Below you will find my curated list of research, commentary, and resources for using technology in the early childhood classroom. I have included information from trusted sites as well as some trusted educators. I also shared some ideas from my own blog as a resource touch point for my readers.
Below you will find a presentation that a peer and I created in our graduate class on social network learning! Some of my favorite projects in my graduate program have been these types of collaborative projects. We decided to use Google apps to complete the collaboration because they make it so simple and easy. We began with a Google Docs where we collected sources and quotes, outlined our presentation, and collaborated on ideas. We established a great flow because I usually carve out time during the day to work and Betty, my classmate, works on graduate school work at night, so Betty would be able to complete a part of the work at night and then I would pick up where she left off the next day. We would communicate through FB messenger and leave each other notes about what we had done. We decided to present our final criteria in Google Slides which again made collaboration easy. We were just easily able to pick up were the other left off. With this flow, we are were able to finish pretty quickly and were very happy with the presentation we created.
Collaborative technology tools, such as Google apps, have become vital in creating and expanding PLNs online. I have used these tools to build presentations for conferences with friends and peers across the country. I have also been able to use them to complete large school assignments with classmates across the globe. It excites me that we now teach in a world where collaboration can happen between people separated by miles and oceans. Ideas are no longer exclusive to just single classrooms or schools. Ideas can be grown and shared with and by people across the globe.
So now enjoy an example of online collaboration as Betty Wells and I share 15 criteria for effective curation.
Briggs, S. (2016, July 27). Teaching Content Curation and 20 Resources to Help You Do It. Retrieved from http://www.opencolleges.edu.au/informed/features/content-curation-20-resources/
Deshpande, P. (2016, September 14). The Definitive Guide to Content Curation Retrieved from http://www.curata.com/blog/the-definitive-guide-to-content-curation/
Doughtery, J. (2015, March 30). 8 Best Practices for Content Curation Retrieved from http://www.cision.com/us/2015/03/8-best-practices-for-content-curation/
Hudgens, R. (2016, April 15). The 3 Most Effective (And Overlooked) Content Curation Strategies. Retrieved from http://contentmarketinginstitute.com/2016/04/content-curation-strategies/
Little, B. (2017, March 17). 10 Key Steps to Content Curation Success. Retrieved from https://www.mindtools.com/blog/corporate/10-key-steps-curation/
This week I re-engaged with Twitter. It felt good. Life has been crazy and my family has been transitioning across an ocean and I have been out of the classroom for the first time in 12 years. However, my kids are back in school, our life is settled into Oregon, and I can now spend some time reconnecting with "Jake The Educator". I opened up Tweetdeck, which in real life would have needed a good dusting off at this point, and I started to set up columns for Twitter chats and hashtags that I hope will continue my inspiration reboot!
I chose to follow the following hashtags:
I really love and connect with early childhood teachers and #kinderchat has some of the best in the nation.
In following #kinderchat this week, I learned that it was International Dot Day, recently! I love The Dot by Peter Reynolds. What was so cool about following International Dot Day on #kinderchat was seeing the variety of ways teachers engaged kids in Dot Day. Some drew dots. Some painted dots. Some created digital dots. I even found Augmented reality dots referenced. Twitter was a vehicle for teachers to share ideas about a common experience that educators were having across the world. My favorite part in The Dot is when it says "make your mark and see where it takes you.". Twitter certainly helps teachers and students "make their mark."
In following #1stchat, I learned and saw that my core belief that "it is not about what the technology can do but rather what you can do with the technology that matters" was on full display. I saw so many cool ideas as teacher were introducing beginning of the year routines and concepts. The core learning of reading, writing, and math were all present and technology was present to capture and document the process. Kids were creating actual face cutout "thought bubbles" and were taking picture of their peers and their wonders. Teachers referenced their kids sharing out their beginning of year goals and thoughts on SeeSaw! Seeing as I taught first grade for 10 years, #1stchat was like saying "hello" to an old friend again.
#2nd Chat & #3rd Chat
I had many of the same findings as I followed #2ndchat and #3rdchat! Teachers are starting their school years off with important classroom and thinking routines and Twitter is right there helping teachers share how things are going. #3rd chat was having a Twitter chat that focused on the book "Shift This: How gradual change can make big change in your classroom"! I found the book online and loved it! I cannot wait to read it and I would have never known about it without this Twitter chat.
I am so interested and excited by the Maker Education Movement. At my previous school in Hawaii, the MakerEd movement was such a focus as our school was building a learning commons with a maker space as the focal point of the space. This hashtag was totally chalk full of ideas for how teachers are starting the year and I found cool links to teachers doing their "tiny house" projects. I also found a reference to the "Kid's Make" channel on YouTube, which was awesome. I plan on doing one of the projects (the Plinko Game) with my boys at home very soon. Maker Education is such an awesomely integrated tool for learning. You can tell while browsing teacher's tweets just how many different learning skills and subject areas are present as student's work themselves through projects. I am very excited to follow the hashtag this semester.
I will always follow #ADEchat because many of the people on that chat are like family. ADE is the Apple Distinguished Educator Program's chat that they run monthly. Becoming an ADE in 2015 expanded my PLN greatly to include some of the most innovative teachers in the country and world. I have learned so much from them. While the chat, naturally, focuses on teachers in Apple technology environments, the topics focus on a wide range of ideas that will inspire all teachers. I have learned through catching up on #ADEchat tweets that the new Clips app is all the rage and that teachers are using it in a variety of amazing way to showcase student learning and understanding. I personally love the new app and am excited to see the innovative things teachers and students do with this super easy app!
Twitter is the best way to keep up on whats happening! The simplicity of sharing ideas right "in the moment" is what makes Twitter so powerful! Hashtags also make it super easy to catch up on your inspiration at your own time. I also feel that Twitter is where you can find the most teachers gathering to share ideas, questions, wonders, and struggles. Its an app and a website so it is very easy to access which is perfect for educators. Educators are planning, prepping, attending staff meetings, and going to professional development so Twitter makes it for teachers to "check in" with their PLN for a more individualized and interest based professional development experience right in the moments between all these activities. Twitter is the perfect place for teachers to grow professionally and I encourage teachers
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In an article for Edutopia, Tom Whitby wrote about connected educators "Too often, connected educators are the worst advocates for becoming a connected educator. They tend to overwhelm the uninitiated with a huge list of collaborative accomplishments and a plethora of technological jargon" (Whitby, 2014). I completely agree. I have often tried to explain the amazing benefits I have seen to using educational technology as well as social network learning, but I get overexcited and totally use the "technological jargon" referenced by Mr. Whitby. Too often those factors lead my "audience" to either get completely overwhelmed or check out of our conversation with glazed over eyes.
That is why I appreciated this week's assignment in my social media learning graduate class to create a non-linguistic, creative product to explain the benefits of personal learning networks, communities of practice, and the principles of connectivisim. Had I done a normal blog, vlog, or explanation video, I feel as though I would have fallen into the same trap of over explaining. It was a very cool process to create something more focused and creative to express my learning from this week.
This week, I really dove into the principles of both the connectivist and communities of practice (COPs) theories to deepen my understanding of the importance of personal learning networks (PLNs). When reviewing the Learning Theories website, I read that one of the main researchers of COPs, Etienne Wenger, described COPs as "groups of people who share a concern or a passion for something they do and learn how to do it better as they interact regularly” (Communities, 2014). I learned that COPs, while often informal, still need a structure consisting of three components: Domain (shared interest/passion), Communities (places to share info and activities), and Practitioners (people not just interest, but actually engaged with the domain) (Communities, 2014). Furthermore, COPs are based off the belief that "that communities of practice are everywhere and that we are generally involved in a number of them – whether that is at work, school, home, or in our civic and leisure interests" (Smith, 2003, 2009). Wenger and Lave believed that in order to break the assumption that "learning has a beginning and an end; that it is best separated from the rest of our activities; and that it is the result of teaching" that we need COPs to created a more situated learning experience where "learning involved a process of engagement in a ‘community of practice"(Smith, 2003, 2009). With the evolution of technology thanks to the Internet, COPs tie closely with the Connectivism Theory which is "a learning theory that explains how Internet technologies have created new opportunities for people to learn and share information across the World Wide Web and among themselves" (Connectivism, 2015). The key feature of connectivism is that learning can happen across peer networks that happen online.
I created the above video to show my interpretation of my own PLN, which I think are direct products of both COPs and connectivism. As I researched and read more COPs and connectivism, I reflected about my own PLN ,which includes teachers I have taught with across the country as well as educators I connected with through Twitter, Facebook, technology conferences, and educational technology organizations. I realized as I reflected that what I appreciated most was the "reflection" I received from all the individuals in my PLN, which made me think of prisms and how they reflect light. I think of a prism as a theoretical tool to look at something differently with more perspective and "color". Whenever I am running with a new idea, I want to share it with my PLN to gain insight and perspective. So I truly feel like I am running it through a colorful prism of collaboration.
I have had so many beautiful interactions with my PLN and I am grateful for them everyday. I truly feel that all educators should continue to grow their PLNs. As Jordan Catapano wrote for TeachHub.com "There is an enormous difference between “connected” teachers who have established their own Personal Learning Networks and the instructors who subsist primarily on the antiquated, impersonalized modes of traditional development" (Catapano, 2015). I truly believe that educators should continue to challenge themselves to stay fresh and current in the educational landscape and "reflection" through their PLN prism is a colorful path they should consider taking.
Catapano, J. (2015). What is a PLN? Why do I need one? Retrieved from: http://www.teachhub.com/what-pln-why-do-i-need-one
(July 16, 2014). "Communities of Practice (Lave and Wenger)". Retrieved from: https://www.learning-theories.com/communities-of-practice-lave-and-wenger.html.
(June 1, 2015) "Connectivism (Siemens, Downes)," Retrieved from: https://www.learning-theories.com/connectivism-siemens-downes.html.
Smith, M. K. (2003, 2009) ‘Jean Lave, Etienne Wenger and communities of practice’, the encyclopedia of informal education, www.infed.org/biblio/communities_of_practice.htm.
Whitby, T. (October 6, 2014). "The Connected Educator: All About Connectedness". Retrieved from: https://www.edutopia.org/blog/connected-educator-all-about-connectedness-tom-whitby
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Social Media can be an amazing tool, even for our youngest learners. Nelson Mandela stated: "Education is the most powerful weapon, which you can use to change the world". The tools available to make transformative change in the educational world of today's children are amazing. When coming out of my education program in just 2005, I could have never imagined using a mobile technology device (iPad) as a foundational aspect of my first grade classroom. I would have laughed when imagining my young students creating digital artifacts ,such as movies, about their understandings and wonderings which they would then share with student's across the world through blogging and Twitter. I mean it's called Twitter. Who could have imagined?!? As educators we have to be life long learners. That is a term that I have used in many interviews. It is almost a required term to drop in today's hiring process. Technology is certainly a part of an educator's lifelong growth, and social media is a pivotal tool and instructional practice in today's classrooms. Students need to feel ownership of their learning, and sharing and collaborating are crucial skills in that process. Why wouldn't we utilize tools that make students authentic audience...the world!!
My expectation for this dive into the deep end of social media learning is to learn how to use social media to make a bigger impact in the educational world both for my future students and for myself. Blogging and sharing is a passion of mine and I truly want to improve so I can share my passions with more educators around the world. I am looking forward to a new educational learning journey this fall and I hope you see the impact I hope to create on this blog and beyond.
I just created a lesson that people in iPad classrooms might want to try this year! This was a grade school assignment but I figured I would post here too!
Teacher: Jake Lee
Lesson Title: SeeSaw Blogging Fun
Grade Level: First Grade
Lesson Type: Beginning of School Year
Technology Environment: 1 to 1 iPad Classroom
Blogging Platform: SeeSaw Class Blogs
Students will have learned how to create digital artifacts using the app Book Creator. They will have created a digital story called “5 Things to Know About Me” in our writer’s workshop time. Students will also have practiced adding items to their SeeSaw Learning Journal. This lesson’s focus will be on learning to hit the “blog” button to add an item to our classroom blog. This lesson will also be a chance to practice using digital citizenship as students comment on each other’s blog.
Lesson Flow: This lesson will be done in 3 parts either in the same day or different days.
Part 1: Adding item to SeeSaw
Part 2: How to comment responsibly
Part 3: Commenting on our classroom blog
I will also guide parents to visit our classroom blog to see the student’s interactions. I always hope that the students commenting will also guide and be a model to parents as they comment on their child’s learning journal and our classroom blog. Also, I always leave a portion of my back to school night to speak to parents about commenting on their child’s work. Parents are encouraged to keep it constructive and positive. I like to have this lesson complete so I can share it with parents as a model lesson.
I am about to embark on a year of creating, blogging, and presenting content for families. I believe in the true value of parent's "connecting" with their kids as co-creators with their technology tools. Children need to learn that mobile devices and tablets are not only means for consumption. The true power of mobile devices lie in the ability for kids to document the world around them while creating amazing multimedia digital artifacts using this technology. So I present at conference called HomeDadCon in September where I will present activities and ideas for parents to create with their kids using mobile technology. Kids today need their parents to be positive media mentors so I am hoping the presentation I am creating will help build on this necessity. So I have a questions as I build this presentation.
What mobile device does your family use?
The results from the poll will help me as I build my presentation this month.
As I embark on my first full school year at home with my family, I am beginning to brainstorm ideas on how to stay active in the educational technology community. Seeing as I will be a full-time parent, transitioning my technology lens from teacher to parent seems to be the sweet spot for my future development as a blogger and presenter. So how do I view a parent's role in technology?
Disclaimer as I continue, but I am educational technology fanboy who was a first grade teacher for over a decade. I present at conferences on technology integration and am an Apple Distinguished Educator, so I know the power 21st century technology tools hold in a classroom setting. I am constantly witnessing amazing projects from my peers that truly leave me inspired and in awe.
But that is in the classroom. It is always somewhat hilarious to me that I can leave a classroom where kids created movies about field trips or coded a game for their peers or designed a game for a robot they coded and walk through my door at home with so much angst about my own child’s technology use.
Because while in the classroom there is clear expectation that technology tools are being used to enhance the curriculum or focus on academic tasks, we know at home that it’s not that simple! Because at home there is laundry, dishes, vacuuming, random morning where kids wake up at 5:00 am, and god forbid a moment where you want to have an adult conversation at a meal. There is also the parent on parent crime of judgment about how much your kids are on their devices. Don’t act high and mighty. We have all been there people.
The American Academy of Pediatrics just updated their recommendations on technology use and screen time for kids. And while they highlight the need for monitoring your child’s technology use when they say ““Families should proactively think about their children’s media use and talk with children about it, because too much media use can mean that children don’t have enough time during the day to play, study, talk, or sleep,” Which could easily be construed to say “look technology is keeping our kids from sleeping, talking, playing, eating. However makes an important statement when they say: “What’s most important is that parents be their child’s ‘media mentor.’ That means teaching them how to use it as a tool to create, connect and learn.”
So my family just moved from Oregon and I am dedicating myself to this transition. We are raising former foster kids so helping them adjust and settle is necessary. However, it also provided me the opportunity to work on a passion project, which happens to be creating video and tutorials on how parents can become the “media mentors” that their children need. So stay tuned and follow me on Twitter and check out my YouTube Channel because when your child starts to become a content creator who is documenting your family’s adventures then you can relieve yourself of some of that technology parent guilt and technology can become another thing that brings your family together.
I leave you with a little adventure my five year old and I took the other afternoon using the Green Screen App by Do Ink to give you a little idea about what I’m all about and some of the adventures I hope to take you all on in the next few months. Here's to a new blogging focus!!!
With all this talk of blogging and tweeting online with our kiddos, I always have digital citizenship on my mind. A core part of each child's development is social interaction. In our new digital world, we are also having to add online interactions into the developmental fray. Anyone with a smartphone has probably run into tricky social situations with online communication. It is so easy to text or message people in today's world. Many of those messages happen when we are joyful and happy! But most of us have had those dreaded text or message "arguments" where it so hard to interpret the tone, meaning, and purpose of their texts.
Did they just message that?
What the heck was that emoji?
Was that rude or them just being funny?
Without seeing the person and hearing their tone, it is so hard to truly know what they mean even as adults. Now, we are sending kids out to thes online platforms on their iPads, Xbox, and tons of other technology tools during key stages in their social development. Digital Citizenship needs to be a mandated part of curriculum starting at a young age. The more we prepare our children the better chance we have to avoid any possible trouble in the future. Common Sense Media has an amazing curriculum to aid teachers in teaching this vital topic. You can find the curriculum here.
They also have some great videos that you can use with your kids to start meaningful conversations in your classrooms. Here are a few of my favorites below and the descriptions will even tell you what curriculum unit the video ties to!
What ways do you teach digital citizenship in your classroom? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below.
I am going to be honest...I have absolutely loved teaching with Apple iOS devices. iPads transformed my teaching and took my classroom learning to new heights! I taught at an independent school in Hawaii that has a lot of funding and resources so I was able to pilot and implement a 2:1 iPad program as well as a 1:1 iPad program. I became an Apple Distinguished Educator which connected me to so many amazing educators who were also were transforming the learning process with Apple technology.
However, I recently moved my family to Oregon and I have observed that many of the schools and districts here are implementing and touting 1:1 Chromebook classrooms. I am familiar with the Google Suite of apps and know it's power for collaborating and sharing work. However, I am not too familiar with the creative possibilities these devices hold. I am completely open to learning the creative opportunities, especially with younger/primary level children. So I did some research on the iPad vs. Chromebook....
With anything, there seems be a big debate. I found an article on EdSurge by Joshua Kim that argues Chromebooks over iPads. You can find the article here.
The author use to be an Apple advocate for 1:1 iOS programs, but seems to have recently switched and outlines 3 reasons why. Reason 1 was that Chromebooks were for creating and iPads were for consuming. Ok, so he lost me there! It seems like quite the opposite to me. iPads have so many different creation and creativity based apps. The iPad has 2 cameras and is mobile! Elementary aged students can create and share so easily. I say this as someone who taught in an Apple classroom and can provide you tons of examples of kids creating and consuming. I do have an Apple bias. However, if the writer comes right out of the gate and suggests that iPads are only for consuming, then I just have to disagree and shake my head. The writers suggests that Chromebooks do not keep kids only in apps and let's them connect and find information from the web. This is a fair point, but I come at this from the lens of a primary level teacher where I prefer my kids in grades K-5 to be in apps rather than exploring the entire web. The final reason is the access to Google Suite of apps. The author acts as thought this final most powerful point. However, iPads have a Google Chrome app as well as all the Google Suite apps. So I am evolving my thought and creative process to include Chromebooks, but I am going to need a more convincing argument then they one Mr. Kim puts forth.
He references and I read another article that is pro-iPad for 1:1 programs by Tim Holt. You can find that article here.
The premise of his article is that there is no real debate between iPads and Chromebooks because they are different. The iPad is a mobile device and the Chromebook a laptop. He says it comes down to cost which I completely agree with and understand. Cost is a huge factor when selecting technology tools! Tim Holt outlines all the amazing possibilities hold and end the article with this point:
"If you listen to folks talk about Chromebooks, it is almost never in terms of what students can do with the device. Instead, it's almost always about how the devices can be managed (old school IT department thinking) and how low the cost is (finance department academic decision-making), or how it integrates with Google Docs which is code for, “It can do almost everything Microsoft Office does.” That conversation has to change--especially if the “bring-your-own-device” mentality takes off in school districts.
I am really open to learning more about Chromebooks seeing as I will most likely land in a district next year that is using them. So I am going to end this post with a poll. What type of technology does your school and district implement? Please answer and leave any thoughts about this debate in the comments below.
Check out these amazing teaching and learning blogs
Michael Fricano's Blog
2 Guys and Some iPads
Kristin Ziemke's Page
Don Goble's Blog
Mrs. Wideen's Blog