11 Things on a Jeepney

As the Learning Support Teacher for Grade 8 at ISM, I am completing a technology training course called 11 Things on a Jeepney. For this training, I am writing a short blog post about myself.

 

I enjoy learning about technology and also using it in my classes. I am very excited about all students having a laptop next year for their studies. I came from a one-to-one laptop school before teaching at ISM, and I loved using OneNote to deliver content and the elimination of using paper. The laptops were also tablets and students used a stylus to write on OneNote for their homework and other tasks. I found this great, but there were times were using paper would have been much more time efficient.  The network demands from every student using their laptops could cause lots of slow downs, and OneNote has to continually sync to keep up with changes being made by the teacher to the notebooks. My main issues with technology are of the down times when things are not working as they should. This happens often, and can ruin lesson plans that depend on the technology. There are so many advantages in using technology that the inconveniences still don’t outweigh the gains, especially for students with learning difficulties.

 

My favorite place to visit in the Philippines so far has been the island of Coron. Specifically the resort of Club Paradise. Everyone who lives here should stay there at least once!

Thing 1: VoiceThread

https://voicethread.com/share/5478539/

Reflection:

I really liked using VoiceThread. It was easy to find images to put in the thread and it gave good options to demonstrate understanding. It could be typed, voice, and video. The workflow was straight forward and allowed me to reorder things by just dragging and dropping them.  This would be easy to use with my LS students for a few reasons. One, it is on the computer and this adds motivation for them to complete tasks. They just like working with technology over pencil and paper tasks. Two, it allows for differentiation on how they demonstrate learning. Three, it allows for them to be more creative in how they express themselves and is easy access to images. My concerns would be the couple of troubles I had in working with the Flash interface. I had to allow Flash access to my computer, and save that permission, otherwise it would not record. Then I also had to allow the browser to allow Flash. It took a while to figure out why it would just hang at “hold on…” when I recorded audio. I think that if we use technology in lessons, we should always do the lesson ourselves to find these types of pitfalls.

Thing 2: Chrome Apps & Extensions

  • Which 3 apps and 3 extensions did you install? What do you think of them?

Apps: I installed Lucid Charts, Piktochart, and Typingweb Typing Tutor for my apps. I really like the Lucid Charts for making Brain Frames. There are a lot of graphic organizers out there, but this one is the only one that is super easy to use and has a workflow that matches what my students need for an effective BF. All of the other organizers lock you into set format, and this one is wide-open. Picktochart is an infographic creator and I like it just fine, but the bandwidth issues at school can make it a bit tedious to use because of the wait times. Typingweb Typing Tutor is great for keyboarding skills. My students have such poor keyboarding skills, so I use this as a extra station in my strategies class.

Extensions: I installed Youtube Options, LastPass, and Easybib Tools. Youtube Options is cool because you can turn off a lot of the annoying things on the site that can be distractions and sometimes inappropriate for school. It gets rid of the annoying in video ads, stops the video suggestions on the side and after the video, and basically strips it down to just a video player. LastPass is my new best friend. I never have to enter my one zillion passwords for school sites. I just enter it once and DONE. It remembers them from then on, and encrypts them too for safe keeping. I will never go without it again. Last is Easybib Tools, I use Easybib all of the time and now I have a tool to check a site credibility and see how others have cite the same cite. This will be very helpful in the next unit that requires students to check the credibility of their online sources.

  • Which do you recommend for teachers? For students? Will you remove any?

I recommend all of these for teachers, but LastPass is a must for teacher who spend too much time logging into sites and searching for passwords. Students will use all of the apps that I found in lessons and on their own for research. I will keep all of the apps and extensions forever!

  • If you have already been using Chrome apps and extensions, do you have any favorites that you wouldn’t want to live without?

Stayfocusd- This is one that I suggest every year that parents use with their kids at home. My most common complaint from them is that they say that time spent online is wasted by jumping from site to site while they are trying to work and end up just getting a little done in a lot of time. Stayfocusd blocks sites for a set time period and can be set up to allow some sites and block the frequent offenders like Facebook. This extension is not full proof, but with a little effort and by sitting down and setting the times for homework and which sites should be block, it really does help students focus on work.

Thing 3: Mind Maps, Diagrams, and Flow Charts

MindMup

MindMup

 

LucidCharts

Urban BF

 

Reflection

I preferred LucidCharts far more that MindMup. MindMup was much too linear for my liking and I found the interface clunky. LucidCharts worked much better for me and hand a more open workflow. In Grade 8 we will have students making Brain Frames to display their research for the AFC unit in a few weeks. With Brain Frames the bounding shape is really important and LucidCharts allows easy formatting of the bounding shapes. It is also now an add-on in Google docs, so we can have easy access to the student’s BF.  I feel that the online apps are just as powerful as dedicated software, but have the advantage of worldwide access, unlike most of the dedicated software that ties you to one machine or file type to edit.

Thing 4: Online Quizzing & Student Response Systems

Reflection:

It was easy to set up both apps with questions and pictures. Both were very straight forward in their use and deployment. I couldn’t say which I prefer because both offer different strengths. Socrative is good for online quizzes that you want students to do and give feedback as the class completes it. Kahoot! is much more of an app for the game show feel to get students involved in the questions or discussion. I would like to try to use this for a discussion format next year in English. It would be cool to see how others respond and the reactions from those responses. I could see using both of these. I would use Socrative to check understandings and Kahoot! to review for a test and make it fun.

Here is my quiz: https://play.kahoot.it/#/k/5a738bd3-5979-40b7-863a-bacdacaddccd 

12 thoughts on “11 Things on a Jeepney

  1. Bill,
    I completely agree with you regarding the frustrations that come along with the imperfect nature of technology infrastructure in schools. Having enough bandwidth, etc. is so important to ensuring that tech-heavy (or even tech-light!) lessons run smoothly. I also think you’re absolutely right about teachers testing tech before using it with students. Great observations!!

  2. Yep. My big issue was with getting the actual technology working properly on my computer. I imagine that a lot of time would be spent getting it up and running for all the students when it was first introduced but probably worth the time investment because of the range of options it give the students.

  3. Bill! Loved reading about your apps and extensions. I think you may have saved my sanity by mentioning that YouTube Options will help to turn off ads. They drive me mad!! Off to hunt for and add that one now.

  4. I have been thinking about getting a password manager for over a year now. I am not sure what I am waiting for. I am going nuts trying to remember all the passwords I have. I will have to check this one out. Is it free? I haven’t been able to find a free one, but it might be worth the money.

  5. Hey Bill, I tried to check out your voice thread, but it said that I didn’t have access to it ;-( Was hoping to comment on your awesomeness but I guess I’ll just have to wait for another time. BTW I love the set up of your blog, but I’m confused as to how you can comment on each post – as when I hovered over them, I was unable to to click on each post separately. Ahhh… the joys of technology I tell you 🙂

  6. WOW, I am impressed with your Lucidchart skills. I struggled with this one so much and actually didn’t get out Thing 3 as early as I wanted to because I kept putting off trying to figure out Lucidchart! I found it really intimidating. Had you used it before, or were you able to play around with it and figure it out? Either way, nice job!

    • I just started using in a couple weeks ago. The layout to me just made sense right away. I think because it is so similar to Photoshop and GIMP that I just knew how to use it. Glad to know that it can be intimidating to someone who is tech-savvy like yourself. Now I know I will have to spend more time doing tutorials on how to use it with the students.

  7. Using Lucid Chart to show relationships on certain topics is what this application is created for! It is used not just to show connections but also to show how things are inter-related in a complex way that is yet need to be understood by the one looking at it. Well done!

  8. Bill – I love the relationships brain frame you did with Lucidchart. I preferred using Mindmup for the simplicity, and I can see my 6s using it. However, we use a lot of brain frames, and I can see how the versatility of Lucidchart would come in handy. Other than the complexity, my other problem with Lucidchart is the “look” of it. I think they need to work on generating more appealing visual presentations – sometimes I think I’m in a Microsoft investors meeting.

    Good work!

  9. I find it interesting that two of the people I am commenting on their post prefer lucid. I guess I will need to play with it a bit more. I guess for my purpose I liked the linear aspect of Mindmup and found Lucid a bit irritating, but maybe I need to play with a more advanced map as opposed to the basic.

  10. Hi Bill,
    I’m glad you enjoyed both of those tools– it seems like most people have a preference for one over the other, so it’s interesting to read that you could imagine using both. I would be interested to hear (or observe!) if you try them out in your classes this year or next. Thanks for the post!

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