Sunday, May 5, 2013
Using G+ in our School Community
Working in Region 6 is amazing. Even as the year is winding down, educators in our district are excitedly connecting and learning through G+. Using G+ has made it easier for us to communicate and share what we are doing on a daily basis. Everyday more faculty members are discovering the power and benefits of G+. There are several features of G+ that our educators are utilizing as we learn and grow together as professionals here in Region 6.
Circles - In G+ connect to people and organize them into "circles" When you create a message, or want to share a link, video, or invitation, you choose what circle that will receive your post. By creating a district circle (RSD6) I can send a message to everyone in the district. Everyday more of our staff is connecting to G+ which is making it easier (and more fun) to share what we are doing.
Communities- The communities available on G+ are diverse and responsive to members. I've joined several communities including EdCamp, G+ Discussion (members answer questions within seconds!) and Discovery Educators. It's also very easy to set up your own community to share information with a specific group of people. Last week 2 communities were created in RSD6 for professional development (Connecticut School Administrators) and committee work (RSD6 Website Committee). Through G+ our committee has already started a productive conversation about our websites before our first official meeting.
Photos: Picasa is an integrated feature in G+. Upload your photos to Picasa from your phone or device and they are instantly available to share with others on G+. Choose "share via a link" and you can tweet your albums. In RSD6, we've used this feature to share events at our schools, field trips and professional development events (like EdCampRSD6!)
Hangouts - Having a G+ account makes it easy to start a video chat. Unlike Skype, there are no downloads. Right from your G+ homepage, you can click "Start a hangout" and choose people from your circles to chat with. You can also host a live chat, which participants can see from their G+ account or Youtube. Your chat is automatically recorded on Youtube (when you choose this option) and you can share it with people later. You can also schedule a Hangout and invite people in your circles to attend. Hangouts are a great way to connect with educators and experience professional development for free. We've used Hangouts for edtech meetings and to record presentations for further review. We've also tested out the feature to make all-school announcements. It's exciting to investigate the many ways we can use this tool to connect to others.
In RSD6 we are enjoying the benefits of utilizing G+ in our schools to communicate to each other throughout the day and connect to educators from around the world. Each day our staff finds new ways to use G+ resources and build their professional learning networks. Stay tuned for the newest G+ tutorial videos which are coming soon to our Educational Technology site
Posted by Abbe Waldron at 8:14 AM
Sunday, March 17, 2013
As a 1:1, BYOD school this year, we've made great strides in utilizing webtools for instruction and assessment. We also have a district-wide goal this year to improve our communication with parents. Our staff has leveraged many webtools including Edmodo, Moodle, Wordpress, Remind101 and Twitter to create opportunities to connect with parents. Tech-saavy parents make use of these tools, but many others may miss out on opportunities because they do not understand how to access these resources. Last Friday we successfully held our first parent webinar, on the topic of Twitter. The technology worked smoothly (Gotomeeting), parents came and we helped them understand how Twitter works and how we use it. Some of the parents used Twitter but did not understand how we would use it for school. Principal Bill Egan and I explained that in our school community, every administrator uses Twitter to communicate what's going on at school, to share articles and to give positive feedback to staff. Everyday our Region 6 Twitter community seems to grow. Athletic updates and scores are tweeted and our weekly menus are tweeted by Nutrition Services. Following our community members has created a cohesive K-12 environment in our district. Many of our teachers attend weekly chats on Twitter and share encouraging words, articles, links and photos of the great things that go on in our schools.
We created a short presentation to share our objectives. We demonstrated how to set up a twitter account for parents, how to follow, retweet and direct message. We also shared how staff members used hashtags for professional development and field trips with students. Parents communicated with us live via their computer or in the chat box on the screen. Parents asked questions about security and online safety. Sharing our desktop, we could show parents how to adjust settings and block followers.
The webinar was a convenient way to quickly connect with parents and share information that would help them see Twitter as a tool that can be positively utilized in school. Our hope was to get more parents to understand the benefit of joining Twitter and to follow our administrators and staff. The response we got from parents was overwhelmingly positive. They really appreciated the time to get to ask their questions and see how Twitter worked. The ability to communicate with parents in this manner is invaluable. We are planning to continue this series on a weekly basis. As a part of the program, we recorded the webinar to make it available for parents who were not able to attend. We will be sharing this webinar and others through weekly Principal eblasts and a new parent edtech webpage. If you are interested in finding out more about our parent webinars, please feel free to contact us through email or Twitter.
Abbe Waldron, Library Media Specialist
Bill Egan, Principal
Sunday, November 18, 2012
Social networking is a great way for our students to find out what's new in books and connect with others who have similar tastes in reading. Many of our students are reviewing books and connecting with others using websites such as Shelfari and Goodreads.
Shelfari is a review site powered by Amazon. Students can create their own shelf or add their books to a group shelf. Ms. Smith-Vaniz has a shelf for each of her classes where students add books with their reviews. Students can set reading goals, check reading stats connect with their classmates and check out their reviews. We use Shelfari to keep track of the books that we share with students in book talks, so that students can go back and look at the shelf afterwards. Click below to check out a shelf.
|Click here to see a shelf|
Goodreads is another site that our students use to write reviews and get recommendations for great books. There are also several lists that are already created to give them ideas for "good reads." Here's a link to the "Best Young Adult Books" where students can vote for their favorites. I just received a book recommendation this week from a student who is enjoying goodreads!
Twitter is another great place to find out more about what's new, catch up with your favorite author or be the first to get a "best of" list. Here is a short list of some people or groups to follow on Twitter:
@yalsa (Young Adult Library Services Association)
All of these web resources have proven to be engaging ways to get teens to read and connect with others through their reviews and recommendations. If you have any questions about any of the sites shared here, please feel free to email me (email@example.com)
Posted by Abbe Waldron at 8:28 PM
Monday, October 8, 2012
In our BYOD and 1:1 environment, Wamogo teachers are finding many innovative ways to utilize social networking with their students! Social networking tools have become very useful for classroom applications. Teachers are integrating web tools across all disciplines, in both middle school and high school.
Many teachers are communicating to their students through Edmodo, a secure social networking environment designed for education. It's a great place to organize assignments and check for student understanding. Both Sue Brooks (Science 8) and Deb Nihan (Algebra) find Edmodo helpful to post videos and questions for students. Chris Brittain (AgriScience) uses Edmodo as a kind of flipped classroom for his 10th grade students. www.edmodo.com
Remind 101 is another tool that teachers are finding very useful for communicating with students. Using Remind 101, teachers can text students, without exchanging personal phone numbers. It's a safe way for teachers, students and parents to communicate through texts messaging. https://www.remind101.com/
Social networking is an asset when communicating with students in the Agricultural Science and Technology Department. Once he realized that students weren't checking emails, Chris Brittain created a Facebook Fan page to get the attention of his Parliamentary Procedures team. This has been a great way for students to get updated information and for alumni to reconnect with the Agricultural Science and Technology department.
Posterous is being used in both the Art and Agricultural Science and Technology departments. Posterous is very simple blogging platform. Once a space is set up, participants can email entries and photos from a computer, phone or device. These posts are automatically formatted and added to the blog. Students can collaboratively create the blog with their teacher This is a great way to archive pictures, art or capture what's happening during a field trip for viewers back at school. https://posterous.com/
Several of our teachers and administrators use Twitter for professional development by connecting to educators throughout the world. Twitter is also used to communicate important information specifically to the Wamogo Community. The Wamogo Library Media Center uses Twitter to share information about events, links and new book titles. Follow it @wamlmc. Pat Holyst, Athletic Director, uses Twitter to communicate changes in sports schedules, as well as updated score reports from the games. Follow Wamogo Sports @WamogoAthletics. www.twitter.com
Posted by Abbe Waldron at 9:17 PM
Sunday, September 23, 2012
As we move toward becoming a 1:1 (and BYOD) school this year, we are faced with the challenges of our students having various devices that will be used in class. Our teachers have quickly transitioned to primarily web-based programs that are available to all of our students. We have worked collaboratively with both staff and students to find free tools that meet everyone's needs. Below are some great options for presentations to investigate as you plan the next project. The great thing about these web-based programs is that the presentation can be accessed anywhere, at any computer or device. Several are also have "share" options which make them great for collaborative projects. Included below are several free online sites where students can make impressive presentations!
Students and staff have access to Google Presentation by clicking Drive or Documents. A Google presentation looks and feels like a Powerpoint, however there are several features which make it better for classroom use. Youtube videos are easily embedded into the presentation. Students can work together on a presentation through the sharing option. Students at Wamogo all have access to Google Presentations through their school Google accounts.
By clicking on the more option in our Google accounts, students and staff can find Sliderocket.
http://animoto.com/education to apply for a FREE access code that will enable students to create longer presentations. Students are limited to thirty second videos without an upgraded account.
Posted by Abbe Waldron at 7:48 PM
Sunday, September 16, 2012
If your student is looking for something to read, have them check Overdrive for a good book! Overdrive is our ebook/audiobook catalog which is free to all Region 6 students and staff! Currently we have over 15,000 titles and our catalog is updated throughout the year! Overdrive offers a free app in conjunction with free software to download books to your Smart phone, IPod, IPad, laptop, desktop, Kindle or Nook! We’ve had Overdrive for a year and our catalog continues to grow with titles for all Region 6 students. Once accounts are set up, students can independently check out books from the online catalog. Another great feature is the automatic returns. When the book is due, (students can choose a 14 or 21 day checkout period), it leaves your device and appears again in the catalog. Students can come to see Ms. Waldron in the library media center or check out the tutorials here for help setting up your device or computer for Overdrive. If you have any questions regarding ebooks or Overdrive, please feel free to contact me: firstname.lastname@example.org
See our catalog of ebooks here
Posted by Abbe Waldron at 4:31 PM
Sunday, September 9, 2012
As a part of becoming a 1:1 school, Wamogo teachers are working diligently to prepare our students for learning in a digital environment. Our teachers have utilized several online tools and resources to plan for their students. Many of these tools may be new to both students and families. Below are some explanations about the tools that many teachers are using in their classrooms this year.
Wikis- Many teachers in Region 6 are using wikis for their classes. Wikis are collaborative websites, where several of our teachers post homework, resources and links for their students. At times, teachers may have students post their work on the wiki as well. These wikis can be found on the teachers’ webpages, which are located on the Wamogo website.
Edmodo - Edmodo is a site where teachers can establish a classroom, hold online discussions with students, post and collect assignments, and collect data. Students sign up for an account and enter a class code to join a specific class.
Quia - Teachers create a class in Quia and then assign online quizzes, surveys or other assessments. Students login to take the assessment online and the data is collected by the teacher. Teachers can quickly check for understanding by creating assessments with Quia.
Moodle- Students who are in 9th and 10th grade are enrolled in Moodle. Our participation with the Center for 21st Century Skills, allows our students and staff access to Moodle. Students login to their accounts and can see assignments, articles, projects and assessments. They can upload their own work to Moodle to hand in an assignment or to add to their digital portfolio.
Google Apps - Every student has a Google Apps account. This account allows students to use Google Docs. Students can take notes, create projects or presentations and save them online in their Google accounts. They can also share their documents digitally with their teacher, or other students. No software is needed on their computer or device. All work is online and accessible by logging into their account.
Please feel free to check out the RSD6 Edtech Website for more tools and resources!
Posted by Abbe Waldron at 3:24 PM