Sunday, July 31, 2016

Unit 4 Final Project- Visual Literacy

How does Visual Literacy fit in with Global Collaboration, Project Based Learning and Flipped Learning?
Visual Literacy plays a huge role in 21st century learning. It is a hugely important skill that both students and adults need to learn. Here is my response to the prompt, "Why is being visually literate important for your students?" from the beginning of this unit with connections to Global Collaboration, PBL, and Flipped Learning:
Our world is becoming more and more image focused- emojis, Snapchat, Instagram are all visual ways in which we communicate with each other.  Our kids and students are growing up in this world of quickly sending and receiving images to convey and interpret meaning (Global Collaboration).  Many of them are not privy to handwriting letters or taking pictures with 35mm film.  As Brian Kennedy of the Hood Museum stated, “Everything is an image.”

Thus, Visual Literacy is important for our us and our students.  The Common Core Standards stress the importance of literacy in a variety of modes; we want students (and teachers, alike) to critically think about what they see, hear, and read.  With Photoshop (which I adore) and other photo editing software it is easy to alter images to our own preference and convey a meaning that may be different from the original picture.

Our students need to comprehend not only the content of images, but also accuracy of them.  Rob Legato’s Ted Talk hit this perfectly.  When watching Apollo 13 or Titanic, is important to question and understand that everything being seen may not be authentic experiences.  After all, they didn’t resurrect the Titanic to make the movie.  This can bring about curiosity in ourselves and our students to wonder “how did they do that?” (Problem Based Learning- using a guiding question to solve a problem.)

Analyzing images means looking beyond the initial view and going deeper; this is reading.  Reading of text or reading of images.  When we read a text we may know the main idea or theme, but have to use details within the pages to support other underlying themes.  Beginning readers are all about visual- they read the pictures before text and eventually use, and are encouraged to use, pictures to identify unknown words when reading.  Listen to any emerging reader and they will read a book entirely by looking at the pictures.  Images are everything to them.  It is important that we all (students and teachers alike) are visually literate to interpret, question, and comprehend the world around us. (Flipped Learning- using and initially interpreting an image before a lesson or having students look for an image that meets the objective.)

I love Brian Kennedy's quote- "Everything is an image."  It's not something that we can teach if we have time, it's a crucial element of 21 century learning.  The conversations, questions, critical thinking skills, and ideas that will be heard and shared in classrooms (and among teachers in professional development settings) will greatly enhance any classroom.  Combine Visual Literacy with the Common Core Standards, multi-discipline topics, and technology and you will create a classroom of excited and passionate students/teachers who can analyze, synthesize, and conceptualize topics deeply and thoughtfully.

That's the kind of classroom I want to teach and the classroom I want my kids to be a part of!

My Final Project- Google Certified Educator Level 1 Infographic

Video Explanation


Sunday, July 17, 2016

Unit 3 Final Project: Flipped Learning

Final Reflection: What impact does Flipped Learning have on your classroom? How can Flipped Learning empower you as a teacher?

Being able to flip the learning that happens with teachers really excites me!  I provide a lot of 1-hour after school professional development session in my district and I want teachers to walk away with something they can immediately use the next day in class.  However, 1 hour is not a long time!  I feel that most of the time we have together is spent with the 'basics' or the 'how-tos' of content- especially when it comes to technology.  Being able to use the technology is one thing, but being able to apply and integrate it into instruction is where the real magic happens!

There are so, so many online tutorial videos for software and websites that making teachers come together to view them seems wasteful.  If the teachers could view and learn the information (short bits of information would be best) before meeting face to face that would drastically change the culture and content of the pd sessions.  Time could be spent discussing implications for the website or software in the classroom and working out the little kinks of operating the software along the way.

Having teachers view and interact with "how-tp" content would empower them the next time they want to learn how a site works.  After experiencing several flipped pd sessions, they would be able to see the power of the flipped environment and how they might use that within their classrooms.  Discussions would be richer, ideas would flow, and I know teachers would walk away from each pd session with a lesson or idea to implement the next day!

Flipped Learning Matrix

Flipped Learning- QR Code Session

Thank you for registering for the QR Codes in the Classroom session!  Before we meet, please take a moment to watch the following videos and install the url shortener on your Chromebook.

Saturday, July 2, 2016

Unit 2 Final Project: Project Based Learning

What will student agency look like in your class one year from now?
I would like to continue developing and facilitating professional development sessions for teachers that allow them to find, use, and make sense of information to augment their instruction and increase student engagement with technology in their classroom.  I find there is a fine line between giving teachers necessary skills to use technology (nuts and bolts) and applying the technology in the classroom.  In each of the sessions that I offer, I try to model how to use the technology and then model applying it in the classroom.  This is a lot to accomplish in a 1 hour session!

Next year our district-wide focus for professional development will be technology integration.  Working with all teachers (at all levels) will enable us to get over the nuts and bolts of technology resources and begin to focus on effective integration within our classrooms.  That's where the power of collaborating will truly come in- being able to take a lesson plan developed by one teacher and refine it for your own.  Most technology is not content specific.

Many times I feel teachers get into the 'just tell me what to do' mindset and we lose sight of how we can really change student outcomes.  Giving teachers the power to find and use resources to support the Common Core Standards, but giving teachers the choice of how to use those resources in their classroom is a game changer.   Having an entire district begin to work on effective technology integration next year will probably be messy.  We will need a lot of support, modeling, direct instruction, and more modeling, but we can do it!