Thursday, May 31, 2012

Research Summary in January 2012 - you are stars, all of you!

Many of the teachers in our school are looking/investing/ exploring one area or another on how to communicate with students, assess students, have students engaged, trying different manners of learning, and so many other areas.  In January Jennifer Spain went around to each teacher in our school and asked them what are they learning, where are they interested in going.  I've been posting the results but I never posted this summary in January and although some have moved on to new goals (as you see from the previous blogs) this summary does show that the passion for learning extends to our staff as well as to the students.  Below are the links to emails for you to contact these people if you are interested in the area they are exploring.  Thank you.

Sue Fuller                    Email:
Using blog to
·       Write about highlights of the week
·       Display student work
·       Post photos of weekly science experiments
·       Talk about what’s upcoming
·       The theme: come into our classroom via the blog.
·       Keep parents informed of what is happening in the school.

Alyssa Becker             Email:
·       using Dropbox for yearbook sharing/file sharing.  Going to use SEND TO ME to have students email me attachments that will save directly to Dropbox.  This will be great when using garage band on the iPads next semester (can email sound files directly to me).
·       Use of Google forms for collecting yearbook survey results
·       use of Google docs to collaborate with other teachers to create a science 8 exit interview
·       Used the iPads to do school wide yearbook surveys.  4 hours, 850 kids.  Not too bad :-)
·       Next semester I look forward to using the iPads with the science 8's and 9's for storybook building, possible claymation comic strips and podcasts
·       Personally, a lot of the technology I tapped into this semester was technology of convenience.  Dropbox, Google Docs, and the portability of the iPads were all used for the sake of collaboration and/or efficiency.  Though a heavy user of technology in my personal life, I am hesitant to use technology in my classroom that feels more like a gimmick than something that increases creative and critical thinking (for example, Glogster).  I'm constantly on the hunt for apps and tools that will achieve this (and of course whether they do or don't is often trial and error).  As with everyone else, it's a work in progress.

Jeff Vaughan               Email:
Ryan Neufeld              Email:
Marilyn Miles              Email:
Kyle Pederson   
·       Twitter feed – 300 followers for athletics twitter feed. It started as professional development and has grown. It has become more than just announcements and now their goal is to create a model of a 24 hour teacher and modeling social relationships that exist outside of school as well as within it. All teachers in PE have a Twitter account.
·       The professional development has been very important using the driving philosophy of decentralizing learning. It should not be controlled by the teacher or require large expenditures on technology.
·       Focus: affect the teacher so that the effect trickles down to the students.
·       Student side: BYOD took off with the expansion of the wireless
·       TV allows access to Twitter feed for those who don’t have technology & reduces the gap between the haves and the have nots.
·       Wiki duplicates what’s on the TV: Twitter feed, Google calendar, list of coaches
·       Plan; to introduce students as authors and implement digital portfolios
·       Next step: Apple TV and projector to use in hub to communicate with students. Has direct mirroring for all connected devices (exactly what’s on your screen will be on the Apple TV)
·       Focus: looking for opportunities for student authorship. Engaging technology with formative assessment and student authorship.

Learning Assistance
Paul Sharples              Email:
·       Investigated the usability and positive influence of the Smartboard for learning in a small classroom environment of ESL students.

Aaron Davis                Email:
·       Has a Wiki where he posts student homework
·       Projects, homework, assignments can be accessed and completed online
·       Uses blogging with his students
·       Uses GarageBand to record conversations and posted on Wiki for other students to respond.
·       Using student input on creation of criteria and rubrics
·       iMovie projects
·       Musique mardi: weekly French music videos/songs from a variety of French countries

Jacqueline Alvarado-Cruz      Email:
I'm trying to bring technology into my classroom as much as possible. This semester I succeed in using more technology that I have in previous semesters,  although it was difficult at times due to the library booking schedule or the lack of a class set of good working laptops but somehow I managed.

My students used the following websites to create some fabulous projects:
·       Storybird - to write a story in Spanish using concepts learned in grade 10
·       Mixbook - to create a childhood scrapbook using preterite/imperfect  in grade 11
·       Toondoo - to create a comic strip using reflexive verbs/present progressive in grade 11
·       Voki - to send an avatar in which students spoke  Spanish for grades 10/11 
·       Prezi - to hand in projects that use superlatives/ or any other project that required using a poster but students chose to do a Prezi instead. - French nine

This is what I'm hoping to do for semester 2
·       goanimate - to create a video
· - to create a project on vocab related to the home
·       ipads - to create small projects using comics or any other useful tool
·       website - create a website in which students can give each other feedback on language learning
·       as well as continue to develop other projects with websites I have used before

I think that what I'm doing is affecting my teaching in many positive ways. It's helping me take risks and trying things with students that may or may not work or may or may not be liked. It's also helping me feel more confident about using technology and not be afraid to say to the students that I don't know that much about technology. 

I'm having been finding that most of my students are very engaged in the projects that involve technology. For example the Storybird was a project that took almost a week and many of the students were very focused on the task. It was incredible to see how engaged they were and how hard they worked on it. I was worried that after various days of working on it some would be bored, but at the end I heard a lot of positive comments such as 'that was fun' 'I really enjoyed doing that' or 'I can't wait for you to read my story.' It's helping my students demonstrate their language learning in a variety of ways and in ways that they can relate to.

Jennifer Spain             Email:

·       Using student input on feedback and assessment criteria. This gave students a sense of ownership in the assessment process, and made them far more effective in providing peer feedback than they ever had been before.
·       Using Twitter and Google Docs for student homework assignments and study/supplementary resources
·       Using for student input/participation (similar to iClickers but using any internet enabled device)
·       Using for collaborative storytelling
·       Using for online discussions and responses to questions posed by students
·       Technology–related tools were chosen on their ease of use for all students (i.e. not having to spend a lot of time teaching the tool), their privacy policies, and their ability to work on multiple platforms (i.e. iPod, iPad, cell phones, desktop computers, etc.) I deliberately chose as many tools as possible that were not specific to languages, but rather had a range of possibilities for students to use in other courses too. When they saw the usefulness of the tools they were using, they became enthusiastic adopters of the tools, and many of them did their own trouble-shooting by looking for YouTube videos etc. on how to use the tools if they were having trouble with them.
·       I used Google Forms to survey my grade 11 students at the end of the course, and asked them to tell me one thing they liked about French 11. Many students commented on how different the collaborative, technology-based projects were and how much they liked them, but many also commented on how much they had enjoyed all the speaking they got to do.
·       Exploring the use of student choice in format of assignments. All students receive the same guidelines on content but can choose how they would present it. Some examples chosen by students included traditional posters and essays as well as Prezi, Glogster, PowerPoint and SlideRocket.
·       Next semester will be including use of iPads and Dropbox to hand in assignments.

Margo Freeman          Email:
  • Use to update homework etc.
  • Used it for a character project with students
  • collaborate with other teachers about the changing landscape of education
Live Binders
  • started keeping my bookmarks from the Internet that I use on a regular basis with students
  • share students’ work
  • plan to put all my resources on it
Document Reader
  • live brain storming with students
  • model my thinking
  • edit students’ work with them
Use various other online/computer-based formats for project choice: Prezi, Powerpoint, Toon Do, etc.

Heidi Nielsen              Email:
In the English department, we have each been working on tech goals (many have created webnodes, used Twitter for assignments - Margo used it with Taming of the Shrew, Erin uses it to tweet homework, Melissa uses it as well, several teachers are using Livebinders (we would like to create a department binder so any teacher could add / take from it).

As well, the document readers are being used to present and critique and revise student pieces and to have students present final projects (they used the readers to show the class what they had done - ie. presenting a newspaper or a board game).

I have converted all of my Literature 12 notes into more interactive PowerPoint presentations which include pictures, video clips, and sound bytes.  I also had students use power point to present author's lives and poetry to the class.

My plans for this semester include:  updating my webnode to include "gifted / talented" and trying to use twitter for a Shakespeare assignment.

Kate Law         E-mail:
Social Studies / English / Home Ec
At the moment it is largely a resource for my classes both for homework and assignments as well as for extra info and Socials/English resources. As I get further into the semester, my hope is to build it and use it as an online portfolio of student work that will updated with examples of class work/projects. This year I was adamant about getting a signed outline back with parent emails and assigned students the task of teaching parents how to use email in cases where I was told that nobody at home had an account. So far I have contacts for about 75% of students and am actively hunting down the rest. The hope is that I can get most parents visiting the website and receiving updates to encourage fluency of communication between me, the students, and the parents/guardians.

I am trying to get the blog section up and running and to keep it updated with where we are in classes and how students are demonstrating their learning.

I'm still developing it and working on how to integrate it more actively into what we are doing in class so that it is not just an online agenda so I'll keep you posted!

Nicole Painchaud       Email:
·       Explored and continuing to explore the use of e-portfolios for students assessment, peer assessment, and the development of their learning line (improvement) in what they are doing.  Explored Facebook as well as Webnode and now presently looking at Weebly.
·       Have used different organizational programs (id venn diagrams) for assessment
·       Have used Parent assessment in different situations.
·       Using different Web 2.0 tools in classrooms.
·       Exploring Apps, and their uses.

Bryan Bucci                Email:
·       Presently working on AppleTV for the projector and IPads.
·       Explored the option of giving students Digital Choices and personal learning in presentation of learning on different subjects.
·       Used different Web 2.0 tools in the classroom and continuing explore this field.
·       Used Learn360.
·       Exploring Apps, and their uses.

Home Ec
Shelley Blackwell       Email:
·       Using Learn360.
·       Has started taking tourism movies & downloading them to show to class instead of going to library. They are more useful because they are up to date and allow her to incorporate current content.
·       Trying to incorporate downloaded videos into foods too, but most of those are really outdated, so she is using YouTube for sources and creating new demos using document cameras. This is very meaningful for students.
·       Using document reader for teacher and student presentations in sociology.
·       She really enjoys seeing technology being integrated in a non-traditional way or in a non-traditional department.
·       Also using LCD and SmartBoard for teacher and student presentations.
·       Beginning to integrate LiveBinders into gathering teaching resources.
·       Also incorporating Facebook into Sociology for 2 assignments (social self portrait), building on the HACE presentation from Jesse Millar and continuing that dialogue with students.
·       Trying to include some iPad use as well and will be building in second semester.

Mustafa Gocmen        Email:
·       Explored using smartboard technology with a template.
·       Explored the use of different cognitive learning styles in the classroom, ie visual with videos, audio, etc.

Lisa Leonard / Warren Edwards         Email:,
·       Explored Gizmo Program with students, evaluated content, explored testing of this program, and usage of students in independent studies.
·       Exploring the use of iPad Apps in Science.
·       Explored and continue to do so different web sites for review of work.
·       Explored the use of Smartboard technology in the classroom, and use of it for independent studies.
·       Explored use of document reader and considering possibility of videoing lessons created on the document reader.
·       Exploring using Podcast in science.

Social Studies
Sandra Stevens           Email:
Ann Harris                   Email:
One of the major issues for these two teachers is that many of the videos they have used over the years are no longer available, don’t work with modern technology, or are in such poor shape that they are no longer usable. The A&E biography of Napoleon is so old that they can’t show it anymore. They searched unsuccessfully for another copy of it, but then with the help of Roger Hayward, our librarian, they were able to find it on Learn360. They will now be learning how to hook up to an LCD projector to a computer to show movies in class, as well as save movies to files so they can find them again. These movies are most relevant with Grade 12 as it is a content-rich course. Using the movies and being able to assign them as homework provides a lot of scope to be able to assign them as homework. That way, students can cover the content outside of class, and assignments focusing on critical thinking and analysis of that content can happen in class. As well as its applications in grade 12, the use of these videos means that more viewing for all grades can happen outside of class and students who are away can access information as well.

Stacy Brine                 Email:
·       Using and Twitter to post notices about updates to website.
·       Planning to use iPads & student devices in classroom to look up information.
·       Students use laptops from the Cow and cellphones to gain access and openness. The improvements to the wireless have made it possible to use these tools without any problems most of the time. Students are enjoying this and there is lots of participation.
·       Teacher attitude is more relaxed and is finding that students are more respectful of the rules (i.e. things like accessing Facebook or texting when they are supposed to be working on class assignments).

Robert Dewinetz        Email:
·       Using a lot of BYOT (Bring Your Own Technology – asking students to bring their own devices to school to access the internet via the school wireless) with great success. Some students were reluctant at first but then became willing adopters.
·       Still using Twitter to communicate with students and has modified student contact form to ask for student Twitter handles.
·       Planning to do a “FedEx Day” for Geography 12 where students have 24 hours to deliver a product.
·       Will be using Wordpress blogs/physical/digital portfolios to present finished product.

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