Implementing Change: ISTE 2016

I was fortunate to attend ISTE and bring some ideas and technologies back to my school. Below are some of my favorites!

Bloxels

Bloxel

This is a way for students to create their own video game. First you use cubes and a board to build the structure. Then you take a picture of the board and it becomes the actual video game board….so cool! Create a character and you’re off!

CUE STEAMpunk Playground

Hopscotch: this is an iOS app that is a FREE way for students to learn to code. It’s available now  and so. much. fun.

Swift 3: iOS also. This is a free app for students to learn to program. Powerful application for schools!

Drones/Sphero: why not use drones and Sphero to teach content? Think STEAM rather than giving it lip service. By integrating these into our subjects, we can better engage our students in their world and make content come to life! My students will be coming up with a way to create a Sphero/Ollie obstacle course for our tech lab…..

Virtual Reality

Whether it’s Google Cardboard or another, this is the perfect way to take a 36o degree field trip under the ocean or abroad. Students will love it as it opens your classroom to the world in ways never seen before. We can create our own with students through older technology like Pano360 or newer technology like Ricoh Theta and a selfie stick. Easy and educational.

Risk-Taking

iFLy

Finally, conquering fears. I went to iFly for some indoor skydiving with some others from my district. I have no problem taking risks when it comes to my professional life, but my personal life, well, I think I speak for most of us there when I say we were a bit scared. I conquered a fear and modeled what I preach.

Creation: Let’s Get it Made!

Creation

Creation Presentation

 

Creating a Positive Culture for Innovation

For many of us the year either has started or is about to start. Those first few weeks are the most important in establishing positive culture in our classrooms. In my school we’re moving to 1:1 iPads, so creating a risk-taking culture where students know the boundaries but aren’t afraid to make mistakes is so important.

#satchatoc had a meaningful discussion about establishing a culture of innovation in schools. Building this culture of innovation and creativity is essential to bring schools and students into the present and get them ready to lead in the future.

This idea of creating a culture where students and educators alike utilize technology to problem-solve and create a better world is an ongoing theme in education.

How do we encourage creativity and innovation in the classroom? Creation tools like iMovie, Educreation, Explain Everything, Thinglink, blogging, and Book Creator can help.

So, how do we get people to this place of innovation?

As educators we are always working to better ourselves, trying to learn so that we can share our ideas with our students. By being connected, we open a whole world (literally) of information and people to learn from. This chat is a perfect example as it is called #satchatoc; is based in Oceania yet draws an international crowd.

Modeling multiple solutions to questions as well as big ideas is huge! If we as the model in schools can get this and show our students that often problems do not have just one answer, it makes it okay for them to take risks, grow, and seek multiple answers to questions.

Moral of the story: what we do week one with our teachers and our students to create a positive culture where taking risks becomes the norm will determine how our year goes.

How are you starting your year?

G*O*A*L*S

As each year begins, I make new goals. New resolutions for the school year. What will this year bring? I am in a new, exciting position this year, so it is certainly easy to make a laundry list of goals —so many that I could never achieve them all. When I consider what the major focus would be, I think they come down to the following:

  1. Working with teachers and administrators to create an engaging, student-centered environment where technology helps transform students’ learning in meaningful ways. This is a big one that is where I will spend most of my time. Through modeling, co-teaching, conferring, and learning together, I hope to move toward this goal.
  2. Keeping a healthy balance. Somehow this always is a goal of mine that is rarely achieved. Since I can never get enough of reading professional literature, watching podcasts and webcasts, Voxing, blogging, for me like many of you, balance does not come easily. I can read, write, communicate late into the night neglecting other things that I enjoy much less.
  3. Continue to model risk-taking and growth. Through the above I hope to model to those around me the mindset of being open-minded and ready to try new things even when they might make us nervous.

For now I will keep it simple at that.

What are you looking forward to in the new school year? What are your GOALS?

The Future is Now!

As I watch this video, as few things stand out to me.

1. Personalized learning: students are doing what seems to be interesting to them and therefore it engages them. This is so much of what we’re talking about in the world of education these days. Just today, I spent much of my day at a conference talking about our district’s personalized learning initiative and how that looks from a broad view as well as getting into some of the nitty gritty details of it. Our students need to have learning be meaningful to them. I think back to the early years of my career when I had to write out each student and the instruction he/she would get per group and then change that at the end of the day for the next day based on what had occurred. As more devices become available, this process will become so much more streamlined and classrooms will even be able to have a blended environment for learning.

2. Student engagement: students are engaged in the video. Whatever the content, with or without technology, I want my students to love what they’re doing and find meaningful connections in it. As we continue to add technology and more sophistication to what we do, teaching is still an art first and foremost. The teacher gets to guide students to find that meaning and help those light bulbs go off.

For me, I look forward to this time of the year so much! There is always something special in the air as we set up rooms and get to know our teams. This year I set new goals in a new role. I cannot wait to work side-by-side with teachers so that those student light bulbs of engagement and excitement can explode. We might not be able to pull a science beaker out of the air, but we certainly can inspire students through the connections that we make.

The future is here.

The future is now.

Summer of Learning

photo credit Theresa Stager

   As many of us do, I love learning. I can’t get enough. I had a brief break after ISTE2015 and up to the Midwest I went –this time, Chicago, for Edcampleader. This event is so well coordinated that it is taking place both face-to-face and asynchronously on Twitter at its hashtag to connect the campuses of San Francisco, Philly, New York, Chicago, and Chile among other places.

So, what’s the take away? Like any other edcamp style unconference, you get what you want: share, present, learn. It’s up to you. As the saying goes, if you’re the smartest one in the room, you’re in the wrong room; I was in the correct building to say the least. Education’s finest leaders came from all over to share the amazing things happening in their schools. We learned together to continue to make learning more engaging for our students: an ongoing goal for many. I personally look forward to continuing the conversation (and drone flying) about making schools the appropriate place for students today and not waiting until tomorrow. Because after all, the future is here. With all these dedicated leaders it will be that much simpler.

As many of us do, I love learning. I can’t get enough. I had a brief break after ISTE2015 and up to the Midwest I went –this time, Chicago, for Edcampleader. This event is so well coordinated that it is taking place both face-to-face and asynchronously on Twitter at its hashtag to connect the campuses of San Fransisco, Philly, New York, Chicago, and Chile among other places.

So, what’s the take away? Like any other edcamp style unconference, you get what you want: share, present, learn. It’s up to you. As the saying goes, if you’re the smartest one in the room, you’re in the wrong room; I was in the correct building to say the least. Education’s finest leaders came from all over to share the amazing things happening in their schools. We learned together to  continue make learning more engaging: an ongoing goal for many.

I personally look forward to continuing the conversation (and drone flying) about making schools the appropriate place for students today and not waiting until tomorrow. Because after all, the future is here. With all these dedicated leaders it will be that much simpler.

Change the World.

Image

I recently read a blog written by George Couros about change and how it’s impossible to get the pace right for everyone. I, not shockingly, am one of those people for whom change in education is not quick enough.

I want our students to learn in the best way possible based on what we know today. Students should learn through play in buildings that look like they were created in this century with furniture made for….you’ve got it! Today.

I would like to see the curriculum re-made from the ground up. No more memorization of rote facts or consumers of content but creation and play. Problem solving. Making. Risk-taking.

Students can be ready to leave school and change the world just like education changed to be ready for them.

NewsELA

The next few blog posts are a few of my newest favorite resources for teaching. These are screencasts of me demonstrating how to use them.

My Journey To Connectivity

Telephone

It sometimes can be overwhelming trying to utilize all the technology tools out there. About a year ago I began using Twitter on a regular basis to connect with professional educators all over the world. That has led me to this world of connected educators that I would never have known was out there.

Because of Twitter, I have increased my blog reading and writing. I have learned to become more transparent in my practice and write about it in my blog. I set goals and try to write more (although I often don’t meet those blogging goals as you can see by the sparseness of my blog postings). I do have so much to say, but finding the time to write, revise, edit, and perfect (this perfectionist cannot stand to post without the last step) is difficult.

I’ve learned so much by participating in Twitter chats. It still amazes me that a year ago I didn’t know that such a things existed! I’ve modeled these for the teachers in my building hoping that they will see the personalized professional learning they can gain from the chats. For me a weekend doesn’t start off on the right foot without my SATCHAT….I mean, I was in Puerto Rico, waiting for a ferry to Culebra with limited cell service and managed my SATCHAT…it’s that important! Other weekly highlights for me as an administrator are edtechchat, teach like a pirate (TLAP), teacher/parent chat, 1 to 1 i pad chat, BYOT Chat, Georgia Educator, Iowa Educator (yes, I live in Georgia, but Iowa has some good topics!), and whatisschool. There are countless others; these just happen to work for my schedule and be some of my favorites! In many cases I have developed friendships and professional relationships online first that then became face-to-face friendships at conferences like ISTE and FETC. It’s amazing what technology has become!

Through my growth and learning on Twitter which has lead me to individual educators’ blogs, I then began to curate through Flipboard and organize blogs through Feedly. This has led me to even more educators and blogs thus more connectivity.

My latest is Voxer. I participate in a number of Voxer groups. What’s nice about this is the more personalized nature of it because I can hear people’s voices. With Twitter and Blogs we only read words; with Voxer I can hear which gives an additional layer of personalization to the app. I just think there is something convenient about talking rather than typing.

What is your story? How have you or will you get connected? Does it make us better educators?

 

 

Beginning of the School Year Message

 CC0 1.0 Universal (CC0 1.0)  by Gerd Altmann

CC0 1.0 Universal (CC0 1.0) by Gerd Altmann

As the new school year is starting, I have so many things that I want to share with teachers. Here is my (for now) consolidated list.

1. Don’t be afraid to take risks in your classroom. We don’t learn and become better educators, or better people for that matter, unless we take a chance. There will be times that we will fail; it is in those times that we learn the most, though. Pick yourself up, be reflective, be transparent, and move on.

2. Build great relationships. Relationships are the first step to having a well-run classroom. Without trust from students and parents, it is difficult later to engage students in learning and discipline students when necessary. You don’t want me as the administrator to have to save the day often because that weakens what you have established in your own class. Also, build relationships between your co-workers. We spend so much time together and rely on one another. Collaboration and teamwork is imperative. You are one another’s most amazing resource.

3. Become connected. This term has a whole new meaning today! With Twitter it is so easy to collaborate with people across the country and the world. I have made friendships that I never before imagined due to social media. I have learned so much from connecting through Twitter; from read my feed and from participating in weekly chats. Find some that apply to you and it’s personalized learning at its best! Start small and follow a few people and lurk if you are unsure. Join in a content or grade level chat. You will be amazed at how much you will learn. Now I have discovered Voxer and Voxer chats which have opened up a new world of voice collaboration.

4. Find one new idea that you will try with fidelity and use well all year long. Maybe it’s Edmoto, Remind, Evernote, Padlet. Whatever it is, commit and use it well all the time –not just every now and then.

What do you think is the message we need to give teachers? What is most important as we open the new academic year?

Innovate * Inspire * Lead Change

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