Monday, February 14, 2011

The Journey Begins: Cell Phones in the Classroom

Our district has recently started a cell phone pilot program with some of our teachers and students. My role in this pilot is really two fold. As the ITS, I lend support to the teachers, and as a US History teacher I get to try out some of the applications and ideas in my class.

Here are few of the tools we are using and some of the ways they are being used.
Poll Everywhere: Allows the teacher to assess understanding quickly. Poll Everywhere acts as a response system that uses cells phones.  It also allows students to send questions while the teacher lectures or while a video is being watched.

TextMarks Lite:  Students and parents sign up to the teacher's account to receive text messages with updates and reminders.

Wiffiti:  I just found out about Wiffiti last week from MaryAnn Sansonetti.  This program to me is kind of a mashup of Wallwisher and Poll Everywhere.  I've just shared this with the other teachers in our school participating in the cell phone pilot program.  We trying to see how we can incorporate Wiffiti in the class.  I can see it used as a collaborative tool in the class or as a way to get kids to respond to events such as The State of the Union Address.

Geograffiti:  Allows you to Voice Mark locations using your cell phone.  It works with the GPS feature on smart phones, but you can also Voice Mark with any cell phone.  We used this when a group of students went on a field trip.  They used GeoGraffiti to Voice Mark their location and what they were seeing on the trip.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

From Columbia to Colombia

I have been working with Rhonda Nieto(Spanish Teacher) and Alicia Lewis the Secondary Level 2010 AATP Teacher of the year from our World Languages Department on a project to connect students from Blythewood High School to students in Cali, Colombia SA.  We meet via Skype with Fabian Tejada and Carolina Cabezas to discuss some of the logistics of the program this past week.

The goal of the project is to work collaboratively on a global issue to allow students from both countries the opportunity to develop their language skills and to learn about each others cultures.

My role is to help with the logistics and the technology side of the project.  We plan on using Skype, Google Chat, Mail and Facebook to communicate.  I am really looking forward to the what lays ahead.

If any of you have worked on something like this and you have suggestions, or know of some issues we should be looking out for please let me know.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

QR Codes in the classroom

There has been a lot of talk lately on twitter and in my blog reader about the use of QR codes in the classroom. I think in general there are some good uses for them in the class but to what extent? Right now I think the use of the QR Codes is somewhat limiting.  As more and more schools begin to allow the use of cell phones in classes, the use of QR codes will increase.

Angie Hill a Chemistry teacher at Blythewood High School  is using QR Codes to link to student created tutorials and videos on lab safety and procedures. This enables students to scan for information which normally would have required the teacher to stop what they were doing to answer commonly asked questions. The use of the QR codes has allowed Mrs. Hill more time to work with the students in the lab.

Other links about QR codes and ideas on how to use them in the classroom:
QR Codes: The Nuts and Bolts
QR Code generator
QR Codes in Education
38 Interesting Ways to use QR Codes in the Classroom
10 Ways to use QR Codes in a History Classroom