This is the link to the website I used with my students this year. It’s not perfect by any stretch. it’s very clear what worked and what did not:
What did not work was the subpages mentioned on the main page. That turned out to be a lot of organization that I didn’t have the time or energy for. What also didn’t really work was the announcements pages because I ended up putting everything into the Homework column.
What DID work was the 24-7 access to homework assignments and information offered to my students. All documents new and old were available to my students at all times. You can find the download links at the bottom of each page. My future class sites will be getting a redesign without question, though.
Just as a note to the curious, this was made with google slides. I learned a long time ago it’s much easier to just be able to put things wherever I want them without getting into a format fight in MS Word or Open Office. You change the page dimensions to 8.5 x 11in or its A4 equivalent. When it’s finished you export or save the file as a PDF.
What are the challenges you find with following copyright laws? (Please do not post an admission of guilt to illegal activity.) How can you and your students contribute to Creative Commons resources?
There are two key challenges in terms of copyright law in my experience.
First is regarding my own personal work. I often feel overwhelmed with the use of others’ work because sometimes permissions feel like a murky subject. I understand that there is a balance between the so-called spirit of the law and the letter of the law here. Copyright is really about intention and protecting people’s intellectual property. When writing a report, for example, it’s much clearer to me how to give appropriate credit for ideas because there is a clearly established culture regarding how to do so. But when giving a powerpoint presentation and using imagery created by others, I often wonder what is appropriate. At the very least, when I am using images that are not considered public clip art or stock photos, I add the image urls into the comments section under my slides just so there is a record of use. Given that I’m not making any money on the images it seems to be enough, but I wonder that a sources page would be appropriate at the end of any given presentation.
The second issue is regarding students in Asia. Copyright laws are not strictly observed in my six years of experience here and students are often not taught any sense of urgency regarding the protection of intellectual and creative materials. Plagiarism is a constant issue. One of the challenges I face, and have admittedly done a poor job of, is discovering an effective way to teach the importance of giving credit where it is due in a culture that views copyright very differently.
I think inquiry based projects that require a student to produce authentic, creative work of their own is a highly effective way to contribute to the creative commons. This involves different forms of study and exploration where the students create something of their own that demonstrates an applied understanding of whatever topic they chose. Often students produce very unique ways of teaching or engaging in various concepts that can be used in a broader learning community. For example, I’ve had students find ways to tie trigonometric equations to creating unique pieces of art, or they’ve found a creative way to teach the concept of blue printing to their peers. These could easily be published as creative commons materials that students and teachers from other learning communities could use to their benefit.
Good day “class.” Today we will begin our first explore and share projects (ESPs) for the year. Below you will find the following:
1. A link to the project rubric. READ THIS CAREFULLY.
2. A sample lesson video. While you watch the sample lesson you should try to find the ways that it meets the requirements of the rubric.
3. A sample activity video. You should notice that I teach you how to do the activity very clearly before I ask you to do it.
4. A link to the submission folder. This folder is where you will submit your work. There are clear instructions in the rubric. I have submitted my own work as an example.
Click HERE for the ESP Rubric
And click HERE to access the project submission folder.
What are some ways that “digitizing” assignments will improve your teaching, class, or your organization?
I commonly “digitize” my classroom experience using everything from graphing tools, online grading/tracking systems, and Google Apps for Education. In fact, The American School of Bangkok is officially a Google School.
To centralize my courses and provide 24-hour access for my students, homework assignments and critical documents are posted on a Google Site. It’s a scrolling timeline of assignments and their due dates and the accompanying documents are always accessible.
Currently the school is using a terrible gradebook program, TeacherPlus, that requires Firefox and the Silverlight plug-in to operate. Silverlight loves to crash, TeacherPlus takes eternity to load and/or respond to commands. Last year we used Engrade, from Google, and it was wonderful. My students and their parents always had immediate online access to their grades. It has an incredibly friendly user interface. Combined with the Google site the necessity for parent-teacher communication was often minimized because parents had access to much of the information that could answer their questions. It matters that Google’s servers have the processing power to work quickly as grade entry was a brief exercise.
My favorite graphing tool is Desmos. It’s a free graphing utility that allows me to demonstrate different mathematical functions and teach graphing technology to my students. It also has three dimensional utilities available, but the syntax and protocol will require a tutorial for me to learn.
A technology I am interested in making use of in the future is an app called Aurasma. With it you can set an icon of some form linked to different gif-like images and information. You can print a series of icons and use the Aurasma scanner on your phone cam to detect them. You can create an interactive bulletin board that connects to different images, videos, and other files that the students created.