This year my students have been studying about the many communities around the world and how fiber is an important part of traditions. In each continent, we have explored different fibers and weaving styles. While in Europe, we learned about rug weaving by having the opportunity to interview Jason Collingwood, a world famous rug weaver.

Using the iPads, students were able to capture and design an informational video using Explain Everything or iMovie. Our learning will be a documentation of one very special weaver who was willing to drive several hours to spend an afternoon being interviewed.

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Our classroom is very fortunate to have access to several iPads which have become an important part of our math learning. The past few months we have used the iPads to practice focus areas in math but also create instructional videos to explain our thinking.

The following are examples that were created for three digit subtraction:

Subtracting in Parts

Adding Up

As students develop an understanding of a specific strategy, they work in teams using Explain Everything to create the video.

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So using our final garageband track, students composed a voice over poem that we uploaded with pictures to Animoto. Enjoy!

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Over the last few weeks my students have taught me more than a few lessons about innovative uses of apps and iPads. We are collaborating with our high school to participate in Rock Our World 16 with a focus on poetry and poetry slams. We started by using facetime and having students share their favorite poems and bio poems. It worked wonderfully but we wanted to compose poems together. We attempted google docs but found that it was not running as smoothly as we needed it to.

Enter – Whiteboard Lite

Now this isn’t a new app for us but it is what the students did with it that left me more than a little amazed. So with Whiteboard Lite, you can share your screen with any other iPad on the same network. Meaning that students at our elementary school could write on their partner’s iPad at the high school and vice versa. So while talking on facetime, students wrote together a poem.

I did not realize that facetime could run while another app was running. But while walking around the room watching and listening to my students, I learned that when given the tools, students will find ways to make them do what they need and want them to do.

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As part of our participation in Rock Our World 16, we are composing poems with our high school buddies. This is the second time that we have used facetime. I have found facetime to be very powerful for my students because they talk more than when they are together in person (less intimidation).

This week my students and their high school partners composed a poem together using facetime. It was so exciting to listen to each student talking about poems, what they wanted to say, and the interactions between my young ones and the high school students. Facetime is an app that comes installed on the iPad. My students love to use the camera to share about their classroom – especially our class bunnies.

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Dear Discovery Education Network,
I’m writing this letter to explain both the importance that DENSI has played in my journey of using technology in the classroom and my frustration. This year the application process for me started in January. I spent three months of looking at the weekly update hoping my name would appear on the selected list of participants. Each week I was disappointed but hopeful.

Why is DENSI important to me? DENSI is the only professional development opportunity that has allowed me to connect and grow each year. I look forward to it each summer because I come back inspired and energized to try new things. As a classroom teacher, I don’t have access to this type of learning environment. This year I became even more active because I realized that the power of the DEN is the sharing and collaborating.

A few days ago I found out that I am on the waiting list which has been rather devastating for me. DENSI is what I look forward to each summer to reconnect with colleagues around the country and be inspired. Though I recognize that the power of the DEN is in growing and connecting educators throughout the country, I feel like as an active member for more than 9 years, that this should count for something.

I write this letter because I am a quiet member who deeply values the DEN. Please realize how important DENSI is to all of us.
Karie Huttner

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So this week is our state technology conference, a place that gives educators an excellent opportunity to learn from each other. Amy and I are off to the conference on Friday to present. I just wanted to share our presentation.

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Saturday March 24th, educators from around the state learned ways to integrate Discovery and iPads into their instruction. Here are just some of the resources that were shared – Resource list. Thank you to Discovery for sponsoring this wonderful event full of learning, sharing, and collaborating. Stay tuned for an upcoming event in April!

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So a few weeks ago I posted about the importance of teaching students about digital copyright. The following is a video that I have created that illustrates some of the ways to help students find images.

Also there are many great resources available to learn more about copyright and how it impacts both teaching and learning.

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Last year while attending DENSI 2011 in San Diego, a group of educators watched the documentary about Poetry Slams. It was a powerful example of how words can transform a person’s life through poetry. As part of my Wilkes coursework, I was taking a Project Based Learning class and our group decided to use poetry as the challenge.

Our Big Idea –
Language is a powerful and flexible way to express ourselves and connect with each other.

Our Challenge – Write your own poetry (choose the form, topic and purpose) and create a way of publishing or performing your work to share it with an audience and gather feedback from that audience.

To see more about the project, please visit our wiki.

My goal was that students would learn not only about the power of words but also how technology can influence the response of the audience. I designed three different video mediums to the same poem to share with them how choices of presentation can add or take away from the message.

Here are my example poems:

It’s not about the tool but the tool can take something powerful and make it more or make it less. The power of words and technology comes with being aware of what message you are trying to send.

As for our poems, we will be sharing the e-book of poetry that our students have created together at our Author’s Fair.

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