Wednesday, December 10, 2008

TIES Conference and Technology Award 2008

Just returned from the 2008 TIES Technology Education Conference. Edina District & Media Technology Services was awarded the Minnesota Technology Leadership Award for 2008. It was a great four days of networking and learning.

I had three presentations at the conference. I did a half day workshop on Saturday on Google Tools for Educators. On Monday I lead a seession on Digital Footprints: Engaging Students in the Web 2.0 process. Lastly, on Monday I lead the Google Community of Interest. It was a great turn out and it was fun to share all of my Googly information with other excited teachers.

I also had the opportunity to meet Ben Friesen who is another MN Google Certified Teacher. We had a great time networking at the conference and at happy hour. We are excited to bring Minneapolis the first Google Learning Institute in August 2009. Details are still in the work, but if you are interested in receiveing information when it is first announced, fill out this form.

More on the TIES Conference 2008 to come...still sorting out all the great resources and ideas!
Here are the photos from the conference...Enjoy!

Thursday, December 4, 2008

SCRATCH- My new favorite program!

This summer I was chosen to work with a group of 5 teachers and the Science Museum of Minnesota to develop some Professional Development Resources for teachers to implement SCRATCH into their classrooms and curriculum. I have fallen in love with Scratch and am seeing the amazing learnings that kids have from this program!

Scratch is a free, block-based programming environment created by MIT to produce media and teach programming concepts. Using drag-and-drop techniques to join together block icons representing code, students create games, stories, and simulations in which programmable objects called "sprites" move and interact. Scratch's graphic block-based environment provides an excellent platform for introducing computer science concepts such as objects, methods, and conditional statements.

Scratch is available as a free download from Scratch works on both Windows and Macintosh platforms. Email Mr. Michaud for instructions on how to install Scratch on Linux.

My favorite part of learning Scratch is to see how it fits into the curriculum. I have just started implementing Scratch into my elementary classrooms but it has been exciting to see how the kids embrace the program and learn so quickly.

My first project was with my sister's fourth grade class. The students were studying Minnesota History and created an animiated 4 corners project that shared what they had learned. They were required to have four sprites that were animated and gave information about MN history.

The second project I did was with a small group of 3rd grade students. They were reading "The Green Book" and were learning about figurative language. The students chose four examples of figurative language to animate in SCRATCH. They drew the sprites, gave them different costumes to animate them and then shared the example of figurative language as well.

Click below to see some examples.
My MN History Example
My Green Book Figurative Language Example
4th Grade Students's MN History Examples

3rd Grade Student's Green Book Examples (coming late December 08)

Here are some great Scratch Resources!


The Networked Student

This video by Wendy Drexler called the Networked Student shows a great vision of how teaching and learning is chaning in the 21st Century. The skills and knowledge necessary to thrive in the 21st century are radically changing the way we will need to teach. This video does an excellent job explaining the technology tools we have available to provide learning opportunities for our 21st century students.