MS Studios is On the Air Literally

MS Studio Logo

The above logo was created by a student for the station using stock photos from our Google Apps for Education. We collaborated on making it together as he shared it with me and I added the DA logo. Just one part of how the 4 C’s of Creativity, Communication, Collaboration, and Critical Thinking are addressed in this student led project. From their ideas come the shows and images along with thinking how to involve as many students as possible while maintaining confidentially when needed.

We are pleased to share these links with you.
The blog:
http://msstudios.edublogs.org/

The iTunes subscription feed for automatic downloads: Click view in iTunes and then Subscribe
Subscribe to MS Studio Podcasts

If on the iPad it does not show up, search for MS Studios and you will be able to subscribe.

Listen in to what is happening each day and week by students for all of us.

Power to the Pupil!

Learning When Connected

NewImage

http://www.flickr.com/photos/74998608@N00/2540055580

Our school provided all students in grades 5 through 8 with a iPad in August of this year. Teachers received iPads in April to get ready for a year of discovery and learning together. This was not much time to pull our learning community resources together, but all in all, we are in good shape for the journey we are on this year. I am looking forward to the journey ahead of us this year as I like what I am seeing happen with our school.

As the school moved to adopt the iPad, I began to create resources for our teachers, students, and parents. The Mobile Learning Website gave teachers access to resources for finding apps, restructuring their classrooms, forums for discussing concerns and offering suggestions. In addition to this resource, I created a iPad Passport site that was modeled after Montclair Kimberly Academy’s 1:1 Drivers Manual as I thought it was critical that our school start the year with a common language and community norms. I used our school’s Acceptable Use Policy which we revised based on The Nueva School’s Acceptable Use Policy as a guide as I found the approach to be very user friendly and setting a tone of community important as we gave each student an iPad. I used the book, From Fear to Facebook written by then Middle School Director Matt Levinson at Nueva School to help guide the community norms on when and how to use the iPad efficiently and ethically. I incorporated some of Common Sense Media’s curriculum movies and lessons into the iPad Passport to help guide our students on Digital Citizenship. I also helped to build a portal for parents to get information and questions answered. Unfortunately, the Mobile LEarning Website and the iPad Passport are private so I am not able to show them to you. All of the movies from the iPad Passport are on the portal for parents resource page.

The first two days of school had a special schedule that allowed for work by the entire campus on the iPad Passport together. It was sort of surreal to walk into classrooms and see along with hearing myself teaching the entire school. I think our plan has really worked as we have had a pretty smooth first couple of months given the drastic change a device like the iPad brings to a school. We still have kinks to work out and come up with a better solution for what students do with their iPads during our community meetings, but we heading in the right direction.

We did determine a certian number of apps that we felt all students needed to have with Evernote Premium Sponsored Accounts being the main work horse for both teachers and students. Goodreader was also an app that we knew we would need to deal with PDFs and annotations. Since we also use VoiceThread, Mindmeister, BrainPOP, and Google Apps for Education we made sure these apps were on all iPads. Each grade level added apps that they wanted to include as well. 

I have been kept pretty busy each day helping to teach in classrooms, troubleshoot a network issue here and there or just work on creating a workflow for projects we want to do with the students. I am using my sixth grade technology class to experiment with using both iPads and iMacs.

What I love most is how students have stepped into the learning and teaching roles and how teachers have been able to adjust from what was the previous norm. Today, I was helping a student with an Evernote sync issue and did an impromptu lesson on forgetting a network. As I was leaving the room, the teacher went back to her overhead projector which was projecting the vocabulary words for the week. Students already had the words as she had shared them in a shared Evernote notebook. What I noticed and could not have predicted we would use Evernote for is in the image below. Students had figured out and the teacher had given the green light to using the built in dictionary in Evernote. Connecting and learning together is much like learning how to stack blocks. 

EvernoteVocabHelp

Donnelly Think Board Using Google Doc

Donnelly Think Board - Google Docs.jpg

Students never stop amazing me with how quickly they adopt and put into practice new tools. We have been using Google Apps for Education since late October and each day I see students being successful with this new tool for OLD uses but also now using them for NEW uses. Patti Donnelly’s English class is using a Google Doc as a Thinking Board to discuss how they could collaborate throughout the school using technology. I will share with you some of the writing, understanding this is a LIVE  private document that as I write this post, students are adding their ideas and thoughts. I asked permission to share some of their content and was granted it. The image above was created by the students in the Google Doc.

Student additions:

Student Cyrus: I’m in green (they chose colors to easily identify editors)

Like Mrs. Donnelly was saying during LA, what if we could collaborate throughout the school technologically? We start small, then inspire the city, which leads to the country, then the continent, then the world. DA has almost all the tools necessary, iTouchs, laptops, and now with access to Google Docs, we could easily be socially involved with the upper and lower schools. The problem is will we. Mrs. Donnelly, I think you’re right; if we have the tools, why not try it-the worst that could happen is that it doesn’t work, but who cares, at least we tried. If we start, it can and probably will cause a chain reaction, which means the world will be able to connect wherever and whenever via Internet or maybe a worldwide software. This global change may not happen in our lifetime, but if it works, it could cause a whole planet to connect and communicate with technology. Also, the global connection could be used for not just business or school, but also helping end world hunger, or pollution, or stopping war. Imagine how much better this world would be without that stuff. But you can’t know what’s happening in the world if you can’t communicate. Families could have more time together, because they wouldn’t have to hunt down information about the world. Learning would be upgraded and fun, and the world would be happy. If we want a change in the world, we should start now, and I think it could start at DA.

Student Collin: Guys, what Cyrus says make a lot of sense. This would be the ideal situation but, this may not happen because it is too big. We should try and express our opions here because if we do then people who look at this will look deeper and catch on.

Teacher Donnelly: Cyrus, this is so powerful!  What do others think?  Just brainstorm ideas….what comes to mind?

Student Hunter: Black/Yellow

I agree with Cyrus, It makes a lot of sense but this might be hard to get out to everyone.

Student Cyrus:

I think we should add some stuff about how people learn. I believe there should be 3 separate parts of a school-

1. the section for visual learners

2. the section for audible learners

3. the section for learners who need to move to learn

We can have technology in every room, which means there would be quicker access to information. Kids also get more excited with technology in the room, which means they will be more excited about learning, and like the video said, school is kinda boring right now, which is why more and more people are dropping out. You’d think advancement in technology would be good for schools, but hardly any schools have used it to an immense advantage. Technology also gets students more involved because they’re not jut listening to a teacher talk. Mrs. Donnelly is introducing iTouchs and laptops to us, except we use them for school, not surfing the web. DA can definitely take a huge step towards the world of technology if we try.

Student Collin: This makes sense but we need to really stretch this out. If we want to pull this outside of our classroom we need to build it into a large essay type thing. Then we can pull it outside and place it inside the real world for everyone to see and then press it into this.

Student Cyrus: I think we could make something like the video or maybe an essay and post it on youtube. Mr. Schaefer’s blog is going to help with the publicity, too.

Student John H.: is purpleish-

Think, is it the way you learn or is it or the things you use to learn. The answer is not that technology is the answer, it is how we use it. We have the tools we have all we need, we just need to use it to our liking. We have the goods we just need to use them. If you do not enjoy using the technology you can go to another side of campus. Or if you enjoy working with sound you can go to certain classes or go to a different moodle course or something along those lines.

Student Collin: Guys, What if we build advanced moodle course that recognizes advanced students and give them challenges that the teachers will allow them to do in class. For example. The 6th grade course would have different sections that are password protected so that the teachers could give the password to the best of students. Then when there is review or something that is stupidly simple for that student so they do added work for tons of extra credit and other incentives.

Student Cyrus: People should take a test to see which part of the school they belong in. The moving learners can be interactive and play games or something that helps them learn well. The visual learners can look at diagrams or charts to help them learn, and the auditory learners can listen to the teacher explain about the material.

If this doesn’t work, we could just have different types of schools. I still think technology should be used more in schools, though.

With this sort of discussion taking place in a 6th grade class, I wonder what could happen by 8th or 9th, … In fact check out this link that came across my Twitter feed today where what the students above are discussing is taking place. http://www.prototypedesigncamp.com/

What a great time to be a teacher with the tools we have today.