Tech Tips of the Week

February 8-12, 2016 #proudtobeajet #mcslearn

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Digital Learning Day: Wednesday, February 17, 2016

All across the country, schools are undergoing a transformation in teaching and learning with the help of digital technology. As educators re-imagine school in new and different ways, Digital Learning Day provides an opportunity to collaborate with peers, share ideas, try new digital tools, and celebrate education innovation. Most importantly, it encourages everyone to play a role in the transformation of their own schools and communities.


Here are a few ideas to get you and your students on board for Digital Learning Day!


  • Use Dotstorming to support student voice for real time group brainstorming and decision making.
  • Use one of these formative assessment tools with your students: GoSoapBox, KaHoot, Quizizz, Quizalize, or Formative.
  • Try backchanneling with students using tech tools like 81Dash, Today's Meet, or Twitter.
  • Have students summarize what they are learning through images/video using Vine, Instagram video, Periscope, or SnapChat Stories.
  • Use Padlet as a KWL Chart, CDC Writing, to showcase student digital work, as a platform for collaborative research, or as a blogging platform.
  • Create an AnswerGarden to your lesson essential question.
  • Let students use ThingLink to create interactive projects.
  • Encourage students to add augmented reality to a project/assignment using Aurasma.


Whatever you decide to do to participate in Digital Learning Day please be sure to take pictures/video and post to social media (Twitter, Facebook, Instagram) using the hashtags #DLDay & #mcslearn.

"Paperlet" - Easiest way to bring a story to life - "Beyond Words"

5 Ways Social Media Can Improve Student Writing

Paperlet is a unique online publishing platform that allows students to create stories with a social component.


Prolific counts


Even though it may not be academic writing, since students who text and use social media often to engage in the act of writing regularly is positive, which sets up the basis for the rest of the items on this list.


Apparently, society as a whole is not only in the most literate in history, but writing is overtaking speech as the most common form of human interaction.


Coupling those trends with the fact the average college student spends over 16 hours per week on social networking, which amounts to nearly 5 hours more than time spent on academic and recreational reading combined, it is clear to see just how influential social media has become.


Luckily, this means that the average student is getting used to writing more often.


It builds confidence


One of the main benefits of writing on social media is that it helps students to develop their own voice within their work, as they often write authoritatively about subjects in which they feel passionate about—amounting to a significant boost in confidence.


Additionally, posts where students share their feelings display a good deal of self-reflection, and even display what appears to be a major step forward in collective emotional honesty.

This boost in confidence truly does make a difference, as 60 percent of students who blog or have a social network profile “claim to be ‘good’ or ‘very good’ writers, compared to only 47 percent of those who don’t use online formats.” This can be instrumental in students trying new things with their writing, which can make the difference in turning something good into something great.


Efficiency=editing skills


Character limits on a network like Twitter help students develop a writing style that focuses on keeping things short; making the social media platform a tool for keeping sentences or paragraphs to the bare essentials while still clearly getting a point across.


By going back and cutting out unneeded pronouns or words, whether from tweets or from papers, students engage in more self-editing than they may have previously, and it is generally held belief that the more writing has been churned over, the better it will be.


Writing for an audience


One of the major skills needed to become digitally literate in today’s world is by knowing how to write for your audience. When students post something on a social media profile, they know it is going to be viewed by their peers, or even other people beyond that.


By being more contentious habitually, students often put more thought into word choice, subject choice, and are adept at communicating online with peers and readers.


Feedback comes naturally


Through social media, students today have the unique capability of being able to share their writing with the world instantly; meaning that students can receive almost instantaneous feedback on what they produce. Having others evaluate writing is one of the best ways to improve, and students today have unprecedented access to that resource.


Copied from: http://www.ecampusnews.com/top-news/social-media-writing-419/2/

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3 Things Students Should Have Before They Leave High School

This week I had the pleasure of hearing George Couros, Principal for Parkland School Division, deliver the opening Keynote for METC16. This is just one point George made during his Keynote that I thought JCHS might want to examine and put into action.


1. Students should be connected through a social network with other people in their field of choice.


Teachers love Twitter, and although there is great learning that happens there, many educators have created opportunities for themselves simply being connected and networking with other people. I know several teachers that have obtained positions in new schools because they had someone interested in their work that they shared through Twitter. There are a lot of possibilities for anyone. For our students though, Twitter may or may not be the place. YouTube, Instagram, Vine, LinkedIn, Google Plus, or probably ones that I don’t even know about, have a plethora of communities in any given profession. Students should not only be able to learn from people in the field, but also network and create connections with others. I am sure we have all heard the saying, “it is not what you know, but who you know.” The adage hasn’t changed, but the opportunities and ease of access to one another has. We need to help students connect.


2. Students should have a digital portfolio.


There have been a lot of articles shared that the “resume is dead“, and that our social networks are more crucial than ever. Although a resume has a place in many institutions, a digital portfolio definitely can be seen as giving someone an advantage as it gives a deeper look into someone’s skill sets, and is accessible 24/7. Recently having my own wedding, if you were a photographer that did not have a digital portfolio of your work, we were not even going to consider hiring them. They didn’t even exist in our considerations. Being able to find someone online is one thing, but having the opportunity to look deeper into their actual work is crucial. Whatever the format, or the medium (written, images, video, podcasts, and so on), it is necessary for an employer to go beyond the resume. A resume can be a part of this, but it only tells a small part of the story.


3. Students should have an “about.me” page.


About.me is a great way to share a “digital business card”, and I have likened it to your Internet cover letter. It is not overwhelming with information, but it has links to much more. (Here is an example of a student’s page that was actually featured on the about.me homepage!) Having your about.me link as your email signature is a great way to not overwhelm future employees with some LONG quote at the end of each email, but also gives them the opportunity to connect with more information if they are interested. The other reason I really like the thought of students creating their own about.me pages is that it actually links to their other social networks, which if they are thoughtful about it, probably be a lot more appropriate if they know potential employers or post-secondary institutions are looking at what they are sharing. In a recent article from US Today, Marymount University coach Brandon Chambers was quoted as saying, “Never let a 140 character tweet cost you a $140,000 scholarship.” Having an about.me page is sending a different message. It is saying, “here are my social networks and I encourage you to look at them.” What impact would this have on student’s not only on their future, but their digital footprint today? I think having the ability to bring everything together could be very powerful for our students.


Of course, there are no absolutes in what a student should walk away with, but if schools focused on these three areas as part of what a student would leave a school with, would it not also help tremendously with many of the “digital footprint” issues that we are seemingly having in schools? By placing an emphasis on using these tools that are at our students’ fingertips, we hopefully can not only help them share their abilities, but help them make the connections to utilize those same abilities to their fullest.


*Copied from: http://georgecouros.ca/blog/archives/5025