Back again

Hello again everyone it has been such a long time since something has been posted on my blog. I hope you all will forgive me for not posting. I will try and update the page as much as I possibly can. I due tend to change the layout a little and will be bringing more insight to just teaching than just teaching and tech.

Jacob Dunn

Show Me for iPad

Hey guys, so I finally got an iPad. My school system is letting me borrow, and I love it. There are so many apps out there to choose from. I am going to try and review some of them for you all. One of the apps that I am using now is called the show me app.
From the website: ShowMe is a global learning community – a place where anyone can learn or teach anything.”

Show me allows you to draw on the screen and record your voice at the same time. It also has the ability take a photo that you have taken or have saved and can draw over it. I have used this in my class to describe how the rain shadow effect works, and other geography related topics. Not only can you save your own videos and show them to your students, you can share your videos with others on the show me website. Show Me is basically an on demand learning service. I recommend the show me app for all teachers who have an iPad this will help you give your students a better visual of the topics you have discussed. With show me it is a great tool that you can use to educate your students or other people around the world with just your iPad.
Here is a basic video on how it works.

Getting Creative

Today we have started out projects for the semester exam. Instead of testing the students with a formal assessment I thought it would be fun for the kids to research a country and instead of reporting on it, I decided they were going to make a commercial for it. Since most of my students do not have access to a video camera I will let them use a power point or make a brochure instead. Although some of my students are really excited about creating a video. Some have asked me about making a video over war torn Iraq and having a faux battle scene. I too am excited for them. Hopefully if they are willing I might put some on youtube for everyone to see. I will keep everyone posted.

Creating a Podcast for you class

Hi all, I know it has been a while since I have posted last, but I am going to let you in on how I create a podcast for my classroom and hopefully you can too. First thing is to know what you want to podcast about. I podcast for my test reviews, this allows my students to listen to me while on the go, and we all know most of them have some sort of headphones or ear buds in their ears. So why not reach them right? Second you will need some sort of microphone so you can record your voice. A microphone can be relatively inexpensive or you can spend a lot of money on them. Since most of you that read this are teachers I understand that cost is a key point. The one I use is a Logitech USB microphone, I prefer the USB microphones because of the sound quality, but that is up to you. Next you will need some software and I prefer using Audacity, it is a free recording software that a lot of people use to record their podcasts. My students have come enjoy listening to my podcasts they say it gives them more confidence in what they need to know for the test. I am planning on expanding my podcasts to lectures and other things but I am keeping it simple as of now.

Podcasting for Test reviews

Hey everyone I hope all is doing well. If you have read my previous post about how to create a podcast then you know I have experimented with my class with podcasting. I know most of you all have heard of a podcast or some of you all do it already. Some of you are wondering why I am doing this and how do I do it and all. Well I am going to tell you. I was sitting around wondering what is a way to be with my students at all times. You know what is something you can do to stay relevant after your students have left your classroom. Well I thought of it in podcasting. You know I think that I have succeeded in what I was wanting. I started to use the podcast just to see if my students would use it. To my surprise they have and it has been great. Along with the social media project this has been one of mine and my students favorite ways of staying in touch. I have noticed the students that are using both have really improved their test scores. When asked if they enjoy the podcast they say that it is really nice to see that I care enough to do it for them. They have also responded to I wish all of my teachers would do something like this, and I would too. I hope all of you have had a great year, and continue to inspire the students.

Social Media Revisited

Most of you that have seen or read my blog post about social media know I am all for it being used inside and outside of the classroom. I have experimented with my classes this year using Facebook and twitter as my tools of choice. As I planed out my move to use Facebook it was with caution especially with the legislation going on in Missouri about social media and teachers. I pondered how I could reach my students on Facebook but still be professional. My first thought was to create a fan page of myself, in which my wife discussed with me it, could come off being arrogant creating a page for myself. Plus this page wasn’t for me it was for my students. I did however finish with a fan page, one of “Mr. Dunn’s Class”. I was very excited to tell my students about my Facebook page that I had created but I didn’t at first. I did tell my colleagues about it and they seemed to enjoy the idea and wanted me to keep them informed as the year would go on. I kept my page a secret from my students for the first couple of weeks teaching as I always had, and using the first test a s a gauge on how I could incorporate the page. It was no big surprise when my students didn’t perform very well. Like years in the past they have told me I didn’t know about the test and all the other things a teacher hears as an excuse. So the next day I polled my students to see how many had a Facebook account, not to my surprise 98% of my students had one. I thought to my self: “this is perfect.” So i introduced them to my page and to “like” it. I told them I would have class updates and so on on the page. After the first night I had about 28 of my 150 students to “like” me. All of them coming to me and saying they remembered their folder, and thought it was really cool that I would post things for them. By the next couple of days I had almost 50 of my students who “liked” the page. All along I would post little updates to see if they would notice or remember. After about a week we were ready for our next test. The night before I posted some random facts about what we had gone over and asked them some questions as well, you know just your basic review type questions. I was fairly astonished at the results of the test the next day. Although I only had a couple of perfect scores, as a whole but my classes performed better than the last test. I spoke with some of my students who “liked” the page to see what their thoughts were about it. Most of the responses were the same. Because they are on Facebook so much seeing my posts were a reminder they had a test and needed to study for it. It also gave my students and opportunity to reflect on what we had learned. Since then I have used this method for pre-tests and I have noticed that I have had steady test scores from my students. The conclusion of my study is that Facebook can help your students to remember if something is due the next day. It also can be used as a good tool for assessment. Especially if you are to ask questions to your students out side the classroom and it will keep then engaged while they are at home.

Steve Jobs

As most of you are aware Steve Jobs the founder of Apple has passed away from his battle with cancer. I am proud of the accomplishments of Steve and the Apple corporation. If it were not for him we would not have the personal computer, and we certainly wouldn’t have one in our classrooms either. This man was an innovator and an icon in the technology industry. He helped us to think outside the box. He took us to new levels with the iPod, then the iPhone, and now most recently the iPad. Without these innovations our classrooms would look like they did 30 years ago. Without these our students would not be captivated and in awe when we as teachers showed them new things. Steve thank you for all you did, I hope that the company you founded will continue it’s success without you. We have truly lost one of the most important people of our time.

A little update

Whew, am I tired. This year has been a complete blur to me so far. We have implemented new evaluation standards in the state of Tennessee, and we are in our second year of Professional Learning Communities(PLC). It seems that my job will never slow down. I am writing this post because my blog has gotten cold as of the last few months, only because lack of down time for me to write. I will have to say I love our PLC meetings it gives me an opportunity to collaborate as teachers in our subject or related subjects. I think it is imperative that we as educators need to bounce ideas off each other to benefit our students.

One great thing our school is doing is the single lunch schedule, some schools might have had this in place for a long time but we have been at it our second year now. I really love it. To those of you who do not know how the single lunch schedule works it is like this. Our entire school population is let out for lunch at the same time. Yes, it can be chaotic but it is a controlled chaos. Our students go to eat but there is also a great opportunity for the students to get extra help, or if they need to make up a test or any assignment they have missed they can come to my classroom and get the help they need. I have had plenty of students to take advantage of the opportunity. This is a positive step that our school has taken toward intervention. This is also a great way for teachers to get to know their students on a more personal level, and as educators know if a students doesn’t care until they know you care.