Digital Doors was created as a place for me to blog and share resources that I think would be helpful for teachers integrating technology in meaningful ways in their classroom. My goal would be to write a blog post a week, but with my busy schedule, that doesn't happen. I write when I can and rely on nifty tools to help me share what I am finding when I don't have time to write.

Friday, September 17, 2010

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Digital Literacy News Sept. 17, 2010

Mount Vernon Digital Literacy News

September 17, 2010
Digital Literacy Workshop

Monday, September 20: Easy Grade Pro : Come and learn the basics and beyond of using EasyGradePro.  EasyGradePro is great not only as a grade book, but you can create rosters, make seating charts, color code grades, make  different grading scales, and so much more.

Upcoming Digital Literacy Workshop: Monday,
September 27: WolframAlpha

I am really excited about the possibilities of using WolframAlpha in the classroom. WolframAlpha is a knowledge engine that uses over 50,000 algorithms, curated data and graphical representations that can be used in many exciting ways in the classroom.  

See a schedule for the year.

Open Lab: 2:30 - 5:00

Resource Instruction: 3:15 - 4:00               
Monday Afternoons, District Office Tech Lab.

Clock  Hours are available.

Links to Explore

Easy Grade Pro and 
 AIMS Cheat Sheet
This is a one page sheet that I created last year that walks you through the steps for setting up your gradebook and posting to AIMS. This is good to print out and keep as a handy reference.

The Artist’s Toolkit
A neat site for hands on exploration about the elements of art.

Interactive games about US History

Cool Infographics Blog
A blog that collects cool infographics found on the web.

Grading to Learn

One of the hats that I wear as a Digital Literacy Specialist is the resource person for AIMS (Achievement Information Monitoring System) and Easy Grade Pro for the district.  I have had opportunities to be a part of countless conversations about grading as teachers try to put their heads around the best way to grade for communication and student learning. There has been a lot of talk in our district about moving toward Standard Based Grading.  This sounds great and it is definitely a buzz word right now, but what I have found is that everyone seems to have a different understanding of what Standards Based Grading looks like. It is exciting to participate in this conversation as we move forward and learn from each other.  A book that I found really thought provoking and challenging when looking at grading is a book called How to Grade for Learning: Linking Grades to Standards by Ken O’Connor.  Lots of great ideas and resources for thinking about how we can communicate through grades in a way that promotes student learning.  So many things to consider.  There are copies of this book that can be checked out in the Teaching And Learning Dept. at the District Office. The following is a list of issues to consider when grading.
  • Basis for Grades:  Standards or Assessment methods?
  • Reference Points: What performance standards?
  • Ingredients: achievements, ability, effort, attitude, behavior?
  • Sources of Information: methods, purposes?
  • Changing Grades: all or more recent evidence?
  • Number Crunching: Calculation? Method?
  • Assessment quality
  • Student Understanding and involvement.

This next Monday, at Digital Literacy Workshop, we will take a quick look at Easy Grade Pro and how you can use this tool as a way to better communicate student learning and a tool for gathering and analyzing data to inform instruction. I hope that you will come and join in the conversations.

Video of the Week

The Week in Rap

I’ve shared this resource before, but it is definitely worth sharing again.  Each week, Flocabulary offers up a rap video recapping the news and stories from the week.  Not only can you share the video with your class, they provide a transcript of the video that students can use to analyse and research further.  Lots of great ideas here.  You could use it for a quick conversation starter, it could be a model that students could use to create their own raps about either current events or other things that they are learning about in class.

Tech Triumphs

Melissa Campbell at Madison is a great fan of Donor Choose.  She, like many others in our district has written several successful mini grants through Donors Choose.  Donors Choose is a great way to get resources for your classroom.  Melissa was just awarded two iPod Touches to use in her classroom with Autistic Children.  She has found some great applications that her students can use to help them communicate.  Other teachers have received play ground equipment, scientific tools, cameras, microphones, class sets of novels and more.  How it works is you as a teacher go in and create a class account and write a proposal.  DonorsChoose then publishes your proposal for others to see.  Some donors are local, but donors can be from anywhere.  Comedian Stephen Colbert started The Great Give-Back Birthday Celebration where people ask their friends to donate to projects on Donors Choose in lieu of birthday gifts. Take a look at all of the people participating.  You can also share your own project with friends and community.  There are lots of people looking for concrete ways to help students and schools.  Your agreement with DonorsChoose is that if you are awarded a grant, your class will send thank you lettters to the donors.  It is as easy as that.  So, if you are a classroom teacher, I encourage you to give DonorsChoose a try.  Would love to hear when you get funded.

Digital Citizenship

Copyright and Fair Use for Teachers:  Copyright and fair use can be pretty confusing and a bit frustrating.  As educators, we are all about providing rich resources for our students.  But, as teachers, we need to do our best to teach students the proper ways to use and cite materials and resources.  Here is a link to Hall Davidson’s Guide to Copyright and Fair Use.
As the year progresses, I will share more resources on this subject and we can explore ways to share materials in a copyright friendly way.
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R and R said...

Thanks for the suggestion for donor choose. I had not heard of it before. Also, thanks for offering so many hands-on learning opportunities, along with power points to use as reference. It makes things like uploading to/from GradePro/AIMS much easier to tackle!

Martha said...

Yay! A Comment! Thanks Regan. Glad that you find the tutorials helpful. Working on more of those today... :)

Katherine Chipman said...

I found your discussion about grading and learning really interesting. I am currently a student at Brigham Young University. I appreciate professors who make the extra effort to have the way that they grade us and set the class up increase the amount that we learn. It seems easier for a teacher to not make that connection, but as a student I appreciate when my efforts to learn are also reflected positively in my grades.

Martha said...

Katherine, you are right, sometimes it is easier for teachers not to make the connection between student learning and grades. I am glad that you have good teachers who make that effort. It is exciting in our district to see so many teachers really challenging traditional grading and thinking about grading that is meaningful.