Digital Learning Day Google+ Hangout

If you are unaware, February 6th is Digital Learning Day. This day promotes technology-based instructional practice as a means to strengthen a student’s learning experience. Now that technology has become embedded in every aspect of our society and it’s more accessible than ever before, there couldn’t have been a better time to learn about new ways to incorporate technology in your lessons.

Come join John Sanchez in an informal setting as he discusses how to use technology with your learners! There will be two discussions, set to take place on Wednesday, February 6, at 2:30 p.m. and 5:30 p.m. via a Google+ hangout, so if you don’t have a Google+ you have until Wednesday afternoon to sign up for this free social networking service.

Are you new to using technology in the classroom? Do you want to know more, but simply don’t know where to start? Is the idea of learning how to use new programs and understand its complexities sound daunting? No Sweat!

In this discussion, you will learn how to use software like Prezi and Google Drive along with social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, and Google+, in your teaching. There will also be a review of several websites, webinars, and online courses that all teachers/tutors could benefit from their use. Whether it’s in the classroom or through distance learning, these easy-to-use programs can be suited to any teaching or learning style so they are certain to be of use to everyone.

Please contact sanchezj@floridaliteracy.org for more information on how to register for a discussion.

For more information on Digital Learning Day, check out http://www.digitallearningday.org/.

Steve Quann: Flash Cards with PowerPoint and Photos

:Tech skill: PowerPoint Basics: make new and duplicate slides

Whether it’s working on multiplication tables or reviewing vocabulary terms, the process of creating and using flash cards can sometimes be a great instructional activity for learners. This is especially true for those using them for self-study.

I used to make flashcards with index cards but now various new technologies have their advantages. For those with smartphones there are a myriad of apps for making flash cards, so students may store them on their smartphones, which they use every day, and don’t have to carry a set of index cards around. But let’s take a look at an “old” technology to create simple activities that you might want to use in your teaching: PowerPoint.

PowerPoint has many uses for educators, but one that shouldn’t be overlooked is using PowerPoint slides as flash cards. In PowerPoint, create a series of flash cards. Create a slide with a new word, making sure to enlarge the font size. Then create the next slide with its synonym (or definition). Continue with each new word as before. There are a number of ways you can use flash cards with your class. Here are a few:

Using a projector, introduce the definitions of words or math formulas.  As part of a pre-reading activity, using flash cards could help students learn words that will help them better understand what they will be reading.  Then review words or formulas at the end of class or the start of the next day’s class. You may also use flash cards as part of a game, where for instance, the teacher shows the first slide to the class and groups gain points by trying to guess the correct answer before the teacher clicks to the next slide. Don’t forget to have students create their own PowerPoints with words (or images) on one slide and definitions or synonyms on the other slide.

For self-study here are a couple of options:

Print out copies that students can keep for future study, or email your students the PowerPoint,  so they can use it on their home computer (or for that matter on a smartphone app like QuickOffice slideshows). For students who have smartphones in your classroom, allow them to use their phones in class to take photos of each slide (make sure that they do these in order) and they can view the images in their photo gallery swiping to the next word or definition much like a slideshow. This may also keep students engaged during the lesson, since they know that they will be given a few minutes to use their phones at the end of the activity.

Entry written by Steve Quann of World Education, co-author of Tech Tips for Teachers.

Suzanne Ensmann: FATDEC and Face to Face Learning

In the beginning… After we all got over the fear of what students might do with the internet if we allowed them to access it, face-to-face (f2f) learning incorporated technology and elements of online learning.

Then we said “run with it” and some literally did… Never to be seen again.

Now in the era of persistence to complete and transition students, it’s time to go back to the basics. Research reflects that time-after-time success is directly correlated with the relationships we make.  So we call the students right?  And, we call.  And, we call.

Fast forward to this era.

How many friends do you have at work?
How many friends do you have on Facebook?

How often do you have time for meaningful conversations in the workplace?
Do you even have time to wait for an answer to the standard: “How are you?” greeting?
Think your colleagues really take the time to answer this “greeting” or do you get a “Fine, thanks.  How about you?” standard reply?

Do they take the time to tell you their dog died; they just found a deal on a car; their long lost aunt just flew into town; or they are just really sad today?

I can tell you our students are having these meaningful conversations.  They’re not long.  They’re succinct and to the point.  But, they’re of meaning.  And, their network of friends is vast!  Employment, community, friendships… relationships are happening via social media sites!  Why should your virtual classroom be any different?

Did you know Skype and Facebook had a baby?  A new f2f experience to enhance relationships was born!  Is this too scary of an endeavor to take on at your school?

Learn how to keep it simple and see how you can use FB to put education “in the face” of your students 24/7, form relationships with them, and just maybe flip education as we know it.

Stop centering student learning on classroom  and curriculum  infrastructure.  Offer the exoskeleton to your students and see how they take off with meaningful learning!  

But, don’t go it alone!  Let’s place this experiential learning, jumping on board with relationships and f2f student contact in the center of our e-learning education together!

To learn more, come join in this synergy of collaboration at the next FLC conference session entitled “Florida Adult & Technical Distance Education Consortium: Making F2F Classes for Online Students a Reality” at 10am on Friday, May 11th,!