Monday, January 6, 2014

Planning for #Digital Learning Day--Part 2: What a difference a year makes...

In my previous Planning for #DLDay post, I wrote about my experience with my first graders last year... that was part 1-- looking back. I loved that day! It turned out to be one of my favorite days, but planning it was definitely challenging. Not because we didn't have technology- we did. In my classroom I had a document camera, a Promethean Board, a projector, four desktops, an iPod touch, and a Google tablet. No shortage of equipment. The issue wasn't equipment, it was access.
Each of these activities has an interesting back story. For instance...

1. Collaborate on an Antarctica team story! One cold day in Antarctica...

My first graders didn't have Google accounts, but I wanted them to collaborate on a story. For them to do this, I had to start 4 different documents in  my Drive and then just let them type. 

Twitter! So cool! But why are they on paper?

2. Wall of Tweets- 140 characters on a sentence strip! What do you want the WORLD to know about our class?

Twitter was blocked, even for teachers. (Along with anything else filtered as "social media" -- even Goodreads and Padlet!) So, my students wrote paper tweets, and I tweeted them out from my phone using my personal data. I didn't want my students to actually tweet, but it would have been awesome for them to see me typing the tweet on the whiteboard, or be able to see the replies! 

Animoto, Wordle, and the photos with the iTouch went off without a hitch. I'd definitely do these again! I had planned to Skype with an author, but I asked in January to have Skype installed on my computer and it took until March to get that to happen. We did end up Skyping with an author, though-- finally, on Dr. Seuss' birthday!
But what a difference a year makes!

Since last year's Digital Learning Day, I've moved to a new school. All of our students starting in first grade have their own Google accounts and can already create their own Google documents. They email each other. Teachers have access to Twitter and other social media applications that definitely have a place in our classrooms. Teachers and students need to connect to other classrooms, to authors, and the world. In my school teachers also have administrative rights on their computer. One of our first grade teachers Skyped with a classroom in Mexico, and she was so excited to be able to install Skype herself. As it should be. When my teachers want to try something new this year, I will enthusiastically watch and learn!

Last year on Digital Learning Day, I learned so much about technology and my students . As we prepare for #DLD 2014, I'm excited-- the possibilities are endless. Some of the things we plan to incorporate this year include BYOD, Minecraft, Coding, digital storytelling, and photography. I can't wait! I'll be sure to share our plans here once they are finalized in late January!

What are you planning for Digital Learning Day? I'd love to hear your ideas!

3. Top 10 - Animoto movie! Vote for your favorite read aloud!

4. Wordle- What do you love about 1st grade? Write ONE sentence...

5. Digital images- with the Itouch, take one photo of an object in our classroom
Here's a sample!

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