Monday, February 20, 2012

Working on the Critical thinking - assessment in the E-Portofolios.

Students are beginning to collect their information and submit it on their portfolio.  With this understanding I have been giving open ended - or a variety of choices for their assignments.  One such assignment in Information Technology class was for the student to pick either a poster creating program they knew (Glogster) or a program to create a timeline (below is a list of several that I like and so do the students) to sequence the history and growth of the internet.  Students were to name at least 40 different events that changed the internet (from the start with Spotnix to the 250 million users today).  They were to add pictures and graphics to their timeline but the most important aspect of this assignment was not to memorize dates, but to see what changes the Internet.  So this is where the reflective question comes into the process.

With the correct prompting, I can assess where they in comprehension for of the goals.

Goal 1 - Learning a timeline program
  • What was the learning intention or goal for this work? Did you achieve it? How do you know? Give evidence from the work.
  • What can you do now in your work that you couldn’t do before? What contributed to your growth in understanding, knowledge, or skill?
  • What strategies did you use to complete this work? If those strategies had not been available, is there another way you could have done the work?
Goal 2 - What was the importance of looking at the history of the internet?
  • How does this work connect to your interests or life experiences?
Goal 3 - What did you learn?  Do all three.

  • Which aspects of the assignment were easy for you? Which ones were difficult?
  • What surprised you about this assignment?
  • What are you still wondering about now that you have completed the assignment?

With the shortage of time, and the need to learn, I believe I can do the three goals simutaniously, Students worked on learning the new program they chose for the first day.  They had 3 web sites as references to start with.  The 2nd day they had a PowerPoint presentation where specific points of interest were to be added to their time line.  On the 3rd day they continued to work on the timeline but comments thrown out there diagrams like the ones below:

Friday, February 10, 2012

Apps for Appetizers

In the morning today many of our staffs joined us in the library at Sullivan Heights to have "Apps for Appetizers".  For breakfast we had croissants, jam, and coffee around tables that had IPads on the tables, and the lists of Apps on the IPads themselves.  The following is that list of Apps.  There are many.  The purpose of today's Pro D was to have the teachers look through these apps, decide if they are useful, and then investigate others they believe will be useful for our students.  Check out these of interest.  Soon I'll remove the apps the teachers do not want and add those that they researched this morning and want to include on the IPads for the students to use.  You can do your own comparison.  Thank you.

Social Studies

  • National Geographic World Atlas
  • World Atlas
  • Quick Graph
  •  High Calc Calculator
  •  IFormulae
  • TanZen


  • ·      Chemistry Game
  • ·      IMotion HD
  • ·      IMovie
  • ·      LabTimer
  • ·      Molecules
  • ·      Newton’s Grane
  • ·      SkyORB
  • ·      Solar Walk
  • ·      Video Science
  • ·      3D Brain
  • ·      Anatomy 3D
  • ·      Pocket Universe
  • ·      Science 360 Movies
  • ·      TinkerBox
  • ·      3D Cell Simulation


  • ·      Montreal
  • ·      Canada


  • ·      Imotion
  • ·      Imovie
  • ·      The mind mapping programs listed below. for organization
  • ·      Pictello
  • ·      Flash Cards


  • ·      BBC
  • ·      CBC
  • ·      Global
  • ·      News Canada
  • ·      CBCTV
  • ·      NY Times

Comic Making Programs

  • ·      Comic Book
  • ·      Comics
  • ·      Strip Designer
  • ·      Toontastic

Mind Mapping

  • Idea Sketch
  • An Idea Free
  • IBrainstorm


  • ·      Dictionannaire
  • ·      Flash cards
  • ·      Flashcards +
  • ·      Word Solitaire
  • ·      InaWorld – entertainment
  • ·      Storyist


  • ·      Evernote
  • ·      InClass
  • ·      Keynote
  • ·      Pages
  • ·      Student Clicker
  • ·      Teacher Clicker
  • ·      Timer
  • ·      Drawing Pad
  • ·      GogoDocs
  • ·      Screen Chomp
  • ·      Show Me
  • ·      Skitch for IPad
  • ·      Work Observer
  • ·      Wunderlist


  • ·      Twitter
  • ·      VoiceThread
  • ·      Whitebloard
  • ·      Study Blue
  • ·      NoteHub
  • ·      Prezi Viewer


  • ·      Ted Talks
  • ·      How Stuff Works

This is yours.....

This is your employee at the school district who thinks people may not be interested in her blog of learning (I'm so proud of you!!!) but the journey is important to record to see your growth and I have at that!  You are amazing!

This is  your staff member doing research on different strategies to better herself as a teacher and learning the most important lesson of all, technology is just a tool, it's us the teacher, that makes the different.  

This is your teacher teaching your child using all the tools that he can learn to build better communication between himself,  the students, and the parents. Your ideas in this area have changed our school tremendous.  Thanks to you for the changes in our school web site.  It's almost done!  check out the "news" section (blog) we will use for instant updates.

These are my colleagues.  These are some of the people I consider my friends.  They are just a few of the supporters and the demanders of learning in Sullivan Heights.  These are the people that I am proud of: their passion for learning, their drive to be better, their foresight to look towards the future of education for their students.  These are the people that drive the passion in our school, the passion of learning for their students and for themselves.  They enflame my passion as well to be a better teacher and a better facilitator of technology in our school

These are but a few examples of the results of our Pro D today.  But this link explains all the people in our school who are working hard on personal goals of improvements. We were to start with one goal, but it seems many of us have expanded to two or three or four or five goals now right @klaw6?   I'm proud to be part of Sullivan Heights Secondary School. 

I have never said "This is my school" because to me,  it is not the building that I want to claim.  These are my students, and these are my colleagues.  This is my network.  That is what I am proud to claim.  See this link to see our list of research blogs.

Thank you for reading my rant.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

E-portfolio Continues....

With the number of free web sites out on the web, which ones should you used?  Before you even start with this question you need to consider what will you use the the portfolio for. You as a teacher need to understand why you are asking students to create the portfolio and you need them to understand this use as well as make this their same goal.
Starting an ePortfolio is like starting writing a letter. We fear the “blank page” and wonder where and how to start.
Students will ask the questions:
  •  What shall I put in my ePortfolio?
  • How am I going to present myself?
  • Who is going to read it?
  • How am I going to speak to my readers?
and you need to be prepared to answer these important questions. You need to understand the purpose of why you are asking students to create portfolios.

All ePortfolios contain the following elements:
  • Products – which can be things you have done on your own or with the help of others – such as your web 2.0 tools, or anything that you produced to show a skill.
  • Reflections – after a specific activity, on what you have learned, on a specific event or something that was discussed or read.
  • Feedback – what the readers of your ePortfolio think of its contents

The student themselves must  select which of these is more important for their ePortfolio so they can take ownership of their learning.

I am asking students to create an electronic portfolio so that I have an area I can assess, see their work but also give them an area where their critical thinking skills can be improved.  In their reflection of what they have learned.
A critical thinker:
  •  Is open-minded and mindful of alternatives

  • Tries to be well-informed

  • Judges well the credibility of sources

  •  Identifies conclusions, reasons, and assumptions
  • Judges well the quality of an argument, including the acceptability of its reasons, assumptions, and evidence

  • Can well develop and defend a reasonable position

  •  Asks appropriate clarifying questions

  • Formulates plausible hypotheses; plans experiments well

  • Defines terms in a way appropriate for the context

  • Draws conclusions when warranted, but with caution
  • Integrates all items in this list when deciding what to believe or do.

These portfolios will be a work in process, hopefully students will develop their critical thinking skills.  The good thing about an ePortfolio is that it is always “work in progress.” That means:
  • students can always improve your ePortfolio.
  • students can always ask friends or family  to help you improve it (self, peer, and parent assessment will be used)
  • There is no such thing as the completed or final ePortfolio.” However, students can always use it to reflect on what they have learned and ask the people they trust to help them to improve it.
  • But also just as important you the teacher can ask specifically for some items to be put in their portfolio.

We are excited about using electronic portfolios, and hope that this process will not only teach students a modern concept used in the business world today to apply for job opportunities, but also develop an opportunity for parents/guardians to see first-hand some of the students work online. It is the hope that using these portfolios with critical thinking questions, students will developed the above skills mentioned.   I look forward to the results.  

"First one through gets bloodied."

I have heard this expression a number of times at the Digital Conferences  and in our staff room with different colleagues in Surrey School District.  Although I agree in it's veracity I also know that the second person following that same path of research in a new area of study can be in a worst situation then the first person.  Being with a large group of researchers at our school investigating everything from electronic portfolio, twitter, and Web 2.0 tools to researching the effectiveness and uses of Facebook, Document readers, and free web tools, we have come across a number of hiccups in what we are trying to do.  We all know there are always bumps in the road of change, and being the first you usually come across unexpected problems when researching something new.  This I agree with. 

Consider the 2nd person that goes through the same path of research.  We have a number of people trying twitter for learning with their students, for conversing on different topics and reporting homework to both students and parents.  Although one person introduced the use of twitter to the school there can be more then one person who's has gotten bloodied travelling down this same path in their research.
Broken window
by Questa Durron

Think of a window.  The first one through this window of research breaks the glass, and although sometimes they get cut, usually the glass gets pushed out of the way, falling forward and away from the researcher.  This person may get cut, but usually continues to break the path.  Now consider the second person through that same window.   You can see all the jagged edges that they now need to avoid.  

The second person down this path of research is scrutinized more diligently then the first, for failure instead of success because of the first incident of blood being let.  This 2nd person needs to avoid what possible mistakes or bumps were encounter previously, but now there are more shards of glass to avoid. Many people watching the 2nd person will assume the same mistakes will be made.  Some must work against a preconceived negative outlook of others, working uphill if the 1st attempt went bad.

In many ways to continue on with a path set by someone else is problematic because the 2nd person knows what problems they will encountered, what mistakes will materialize and knowing these problems does not necessarily make the voyage easier.  More then this, they have to overcome additional obstacles the first person did not have.  Notice the edges of glass that were left behind, or the barriers that were put up to close up that broken window.

We are all the same in our school, all looking at doing an better job by changing the way we do things in our classrooms, to make learning more effective and efficient for our students.  We all care about the students and we want to do the best we can.  The first one that tries something new is important but it is just as important that second person, and sometimes even harder for that person to continue on.  

As Winston Churchill once said "To improve is to change; to be perfect is to change often".  We're trying to be perfect, but the definition of perfection changes in this changing world.  So we must remember as well what Nelson Mandela once said "Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world".  We're working at changing a child's world, one child at a time if necessary.