Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Carrying Out My GAME Plan


After reading and listening to this week’s resources about Universal Design for Learning (UDL), it is clear that there are a great deal of tools and resources available to teachers in order to reach all students in the classroom (Cennamo, Ross, & Ertmer, 2009).  Just to refresh my colleagues, my GAME plan is focusing on increasing project-based learning through the use of technology and increasing parent communication and involvement through the use of technology. 

In order to carry out my GAME plan, I will need a great deal of resources, many of which are already at my disposal and the disposal of my students.  For my first goal of increasing project-based learning, I have almost everything I need for resources because my students each have their own laptops for 1:1 classroom learning capabilities.  In the budget project example I gave in my last post, students are now able to communicate with experts and conduct research to find out how much they could expect to pay for items such as rent, food, clothing, insurance, and daycare.  The only information I need is more research and development from continued inquiry and dialogue with colleagues at work and in my Walden community.  As mentioned before, I am already involved in an authentic and realistic project with my students and I have several other “real-world” projects in the work such as a stock market project that involves students buying and selling stock on a virtual stock market site.

The second part of my GAME plan involved increasing parent and student communication using technology.  Again, students have many of the resources they need to help carry this plan forward, especially through the Canvas Learning Management System (LMS) that my district now has.  For parent side of communicating with technology, I would like to have more training and dialogue with other educators about how they communicate with parents through digital mediums.  I do have a Facebook page and email for just school but not all parents have those available.  After some informal conversations with colleagues, the suggestion of Edmodo was given as another means of communicating with students and parents.  I am going to continue to pursue more ways of connecting with parents using technology and I feel I have made some progress as I get more additions to Facebook and I do still get emails from parents.  However, I feel I have a long way to go even though I have taken steps to dialogue with parents as much as possible.

One question I have for my Walden colleagues:  Some of my students and parents do not have wireless internet at their house.  How do I maintain communication with them using technology?  In this case, I have resorted to phone calls but are there some other ways I can communicate using the latest technology?  I have thought about using data and texting through cell phones but that would mean giving out my cell phone number freely.  My phone number will not work on Google Voice.  I feel like I am on the right track but I wanted to see if there were any suggestions that I may be missing or forgetting.
 
Resources

Cennamo, K., Ross, J. & Ertmer, P. (2009). Technology integration for meaningful classroom use: A standards-based approach. (Laureate Education, Inc., Custom ed.). Belmont, CA: Wadsworth, Cengage Learning.

4 comments:

  1. Scott,
    I have seen your work with technology throughout our classes together. I know that you will be successful in your GAME plan. You have excellent ideas on projects for your students’ to produce and have an innate ability with the infusion of technology. You mention that your district now has the Canvas Learning Management System (LMS), what is this system? How is it used? What are the benefits? What are the detractors?
    Debbie

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    1. Debbie-
      Thank you for the kind comments, I appreciate it. The Canvas LMS is a software that is out on the "cloud" which means students can access it any place and any time. The company also has an application for it for iPad and iPhones so some of my students have it on their phones too. Basically, Canvas is set up for collaboration and learning with students. It combines the best of a wiki along with the capability to create assignments, quizzes, discussions, and much more. It is similiar to Blackboard, which was one of the candidates for our district upgrade. I get messages from students often about assignments, homework help, and missing work. It is nice for students who miss a day because they can message me and I can send them what we did for the day so they do not fall behind (for the ambitious students at least!). The biggest drawback is that the website will not always work when an internet network is having issues. I was on the committee to select it and it far surpassed any other options, including our lovely Blackboard. Hope this helps, Debbie.

      Scott

      You can look at the Canvas site and a demo here:
      http://www.instructure.com/

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  2. Scott,
    Your ideas for implementing authentic real-world lessons involving technology, sounds awesome. Students tend to get a better understanding of skills and content when it is project based and they have to produce an artifact, so way to go on these projects. With them being able to contact experts for information is also a plus. Your projects will be beneficial to your students as they will need these skills to survive in the real world.

    Since our district does not allow Facebook, most of our parents sign up for our listserv, or for each individual teacher's webpage/Edmodo. I myself will easily call or send an email message if needs be. A few semester back one of our professor would send us messages via text. It did not display our number or hers. I cannot recall who we used but it was awesome, she was able to send us reminders, and we were able to send her direct messages, if we had questions. I could not recall the name of the one she used, however here are a few which I researched, and think they might be of some assistance to you:
    1. Kikutext: http://www.freetech4teachers.com/2012/03/kikutext-keep-parents-updated-about.html#.UF8na41lSSo
    2. ClassParrot: http://classparrot.com/
    3. ClassPager: https://www.classpager.com/
    4. gText: http://www.gtext.com/
    5. SendHub: https://www.sendhub.com/
    6. Remind101: http://remind101.com/
    7. We Txt: http://www.wetxt.com/

    Great Post
    Kerris

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    1. Kerris-
      Thank you so much for resources and comments. As I have been looking around, it seems several people are starting to use Edmodo. Because of this, I think I will research it and maybe give it a try. This could easily replace the Facebook option that I use. Thanks again!

      Scott

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