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Blog has moved

Hi All,

I started this blog almost a year ago using the WordPress format.  Over the course of the year I have found different things that I want to do more complicated (ie. putting in a photo slideshow).  Thus I have decided to move my blog to one that better suits my style and personality.


You can find my blog here.

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5 Essential Elements for Successful Tech Integration

In my last post I discussed a model of responsibility for teaching technology outcomes such as the ISTE NETs or Journey On.  Central to this model was that it should be a team approach with all teachers using technology as a tool within their classroom student’s with the help of a technology guide to oversee and monitor the process.   While this sounds good in theory, the successful integration of technology requires considerable planning and support.

There are several tools available to help teachers evaluate their use of technology, including the SAMR and TPACK models.  However, if a school wants technology to be fully integrated across curricular areas there needs to more support provided than simply handing teachers a sheet and asking them to evaluate themselves and their use of technology in the classroom.  There are five things that I see as necessary for successful cross curricular technological integration:

There needs to be someone guiding both teachers and students in their use of technology in the classroom.

Technology Guide

The technology guide or technology facilitator is responsible for the overall integration of technology within the school.  They ensure that all technology outcomes are being met and are suitable for the students.  The technology guide also provides support and training for teachers and students when needed on topics including how to operate specific programs, assessment, digital citizenship, technology integration, and Internet safety.  They should also seek out new technologies and evaluate their usefulness in metting the aims of the school’s technology plan.

Continual training is essential to ensure that skills and knowledge are current.


Teachers need training in integrating technology.  This can be done by the technology guide mentor, outside presenters or other teachers.  However, topics need to be evaluated to ensure that they meet the aims of the school.

Successful technology integration does not happen overnight. People need time to learn, try new things and plan.


Time needs to be allowed for integration to happen at a pace that does not overwhelm teacher. Time needs to be allowed for integration to happen at a pace that does not overwhelm teachers.Teachers also need time to plan collaboratively with the tech mentor and other teachers to brainstorm ideas and create plans.

There needs to be freedom for teacher when integrating technology. Recognize that there will be both successes and failures. Celebrate and learn from both


When integrating technology teachers need to feel that it is okay to make mistakes and learn from them.  Teachers will be resistant to try new things when they are in an environment that will punish them for making a mistake.

There needs to be a plan in place otherwise nothing will be accomplished.


Teachers need a plan.  They need to know what the outcomes, who is responsible for which outcome, what the aims are for the school, what they achievement looks like, and what is expected of them.  This is probably the most crucial element, as without a clear and concise plan technology integration will fail.

A technology guide, training, time, freedom, and a plan are my five essential elements for successful technology integration into a school’s curriculum.  Admittedly it seems easy, however, in order to build a strong program that can continue to evolve there needs to be a lot of work put in.  What do you think are essential elements to ensure successful integration of technology in the classroom?

Image Credits

Tour Guide by andyaldridge found on Flickr, Creative Commons Licensed

Blogging Course for Teachers by Ikhlasul Amal found on Flickr, Creative Commons Licensed

The Passage of Time by ToniVC found on Flickr, Creative Commons Licensed

Embracing Beauteousness by Martin Gommel found on Flickr Creative Commons Licensed

Swooshable Planning by Bohman found on Flickr, Creative Commons Licensed


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Multimedia, NGO’s and Tears

Using multimedia can be a useful method of engaging with important causes and issues.

The grade 6 classes have just finished looking into various NGOs/NPOs in our Sharing the Planet unit.  As a final task, the students had to create a multimedia campaign to create awareness for their chosen organization.  As an added bonus, my teaching partner and I decided that we would award the winning group 5000 yen to donate to their cause.  As I thought about the final project for COETAIL Course 3 I decided to use this exercise as a starting point.

In the end, the UbD planner that I created (located after the image and video credits), reflects much of what the students were able to accomplish in a week, with suggestions for activities, exercises, and resources that I feel could strengthen the experience.  As I typed out this project I had to consider which format would suit this idea best: UbD or the IB PYP planner.  In the end I chose the UbD planner because I felt that this project could fit with multiple IB PYP transdisciplinary themes.  By putting it in the UbD format it will make transferring this work between different UOI’s easier for me and anyone else who would like to try a similar project.

As the project unfolded the students worked incredibly hard on their presentations.  My teaching partner and I were both impressed with the depth of the knowledge gained by the children in terms of presentation skills, technological skills, and the work of NGOs/NPOs.  As students created their presentation each chose methods which best suited their comfort levels.  Some made posters that immediately drew my eye, others made brochures, but two students stood out for me in terms of how they blurred technology with visual impact to create pieces that brought this teacher to tears.

One student in my class is extremely intuitive when it comes to visuals.  As he works, he will typically come up to me only to ask permission to use something or if he needs help manipulating the technology in a way that works for him.  For this particular assignment he took some pictures he found online and combined them in iMovie, added a musical track he made in Garage Band, and when he presented it, he gave a speech.  The end effect was incredibly moving and demonstrated a deep understanding of the power of using multimedia to convey his message.

A student from my teaching partner’s class went above and beyond anything I was expecting.  Like many students, she incorporated a movie that she made.  As I watched the movie, I was brought to tears.  It contained everything I had hoped for; facts, emotional impact, and a plea for an NGO/NPO.  I was so impressed that I asked if I could put it up on YouTube.  As I spoke to the parents, they were very grateful and appreciated the fact that I asked for permission.  The video is included below edited with permission to include the original composition mentioned above.

After the students had seen each the work of their classmates, we asked them to discuss what they learned about presentations, multimedia, projects, and technology:

  1. Test your technology to make sure it works.
  2. Don’t read from your notes.
  3. Look your audience in the eye.
  4. Pictures can have a strong impact on emotion.
  5. Music can evoke strong emotions within people.
  6. The text you put up on a slide should be minimal.
  7. Having a personal connection with the cause can make your presentation more powerful.

As the projects completed were completed, I think back on the experience and what I have learned or ideas that have been reinforced from my students during this short week:

  1. Even in a short amount of time students can produce amazing work.
  2. Given an environment where they feel safe taking risks with their work, students will surprise you.
  3. Simply by allowing the students to play with technology, they are able to create meaningful pieces of work.
  4. Students are much more creative and attune to the importance of visuals then I was at their age.
  5. Something extremely simple can sometimes be the best piece of work.

Photo Credits:

Global Player by alles-schlumpf found on Flickr, Creative Commons License

Video Credits:

Summative Assessment found on YouTube uploaded by Brendan Lea


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Has the world become like Avonlea?


As I was reading up on digital citizenship and how to create a positive online presence a song from Anne of Green Gables The Musical kept coming to my head.  The song in question was Where is Matthew going? During the song the Ladies of Avenonlea are intrigued by Matthew’s actions and pondered what it is he is doing.  Finally at the end of the song Marilla, Matthew’s brother, walks by the ladies and explains what Matthew is doing.  This particular number highlights the common perception  (some may argue truth) that there is no privacy to be had on Prince Edward Island because everyone is watching what everyone else is doing. While pondering the readings, I could not help but ask myself has the Internet helped the world become like Avonlea, a place where anyone who is interested can find out information about you and use that information to draw their own conclusions?

The short answer is more than likely yes.  Google, Facebook, Myspace, Foursquare, WordPress and other social media sites have transformed the way people view their privacy and the information people put out publicly.  Teachers are particularly vulnerable to being at risk of experiencing the negative side of social media.  I say this because teachers, as well as some other professions, are viewed in this odd space.  We are expected to be role models for the students and society, which means, to some people, that we must be perfect citizens who never do anything anyone might find objectionable.  However, this is not the case.  Teachers are human and no human is perfect and therefore mistakes will happen.  Or we will express an opinion or a thought that may counter with what others hoped we would express.  The downside is that there are people who will raise complaints and ask for people to be fired based on a picture or a comment shared in either or public or a private space online.

As I searched for more articles, I kept thinking about my own digital life and behaviours.  As teachers, wait as people, I believe that ultimately the responsibility of creating a positive digital footprint is up to the individual.  Not only is this important because what you post can cost you your job but more and more employers are weeding out possible employees based upon their online presence.  Finally, if we are expecting our students to represent themselves online in a positive light then it is only reasonable that we should as well.

Throughout the week I also started contemplating the importance of teaching students the skills necessary to create a positive online presence.  Truly this is an important skill, every year there have been more and more stories about students who have posted something online that has caused them to get into trouble.  If they are not shown how to best represent themselves or shown the possible results of poor online representation, I feel that we are doing them a great disservice.

In short, I believe that teachers should have a positive online presence and that students should be shown the tools, taught the skills, and have guidelines explained to them to do so.  However, when the tools, skills, and guidelines are always changing, how does one stay on top of it all?  Also, how much sharing is too much, what is the line that people, more specifically teachers, should not cross when posting to a public forum?

Image Credits:

Social Media Garden by j&tplaman on Flickr, Creative Commons Licensed

020/2011 footprints by rosipaw on Flickr, Creative Commons Licensed

Video Credits:

Overture-Great Workers for the Cause-Where is Matthew Going, Anne of Green Gables The Musical uploaded to YouTube by CorrAgain

!!Teacher Forces to Quit Over Facebook Photos!! uploaded to YouTube by NATUREANDNEWS


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Drowning in Theory

As I reflected on the past couple of weeks, I’ve noticed that global collaboration has been a consistent topic among the readings.  We were shown articles by George Siemens and by Christenson and Horn  We’ve read theory about why collaboration is important and shown tools that enable collaboration on a global stage.  However, I was beginning to feel as if I was drowning, principally because:

  1. I have never done anything like that before
  2. How on earth do I actually go about doing something like this?

I have found myself wanting examples, tips, anything to help me understand how to do this on a practical level.  With the readings this week I was provided with an outline of how to successfully implement global collaboration with students and also examples of successfully completed projects.  This was exactly what I was wanting and craving.

Kim Cofino outlines explicit tips on how to go about implementing a global collaboration project.  While most of the tips seem obvious  there were two that I probably would have had to learn the hard way:

  1. Scheduling differences between teachers
  2. Explicit break down of tasks to be complete by each teacher

Number one is of particular importance because every school is different in terms of their holidays.  For example, I could not imaging trying to do a project with a school back home in March because our breaks do not match up and thus it would hinder the project. Overall the tips are great.  However, I think I might go one step farther and try a collaborative project with another class in my school as a trial.  By doing this I will be giving my students most of the benefits and gaining the experiences to help boost my confidence with this type of learning.  Then I might have the confidence to actually try it with people around the globe.

The assigned projects to look at as part of our reading were interesting as they provided me a sense of the types of things of projects that were completed and the tools that helped them succeed.  Comparing the 1001 Flat World Tales projects with A Week in the Life, a more recent project, has helped me see the changes that have happened in terms of options for presentation strategies.  My preferred project would be the second one, as it incorporates more multimedia and it seems like the students are connecting to the material and to each other on a more personal level.

All of the information this week was easy for me to understand and enabled me to get my head around the process of taking collaborative theory and trying to apply it my classroom.

Image Sources, Creative Commons Licensed, Found on Flickr

078/365: Underwater by bmhkim

confidence by glsims99


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Screen Capture Success Story

Pondering how to do a screen cast.

I’ve been toying around with the idea of using video screen capture to help reinforce ideas and concepts in class for close to a year.  My journey all started with the question “If I can take a picture of my screen and share it with others, then why can’t I take a video of what I’m doing on the screen with audio?”

My initial search led me to the program Jing.  At first I was in love with it.  It was incredibly easy to use and to set up my account.  However, once I finished recording the troubles began.  Jing records in SWF format (unless you pay a subscription fee), which is a file format that most movie editors do not seem to recognize.  I created a couple of videos but found the process of trying to convert, edit, and then share the videos to be so frustrating that I finally gave up.

When I got my iPad in August, I immediately went and downloaded a couple of free apps that do a Khan Academy style recording (ScreenChomp and ShowMe) which were suggested on Langwitches Blog post  Bloom’s Taxonomy and iPad Apps.  I had planned to use this in class but I hadn’t used it yet.  Then this week my students did two things:

  1. They forgot how to divide using decimals.
  2. When I took them into the computer lab and showed them how to upload documents and pictures into their blog, they looked a bit confused.

When I woke up on Friday, I was determined to find an answer to my screen-casting problem.  However, I did not want to fork out any money of my own to do so.  At first I went back to Jing but try as I might I could not find a converter that would allow me to change SWF to other file types successfully.

Finally, I asked my brother for his advice.  He suggested I check the App Store.  I did with no luck and e-mailed him again asking for help.  He responded with several YouTube video links that explained how I could do it for free in several different ways.  Finally, on the last one demonstrated how to do it using QuickTime X.  I was elated that the answer could be so simple.  I recorded it, swapped it into iMovie, and uploaded it onto my YouTube account.  After my success with that I tried recording a ScreenChomp recording.  Once that was done I put it onto YouTube.

I am so happy about this that I can barely contain my joy.  I can see the potential benefit to my students being able to access videos that help reinforce their learning.  All of my videos will be available under Creative Commons Licensing, so feel free to use the videos if you like them.  Hopefully, I’ll also be able to get my students into screen casting as well using the various tools.

I will be creating some Screen Casting Videos and will post them later.

Here are my first two videos:

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