Twitter Interview

  • A Fresno State student is interviewing me through Twitter! Below are the questions and my responses. The Interview was recorded over the course of a few days
  • Question 1 by: Jessica Zendejas ‏ @jessica84011
    @teachusingtech Hi Mr. Diaz, I am going to begin our interview.How have you used twitter in your professional development?Thankyou #ci100
  • Question 1 response: I use Twitter on a nightly basis to improve my skills as a teacher, stay current with ongoing education news and also to help where I can professionally. Twitter is an awesome tool that allows me to reach out to teaching professionals on a daily basis and ask questions and/or provide help to those in need. I primarily follow like minded people on Twitter. What I mean by that, is that I follow people in the area of education. This allows me to ready micro-blogs that are written specifically for my area of interest.
  • Follow-up Question 1a: Jessica Zendejas ‏ @jessica84011
    @teachusingtech and why twitter, when there are so many other social media sites out there? Thanks again for your help
  • Question 1a response: You are right, there are a lot of choices when it comes to social media, including Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram and so on. However, it has been my experience that Twitter allows for the most convenient and densely populated center for the type of information I am looking for. You get to populate your Twitter feed with interests that fit your needs. My needs are in the area of education and more specifically education technology and I follow like minded educators. My Twitter feed is populated with links to articles and videos, as well as 142 characters of thought provoking statements and conversations.
  • Question 2 by:Jessica Zendejas ‏ @jessica84011
    @teachusingtech Thankyou. Second question:what suggestions do you have for educators who want to use twitter as an educational resource?
  • Question 2 response: My number one suggestion would be to try it out and see if it fits your needs. I am a fan of Twitter but you may not be and that is okay. On the other hand, the education conversation needs to continue outside of the classroom and being a good educator, one who works on making a difference, takes time outside of the classroom. Therefore, some type of social media allows you to access the minds and thoughts of thousands of educators all around the world who have a similar mission. Okay back to Twitter as a resource. Another suggestion I have is to find a hash tag, which is a grouping of comments tied to a specific idea, and begin browsing through content and comment when you can to add to the discussion. You can only be better for it and you begin to form relationships with people you can count on. If you want to follow education technology conversations, a suggestion would be #edtech or if you are a new teacher #ntchat is great! One last suggestion would be to have parents, students and/or teachers create a hashtag, so that you can create a conversation about a particular topic. For example, I have started a hash tag on the greatness of #dchilders. Please go there and comment when you can. We will see how popular this topic is?
  • Cue 2012 Review – Day One

    Hundreds of educational tech enthusiasts flocked to the annual CUE (computer using educators) conference this past weekend (March 15-17, 2012) in Palm Springs, California. A lot was learned over the 3 days at the conference and here are some of the highlights:

  • Day 1
    Chris Fitzgerald Walsh spoke about creativity in the classroom. Some myth’s of creativity were explored:
    -Must happen in isolation
    -Happens during random aha moments
    -It’s what artist do
    -It’s innate
    It makes sense that creativity can happen to and by anyone. You don’t have to be alone with your thoughts for something magical to happen, in fact, creating in a group setting is healthy and the people that you are working with can provide a stimulus to your thought process. Sure artists can be creative but anyone has the ability to create and and is not just reserved for those artistically inclined.

    Some conditions for creativity:
    -Playfulness (having FUN!)
    -You need time
    -Exploration
    -Failure
    -Variety
    Having fun and just being playful can become a catalyst for students trying to create. We as educators need to give students the time to explore and allow them to FAIL! We also should not place judgements on intermediary work during the exploration process. The students should feel secure in their ability to explore without the hinderance of evaluation, which can provide students with walls to overcome or roadblocks to think about instead of moving forward and allowing creativity and maturation to take place.

    In order to be creative you must have a passion, an attitude towards what really matters and thus will provide the spark! It is important for anyone who wants to create to internalize a sense of permission to create. More often than not, we stop our selves from following through on an idea or thought instead of permitting ourselves to succeed and move forward.

    Discipline and commitment are necessary to be creative and it is this type of attitude that cultivates the wonderful ideas that are created on a daily basis.is a model model promotes creativity and asks students to stay in the moment and commit to an idea. Design thinking is a mesh of many disciplines, such as math and science and allows students to broaden the mind.

    Technology needs to be at the forefront of an education so that problems can be solved now and in the future. The ability to allow students to apply what they are learning at an early age, exposes them to a glimpse into their future.

  • Tom Van Ark – The Pivot to Personal Digital Learning
    In this session we discussed the value of blended learning, which is a combination of face-to-face instruction, along with computer mediated activities. According to Web Learning @ Penn State website, we should blend learning to allow advanced learning, interactively in the classroom and outside of it, there is access to quality multi-media content anytime of the day. Conversations are still happening about this topic and they need to continue. There are many school in America and abroad that have adopted this and similar models and have reported positive to amazing results. However, there are skeptics out there, that say any and all data can be skewed to present any school in a positive light.

    No matter what you think of these systems, we can always learn and take the best of what people are trying to do to make education a better place for students and gives them and advantage when they leave school.

    Here is an example of a school that is using the blended model approach:
    About Carpe Diem Schools

  • Frank Guttler – Lights, Camera, Learn
    10 lessons for better video in the classroom
    lightcameralearn.com
    A call sheet is the order of business for any production day.
    For any movie there is pre-production, production and post-production.
    Celtx is a free pre-production software download that allows a film maker to create story boards, scripts and much more.
    What is the difference between a shot and a scene? A shot is part of a film between two shots, where a scene is a series of shots to tell a story.
    The evolution of a movie goes something like this: Shot, Scene, Sequence, Movie
    When shooting a movie, think point of view of a shot. For example shooting from high or above, from down low or find different angles.
    Here is an example of a quick exercise you can do with your class: Show a segment of a movie and count shots by clapping every time there is a new shot. Claps will increase in frequency as the action increases.
    Lighting Basics: 3 Point Lighting (Key Light, Fill Light and Back light – Lighting Basics at Media College
    Below I have a video example of how you can introduce your students to the process of film making by learning through experience, story boarding and reflection.
    Check the video out and begin your film making experience.

    Other ideas to teach students film making:
    Have students study the elements of genre (classical, western, etc).
    Complete a scene study (check out the Ikea Lamp commercial)
    Use pictures to tell a story. Here is a link to Frank Guttler’s Thousand Words project.

    A great resource is the Library of Congress website. Check out the American Memory Photo Archive for images that can be used to build a photo video/movie.

  • Response to an Article: Schools, technology, test scores and the New York Times

    This is a copied response to an article dated Sept 7, 2011 on DangerouslyIrrelevant.org To see the full article with comments: http://bit.ly/qFXcbu

    I am all in when it comes to providing students with multimedia projects in which they immerse themselves in the language of the particular technology, collaborate with their peers and create a product worthy to display and communicate the results. Saying that utilizing new technologies is playtime may be accurate. Do you have to hate what you are doing or be miserable during an assignment for it to be validation of learning? I think not! I will certainly agree that the educators that are using technology in the classroom need to be supported and accountable, but there is always a learning curve and to get educators up to speed, there are going to be some bumps in the road. Not every lesson, technology or otherwise is always a hit. If we stopped using technology because our lesson failed and did not satisfy the outcome we were looking for, that would be akin to giving up on a student because they “just don’t get it.” Technology is expensive and as stated above, those in who are utilizing it should be accountable for the use of it and become teacher leaders in there respective schools. There is a great network of teachers all around the world who eat, drink and sleep technology for the sake of students. These folks banter around ideas and learn from each on how to better utilize technology and attend conferences in which they further along ideas and practices that benefit students. To say there is not any research to the fact that students benefit from technology is ludicrous. Dr. Robert Marzano completed a study on the use of interactive whiteboards and responders (an overview of the outcomes can be found here: http://bit.ly/9HlRMW) and the research concluded that using interactive whiteboards increased student achievements by 16% and utilizing voting devices had a positive impact of 26%. These results did not come without parameters. It is not as simple as plugging in the interactive whiteboard and seeing the magic happen, it still requires hard work, preparation and follow through. For example, educators need to utilize visuals, follow up on any missed answers, while discussing correct answers and opinions and should not focus on to many of the bells and whistles, such as crowd applause for a correct answer. Educators, keep using the technology your school provides for you and know that you have to work hard to make it work, but in the end the results will be long lasting and prepare our students for the present and the future.

    Copyright: Do not Speed!

    I recently visited our local mountains with my 6th grade class for outdoor science school and decided that I wanted to communicate some of the activities to our parents and families. So, I decided to produce a nightly, video enhanced podcast/movie that parents could view from my school website. Myself and another teacher shared the task of capturing still images and video throughout the day and I would create the podcast so it would be available to the parents. I really enjoyed producing the files and we had great interaction and feedback from the parents. About midweek I received and e-mail from my school district that asked if I knew what “copyright” was and that I needed to change or remove the music that I had used in conjunction with my images and video. Of course I knew what copyright was and is! I would like to think I am above the curve in techie-ness. I would agree in a heartbeat that I cannot recite verbatim the music copyright and fair use laws. My main focus was to create an experience that the parents could enjoy and obtain a glimpse into their kid’s lives at science school. I did not think I was supposed to be following a rubric and that my product was somehow, some grand assault on the music industry and that I was going to cause a major lawsuit against our district!

    But in the end folks, I was speeding and I was wrong. Have you ever been driving along and did not notice that you were speeding? You were breaking the law, but you slowly apply the breaks and continue about your day. You knew that you were not supposed to be driving faster than the posted speed limit, you know the law, so you self-corrected and all was well. I too, knew that there was a copyright law but I was distracted and did not focus on this aspect. I just wanted to get a video out and to our parents, so they might enjoy part of the experience. Again, this is not an excuse, I was speeding and I was wrong. I learned a valuable lesson and I will utilize this as a teachable moment. So, when the students walk into my classroom on Monday morning, I will explain to them how I had made a mistake and utilized popular music that was copyrighted in my project. Note, not a single student of mine has ever utilized copyrighted music in their projects but somehow that law did not pertain to me at outdoor science school. It is obvious that I need to teach by example and I believe I am. Here are is an example of a website that offers Royalty Free Music (Creative Commons Music).I was going to bore you with copyright music law, but instead I want to share this amusing video:

    Sir Ken Robinson: Creativity

    Evaluate these thoughts:

    • Legislation destroys creativity
    • Standardized testing has become an obsession
    • The thought has been to learn things in school that lead to jobs
    • Industrialization has shaped modern education
    • For math and science, the question is asked, “how can we make it better.” For art, there needs to be a space created for dialogue and discussion to even take place. Why?
    • Our current system is obsolete
    • Promote innovation and creativity
    • Education+Culture+Commerce
    • Organizations are having trouble with complexity
    • Promoting creativity is a bottom line imperative
    • For most of human history we have led local lives and communicated primarily with those around us. Today we act differently
    • Technology is in its infancy
    • Within the next ten years, computers may go from algorithms to rewriting their own operating systems
    • We direct people to jobs we believe will be available
    • Misconceptions: Only special people are creative
    • We can’t wait to change education, children cannot postpone their lives
    • There are three types of people (trying to change education):
    1. Immovable: you are never going to change their thoughts, do not bother
    2. Movable: might be able to be persuaded
    3. Movers: those who create change
    • Create the right conditions
    • Encourage students at what they are good at
    • Special knowledge is a complex set of disciplines
    • Do attempt to teach “academic disciplines” through the arts, because what you are saying is that art is not academic and then not worthy to stand side by side next to such things as math and science.

    Not seen or heard Sir Ken Robinson in action? I highly recommend the following talks:

     

    Two books I am reading:

     

    Changing how we teach and how students think in Math!

    I recently watched a TED Talk video, titled “Math class needs a makeover,” by Dan Meyer. It inspired me to re-think the way I teach my students in 6th grade. You see, we have had one formula for teaching kids, for as long as I can remember, the math T.E. (teacher’s edition). I use it everyday, whether it be to plan my lessons or to go over the homework problems. Somewhere deep inside me, I know that I am better than this. I am the planner and the person in charge to decide how my class is going to learn content for the day and synthesize it for it for a lifetime. Now, no one expects students to remember every last breath that a teacher makes in an effort to explain content, however, the process and the journey should very much be a appreciated and highlighted to the fullest extent. I could go on and on, but you have to buy in and work that much harder to get the results that you wish for. Simply wishing is actually not enough, so put your hard hat on and work to improve your craft so that students become the thinkers that we long for them to be. I am along with you for this journey, for I am a teacher who is constantly looking for avenues to improve my skill set and more importantly, the skill set of my students! Watch the video and let me know if you think that you need to make a change in your instruction?

    Yahoo!!!! Former Students Achieve

    Today I was blessed and touched by something really remarkable. I was invited to attend an Eagle Scout Court of Honor Ceremony. What was really special about this ceremony was that two of my former students were receiving the highest honor a Boy Scout can attain, Eagle Scout!
    Statistics vary, but only 2%-4% of the boys that venture into Boy Scouts, end up achieving Eagle Scout. You might ask what this has to do with technology, and for the most part, absolutely nothing. However, it has everything to do with being a teacher and providing students with every ounce of effort that we have. You see, I do not think these two students reached this honor because I single-handedly made the difference in their lives to push forward and attain such a great honor, but what I do know is that I gave them everything that I had in the classroom. I was a role model. I preached and portrayed consistency and effort. I made sure to work hard so they could make up their minds for themselves, who I was, and whether or not they wanted to take a little piece of me and place it in their life portfolio. I am so proud of these two young men and as they continue to shape their lives, I have a small piece of their courageousness in my life portfolio. It keeps me going and your personal triumphs in education, no matter how big or how small, should keep you going to provide small pieces of yourselves to the students that you serve. Technology is the tool that I use to engage, promote, excite and ultimately deliver content, but it is the embodiment that you put on display each day that makes a difference. Congratulations Sean and James! It was my honor to have shared part of my life with you. Mr Diaz.

    Do you have a story that you would like to share?

     

    Make a Movie: Part One

    I currently teach 6th Grade Math, Technology and Spanish and its always exciting for students, not to mention myself, to make a movie about what we are studying. There are many ways to make a video or movie. You can simply have students shoot raw footage of the content of your choice, transfer it to your computer and display it to the whole class or place it on your class website for everyone to enjoy! You can get a little more sophisticated and import your video into some software, like Garageband which is part of the Apple iLife suite, which also is bundled with iPhoto and iMovie. With Garageband you can add narration video or images and background music to your project. On the Windows side, I have only used Audacity which does the job for composing audio but lacks the image and video components of your project. I did some research on a product for windows that is very intriguing. It does a very similar job to Garageband and most importantly it has the capability of combining images or videos and narration to your project. The name of this software is Acoustica Mixcraft 5.

    • Checkout Mixcraft 5:
    • These are just some of many ways to go and make a movie from your content and have some fun along the way.For those of you who really want to wow ’em and take your movies to the next level, there are more robust programs such as iMovie, Final Cut Pro, Adobe Premiere, Quick Time and Avid Technologies just to name a few. I recently came across a piece of software that I have not used yet, but I am certainly taking a look at and it is Illusion Mage. Click on the link and watch some of the videos of what it can do. Simply “Amazing.” Stay tuned for part two of this blog post, where I am going to show you how to use some of this software and give you some ideas on projects that you can put together for your students!

     

     

    The iPad and Classroom Management

    Classroom management has many layers and aspects to it. It includes being organized, keeping students engaged and the ability to deliver meaningful content. Hey, you can also have some fun along the way. So this is where the iPad comes in. You hear all the chatter about the iPad, it’s this, it’s that and truly, it is whatever you want it to be. The iPad is extremely flexible and the apps give a teacher, an assistant, so to speak. The first app that I recommend is Teacher’s Pick. You should always have a way of selecting students, because we all know that squeaky wheel gets oiled and we tend to pick the students who always raise their hands. The Teacher’s Pick is the perfect app for this and students will take notice. In order for your students to see your selection, you can hook your iPad up to an LCD projector, place it under a document camera or simply show them the iPad screen. The app beats using popsicle sticks, especially in the middle school or high school classroom because of the volume of students. Teacher’s Pick allows you to keep track of who has been chosen during the day or even all week. You can reset your picks at any time. A great tool to get everyone involved! Another great app that allows you to take full control of your classroom is the Lan School Lite app. This app comes complete with free software for your main computer, to over see what is happening in real time with the laptops that your students are using in the classroom. The beauty of the Lan School Lite software, is that the app that is installed on the iPad, allows for you to monitor student computers on the go! You can move about your classroom, help students with their projects and continue to monitor your student’s computer screens at the same time. I my opinion, the key to this app is the mobility and you are not stuck in any one place. Students will respect the fact that you are watching and also willing to help. Check these apps out. I know they can benefit your classroom and improve classroom management.