apPLE for the teacher

Your hub for the latest in personalized learning.

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It's Been Awhile...

Embarking on this journey a year and a half ago, I could not have predicted the path this position has taken me if I had tried! There are so many lessons learned and gains certainly outweigh the disappointments. As you well know, educators are busy people. As back-to-back deployments focused much of our efforts on tablet inventory logistics, I am ready to hit the ground running by refocusing on educating students through the use of personalized learning strategies and tablet technology integration. Now that you have more tools at your fingertips, let's use them to our advantage and I am here to help you with that! Let's Amplify the teaching and learning experience together!

I'll see you @ Kernodle on Mondays and Tuesdays
I'll see you @ Kiser on Wednesdays and Thursdays

The Starbucks of the SAMR Model

So what is instructional technology integration all about? The SAMR model breaks it down quite nicely. Raise your hand if you are a Starbucks/coffee fiend (*Jeri's hand slinks sheepishly into the air*). Even if you are anti-coffee, Starbucks has branded themselves SO well that most of us know their various offerings. That basic knowledge can help you better understand the levels of tech integration. Stick with me here...let's first break down S.A.M.R. According to the "Zig Zagging Through Education and Technology" blog:

"Basically the SAMR model wants educators to think …

S – Substitution – technology is simply replacing something you could have already done. A regular cup of coffee, for a Starbucks cup of coffee. Still the same thing.

A – Augmentation – technology adds something extra to what you could have done before. A regular cup of coffee for a Starbucks Iced Latte. Same, just a little different.

M – Modification – technology changes the way we can do a project, adding options we couldn’t have done before. A regular cup of coffee for an iced Caramel Macchiato, lots of frills.

R – Redefinition - technology changes the project / product into something that could not have been created without the use of technology. A regular cup of coffee for a Pumpkin Spiced Latte, trademarked by Starbucks. No one else can make it the way they can." (Amen to that!)

So where are you in this model? Wherever you are, you need not worry about how to race to the next level. Get comfortable where you are in order to build. Each level should be a sturdy foundation before exploring the next.

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Learning Inventories & Differentiation

True Colors, Multiple Intelligence, Kolb Inventory, matter what assessment you gave students to assess their learning preferences, the more important question is, what are you doing with the results? In personalizing the learning experience, knowing your learner is vital. Now that you know the learner, the next step is to differentiate. This has been an educational buzz word for years--but it's an important one.

At its most basic level, differentiation consists of the efforts of teachers to respond to variance among learners in the classroom. Whenever a teacher reaches out to an individual or small group to vary his or her teaching in order to create the best learning experience possible, that teacher is differentiating instruction.

Teachers can differentiate at least four classroom elements based on student readiness, interest, or learning profile:

  • Content – what the student needs to learn or how the student will get access to the information;
  • Process – activities in which the student engages in order to make sense of or master the content;
  • Products – culminating projects that ask the student to rehearse, apply, and extend what he or she has learned in a unit; and
  • Learning environment – the way the classroom works and feels.


Excerpted from: Tomlinson, C. A. (August, 2000). Differentiation of Instruction in the Elementary Grades. ERIC Digest. ERIC Clearinghouse on Elementary and Early Childhood Education

Websites to help with differentiation:

Tablet & Tech Tips

Tablet Help Ticket System

Both schools now have a functioning Tablet Help Ticket app on the teacher tablets. The app links you to an Excel survey asking for the teacher's name, location and description of issue (do not enter any student identifying information). Please use this tool only after the classroom-level troubleshooting tips have been exhausted (according to your troubleshooting classroom poster). Your PLEF or Amplify Technician will respond accordingly.

Students CAN submit tickets but will not use the app. Students will scan the QR code from the classroom mini-poster to pull up the same survey. These mini-posters will be delivered to you in the coming days. In the meantime, don't hesitate to use the ticket app from your teacher tablet if you have an issue--starting immediately. (See buttons at the bottom of this newsletter for direct links you can bookmark on your computers as well.)

Airplane Mode

Although not on the troubleshooting poster, one of the most common issues is students reporting a tablet "not connected to wifi" or "not checked in to class" only to discover they have put their tablets in "airplane" mode. This can be done by swiping down from the top right corner for Quick Settings and selecting the airplane icon. This is a good and not-so-good thing. It's good when students are moving from classroom to classroom and needs to toggle their wifi to make sure they are connected to the correct wireless access point in each room. It's a not-so-good thing if students are keeping it in airplane mode by accident or on purpose, thereby disabling their wifi. This means they are not receiving the teacher's classroom management commands such as Eyes on Teacher. Be mindful of this quick fix. Have students disable airplane mode and reconnect to the wifi (which should be automatic). To avoid this issue, be sure to start class as students arrive and use the Classroom Manager tool to monitor who is checked in an who isn't. Don't forget about your App Blocker tool!

Starting and Ending Class

When using tablets, be sure to 'Start Class' at the beginning of the lesson. More importantly, remember to 'End Class' prior to the students leaving the classroom. Although the 'End Class' function will time out after 90 minutes, students may need to use their tablets for tutoring or other after school activities and may still be under your App Blocker control.

App Spotlight: Write
Several teachers have asked about note taking options on the tablet. One option is the app called, "Write". According to the Google Play site: "In addition to all the usual features of a vector drawing application, Write provides a unique set of tools for editing and navigating handwritten documents. Write is perfect for note-taking, brainstorming, and drawing." Students and teachers can download this approved app directly from the Amplify Market. Check out additional details about the app here!

Watch us Work!

Twitter Love

Check out the shoutouts from Twitter about the awesome things happening at our schools!

Keep up the amazing work!

Season of Thanksgiving

During this season, I am thankful for all of your hard work and dedication as you embark on this marathon of personalizing learning. You will get tired, there will be hurdles and you will want to give up. However, I encourage you to strive for the finish line, because the reward is worth it.
Thank a Teacher

Jerolyn "Jeri" Brown

I am a PLEF, Personalized Learning Environment Facilitator, serving Kernodle and Kiser Middle Schools in Guilford County, NC. I am 1/12 of a team of instructional coaches and technology integration specialists who are passionate about revolutionizing education. In my former life, I taught ELA and SS at the elementary and middle grades level. I also taught remedial reading to 6-8 grade students. I <3 middle school!

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