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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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Technology Integration Specialist – job descriptions

International Conference for the Integration o...

As a technology integration specialist (TIS) my job description is all over the place.  I was in a meeting today where the principal of the school, who has been doing interviews with teachers to find their needs, has come to the conclusion that teachers have very specific needs, and so do their classes.  I agree and am glad he gathered this evidence to support what I was thinking.

What does this mean then for a TIS?

The first thing that it seems to mean is communication is needed on the part of the TIS.  As a TIS, we need to explain:  What is it that we are doing?  Where are we?  How can we be contacted or booked?  What types of things can we bring to the class?  What types of systems are we putting in to place? and the list goes on…

What kinds of strategies can we put into place?

  • Walking from classroom to classroom – trying to drop in to the classrooms that have the computers out with their kids.  And dropping in to the classrooms where SMARTboards are being used…or dropping in to classrooms where no tech is being offered, to get a sense of the units.
  • Being available at certain times in specific locations – this could rotate through the week.  For example, Week 1: Mon – Fri 12:30 – 1:00 in an available room, like a Science room or computer lab, Week 2: Mon – Fri 9:00 – 9:30 in an available room, and so on.
  • Offering as much PD as possible – lunches, after school.
  • Being at everyone’s beck and call – Offering phone numbers to teachers who can call when it is necessary to come down to trouble shoot a problem.
  • Offering kids available times to meet – lunches or after school should suffice.
  • Designing new policies – For example, Facebook and online social policies.
  • Setting up infrastructures.  For example, Google Docs and Dropbox for communication and collaboration, Netvibes for organizing life, booking systems, saving and cloud systems, infrastructures for instruction online and more.
  • Tweeting great sites and strategies.
  • Blogging about what we are doing.
  • Creating websites or resources for teachers who need it.
  • Researching and learning about all the latest trends or immediate tech that is necessary.
  • Being friendly and approachable by everyone.

But is this enough?

As a TIS, this probably means that many hats are to be worn.  For example, TISers might be on committees about websites, or technology in general.  They might be trying to do overarching projects, like developing larger PD or workshops, or building community relations with other schools and their tech and media departments.  They might be inundated with emails every day, but it is their job to set an example, to reply to each and every question, query, statement, request, reply, and quandary.

They should realize they are lucky. This is because they have the opportunity to continually better themselves while they are helping others.  In walking into every classroom, they get to see what other teachers and classes are doing and glean or appropriate (read: steal) ideas from their coworkers and friends.  Because of this, they are continually learning and growing and able to offer more to their fellow workers and student body.

As a TIS, its great to be loved and needed.  It is just too bad there aren’t more ways we can split our time or add more hours to the day.  I am sure as an educator or a human I am not the only one who feels this, but it would be great.  Maybe this is one more system we need to design. 🙂

 
 

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Note-Worthy ideas and Sites

multiple choice

(Photo credit: nchenga)

Here are a few that I think are note-worthy:

  • Socrative.com – This site allows groups to gather information live with a response system that can be projected.  For example, True and False, or Multiple Choice answers can be consolidated on the fly.
  • MyiMaths.com – A good site for students to work at their own pace on Math.  The downside is that it costs money, but it seems worth it.
  • Knewton.com – This Adaptive Learning Platform has a lot of potential.  Personalized learning for everyone.  The company is starting with Math, but looks like it will be working towards lots of neat things.
  • TheSchoolofOne – Keeping with the idea of the two aforementioned sites, this idea revolves around each child learning at their own speed.  Neat.
  • Quest2Learn – Quest is a translation of the underlying form of games into a powerful pedagogical model for 6-12th graders.
 

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Technology Integration: A six-pronged approach

Attention:

Your school needs technology integration specialists, if it doesn’t already have them.  Gone are the days that tech teaching is left to tech teachers in discreet technology classes.  Everyone, especially teachers, needs to understand how tech is an integral tool to the education process.  They need to understand that technology should be emphasizing, rather than working perpendicular to classroom objectives and projects.  This blog post looks at how technology can and should be implemented by a Technology Integration Specialist.

First, we need to look at whether technology should be used and why, as well as how it should be thought of.

Proof:

Should technology be used?

Harold Wenglinsky’s study, “Does it Compute: The Relationship between Educational Technology and Student Achievement in Mathematics,” concluded that for 4th and 8th graders technology has “positive benefits” on achievement as measured in NAEP’s mathematics test. But it is critical to note Wenglinsky’s caveat to this conclusion. He argues that not all uses of technology were beneficial. Wenglinksky found using computers to teach low order thinking skills, “…[W]as negatively related to academic achievement….” Put another way, this type of computer use was worse than doing nothing. (http://home.blarg.net/~building/strategies/technology/foltos.htm)

The answer seems to be yes and no.  The Atlantic says these are the Important Skills for the 21st Century Learner and lists them from most important to least important:

  • Critical Thinking, Problem Solving, Questioning
  • Accessing, Analyzing, and Synthesizing Information
  • Communication
  • Innovation, Creativity, Curiosity, Imagination
  • Ethical Decision-Making
  • Agility, Adaptability, Flexibility
  • Global Citizenship, Social and Cross-Cultural Interaction
  • Collaboration
  • Initiative, Self-Direction, Entreneurialism, Resourcefulness
  • Productivity and Accountability
  • Leardership
  • Other
  • Multi-Disciplinary Decision-Makings

Referring back to this list, we, as educators, need to consider how to properly implement technology to cater to the highest skills authentically.

Larry Cuban has been quick to note that his surveys suggest that fewer than 20% of teachers use technology several times a week, and up to half of all teachers didn’t use technology at all. (Cuban, et al., Winter 2001; Cuban, August 1999) Even if teachers used the technology, Cuban concluded, few employed these tools in ways that would improve teaching and learning. “[M]ore often than not,” he noted, “their use sustained rather than altered existing patterns of teaching practice” (Cuban, et al., Winter 2001). (http://home.blarg.net/~building/strategies/technology/foltos.htm)

Strategy:

What does this mean?

I am coming from an IB perspective.  With this guise, the skills critical to ICT are: Investigating, Creating, Communicating, Collaborating, Organizing, and Becoming responsible digital citizens.  For each of the six Programmes of Inquiry (POI) units, they might have this focus.  With that focus, the best tools (See:Edorigami list of Web 2.0 tools, Edorigami ICT Tools & Online Collaborative Tools) can be used to enable the work of students.

In deciding the best tools, the Technology Integration Specialist, along with the classroom teachers needs to discern whether technology should actually be used.  The question: WHY? and TO WHAT END? should be posed alongside any decision to implement the use of technology

Along with deciding the best tools to use with the skills for each POI, the approaches the Technology Integration Specialist takes are as follows:

  • School meeting integration
    • Technology should be showcased at each meeting.  There is so much new hardware, software, online and off that is developed every day, if there isn’t a glimpse of it every week or so, everyone is getting left behind.
    • Tech integration specialist should be doing their homework, finding solutions, collating and deciding which are the best available to showing other educators.
  • In-class push-ins
    • TIS can be Leading – Class is lead by the TIS
    • Supportive – Class is co-hosted by the TIS
    • Reflective – Class is observed and reflected upon by the TIS
    • One-on-one* – Classroom teachers may want prior teaching about technologies in order to present these ideas as their own to their classes
  • Individual meetings with educators
    • The primary focus for teachers follows these guidelines from John D’Arcy of CDNIS
      • “there is no rush”
      • pragmatic and compassionate (have expectations of teachers, they have to be on the journey)
      • curriculum and pedagogy
      • teachers and students first
    • If a school has a PYP/MYP/DP coordinator, TIS should be sitting down with their perspective coordinators and with the classroom teachers.  This should occur before each unit and ideally weekly or bi-weekly to reflect upon best approaches.
  • Organization of technology groups
    • The IBO states this about the the ICT committee: “Different stakeholders in the school community could be members of an ICT committee.  However, it is essential that the pedagogical leaders of the school are members of this committee as they are responsible for the effective management of resources (people, time, equipment and money).”
    • The TIS might also structure mixed high-level/low-level groups with team leaders to help disseminate learning and obtain feedback from staff
  • Online presence
    • To reiterate, backup, and showcase all things tech a TIS should have a major presence online.  This would be through, but is not limited to:
      • Blogs – like this one
      • Websites
      • Prezis
      • Scribd
      • LinkedIn
      • Dropbox
      • Facebook
      • Google+, Docs & Calendars
      • Forums
      • the IBO OCC
      • Voicethread
      • Youtube
      • Netvibes
      • Twitter
  • Professional Development
    • The TIS should search out technology professional development opportunities that are applicable to all stakeholders.  They might post these on a common calendars, email them, or even talk to educators directly.
    • They ensure that development is taking place at the school.  It could be through traditional approaches or online.  Check these out.
    • They do PD themselves and then come back to present the ideas and reflections during meetings

*This idea was presented to me by a classroom teacher as a way I could support them.

As a technology integrator, I made this presentation to a school to describe what a TIS was versus a traditional technology teacher.

Further reading about technology in education can be read through links found here and here

 
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Posted by on September 2, 2011 in Education, Technology

 

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