EdTech Weekly News Roundup - February 12, 2016

news image

"'Leveling Up' Technology for Teaching” — THE Journal

Looking to level up PD for your teachers? Read this interview with a teacher-turned-technology and learning coach. Tired of the same old PD that teachers didn’t seem particularly inspired by, she spearheaded a variety of unique ways to approach PD from a “speed-dating” type of method to a Shark Tank-type Innovation Incubator to integrating digital badging for teachers. Haiku Learning is oftentimes used for teacher PD by our customers. Check out this post on teacher-created PD as well as this post on our digital badges!

"How to Make the Most of your LMS, Part 1: Wayfinding” — Haiku Learning

A great guest-blog, part of a new series, from one of our customers who has all kinds of ideas for teachers creating blended or online classes with LMSs. Up first is her focus on integrating ‘wayfinding’ techniques into the design of your online class. If you're not sure what that means, check out her airport analogy!

"Tell Your Story on Digital Learning Day 2016”— Edutopia

Any plans for Digital Learning Day next week? This article has tons of resources like video galleries, social media guides, and other 'tool chests'! Plus, there are links for learning how to participate. And, there are eight "Technology-Integration Strategies, Tools, and Tips" that cover topics from digital citizenship to teaching with QR codes and Minecraft.

"10 Digital Learning Models in Clark County Schools” — GettingSmart

There are a lot of interesting models here to learn from, including a Flex Academy, a virtual lab, and a Freshman Academy.

"Robots in Education: What’s Here and What’s Coming” — Edudemic

Learn how robots can help students (and teachers) who are out sick, what kinds of technologies you could be using today (like robot kits), and how robots will be shaping tomorrow.

Subscribe to the Haiku Learning blog to keep up with other news and stories like this from Haiku Learning.

Subscribe Now

How to Make the Most of Your Learning Management System, Part 1: Wayfinding

computer with education icons

How many of you have been in this situation?

Student A comes back from being gone on a sports trip and asks, “What did I miss?” You think to yourself, why didn’t the child check the classroom site? Or Student B asks, “I’m going to be gone on Thursday for a sports trip. Will I need to do anything when I’m gone?”

Now, it is perfectly okay for my students to ask, “What did I miss?” But I spend a good deal of time creating online spaces for my students that should make questions like these a thing of the past. And if my students aren’t using my pages, I need to take a close look at what is on my pages. Do they actually communicate what I want them to?

Over the next three weeks I will be blogging here about how I transformed my classroom sites from Pinterest style blocks of resources that kids never used, to a space where kids could wayfind on their own, interact with each other, and show their understanding.

While I use Haiku Learning to communicate with my students, the concepts I will be discussing are universal to anyone using a learning management system.

Let’s get familiar with the concept of "wayfinding"

Wayfinding is key when we are designing online spaces for kids. Yes, I know they are sitting in your class and you can tell them about what you are doing. But what about later? Most middle school students can barely remember last period, let alone what you said 12 hours ago.

Think about an airport. Most of us have probably flown into a destination where we have never been before. You get to the destination and somehow you manage to find your way around with little to no help. You find the ticket counter, you find baggage claim, you find the toilet, and you find your taxi. The architecture of the building, the lighting, and the signage all point you in the right direction.

How about your classroom site? Can kids figure out where to go? Do you have a structure and visuals that engage them and send them in the right direction? Do you have signs that tell them what to do next?

Here's what my classroom pages used to look like:

screenshot of Haiku Learning page Kathleen's Haiku Learning page before she made wayfinding improvements.

Take a closer look. Where on the page would a child go if they missed class on Monday? Can a student see what we are going to do on Thursday? Is there anywhere on the page that tells a student how to use the page? And is there anything on the page that a student might interact with and leave his/her mark?

The problem was I didn’t have a clear vision of what my students would need when trying to figure out their homework at 10 o’clock at night.

Now when kids come to my pages they see something like this

screenshot of Haiku Learning page Kathleen's Haiku Learning page after she made wayfinding improvements.

Calendar. They see a calendar. They get a whole picture overview of what we will be doing each day. Of course, the calendar changes. Things happen. Some lessons take longer than I think or less time than I think. Yet, the kids still know what is coming if they want to budget their time more wisely.

Objectives. Students see the objectives of the unit or lesson. The student gets to see what they should know and understand at the end of the unit. Here is where you would place the standards as well. If using AERO or Common Core, kids will want to know what you will be assessing them on.

Order of Lessons: Each day’s lessons are in order down the page. The date of the lesson is clear. There is a visual that relates to the subject or skill we are learning about. There is a description with directions for the assignment. And if it is something they turn in, the due date is highlighted. If the child needs a text or handout for the lesson, that is attached as well.

Use space strategically: Along the side of the page are the discussions, quizzes, and extra resources they can use to gain greater understanding.

Now, these pages are good, but it doesn’t mean my students will use them. I have to do things to make sure they go there, interact, and leave their mark. I'll discuss that more next week.

Other tactics I use to help my students wayfind are:

Start each lesson with your classroom site. Project your page on the whiteboard. Give students instructions for the lesson by using the instructions you have on your page. When they go home that night to finish, they will have a better idea of what to do and where to go to find the information.

Kathleen projecting a Haiku Learning page to her students Here's Kathleen projecting the lesson on the board.

Give the students an LMS Scavenger Hunt. At the beginning of the semester, give students a series of tasks for them to show you that they know how to find the information they will need. Also, include tasks that show they can participate in Polls, Discussions, and create a WikiProject.

Create a Student Help Desk. Create a discussion block where students can ask questions and seek help from each other. Students are online when we are not. Reward them as well for helping each other by responding to questions in the Help Desk.

How about you? Do you have other tips on how to help your students wayfind? Share them in the Community Forum!

What's next in Making the Most of Your LMS?

Coming next week is Part 2: Collaboration: How to use your classroom site to increase student participation and collaboration. Subscribe to the blog so you don't miss it!

About Kathleen: Kathleen Ralf teaches Humanities & English at Frankfurt International School in Oberursel, Germany. She also teaches Genocide & Human Rights for Global Online Academy, a consortium of independent schools. As an educator, she works to create a classroom that is active, hands on, and full of creativity. She is a leader in technology integration on her 1:1 campus as well as an advocate of the Blended Learning model. On her blog Lehrer Werkstatt, she often shares her adventures in the classroom as well as her adventures around Europe.

Subscribe to the Haiku Learning blog to keep up with other news and stories like this from Haiku Learning.

Subscribe Now

Question of the Week: How Can I Use WikiProjects for Personalized Learning?

news image

As one of our customers recently said, “WikiProjects help students show the best of who they are.” We couldn’t have said it better, so let us expand on what she said! We get asked about WikiProjects all the time because there are just unlimited possibilities for learning in the world of WikiProjects.

WikiProjects: a brief introduction

WikiProjects in Haiku Learning are the antidote to assignments where students simply google the answers and pretty much submit the same responses. While there’s a place and time for assignments like that, many schools are moving in the direction of integrating more personalized learning.

Enter WikiProjects, an online space where students can really roll up their sleeves and flex their creative muscles! With WikiProjects, students can

  • work individually or collaboratively
  • create new pieces of content using a library of multimedia tools and web apps
  • organize and present their work in different configurations
  • share their work with others
  • integrate their work into an ePortfolio to export for prospective colleges and employers.

WikiProjects & personalized learning

Some students are great writers. Some are great speakers. Some are great artists. Some are comedians. Some are shy. Many are a combination of any of these. The beauty of WikiProjects is that students get access to a variety of tools and apps to best express their point of view and show what they learned.

Choice & voice in content creation: From what students create to how they present their creations, students are constantly making decisions throughout the learning process and ultimately showcasing “the best of who they are” inside of WikiProjects.

First, students get access to all of the text, image, and video tools that teachers have access to when building their classes in Haiku Learning, including access to their Google Drive.

Some of the design tools in Haiku Learning Students can upload or embed anything from links to text to image to video.

But even cooler — at least from a student's perspective — is access to our Embed the Web library, where students can use an app like ToonTastic to create original cartoons. Many of the apps in our library help students construct designs and produce products.

Here’s just a sample of some content creation apps in the library:

  • Photo/cartoons: Powtoon, Toontastic, BitStrips, Animoto, Buncee
  • Infographics: Piktochart, infogr.am
  • Audio: Audioboo and AudioPal, Voki, Storybird, SoundCloud, Noteflight
  • Presentation: Prezi, Issuu, Voicethread, and Haiku Deck

Embed the Web library Lots of awesome apps for students to flex their creative muscles with--hundreds of them in fact.

Choice & voice in organization and presentation: Just as teachers can organize their classes in different ways — for example, thematic vs. chronological — students have the same decisions to make when it comes to organizing their WikiProject.

Each project centers around Pages and Blocks. Students decide how Pages are going to enhance the organization of their project. For example, Pages may be organized in terms of topics & subtopics. Or if the project is being used to document changes over time, say for a science experiment, pages and subpages can be based on time lapses like "Week 1", "Week 2", "Week 3", etc.

A screenshot of a WikiProject In this project, students organized the pages on the left by different phases of the project, including Brainstorming and Research.

More to come on WikiProjects!

Stay tuned for more posts on WikiProjects! We’ll be covering topics like project-based earning and WikiProjects as well as tips for getting started! And if you have some great examples you’d like to share, head on over to our Community Forum!

Be sure to subscribe to the Haiku Learning blog to keep up with other news and stories like this from Haiku Learning.

Subscribe Now

EdTech Weekly News Roundup - February 05, 2016

news image

"20 Awesome BYOD and Mobile Learning Apps” — Edutopia

We love and appreciate that Cool Cat Teacher Vicki Davis listed Haiku Learning here as recommended LMS to “bring it all together”. Some of her other suggestions cover topics like collaborative writing, blogging, and screen casting. And some apps, like Google Drive and OneNote, have great integrations with Haiku Learning. Check out this App of the Week on our OneNote Class Notebook integration.

"Three Reasons Students Should Own Your Classroom’s Twitter and Instagram Accounts” — edSurge

This teacher and columnist completed a "digital citizenship bootcamp” with students before giving them access to their “Tweeter of the Day” and “Instagrammer of the Day” accounts. And she even included the parents at one point in the bootcamp! Lots of insight as to why this is a good thing for students.

"STEAM + Project-Based Learning: Real Solutions From Driving Questions” — Edutopia

If you need some help to get started with PBL, see how one elementary school tackled it, starting with planning in the summer. They came up with one driving question across each grade level that ties into standards, addresses a real-world problem that students relate to, and inspires students to find a solution that will have a long-lasting impact on their community.

"Learn how you can Successfully Create and Maintain an AWESOME Student Run Tech Team!” — Teachercast

Here’s a great video podcast that features a school in Massachusetts that successfully put together a student tech team. They cover everything from recruiting students to credit to curriculum.

"Student Voice & Perspective Regarding Edtech Today” — Tech & Learning

At TCEA in Texas, a student panel was convened. Find out what they had to say about what they like best and least about tech in the classroom, some of their favorite apps, and advice they have for teachers and companies.

Subscribe to the Haiku Learning blog to keep up with other news and stories like this from Haiku Learning.

Subscribe Now

Rubrics in Haiku Learning Facilitate Easy Sharing and Collaboration

Share image

A few months ago we made it possible for teachers to share Rubrics, and we promised that the functionality would become even more robust.

Rubric sharing: More choices, more people

Well, it’s here! Now teachers can conveniently share a Rubric via a link or email invite, just like they share Classes. This will make it even easier for teachers to share their Rubrics via social media tools if they wish. It also enables recipients to preview what’s being shared with them before they add it to their account.

sharing rubrics screenshot

Additionally, teachers can now share Rubrics with anyone who has a Haiku Learning account. Once accepted, the shared Rubric will copy into the recipient’s “My Rubrics” area in draft form, ready for editing.

Start sharing!

This all adds up to more convenient ways for educators to share great content with more people and reduce the workload for other teachers! You can find step-by-step instructions in this article from our trusty Knowledgebase.

Subscribe to the Haiku Learning blog to keep up with other news and stories like this from Haiku Learning.

Subscribe Now