An Intriguing Entry Task

This past week I came across a video by Daniel Pink called “Two simple questions that can change your life in 2010”.  This is a video to promote his new book called Drive.  As I watched this video I really began to think about my students and how many of them lack motivation because they do not have a purpose or goal in their lives.  So I decided to use this video as an entry task for my next lesson.  The results were very enlightening and really allowed me to gain some excellent insight about my students.  This is one of those exercises to go into the toolbox for future years to come.

As my students came into my room I told them to get a sheet of paper out.  Once they were all seated and the bell rang I played the video. When the video was complete we discussed motivation and its link to having a purpose.  I used the analogue about a dartboard.  If I do not have a clear goal it is like throwing darts at the dart board with my eyes closed.  I am unable to adjust and get frustrated that I can only hit the board occasionally.  But if I have my eyes open not only do I see what I am aiming at I can make adjustments to increase my chances for success.  After answering questions and making the link between finding what they like to do and using that as motivation to achieve in school.  I posed the following question to them.

“What is your sentence for this year at school?”

The answers that I received really surprised me.  I found out things that I did not know about my students.  I felt as though I really got to know some of my students and what they really wanted in life.  This was one of those exercises that really opened my eyes and is one that I will refine and definitely do again.  Click the link below to see the video.This past week I came across a video by Daniel Pink called “Two simple questions that can change your life in 2010”.  This is a video to promote his new book called Drive.  As I watched this video I really began to think about my students and how many of them lack motivation because they do not have a purpose or goal in their lives.  So I decided to use this video as an entry task for my next lesson.  The results were very enlightening and really allowed me to gain some excellent insight about my students.  This is one of those exercises to go into the toolbox for future years to come.

As my students came into my room I told them to get a sheet of paper out.  Once they were all seated and the bell rang I played the video. When the video was complete we discussed motivation and its link to having a purpose.  I used the analogue about a dartboard.  If I do not have a clear goal it is like throwing darts at the dart board with my eyes closed.  I am unable to adjust and get frustrated that I can only hit the board occasionally.  But if I have my eyes open not only do I see what I am aiming at I can make adjustments to increase my chances for success.  After answering questions and making the link between finding what they like to do and using that as motivation to achieve in school.  I posed the following question to them.

“What is your sentence for this year at school?”

The answers that I received really surprised me.  I found out things that I did not know about my students.  I felt as though I really got to know some of my students and what they really wanted in life.  This was one of those exercises that really opened my eyes and is one that I will refine and definitely do again.  Click the link below to see the video.

http://www.danpink.com/archives/2010/01/2questionsvideo

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Help!! 32 Handhelds and Two Months to Show Relevance in Education!

Over the past year I have been looking into augmented reality and how I can develop this medium for the classroom.  I have discussed this before in my blogs multiple times. (See links below.) At this point I have been lucky enough to convince my district to pilot 32 HTC Touch Pro 2’s in my classroom.  These devices will run windows mobile 6.5 and Goknow mobile software.  The district is going to pay for the data plans through Verizon.  This will allow me to begin to develop different types of augmented reality learning environments for my students.  At the present I see that I will use Mscape and Goknow, including  their multiple applications that they provide  with their service, to begin creating these learning environments.  The purpose of this blog is to asked others what have you used to create these type of learning environments?  Also what are your experiences using augmented reality in the classroom?  Since this is a pilot program that is getting started late in the year I don’t have much time to convince my district of the validity of these types of learning environments.  So any help here would be great so that I can prove the worth of these devices and be able to retain them for the upcoming school year.

  1. Augmented Reality How do you use it?
  2. Augmented Reality Lesson Plan “History Detectives”
  3. Augmented Reality with Bing Maps The Wave of the Future?
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Interactive Learning Content for your Students with “Magic Studio”

Magic Studio provides teachers the ability to create interactive content for their classes.  Teachers can create Drag and drop activities that allow students to manipulate content by dragging items to specific locations to show learning.  Teachers can also combine different multimedias by embedding them into an image, and then allow students to explore the image exposing students to different types of media and content.  Teachers can also create online presentations, quizzes and even interactive timelines for students to explore and learn.  These are some great tools for creating interactive online content for students and is a resource that would be very beneficial for any teacher.

Check out this resource at http://www.magicstudio.com/

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Augmented Reality Lesson Plan “History Detectives”

This assignment was created with Mscape and is played on window mobile 6.1 or higher devices. Since Mscape is going to be discontinued by HP I was hoping that someone out there could point me to another platform that I can use to create these type of learning environments.

Here are the programs I am aware of:

In this simulation students are in groups of two or three and each have a specific character that they select and play in the simulation. Also each character is vital to the overall game and students must discuss what they find at each location to correctly solve the mystery.

Storyline or topic:

Skeletal remains have been found in the back field of the school. Students will investigate the scene to discover what took place. As they investigate, they will learn that this event is a murder; however, it took place over 150 years ago. Their task is to discover what happened to this individual. While investigating the scene, they will gain valuable insights and an understanding of the conflict between Native Americans and white settlers in the mid 1850’s in the state of Washington. Through this process they will discover the 10 major reasons for conflict and gain insight from both perspectives. Students will conduct interviews, read journals, and hear native stories throughout the simulation. Like my last scenario, I will give the students a week to conduct the simulation and develop a presentation to present their findings and theories.

This project will consist of two to three people per group: an archeologist, detective, and a historian.  All the roles will be vital in the development of the groups overall theory. Each individual will be responsible for finding and developing key pieces of evidence to assist the group in developing their overall theory and game strategy during the simulation.

Archeologist: This role is responsible for dating the evidence and discovering the physical evidence of the scene. In a way they are setting the stage for the group.

Detective: He/she will take the information from the Archeologist and the Historian and piece together the events that occurred at the site.

Historian: This player will provide valuable insight to life of the times including opinions, feelings and biases.

As they work together, they will be able to put together what happened at this site and be able to draw inferences to the conflict that occurred throughout the rest of Washington State.

I have chosen three players, because it seems to work better for middle school students. It distributes the workload without overly taxing the individual student. This allows students to work collaboratively by assisting each other to discover the mystery behind the skeletal remains. Since the roles may overlap, I can have some students take on two roles, again, without overloading them. This will allow me to separate the class into groups, whether I have an odd or even number of students.

Curriculum standards are as follows: Based of Washington State Bench Marks

Social Studies:

4.3.1 Analyzes and interprets historical materials from a variety of perspectives in the state of Washington or world history.

4.3.2 Analyzes multiple causal factors that shape major events in the state of Washington or world history.

5.1.1 Understands evidence supporting a position on an issue or event.

5.1.2 Evaluates the breadth of evidence supporting positions on an issue or event.

5.4.1 Analyzes multiple factors, makes generalizations, and interprets primary sources to formulate a thesis in a paper or presentation.

Science:

2.2.1 Apply curiosity, honesty, skepticism, and openness when considering explanations and conducting investigations.

2.2.5 Know that ideas in science change as new scientific evidence arises.

3.1.3 Analyze multiple solutions to a problem or challenge.

Technology:

1.1.2 Use models and simulations to explore systems, identify trends and forecast possibilities.

1.2.1 Communicate and collaborate to learn with others.

Analyze, synthesize and ethically use information to develop a solution, make informed decisions and report results.

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How to Create Online Games with KODU a Free Course!

Kodu Game LabStarting March 1st Kodu is offering a free five week course to teach people how to use Kodu to create fun interactive games for kids.  “Kodu is a visual programming language made specifically for creating games.  It is designed to be accessible for children and enjoyable for anyone.”    If you are interested in creating games in an online environment this seems like an incredible opportunity.  How much you participate is up to you and all of the materials are free.  You can download the program at this link: http://fuse.microsoft.com/kodu/ .  The only thing that they do not provide is a computer to run the actual program.  To find out more information aboout this class check out this link: http://planetkodu.com/course/2010/02/24/before-we-begin/.  You can find an overview of the course at this link: http://planetkodu.com/course/overview/ and decide for yourself if it is worthwhile.

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Wordle and Glogster Lesson Plan (A Real Eye Opener!)

Over the past couple of days there was a lot of concern about the web cloud site Wordle.  The buzz was that they were in legal trouble and had to close down their site.  Well, since that time it seems that they have worked out their issue and are back up and running in all of their glory.  With all of the discussion about Wordle it got me thinking about lessons I have done with word clouds and decided to post one of my lesson ideas.

At the beginning of the year teachers always want to ge to know their students.  Many of us want to start incorporating technology as soon as possible to are students as well.  Well, this lesson idea fits both bills and is a great way to begin a new semester or year.  First students write a brief biography about themselves.  Once they have written this biography they paste it into Wordle or other web cloud generator and create a word cloud.  Then they take this word cloud and put it into Edu.Glogster and create a Glog about the top five words in their biography.  Their Glog will have the word cloud centered on the Glog.  Then students will take the top five words in their word cloud and explain why they are the most important with images or text.  Once they have created the Glog we then share them in class.  This is a great way to know your students and for the students it can be an eye opening experience.  Resources for this lesson idea are below.

Word Cloud site Resources:

Link to Glogster

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Stixy an Online Communication Tool for the Classroom

Stixy is an online message board that can be used for a variety of things in the classroom.  This is an easy to use program that allows you to post items called widgets to the message board in multiple formats.  It can be used to present information to students, or have students post questions to their teachers.  Its ease of use is a definite positive for this application it is so simple even a caveman can do it. Check it out at the address below:

http://www.stixy.com/

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