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Wiki Reflection Blog

For the past couple of weeks, I have worked collaboratively with a few classmates around the nation on an assignment regarding bring your own device (BYOD).   We initially met on a Google Hangout to plan our sections and execution of the assignment.  Before this, I had only used Google Hangout for personal or work conference calls.  I was giddy with excitement over meeting new people through the internet.  As team leader, I created the Wiki for us and began the sections for us to brainstorm.  We collaboratively created an outline, pulled resources in APA style and added to a summary throughout the week.  After some revisions, I compiled our thoughts into a Word document and emailed it to our group.  The second week, due to conflicts, I was only able to collaborate with one person in my group on a hangout, but we were able to discuss directions and create a timeline of when projects needed to be due.  During this week, my group worked by sharing ideas and articles over email.  This week, we all were able to meet through a Google Hangout (for an hour) to discuss any hiccups, items still needed and a revised timeline.  Yesterday, I emailed one of our peer groups to let them know that we would have a draft of our assignment to submit to them tomorrow evening.   My job in the next couple of days as a team lead is going to read over my group’s work, provide feedback, mesh some of my research (professional development and curriculum) into the sections in a coherent fashion, add in multimedia and write and introduction and conclusion.  Afterwards, I will submit our draft to a peer group through email and copy my group.  Afterwards, our plan is to make revisions and have the final copy submitted on Sunday as well as offering it to a journal.  Our fingers are crossed that our time and effort will be published.

I am a HUGE advocate of CCSS, which encourages the use of collaborative group work with tasks.  This experience has opened my eyes that this process is not limited to a classroom and can be done around the nation/world through technology.  Currently, I have an awesome group, so this experience has left me hungry for doing more cooperative group projects via the internet which in turn supports our research in BYOD.  I can also see this process working in professional development (my passion) as well as all educational courses (K-Higher Ed).

Muddiest Point Blog

As I watched a video on copyright this week, I had a couple of questions come to my mind.  The “muddiest” point that I encountered; however,  is the issue of fair use on the internet.  Fair use on the internet seems to be a fine line between the author’s permission and public demand.  Authors of articles posted on the internet have control of how many uses are available.  For instance, a author can freely allow up to twenty accesses to their link before charging.  My question in this matter is in the realm of screen capturing an image, article, etc..  When a person unethically screen shots an item from a link and posts it to social media (Pinterest, Facebook, etc.), can it be tracked and shut down to accommodate the copyright laws?  Also, how many times could this article be used in reviews, publications, etc. before it is too many?  I am thinking that if you are in doubt of violating a copyright issue, ask permission from the author, do not presume.

I am hoping to venture more into professional development through the internet (webinars, coaching, etc.) in the next couple of years.  After looking into this issue this week, I am determined to find a way to block future works from being “overly publicized” (codes, partner with professional online communities, etc.).  The thought of spending a ton of time developing and implementing a training and getting no credit or it duplicated is gut wrenching.  Technology opens up a world of opportunities to us, but we MUST safeguard ourselves against the copyright issues as well.

Understanding the Trend of BYOD


Most Important Theory

The engagement theory (conceptual framework) in technology-based learning and teaching is based on the collaboration with others in a meaningful task.  This theory is constructive in approach, which focuses on self-directed and discovery learning.  The engagement theory is based on three components: project-based, have a real purpose and can be accomplished in collaborative teams.  This theory demands human interaction shifting the students to using technology as a tool for communication rather than a delivery device to send files.

This theory appeals to me with the implementation of Common Core State Standards.  Within CCSS in mathematics, students are encouraged to work collaboratively on projects (tasks), which are real life situations.  The students must communicate their thinking not only to their cooperative group, but often times to the entire class to persuade/defend their groups’ way of thinking.   The engagement theory supports the mathematical practice standards daily.

The engagement theory meshes well with BYOD (bring your own device), a rapid technology trend among school systems due to the economy.  Students, when combining this theory and BYOD, will use their devices to communicate with their group on projects both in and outside of the classroom (via email, wiki, Skype, etc.).  In these formats, groups are also able to share research (links, thoughts, images, etc).  This theory also works in distance education.  In my current class, EDUC 639, groups are working together through wikis, email and Skype/Google+ on a collaborative project.  This technological theory (which supports the CCSS framework) is working well even with students collaborating across the nation.

Kearsley, G., & Shneiderman, B. (1998). Engagement Theory: A Framework for Technology.  Educational Technology , 38 (5), 20-23.

The Most Important Point

The person I chose to interview is an innovator in product development (including technological advancement), an experienced trainer in distance learning and a liaison between professional organizations and thought leaders. She has been in the educational field for 26 years as a teacher, professor, and consultant and currently in educational publishing. During this interview, she discussed the trend of technology intertwined with Common Core State Standards. Both of these items are important to her field since she writes proposals to speak at national conferences as well as product development. By using technology, educators can “share resources and research on CCSS across state lines”. She stated that technology “increases access, speed and accuracy of repetitive tasks” well, but if we are not careful, society will loose the ability to reflect. She also discussed the fact that technology was not a cure for the gaps in education but a tool. She fears; however, that those systems without updated technology (poverty areas) will not be able to communicate during the CCSS implementation and create more cracks. This interview made me reflect on this issue in a way that I have not yet pondered: Will poverty areas fall behind during this CCSS implementation due to technology funding? Do these areas qualify for grants? How will poverty areas (implementing CCSS) be able to assess with PARCC (the written test is more expensive than the computer-based)? Will BYOD be the “cure all” for this dilemma?

Do you think this is a problem that we will experience nation-wide? If so, what can we do to solve this?

EDUC 639 Introductory Video Blog

Top 7 Questions from Differentiating with Manipulatives Session

Last week I spoke at the North Carolina Mathematics Conference.  I had a full session for Differentiating with Manipulatives in the INTERactive Classroom (6-8).  At the end of the session I asked for a “Ticket Out the Door” as my formative assessment.  During this time, I asked the participants to complete a 3-2-1 strategy (3 items they learned, 2 items they want to implement immediately and 1 question they still may have).  Here is a list of the top 7 questions I received.
  • Other than Friday Freebies on Facebook, are there any other ways to get materials for my students (manipulatives)?
Great timing on this question! ETA hand2mind has a GRANT opportunity open until November 13th for $1000 worth of materials to help you implement CCSS.  Here are the details:
Also, donors choose is a GREAT program: (ETA hand2mind will compile a list for you so you can submit your needs to this program)
  • How do I level students?
Use a quick formative assessment at the beginning of the class or your “Ticket Out the Doors” from the day previous.  The results should aid you in tiering your groups.  Your groups will be different every day.
  • How do I use Algeblocks? How do I use the circle fraction pieces?

ETA hand2mind is  currently compiling new “How To Use” videos, but until they are publicized…please “Google” search these questions.  You will find “how to” videos on YouTube (including some older ones from ETA hand2mind) for both of these items (and other manipulative you have in your classroom).

  • What manipulatives are best for younger students?
ETA hand2mind has a Kindergarten edition of VersaTiles that are easier for those students to maneuver.  Other than VersaTiles, the manipulatives are the same P-12 grade.  For example, Base Ten Blocks are used in Kindergarten to teach number sense while they are used in middle school for decimals, fractions, square roots, etc.
  • Can I use manipulatives in every unit I teach?  Will it take too much time?
YES, please use them in EVERY unit you teach and NO, it will not take up too much time.  Great question! The CRA method (Concrete-Representational-Abstract) is research-based.  Students will retain the information and understand the “math behind it” if they are allowed to explore/discover the algorithm themselves.  You will find that the process may be different (allowing for less student practice), but test scores will soar.  :-)
You will not use manipulatives every day…you want to transfer students to the representational piece then to the abstract only when they are ready.
  • How can I best support Math Teachers through the use of materials?
Model and model some more.  :-)
I highly recommend you use your PLC (PLN) time to do a Super Source or Hands On Standards task as if they were the students.  Have them work in partners and require (pictures-numbers-words) as we used in our session.  They will understand the importance and the rigor involved once they experience the problem “hands-on” themselves.
  • Can I get a list of materials we used?

Of course….here is a link to all of the physical & virtual manipulatives we used (or discussed) in our session:

Materials Used:
Now!Board (as we discussed)
Do you have any questions regarding manipulatives?  If so, comment below and I will do my best to answer them (or find someone who can).  :-)

Stephanie Introducing VersaTiles!

Moving from Textbooks to Tech-Books

I originally wrote this post in July but it is even more relevant in light of the recent announcement by Apple on it’s iPad textbook initiative. You can fin out more about the Apple announcement HERE!

 ~Matt Shultz

Earlier this year Georgia State Senator Tommie Williams proposed that middle school students ditch those heavy backpacks stuffed with textbooks and that they be issued iPads as replacements.  This would provide for a better learning experience and could also lead to a cost savings as well.  School systems across the state adopt textbooks now on a 7 year adoption cycle. This adoption cycle is done for every academic subject that is covered in our schools. These adoptions can often cost millions of dollars per subject area and quickly become out of date once major events or discoveries happen throughout the world. There is a better more engaging solution and that is moving towards innovation and incorporating technology into our classrooms.

The cost of the iPads would be a significant expense initially but after the purchase the savings begin on not having the future textbook adoptions.  The cost of the Apps would be much cheaper in the long run and many of the best apps for students can be found for free.
The iPad would offer a number of opportunities for students and teachers to learn in different ways. There are critics who point out that this technology would be difficult to control and students would venture out to social media or other none academic websites.  Teachers around the country are already incorporating Twitter and Facebook into instruction because of the number of students who bring web enabled devices to school currently.  One place that school systems see money disappear right now is the cost to replace lost or damaged text books. During my time on the school board in Cartersville I saw this figure range from $30,000-$100,000 in certain years.  There would be loss and damage to the iPads as well but students would take better care of these devices because they would value them more.  The cost to replace these devices would in the end probably be a wash.

I currently use an iPad for my business and I have been amazed at the speed at which my employer can update the apps that we use day in and day out.  Scaling this to student use would allow our kids to be using cutting edge technology everyday and never haver to use information that is years out of date and irrelevant.  These devices can also be used as student response systems or “clickers” that many school systems are currently investing thousands of dollars in per classroom. In this season of difficult budgetary times we must start looking to technology to increase rigor and save taxpayer resources.

Technology alone will never be the answer but it will increase the engagement rate of our students and that may be more than more than half the battle. Public schools are under attack and our leaders must continue to innovate so that we are preparing students to lead in a rapidly changing technology driven world.  Through targeted innovation like iPads in the classroom we can begin to transform ALL public schools into centers of advancement & discovery…not just the chosen elite with “special” charters.

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