Taken from a painting of Kapiti Island at Sunset.
by Sonia Savage.

Saturday, February 23, 2013

Using ShowMe as a Teacher

Last year as I mentioned in my previous post Antonio, a student showed me how to put a ShowMe into iMovie via an app Free Video (Video Download-iBolt Downloader & Manager).  I have played around with this and made a movie about solving a subtraction problem using rounding to a tidy number and then compensating. A very quick mental strategy to use when one number is near a tidy number.

However there are some students who are very slow to grasp how easy it is. I thought if I had a video they could watch that may help.  Previously they might have looked at a modelling book, although I never was satisfied with these as groups changed and .... well maybe I didn't make them work that well for me. A wiki with videos of work covered makes more sense to me.

Some of the students made ShowMe videos last year, and they worked well, but Antonio took it up a notch with his presentation.  I decided before I sent students off to do it this year, I needed to experience it myself.
As I did the ShowMe presentation I found that I had to be prepared, I found it best to do some writing before I pushed record.  I also found it was very important to watch the video through before the save, to notice any errors.  I had a number of tries before I was reasonably satisfied.

After making this movie, I have thought that while I will continue to make more of these presentations, I will also have students make similar ones to show their understanding.  When making my next video I will only show one problem, and add in a section showing it with materials. (The beauty of putting it in iMovie).  I will then leave a problem for the student to solve and gather materials to show me their thinking. They can then make their own ShowMe to add to our collection.

I am working on in my own teaching finding ways that will make a difference to the tail in Maths in my classroom so this will be a step into that inquiry. Does it make a difference?

Here is my first presentation that I worked on, the next time it will have the changes I mention above.

If you would like to see how I downloaded the ShowMe presentation so that I could place it in iMovie you can see that here in my previous post.

If you have other ideas for using ShowMe with students I would love to hear them.

Use Show Me, Free Video and iMovie on your iPad.

Last year Antonio, one of my students showed me how to use the Free Video app to download a ShowMe presentation and then place it in iMovie and add to it and edit.  At the time I thought this was a good idea as sometimes sites close and I might lose my ShowMe videos.  I also liked that you could make it look just a little slicker in presentation.  ShowMe and the Free Video app are free (Video Download iBolt Downloader and Manager), iMovie you pay for but it is well worth it.

  1. Make your ShowMe presentation.  I found this took me awhile, as I made a number of mistakes and only saw them when I played it back.  
  2. ShowMe emails you your presentation link when it is saved. Copy this link.
  3. Open the Free Video App.      
  4. When this is open you will see something like this. Except until you download something the shelves will be blank!  Notice the position of the slide to the left. You are going to slide this up to paste in your ShowMe link.

When you have the slide up it will now look like this.
Press Go on the iPad keyboard and you will then be taken to your ShowMe presentation. Which will begin to load in like this.
Until it is fully loaded.
Press the play button and it will ask you to Cache Video to Memory, press that and it will automatically begin to download.

When it has downloaded it will appear on your shelf.
The final step is just to press on the video and choose save to camera roll. 

When you open up iMovie you are able to pick it up from your camera roll and insert it into your iMovie time line. You can then add a title, music, other pictures and video as you wish.

Monday, February 18, 2013

Innovation - An Art and Discipline I Can Learn.

I have often thought that innovation in education was something out there, big, and that it was beyond me.  Now, after spending a workshop day with Simon Breakspear -

  • I think that innovation happens to answer the local challenges of a local people and it happens with the people involved.  
  • I think that innovation is doable - by me. Innovation can be a small step - a minimal viable product, that is tried and then reiterated, through various stages until I hit discovery and success. I can start tomorrow.  Innovation is an art and discipline that I can learn.
  • Innovation includes collaboration and sharing.  People working together are going to create greater innovation and success.
  • Failure is an invitation to innovation. Failure is a part of innovation. Fail forward.  Expect to fall into the 'hole' and keep going through it to success.
So this is what I learned today or should I say heard today!  Learning it into activity will be a process.  The following ideas while taken from Simon Breakspear during today are his, they do not fully cover what he said nor does it accurately record what he said. It is just what I heard and wrote down. There will be errors! Do not attribute those errors to Simon Breakspear - those are mine!

  1. Be open-minded - defer judgement and encourage wild ideas.  (Be disruptive)
  2. Foster collaboration - build on the ideas of others, be open to cross pollination.
  3. Be a lifelong kindergartener - find out by doing, have the attitude of play and say, "I'll tell you what it is when I am finished."
'June 18th 'Holly's hands'' photo (c) 2008, Amanda Slater - license: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/
Think of 21st century competencies and skills in:
  • the cognitive domain
  • the interpersonal domain 
  • the intrapersonal domain.
For example in the last mentioned domain one skill might have to do with resilience.  How do I as an educator develop resilience in my students?  Grit?

Simon Breakspear went on to list and discuss 7 strategies for innovation.
  1. Provocatively question the status quo.  Be bold, big and unreasonable. Know your compelling mission.  We exist to..........  and then specify the question/challenge to be solved that needs to be articulated, sub-divided, and then minimal viable products of innovation begun.
  2. Embrace pedagogy for deep learning.  He asked us to think of one powerful learning experience for ourselves and then to see if we could list what was an essential part of that learning.  Our core business of learning and teaching we need to have an unrelenting focus on.  How can the teacher be an activator of learning?
  3. Harness human centred design.  Design for people, this staff, these students.  Aim for simplexity. Simple things which can be difficult to get right.
  4. Give permission through conditions.  Have a culture where it is okay to be 'disruptive', fail, share, be creative, question.  Welcome diversity, be open to other disciplines outside education.
  5. Launch, Learn, Reiterate.  Ask what are the minimum set of features that you need in order to start the process of feedback and discovery. It can be something small and you can start tomorrow. What could be your/mine MVP?  Make it as specific as possible. Get going, be prepared to fail, fail fast, fail forward. Ask what did I/we learn from that?  Success and failure are not polar opposites.  Have a propensity towards action.
  6. Build a network of lab schools.  "Competition is so late '90's".  Collaborate, collaborate.
  7. Unashamedly seek out disruptive innovations.    He gave some pointers on this, it was a bit rushed as it neared the end, but in a way self explanatory from the day itself.  He mentioned seek out free content, use learning analytics that are available say in Maths, use social sites e.g. Edmodo, think of how to harness mobile devices and learning platforms. (But am very hazy on that last one, maybe my colleagues who came with me (2 others) will be able to fill me in on that gap.)
He quoted A. Curnow - "Simply by sailing in a new direction, you can enlarge the world."

The biggest take-away for me today was, "Start tomorrow, with some small step."

Today has been very timely as I formulate my goals for this year for my own learning and the outcomes I seek for my students' learning. I have some basic ideas of where I want my inquiry to go. Not literacy this time - although I am sure I could think a good case up for further exploration.  However my area of launch. learn and reiterate will I think be in the area of Maths.  Especially with those students who make slow progress.  Also three of us were at the workshop today. I am looking forward to collaborating with them as we redefine our mission and where we want our school to.... yes innovate!

I am inspired!

It's Monday, What Are You Reading?

It is Monday and again I am joining in the meme over at Mentor Texts.
Hop on over and join in over at the Mentor Text Blog. Just click on the picture 

The Rosie Black Chronicles: Genesis
By Lara Morgan  (Australian author)
Walker Books:2010

Summary from Goodreads.
Five hundred years into the future, the world is a different place. The Melt has sunk most of the coastal cities and Newperth is divided into the haves, the “Centrals”; the have-nots, the “Bankers”; and the fringe dwellers, the “Ferals”.

Rosie Black is a Banker. When Rosie finds an unusual box, she has no idea of the grave consequences of her discovery. A mysterious organisation wants it – and will kill to get it.

Forced to rely on two strangers, Rosie is on the run. But who can she trust? Pip, the too attractive Feral, or the secretive man he calls boss?

This is a YA dystopian  science fiction book, full of action and adventure. While it begins on Earth, it moves to outer space and Mars.  It was recommended to me by one of my students.  It is the first of a trilogy and I will definitely read Equinox the next one very soon.   I think the third still not have been published. If students have enjoyed The Hunger Games or Divergent they will like this one.  I would say it is intended for slightly younger readers than those two books, however all ages will enjoy it.  A book I am happy to share with my Year 7 and 8 class.

This coming week I will be reading Bigger than a Bread Box by Laurel Snyder.

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Finding my Feet.

We have been back at school almost three weeks.  Twelve days to be exact as each of the weeks has been four days.  Tomorrow we are off to the Waikane Pools as a school. That surely counts as a four day week!

I believe the class is settling down.  I think I have almost 'let go' last year's class and begun to enjoy the ones I am with!  I only have 25 of them.  I think that makes a difference, I would imagine that 30 going towards 35 would take be a challenge for me, so 25 is a very nice number.  I am still trying to catch up with commenting and responding to student writing.  This week we had a visit from ERO (Education Review Office) and while it is an advantage to have it completed, it did leave me feeling like I just couldn't catch up with all I wanted to achieve.

In the last three weeks I have been able to manage to have Daily Five or in our case Daily Three up and running. We have now reached the point where  students are making choices each day and it is running smoothly.  I still have not settled into conferencing or taking groups. Rather I am roaming and checking in with students.  At present they are in goal setting mode, and when they choose writing some of them are writing goals.  I am spending some time chatting with them about the goals if they are choosing to write them during Literacy time.  It may be another week before I start conferring or working with groups.  Although testing will loom in Week 6 at the beginning of March and disrupt some of them momentum.

We have opted to introduce BYOD this year.  We had a rocky start as the wireless network was not up and running.  However Norcom now have this  operational and about 5 or 6 of the class are bringing in their own devices.  This is great as it supplements the computers we have as a class.  One student is working on her iPod touch.  In fact she produced a really great video last week that took a session of planning and a session of videoing and then editing.  Simone took her own photos, personally I just love the one she snapped of Kapiti Island. It is one of my favourite views.

While we didn't really make iPod touches  an option, I can see that the latest one takes very clear photos and has possibilities.  I noticed today the owner of the iPod had borrowed another student's wireless keyboard, and was working with it and the iPod touch.

We are working with Google Docs and I think this will work well.  We have Teacher Dashboard set up, I am still exploring this, and as the year goes by hope to incorporate this more and more into my interaction with students.

This week as I mentioned above, we had ERO in our school.  They were very pleasant and professional gentlemen.  However I think the one that came into my room was somewhat nonplussed.  I was showing my class how to put an image on their blog and to do that correctly using creative commons.  Somewhere along the line I mentioned digital citizenship.  Later at a meeting I attended he asked where did the idea of digital citizenship come from, was it a word I coined!

Later that evening I decided I had misheard.  This morning I checked with the other staff member who had been at the meeting.  She confirmed that what I thought I had heard was what she heard too!  I can only say I am still struggling to comprehend this. Even though I have only been to one elearning conference in my life - Ulearn 11, I would have thought that ERO would surely be keeping up with this aspect of ICT?  I am still thinking I misunderstood.  Surely!

Monday, February 11, 2013

It's Monday, What Are You Reading?

It is Monday and again I am joining in the meme over at Mentor Texts.
Hop on over and join in over at the Mentor Text Blog. Just click on the picture 
It has taken me a few weeks to get a book read! Back to school has meant being busy and a fuzzy tired head by the time I have some down time to read.

The 10 PM Question
Kate de Goldi  (NZ author)
Longacre Press 2008

Summary from Goodreads:
A warm, surprising, real and intelligent novel you will fall in love with. Frankie Parsons is twelve and has a rodent voice of worry nibbling in his head. His new friend - colourful, creative, talkative Sydney - has relentless, unavoidable questions of her own that force Frankie and his family to face up to things that have lain dormant for years.

This book was well written and worth reading.  Frankie reminded me a little of myself with his 'rodent voice of worry'.  Also I am partial to a happy ever after, as is Frankie and he doesn't get that.  However family secrets do eventually get explored.  That was satisfying and did mean that in another way Frankie did grow as he began to front up to the realities of his life.  

While he is a twelve year old, I still have to decide whether I put this in class library. At the moment I am leaning towards the not.  I'd rather students read it in a couple of years and fully appreciate it. I will lend it to a teacher friend who knows this age group and get her opinion before finally deciding.

At present I am reading The Rosie Black Chronicles: Genesis, by Lara Morgan. (Australian author). More about this when I have finished reading it.  

As professional reading I have Book Love by Penny Kittle on the go. About half way through and enjoying it.

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