Sunday, November 24, 2013

EdcampNJ at Linwood Middle School

I attended EdcampNJ at Linwood Middle School in North Brunswick, NJ and all I can say is WOW!  What a day!  It was outstanding!

Edcamp is FREE professional development offered to public educators, administrators, etc.  Although it was not my first time attending an Edcamp, it was my first time attending it in Northern New Jersey.  In addition, it was my first time Co-Presenting with Steve Santilli, about our school, William Davies Middle School in Mays Landing, NJ.

The first session I attended was, Bringing engagement to any device using Nearpod, with Dan Gallagher, @gallagher_tech.  What a great presentation!  I learned so much about Nearpod that I decided to show staff at my school this great tool.   Nearpod is a tool that will allow teachers to present their lesson to students on ANY device.  It allows students to interact with the lesson by answering different types of questions.  Teachers can use this information for exit tickets, quizzes, monitoring, etc.  It will allow teachers to report on their responses.  Students can follow along with the lesson directly on their device.  They do not need an account to join Nearpod.  All they need is a code to join the lesson.  Very simple!


The next session, I co-presented with my building principal, Steve Santilli @spsantilli on, From Our School to Yours, Social Media at the William Davies Middle School. In our session, we used a Google Presentation on how we implement the use of social media in our school. The presentation explained the purpose, implementation, workflow, and the feedback from the parents and the community.   We were both very excited about presenting this topic because we wanted to share our experience while portraying a positive message about using social media in schools.

I am the social media adviser for the William Davies Middle School. It has become part of my daily routine to post school news and events to our Facebook, TwitterGoogle Plus, and YouTube profiles and pages.  In addition to posting, I created a workflow for staff members so they have the opportunity to post as well. I created a Social Media Request Form using Google Forms.   Staff members fill out the request form and essentially they are creating their own posts in a spreadsheet.  I am just copying their statement into our social media accounts.  

Since this form is associated with my personal Google account, I set up an email filter and notifications for us to be alerted to our school email account.  The purpose of this is so I do not have to monitor the Social Media Request form.  Every time there is a new entry in the form, a notification is immediately sent to our school email account.  At that point, I check the form and enter the post into social media. The workflow is simple.  Currently, we are working on creating a Pinterest account and an Instragram account.  I am anticipating these accounts to be ready by the New Year.  

The last session I attended was, Google Chromebooks and the Cloud, by Rich Kiker @rkiker. Excellent!  He is passionate about Google and wanted to provide as much information to his audience as possible.  I was so happy I attended his session.  Rich recommended the use of 3d technology using Chrome Experiments.  He stated, "Immersive Technology, a way to Put students in the place of learning."  He gave information on Google training, Google Art Project, Virtual Field Trips with Google Connected Classrooms, Google Books, and Google Cultural Institute World Wonders.  I honestly felt like a little kid with a bowl of chocolate!

My assessment of EdcampNJ, outstanding!  It gave me the opportunity to connect with my PLN, make new connections and have great conversations with many people.  If you have the opportunity to attend an Edcamp, I would highly recommend you attend.  It is well worth it!

I want to say thank you to all the organizers at EdcampNJ for providing free and quality professional development.  I learned so much while having so much fun.  I can't wait to share what I learned at my school.  See you at the next EdcampNJ!  

Monday, November 11, 2013

Lights Camera and Save!

A few of my eighth grade math classes are working on creating an innovative video about financial literacy. The students who complete this assignment will be participating in a contest called, Lights Camera and Save from Ocean City Bank in Ocean City, New Jersey.  Each person must  complete an entry form and follow the rules for the contest and create a video that demonstrates the importance of saving money.

Knowing the video will be the final product of the contest, I transformed this contest into a PBL (Project Based Learning).  I included a "big picture" scenario and an essential question into the project, which will help students make real life connections.  I introduced the project using a Google Presentation.  At the end of the presentation, the students were excited to form their groups and start to brainstorm their ideas.

In a true PBL, students have to create their final product, from their point of view, using a technology tool they prefer.  During this process, the students have the support and guidance of their teachers.  I gave the students suggestions and showed them samples of videos from last years contest.  This would give them an idea of  what is expected from them.

One of the requirements the video must have is to include a theme.  The theme must include three concepts: how to save money, how to save money and spend it wisely, and how to save for college.  Another requirement of the video is it cannot be longer than 90 seconds. The video must be innovative, creative, have originality, and display a clear message.

The classes have two weeks to complete the videos. Myself and the math teachers will review the videos and I will submit the videos into the bank, by November 30th, that portray the rules and message clearly. I can't wait to see what the students created and to hear what they learned from this project.  I will keep you posted on the results.