Atomic Learning as a Special Workshop Request Updated 2014

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In MyLearningPlan (MLP) under the “LearningPlan” tab and the “Fill-In Forms” section there is an option for staff to submit a “Special Workshop Request Form.” This form allows staff to submit workshop requests for activities that may not be provided by CV, the IU or other providers listed in MLP. This provides great flexibility and differentiation for staff members to learn and develop on their own. Everyone is at a different level when it comes to technology skills and the implementation into their classroom. Since we have staff across the spectrum when it comes to technology it is nearly impossible to provide the individualized training and workshops necessary for each staff member, but that is where a tool like Atomic Learning combined with the districts willingness for individualized professional development comes together to provide you with the just in time, differentiated, self paced development that you need.

So how does this work?

  1. Browse Atomic Learning tutorials under SEARCH or Spotlights to see if there is any tools or skills that you want to work on. I have listed and linked some suggestions below, but you may want to refer to ISTE Assessment results and consult with your supervisor/principal for suggestions as well.
  2. Determine how many hours it will take for you to view the videos, work with technology and create an example or write a reflection about what you completed. As a general rule of thumb, “project based” activities will be a half day workshop (3.25 hrs) and a “workshop” activity will be a full day workshop (6.5 hrs). If you are just going to watch tutorials to learn a new tool you will want to sign up for a half day workshop (3.25 hrs)
  3. Go to MyLearningPlan and submit a “Special Workshop Request Form.” You must fill in all the field that are highlighted in Red. For the Workshop Title make sure you include the technology tool, project or workshop that you are working on and the words Atomic Learning. For example, Atomic Learnings Creating an Online Course workshop or YouTube for educators workshop in Atomic Learning. In the Description make sure you answer these questions; What is the goal for this activity? How will this be incorporated into your class and/or curriculum? What evidence will you provide? The URL for Description is not required, but I suggest linking to whatever atomic learning video series, project or workshop you plan on working on.
  4. For example the YouTube for educators is located at http://www.atomiclearning.com/k12/yted_wkshp. The dates you select can be the same or the completion of the workshop could take place all on the same day. The listed end date is when the district will expect you to have your workshop complete and your evidence submitted. Complete the rest of the required field in Red.  This link will take you to an example form in PDF format displaying how the form should be filled out in My Learning Plan.

So you have found the tutorial, project or workshop your interested in, submitted the form and received approval. Now What?

  1. Log into Atomic Learning and begin working through the tutorial, project or workshop you selected. Your hours and time viewing videos will be logged automatically. If the video is showing you how to do something I suggest you have that program or website open and model the tutorial as you go.
  2. After you watched the videos, created your project or developed your website you should upload all of the work, links, files, etc. you created to your ePortfolio on Atomic Learning.
  3. Log onto MyLearningPlan and mark you activity complete. Insert comments to let you supervisor know what and where they can find the evidence of your learning from that activity.

I hope many of you take this opportunity to individualize your professional development and, as I mentioned above, here is a list of suggested workshops.

Spotlights Tutorials
  Google

Prezi-web based presentation tool.

Skype – video conferencing

Twitter-Mirco-blogging

Microsoft Office 2010 

 

Blogs for Educators to Build your PLN

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PLN or a Personal Learning Network  is a connection of people who have similar professional interests who often share resources in an online collaborative environment.  How do you build a network?

ONE – look down your hallway in your school — do you have anyone who you can go to for advice on technology tools for your classroom and your curriculum? These people are in your school PLN already.

TWO – look in the Google Docs collections that have been shared with you, many of the building technology integrators have placed resources into folders for you to use. The collections are organized by grade level and subject area. The people who contribute lesson plans, flip charts and worksheets are in your District PLN because they have share with you. You can add items to these collections and share your resources with others on your grade level to build your PLN resources.

THREE – Look for educators and resources that are outside your physical environment. One way is to  follow blogs of other people.

  • save the websites in your bookmarks to visit later or
  • follow the RSS feed for entries. RSS is Really Simple Syndication. Like a magazine that is delivered these blogs can be delivered to your email in box, every time an author published a new post/edition or
  • send the RSS feed for entries to your iGoogle homepage or your Google Reader.

Build your own Virtual PLN. Choose  a few bloggers to follow. I have listed a few bloggers below:

CV School District Blogs

Technology Ideas for Classroom Teachers :

Or check out these blogs about Education Issues:

Why should you build your PLN? The potential to increase your area of expertise by reaching outside of your physical circle of professionals is an advantage for today’s teachers. It also meets the standards of the ISTE NETS for Teachers and for Students.   ISTE NETS-T3. Model Digital-Age Work and Learning: D. model and facilitate effective use of current and emerging digital tools to locate, analyze, evaluate, and use information resources to support research and learning. And ISTE NETS-S 3. Research and Information Fluency B. locate, organize, analyze, evaluate, synthesize, and ethically use information from a variety of sources and media.

Well now if you got this far in the article and you are thinking what is this Technology Coach talking about? You know what to do… send me a helpdesk ticket and we can meet and discuss your questions. I am looking forward to talking about Blogs and PLN with you! Comment on this blog post  to add the links to blogs that you follow that other teachers would find helpful.

Dealing with Spam Comments on Your Blog

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Now that the blog server has been up and running for over a year and we have 112 blog sites and I have received a few emails and questions from teachers on how to deal with all the spam comments. They can become unmanageable and some of them are very inappropriate for school. As with most technical solutions there is not just one simple answer, there are many and they depend on the functionality and purpose of your blog. Below are solutions you can use to manage comment spam and a brief description of how they impact you and the visitors to your blog.

  1. Do not allow anyone to post comments on your articles. Uncheck the box in discussion settings panel that says, “Allow people to post comments on new articles.” This option allows for no interaction or discussion from your blog readers and you, and requires zero management from you.
  2. Require users to log in to post comments. Check the box in the discussion settings that says “Users must be registered and logged in to comment (Signup has been disabled. Only members of this site can comment.) ” This option will significantly cut down on the amount of spam you receive, but also limits your commenting audience to anyone who has a CV windows log in account.
  3. Close the commenting window to only a few days after the post was published. Check the box in discussion settings that says, “Automatically close comments on articles older than days. ” This will cut down on the amount of time spammers have to get their comments posted, but it also limits the commenting time for you students and other followers.

The last thing I suggest deals with managing all of the comments and spam once they have already been submitted to your blog and awaiting moderation. I suggest changing the “Screen Options” in the comments sections of blog’s dashboard. By default the blog shows 20 comments at a time. Under the screen options you make it show as many as you want. I set mine to 200, so I can select all of the spam and delete it or mark it as spam in the bulk actions section. Here is a video I created demonstrating how to adjust those settings.

You should also know that from the administrative end of the blog, we set up Akismet which should helpd to cut down on the amount of spam. We also downloaded a plugin called reCAPTCHA which would require all non registered commenters to enter in the funny little text verifying that they are a person and not a bot. The reCAPTCHA has not been deployed yet, but we are waiting to see and hear from you if the Askimet takes care of the job.


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