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20 Sep 2013
Comments: 24

Mobile Friendly Classrooms

As I somewhat overtly stated in the last post, I now reside as an Ed Tech at Westlake HS. While I am still acclimating to the size of the campus and getting to know the staff and students, I did have a chance to drop in on a few classrooms piloting a mobile-friendly seating solution. Interested in gleaning initial findings from both the teachers and the students, I gathered a bit of anecdotal and pictorial data. The complete article can be found on the Eanes WHS WIFI blog but I will share a few of the highlights here.

Full Mobile-Friendly Classrooms Article Here

Full Mobile-Friendly Classrooms Article Here

While a few students reported that the desktop real estate was a “little small for their liking” when adding iPad, notebook, and textbook to the mix, the vast majority focused on ease of increased collaboration, limited distraction, and improved self-regulation.

“(The desks) helps me think.”

These informal findings support much of the benefits detailed in the research studies compiled by Herman Miller on rethinking the classroom (full article here) which includes community learning, limited distraction, increased ability to stay focused, and student involvement.

“Classroom design influences levels of interaction and engagement. Engagement and active learning improve retention.” (Herman Miller)

Imagine if every student in a high school had the opportunity to learn and engage in such a learning studio environment

“With new technology comes a new way of thinking.” (KXAN)

And how would this look in an elementary setting? Two teachers at Bridge Point Elementary (Eanes ISD) are piloting mobile-friendly “classrooms of the future” as well. See the video tour and full article here.

“We are testing out different areas of learning for the kids, which include chairs on casters, hokki stools — which allow a lot of movement throughout the room — and soft-seating options so the kids will ultimately be able to choose their best learning environment,” said Julie Cimino, a Bridge Point Elementary School third-grade teacher.

Bridge Point Elementary Classroom (video and article)

Bridge Point Elementary Classroom (full KXAN video and article)

More on these learning spaces and places at Bridge Point Elementary can be found on the Bobcat blog.

Truly not every classroom or district has the funds to pilot classrooms of this nature, but creating a clutter free classroom redesign that combines aesthetics with functional collaborative spaces is attainable (PinterestTarget, and IKEA are always a good place to start). In fact, check how this mom created a home school classroom with IKEA. Also, stay tuned for my Office Remodel/Innovative Professional Development Spaces post featuring IKEA and Craigslist finds dabbled with a few custom augmented bulletin boards.

Thus, I couldn’t let the blog go without a Thinglink… could I? Clutter-Free Classroom did a most excellent job of showcasing her classroom and highlighting its features using Thinglink!

I would love to do an entire post featuring DIY creative learning spaces that foster collaboration and mobile learning.  If your classroom fits the bill, please send me an email with some pics and a brief description: lisa.johnson@techchef4u.com

Thinglink…Let me count the ways I can use you in my classroom… wow… almost 200? Check out 187 ways to use Thinglink in Education.

Interested in 1:1 Deployment and PD strategies and implementation? Looking for a dynamic presenter or interactive workshop? Contact TechChef4u (lisa.johnson@techchef4u.com).

Interactive TechChef Thinglink

Check out the new Chic Geek iJewelry line!

1,200+ iPad Lessons Pinned HERE!

Contact TechChef4u to schedule Fall and Spring PD and Workshops: lisa.johnson@techchef4u.com

“Student-Created Books in the iClassroom” iTunes U course is now available!!!

10 Sep 2013
Comments: 0

Augmented Calling Cards with Thinglink

Yes, I am devoting another post to perpetuating the potential and possibility of Thinglink.

But first, a little delayed gratification to revel in the benefits of sharing online. When one blogs, they hardly ever know if what they say has reached or impacted anyone. Bloggers are like global crop-dusters (I  may have just just see Planes but I think the simile stands), they spread and make their words and ideas accessible to a worldwide educational blogosphere. However, they rarely ever see the harvest unless someone leaves it on their digital doorstep. Yep, we are about to get sentimental. This morning, I received a very kind message from someone I have never met.

TechChef4u Facebook

TechChef4u Facebook

This speaks volumes to my message of the power and impact of sharing online and why I feel so strongly about blogging and social networking as a means of ongoing professional development and learning.

“We have never met and probably never will but the content you post helps me at work frequently.”

So… now to the resource sharing… Last year I printed these little Ed Tech postcards and put them in every one’s boxes. They contained my contact info and a little more about what our role is as an educational technologist.

Calling Card created in Pages

Calling Card created in Pages

Surprisingly, many teachers wanted to use the template to create their own for parent night. This year I refreshed mine and added a little twist… and hopefully some zest (sadly, they are not scratch and sniff – lemon and orange scented ones would be fun though… but I digress… and ryhme… so no thyme either).

Designs for Pages app

Designs for Pages app

I used the Designs for Pages app and selected a Flyer template that would best serve my purposes. From there the process looked like this:

  1. Open selected template in Pages
  2. Email Pages template to yourself (if you prefer to work from a  Mac)
  3. Modify colors and text accordingly
  4. Add a Bio Pic
  5. Create an auto-biographical Word Cloud OR Include a QR code (www.qrstuff.com) to your site.
  6. When finished, export as a PDF and print/share.
  7. To add a layer of #awesomesauce, I created an augmented version of the the calling card using Thinglink.

Below is the final product. While I did, use multiple devices and apps to achieve the product below, I think it may still count as an app-smash… better check with Greg Kulowiec though. 😉 I think he may agree that Thinglink still reigns supreme as the ultimate app smasher.

Ah… some of you caught the subtle change. I am now an Ed Tech at WHS. Go Chaps! Tanna Fiske (@fiskeclass), the history teacher I have showcased for her amazing student projects, is the current Ed Tech for HCMS this year.

Many times, I create things with the intent of modeling a tool so others could eventually use it for more instructional purposes in their classroom. I have maintained a Listly of EDU Thinglinks for some time but felt that it might be better to create a more visual repository. To that end… I have assembled a new Pinterest board of 130+ Thinglink EDU examples for all of my Pindred Spirits … Please Enjoy.

130+ Thinglink EDU Examples

130+ Thinglink EDU Examples

Interested in 1:1 Deployment and PD strategies and implementation? Looking for a dynamic presenter or interactive workshop? Contact TechChef4u (lisa.johnson@techchef4u.com).

Interactive TechChef Thinglink

Check out the new Chic Geek iJewelry line!

1,200+ iPad Lessons Pinned HERE!

Contact TechChef4u to schedule Fall and Spring PD and Workshops: lisa.johnson@techchef4u.com

“Student-Created Books in the iClassroom” iTunes U course is now available!!!