zondag 26 oktober 2014

Creating Global Learners III

With my World Citizenship classes we collaborated with the class of SMART Exemplary Educator Emil Waldhauser in Rakovník in the Czech Republic during the first weeks of September. This was meant to be an experiment on how to use SMARTamp workspaces between different countries, instead of within the school or district. I've done a few collaboration projects with Emil before so setting up was easy. We both agree on the fact that todays students should be taught to be so called global learners in order to become a responsible global citizen.
Emil prepared a few questions and shared them in a SMARTamp workspace, so that my students could answer them in small groups. My students were able to sign in, due to the fact that Emil created a school account for my classes to join the class and workspace in the domain of Gymnázium Zikmunda Wintra in Rakovník. Some of my students took this first session very seriously and some didn't. Even though they had fun, collaborated and were really surprised that they could work within one workspace with the Czech students and that they could actually see in real time what our contributions were. Magic.

At the beginning of October I traveled to the Czech Republic with a large group of students to visit Prague and to Rakovník. We payed a visit to Gymnázium Zikmunda Wintra as well, where my students attended a few lessons and of course with teacher Emil Waldhauser. During his class my students were working with an amp session again. During classes I was interviewed by the local press together with the principal of the school and we stated out that both our schools (and personal) really liked working with each other and that we thought that students growing up as global citizens was very important. We agreed on working and collaborating more together ...

woensdag 22 oktober 2014

St. Mathew Academy success story

Due to the fact that the #gafesummit was cut down to just one day, I had an extra in London. On the website of SMART Technologies I searched if there was a SMART Showcase School in London to visit, among other interesting things to do. And actually there was one and via Twitter I got in touch with the principal of St. Matthew Academy Mr. Michael Barry and he replied that I was more than welcome to pay a visit. Via email I explained why I wanted to visit the school and while I was there the school provided me a guided tour, lunch in the school cantina and a wifi connection to get some other work done after the visit. Mr. Barry trusted me enough to offer me his office to work a little (Tweet, blog, check in for flight home and email), while he was away, how nice is that.

During the guided tour which was done by a too modest student, I was allowed to take pictures, ask loads of questions and had a chat with a few teachers. I was particularly interested in the subject geography and its curriculum, the way computers, devices and Raspberry Pi was being used and of course the in the use of the SMART Boards. After all St. Matthew Academy was a SMART Showcase School. The school did not encourage students to bring their own device or provide mobile devices yet, as I believe that is part of the roadmap for the upcoming years. So no information to gain from the school on how they were using mobile devices.
During the tour I witnessed a geography lesson and talked to the teacher, whom explained to me that she did not use books, students didn't have books and she created her own different assignments to differentiate in her lesson. Some students were brighter than others, or could handle more lesson content than others. They were working individually on creating a geography newspaper about the storms on the coast. I liked that very much, because the students could be creative and it was all about their own community. When the teacher needed to explain something about physical geography, she used school books that remained in the classroom. This particular teacher was the right teacher for the group of students that attend this school. I would love to see her and her students using mobile devices and/or web 2.0-tools for her designed assignments.
Another thing I really liked was that coding was in the curriculum of ICT and that the school had began with the Raspberry Pi this year. Attached to each monitor in the computerroom was also a Raspberry Pi besides a regular Windows 8 computer. The students need to learn how to code and program a small computer such as the Raspberry Pi. In another computer room there were lots of iMac computers to work on. Great!

Media was a subject taught at this school as well. There is a film-club, film and photo shoot room with green screen and they produce a lot of movies and films and join lots of competitions and also won a few (lots?). With the iMac room and all this looked very professional and this is probably the most professional one that I've seen in secondary education. And you could tell by the enthusiasm of the students that they were engaged by this and how this subject is being taught in school.

After the tour I had another chat with the principal and the head of the secondary school and they asked me very good questions. They asked what I thought was good and asked me was I thought was not good. I explained that from the first few steps that I took in the school I immediately noticed that this school was student centered. At the exception the lady was first helping out the student that came in after me before she attended me. Same sort of atmosphere I felt at some schools while I was in Finland visiting schools. I also mentioned the matters from above. The one thing that could be better in my opinion was the use of SMART Notebook. That interactive whiteboard software could and should be used way more often to enhance interactivity in the classroom instead of showing Powerpoint presentations. Perhaps I could do some training next time I'm around. ;) Anyway, you'd best check it out for yourself and witness several success stories from this school by principal Michael Barry.

zaterdag 11 oktober 2014

Google Teacher Academy

As you could've read on this blog in an earlier post (July '14) about my roadmap of professional development that I would apply to the Google Teachers Academy to become a Google Certified Teacher and while doing that I wanted to do some online Google courses to become a Google Educator. In order to become a Google Educator I need to pass a total of five exams, of which four are required: Google Docs & Drive, Gmail, Google Sites and Google Calendar and one elective course and I've picked Google Chrome (the browser). Well, I've done all the things concerning Google that I wanted to do.
The courses took me quite long to take, especially when a fulltime job as mentor and teacher in secondary education is due too. And I didn't expect it to be that difficult and more imported inspiring and worth for. The first exam I took was Gmail and I failed. It got only 75% and needed at least 80%. This was the one that made me nervous for all the other exams and made me prepare the next ones way better and according to some reviews of others the Gmail exam was the hardest one. Anyway, I passed all the required courses and stil need to make time for the final elective one in order to become a Google Educator.

I've also signed up for a Google Apps For Education summit in London. This summit will be held at an international school in downtown London, UK and I really do hope to gain a lot. I'm quite new to this Google Education thing and really want to keep up. Especially in order to maintain as iCoach or instructional technology specialist in my own school and therefore I cannot only rely on Apple hard- and software. Google is around all of us and particularly the students and I want and need to keep up and add the useful education tools from Google to my lessons and the way I teach and the way students could learn.

And at last but not least I applied for the Google Teachers Academy and was notified this week that my application was approved and I am going to the Google Teachers Academy in Amsterdam on the 4th and 5th of November. This was great news for me this week and I do hope that at the end of november I'm so comfortable with Google Apps for Education that I can and will use this and SMARTamp (which is linked to Google Apps) in my classroom.

GTA Application video (in Dutch language)

Thanks to all the North American SMART Exemplary Educators, that I met at the Global SEE Summit in Calgary this summer for the inspiration and especially Lise Galuga. Now on to the last online Google course! #Chrome