Friday, December 14, 2012

We have moved!! We are now posting resources, related research, and discussion points at this link.  Please bring your questions and suggestions to AM Exchange on Tuesday mornings next semester!

Monday, January 9, 2012

Pre-Register for Nice Mini-Conference

Be sure to pre-register now for the 18th Annual NICE Mini-Conference.

This conference is well worth attending (especially at a $5 fee!). Details:

Saturday, Jan. 28, 2012
8 am to 1 pm
Adlai E. Stevenson High School
Lincolnshire, IL.

Many of us have attended in the past and would encourage you to take advantage of this learning opportunity.

Today's Meet and Backchannel Resources

Thank you to Peter Tragos for an informative Presentation on Today's Meet and leveraging the Backchannel in your classroom. "Backchannel" refers to what is going on in the room, but is not coming from the presenter (asking others questions, feedback, notes, etc).

Tragos Presentation: Peter's handout, 7 Things you should know about Backchanne Communication (Feb 2010), was produced by Educause. He showed several examples from his AP US History class which had used iPod Touches.

One was a warm-up class activity: while Peter lectured on the Emancipation Proclamation, students responded in real-time and discussed its validity. In that example, he saved the Today'sMeet transcript as a pdf and annotated that with sticky notes (e.g., noting good questions, highlighting student interaction, and praising student restraint in staying on topic) and later posted it to the class FaceBook page. As homework, Peter asked students to "title the discussion" in order to synthesize concepts discussed.

Another example involved splitting the class into 2 panels; the first group of students discussed Reconstruction while others commented in Today'sMeet and then they switched roles. This transcript was also saved and posted on SlideShare and we talked about the possibility of further using this as a review tool. In initial trials students were anonymous (signing in as their birthdate), but they later used their initials to identify their comments.

Peter also showed us the results of a class survey (close to 70% responded) where almost 80% reacted favorably by indicating that this tool has some potential in classroom discussions. Generally, it seemed that this acknowledged their ability to multi-task and encouraged more active involvement in the lectures or discussions.

Andy and Matt could not be at the meeting, but they indicated separately that they had experimented with this tool and found it to be interesting and practical. Linda and Judy had also used it as participants at a professional development workshop on iPads in December.

Ways to use this tool: Together, we brainstormed several other ideas including:
  • encourage backchanneling during a guest speaker to raise questions for him/her;
  • separate class into several small virtual Today'sMeet classrooms; give them a prompt; post transcripts and ask students to later reflect on a different group's discussion;
  • set up a place for questions and review links and materials;
  • save and annotate discussions can be done individually by students;
  • explore promoting conversations between sections or across different periods.
Here are links to several other relevant resources regarding BackChannel Communication:

Hotseat: Opening the Backchannel in Large Lectures (Sept. 2010) -- also from Educause (“a nonprofit association whose mission is to advance higher education by promoting the intelligent use of information technology”) summarizes research at Purdue University using “Hotseat”; notes some ideas for best practices with tools like this, student survey responses, etc.

Students speak up in class, silently, using Social Media” (May 12, 2011), a New York Times article on the topic.

Expanding the Notion of Backchanneling” blog post by Carolyn Foote, librarian at one of our sister consortium schools. SEE especially her links to a Prezi and Live Binders on this topic.

Given the exam schedule and upcoming NICE Meeting (see separate post for details) , we agreed that the next Am Exchange meeting will be held on Tuesday, February 7th at 7:30am in the Library. Agenda topics will focus on sharing our learning from NICE and planning for future meetings.

In attendance: Raquelle Brennan, Erika Eich, Judy Gressel, Linda Straube and Peter Tragos. Several members had conflicts due to advisee situations.

Saturday, January 7, 2012

A Must See Video

Leading thinkers on education instruct us on how schools need to evolve to embrace new literacies:

Friday, December 16, 2011

iPads and apps, apps and more apps

Am Exchange’s recent focus was on iPads and various education apps. We were very fortunate to have Jacqui Pritchard and Mary Ann Apple join us to share ideas and prompt discussion. Here’s a summary – and links-- from our two meetings (Nov. 29 and Dec 14):

A background Research Article for this topic is available here: “7 things you should know about iPad apps for learning” from Educause (Feb. 2011).

Looking for ideas? These 3 sources provide links to numerous apps and are a great overview:

On November 29th, the Am Exchange group talked about the iPad supporting visual learners and we noted that teachers can now project with iPad 2. We also shared information on specific apps, including

Visual Learning

  • imovie app cost: $4.99 – our anatomy classes have used this and Liette shared how her daughter had used it for a college project.
  • Photogene (editing tool) cost: $2.99
  • Corkulous cost: $4.99 -- bulletin board/word wall

Auditory Learning

  • iBand cost: $.99
  • Songify FREE – suggested by Matt
  • Dragon Dictation FREE – very positive comments from Matt, Julia and Liette about the possibilities, especially for language classes
  • VoiceThread FREE; we may have school accounts with more options

Organizing and Logistics

  • Library Anywhere FREE – JudyG briefly noted the trial she has been working on to make our catalog available through a mobile app.
  • Numbers cost: $9.99 – like Excel
  • We also briefly touched on IT’s work with Webdav for students to collaboratively edit projects.

Overwhelmed? More of a visual learner? Here's a relatively short video from West Lake High School (near Austin Texas) where librarian Carolyn Foote and others talk about their favorite iPad apps:

On December 4th, Jacqui and Mary Anne shared another round of apps, including some for Classroom Management:

For Kinetic Wellness: iMuscle

For Note taking and Reading:

  • Good Reader
  • iAnnotate this is used by ESL students in their iPad pilot.
  • Evernote
  • Dropbox If the group is interested, we will probably plan to spend additional time with Evernote and Dropbox (whether as an app or with laptops/computers) during second semester.

Jacqui also talked about how you can pair a bluetooth keyboard (apple) with an iPad, especially for those who are not completely comfortable with a virtual keyboard. She and Mary Ann demonstrated a Virtual Desktop on the iPad with the potential to give us full access to the New Trier systems that can presently only be accessed on the network OR when signed into to WebVPN. What we did not get to was a quick demo using the QuickOffice App. They think this is an ideal App for those who would like to access and modify their Word, Excel, and PPT files on their iPad. Thanks again to Jacqui and Mary Ann.

The next Am Exchange meeting will be held, Tuesday, January 10th at 7:30am in the Library. Agenda topics will include Today’s Meet and how to set up a back channel discussion in your classroom (Peter Tragos presenting; postponed from November).

In attendance (11/29): Mary Ann Apple, Liette Brisebois, Raquelle Brennan, Judy Gressel, Andy Horne, Julia Kessel, Keta McCarthy, Jacqui Pritchard, Linda Straube and Matt Stuczynski.

In attendance (12/14): Mary Ann Apple, Liette Brisebois, Raquelle Brennan, Judy Gressel, Andy Horne, Julia Kessel, Keta McCarthy, Jacqui Pritchard and Linda Straube.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

30+1 Ways You Should Be Using Facebook in Your Classroom

A thoughtful blog post on how you might use Facebook for the classroom.

Polling Students and posting class notes seem really useful to me!