Friday, June 16, 2017

Digital Portfolio

I've wanted to create a digital portfolio for some time now, but haven't had enough to add to it. This is my final course in my master's program and I have learned so much! I chose to use Adobe Spark for my portfolio. I included information about myself, links to my social networks, and sample lessons/ideas.

The samples were chosen because I feel they highlight the technologies learned in the program, but also the tools I found most useful with my students. I feel like this portfolio will change over time as I hope to add content related to my current position as a Technology Facilitator.

Click below to access my portfolio.

aEsperanza Lopez

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Google PD Week

Last week was Google PD Week and I attended the YouTube Live Stream: Create & Deliver Meaningful Pd with Steven Hope. Although I've participated in many different webinars on various platforms, this was the first one on YouTube Live. It was extremely easy to connect as a participant because all I had to do was click the channel link. There was a live chat session as well, which allowed participants to interact with each other and the presenter. I'm interested in learning about how to use YouTube Live Stream as a presenter.

Strengths / Weaknesses
Ease was definitely a strength of this format. As long as I had an internet connection, I was able to join in and I assume it could have been from any device. I'm not sure there was a weakness to this format. The fact that the broadcast was available after the fact is great for those who want to go back and access the resource again.

Future Participation
I would definitely participate in this show format again. I also hope to learn how to use it as a presenter.

Classroom Integration
This would be a great tool for teachers to use when giving tips for parents. I could see using it to record a "how-to" video on a new math concept. I use to create a few of these types of videos for parents to help with homework questions. There were some issues with sharing the video file, so YouTube would be a good way to get it out there.

At this time we don't have the ability to use YouTube with students as attendees or bradcasters. It's a feature we hope to offer teachers soon, but I believe students will still be restricted.

Monday, June 12, 2017

3 Things I Learned from Going Live

Webinars are an excellent way to get information out to people. There are a lot of online sites that help make it happen with screen sharing capabilities, collaboration tools, and apps that make it easy for participants to join.

There are a few online options (below) for users to host a webinar, or live broadcast. I chose to use GoToMeeting because I've participated in live conferences using this site before and it seemed very simple to use. I chose to sign up for the free 14 day trial and they offer various monthly plan options. I wanted a platform that would be easy for my participants to access and GoToMeeting proved to have what I needed to make it a successful broadcast. In the future, I may use YouTube Live Stream or Google Hangouts. Hangouts is really easy to use and offers screen sharing capabilities. The challenge will be to include participants who do not have a Google account...but, really, who doesn't have a one of those??

I learned three important things from this experience...

Number 3: Know your audience
I've hosted professional development classes at my school  and district office, and have recorded "how-to" videos for teachers, but this was my first live webinar. I knew my audience would mostly consist of the teachers I work with or have connected with at various conferences. 

I grappled with choosing a topic that would be quick to demonstrate in a 30 minute time frame and something teachers would actually find use for in their teaching.  I started by reaching out to my Teacher Tribe and letting them know that I had to go live, so I wanted their feedback

Initially, I was going to choose Google Classroom, but quickly changed my mind because I've done two-hour PDs on this topic and knew that 30 minutes wouldn't have been enough time - I'm long winded! Google Classroom is something I'd like to do multiple, bite-sized webinars on so that teachers can take what they learn, put it to use, and then come back for more. 

After much thought, I chose Google Plus. I didn't think many teachers would be currently using it and it would be feasible to do a walk through in 30 minutes. We just finished a cohort for teachers in our district to become Google Certified and we got a lot of feedback about how this was something they never really knew about. So, I saw there was an interest and decided to go for it.

In a nutshell...
1. Who are you targeting?
2. What will you teach and do you know it well?
3. Will you reach all levels of users, or focusing on one? Will your audience know that?
4. Do you have ideas for how your participants can take this and make it personal to them?

Number 2: Have a plan
Outline your topic into a sequence that makes sense, even to the most basic user. Plan to take your time and decide how you will address questions or comments throughout the broadcast. I played with the GoToMeeting platform a few times before going live and found the tools available to be user friendly. I knew I wanted to share my screen and keep my webcam on at the same time, which GoToMeeting allowed me to do. Their chat feature was a nice feature, but I found it difficult to manage that while conducting the webinar. Later, I realized I could have shared only a window on my screen, which would allow me to view the participants in the chat area without them seeing me flip back and forth to that tab. 

I allowed participants to keep their microphones on, which later seemed like a challenge because with the background noise in their setting, it caused challenges for others to hear me. GoToMeeting does allow the presenter to mute all participants microphones - lesson learned.

In a nutshell...
1. Will you share your screen? All of it, or just a window?
2. Will you use your webcam the entire time? If not, do you know how to toggle back and forth?
3. Will you engage in a conversation with your participants throughout the webinar? Just at the end during Q&A? If not, do you know how to mute their mics?
4. Will you engage in the chat as you conduct your webinar, or answer questions live as you see them? Or, wait until the end?
5. Will you record the broadcast using a feature in the platform? Or, if that isn't available, try QuickTime's screen recording tool.

Number One: Just do it
Put your fears and hesitations aside and just do you. We all have something to share and there is always someone out there who can benefit from what you know. I've pondered the idea of doing a webinar before, but just as quickly as the idea entered my mind, it was dismissed. If it wasn't for the challenge this week, I don't know how much longer it would've been for me to go live.

Think of it as getting together with your friends and sharing your favorite tech tip, work-around, or newest tool you've been using! Maybe you start small and only invite a handful of people who you know will support your mission. Be sure to ask for feedback afterwards. My sister was gracious enough to practice with me before starting and hung around for an extra 15 minutes as she gave me her feedback. I was happy to hear she thought it went well and she gave some good advice for later.

I bit the bullet and posted the event on Facebook, Twitter, and Google Plus. I really wasn't sure if I was ready for a large audience, but I didn't care because I was going to just do it. I had eight wonderful participants who joined in from their homes and cars! I'm very thankful for my tribe who I know I can always count on. Also, I received a few texts and event comments that people weren't able to join but really wanted to view the recording. Many others asked when the next one was going to be done. I do plan on doing others and hope they are successful. And if not, then who cares, I'm going to do me.

Here it is, with all it's successes and webinar.

A few broadcasting options

LiveStream's Producer product allows for a free broadcasting app for any device. Options to broadcast your desktop screen and use a webcam are available. There are paid programs available as well.

uStream's Pro Plan allows from 100-500 viewer hours, channel password protection and customization, and social media integration. There is a 30 day free trial of the Pro Plan available as well as other features.

Adobe Connect offers virtual meeting capabilities with 25 to 1,000 viewers. Three plans options are available for monthly rates and a trial account for up 30 days.

WebEx offers screen sharing and the ability to record meetings. There are multiple plan options and a 30 free full access trial.

Monday, June 5, 2017

Google Classroom as a Social Network

Social networks are a great way for students to connect with others. With guidance, it can be used as an educational tool in the classroom. A social site allows users to post their thoughts, reply to others, and access resources on a topic of interest. You can use Google Classroom to create your own social network by having multiple classes across the district join the class.  This will simulate a social networking site and allow students to access content, engage in discussions and feedback with their peers on a focused topic, and submit their own ides. It is also easy for teachers to collaborate together and moderate as needed.

In action
Using a STEAM lesson from FrontRow, you'll see how to integrate the idea of social media. Many districts do not allow social media sites to be used with students due to privacy laws. Our students are in 3rd grade and do not have access, or the meet the requirements, for a social media account. We can simulate a social media experience by using Google Classroom for this STEAM unit by having students from 3rd grade classes across the district joining the class.

Prepare Students
With that in mind, before using Google Classroom as a social network, teachers will need to discuss with students how to appropriately engage in online discussions with others. Essentially, they will not know any of the other students in the Classroom because they will be at different schools. Students, especially at a primary level, will need to know how to go about posting their ideas and replying to others. 

Below is a quick video that can help explain netiquette.

Activity 1
In this example, we are using the first activity from the FrontRow unit, "STEAM Introduction Gallery Walk." The goal is for students to be introduced to STEAM and reflect on the impact of the examples shown. The objective is for them to read about various examples, discuss the impacts with their peers, and put their thoughts about the examples into words.

Copies of the examples can be posted around the room as "stations", or they can be attached to the Classroom stream as a digital copy. Each post in Classroom will focus on a discussion question and allow students to add their own thoughts and reply to others in the group.

Students will begin by choosing an example to read learn about. They will consider what they know about STEAM and it it's important or not. They will also decide how the example has affected the world. 

Students will get approximately 10-15 minutes for each example. Allow an enough time for them to read the information, examine the images, and discuss and record questions. 

Bring the class back together, and end with a short class discussion on the overarching questions: ⁃ What is STEAM? ⁃ Is STEAM important? Why or why not? ⁃ How has STEAM affected our world?

In Classroom, students post their responses to one or two different discussion questions, which can then be evaluated for content. Because  a focus in this activity is to have students interact on a social networking platform, their responses to other students will be evaluated. They can be expected to reply to at least two other students, include a citation from the original post, and give their opinion in a complete thought. 

Using Google Forms, teachers can gain a full picture of a student's understanding of the activity and STEAM. The Form would have all of the discussion questions on a different STEAM example.


Additionally, a discussion about the experience of creating posts and replying to classmates can be very beneficial. Often, students don't know who the sister schools are, let alone students from those schools. Using Google Classroom as a social networking site, can be a great introduction for students while still allowing teachers to be the moderator.

7 Day Photo Challenge

Overall I enjoyed the challenge. At the end of each day I went through the photos in my camera and decided which one would be the subject for that post. I could have been more intentional with my photos, or even had a theme for the challenge, but instead I just looked at the random pics from each day. Sunday was pretty uneventful and I ended up with a Timehop as my photo for the day. I thought it was ok to use a memory for the day as oppose to one that documented a present moment.

I started to use Google Drive to store the photos and embed the images into my posts, however there just seemed to be too many steps involved. Eventually I Airdropped the images from my phone to my computer and uploaded the pics instead. It was an easier process for me.

As I mentioned on day 1, challenges like this can be fun and in some ways give you a purpose when taking the many pics some of us take throughout the day. I think I would do this again, but with more purpose.

I searched for the hashtag I created for the challenge and when the all of the posts related to the challenge came up, I took that url and created an embed code using I wanted to embed the hashtag search as opposed to inserting just a link because I like the visual of the post.

Taking it to the Next Level

Ideas, reflections, change

Sunday, June 4, 2017

7 Day Photo Challenge - Day 7

Day 7 - Timehop
This was the last crochet item I made two years ago. Crocheting is usually a Winter break hobby for me, however two years ago, I extended out to the summer. Now, it's in a box in storage. I needed a long break.

Saturday, June 3, 2017

7 Day Photo Challenge - Day 6

Day 6 - Teacher Tribe
When you find your people, you make the effort to keep them close. After Ashley moved to California, we've missed her terribly! She came for a weekend visit and so we could meet Miss Noelle.

Friday, June 2, 2017

7 Day Photo Challenge - Day 5

Day 5 - Say Yes
After a great morning watching Wonder Woman with my daughters, we headed to the library and signed up for the summer reading program. They had a photo booth, prizes and we got to see the Reptile Man. #SayYesToEverything

Thursday, June 1, 2017

7 Day Photo Challenge - Day 4

Day 4: Super Power
Sometimes you need a little bit, even if it's just a cuff. I bought my Wonder Woman cuff almost ten years ago and when my third grade team had a rough year, I also bought one for the amazing women on my team. As a few teachers took on the Level 1 Google Certified Educator exam today, I wore my cuff for a little extra super power. After she passed, Kathleen - who I taught with many years ago, also wore her cuff for that little bit of super power as she took the exam.

Digital Portfolio

I've wanted to create a digital portfolio for some time now, but haven't had enough to add to it. This is my final course in my ma...