Monday, May 15, 2017

Watching Videos Does Not Have to be a Passive Activity (TurboNote)

For this post I wanted to switch things up a little bit and focus on a specific tool. In an effort to get posts to come out a little more frequently I hope to sprinkle in more tool and resource specific posts/tips with my more traditional posts that relate a passion of mine, fishing, with my other passion, educational technology. I hope that you enjoy and can use these tools in your practice.

The use of videos in class is nothing new to teachers or students. But, watching a video shouldn’t be a passive activity. There are different tools and resources out there that take the viewing of videos to the next level. I have talked with my teachers about using EdPuzzle or playposit (fka eduCanon) to insert questions, comments and other interactives to any given video. This practice allowed the teachers to gain some insight into what they students were getting out of the videos and through the data collection process had easy checks for understanding. Another tool that students can use in conjunction with their viewing of videos is something called TurboNote. If you were a user of, (currently the site is down), you will recognize the function and features of this resource.

TurboNote enables the user to save notes in a virtual note pad or sticky’s that are timestamped according to the moment in the video you are currently watching. There are many video sites that are supported including, YouTube, Vimeo, Netflix, Khan Academy and many others. In addition to the recording of notes into the notepad the ability exists to be able to share your notes with anyone else. Those that receive shared notes can see the timestamped entries along with the video. This is a great tool for students to use to help them study and even for teachers to use to gauge students comprehension of content within any video. This quick demo of TurboNote highlights its use.

Monday, March 6, 2017

To Plan or Not to Plan...It’s Not Even a Question

Tournament fisherman have many things to do before they actually make their first cast after the sound of the gun. A week of pre-fishing the lake and developing a game plan, various boat preparations, and checking and re-checking your tackle. There is a lot of hard work that goes into being a successful tournament fisherman. All of this planning before a tournament is not necessarily the fun stuff, but it is a requirement in order to have success.
Probably the most important piece to winning a fishing tournament is to have an effective pre fishing routine. During this time of pre fishing, an angler must learn everything they can about the lake or river system. This includes where different structure is, water color and depths of various areas and especially how the river or lake reacts to sudden changes in weather or water conditions.
Now, I’m no tournament fisherman (know of any openings?),  I am an educator that focuses on the integration of technology into curricula. In order to help teachers integrate various technology I have to be comfortable and knowledgeable about the latest trends and practices in educational technology. In addition, there is a need to effectively plan for the future in an area that is always evolving. I have spent quite a bit of time looking at things like the new Digital Learning and Computer Science Standards, research on 1:1 programs, as well as other bigger picture items. I always have to tell myself and be reminded that while this may not be the exciting and fun part of the job it is actually the necessary piece that allows me to have those invigorating and exciting experiences with teachers and students in the classroom.

The proper research and planning that goes into a 1:1 program or development of a makerspace for example, can be the difference between success and seamless integration and complete breakdown and failure. To properly embark on a new journey, especially in the area of educational technology, one must gather and utilize all available resources. This includes various documentation, research, and personnel.  Use all of the information that can be acquired to develop a detailed plan and finally execute and assess that plan. Without taking the time to properly research and plan what happens is you end up taking one step forward and two steps back.
So, make sure you know what your plan is for that sudden hail storm in August, the bass get finicky and the wireless network may get a little testy.