moment of joy

One of the best parts of my job is working 1:1 with teachers and staff on tech “issues”. This could range from implementing a new program to figuring out how to make a signature on Outlook to learning how to organize files. (I’ve done all three just this week.)

This is not really in the realm of “music teacher” but it is in MY realm because I love helping in this way. It was an absolute moment of joy yesterday to see a colleague’s face explode with delight as they learned how to format a table in Word. That is what is so exciting about the technology learning curve; it sways far and wide. It is a pleasure to me to see someone else embrace a new skill just by a few seconds with someone who is a few steps ahead in learning.

This is collaboration. This is joy!

My Fake Wall

I have seen several PLN members share about their use of My Fake Wall for their students. I felt inspired to make this tool part of a project for 6th grade in the third trimester. I played around with it today and came up with a fake Facebook wall for Beethoven. It is super easy to use and while it is a bit ad laden, I think it will be a nice change up for the kids doing research projects. The key will be a standard email and password log in rather than individual log-in’s. If they have to create log-in’s it will add a whole extra class period. So just like with the Glog projects from first trimester, I will establish an account for the class. (I learned the hard way for the Glog project; this time we are pre-emptive!!)

Now I just have to sit back and wait until the third trimester rolls around in March!

iPad-initial reflections

This year I received the best Christmas present, a shiny new iPad. My entire family pulled off a great surprise to give me the big gift of the holiday. I believe my initial reaction was jumping up and down and shouting. With great restraint, I tried to avoid playing with my new toy all day and did actually spend the day with them. The next day however, I spent the whole day exploring how I could use this new tool.

My first reason for wanting an iPad was to use it for my assessment management. It allows me to keep running records and instantly import assessment data directly to my online grade book. I appreciate the instantaneous nature of it as well as the lack of paper needed to keep records. It allows me to be more accountable to my students for providing accurate and thoughtful feedback.

Three weeks in and many visits to the App Store later, I have found a great number of resources to provide me professional growth (TED) and mindless entertainment (Jeopardy). I can move easily between reading a classic (The Scarlet Letter downloaded from the app store), a piece of history (The Constitution app), or profound (YouVersion Bible). I have started using new productivity tools (Evernote) and am able to access my pln blogs (Reeder) with the click of a button and a good wifi signal. (I did not get the 3G plan and this is a mistake. If one is getting an iPad, please get the 3G, otherwise it can be rendered an expensive electronic with stunted functionality.)

I have read a number of articles recently purporting both the positives and negatives of iPad use in schools (see below). I can absolutely see both sides of the coin. It is too early in my adoption of the device to be even remotely thoughtful on the subject. I’m still in the “this is cool” stage. But, I hope to decipher how this teeny piece of metal and computer chips can make my life more productive, my professional practice more efficient, and provide for a bit of fun. Once this is more concrete in my mind, I will be able to effectively reflect on how I believe this device can be transformational.

Articles to peruse with my many thanks for my PLN pals, known and unknown.

iPad as a Learning Tool

Cultural Shifts when using iPads

How iPads Change Education

iPads for Children’s Creativity

Tech Won’t Change Education (I really appreciate Larry Cuban’s candor)