The above picture was with my family (L-R: Amber 6thgrade, Connor 7th grade, Caleb 3rd grade, Travis Middle & High School Business / Technology Teacher in Jordan, my lovely wife Melissa, Elementary teacher in Bloomington). Traveling is a big part of our family life. We were in the Everglades in Florida when we took the above picture. I teach at Jordan School District and have been there 11 years. I currently teach 5th, 6th, and 8th grade Technology courses along with a Computer Programming & Graphics course at the High School. My undergrad was a double major at Minnesota State University, Mankanto in Business and Computer Science. I tried the Business world for awhile, something seemed to be missing -- so my wife convinced me to go back and get my Masters and become a Business / Technology teacher, so I went back to Minnesota State University, Mankato and got my Masters in Education and started at Jordan at the same time as a Technology helper. Now, I want to become a Technology Integration Specialist at Jordan - since we are a 1:1 chrome book school, I feel I can make a bigger impact not only working with students, but staff as well, so I am back for more education and this is why I enrolled into the Educational Technology program. I am learning so much and having a blast, but one of my main reasons for coming back is to show my kids you are never too old to keep learning.
The above program, Adobe Spark, is utilized quite a bit in my school and my classes. Students in my classes use Adobe Spark to create a web page to highlight their semester learning in a digital portfolio platform. They will include pictures, videos, and reflections on projects we have worked on throughout the semester. Another great option in Adobe Spark is the video option. We have native grasses growing next to our new building, and the students in 8th grade completed a research project on the importance of native grasses and then implemented their knowledge into an Adobe Spark video. It is a very easy to use and interactive tool that immediately grabs the attention of students.
I use the Animoto program in my 5th grade classroom as an exciting way to create "book trailers". One of the reasons I like this program is you are limited in the number of characters you can use -- so it really makes the students think about what is important and shows them the importance of making a brainstorm sheet with their ideas. Animoto videos are produced in an mp4 format, so they are able to be uploaded almost anywhere.
COURSE vs. TRAINING
In my opinion, I feel there is quite a difference between Online Course and Online Training. With Course, I feel it is driven by the instructor, but quite a bit of student interaction to enhance the course. Really, it is a classroom -- but not in the brick and mortar traditional setting, but in an online, virtual world. Online Training, I feel is driven by the individual. How much time and effort are you going to apply in learning that new skill. When I need to learn a new Computer Language, I turn to Lynda.com and I feel that is my Online Training. Taking my courses at Minnesota State University, Mankato in the Education Technology program, I feel are Online Courses.