DT&L Bytes

Digital Teaching and Learning @PCHS │ February 12, 2018

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When Digital Is The Right Choice

Recently I visited a math classroom where Jeff was trying a new digital tool that Keisha had shown him. The tool is specific to math, but the demonstration of learning was something everyone could benefit from watching.

Jeff set up a lesson that began with guided practice and continued with challenge problems. The tool allowed students to move at their own pace, but also allowed him to insert hold points to keep students from going too far ahead. Students were graphing equations, testing what would happen if a variable changed, seeing what their equation looked like, comparing what the graph should look like against their equation and vice versa, and more! Jeff was able to monitor class progress as a whole in addition to looking at individual student work.

How did this tool deepen student understanding? The ability that students had to walk through the learning process and test various results provided students the opportunity to test their learning and see the "what if" answer. Students were engaged in a learning tool that empowered them to take their learning to the a different level that they owned.

Students could test their work and see immediate results. They were challenged in their thinking. Individual students who needed a modified assignment could proceed at their own pace without feeling like they were falling behind. Jeff had individual contact with everyone in his class and had the ability to check in on students who might not have otherwise asked for help. Students were not only engaged, but empowered to try additional possibilities that would have been very labor intensive on paper and wouldn't have had immediate feedback.

We have so many tools in our toolboxes these days: text, paper, kinesthetic, visual, audio, digital. What's important is choosing the right tool for the learning outcome. In this lesson, the digital tool was able to provide a deeper, more empowering learning experience for the students. It was fun to watch!

What's APPening?

Notes is a powerful, easy to use app on your iPad and iPhone. It allows you to take notes, make lists, collect images and videos, and link information.

Here are some features you may not know about:

  • sketch directly in a note
  • lock and password protect notes for security
  • invite someone to share and collaborate on a note
  • format your notes, even add a table
  • search for specific pieces of information
  • text, email, or tweet a note
  • export a note to Notability, Padlet or a number of other tools
  • turn your note into a PDF
  • scan a document directly into the Notes app and sign it
  • pin an important note to the top of your list

Notes has so many possibilities! Try one today!

Tool Time Workshop - Digital Exit Tickets

This week's Tool Time Workshop is working with Exit Tickets and digital means to bring closure to your lesson. Let's sit down together, talk about what that feedback would be valuable for you and create something you'll be able to use immediately.

Tool Time Workshops are 15 minutes of testing out a new tool that meets a pedagogical need. They start 5 minutes after lunch starts and end before lunch is over allowing you time to get your lunch, stop by the Collaboration Room, have some hands-on time with a new tool, eat your lunch, and get back in time for your next class. You're welcome to bring a device, but there will also be some available. If you want more time with the tool, we'll figure that out together.

Exit Tickets: Bringing Closure and Feedback to Your Lesson

One of my favorite parts of planning my lessons and reflecting on them was reviewing my students exit tickets, what I called “Ziel des Tages,” or goal of the day. Before my students raced out the door to meet their friends or get out of the parking lot as fast as possible, they completed one these, it was our routine. Each day I posed specific questions to reflect on our lesson and goals. In addition to those questions, I included a place for students to tell me what else they’d like to know and anything else they’d like to share. This closure routine created a lasting impression on the students, provided me with invaluable feedback and gave students a safe place to use their voice.

What was this routine? How did I collect their feedback? Initially this was a paper process, but when I became part of our 1:1 iPad pilot program, I switched to a digital format. I chose Google Forms, because it provided me feedback in a spreadsheet which I could manipulate to focus on whatever data point I wanted. I linked the form to a QR code which I printed on card stock. Each seating group had a container that housed various manipulatives for class. The QR code was included in that container on a ring of cards, one QR code card for each class. As part of our closing routine, students would scan the QR code which led to their exit ticket. Because I wanted to track their learning and engagement over time, students responded to the same questions each day. While I used Google Forms for this, Microsoft Forms would also work in a very similar fashion.

Google Forms and Microsoft Forms aren’t the only tools available to use for lesson closure. Padlet and Flipgrid are also some of my favorite tools for gathering student feedback. While I specifically used Google Forms for end of class reflection and feedback, end of lesson feedback can be done during the period or for homework.

There are many digital and paper tools that can be used for closure activities. Here are some of my favorite digital feedback tools:

  • Google Forms: short answer, paragraph, dates, multiple choice, ratings, checkbox, choose from a list
  • Microsoft Forms: short answer, paragraph, dates, multiple choice, ratings
  • Padlet: text, audio, image, video, drawing (now within Padlet), comment on each other
  • Flipgrid: video, audio, image, commenting

Which Digital Tools are You Using?

We've had a lot of freedom at Pine Creek regarding the tools we choose to use. We'd like to continue having you, the experts, continue to be the ones choosing the tools your students use. That's why we are asking you to partner with us.

Partner with us and help us ensure your tools for classes, teams, clubs and activities are approved and ready for to use when you need them. PLAN AHEAD. Visit Pine Creek's Resource List; it includes the resources submitted by you. Don't see the one you'd like to use? Visit the District database. Still don't see your resource? Fill out the Digital Tool Application and we'll get it submitted to District IT for approval. Once the tool is approved, we'll update our list and inform you. This process takes time, especially if a purchase needs to be made.

Please be patient with us and the District as we embark on this new process. The District database is continually being updated as is our own resource list. Our goal is to ensure you have the resources you need while protecting our students' privacy.

Have questions? Contact anyone of your Digital Resource Team members, Susan, Sasha or Steve.

What can your Digital Learning Coach do for you?

  • Share with you what tools we have available to you and your students
  • Show you how to use the tools we have
  • Push out course-specific apps to you and your students
  • Co-teach with you so that you can focus on the content and I can focus on the tool and any digital issues
  • Trouble-shoot issues, iPad and Desktop
  • Share our Vision and what it means as we travel down the road towards making that it real
  • Help you plan and reflect on lessons using digital tools
  • Provide Digital Citizenship tips and resources

I'm here to serve you!