The Digitally Infused Teacher

I have been participating for the past 5 weeks in an online class, The Digitally Infused Teacher.  I have learned so much in a short amount of time.  The topic that has really made me pause and think is “Digital Citizenship”.  In the past, I had not given a second thought to using and image, or going into a site like UEN and using content that I found for “free”.  I did not give a second thought to citing my sources like I would in high school or college when a bibliography was a given.

For the start of the school year, I am going to create a twitter account for my FACS class.  I am hoping to have my 8th graders post to this account photos and responses to questions outside of class.  I am also going to have my 7th graders create a Tagxedo about themselves.  I know for me these ideas are baby steps for me but I believe that this will enhance my curriculum and give me the opportunity to talk about being good digital citizens.

I have enjoyed the format of this class.  I like the way the class gives me flexibility each week but still guidelines and a time frame for working.  I hope to participate in more classes like this one.  I have felt like a dinosaur in the digital world and now feel capable of implementing a few of the ideas into my own curriculum.

How Can Schools Best Handle BYOD?

There are advantages and pitfalls for school districts that allow students to Bring Your Own Device (BYOD).  The cost saving for computer equipment for districts is the most obvious reason to BYOD.  However, there are many other factors that must be considered as well.

Having students bring their own device at a basic level entails students signing agreements, learning how to sign in to the school server either as a guest of by a specific account. One reason for students to use their own technology is that they can become better at troubleshooting an issue with their own device.  Student can also work on “lower level thinking assignments” for homework and then be ready for problem solving assignments at school.

As a school district there are many factors to consider for BYOD.  For example, students owned equipment will be on different operating systems and the student information platform will need to be able to handle the devices. Beyond those 2 larger issues, there are “nuts and bolts” of students being able to print, connect to teacher computer, sync files, in general, be able to connect to the devices in the classroom.   Teachers will need to consider different platforms when designing lessons and make sure the information for the lessons are truly independent learning.

Lastly, teachers will need training on various devices for success in the classroom.  Many times this can be accomplished through a network of teachers who become “experts” at certain technology and train/mentor other teachers as well.  This will truly foster the Professionals Learning Community that exists today.

Should Schools Embrace “Bring Your Own Device”?http://neatoday.org/2012/07/19/should-schools-embrace-bring-your-own-device/

6 BYOD Discussions Every School Should Have | Edutopiahttp://www.edutopia.org/blog/byod-discussions-schools-should-have-vicki-davis

Infographics

For awhile I have wanted to incorporate student made infographics. I know that some teachers have students draw them on paper but I really want the students in my class work more digitally.  So through this website: Easel.ly I created an infographic on How to Make a Grilled Cheese.  Which to me is a common food that a 6th grader can easily make at home.  This is not always the case!  Here is the infographic that I created using the websites ready made template:  http://www.easel.ly/viewEasel/2139100

I think that using infographics will give me another way to evaluate students in both the foods room and the sewing room.  In sewing, the students do have a physical piece of evidence to turn in to me.  This web tool would be a way to reinforce the steps in threading a sewing machine which seems to be an issue for many students.  Although, there are only 6 steps to put the thread into the machine and they can play and memorize all they need to do to play their video games!!

Catching Up

So this week has been a catch up week for me-or as someone once told me “condiment day” which is cute since I teach cooking.  I fell behind in class due to bronchitis and still have that lingering cough.  I played around more successfully with the web tools from week 2 and finally posted a Tagxedo that I snipped using the Windows snipping tool.  I will post something different for week 3 later today.  What I liked about the Tagxedo is that it is something that I can assign the first day of class and have my students create their own outside of class.  I only see students for 9 weeks and I really need to get going on curriculum the first day.  So I will be changing my 1st day lesson to incorporate the Tagxedo.

Technical Problems in Class

I have 2 classrooms, a foods “laboratory” and a sewing “laboratory”.  I have that in quotes but they really are laboratories.  I like the Speak like a Geek idea that was presented in class last week.

In the past year, overhead projectors were installed in both laboratories.  The foods lab had all of the installation work completed first and then the sewing lab installation was last summer.  Also last summer we received new laptops and a docking station was included.  I believe that the common wall was drilled into and wiring was set up and that somewhere along the line there is a glitch.  The settings on the projectors seem to change on their own and my computer would regularly crash when on the docking station in both classrooms.  I put in several work orders and all would be ok for a day or two.  So I began to investigate.  I found many small things that needed to be done.  I put in another work order because the faceplates for the wall connection were extremely loose and if I pressed them in tightly the projector would work. I also reread an email about a new extended connector on the wall.  I put in another work order for that.  I then got rid of the docking station  Another teacher said that the docking station compresses the signal and to try directly hooking my laptop to the projector which solved the crashing issue. Now the wall issue was still a problem, and I am waiting on the loose faceplate and getting the new connector.  The tech person (Matt) came to my room again-I believe Matt visits in the middle of class for two reasons:

  • Hoping that I am baking that day and will give him food-which I do give him food and hope that gives me an edge on him showing up sooner than later!
  • I think that he does this so that I won’t stop class and ask him additional questions.

My students are busy working and I ask Matt about the faceplate and new connectors.  He lets me know that he has them in his car. I suggest that he bring them in and lets see if they will solve my issues.  The longer screws for the faceplate helped seal up that area and my sound connection was greatly improved and the other longer connector may not have been necessary but I was happy to have it.

This process of getting everything running more smoothly took about 12 weeks of the school year which I find frustrating.  There is still a gremlin in the wall….

I Love Teaching FACS!

I tell everyone that I have a great teaching position.  Students are always excited to be in FACS class.  Unless you are in 8th grade and it is 1st quarter of the school year! Students will tell me that they have nothing left to look forward to for the rest of the year.  I admit, almost every student prefers the cooking side of class more than the sewing side but that’s ok.  My classes are skills that they will use for the rest of their lives.

I began teaching in a regular ed self-contained 6th grade classroom.  I know now when “self-contained” is use, most people think of special education classrooms,  I taught both in downstate Illinois as well as in a Chicago suburb interestingly both were intermediate buildings.  With birth of my daughter, I became a stay at home mom and began a home daycare.  I had 2 more children during that time.  My daughter was diagnosed with dyslexia in first grade and that started my quest for finding the best ways to teach her.  I took courses in the Orton-Gillingham method for teaching reading and became a certified tutor during that time.  I did not tutor my own daughter, I needed to be “mom” but I did help many students.

As my youngest reached kindergarten age, I began searching for a full time teaching position in a school district.  That is how I stumbled on teaching Family and Consumer Science.  I was hired and then went back to school to add the endorsement to my certificate.  I don’t think I could ever go back to teaching a core subject area.  I love the hands on, watching students so pleased with their creation, students helping students atmosphere.  I am truly blessed having a job I love.