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Connecting around the world (within Timezones)

One of the projects on the back of my mind for our school is to buddy different classes or grades with “sister school” throughout the world.  Where this most often becomes is through technology, authentic needs and projects, and through meeting synchronously at the same time.  To alleviate this last worry, I was examining the idea to limit the schools we would connect with to those within our own timezone (for now).

Time Zones

Time Zones

This would mean that we could still get a cross-cultural feel for how things are in different parts of the world, but never have mix-ups or hiccups because of timing.  I can envision it now:

“Ok, great.  We’ll Skype with your class at 2pm then.”

“Wait, 2pm your time or mine?”

“Oh, ours.”

“Oh, we will already be gone home.”

This preplanning could fix all of this hassle down the road.  Because I am in Istanbul, this gives me a wide gamut of places and schools to consider, for example, Finland, Kiev, Bucharest, Cairo, Lubumbashi, Pretoria, Cape Town, and the list goes on.

Asynchronous conversations would end this worry and could be done through ideas like: Edmodo, Wikis, Blogging, Google Docs, Twitter, Twijector, and more.  However, there is definitely something about connecting in real-time.   I am excited about the idea and will comment further about the progress and the new problems we may face.

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Doing a Masters or Doctorate? Tools you need

Are you planning to take more schooling, like a Master’s degree or a PhD, or are you already enrolled?  If either of these is the case, I highly recommend you invest in ALL of these tools and I will explain why.

  1. Dropbox or Google Drive Both are FREE! – First thing you do not want to do is lose any or all of your documents, readings, discussion posts and replies, or assignments.  In order to do this, you should create an online area where your files can be stored.  This means that you create an account, download a small program and move your files to this folder.  Many people are worried that this means the files will look different or they won’t be able to reach them if the internet is down – Wrong!  The files look and act exactly the same.  They are housed on your computer and BACKED UP on the internet in “the cloud”.  This means that if your computer or flash drive breaks down, which they often do, you do not need to worry because you can download the program on another computer and login.  All your files will download to that device, open, and react exactly like you are used to them doing.  Just remember to write your login and password where you will remember it.  
  2. Mendeley FREE for 2GB of cloud space! (Costs after that, but you won’t likely use it all) – Time to organize your documents and retrieve or search through them easily.
    -Did I mention it was DRAG and DROP?
    -Did I mention it auto-generates your citations and bibliographies with a plug-in in Word?

    WATCH VIDEOS or Get guide here: https://www.mendeley.com/guides

    [Read my more detailed directions about Mendeley at the bottom of this article]

  3. Perrla for APA or MLA ($34.95 USD) – 
    Perrla

    Perrla

    Perrla will generate citations in APA and MLA, but use it to set the proper margins, headers, title pages, spacing, and so much more.  They auto set tables and figures in APA proper formatting.  When you read the APA (and I am sure the MLA, but I haven’t read it) manual you find these details are very tedious and time-consuming to apply.  Perrla guides you through 200+ citation types and explains every detail along the way – if you want to know more about what is happening with your Mendeley citations or how to do those weird, super esoteric ones.  

  4. SPSS (Approx. $90 USD) – You’re going to need to do some data crunching and analysis, even if you think, “No, I will just do a qualitative dissertation or thesis.”  Nonetheless, you will probably end up doing some predictive analytics after you gather all of your interview and case study material.  SPSS is one of the most widely used statistics softwares.  It is relatively cheap, is relatively simple to use (when you know what you are doing – Watch some Youtube videos about the specific types of analysis you plan to do and type “SPSS” in the search), and it is versatile.  
  5. Atlas.ti (Approx $99 USD – with Student ID) – If you are going to delve into qualitative research, this is the cheaper way to go and still has almost all the functionality of Nvivo.  It allows you to analyze and find patterns in documents, recordings, PDFs, quotes, and memos.  From there you can code, organize, develop nodes, and visually represent your data in many unassuming forms.  
  6. Evernote FREE! – Get started with this early! Use it to embed and tag articles, websites, clippings and even import text through Livescribe pen scanning ($69.95+).  Search through every item you have collected to realize information you have accumulated for your comprehensive exams and your dissertations.  It is an excellent and necessary way to stay organized.
  7. Free Natural Reader (PC) or Speech (MAC) Both are FREE! – When you are ready to turn in an assignment or submit a discussion post, you need to review it.  The best way to do this is to hear it out loud.  On a PC, there is no software built-in so the Natural Reader is an awesome download you need to get.  Macs have an advantage in this area because they have this built-in.  Go to the APPLE (in the top left corner), go to SYSTEM PREFERENCES, a dialogue box will appear, go to SPEECH, check “Speak selected text when the key is pressed”, SET KEY (I would choose OPTION + S) – Highlight some text and try out either of these options to hear it read back to you.  You will notice mistakes so much easier.
  8. Harzing’s Publish or Perish FREE! – If you need to find the seminal articles written around a 
    Harzing's Publish or Perish

    Harzing’s Publish or Perish

    subject, this is the software for you.  Search for any subject and voilà, you have found the most cited, the highest ranked, the number of citations of the article per year, and more.  Download this into Windows or a parallel system that enables Windows on a Mac, like Parallels ($79.99 USD).  

  9. Windows and Microsoft Word for Windows – The reason I recommend using the Windows environment for post-graduate work is because many of the products listed above work naturally in this operating system.  I also enjoy that Microsoft Word on PC allows for click editing of words to bold, italicize, underline and change other attributes without moving your cursor all the way to the menu bar across the top.  Plus, if you opt not to buy Perrla, which I highly recommend that you do, Word on a PC has more up-to-date APA and MLA citations.

Bookmark these sites:

  1. Crossref – If you are using APA 6, you need to find DOIs (Digital Object Identifiers).  This website allows you to reverse look up journal articles and sites to find if there is one available.
  2. Thesaurus.com – You are going to need to use ‘the other word’ often.  When writing a paper, Microsoft Word has a bult in thesaurus, but Thesaurus.com offers, furnishes, grants, and presents more and better options.
  3. Smartthinking – I hope your school offers this services free of charge.  They have online tutoring, essay submission and editing, APA editing, math help and so much more.  It is awesome but I just examined the pricing – not so cheap.  It depends upon what you need, so have a look.  Well worth it for major essay editing help.
  4. Turnitin – Again, I hope that your University uses this service.  To make sure that you are not plagiarizing, this site locates all the information that turns up from other sources.  Remember, as a rule, your essays should not have more than 20% of other people’s work.  After submitting an assignment, Turnitin highlights areas and determines where it has come from.  Your profs may use it.  You should too!

If you have other software, hardware, websites, or tricks that you use, please tell me in the comments.  Finally, remember to thank me in your Dedication. Good luck with everything.

Mendeley details:

  1. Create an account
  2. Download the desktop version – install
    • Drag and Drop your downloaded PDF articles into the Mendeley interface
    • IMPORTANT – Double check newly imported article’s details are correct – 80% – 90% reliable – be especially careful that the DOI didn’t get truncated because of a forward slash: /
      • (This will add completely different details for articles with the other DOI number)
      • If you lose the article because of incorrect DOI auto-fill – search “Recently Added”
    • Ensure correct “Type” is chosen (e.g. Journal Article, Thesis, Book)
      • For chapters of a book, select “Book Section”
    • IMPORTANT – “Sync” often (2 GB of free space in cloud – paid for extra space: ability to install Mendeley on multiple computers and keep up-to-date)
    • Create Folders with terms that are useful (e.g. Dissertations, Recommendations, Case studies) – drag and drop articles into folder
    • Add notes where applicable to articles
    • TIME SAVER – Have notes tab open and click through “My library” articles to quickly see notes you have written
    • RECOMMENDATION – Use Stars to delineate articles that are 3 years or newer for easy reference
      • In “My Library” “All Documents”, click “Year” header to sort column
      • Star all documents that are within the 3 year date range – deselect others
    • RECOMMENDATION – Use Green / Grey dots to delineate which articles have been cited in dissertation or paper
    • TIME SAVER – With article open and selected, click “Contents” to jump to areas in articles
    • Search to get an overview of where this query can be found in every article
      • Double click an article to open it in a new tab
  3. Download the Mendeley plug-in for Microsoft Word – install
    • Find Mendeley auto-references under “References” tab
      • Click to insert –> Type name of first author of document
      • If needed, type into reference in paper to edit –> Select “Keep Manual Edit”
    • Insert Bibliography into paper (Note – this auto-updates upon insertion of new reference)
  4. Yay!!
 
 

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Creating a Wiki?

Some advice that I would give to someone creating a wiki specifically for a class working synchronously:

  1. Students must write their information in Word first – for better grammar, but especially for back-up.
  2. Create separate designated pages for each student to work on – possibly name the pages with their name embedded to be changed out later – as the wiki creator, you may be the only one to have the page creation rights.
  3. If you know multiple people will be working on the same pages at the same times, allocate time buffer zones that people may post – for example, if 4 people work on the same page, one may post between 4-6pm, another between 7-9pm, another between 10-12pm, and another between 6-8am.

There are always Revision histories, but having 15-30 students post on the same page at the same time DOES NOT WORK. Separate the tasks and times as best as you can.

I would actually recommend Google Docs or Microsoft One-note if you are networked and have that option.  It depends on your final goal of the project.

 
 

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Image

14,000 hits

14,000 hits

Woohoo!!  I remember when I was going on 1000 hits.  It was an exciting time.  Now, I have been blogging, tweeting, Scoop.iting, Scribding, Youtubing, Linkedining, and connecting for a few years now.  I just looked down and noticed my hit count.  Pretty cool.  I (we: Pla and I) are about to hit 14,000 hits for the site.  This is an exciting time.

I am nearly half way through my PhD, which definitely slows down the blogging process, but my next goal will probably be to write a few books.  Keep coming back.  I try to add content that is interesting and useful to any educator.

Cheers and thanks for popping by.
Tom Johnson and Pla Sankhum

 

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Tech Integration Response to Email Questions

brass_integrator

brass_integrator (Photo credit: xmatt)

A recent group of colleagues, tech integrators from around the world, have recently connected through email contact.  One of the cohort posed a few questions, “[I am} interested in Tech lesson ideas for PK – Grade 5.  Also how you’re day is spent integrating technology in your schools. If you teach classes or are full time integration.”

I thought I would share my response here:

Hello,

I am going to try to get back to you about specific tech ideas because there are so many.  Our team is presently developing a website to showcase tech integration ideas using 3 New Literacies: Community, Tools, and Information.  This is being developed for PYP, MYP, and DP.  When it is populated I am eager to share it.  For now, I will point you to the Florida Tech Matrix: http://fcit.usf.edu/matrix/

Concerning how the day spent as a tech integrator, it is interesting to compare this year to others.  Essentially as a tech integrator, and as John D’Arcy puts it, we are working our way out of a job and into a learning coach role who spends more time researching and promoting learning theory and practices.  However, teachers will usually need help learning new tools.  Jeff Utecht states, “We are in perpetual beta”.  The way he explains this idea is that online and offline programs and operating systems are continually updating and upgrading.  This means that we never really become experts because a version with all new bells and whistles keeps us and other teachers on their toes.  This is the reason I know we will always have a job as researchers, testers, implementers, and promoters.

As a tech integrator, originally I was working in classes in the capacity as a lead-teacher, co-teacher, or support teacher depending upon what the teacher needed and specified.  More recently I am finding that I am working much more with teachers individually who have lists of questions they would like answered.  I work with them on a weekly basis and help them with everything from blogging, to email and Google Drive organization, to SMARTboarding, to iPad app exploration, and so much more.  They are figuring out and adapting lessons from previous years but still ask for my help once in a while.  I write more about the idea of tech integration here: https://ict-design.org/2011/09/02/technology-integration-a-six-pronged-approach/ and share Keengwe, J., & Onchwari, G.’s (2009) tech integration rubric here: https://ict-design.org/2011/10/25/technology-integration-rubric

With regards to your last query, I am a full-time tech integrator with an open schedule.  I use and share my Google Calendar with staff here: https://ict-design.org/make-appointment  I found that if teachers were able to edit my calendar I would have some of them coming up to me at the end of the day saying, “You didn’t come visit my class” because I missed an appointment they made minutes before the due time.  Therefore, I make my calendar read-only, which means they need confirmation from me about appointment details.  It seems to work much better.

Hope that helps.
Thomas Johnson
Technology Integration Specialist | Learning Coach

 
 

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Learn more about these people

More recently I have been told to either investigate, read about, or read books or articles from the following people:

  • John Hattie – Professor John Allan Clinton Hattie, ONZM has been Professor of Education and Director of the Melbourne Education Research Institute at the University of Melbourne, Australia, since March 2011.
  • Carol S. Dweck – is the Lewis and Virginia Eaton Professor of Psychology at Stanford University. She graduated from Barnard College in 1967 and earned a Ph.D. from Yale University in 1972.
  • Guy Claxton – has been Co-Director of the Centre for Real-World Learning (CrL), and Professor of the Learning Sciences, at the University of Winchester. He previously held the same title at the University of Bristol Graduate School of Education. He has a ‘double first’ from Cambridge and a DPhil from Oxford, and is a Fellow of the British Psychological Society and the Royal Society of Arts, and an Academician of the Academy of the Social Sciences. His books have been translated into many languages including Japanese, Greek, Italian, German, Spanish and Portuguese.
 
2 Comments

Posted by on November 26, 2012 in Education

 

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New ways to cheat at school

Attention:

This is a “head’s up” to teachers [professors, bosses, supervisors, etc].  Writing and bringing cheat sheets, copying off neighbor’s tests, buying essays online, texting answers to one another and plagiarizing are ways students use to cheat.  But now there is a new way to add a procrastination method to the list of cheating

…and it’s not Facebook.

Proof:

Document Corrupter, by Neddy Winter, does just what it says.  It corrupts documents.  Neddy totes it like this:

We have all been in the situation where we have half-finished work due tomorrow. You can upload a unfinished word document and this tool will modify it so that it cannot be opened. You can send the corrupted file instead to buy yourself some extra time.http://neddyy.net/docs/

So if dealing with cheating and plagiarism wasn’t enough, now teachers need to lookout for this awful new method that students are employing.

Strategy:

As a teacher or educator we are thinking to ourselves, “Oh no!  This is not good.  Is there any way that I can combat this new way to cheat?”  Initially, there is not a program or service that can tell you the file has been put through the document corrupter, but you can try some of these solutions:

  • Tell students you are aware of the Document Corrupter
  • Insist that students save their file revisions in DropBox – They can always go back to an earlier saved version
  • Tell students that corrupted files are still counted as late
  • Tell students they must send you two file formats: PDF and DOCx
  • Ask students to give you drafts or compartmentalized pieces of large assignments
  • Employ the use of Google Docs instead
  • If a document shows up corrupted to your email and you have your doubts, ask a student to immediately send you an print-screen image-file of the closing argument from their computer.  Also ask them to look in their Dropbox to get an older version to send you

To help fight against procrastination:

  • Help students to create an “un-schedule”

“a weekly calendar of all of your committed activities. It can help you accomplish your goal in two ways. First, in looking ahead to how much of your time is already committed, you will see the maximum amount of time you have left over to work toward your goal. Secondly, creating an unschedule helps you at the end of your week as you can look back and see where your time has actually gone” (Burka, Jane B, and Lenora M. Yuen. Procrastination. Reading: Addison-Wesley
Publishing Company, 1983.)

To fight plagiarism:

  • Use turnitin.com “The global leader in addressing plagiarism and delivering rich feedback”
  • Have students use this resource before they submit something to you, to see where they may not have realized they were plagiarizing

Good luck to you all.  Don’t come back to me later saying, “What can I do now? Students are sending me corrupted files.  I think they have figured out this method.”

Did you procrastinate yourself in getting them to set up a DropBox account?  I don’t want to get a corrupted file hearing all about it.  🙂

Note: I almost recommend strategies like this.  As a teacher, I like to allow ‘one post it note’ as a cheat-sheet for students.  It means the students are perusing the information they should be studying, making decisions about what is the most important information, and then rewriting the information, which is a good way to study.

 
 

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