Friday, May 23, 2008

Developing a Technology Club

I am interested in creating a technology club for the 3-5 graders at my elementary school. Before I approach my principal, I am outlining a plan that details why this club would be an asset to our school and I am looking for assistance from others who may have started a similar club in their school to offer their suggestions.

Here is the first draft of the plan:

Elementary Technology Club

Purpose: The Technology Club was designed to assist students in developing 21st century skills needed to plan, research, and create projects that focus on solving real-world problems using 21st century tools.

Time: The FTCT will meet once a week on Monday in an assigned classroom from 2:05-3:00 for 15 weeks.

Week 1: Introduction to Project Based Learning and 21st Century Skills
Collaboration and Team Work

Week 2: The Planning Process
Determining the Guiding Question and Forming Groups

Week 3: The Planning Process
Determining the Supporting Questions and the Resources Needed

Week 4: The Gather/Research Process
What is Research?
Copyright – Why is it Important?
Safe Internet Usage

Weeks 5 - 8 – The Gather/Research Process
Developing Research Skills
Finding and Using Appropriate Resources
Using Our Own Words – Citing Sources

Week 9 – The Build Process
Determining the Best Platform to Present Information
Creating a Storyboard

Weeks 10 - 13 – The Build Process
Creating a Storyboard
Using Appropriate Media Resources to Make Points

Week 14 – The Build Process
Complete Presentations
Citing Sources
How Do We Know We’re Finished?

Week 15 – Presentation
Presentation of Group Projects
How Can We Share with the World?

Any suggestions for additions/improvements or good resources to help teach my students these skills are greatly appreciated! Feel free to post a comment or email me with suggestions:)

Friday, May 16, 2008

My latest adventure is trying to introduce my school to social bookmarking. Using, I am attempting to develop a comprehensive list of websites that the staff will find helpful in a variety of areas. I will introduce the idea at a training I am holding this summer. Our school has Promethean interactive whiteboards in every classroom, so I will be training several teachers on successfully integrating this resource into their curriculum. In our time-crunched profession, it isn't always possible to use the incredible Promethean software to create our own lessons, but there are already a wealth of resources out there on the web that work great with the IWB. My goal is to introduce the staff to the world of social bookmarking by showing them how we can find and share websites with the entire staff by simply clicking a button.

iKeepBookmarks is a great social bookmarking site for educators for a few reasons. First, it is very easy to use. You can bookmark websites with ease by adding a link right in your internet browser. When you see a site you like, click on the link and it will automatically bring up a pop-up window that will allow you to add the site to the correct folder in your iKeepBookmarks account. The use of folders allows us to bookmark the sites based upon categories and subcategories, making navigation fairly simple. Also, iKeepBookmarks allows you to share your bookmarks through the use of a URL. By navigating to the URL in any web browser, others will have access to your bookmarked websites. Finally, iKeepBookmarks has a feature where users can rate the different sites, so as we get more comfortable, we can use this feature to let other teachers know how successful a site was at meeting our curriculum needs.

I have begun to develop the site myself to give the teachers an idea of where we can take this. The account is already divided into folders and subfolders for each grade level and subject. There is a folder for each grade, kindergarten through fifth, and subject folders within each grade. The subjects included are reading, spelling, math, social studies, and science. More folders will be added as needed by the faculty and staff. I have already started developing my grade level's folder (2nd grade) by adding categories within the subjects to categorize the different skills covered in 2nd grade. For instance, in the reading folder, you will find folders for main idea, inferencing, author's purpose, cause and effect, following directions, compare and contrast, making predictions, narrative elements, noting details, and phonics. In each of these folders, I have bookmarked websites with activities covering these topics that are appropriate for use on the Promethean board.

This summer, I will be introducing the site to several members of the staff and I am hoping they will be as excited as I am to have a place to store and share resources. Also, it will give us all a chance to see some of the skills other grades are working on and find appropriate sites for those students who are working above or below our grade level to explore. As we all become more comfortable with social bookmarking, I would like to see teachers begin to develop their own accounts and begin using this great web 2.0 tool with their students as part of the research process. I am also envisioning using the site as a way for support staff to share resources, such as professional development opportunities.

Check it out - Fox Trail Elementary's iKeepBookmarks site!

Some other great social bookmarking sites you may want to try: - I have a personal website, and I love using it to search for sites others have bookmarked through the use of tags.

digg - Resources are submitted by digg members and others vote on what they like best.