Sunday, August 31, 2008

Making Class "Teams" & 2nd Week Assignmnets

Thank goodness for the three-day Labor Day Weekend. It is giving me the opportunity to get my head around some project based learning concepts I have been reading and developing assignments for the 2nd week of classes.

This week I will have the students get on the computer, get into Moodle, the open source (FREE) course management system that our school district uses. We call it the HISD Online Learning Center. I am planning 3 assignments in Moodle.

Creating a Moodle Account
Editing their Moodle Profile
Acceptable Use of Computers & Networks Quiz

Other assignments I am planning for the week will be actually getting into our HSTE Project web pages for the first time.

Joining the HSTE Project on Wikispaces
Joining the HSTE Project Ning

The final assignment for the week will introduce them to Netvibes.

Netvibes Personal Learning Network

This will allow them to establish a place where they can aggregate all of the HSTE Project RSS Feeds for the class as well as get them used to having one place to stop to categorize all of there online favorites, for personal use and other classes, in one place. Netvibes is a wonderful tool and I have been using it for almost a year and I find that it really is a time saver by allowing me to keep all of my online favorites in one place for easy reference and reading.

This week's assignments appears to be heavy with technology and on the surface doesn't appear to address Health Science Technology, the courses that I teach, but it is laying the ground work to allow us to build the computer skills, or 21st Century Learning Intelligences, necessary to utilize the HSTE Project web pages to learn Health Science Technology concepts and skills as we move forward for the remainder of the school year.

The assignments are actually pretty short, for the most part, but it will allow them some opportunities to get used to working with the computers in our classroom as well as getting comfortable with working with their teams which I will allow the student to select on Tuesday.

Until next time...

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Thursday, August 28, 2008

Thursday, August 28, 2008


4 days down, 183 to go!  That sounds like a long time right now.  So far, all of my classes have been great.  I do have 3 sections of Freshman in Introduction to Health Science Technology with close to 30 students in each class which is challenging, but it has been a good week so far.

Now to the HSTE Project stuff.  We have made some progress.  I have spent the first two days introducing the project to the students as well as going over classroom procedures, and showing them some of the possibilities using some Web 2.0 Tools that we may be using during the course of the year.

I showed them my talking avatar from Voki which seemed to be a pretty big hit in most classes.

Get a Voki now!

I did have a little confusion that I had to straighten out today, apparently some  student thought that they had to have their own laptop to participate in my class.  Well, what I had really told the students in class, was this, if they had a laptop, they were more than welcome to bring it into class and use it to access the HSTE Project wikispaces and Ning sites.

Well a little bit of confusion in the first week is to be expected.  So, I had to reiterate what it really is that we will be working on in class and hopefully that will be the last mistake of that kind.

As a parent myself I guess that I would question my children if one of them said that they had to have a laptop for a class.  (All of mine did and do have access to family laptops while they were in high school).

So, I am very happy with the start we have gotten  off to in all of my classes and now it is time to start preparing for next week and beyond.

Until next time...

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Tuesday, August 26, 2008

School has started!

School started yesterday. Needles to say, I haven't had much time to do anything except try to get to know the new students that haven't been in the HSTE program before and try to let them know what we will be doing in class this year, especially about the HSTE Project.

I did try something new today and it was using Screenflow from Vara Software to record one of my classes and show it to the students enrolled in the same class later in the day in a different section. It turned out well for the first time. I think that this technique of recording a short portion of the major parts of your lesson for the day will be a time saver, especially if you have multiple sections of a class.

I actually got to walk around the room while I was showing the screencast and meet more students, try to learn some names and have a little one-to-one time with my students who were in groups. I will attempt to upload a link to that movie file so, if there is any interest to see how the 2nd day of school went you may view it.

Until next time...
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Saturday, August 16, 2008

Students, Students Everywhere!

The title of this blog post will perhaps be a little misleading because our students don't physically come back to school until Monday, August 25th, we still have a week of various in-service days and preparation, but after yesterday I think the title is appropriate.

We have just gone to an 8 period day from a 7 period day for this year and while getting all the classes and sections for my classes this year it looks that I will have students hanging from the rafters!

I will be offering 5, yes count 'em, 5 different classes this year.

Zero hour - Online Medical Terminology
1st & 2nd - Health Science Technology 2, CNA Certification and Clinical Rotations
3rd - Conference
4th - Introduction to Health Science Technology
5th - Introduction to Health Science Technology
6th - Health Science Technology 1
7th - Health Science Technology 1
8th - Introduction to Health Science Technology

Our HSTE Program has seen a tremendous growth this year. The result was that each of those classes will have 30 - 35 students each! Wow! We will have a great group of students to start the HSTE Project off with!

I guess that I am just have to stop doing such a good job of recruiting new students to our HSTE program. Actually I am very excited to have so many students interested enough to take my classes. I am actually awed by the numbers and am wondering how I will keep 30 - 35 students engaged. Well this was one of the main reasons that I wanted to start the HSTE Project so I guess there is no better way to find out if the HSTE Project will work than a baptism under fire.

I had a chance to look at the enrollment in the Health Science Technology 1 classes and they appeared, if I remember right, to be at about 25- 30 students each, and the HSTE 2 class had 24 students, although some of those will shift to the HSTE 3 EMT-Basic class after school starts.

My plate is going to be full this year. This will be the first time that we have offered an EMT-Basic class as well as this is the year that we will launch this, The HSTE Project. To say it will be challenging, exciting and hectic I think would be an understatement.

I am very happy to announce that Mrs. Kelli Moulton, our Superintendent has joined our HSTE Project Ning. Ms. Moulton is our new Superintendent, having spent the past 5 or 6 years, if I am not mistaken, as our Assistant Superintendent.

The HSTE Project Ning has been shared on a very limited basis so far. I purposely wanted to get permission from my CT&E Director, Mrs. Delozier and our principal, Mr. Sauceda, and Mrs. Moulton, before I really started to invite many people to become HSTE Partners and join the Ning.

I wanted just to get this Ning started with a few Key individuals like my friend and fellow EMS Educator Eric Lynn before inviting more individuals. When the students come to class, one of their first assignments will be to join the Ning and the HSTE Project Wikispace. Then after they have started collaborating with each other on the Ning and have had a chance to get familiar with the "look and feel" of the Ning by uploading small projects such as pictures and videos, then I want to start inviting more Health Care Providers like Ms. San Juanita Ramirez to particiapte. Not only is Ms. Ramirez a Respiratory Therapist at the Hereford Regional Medical Center but she is also the parent of one of my HSTE students.

So, this has been a longer post than I had anticipated when I sat down a little while ago to write, but as it sometimes happens when you start writing you just can't stop.

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Thursday, August 14, 2008

First day back and Parent Permission Form

Today was the first day back at school with much to do, although not much accomplished! Tonight I completed one more thing on my "To Do" list which is to develop a parent permission form. I had the opportunity to visit with our Technology Director at the school district today to get his advise on this as well as setting up student email accounts for this year where we will selectively allow students to receive some email from outside of our school district. Specifically, I wanted to make sure that students could receive confirmation emails from Wikispaces, Ning and other Web 2.0 Applications that we will be using in the classroom this year.

Here is the link: Parent Permission form

I also have been working on some short assignments for the first few days of school: Introduction Assignments

Hopefully tomorrow I can continue working on a few more introductory assignments.

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Monday, August 4, 2008

2008 - 2009 HSTE Plan

This evening I have been doing some reading and came across a blog post from Vicki Davis called Tips for Starting the School Year Right. I was especially drawn to Part 3: Create the plan.

Since I first envisioned The HSTE Project somewhere back around March of this year, I knew that to have a good project, I would have to spend a lot of time planning the project before I even presented it to my CT&E Director and Principal. On July 10, 2008, I wrote blog post on my personal blog called So much to teach, where to start first? In that post I listed several objectives that I would like to accomplish in the first weeks of school.

1. Teach students how to collaborate in groups
2. Expose the students to editing a Wiki on our Wikispaces page
3. Expose my students to Web 2.0 terminology and technology
4. Let the students create their first product, or "project"
5. Get the student working together and show them how we will work the entire semester or school year.

Well, I think I have come along way in a little under a month since I wrote that post. I received approval to launch The HSTE Project on July 28th and since then I think all that I have done is work in Wikispaces and develop the start of the Ning so that by the first day of shcool, I will be able to start the school year off in the right direction. The one thing I had failed to do, however, was to write the plan. Thanks to Vicki's blog post that was something I really needed to do.

So here is the 2008 - 2009 HSTE Plan. This is still just somewhat of a "shell" and I need to take each of the months and break them down and develop monthly projects and individual assignments to go along with those projects.

Isn't it amazing that sometimes all you need is a little something to make the lightbulb go off in your head and you have an "ah-haa" moment. All I can say is thanks Vicki for giving me yet anohter great idea.
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Sunday, August 3, 2008

Keeping Parents Informed

Keeping Parents informed about the HSTE Project

One of the things that I really want to focus on this year with the HSTE Project this year is letting the parents of my students know, right from the first day of school what the HSTE Project is all about and what their child will be doing in my class.

So, I have spent some time today making a HSTE Parents Page in Wikispaces. What are my expectations for making such a page, well I would like for my students' parents to take a look at what we will be doing as well as try to encourage their involvement in the HSTE Project, especially if they are in a health care career.

I also included some references to some Digital Citizenship resources that I have developed to try to encourage them to take an active part in their child's social networking experience to ensure that their student is safe online.

I have offered to take an evening to talk to them and show them how to take a look at their child's social networking sites.

Finally, I asked them to help us with our student organization HOSA. Will it encourage parents to participate and be more involved this year? I don't know but it is worth a try.

Less than two weeks to go before the teachers report back to school on August 14th. To be quite honest I am really looking forward to the new school year starting. With the HSTE Project to implement and all of the other things that I am working on, it will be an exciting and challenging year.