Playing around with Meerkat

Using Meerkat to live stream our recent drama production...

Using Meerkat to live stream our recent drama production...

Meerkat is a smartphone app that allows anyone to publish live video from their phone to the web via their Twitter account. When a session is initiated in Meerkat, a tweet is sent from your Twitter account to your twitter followers announcing the live stream session, along with a link to the live stream. A stream of tweets associated with your live stream is then superimposed on your broadcast screen, allow the broadcaster to interact with her audience via twitter posts.

On Thursday night we used Meerkat to live stream our Lewis Elementary School Drama Club production. The purpose was two fold. First we wanted to experiment a bit with this technology, and secondly, Mr. Colvin, who helps with our Drama Club, was unable to attend the performance because he was visiting his ailing father. He was able to sit at his mom’s kitchen table and watch his students perform. We also had another 10 Twitter users following along. 

We plan to use Meerkat to live stream future school events. Also am thinking it could be used for just in time professional development. For example, one of our teachers, Pamela Kennedy, has a lot of requests from teachers and schools, asking her to come and talk about classroom design. I'm thinking this might be a nice, low friction, method of having her share her room with others, and answer questions about her classroom set up. Maybe we will plan for one of these after we return from spring break.

Historical Character Day

Yesterday at Lewis, we held one of our monthly Spirit Days. Spirit Days are designated days where we encourage students to demonstrate their creativity and individualism by dressing based on a theme. Yesterday’s theme was “Historical Character Day.” Students were encouraged to dress as a famous character from history. We had many students take part and many cleaver and interesting characters visited our school. Follow the link below some images from Historical Character Day...

Teacher Workday

Friday at Lewis Elementary was a teacher workday. This day is set aside for teachers to work on planning and doing other such administrative work needed to prepare for the sending home of student report cards.

Ms. Layman and Mr. Hansen also took some time to head over to Peerless Pattern Works to make ping pong paddles for our PE program.  

Dr. King Day of Service at Lewis Elementary

On Monday at Lewis Elementary School, we celebrated the life and work of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. with a school holiday and our annual day of service. We invited families and students to come out to the school and help clean up our school garden. We had a great turn out and got quite a bit of work accomplished. We would like to thank the many volunteers for their work today and also thank Kathleen Witter for her work leading and organizing the day.

Dr. King day at Lewis Elementary...

Dr. King day at Lewis Elementary...

Classroom Visits: Ambient Logging with iBeacons

iBeacons....

iBeacons....

As principal of Lewis Elementary School, I try to visit each of my classrooms every morning to check in and say hello. In addition throughout the day, I spend more extended time visiting classrooms, talking with teachers and students, and gaining a better understanding of the work taking place, and looking for ways that I can provide helpful feedback and support.

I try to document these visits and I have used various methods to do this, including tracking them on spreadsheets and web forms. Recently, I have become interested in a technology called Beacons, more specifically, iBeacons and how they can be used to help me keep track of my movements around my school, and provide me with ambient logging of my classroom visits.

Screenshot of the Proximity Log app...

Screenshot of the Proximity Log app...

iBeacons are small, battery powered Bluetooth devices that emit a low power radio signal. Smartphones, equipped with various apps, can connect with these beacons, and as a result things can happen based on proximity to the beacon. For example beacons, and apps on your smartphone, can be used together to initiate alerts or notices based on proximity. There is much discussion currently about how these beacons can be used in retail settings to alert customers to products and services based on proximity. I have been thinking about a school setting and how the technology can be used in interesting ways in our classrooms. Several examples of this were recently written up over at Educate 1:1 (The Potential of iBeacons for Schools)

Recently, I placed an Estimote iBeacon in my office. Using an iOS app called Proximity Log, I started having Proximity Log track my time spent in my office based on proximity to the beacon. Whenever I enter my office, Proximity Log connects with the beacon, and begins to keep track of the time I am near that beacon, and thus in my office. Proximity Log keeps track of the number of visits and the duration of each of those visits. The data is exportable and can be used in programs such as Excel or Google Sheets. 

Screenshot of the Proximity Log app...

Screenshot of the Proximity Log app...

I am working to place additional iBeacons in my classrooms and set up the Proximity Log app to interact with these specific classroom beacons. Once set up, Proximity Log will note when I enter a classroom, and how long I stay in the room, and keep track of those visits. I can then analyze this ambient logging and make sure that I am visiting all my classrooms on a regular basis. One of my professional goals is to spend extended periods of time in classrooms, providing feedback and support. With the use of iBeacons, and Proximity Log, I hope to do a better job keeping track of these classroom visits. 

 

 

 

A Tour of Room 17 at Lewis Elementary School...

Pamela Kennedy ( @pamelakennedy17 ) is a 3rd grade teacher at Lewis Elementary School. Through donations and repurposing, she has created an engaging and flexible learning space for herself and her students. The video below offers a quick tour of the various spaces and seating options for students. Since this video was first produced, she has added 3 nooks to her classroom, providing additional spaces for students to work. They are pictured below.

A tour of Pamela Kennedy's 3rd grade classroom at Lewis Elementary School in Portland, Oregon. http://lewiselementary.org http://mskennedy17.wordpress.com/

Nooks in Room 17

 

Print Making in Mr. Hansen's Classroom

Mr. Hansen’s students have been working on print making. From his classroom blog...

“The other day the Google home page paid homage to the artist Corita Kent which was incredibly timely because we are about to start a new art exploration based on print-making.  Students are going to decide what important messages they have to tell the world and then turn them into poster prints.”

You can learn more about this project and other happenings in Room 5 by visiting Mr. Hansen’s classroom blog. The results of their work are now hanging in our hallway.