Welcome to Jennie Magiera's Technology in Education Blog:

Redefining the (digital) Classroom

Thursday, June 30, 2011

iPads and IEPS: Digitizing Special Education (VolumeTwo - An App for IEPs)

The Parent Educational Advocacy Training Center (PEATC) has created the following app to help parents become better informed about the IEP process, regulations and features.

This app allows teachers or parents to navigate through the IEP process, allows them to take notes during an IEP team meeting, or even record the meeting itself. The app also provides a checklist for the user so that they may click through important parts of the meeting as it occurs. The app is available in English or Spanish.

Below is a video about this app. For more information see: http://www.peatc.org/peatc.cgim?template=IEPChecklistiPhone


Monday, June 27, 2011

They're Baaack: FREE Everyday Math Games Apps!

Good News Mathematics Teachers: the Everyday Mathematics Apps are once again free for a limited time! Get them quick! Since they are free this is a great way to load all of your classroom iPads with these amazing math games apps at an enticing cost of $0.00 each!
Note to Everyday Math teachers: These are the same games you play with your students & the Everything Math deck... if you have iPads or iPod touches in your classroom... definitely get these!

The iTunes App Store offers select McGraw-Hill Education applications for Apple iPhone / iPod touch / iPad for free, as listed below. At $2 off, each is the lowest price we've seen. Deal ends soon! 
The deals:
Everyday Mathematics Addition Top-It: 0 to 10 addition game
Everyday Mathematics Subtraction Top-It: 0 to 10 subtraction game
Everyday Mathematics Name That Number: Order of operations game
Everyday Mathematics Monster Squeeze (pictured): Cyclops octopus number line game
K-12 eFlashcards: Textbook vocabulary flashcards

Monday, June 20, 2011

Whetting Your APPetite - Vol. 6

Stick Pick (for iPhone) - $2.99

The "Go-Around" Cup just got digitized (and they threw in a healthy dose of built-in assessment and Bloom's Taxonomy for good measure). Stick Pick gives you the option of either randomly or intentionally picking students to answer questions (a la a virtual can of popsicle sticks)! You can identify the learning level and style for each student to determine who is chosen. Then a list of appropriate Bloom's question stems is generated to help you ask your question.

The app even allows teachers to record assessment data by rating the answer on a 0-5 critical thinking rubric or simply marking it as correct or incorrect. The data is saved in the app and can be emailed to the teacher, co-teachers, principal or parents! Wow!

Thanks to Amy Jarrett-Clancy for sending me this one!

Sunday, June 12, 2011

iPads and IEPs: Digitizing Special Education (VolumeOne - Assessment)

Since the first day iPads entered my classroom, I have been saying, "Wow... these things would rock for Special Education." As our class learns how to better harness the power of technology in our classroom, this sentiment becomes ever more true. Here is the first in a series of posts that I hope to write exploring the ways one can digitize special education....

Today's Topic: Accommodations and Modifications on Assessments
Below are just a few of the testing accommodations and modifications on one student's IEP:

· Administer in small group
· Highlight key words/phrases
· Provide cues
· Read directions orally
· Read entire test orally
· Read Extended Response sub test(s) orally
· Allow flexible schedule: As needed
· Extend time allotted by 25 percent
· Allow 2 stop-the clock-breaks
· Give subtests in different order (where permitted)
· Administer in location with minimal distractions
· Administer test at a particular time of day: optimum time of day for student
· Provide drink during testing

Wow. Right? Now imagine that - times 7 students - all with slightly varying details. How is one teacher, with only a 60-minute period to administer an assessment - supposed to do all of this? Well once again thanks to the magic of iPads, it's not only possible, it's quite easy!

First, I determine how I will modify the assessment for each student. Then, I identify the appropriate accommodations for individual children. So far, very similar process to how one normally goes about assessing students with special needs, right? Here is where it takes a turn for the awesome: at this point I am ready to record the test. That's right - I record the assessments.

I create a short video walk-through of the assessment, just as I would if I were administering it one-on-one with the child. I can utilize visual cues, insert short clips of lessons if that is appropriate, model manipulatives and cue breaks for the child. Come time for the assessment, I simply give the child the test, whatever manipulatives or other materials they may need and plug in a set of headphones to an iPad. Voila - that student can take the test - independently - yet still receiving 1-on-1 support. I am then able to circulate amongst by other 20 students, monitor the test for them and give more specific, live support to students - both those with IEPs and without - as needed.

Digitizing support in this way has been pretty amazing. I've seen my students blossom; those once afraid to take an assessment are now eager to begin as they know they will receive the "just right" support they may need. I just wish I had thought of this sooner!

Up Next in this Series:
  • Apps for IEPs
  • Attacking the problem of MPW vs. actual time needed to teach
  • How to use iPads to differentiate to a class of students in varying grades with varying IEP goals
  • If you have other ideas for us to explore, please write one in!

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Whetting your APPetite Vol. 5: Student-Created Movies on Puppet Pals

Puppet Pals HD - FREE
Have you used the Puppet Pals App yet? If not, you should! (And while you're at it, cough up the $2.99 for the Puppet Pals Director's Pass - which adds more options to the free base app - it is completely worth it.)   In Puppet Pals, students can create their own "puppet" show movies using either the app's characters and backgrounds or their own "cut out" from pictures found on the Internet or taken with their iPad.

The app is surprisingly versatile and allows for a lot of creative expression. Since Puppet Pals allows you to use photos to create your own characters and backdrops, students can create quite realistic depictions of their chosen subject (depending on their level of expertise with Puppet Pals and the amount of time you'd like to give them).

Below are two examples of the videos my classes created for their constellations research project. They are just "rough drafts" (they will "re-shoot" their videos after some feedback from yours truly) but already I can see tons of potential for this little app. Can't wait to put Puppet Pals into action again!

Note: The videos will not play if your network blocks YouTube :(... Sorry!

"The Death of Sagittarius" by Kontrell & Cencere

"The Medusa Slayer" by Kenneth and Lomante

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

My Twitter-Birth

Just as many colleagues and friends were encouraging me to start this blog, so have they encouraged me to begin tweeting. So, here I am. I'll do my best to tweet new websites, tips and ideas I find.

If you are a member of the Twitter-verse, please follow me! :)


Thank you!!!

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Students Chime in on Music in Our Classroom

Earlier I wrote a post regarding using music to set the mood in my classroom. As the year winds down, I'm trying to solicit as much feedback as possible from students about what worked well and what should be changed next year. On Friday students responded to a survey about our use of music in the classroom. The results were overwhelmingly positive. Not a single student said they didn't like it!

Below is an excerpt of the results from this survey (note that these results haven't been revised/edited for grammar, spelling, etc.):

How does the music in our classroom make you feel?
The music makes me feel good because we use it for when we are doing our work and it makes me feel calm inside.
The music makes me feel calm and it cheers me up when I'm mad or I got in trouble. When I listen to the music I don't have to be mad.
I like listening to music in class because  when I am not in a good mood the music make me feel happy again.
It makes me happy and It makes me focus better some times it is away that every one connects in the class by music 
The music makes me feel calm I like the beats like some times when she plays katy perry firework I would dance and sing to the tone.
It makes me feel happy during transition cause we make it more fun than just walking and sometimes stop me from talking a lot.
I love the music it make me feel thrilled and happy. I like when we have music when we work and in the morning and the transition it help me concentrate and help me by telling me when to stop of when to go it is really helpful and some of the songs I hear I be singing along
I love the music because it helps me relax. I like the morning music because it is the main music you know it gets you energized. I also like the work time music I love to hear the voilins in my ear
We have music in the morning, trasitions, in the math message, and in work time. It makes me feel relaxed and it makes me consentrate with my work.
The songs makes me feel happy in the morning and in the evening it makes me fell relexed and good and in the tradition it makes me fell happy  funny inside that is how the music and trasittion makes me feel
The music make me feel like it is a good morning.
The music make Feel so energetic because when you are going slow eating then the music comes on it makes us go fast. The time we do music is math message morning and also sometimes during transitions.

EMOTIONS for the music: Happy, Peacefully,Calm
I like the music in the morning the transition and the music in work time because it makes me feel HAPPY. Like in the work time the music makes me stay on task. And in the morning, I can enjoy myself ALL the time while eating (that is one of my favorite things to do).
Music makes me feel excited during morning entry because it helps me think better and clears my head. I like the beat and the words. It helps me clam down when I'm upset. I also like the slow motion transition because it's fun and I get to express myself.
We hear the music during math message and it help me concentrate more.
I like to listen to music in the morning because it is calming and helps you to get energy. Also because it is fun makes your day go smooooooth and not bumpy. The music can also teach you about people and to make you feel better like the song goes " you may think that I'm a 0. But hey I'm a superstar just be who you are."
I really enjoy listening to music because it makes me feel com.we listen to music at transition and when we come in the morning.sometimes we listen to a music that we get to get a homework pass for wining.I think it's fun to listen to music.I hope get to listen to music next year in my class room. 
I love the music it make me feel thrilled and happy,I like when we have music when we work and in the morning and the transition it help me concentrate and help me by telling me when to stop of when to go it is really helpful and some of the songs I hear I be singing along

Friday, June 3, 2011

Teaching to Half a Class, PART 2 (Exploring Teacher Evaluation Policy with Students)

This is a follow up to the previous post from May 31, 2011: Teaching to Half a Class - and coming out feeling like a state politician...

Today we conducted part 2 of our "students as teachers" lesson. After much reflection, I decided to start out the period with shared reading on a brief article regarding teacher evaluation policies in our state. We then discussed - in groups then whole class - the pros and cons of basing teacher evaluation on student performance.

Following our discussion, students participated in a modified "four corners" activity in which they stood in one of four corners based on their opinions and reactions to this particular teacher evaluation idea. As students chose their corner, we conducted an informal debate, and students made a lot of switching between corners as they agreed or disagreed with their classmates' comments.

Interestingly, the data is below:

In taking a look at these results, I noticed that the students' opinions changed quite dramatically throughout the course of the discussion. Many wanted to continue debating and I believe that there would have been more shifts had we continued. After our debate/discussion, we decided to re-tool the evaluation of our "students as teachers" activity. Students worked in collaborative groups to discuss their "plan" for a more ideal teacher assessment plan. Then they individually reported their initial ideas for am improved plan via a Google Form on my website. At the bottom of this post are the first few ideas that students submitted. Note that some students took on writing their plan wholly from a teacher = Ms. Magiera viewpoint while others' writing was from a teacher = myself/my classmate perspective. For homework tonight, students will continue drafting their new assessment plans based on these ideas.

I was very intrigued to see the variation of ideas and the basis for "fairness" amongst my students. On Monday we will read through the various proposals in groups and vote on a final plan for our "students as teachers" activity. Then will conduct the activity in the early part of next week utilizing our new plan.

I invite any additional ideas or feedback on this lesson - thank you :)!

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

58 Ways to Use iPads in the Classroom!

Thanks again to Bruce Ahlborn for passing along this great resource!

Tom Barrett is a Principal Consultant from the UK who created this awesome list and also writes a blog. Thanks to Tom for sharing this amazing resource.

(My favorites are #51 - Collaborative Whiteboards... doing this ASAP, and #37 - IEP Checklist!)

PS: For those who are waiting for part two of my previous post on my "student teachers" - we are completing this activity on Friday!