Reconnecting: Inspiration from EdCampOmaha

I’m plugging back in today after a little inspiration from EdCampOmaha.  It has been nearly 3 months since last I posted, but today gave me the extra push I needed to jump back in the pool.  The last 3 months have been extremely busy and I’ve had a lot of ideas for posts, but just haven’t found the time to write.  I felt a little disconnected going into EdCamp and attending helped me re-realize how important it is to stay plugged into a PLN – and not just as a passive observer.  While you won’t be seeing any tweets from me (sorry EdCamp tweeters), below is a look back at a few things going on in my classes the past few months.

1:1 netbook study

In January, I started a netbook study with my 7th and 8th grade students.  I divided each grade into two, roughly equal ability groups.  For two weeks the Group A’s (one 7th and one 8th) did all of their activities and assessments on the netbooks, while the Group B’s did all of their activities and assessments with a textbook and paper.  At the end of two weeks, the groups switched places.  Throughout the experiment, I tracked student progress with a variety of assessments and compared the two groups at each stage.  I’m in the process of writing a very detailed study on all of my results in the form of a pseudo-academic paper.  While a detailed analysis of the results is in the paper, the main thing I learned is that the the types of activities for which students use or don’t use the netbooks plays the most important role in terms of student progress.  I had hoped to finish the paper by this week, but have a little more to complete.  I will publish it on this blog when I finish it.

The Green Monkey

The Green Monkey Project (dedicated to making schools, homes, and businesses greener places) is now in it’s 5th year.  We started in November 2006 with a site created in iWeb on a single Macbook.  The following year, I had students try their hand at a little code with nVu, which was a little tough.  In 2008, the students used Yola (then called Synthasite) which made the design easier, but required everyone to be logged into a single account at one time.  Things got a little easier in 2009 when I decided to have students create glogs that we embedded onto a Yola site.  Students could then update their glogs and the changes were reflected on the website.  Unfortunately, we never really finished the site (see why).  This year, I think I may have found the best solution – student accounts on Weebly.  I created a teacher account for the project and then created student users from the teacher account.  Each group of students created their own webpage and added a line of code at the top of their site that linked all the other sites together.  Having a 1:1 classroom made this extremely easier and gave the students far more freedom in terms of design.  We finished in November and have since presented to several outside classes and to the students’ parents.

International Come See What Your 6th Grader Is Learning In Science Class Day

In early February, we invited all the parents to come to our classroom to see what we’d been doing in science class.  The event was a great success.  We had outstanding attendance and the students did a wonderful job of presenting their Green Monkey site and telling parents about how we use the netbooks in our daily studies.  The day was part of an effort I’ve been making to engage parents a little more in some of the things we do. Below is a short Animoto highlighting some moments from the event.

That’s all for now. I hope to give some more updates soon.


2 thoughts on “Reconnecting: Inspiration from EdCampOmaha

  1. great to see you at edcamp yesterday! very exciting to hear what you’re doing. hopefully when things calm down a bit for both of us we can find a way to collaborate – we jesuit educators need to stick together.

    btw – i hope you know that taking your class at CU really served as a catalyst for my newfound passion for technology. i had been interested before your class, but you helped me see how i could use web 2.0 tools more effectively and how simple it could be to use html. i think that has had a significant impact in my classes and at Prep more generally. so, when you’re feeling a little overwhelmed, remember that you are impacting many many people!

  2. Yeah! It was great to see you at EdCampOmaha!

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