio recordings, and polls. Click on the gear icon if you want to delete a post.
The info tab allows you to customize what others see about you. Here you can add some "about you" info, activities/interests, and contact information. This is a good activity to do with students when introducing Schoology. Everyone likes to share about themselves and you can model your own!
The blog on Schoology is a personal blog. Other users can subscribe to your blog posts by navigating to your profile page. Subscriptions are available as a tab on the left menu of your homepage once you have subscribed to a blog. You can control who can view your blogs by adjusting your Account Privacy Settings. Honestly, this is not my favorite blog venue, although it is convenient that it is housed within Schoology. I would recommend other sites such as Edublogs, Google Sites, or Weebly if you're really serious about writing a blog or having students write blogs. But, if you want to write up something quick for students to see or want them to do some brief writing, the Schoology blog would work.
If you are awarded a digital badge for doing something awesome, you will find your badges listed in your profile! If you are a course admin, you can award badges. Users can always view their badges from all courses in their profile so others can view them.
At times it's difficult to find others for collaboration on Schoology, especially in such a large district. I form "connections" with others I am most frequently sharing stuff or reaching out to. Your connections are listed on your profile. When you're on another user's profile, you can add them as a connection here. It's like "friending" others on Facebook. Easy!
Try it out! Take 5 minutes to customize your profile. Add a cool selfie, edit your personal info, and send out an update! Tell us about how you could use the profile features to help teach students about being digital citizens or introducing Schoology!
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This year the SDOL instructional coaches and I are working on defining professional learning that is beyond mere compliance. We're working on curating and crafting online professional learning (using Schoology as a platform) that provides our teachers with respect for their time as professionals, autonomy, voice, and choice. Before we get into the messy, creative work of designing personalized online professional learning, we need to stop and think hard about what we know about our learners. What are their strengths? What do they need? What will get them most engaged in the process of individual growth?
We started this process by pulling together our Top 10 Tech Tools to help us better understand ("assess") our learners. Although many of these tools aren't new to us, we wanted to take a moment to pull them together and start thinking about how we can both gather information about our learners and rediscover tools that can infuse our online professional learning courses with more interactivity. No more "read the article. answer the questions. discuss" professional learning. It's not good enough. We have great teachers who we expect to support great students; our staff deserves endless opportunities to create, investigate, share, collaborate, and feel inspired and respected as they work on their professional growth. So. If we really understand the learners we are working with we can plan professional learning that truly engages them in their own process of growth = we all learn. It's what we believe about students. It's why we leverage tech. It's why we craft learning environments that support ALL learners. If we expect teachers to customize learning for kids, why wouldn't we do the same for adults? Right? We've got to start with understanding. We need to get to know our learners.
Check out the secondary instructional coaches' Top 10 Tech Tools for Understanding Our Learners Google Slides! Share your own faves in the comments!
Thanks to Fritz, Destiny, Joel, Darina, Kelly, and Chris for their help!
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I've been getting this question a ton the past month. The confusion is understandable. Courses and groups look eerily similar in Schoology. It's definitely important to figure out which is which before you start inviting others and building materials or resources. Here are the basics to help you decide which is best for you!
Simply put: courses are for instruction; groups are for collaboration.
Your student courses have already been set up for you. Whether you’re using Schoology or not, your students can see your course. This is because they are synced with eschool. If students are added or withdrawn, the changes are made to your course roster. The same classes you have in eschool are represented as courses in Schoology. You cannot add or remove students from your Schoology courses without having the change made in eschool. You can create or join PD courses. These will be a self-guided e-learning experience.
The students in your course have access to all the materials you post for their learning and can interact through assignments and discussions. Other teachers cannot see your content automatically, so if you'd like a colleague have access, you'll need to add them manually as an "admin." You can choose whether to "publish" instructional materials to students immediately or on a determined date.
With a COURSE, you CAN...
Unlike courses, groups are NOT synced with eschool. Therefore, they are NOT created automatically for you. YOU can create groups for ANYTHING and add or share the access code with whomever you want to collaborate! Groups are great for professional learning, team meetings, PLCs, book groups, collaborative lesson planning, shared learning goals/scales, student organizations, committees, anything you want everyone to participate in together!
With a GROUP, you CAN...
+5 Points - Navigating the Groups & Courses Tabs
1: Crown = You're admin! You can add others!
2: Create a new group/course
3: Join a group/course using an ACCESS CODE
4: See All - here's where you go to delete a group or find archives of courses
5: ORGANIZE! Click here for a list of your groups/course. Too many? Put the most frequently used up top!
How are YOU using Schoology groups or courses to enhance learning collaboration??
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At the beginning of September, Apple released a self-guided learning course designed just for teachers. All you need is an Apple ID and a few hours to Become an Apple Teacher. Educators can choose from either the Mac or iPad collection of badges. Each collection includes 8 badges to earn. I completed the iPad badge a few weeks ago to make sure I was ready to support the 6th and 8th grade iPad Pilot this year and I've challenged all of our year 1 pilot teachers to do it too!
The iPad collection offers badges in iPad basics, Pages, Keynote, iMovie, Numbers, GarageBand, iPad Productivity, and iPad Creativity. You can choose how you navigate through the learning. Apple created these gorgeous interactive iBooks for learners who need a really guided experience or you can just go to the down and dirty "how to" if you want a more streamlined learning process. OR, if you're like me, you can just to dig into the app before taking a stab at earning the badge!
To earn each of the 8 badges, you need to get at least 4/5 on the quiz. The quizzes are challenging, but common sense if you have used the app before. I struggled most with GarageBand because that's not an app I use very often, but I was glad the course forced me to hone my skills. Now I can show off my beats to my musician brothers! The nice things is you can easily take the quizzes as many times as you need to and go back into the iBook or How To to check your learning. and try again. You get all the warm fuzzy feelings of rescuing Princess Peach from King Koopa each time you earn a little badge. Once you complete all 8 badges, Apple will send you a congratulations email with your badge included! Level UP!!
It's been exciting to see some of our pilot teachers earning their badge this week! Two teachers, Gidget and Smita, and one of our Digital Print Resource Specialists, Lisa, are already done! Other teachers have been working through it. For some, it's been a fun and painless process. For other who are just beginning with Apple products, it has been challenging. The Apple Teacher Program is allowing me the opportunity to see where everyone is at and customize our monthly time together to meet everyone's needs. It's also been great to see how everyone is supporting one another in getting their badges. As an instructional coach, I learned quickly that badging and micro-creditentials are an engaging way of setting the learning target and allowing adults the freedom to learn in their own way. The Apple Teacher Program is helping us create a culture of tech skill, collaboration, and a vision for the integration of tech in our classrooms! Go Gidget, Smita & Lisa!!!!
Become an Apple Teacher too!!