Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Technology Wiki

I am in the process of creating a wiki that will house information about technology tools and how they can be used at not only the Tech Center, but also any technical school. I began the school year by sending out a tool of the week to my teachers via email, but I wanted a way to showcase several tools in one place, so teachers could browse and find ideas that would pertain to where they were at that point in time. Also, emails get deleted, ignored, or lost, so I thought this would be a great way to present the information permanently! In the wiki, I give specific ideas for each program area to hopefully get thinking going for how a tool can be used. I know I didn't see how technology tools could be used here initially, so by providing concrete ideas, I hope to stimulate creativity. My longterm goal is for this to be a tool for my teachers and any career and technical education teachers to use as a resource. It's only in the beginning stages now, but I am very hopeful that it will be a useful tool in helping me integrate technology. I also see that it could be a collaborative effort across the building and across different schools. I would like other schools and educators to be contributors by reflecting on what has worked, what needed tweaked, and suggesting new tools and ideas.

I will post the link soon, so be on the lookout!

Thursday, November 5, 2009


I first heard about Glogster last year, and I have been looking forward to getting a class to try it out. I presented student samples at our professional development session in August, and I finally was able to design a project for our Early Childhood students. The longterm goal of this project is that it will be accessible by the preschool parents once we get our preschool wiki up and running. It turned out the be a great experience for the students as well as the teachers, who are now really excited at witnessing the power of technology like this in the hands of their students.

Glogster is a free, web-based program that is used to create "glogs" or the equivalent of a digital poster. This innovative tool can contain video, sound, pictures, and text. It allows the students to be creative with backgrounds, colors, fonts, and graphics, and it can be about any topic, so it is perfect for a diverse school like the Tech Center! Plus, there is now an educational side, so a teacher can create a main account and student accounts that are all visible from the teacher login. And most importantly, it is easy to manage and safe to use.

The Early Childhood students just finished learning about two important play centers: sensory and block building, and rather than testing them through a traditional assessment, we decided to create a peformance-based assessment using Glogster. The students worked in pairs to choose their topic and complete their final products that consisted of:
  1. One video, created using the Flip camera, explaining and demonstrating a developmentally appropriate practice in either block building or sensory play. The audience was the parents of our preschool children. The topic was how they could use block or sensory activities at home with their child to promote cognitive, social-emotional, and physical growth. This video was no longer than one minute in length.

  2. Three pictures from the picture bank provided of preschoolers and student teachers in sensory and block buildling play activities. The pictures were to have a caption that described what was happening in the picture, how the activity was developmentally appropriate, and how the activity fostered cognitive, physical and social-emotional development and growth.

  3. Recordings of the caption for each picture using

  4. A list of specific ideas for block building or sensory play at home.
We gave the students the freedom to pace themselves and work on the project in any order they wanted. The level of learning, engagement, and creativity was amazing because the students knew they had a real audience, the preschool parents, and because they were put in charge of the learning process. The project covered many 21st century skills, and the students stayed focused and engaged for the entire 2.5 hour classtime. The best part is that a project like this can be transferred to any classroom in any school.
Take a look at few examples:
Happy Glogging!