A Picture Says a 1000 Words.. No Really! It’s ASL!

This video was made with the moral intent of no longer stealing pictures from very helpful dictionary services. I decided to make my own sign language visuals. This also helped me learn about how I could improve with letter formation. I branched out and tried a new video making program: flipagram. It was really easy to use – just take the pictures, and upload to the site (which probably now has full rights to my hand photos so something to be cautious about with students), add 30 sec. of free music, crop if need be, and upload to Youtube. Check it out and feel free to comment!

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Putting it Together: As Easy as ABCs

Time to put it all together! I decided the best way to overview my learning was to pick out words from my word wall and make an alphabet song! This is not an inclusive list of what I have learned because there are more “s” words than “x” words, for instance. But I do think it highlights the many categories I studied. Please bare with me internet people!

All below information from Signing Savy (Video ASL Dictionary):

A – aunt

A

B – baby

B

C – cat and a car driver

C

D – dad

D

E – elephant

E

F – family

F

G – grandmother/grandfather

G

H – help

H

I – in

I

J – jumping

J

K – kangaroo

K

L – love

L

M – mom

M

N – night

N

O – out/octopus

O

P – places

P

Q – quit

Q

R – rainbow

R

S – store and school

S

T – time

T

U – uncle

U

V – very

V

W – work in the world

W

X – xylophone

X

Y – year

Y

Z – zip zoom

Z

And at the end of the day, maybe I can just leave it to this lady:

…or these people:

Or really just anyone else in the world! Haha! Comment below and thanks for watching! 🙂

Breaking News! Your Phone Isn’t Just for Cat Pictures: Take Action!

Today I would like to reflect on how technology can be used to promote social action. Ben Rattray discusses how social media can be used to create grassroots movements through sharing digital stories and starting campaigns and petitions that lead to nation-wide movements. Maybe most influential is the idea that our technology is just beginning, therefore, our social action is just beginning. Ben notes that “we face big problems… but the democratization of technology [means] people will be able to start more campaigns than we can possibly imagine… because together with the right tools, we can change the world.” This video gives me hope that “there is no issue that will be left untouched.”

But how do we get students to engage in these issues that matter? I do think great change will happen but the technology is just the tool. In other words, the tools don’t use themselves. We must use the tools properly to make the change. It is the people behind the screen that matter.

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Photo Credit: andres musta via Compfight cc

So how do we promote social action for our students?

1. Knowledge/Exposure – kids cannot fix things if they do not know they are broken. We have the information at our hands. It is very important that we do not let single stories dominate our teaching. It is important that we show the voices of all: strengths, weaknesses, issues, successes, etc. If we expose children to knowledge in the right ways, this creates a culture of empathy in our classrooms/societies.

2. Create a Positive Digital Citizenship – kids need to create a positive online self. They need to actively be creating this positive imagine and we must assist them along the way (ie. get them to create a blog, discuss the risks/provide examples of inappropriate technology use that led to issues for people like this UCLA Student, discuss cyberbullying through examples like Amanda Todd, etc.).

3. Passion – with exposure to the knowledge and the know-how and platform to have a positive voice, students will find things that matter to them. It is up to us to help them pursue these things. Committees like We Day or SRC can help students work towards their goals. I was proud to be part of both of these groups during my internship and amazed at the action the students took; for instance, selling rafikis to empower women/families in Kenya. Here are some more examples of what has been done or what could be done:

Note that with all positives, come negatives, too. For instance, the ASL bucket challenge was a huge waste of water and highlights privilege (many people do not have clean drinking water so dumping good water on ones head would seem a bit insane to some). There is also the socio-economic divide causing a lack of access to technology. And we can’t forget the trolls of the internet.

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Photo Credit: uomoplanetario.org via Compfight cc

But in my opinion the pros outweigh the cons. If we expose students to different causes in an environment that encourages a positive sense of self; if we are proactive about bullying; if we help students find their passions; if we provide additional tools so that everyone has access to learning (even if it isn’t through technology); if we make technology a top budget priority in our schools; there really will be no issue that will go untouched. The internet, like our world, can be a more equitable place for all if we work from within. 

Compiling Tech. Resources

In ECMP 355 we have learned about many tools to facilitate 21st century education! From Blackboard to Pensieve to My Fitness Pal – it feels like we have covered it all. For my own benefit (and anyone else who is interested), here is an overview of what we have explored and some of my own favorites:

1. MOOCs

2. Blog/Writing/Classroom Places for Resources

  1. RSS Feeds/Bookmarking
  1. Communication/Assessment
  1. Social

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Photo Credit Globovisión via Compfightcc

6. Productivity/Plan

  1. Presentation/Assess
  1. Creative
  1. Media
  1. Coding
  1. Misc.

12. Autism Apps

13. Sign Language Apps/Sites

Today I also want to compile the resources from two articles: Snapshots Of Understanding? 10 Smart Tools For Digital Exit Slips and Apps That Rise to the Top: Tested and Approved By Teachers. Note: some resources repeat.

The first article discusses exit slips (an important element of assessment as… or assessment for if they are entrance slips). The article outlines these following technological options:

The second article outlines teacher-approved apps for:

1. Digital Storytelling/Presenting

2. Video Tools

3. Photo Editing

4. Augmented Reality

5. Reading/ELA/Library

*more ELA resources at kgorhamblog ELA Resources 

6. Commenting Tools

7. Coding

8. Note Taking/Organization

9. Digital Citizenship

10. Social Media

.11. Misc.

What other tools are out there? What is your favorite tool? What is a technology that you and your classroom couldn’t survive without!?

Basic ASL Phrases that Teachers Need

My Go At It:

My Purpose:

My purpose for this video is to a) gain competence with basic signs that a teacher needs to communicate with someone who signs, b) gain competence with introductory signs that I could teach early childhood education learners or those who need to use ASL as a form of communication, and c) work on better video production (which, I mean, I can only go up!)*.

*note: I was clicking through word cards on my computer and tried to edit a bit of the awkwardness of this out… without 100% success.

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Photo Credit: daveynin via Compfight cc

My resources:

Important words I found using Signing Savy: Your Sign Language Resource:  

Please leave comments below! Thanks for watching!

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Photo Credit: typexnick via Compfight cc

Free #DigCit Resources: No Tricks, No Gimmicks or Your Money Back

Alright, figuratively speaking you are sitting at your desk, coffee cup in hand and grabbing a fist full of your hair. You know you must teach #digcit to your students, but how? Where do you even start? How can you learn about it #digcit yourself? Well, set down the coffee cup, leave your hair in place and look below:

On March 6th, David Andrade posted resources (at the bottom of the blog post) and a free online class for teachers called teaching digital citizenship to students. This is the link to the free Teaching Digital Citizenship App by Netsmartz and Club Penguin. I would also recommend checking out Tech Learning and the Educator Resource Page. Also, 10 Tech Skills Every Student Should Have is worth the read!

The training covers:

  • Digital literacy & Ethics
  • Inappropriate Content
  • Online Sexual Solicitation
  • Online Privacy
  • Sexting
  • Cyberbullying

You can choose to look at whatever areas you want and start and stop if needed. In it’s entirety it is about 1 hour of training. The material covered is best for ages 5-17 and specific resources are recommended for each level. A certificate of achievement is earned after completing the training.

Video Games in the Classroom?! Part 2

A great read on gaming in the classroom by Zach Startup!

Zack Startup

Over the last few days, I’ve been doing a little bit of research into using video games in schools. It’s a really novel idea, I think, and a great way to make technology feel accessible and authentic, believe it or not, versus using it as 1:1 replacement for an existing teaching strategy. Make sense?

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Last week I stumbled across this image on Twitter, and I promptly passed it on to my classmates. Basically, when teachers choose to use technology in the classroom, they don’t always use it in the same way, or to the same degree, or to achieve the same goal. On the far left, we have teachers who approach technology as a way of replacing something they were already doing, with no clear added benefits. It’s a novelty, and maybe it gets learners more engaged – but I also have had some practice with this approach, and it…

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Edudemic’s Guide to a Flipped Classroom

If you are interested in flipping your classroom, I recommend reading Edudemic’s Guide to a Flipped Classroom.

Why Flip?

A flipped classroom is one of my long-term goals as an educator. After I am more comfortable with using technology in the classroom, I feel that flipping how learning takes place will be a great way to practice my inclusive beliefs and prepare my learners for an ever-changing, globalized world. Furthermore, “studies have found that students K-12 are assigned an average of three hours of homework a day, but many parents [and educators] question whether the quantity of work matches the quality of learning” (Edudemic Staff, 2015). I do not believe this is a realistic amount for most kids to complete, especially those with learning difficulties. Families lead busy lives and the measure of a sound education should not be quantity. However, I do not believe in swinging the pendulum in the complete opposite direction. My belief is that middle ground between hours of homework and absolutely no homework can be found. I believe that a flipped classroom is a model that allows for balance. Students listen to the instruction online (approx. half an hour) at home and then their work is completed in the classroom, where the teacher can assist and collaboration with peers can take place.

Benefits:

  1. This allows students to learn at their own pace: repeat the lesson if needed, skip/skim parts that they already know, etc.
  2. Questioning time is increased and teachers can support their learners without rushing lessons. Students can bring their concerns to class after some reflection.
  3. Increased collaboration due to in-class work time.
  4. Shy students have a chance to voice their concerns/ask questions in a more private manner.
  5. Environmentally friendly: this allows for an almost paper-free classroom.
  6. Parents can see what their children are learning about at school. No more need for the “what did you learn today?” question.

Disadvantages:

  1. Takes time to collect resources/make videos. The teacher and students all need to have access to technology and understand the tools they are using.
  2. Students may not complete the lecture at home. Student motivation is required.
  3. Teachers still will have to balance their time to help all of their learners. Classroom management cannot be forgotten as in-class work-time must be on-task, focused, and hold some structure.

I believe that these issues are similar as to what is already posing challenges in the traditional method. Therefore, I think this model is worth a try and teachers can make adjustments/problem-solve as needed.

Implementation:

  1. Start by getting comfortable with the technology that will be used. Both students and teachers need to know how to best use the tools.
  2. Start small. Edudemic suggests giving homework that is a YouTube video to watch at home and discussion and questions follow the next day. Consider this your pre-assessment.
  3. Start creating your lessons. I would suggest a half an hour a night but adjust accordingly. Also, take a look at what is out there already, who you can collaborate with, etc.
  4. Create in-class time activities/assessments. I would suggest giving students a voice about what they want to do to demonstrate their knowledge. The nice thing is your videos could stay relatively the same year to year but with a new class, new assignments could happen; every year would look a bit different. Students may engage more if they get to co-construct rubrics. However, if problems arise with students not watching the lectures, Edudemic suggests quizzes at the start.

What other problems do you see with the flipped model? What other benefits? How would you work around those issues? What tools would you use to create your lessons? If students were unmotivated to watch the videos at home, what could you do?