April 30, 2017

Transforming Student Learning with Technology

My last challenge for my Advanced Technology class is wrapping up!  I learned so much in this challenge!  I started off learning a few new apps including Book Creator, ThingLink, SeeSaw, Google Maps, and Adobe Spark. These apps transform student learning and can be used to meet all levels of the SAMR model. They are engaging and fun for students. They don't even think they are learning! I plan to continue to use this awesome book, 40 Simple Ways to Inspire Learning with Mobile Devices, to continue exploring new apps.

The final part of the challenge was to create a Hyperdoc to guide students through an activity or unit.  A hyperdoc transforms learning through the use of technology on any mobile device. It walks students through detailed steps and directions, scaffolding the activity as you go.  In addition, the activity should foster digital citizenship and address addresses student privacy and security needs. I created a hyperdoc to guide students through the novel Esperanza Rising by Pam Munoz Ryan. The unit covers most literary elements, figurative language, symbolism, and literary analysis standards for 4th graders. It includes vocabulary words as well.

To download this file, click here.  There are two files within the folder. One is the hyperdoc that guides students through the unit and the other is Student Response Journal made in Google Slides.
April 9, 2017

Digital World Challenges

Over the last few weeks I've learned quite a bit about how digital tools can transform learning for students, as well as teachers. Throughout this challenge, I have learned how to use Book Creator, SeeSaw, Adobe Spark, and Google maps. Within this time, I have also used some of these new programs in my classroom with my students. The use of these tools have improved student learning and engagement. They respond to a variety of learning styles and making learning so much fun! However, with the many benefits of using technology, we can face some new challenges as well.

Challenge #1 - Student Privacy

In 1974, Congress passed the Family Education Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) which protects students' educational records. But as teachers turn more towards digital learning, they are faced with new concerns regarding student data and privacy. Although today's students are known as digital natives, it does not mean that they know how to manage online privacy without being taught. Educators/Administrators must help keep students safe.

Here are a few suggestions...

  • Teach students about the difference between private and personal information. 
  • Rather than preventing students from using online accounts and other tools such as blogging, teach them ways to be safe and monitor their use.
  • Students can use synonyms for user names, as well as an avatar instead of their real photo. Try using Avatar Maker. See my avatar below! 
  • Teach students to recognize cyberbullying and provide them with tools to interact appropriately on social media sites.
  • Use apps like SeeSaw as a way to create a digital portfolio. Student work is private to the classroom and it's COPPA and FERPA compliant. 
  • Use search tools such as Bing in the Classroom which ensures that students don't see ads, but also that their data isn't used to create ad profiles. 
  • Here's a simple video that helps teachers protect student data...

Challenge #2 - Copyright Laws

In more recent years, it has become far too easy and inexpensive to share content over the internet. Therefore, another challenge students and teachers face is copyright and fair use. For example, when creating a slide presentation on Google Slides, my students often use Google Images to find photographs of relevant information to insert in their show. Often times, these images are copyrighted and other times, it's unclear. What are some suggestions for this issue?

Here are a few suggestions...

  • When discussing the topic of fair use with Dana Greenspan (@techniedana), from the Ventura County Office of Education, she noted that educators must consider the 4 Factor Test. These will help you decide if what you are using in your classroom could be copyright infringement. 
    1. What is the purpose and character of your use?
    2. What is the nature of the original work?
    3. What is the amount and substance you used?
    4. Would it effect the marketplace?
  • Check out Pics 4 Learning... It's a free curated image library for students and teachers. All images are copyright-friendly photos and illustrations for classroom projects, web sites, videos, portfolios, or any other projects in an educational setting. Visit: http://pics4learning.comResources

Resources to Check Out



  • Videos for Kids - Use Common Sense Education's video to teach Copyright and Fair Use to your students.

Wrap Up Notes:

I used Common Sense Education's YouTube Channel to help me write this blog post. Check out more awesome videos at https://www.youtube.com/user/CommonSenseEducators.  I also enjoyed videos from ikeepsake.org's channel which can be found at https://www.youtube.com/user/ikeepsafeorg. Thanks @techiedana for the recommendations and useful information! Thanks for reading my blog and learning about a few challenges we face as we navigate this digital world.

One Techie Bee

April 2, 2017

Google Maps in the Classroom

This week I used Google Maps to create an assignment for my students. In 4th grade, we study the 4 regions of California. But each year it's surprising when I find out how little of CA some of students have actually seen. Google Maps help students visualize the world and understand what they see!

Students will really enjoy exploring the features of Google Maps and learn how to read maps, understand geography concepts, measure distance, and so much more. It's so easy to spend hours just exploring the variety of maps (street view, topographical, satellite, etc.) that are offered and the other features as well.

Curriculum Connections

As a teacher, I will use Google Maps as part of my technology, Science, Social Studies, and Writing curriculum. Here are a few examples from 4th grade. Students can...

  • create their own maps of the cities and places around California 
  • learn about different countries around the world 
  • plan a trip using public transportation when studying the history of transportation 
  • compare and contrast various locations on Earth 
  • get inspired to create descriptive writing and learning about the setting of a place 
  • use the 360-degree to explore the places like the Grand Canyon or Yosemite 
The SAMR model is a framework used to transform learning using technology. Here's a quick definition of each level...

Google Maps can be implemented at any level of the SAMR model...

  • Substitute - Use Google Maps instead of your pull down map in the classroom. Have students use this tool instead of their textbooks. 
  • Augmentation - Use the features on Google Maps to make things easier! Find the fastest or most scenic routes when planning a trip. Measuring this distance between two locations. 
  • Modify - Google Maps connects a variety of technological mediums, like text, images, and videos all in one place! Students too can create a digital travel journal using a variety of mediums. 
  • Redefine - Students can collaborate and share maps to post findings, drawings, and other features using Maps. Ask student to identify a problem that exists in a major city. Challenge them to recreate the city improving it in some way. 

Journey through California's 4 Regions Using Google Maps
To complete this assignment, students will locate at least 1 point of interest, city, or landmark within each of the 4 regions. They can explore the terrain, find images of popular places, calculate the distance, and get directions! Then, I used Adobe Spark to insert the images and narrate a video. You can also use other Google apps such as Slides or make a book with Book Creator.

Here's the an example of the video I created with my 6 year old son!  We both loved using Google Maps and had so much fun exploring the variety of useful features.

After checking out multiple resources on how to use Google Maps in the classroom, this is best resource I found! Kurt Wismer (@wismerkurt) has developed a wonderful website that provides everything you will possibly need to use this program. Click on the Google Maps link at the top and there's some much to explore and learn.