On Tuesday, I took part in the Apple English Webinar as part of their professional development long-distance learning program for teachers. To quote from their main page (http://education.apple.com/summer/), the session on Language Arts "explores how Apple technology helps engage students, enrich language arts instruction, and support language learners. Learn about the iREAD project, in which Escondido Union elementary students achieved three- to six-times growth in word comprehension and fluency using iPod touch. And find out how Adlai E. Stevenson High School students are using iPad to study literature, perform character analysis, build visual literacy, and acquire foreign language skills
The first presenter, Charlene Chausis, Manager, Technology Training and Integration, Adlai E. Stevenson High School, Lincolnshire, IL, talked via a streaming video feed on th left half of the screen, while she showed photos and images of her teachers and students' work. For example, she demonstrated "Shakespeare in Bits," software which gives information and scenes which can be played. She walked us through the program, explaining how kids can have Shakespeare's text, side-by-side with the animated production, and the students can tap on words and receive further prompts or supplemental information
Charlene said they used a Google on-line forum, to check for understanding before and after the lesson, much the way we use Moodle. She showed an assignment where her students created a radio commercial that would solve a problem for a character in the play, which required the kids to have a good grasp of what's going on. It involved a free app called "audio boo" (e.g. "Shame Away" from the "Guilt company, a product to wash your soul" for Macbeth). They are also starting to use iPads, to increase visual literacy and to create electronic books for "dynamic and engaging content." (e.g. Martin Luther King, Jr.; also an e-book on sustainability)
Charlene's resource page is at: http://shsmobilelearning.pbworks.com
Then the second "distinguished educator," Kathy Shirley, Director of Technology and Media Services, Escondido Union School District, Escondido, CA, made a similar presentation about technology and the language arts class. In her district 53% are second language learners; she has 160 classrooms with iPods, and about 3,000 devices, to increase Reading Fluency.
She trained teachers to use the voice memo app (on iPods? I think, not sure) and then synced them with iTunes, then make a "playlist" of student work, in fluency of speaking language. This allowed the ESL students to hear their own voices for the first time, and gain a better perspective on listening more accurately and pronouncing language correctly. Kathy said that kids become responsible for their own learning and the classes were less teacher dominated.
The introduction of the iPod Touch still kept voice recording capability, but the Touch allowed for more options. Instead of keeping spiral notebook responses to literature, students uploaded their comments to a blog via the Touch, and teacher could respond immediately; this blog was also accessible to the other students in the class.
She demonstrated how students used the "Storyrobe" app, on iPhone (http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/storyrobe/id337670615?mt=8) to create projects with homophones, (example from a second grader: peak, peek; steal, steel). Her school is also expanding to provide iPads for their staff, and then seeing how to best implement them on a larger scale within their classrooms.
Kathy's resource site has a lot of good links and demonstrations.
Then for the last 20 minutes or so of the hour-presentation a moderator conducting a Q & A session. I found this a worthwhile experience. It was free, and I took part in the English Department Office, in case I needed technical support for Will Harvey. Also, for fellow pre-Copernicus people who think everything revolves around the Eastern seaboard, when they say the webinar starts at "10:00 a.m., Pacific time," that's "1:00 New Jersey time." I kept thinking I was having technical difficulties in not connecting with the session, when it was just that I was three hours earlier . . . .
Register at: http://education.apple.com/summer/
Science June 21, 2011, 10:00 a.m. - 11:15 a.m. PDT
This webcast explores how Apple technology helps engage students, enrich language arts instruction, and support language learners. Learn about the iREAD project, in which Escondido Union elementary students achieved three- to six-times growth in word comprehension and fluency using iPod touch. And find out how Adlai E. Stevenson High School students are using iPad to study literature, perform character analysis, build visual literacy, and acquire foreign language skills. Coming soon on Apple Distinguished Educators on iTunes U
Social Studies July 19, 2011, 10:00 a.m. - 11:15 a.m. PDT
Find out how teachers at Henry County Public Schools use iPad as an extension of their digital textbook lessons to provide new ways for students to create and share their work, resulting in improvement on benchmark tests. Learn how the integration of MacBook, iLife, and wikis into Del Mar Middle School's U.S. History classes has transformed the learning process and created a more engaging experience for diverse learners. Register now
Math July 26, 2011, 10:00 a.m. - 11:15 a.m. PDT
In this webcast, you'll learn how expert teachers are using digital tools to connect math concepts with real-world applications. They'll share how their use of Apple products has transformed textbook math instruction into a more engaging experience where students are in charge of and accountable for their learning. They will also highlight how the use of technology in small group settings provides differentiated experiences for students at all levels.
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