Skip to content

reflection on the week

chinchillag 2 minutes ago

It has been a very fruitful week for me. I learnt about many different tools like wikispace, google docs, mindmeister, wordpress,podcasting and voicethread to use in the classroom. Among all of these, voicethread- digital story telling is the one that I would like to use next academic year with my students. I need to think about ideas how to use it with students in order to get the most of it. My idea is to introduce it to them at the beginning of the year ( maybe they already know how to use it?). One important thing is to link projects to the curriculum and content of the course in order to make it meaninful and purpousely. I can also see the usefulness of mindmeister when working with grammar ( mind maps of verb conjugations for example, word families for lowel levels, and discussions with central questions for upper levels). I will be thinking about the SAMR model, moving in an upward scale with technology. Apart from this, my intention is to revisit what we have done this week during the summer, so that i do not forget. I am very glad i did this workshop because it has helped me to understand better some of the tools and it has taken away some of my apprehensions.



world languages reflections

Some of the “cool tools” like “MindMeister” I find of particular interest to help students with organizational skills and to help them with visualization of complex ideas. It is a great tool for classroom management.

Specifically in Spanish I would like to use this tool to help students understand semantic relationships, verbal tenses and other linguistic related topics.


Google art also offers visits to actual museums around the globe and students can experience a virtual visit to “El Museo Reina Sofía” in Madrid, for example. This can be implemented in the cultural unit of art as an illustration of modern art in Spain.


I found the SAMR model quite interesting to make sense of why we are using technology in the classroom vs. the traditional way of teaching and in what ways it is changing the dimensions of our teaching.


Lingro was good to help with translations of words in context.


I particularly enjoyed working on the digital storytelling for which we used Voicethread. The explored unit was the food and the level Spanish II. Two dishes- Paella and Ceviche- from two different countries in the Hispanic world were explained and compared. The use of visual resources paired with oral explanations will help SLD students understand in an easier way. The different ways of commenting on the  story/photos will get students involved using the different four skills: readind, writing, speaking and listening.  Flicker and altavista were used to find photos/images.



This course has helped me to understand a wide range of technological resources.  I also feel more comfortable implementing certain tools in the classroom environment. Thank you!



Managing My Three Ring Circus by Jane

My mind is whirling with ideas and plans, and is my custom…I get so excited about educational possibilities, that I over plan, attempt to over achieve, and hence, overwhelm myself.  Another fault I have is that all good intentions to explore and expand my experiences with newly acquired knowledge isn’t  always followed through in a timely manner, so that when I return to try something I learned at an institute…alas! I’ve forgotten how to do it.

The week I have invested at the American School of London’s 2011 Institute this June has been both affirming and transformative for me personally and professionally.  I have relished the opportunity to meet and interact with educators from around the globe…the rich diversity of life and professional experiences of my colleagues has been a magnificent chance to grow and thrive in my role as an educator. I am excited about possibilities to connect globally with teachers for collaborative projects.  Meeting people face to face makes such connections so much easier.

Directions for me in August? I intend to have our class write a constitution of behavioral expectations together in a class meeting.  I will have them create a digital book of our classroom “rules” in collective groups, illustrating examples of what following these rules would look like. We’ll do this in voice threads, so that other students can comment on each rule and description.  Should we have issues with students not following the rules throughout the year, we can always review our digital book in class meeting and revisit the rules.  I believe I will have better “buy in” from my young students, if they themselves have illustrated, reviewed, and commented on these rules.  My hidden agenda in this first assignment is to teach the children how to create a digital story book, so that we can move on with additional projects of this nature throughout the year.

I want to use a Wiki for my Flat Stanley project, persevere with efforts to establish ePals, and I want to maintain blogging with my students. We will have the ability to check out an iPad 2 periodically for our classrooms…since I have my own iPad 1, hopefully I can experiment with mine to be better prepared to use it in classroom instruction.

Probably, the best course of action for me initially, is to rest for two weeks, play around with all my Cool Tools, and then hit the school year rested,  and restored!  Augh…what a great week! Thanks, everyone for not only helping me survive and thrive, but to be revived, as well!

What’s next for me? by Kristin

This week’s biggest blessing has been time to experiment and think about my own curriculum and how to use new and old technologies to meet my curricular goals.  My “take-away” from the course is two-pronged. I bring away both ideas for projects and tools that I create and use as a teacher and ideas for projects and tools that I plan to have my students use. For both of these, it has been vital to look at my year-long curriculum map and brainstorm. By no means do I expect to follow through with all of the ideas that I have, but I plan to do at least two teacher projects and two student projects.

In terms of teacher projects, I’d mainly like to focus on improving my skills with iMovie to make a few teacher podcasts that I could make available to parents and students.  Topic ideas began to pop into my head immediately, and I’ll need to spend a lot more time looking at my curriculum overview to find more and do some thinking to determine which would be the most helpful to parents and students.  To start the year, I’d like to make and share one of the following podcasts: “How to do an informal booktalk”, “Reading Comprehension Strategies”, and/or “Grade 4 Weekly Spelling Routines.”

When it comes to student projects, I think that VoiceThread will be the new medium that I will share with students the most for presentations. Some ideas that I already have for VoiceThread projects are student book reviews, math “how-to” presentations (students could share how to measure angles, use the partial quotients algorithm), geometry mask explanations,  and enrichment/field trip reports. Again, looking at the curriculum map in more detail will lead to many more ideas.  I think there is a value in getting students comfortable with a few modes of presentation (like VoiceThread) through several projects. Then they can use that independently.

My next step will be to look at each of my culminating projects for my reading, writing, math and social studies units to see which ones could be redesigned with technology and then to decide which tools to use. I’m not saying that all projects need to have a technology element, but I’d like to think about which projects could really be significantly modified or redesigned to better enhance student learning.  One I’d already like to try is having students work in groups after our Launching the Readers’ Workshop unit to create presentations or digital stories on the topic of  ‘just right’ books.

Finally, there were a few of the “Cool Tools” that I can see incorporating into my everyday teaching and lesson planning. Wikispaces opens up a whole new dimension to the reading response notebooks. Mindmeister is a perfect tool to make carousel brainstorming more efficient. I can see myself having Lingros available as we look at text in several mini-lessons. And of course, I want to continue with the class blog I set up. Initially, I’d like to set students up as contributors while we do lessons on quality and thoughtful comments and responses, but then allow them author rights to post on the blog.

I’m glad I’m not heading out on holiday straight away so that I can take next week to do some more planning while this is all fresh in my mind. The time this week was so valuable, but I know once school starts, time to think and plan becomes almost non-existent. That is why I’m glad that I brainstormed so many ideas, but am also glad that I plan to be realistic about how much I can redefine in one year.  Let’s meet again next summer! 🙂

Bridgewater – A Reflection on the week

The biggest problem for most teachers (and really, most people) is that when it comes to using new technology, how do you know what you don’t know? Part of my job is to introduce new technology ideas to teachers, but I worry that I can’t keep up with all of the innovative new ideas that are on the market.

After this week, I was reassured that, for the most part, I’m up to date with the possibilities. That’s not to say that I didn’t learn anything new. I’m looking forward to exploring MindMeister in particular and find out what kind of licensing deal we can get for teachers who would be interested in using it. We already have a site license for Inspiration, and for individual mind-mapping, it does a great job. But Inspiration doesn’t allow collaborative work, and it doesn’t allow students to start a project in school and then continue to work on it at home unless they have Inspiration installed. MindMeister would allow students to work on projects at school and at home regardless of their operating system and installed applications. My only hesitation with cloud-based solutions is that we become incredibly dependent on a vibrant wifi network and internet connection. If that goes down, all work would stop. We will begin to use GoogleDocs in the fall, so that concern will be put to the test very soon.

I also have a better understanding how of VoiceThread works, and can see its benefit in certain situations. My worry is how to offer possibilities to teachers and students without overwhelming them with too many choices. We already have a Moodle on campus that gets used quite extensively, and that offers excellent threaded discussion and wiki options (so Wikispaces isn’t something that we’d consider using here). But Moodle’s blogging options are poor, so we’ve also got a Drupal on campus for class and individual blogging. Now that we’ll be adding GoogleDocs to our Moodle and Drupal options, I worry about introducing additional possibilities. I think that what I’ll do instead is to only offer things like VoiceThread and MindMeister to teachers who are trying to do something that can’t be done with what we already have on offer and who are actively looking for something new.

On a personal level, I’m toying with the idea of creating QR Codes and posting them around school. I could use them as a way to get kids interested in joining the school newspaper – maybe even sending them on a scavenger hunt. Or, maybe I’ll suggest that the school cafeteria could post a QR code each morning so people could see what is on the menu for lunch.

Reflections of my week at ASL – I not only Survived… I Thrived! (via jenniferlockett)

So, this is our last day at the Learning Institute at the American School of London led by our esteemed leader Leah Treesh. It seems like the week has flown by! I can't believe I've been in London for six days. We learned a lot, it was definitely an intensive workshop and, looking back, I have a lot that I can take home with me. At most of these Ed Tech seminars and workshops, I find that I don't take a lot of 'doing' skills back home with me. I' … Read More

via jenniferlockett

Reflections by Karen

This has been an amazing week! There are many, many ideas to take back and implement. First, the SAMR model will be the basis for my plans and my goal is to work with the teachers to encourage them to focus on learning as the goal with technology as the tool – not to use technology only because it’s “cool.”

What I would like to focus on in the coming year would be digital storytelling. I’ve used PhotoStory 3 in the lab but there are so many uses that would be beneficial to students in the classroom. However, when we move to Windows 7, PhotoStory won’t work.  I plan to do more using VoiceThread. What I like about VT is the collaborative nature. Last year we focused on just creating a VT but we didn’t really discuss appropriate comments. This is the year to take it a step further and have the students work collaboratively.

Podcasting is another tool that I want to learn more about. I can see numerous uses in grades K-4.

We were also given suggestions for iPad apps along with ideas on using a single iPad in the classroom. I can’t wait to get my hands on an iPad when we return.

A huge thanks to Leah for the wonderful ideas, for working us hard, and giving us the opportunities to explore and create. Having this conference at ASL has been awesome! Everyone has been wonderful; we have been well-fed too!! As an alum, I found it exciting to return to attend the Learning Institute.