If you haven’t seen the Moonshot Thinking video, I recommend it. It’s a great conversation starter for the new school year. The term “moonshot” stems from Google and refers the innovative projects underway at the company’s Google X lab:
“Moonshots live in the gray area between audacious projects and pure science fiction; instead of mere 10 percent gains, they aim for 10x improvements,” according to Google. “The combination of a huge problem, a radical solution, and the breakthrough technology that might just make that solution possible is the essence of a Moonshot.”
Last week, I’m pretty sure I was witnessing moonshot thinking as an elementary school in my district connected with NASA for a 20-minute Skype call to the International Space Station (ISS). Checkout the 4-minute video below for a glimpse into the event.
Note: Here’s a link to the complete Downlink call.
I’m looking forward to watching how this awesome event shapes teaching and learning at this wonderful school site. Somehow when teachers, students, administration, parents, and community members team up for the purpose of promoting STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math) activities, good things are bound to happen.
The drive to Palo Alto’s Gunn High School to attend the July 19-20 GAFE Summit was definitely worth it! With so many great sessions to choose from, narrowing down my choices was a challenge. I enjoyed and learned from each one. Below are a few of my takeaways:
Toward Better Technology Integration – Scott McLeod – I’ve been following Scott McLeod, both through his blog and on Twitter, since first watching his Did You Know videos. A visit to his 2014 EdTech Summit Palo Alto page will provide you with a ton of cool resources as well as a window into his amazing session Toward Better Technology Integration (scroll down a ways). Because I was also presenting during session 1, I missed Part 1 of Scott’s presentation, but am very glad I made it to Part 2 – in which Scott walked us through trudacot (technology-rich unit design and classroom observation template).
Two weeks later, I am still thinking about the potential of trudacot to leverage the power of technology to power up a lesson or unit of study. The template moves beyond technology integration frameworks, such as TPACK and SAMR, by helping teachers figure how to redesign lessons so it’s not about the tool or tools; it’s about the learning. It’s also about providing the context to allow learning to become authentic. Students move beyond studying about “homelessness,” for instance, to figuring out solutions to homelessness (like PBL).
The starting point in redesigning lessons is to begin with someone else’s lessons. In grade-level teams, for example, once everyone is comfortable to with the trudacot model via practicing lesson upgrades (in both the lesson design and meaningful integration of technology tools) using “model lessons” such as the ones listed on Scott’s Summit page, they can move on to analyzing and improving their own lessons. In watching the sample lesson videos and then reading through the accompanying lessons, it was easy/energizing to go through the trudacot sections and discuss how the lesson met or did not meet the criteria, and then move on to ideas for bumping up the lesson – and learning.
What a great coaching model and mega takeaway!
Performing the Google Slide – Mark Hammons - Loved Mark’s design tips, including switching out bullet points for an image + powerful quote = telling a story. Very excited to start playing with Pear Deck and weaving it into my G Slides.
Doctopus and autoCrat – Diane Main – Great session, with lots of WOW factors in seeing what the new Doctopus add-on can do for you. Wish I had updated to the new Drive prior to Diane’s session, as the Doctopus add-on doesn’t really work in the old Drive.
Better Student Feedback with Kaizena - Karl Lindgren-Streicher - Love Karl’s presentation style: humor + insights from the trenches. His session link includes screenshots and tips to get started with this powerful Google add-on for providing students with audio feedback. In Karl’s words, “Kaizena allows you to give more, better, faster feedback on student work than any other tool.” Prior to Karl’s session, I’d thought of Kaizena more as a one-way flow of feedback – from teacher to student. I left the session thinking about the possibilities of two-way feedback/conversations. Awesome tool. Awesome presenter.
Critical Thinking and the Web: Searching in a Google-Infused World – Holly Clark - I ended my Summit experience with Holly’s session on searching skills. Having Google Search Anthropologist Dan Russell join the session as a participant transformed the session from a presentation to a highly interactive discussion. WOW! Great way to wrap up an amazing two days of connecting, comparing/sharing, and learning!
A huge thank you to the EdTechTeam for all time, energy, and vision you put into planning this event! It was a privilege to attend, both as a presenter and a participant. I’m already checking the upcoming GAFE Summits and looking forward to attending several in the new school year.
Loved ISTE 2014! Between the selection of sessions and presenters, connecting with friends before, during, and after sessions, and having my first-ever bison burger (at Ted’s Montana Grill), it was a wonderful four days in Atlanta.
Below are a few of my conference take-aways:
I’m already looking forward to ISTE 2015 in Philadelphia:-)
A year ago, a wonderful principal at one of my district’s elementary schools invited me to give a 1-hour workshop at his site on Project-Based Learning (PBL). I was thrilled to have the request come from an administrator and for the opportunity to organize my thoughts and resources into something useful for teachers.
I set to work on a Google slideshow, so that the teachers would have an easily-edible presentation to use with their students and parents. As you can see from the presentation (which includes the talking points), I pulled mainly from Edutopia and BIE (Buck Institute of Education), two rich, dynamic, free gold mines for PBL samples, resources, and best practices. The only thing missing from my slideshow was a PBL sample from my district, since this was an in-district workshop. Thanks to the amazing work of 5th/6th grade teacher Jim Bentley and his students, that missing district element no longer exists.
On Thursday, one year later, I’ll be headed to Jim’s site to co-facilitate a PBL workshop that’s open to all district teachers and administrators. What makes this workshop very special is that some of Jim’s students will also be presenting with us.
I celebrate that one year later, there is a small, but growing number of teachers in my district embracing PBL – with a common thread of having supportive administrators who recognize the value of students being engaged and feeling a genuine purpose for their work. So my idea is to offer our PBL workshop each quarter, with a different site/teacher(s)/students hosting the workshop.
In collaboration with Jim and other contributing PBL teachers, we’ll continue updating the slideshow. We’ll also be adding to our PBL digital handout. We would welcome more snippets of what PBL looks like from primary grades through high school, across the curriculum and content areas. If you have sources we should add, please share them via a comment.
If you are looking for opportunities for your students to speak out on digital citizenship issues, checkout the 2014 Digital Citizenship PSA Challenge. Students in grades 4-12 are invited to submit a 90-second (or less) PSA that addresses taking a stand on cyberbullying, building a positive digital footprint, respecting intellectual property, or protecting online privacy.
Prizes? Yes. Once again we* are offering $25 iTunes cards to student producers of the top three entries for elementary, middle, and high school categories.
Please let me know, by leaving a comment, if you have questions. Hope to see entries from your students!
*Disclaimer: I am a co-curator of the Digital ID project. As my fellow co-curator Natalie Bernasconi and I head into our 3rd year of sponsoring the PSA Challenge, we look forward to showcasing the work of students across the nation and globe. The Digital ID project and the PSA Challenge are in recognition that the most powerful, impactful teaching model is the students-teaching-students model.
In the eight years that I’ve been offering blogging workshops, I love watching teachers leave excited to start blogging with their students and with a vision of how blogging might transform teaching and learning. A great way to keep the excitement going is to connect them, directly or indirectly, with other classrooms – beyond their school sites and communities. The Edublogs Student Blogging Challenge is exactly that kind of opportunity – and it’s free!
Twice a school year (October and March), Edublogs sponsors the Student Blogging Challenge. The Challenge is a wonderful opportunity for students to practice and improve their digital writing skills – and for teachers to promote and support learning beyond the school day.
The March 2014 Challenge runs for 10 weeks, with weekly tasks designed to scaffold students’ online communication skills. The tasks range from digital citizenship to making global and local connections. Participating classrooms can complete all or as many tasks as they wish, and in any order.
Thank you, Sue Wyatt, Sue Waters, and Ronnie Burt, for continuing to support and host the Student Blogging Challenge. A huge time commitment on your part – but such a worthwhile project!
A week later, I’m still thinking about the Roseville GAFE Summit. What an amazing gathering of innovative educators! Here are some of my takeaways:
Based on the Roseville Summit, I’m pretty sure I’m on my way to becoming a Google Summit groupie.
February 5 marks the Alliance For Excellent Education’s 3rd annual national Digital Learning Day (DLD). I love the many ways the Digital Learning Day website and program encourages and showcases best practices in supporting students as digital learners and global citizens. The video below highlights the importance of digital learning from a student perspective, with a strong message that digital learning is no longer optional or simply an add-on:
If you are wondering how classrooms, school sites, and districts are participating in DLD, a great starting point is the Digital Learning Day Celebration Map, which includes a search bar and the registration form. As of today, Alabama, New Jersey, and California educators are the top contributors.
Of the many ways you and your students can participate in DLD, here are a few of my favorites:
Another option we are offering through our Digital ID partnership with the California Writing Project is an #Upstanders Tweetout.
Wherever you are and however you involve your students in any of the above or other DLD activities, please be sure to visit the DLD Map Celebration and enter your information. I look forward to learning from and being inspired by a national network of DLD contributors!
Saturday marked the first time an EdCamp has taken place in Sacramento. It was also my first time to attend one – and now I’m eager for more EdCamp experiences. If you’ve every attended an Unconference (e.g., Steve Hargadon style), then you know the format: attendees gather at the beginning, suggest sessions – which are shared conversations, not formal presentations, and then delve into day, with the understanding that if a session doesn’t fit your needs, you’re encouraged to switch to another (“law of two feet”).
Oh, and EdCamps are FREE.
As simple as it seems to host one (e.g.,no need to send out call for proposals in advance or print programs), I’m pretty sure the EdCam Sac organizers Colin O’Connor, Peter Strawn, Trisha Sanchez, Cynthia Cost, and Danielle Lemke did some heavy lifting beforehand to make sure the day ran smoothly. Wireless worked, sites were not blocked, coffee and donuts were abundant. Bravo, Team EdCampSac!
I loved the opportunity to connect – and reconnect – with teachers within and outside of my district.
Kristen Swanson, a co-founder of the original EdCamp – and also an attendee at #edcampsac, offers a more in-depth look at the rationale and power of EdCamps in her recent Edutopia article Why EdCamp. Judging from the group discussion at the close of yesterday’s #edcampsac, I think all who attended would agree that with Kristen’s summary:
The Edcamp model provides educators with a sustainable model for learning, growing, connecting and sharing. Everyone’s expertise is honored, and specific, concrete strategies are exchanged. When professional development is created “for teachers by teachers,” everyone wins.”
Thank you, Edublogs, for sponsoring the annual Edublog Awards event. Every year, I look forward to discovering new ideas and resources, learning from innovative educators, and the opportunity to give a shout out to those who have inspired me in the past year.
My 2013 Edublog Awards Nominations:
Note to self: Next year do NOT wait till the last day to post nominations!