Candace Marcotte

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


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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.


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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)


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Anchor Activities

As we first began our jump into 1:1 with our 6th graders in our building this year, we wanted to encourage play and exploration of the iPad as a resource.  Of course, without setting up some structure for our middle schoolers, we found that some students were finding themselves off task when they had “free time”.   We all have students who naturally move through the content at a faster pace and then we hear, “I’m done with my work.”   How can we utilize the time that students spend playing and exploring during this time, in a way that continues to support and extend their learning?  Our answer:  anchor activities.  Each of our teachers has these anchor activities posted in their classroom so that when students are done with their work, they know the expectations for how the remainder of their time in class should be spent.

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Anchor Activities by Candace Marcotte is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.


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Inside of My Brain…Developing an App List for 1:1 Implementation

Where do you even start when trying to determine what apps are appropriate for your students and your context? My colleague and I spent months researching strategies for app evaluation, discovering apps, and reviewing them last Spring. We were using TPACK and the SAMR Model to guide our thoughts. I’ve recently tried to compile our process for evaluation in this document.  I’d appreciate any feedback you have! We knew we wanted to be able to provide transformative learning experiences and a lens for seeing the iPad as a set of resources to support learning across conent areas. It wasn’t until we stumbled across EdTech Teacher’s post, that we had clarity for sharing our vision.  Here’s the foundation for how we see our student iPads:

The Structure:

  • iPad as a Utility: PowerSchool, Calculator, Quick Voice Pro, QR Reader
  • iPad as a Productivity/Organization Tool:  Evernote, Wunderlist, 30/30, Reminders, Calendar
  • iPad as a Workflow Tool:  Notability, Google Drive, Schoology all sync together

Accessing Content:

  • iPad as an Information Consumption Tool: Safari, BrainPop, Earth Viewer, Eduview, Follett Digital Reader, Google Earth, Khan Academy, Science 360, Smithsonian, TED, Subtext

Content Processing:

  • iPad as a Brainstorming/Mind Mapping Tool: Popplet, iCardSort, Flashcardlet, Brainscape

Organizing Content/Resources:

  • iPad as a Curation Tool (Organizing Content): Diigo, Evernote

 Checking and Clarifying Understanding:

  • iPad as a Formative and Summative Assessment Tool:  Ask 3, Socrative, Sign+, Schoology (any app in the next section could also be utilized in this category as well)

Demonstration of Understanding/Reflection:

  • iPad as a Word Processing/Presentation Tool : Google Drive, Notability, Keynote
  • iPad as a Creation/Product Tool: Educreations, Doceri, Book Creator, Tellagami
  • iPad as a Media Editing Tool: iMovie, Ubersense, GarageBand, iMotion HD, Video FX Live, Aviary, Skitch
  • iPad as an Illustration Tool: Brushes, Doodle Buddy, Sumo Paint, Animation Desk Lite, Hopscotch

Sharing Understanding:

  • iPad as a Collaboration Tool: Subtext, Schoology, Google Drive, Ask3
  • iPad as a Global Sharing Tool:  Portfolios created with Google Sites on the iPad, Kidblog, Classroom Websites

Click here to see our full app list!  *With this being our first year piloting at the middle school level, some apps may seem repetitive as we are trying to figure out which are most successful for our learners and their needs.

References

EdTech Teacher (2012, Feb 24). iPad as. Retrieved from http://edtechteacher.org/index.php/teaching-technology/mobile-technology-apps/ipad-as

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Inside of My Brain…Developing an App List for 1:1 Implementation by Candace Marcotte is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.


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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!

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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.