Candace Marcotte

One educator, determined to create an engaging and dynamic experience for learners of all ages.


Leave a comment

Creativity and Choice in Assessment

Looking to provide more choice in how students demonstrate their understanding?  Check out these Multiple Intelligence choice boards that provide you and your students with creative ways to show what they know!  These choice boards were developed for K-8 teachers and were a part of a professional development on creativity.  If you open the slides, you’ll find that grade levels for each board (or really, wheel!) are mentioned in the presenter notes section.


Leave a comment

How Did We Prep for 1:1? Teacher and Student Resources Explained

As our district piloted a 1:1 resource allocation for k-5 over the past three years, this year provided the opportunity for the middle schools to officially enter the pilot!  Excited, anxious, curious, and strategizing are all words that could have summed up the summer of collaboration between myself and the other middle school Technology Facilitator in our district.  How could we best prepare our students and teachers for the fall rollout of the devices?  With lots of discussion, a shared Evernote notebook of resources and ideas, and a shared planning Google Site, it was decided that we would put together some sort of lesson start up for our teachers to guide the students through the first few weeks of school.  So…the real planning got started!

Naturally, we began “TPACKing”!

Context:

  • Every student (Grade 6 in my building, Grade 7 in the other middle school) would have an iPad to utilize as a learning resource.  Once a contract was signed, students would take the device home with them every night.  This is the first year that the middle school has been in the pilot and none of our teachers or students coming into the pilot have had an iPad experience previously.  We are starting at the foundation.  Staff had optional professional development that they could be a part of during the summer (See my iPad 201 post) and we created two iTunes University courses for staff to utilize for summer preparation as well.

Content:

  • Teachers: 21st century teaching/learning skills
  • Students:  21st century learning skills
  • Guiding Questions:  What skills/ideas are essential for students and teachers to be successful and smart users of the iPad?

We had a lot to cover!  From executive functioning, to digital citizenship, to Internet safety and everything in between!  We started with the basics of increasing the technical skills of the user through personalizing the device (organizing folders, tips and tricks of using the iPad, creating photo albums for each content area, etc.).  Then, we “leveled up” to integrating learning how to use key apps by addressing content that teachers have to address at the beginning of every school year (like dress code).  We moved on to discussing Internet safety and Creative Commons.  It was key to us to create an awareness of proper use of the device and proper use in sharing, as we knew students would be creating and sharing at a much higher level with their devices.

Pedagogy:

  • Guiding Question:  How can we model meaningful 21st century learning for students and teachers?

We knew we needed to use this as an opportunity to not only increase the digital literacy of our students, but of our teachers as well.  This challenge called for lots of modeling!  From citing sources throughout our lessons as a way to reinforce digital citizenship, to providing a clear instructional sequence to model online learning strategies, we kept an eye on details as we created the sequence of instruction.  My work with Michigan State’s Certificate in Educational Technology helped to solidify a sound and concrete structure for delivering content.  When teaching a course in Winter 2013, I fell in love with the instructional sequence:  Explore, Learn, Create, Share (Master of Arts in Educational Technology Program, Michigan State University).  After dialoguing with my colleague and discussing observations she had from a visit to Aptakisic Junior High, we also wanted to create a structure to increase engagement and differentiation.  Through the inclusion of elements of gamification, we were able to create a structure to allow students to “level up” or move on if they already had an understanding.  We wanted to be incredibly hands-on and interactive, as we knew that the only way to really increase digital literacy was for our students to interact with the device and the content.  With all of these ideas spinning around, we decided on a mix of structures that we had experienced, which took shape in the following instructional sequence of every learning opportunity:

  • iDiscover:  Content, as outlined by the learning target for the level
  • iExplore:  Learning about the content or tool in a more exploratory, hands-on way
  • iCreate:  Creating an artifact that demonstrates understanding of the content, using a technological tool
  • iOrganize:  Organizing ideas or the device itself in some way to create personalization (ie., setting up folders, photo albums, etc.).  Let’s remember, we’re working with middle schoolers.  We know how messy their lockers can get!
  • iReflect:  Provide an opportunity for students to make connections to content and extend their understanding
  • iShare:  Provide students the opportunity to share their understanding of the content

All of these pedagogical strategies allowed us to create a focus on individual exploration.  We were aware that technology had been taught through demonstrations in classrooms and we knew that, while this can be effective, it would not be plausible when allowing for student choice in demonstration of learning as the year got rolling.  In addition, we opened up every challenge to exploration and encouraged the participants to explore, play, and problem solve on their own.

Technology:

  • Guiding Questions: How can we model purposeful technology integration and use this as a learning opportunity for teachers?  How can we make the content more accessible to students through utilizing the device?

To make the content more accessible and place emphasis on the exploration and differentiation elements, we decided to utilize a Google Site to house our program, which we deemed “iSucceed”.  Affordances of using Google Sites over using our selected learning management system:

  1. Students would not have to create an account to get to the information.  So, we could start Day 1!
  2. Familiarity with the technology.  We would not distract from the content which we had identified as important by having hang ups in dealing with issues of understanding how to navigate content in the selected learning management system.
  3. Provided a shell that allowed the content to flow in an easy-to-follow sequence.
  4. Allowed for staff not in the pilot to have access to the content.
  5. Allows for fluid differentiate for all levels of users by embedding video tutorials and written directions so that content is represented in multiple ways.

Take a look at our iSucceed Program!

iSucceed Website

iSucceed Website User Interface

Reflections:

The resource allocation roll out at the middle school certainly set the tone for utilizing the device in purposeful ways.  Since we took content which needed to be covered−like the dress code—and showed how students could access content, clarify their understanding, and demonstrate their new knowledge, it allowed for teachers and students to see how content could be made accessible in new ways.  We have teams at our respected buildings and district level that are still reflecting fully on how we will better prepare for the full roll out next year.  I’ll certainly keep you updated!

References

Master of Arts in Educational Technology Program, Michigan State University.  Explore, learn, create, share [instructional sequence]. (Jan. 2013)


Leave a comment

iPad 201

As our district is implementing a 1:1 resource allocation for iPads next year, it has been so exciting to work with staff members and prepare them for the upcoming adventure! Some of our teachers have had access to iPads by being involved in the pilot and/or seed program. Knowing that we have staff members who have never used an iPad, to teachers who now almost solely use their iPads allows for a big span in the learning curve. So, in trying to plan professional development for all of the district staff…how could we make sure to meet their individual needs?

To insure that everyone is prepared for next year and that everyone continues to grow, we developed two main courses for staff members to participate in this summer. In addition, the district technology facilitators worked to create a “Summer Bucket List” and start-up guide to encourage exploration and use of the device in technical and FUN ways! I had the privilege to develop “iPad 201” which focuses on the educational frameworks for implementing technology integration. As we work to transform the mindset of what technology integration truly means, we wanted to model innovative integration while supporting instruction and the Common Core State Standards .  Our goal was to make the content highly accessible and highly relavant to their needs.  I considered these questions during planning:

  • What do all teachers already do?
  • What affordances can technology provide in completing these tasks/processes?
  • How can we support district initiatives to make the transition seamless?
  • How can we differentiate within the course?
  • How can we encourage exploration and play in the course?

The content covered and the way in which it was delivered in this course was all done for specific reasons.  Here is reflection on some of the choices you will notice:

  • Course Content:  The scope and sequence of this course was first developed to provide a mindset and lens for viewing technology integration.  After having an understanding of TPACK and SAMR, we can then look at our standards through a different lens to see how we can employ technology purposefully to meet the needs of our students.
  • Inclusion of CCSS shifts and best practices: To make this meaningful PD that was truly integrated, we wanted to create a connection to practices that educators are already familiar with.  Highlighting best practices (formative assessment, classroom management, differentiation, etc.) allowed us to make this connection to how we can utilize technology to assist in processes that we are already familiar with.  In terms of the CCSS shifts, our district is adopting the CCSS as our curriculum in the upcoming school year.  To allow our teachers to see the affordance of technology to addressing these shifts, this was included.
  • Use of Google Presentations for content delivery: models meaningful repurposing of technology, as it mimics an interactive ebook feel but does not require a learning curve to develop since our teachers are familiar with Google Apps.
  • Linoit board:  Formative assessment and to guide discussion, easily translated to classroom use as only 1 teacher account is needed to allow for the board and lots of collaboration and sharing!
  • Utilization of Web 2.0 tools and not apps:  Thera are a few reasons for this…1.  Teachers do not receive app codes until the first week of August, as we wait for the new fiscal year;  2.  Focus is not on apps, but on the instruction (don’t want to create an “app-slappy” climate); 3. Serves as a reminder that the devices are connected to the Internet (sounds crazy, but it’s easy to get sucked into “App Land” and forget that Web 2.0 tools still apply).

By using the forms of content delivery and the tools in which we utilize throughout the course, we work to increase the digital literacy of staff members by exposing them to the tool in a casual way- letting them get the feel for it instead introducing it by creating accounts, identifying features of the tool, etc.  Modeling the use of these tools (Google Pres., Linoit, Easel.ly) throughout the PD creates an awareness of the tool, a comfort level with it, and sparks ideas for further use in their individual classrooms.  Teachers get to learn the features by actually using it, not by feeling pressured to keep up with directions on how to use it.  The whole feel for the course was not meant to be a “Show and Tell”, but to set the mood to “Collaborate and Create”.  We flipped this PD experience, as the learners are coming to the session, already having watched the two initial videos.  This allows us to jump directly into discussion and allows for ample time to make connections to best practices, the CCSS, explore, and create!

Creative Commons License
iPad 201 by Candace Marcotte is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.
Based on a work at candacemarcotte.wordpress.com.


Leave a comment

SAMR in 120 Seconds

I finally had a few moments to finish up the SAMR “Flash PD” that was next on my list.  It took me longer to figure out an idea to visually represent this model.  I knew I wanted to use Playdoh® because I feel that the SAMR Model shows how technology can be molded to fit our needs.  Also, it brings forth the idea that we can either be rigid or malleable in our use of technology.  So, we are really looking at the flexibility of technology and the flexibility of our own ideas through this lens.  The concept of transforming student learning also brought the Playdoh® straight to my mind.  Once I had the idea…and found the Playdoh® (seriously, I had to order it), it was a quick creation because my ideas were focused and I had time to process the big picture and details before I ever set the camera up.  I’m looking forward to my next “Flash PD”- maybe Transliteracy?

Specific Tools Used:

  • iPhone (photo capture)
  • Tripod, yard stick, and masking tape (now my go-to set up to get my overhead shot)
  • A paint stick to make my “Redefnition” tennis ball look like it was bouncing
  • Playdoh®
  • Pixlr  (to edit my photos and look like the Playdoh® was really in different places)
  • Screenshots of Google Docs
  • PowerPoint (recreated version of the SAMR Model to use for PD)

A Peek Behind the Scenes:

Making of SAMR in 120 Sec.

Creative Commons License
SAMR in 120 Seconds by Candace Marcotte is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.
Based on a work at candacemarcotte.wordpress.com.


Leave a comment

“Creativity, Collaboration and the Common Core” Presentation @ Tech Forum, Chicago 2013

On May 3rd, I had the privilege to present at Tech & Learning‘s Tech Forum in Chicago. Along with six other colleagues, we each discussed how technology can help us reach the CCSS through creativity and collaboration.  This was an interesting presentation because we combined individual proposals to work within one large team.  Through the use of a Google Doc, we put our individual presentations in order and never met until the day of the conference.  My original submission was done with three MSU MAET classmates and our segment of the presentation covered this concept through the TPACK lens.  Here’s our official, snazzy blurb:

“The presenters for this session span elementary through secondary grades and specialize in a wide range of subject areas, including art, music, ESL, foreign language, math, and social studies. What they share is a passion for incorporating technology into the curriculum in ways that lead to engagement and motivation. You’ll hear about a variety of powerful, project-based learning experiences that support Common Core standards while infusing the arts across the curriculum and providing authentic opportunities for students to collaborate and learn” (http://techlearning.com/events/techforum/chicago13/program, 2013).

Check out our presentation here!

Check out our presentation to-go Edcanvas here!


Leave a comment

TPACK IN 2 MINUTES

In working with staff from varying tech backgrounds…how can we pull them all in?  While trying to determine a way to hook the audience, I thought, “How am I going to get them to understand the EdTech mindset?”  I knew that my first PD would deal with TPACK and I had a lot to think about…

So, I put on my thinking cap and….TPACKed my TPACK PD!

What’s my goal?  To bring awareness to EdTech ideas, frameworks, theories, and mindset.  To breakdown the information in a way that is relatable and accessible to any level of learner.   (It’s the content!)

How will my learners gain knowledge?  I want them to have the ability to independently or collaboratively grapple with this information.  I also know that I want to model creativity in whatever method I chose.  If I want them to use it in the classroom, I should be using it too!  (It’s the pedagogy!)

What did my learners need?  Something to the point.  Don’t get them lost in wordiness or big ideas.  Make it something digestible and show appreciation of their time- they’re in meetings all day and nobody likes coming out of PD and feeling like time could have been better utilized.  (It’s the context!)

What do my learners know?  Teacher talk.  Instructional strategies, subject matter, content.  They can relate to this!  (It’s the context!)

What tool can I use? Video!  Highly accessible at any time of day and can be a resource they go to in order to revisit the concept as needed.  Also, it provides me with an opportunity to visually represent the concept- taking something more abstract and making it concrete. Keep in mind…people skip ahead while watching online videos (admit it, you’ve done it!).  How can I capture their attention so that they get the full message? (It’s the technology!)

Specific Tools Used:

  • iPhone (video capture)
  • Tripod, yardstick, and masking tape (you can make a tripod out of ANYTHING…I’ve used the vacuum, cereal boxes, etc. in the past)
  • 3 different color transparencies that are used to organize binders (modeled knowledge areas)
  • Scissors
  • Random tools from my desk for props
  • Student-response whiteboard and marker
  • One random starburst-cut paper for garage sales (modeled the sweet spot)
  • iMovie on my Macbook Pro (used to speed up video, add narration, and add text)

So, I challenged myself. Could I explain the base of the TPACK framework in 2 minutes?  With an awareness that this is not an in-depth view of the framework, I realized that I could create a “Flash PD”.  A quick burst of new or refreshed knowledge.  Why not?!  This can easily be shown at the introduction to a PD or team meeting and be a conversation starter.  Get them asking questions!  I’m looking forward to creating the SAMR Flash PD next!

Here’s a look behind the thoughts/scenes of the creation of “TPACK in 2 Minutes”!

Specific Tools Used:

  • iPad 2
  • Apps: iMotion HD (stop-motion footage), iMovie (editing, narration), Sumo Paint (images), Skitch (tools label)
  • Propped my iPad on a desktop computer to film

Creative Commons License
TPACK in 2 Minutes by Candace Marcotte is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.
Based on a work at candacemarcotte.wordpress.com.