Session one

Being able to bring technology into my classroom is something that I am always excited about.  After the first session my excitement grew as I knew there would be countless ways that I can have my students get immersed into technology in a school setting.  They all know about video games and what input to put the tv to in order to start playing, what I hoped to do was harness that excitement and knowledge and bring it into a classroom learning setting.  After the first session I was able to fool around with the iPad and come up with some cool ways to use it in my class getting my students into it right away.  This only confirmed that it was a great decision to join this project, to benefit my students in many different ways.

I had joined Twitter a while ago and to be honest wasn’t that taken with it.  I kind of felt it was more for letting people what you were doing.  I didn’t (and still don’t) think anyone cares that I went to the grocery store and then the gym, so I didn’t use it.  What I failed to realize is that it is a great way to communicate ideas and gather resources from other educators around the world.  After the first session I tried to put up articles that I had read and found interesting to see what other people thought, and it was awesome to get some conversation going, especially with our new report card and the article that I found denouncing the report card as a whole.  It was perfect timing.  I also posted a couple questions to the twitter world with regards to some resources I was hoping to use.  Within minutes in both cases I had an answer.  It was incredible. Even though we are all so busy with report cards, parents, sports teams, etc I know that I am going to try and utilize this tool more and more.

As for moving on and what I hope to gain from this experience, I think that I am trying to keep an open mind and roll with the punches to use a cliche.  I am interested in what there is to learn and excited to implement it into my classroom as much as possible.

Learning Leader

When I first read the email describing the learning leader project I knew it was something I wanted to do. I have always believed in technology as a learning tool but have never really known how I could incorporate the iPad as a learning tool as well.  In saying this, I will be the first to admit that I have never taken it upon myself to search for ways in which an iPad can be used other than a personal device. However, over the past month I have found that not only have I been using the apps we were asked to download, but I have also been looking for more that would be beneficial to both my students as well as myself…I am going to attribute this to having my interest peaked at the first session back in October! I guess to summarize, I could simply say that I am really looking forward to using my iPad for more than just surfing the Internet and can already see all the possibilities with it!

I knew coming into this that Twitter was going to be a big part of the experience. I signed up for Twitter last year with the intention of using it all the time, but I quickly turned into a “lurker” and then essentially stopped doing anything with it. In reflecting about this, I think the reason for this is because overall I am a very private person and I wasn’t sure how I felt about having my thoughts and questions all over the Internet. I know that Twitter is a great tool for connecting, sharing resources and so much more as I have seen the power of it through people I know. Here is where I need help (and am willing to admit it)…my goal is to open up and start using Twitter on a regular basis, but I am going to need to continually be pushed to do so until I begin to be more comfortable with the whole idea of it! So, please push me to use it…I know I will thank whoever does later!


Final Reflection

How can I fit all that I have learned into one small blog post?  It seems an impossible task.

I have spent the past year learning so many new things.  I will try to use my higher level thinking and rank them from least to most important things that I have learnt over the past year.

5. How to use an ipad and be comfortable using one. Confidence is key.

4.Ipad are not just for games.  They are tools of learning and for learning.  It was great to use them as cameras, video cameras, and tools to strengthen lessons.

3.How to be connected.  There are many ways to talk and share over the internet.  I now have many resources to go to if I need to ask, share or talk with someone about my idea or one I am looking for. Twitter is no longer a word that I roll my eyes to when I hear someone mention it.  It is now a place where I can  quickly jump on, check and connet myself to a world wide web of teacher and educators.

2.Apps – They are so many great apps.  The possibilities are endless.  How creative would you like to be?  Well, apps are great ways to support a lesson and allow the students to it to the next level.  Apps for games, creating, tools, recording, etc, etc.

1. Being open and willing to try new technology.  I have bought in.  Have you?  What is stopping you from getting on board?  This year are made me a better teacher by allowing me to grow in many different forms of technology.  If it wasn’t for the learning leader group, I think I would missed the boat and been stuck in the past.

Ideas that I have done:

  • Pictures to find geometry shapes around the school
  • Recording radio plays on evernote
  • Recording high five routines in gym and watching them later
  • Creating a movie clip on imovie as a teaser for other classes of our upcoming play
  • Taking pictures of PD session presentations that needed to written down
  • Assessaiblity of having an ipad with me to check emails, go online, get connected
  • Use twitter to ask for ideas, help or find answers to my questions
  • Use evernote to easily record ideas and be able to asscess them from all different places
  • Allow my students to explore apps to get them interested
  • Use ipads as mirrors when reading and practice presenting
  • Recording instructions of a big project for students missing that class
  • Recording a conversation, with permission, when I was not able to be there
  • Art ideas through apps
  • Classical music to play in the background when working
  • Music to play off youtube in gym class
  • Record student’s reflections and ideas as a parent center at our heritage lunch so parents can hear their ideas.
  • Take a picture and use it for Art

Learning Leader Session 4 (Overview and Information)

As this session will be done totally online, please comment on the bottom when you are done going through the material with either a general comment, or something specific to the content.  Please feel free to ask questions or share your thoughts with others to spur on some conversation.

1.  Joe’s Non-Netbook – This video is a great one for discussion with students and educators to show how ‘text’ may not have the same feel as an iPad or computer with the lack of interactivity.  Check out this short, funny video done by students:

2. ShowMe – ShowMe is a great iPad app for creating video tutorials on different content, but you can also easily create presentations using pictures and upload them as videos to the web.  These videos can be shared and embedded into different websites, but below is a tutorial on how to create a slideshow using this app:

Before you make a video, you may want to check out what content is already at the “ShowMe” community.

3.  SoundCloud – SoundCloud is a great audio recording site that works not only from a computer, but also Apple Devices as well.  This can be used for students reading books live and putting into a portfolio, recording lectures or talks, or making easy podcasts.  There is simply a”record” button that will save your audio on your iPad, but be aware that this will be posted onto a website.

The nice thing about this, is that the content can be easily shared on Twitter, a blog, or Facebook.  You can also record music or any type of audio file.  Below is a SoundCloud tutorial on how to create a recording from a computer:

This short video will also show you how to easily embed a SoundCloud file into your blog.

Here are some questions for this session:

1. What are you thoughts on “Joe’s Non-Netbook”?

2. What are some ways you can use ShowMe in your classroom with either staff or students?

3. What are some ways could you use SoundCloud with either staff or students?

Thanks for your dedication to this project!  Details for the next session will come out in May!

Endless Possibilities

I consider myself decently proficient when it comes to technology; however, when it comes to the amount of tech tools and ideas and the rate in which change in this area occurs, I realize the possibilities are truly endless. The amount of knowledge and skills I possess in this area is minuscule in comparison. I think that is part of the reason why I am so intrigued with tech stuff. There is always going to be something else that surprises me. My learning will never end. I was reminded of this again as I attended an iPad for administrators session led by @nlakusta where I learned about a number of new apps, tips, and tricks with the iPad.

One of the cool resources she shared was a collaborative Google presentation called 103 Interesting Ways To Use Ipad In The Classroom. Check it out!


In my adventures in iPad apps, I have consistently ran into the same problem.  What do you do when you have a great app you would like students to use for a project when not all students have and iPad?  In my iPad adventures, I have found that several of the Interactive Whiteboard apps have amazing potential to be linked to project-based learning but virtually all of them involve owning an iPad.  Now, with the iPad 2 now selling for a cool $419.00, the price is dropping but the majority of students still do not possess these nifty devices.

So I began searching for apps that students could use on an iPad or on a computer.  One of my administrators, directed me to a cool app called Voicethread.  The program allows you to upload pictures and make handwritten annotations on the picture while also recording your voice or recording video.  You can upload several pictures to make a sort of…well…story.  As a language teacher, I thought that this would be a great tool to use for my Japanese class, so I pitched it as an optional way to complete the Japanese Festival Project in my Japanese 30 class.  Many of the students opted out of using the new app and stuck with the familiar PowerPoint program but I did have a couple of students who gave the new program a shot and it made marking an absolute breeze!  The students who used the program used it in two different ways.  The first did it on her computer and was not able to make the written annotations but was able to record her voice while advancing through her uploaded pictures.  The second student actually used his Blackberry tablet to complete the assignment and he was able to make written annotations while also recording his voice.  While it was unfortunate that the written annotations were not available using a computer, I was pleased that a $199 device like the Blackberry tablet was able to incorporate this feature (a world of caution…one thing that some of you may not like about Voicethread is that you are not able to get the video as a file. You instead, have to share the link which does not allow you to save the video file.  Although this is typical to almost all of the interactive whiteboard apps out there, it is still something that I believe limits the flexibility of this particular application.  In addition, if you want to see one of the videos that your student has shared with you, you must already have a Voicethread account to watch the video.).


Flipped Classrooms

“Flip your instruction so that students watch and listen to your lectures… for homework, and then use your precious class-time for what previously, often, was done in homework: tackling difficult problems, working in groups, researching, collaborating, crafting and creating. Classrooms become laboratories or studios, and yet content delivery is preserved.” (

This reminds me of university.  When professors handed out reading assignments with a timeline and would just move through the material whether you read it or not.  I was responsible, enough, to do my readings.  I have some students who struggle to bring enough food in their lunch, never mind listen to a 20 minute video on Capacity.  I work hard to keep everyone’s attention during discussions, using cues to listen, proximity to refocus and strategies to maintain good classroom management.

Questions I have:

  • Who will be making sure the students are actually paying attention and are engaged in the video?
  • What ages are kids expect to do this at home?  Is this a high school or Jr. High or even elementary?
  • How can we expect or what time expectation should each student be doing at night?
  • How can we plan a lesson if students do not do their homework? Do they just fall behind?
  • What if the technology fails, dial up is still in use, or some kids do not have access to the computer for a long time?
  • How do families with many children share the computer when everyone needs to do their homework before the next day?
  • What will parents think of this?
  • What roles do teacher play? Can the teacher then become replaced?  Couldn’t we just buy a video?
  • Would classroom size change?
  • Are teachers ok with being viewed by parents and anyone with access to that USB stick or website?

There is a lot to think about.   Perhaps we could have a flipped teacher?

Flip your teaching so that students watch and listen to your lectures……from the comfort of your own home?  Lol ok a little sarcastic but the technology isn’t really that far off.  With Ipads we can use Apple T.V. to watch and write on students Ipads from a remote location.  Would a flipped classroom end up being a threat to teacher jobs? Even with the technology we have,we are not there….. Yet.

iPad’s and Music

Can devices like the iPad work in music programs in school?  This is one of the questions I asked after I installed the iRig app on my iPad.  iRig is an application that allows you to plug your bass or guitar into your iPad and use the pre-installed effects on the app to play your guitar.  iRig itself is a 1/4 inch adapter interface for your guitar that you can purchase at pretty much any electronics shop around for about $40.00.  Once you have the adapter you simply go to th App Store and install the iRig app for free.  Once you have set up an account with iRig you will be able to jam away!

Upon playing around with the application, I realized that there were other several useful tools like the multi-track recorder that could be used to either upload music onto to jam with or record your own original work.  Of course to tap into many of these features iRig expects you to front up the funds to unlock them however, the effects are far more cheaper than purchasing the effects pedals at our local music shop.

I began to wonder if applications such as these could have any place in a school music program.  Many programs are cancelled due to lack of funding for musical equipment.  I see the iPad being a useful tool to overcome issues such as these. Of course when it comes to doing concert bands or larger ensembles, sometimes there is just nothing that can replace the real thing, but for music programs that focus on guitar, bass, keyboards, etc., applications like this could have some real potential.

If iPad ever comes up with an application that allows several users to plug into one hub together to jam together virtually with headphones on…mom’s and dad’s around the world would surely rejoice!

A Picture’s Worth 1000 Words

Recently, we had Grade 8 students working in small groups create cyberbullying presentations to share with our Grade 5 and 6 students.  While they presented to their own LA classes, I recorded their audience particpation on my iPad.  It was AMAZING!  At first students were “performing” for the recording but eventually they forgot I was there.  The data I collected was fabulous.  For the vast majority of our students it reinforced our perception of their listening skills but for some it was eye-opening.  When I shared some of the recordings with individual students they were unaware of their behaviour – they really did need to be able to see it to believe it! A picture is worth a thousand words!!

Prep: Learning Leader Program: Session 1

We are looking forward to our first cohort session for the Learning Leader program starting on either November 30 or December 1 (depending on your preference).  As discussed in the first post, please ensure that you have the following completed:


  1. Set up a Twitter account.
  2. Set up an “Evernote” account.
  3. Read the following blog post: The Blended PLC.  This will be the model of this group.  There is a blogging component.
  4. Fill out this survey when you are done the above 3 steps: Learning Leader Survey

As the focus of this program is to build towards becoming a networked teacher, a lot of our time will be spent creating our own digital identity, and having an opportunity to connect with educators all over the world to build a Professional Learning Network (PLN).  Below is a diagram of the “Networked Teacher”:

cc licensed ( BY NC SD ) flickr photo shared by courosa


Although some of our work will be using the iPad, it is not the “focus” of the program.  With that being said, please bring both your iPad and a laptop to the first session.

Below is the (planned) agenda for Session 1 (4-5:30):

    1. Introductions
    2. Using Evernote (iPad)
    3. Writing a blog post on the “Learning Leader Blog”
    4. Twitter (if time)

You will be sent some information prior to arriving to the session to login to the Learning Leader blog.  Please ensure that you keep that email so that you are able to contribute to the blog.

I am very excited about this opportunity. If you are interested, I encourage you to look at this Dean Shareski video on “Sharing” that has made a huge impact on my own learning. Again, this is optional, but it is definitely worth the time to watch.

If you have any questions that you feel may be applicable to the whole group, please feel free to write them in the comment section.

See you next week!