BlogWalker

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Fall CUE logo

October 20, 2018
by blogwalker
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#FallCUE 2018 – Some highlights and great resources

Fall CUE image, large version

I just returned from a jam-packed weekend at the 2018 Fall CUE Conference in Napa (California’s wine country). The challenge at any CUE Conference is trying to decide which of the many enticing sessions I should attend. I think I made some great choices.

Saturday Sessions

Empowering ELLs in the Google Age – I loved starting the conference with Abby Almerido‘s session. Although the focus was on ELLs, the speaking and listening activities were applicable to all students. If you check out her presentation, you can see that visual literacy – a must-have 21st century skill for all students – is at the heart of her work.

Using her slides, Abby challenged us to team with another person and:

  • View a fuzzy photo (slide 6), form an opinion, and provide 3 support statements as evidence.
  • View 4 images (slide 7) and come up with a common theme to connect theme. 

4 different images for students to find a common theme.

  • Come up with a question that invokes some tension (slide 9).
  • Consider the power of using moving images (slide 10).

Such simple, yet powerful, strategies to not only build speaking and listening skills but to also scaffold students into writing activities. Loved all the shared conversations from this session!

 

Painless Privacy: Empowering Educators to Safely Create Content  – If you are a classroom teacher, I recommend that you go through the entire presentation from Calif. Dept of Ed’s Geoff Belleau and Elizabeth Wisnia. I know how frustrating it can be for teachers to start a lesson, only to find that a website they wanted students to use is now being blocked, sometimes for inappropriate content, but often for student privacy issues – another 21st must-have skill.

Some issues and terminology we all need to be aware of:

  • Phishing and Whaling (slide 8) – “Whaling,” a new term for me, refers to scams that tackle organizations. “Ransomware,” which is usually generated based on click-bait, can quickly set off encryption all your personal data. A good reminder to back up your work!
  • Teens & Social Media report (slide 16) – From Common Sense – If you are looking for resources for a Parent Night, this is a great resource. I like the video because it includes both negatives and positives of social media.
  • Future Ready Schools (slide 18) – Kudos to the California Department of Education for developing the Future Ready Framework, a format for “thinking holistically about the challenges and possibilities of technology in K-12 spaces,” and sparking conversations on ways to enhance and maximize data privacy and technology efforts. I appreciated Geoff’s recommendation to not get overwhelmed by all 7 gears; instead, start off by choosing two gears to focus on. Framework implementation can be done at district and site levels.

Future Ready Schools 7 gears image

  • K-12 Cyber Incident Map (slide 19) – If you haven’t visited  https://k12cybersecure.com/map/, this is a wake up call! The map includes  “D Dos (Denial of Service) attacks” (red pins), which any teen can activate by paying a small fee to a 3rd party that is able to flood a school’s network and shut it down, for instance, so students will not have to take an online test scheduled for their next class period.
  • Think Like A Cat (slide 22) – If you haven’t already seen Common Sense’s excellent videos on student privacy, head back up to slides 36-38. Then check out the Think Like a Cat video, part of a PBS series, that shows how news can be manipulated.
  • Shorty Awards – The Best in Social Justice (slide 44) – Cannot wait to share out about this award, which “honors a program, project, or initiative that seeks to address and dismantle systemic structural and interpersonal inequities based on race, class, gender, sexual orientation, age, ability status and any intersection(s) thereof.” A great tie-in to digital citizenship initiatives!

So glad I attended this session. Teaching students about the importance of protecting their online privacy is one of four themes my district focuses on for our #DigCit program. Love having all these resources in one place.

 

Lunch Break with PORTS – Can’t think of a better way to spend a tech conference lunch break than PORTS booth at Fall CUEwith the California Parks Online Resources for Teachers and Students (PORTS) team. PORTS is  one of my favorite resources for bringing California’s parks into the classroom virtually. Although it’s a little hard to see the screen behind us in this photo, Ranger Ben Fenkell  and I are connecting live with Ranger Parker at La Purísima Mission State Historic Park (near Santa Barbara). This California Mission videoconference is one of the latest offerings in the growing PORTS options for bringing grade-level appropriate history, geography, science, and architecture virtual field trips into your classrooms – for free. And, of course, I have to boast a little that the 3rd grade Gold Rush videoconference on the PORTS landing page features an amazing teacher from my district, Cathe Petuya, and her students.

 

Information Overload: Media Literacy When Fake News Is a Thing – I joined Scott Padley’s session, hoping to take away a few new thoughts and resources on teaching media literacy. And I did. It’s truly a challenge to pack such a dynamic, challenging topic into one hour, but Scott did. His Teaching Truth site and his slideshow, are both treasure troves and include:

  •  MIT’s research on fake news – a fascinating article and video with MIT’s findings that “fake news spreads further, faster than real news.”
  • Ladder of Inference – I had not seen this infographic before. Scott explained how it illustrates the thinking process that we go through, consciously or unconsciously, to move from a fact to a decision or action.

infographic to show progression of ideas that influence us.

  • Search Tips: “It’s all about algorithms which reinforce our biases.” Part of stepping out of our “filter bubbles” is to recognize how our Google search returns are quite possibly reinforcing our biases.

What could be better than attending Scott’s media literacy session? Having Scott join Kelly Mendoza and me for our Sunday morning session. 😊

Sunday Sessions

Adding to the awesomeness of the Fall CUE experience, I had the pleasure of teaming with Common Sense’s Kelly Mendoza for two sessions:

  • Thinking Critically About the (Fake) News – Here’s the link to our digital handout.
  • Can I Use That? Teaching Creative Commons, Copyright & Fair Use to the Remix Generationdigital handout

If you weren’t at Fall CUE, but will be attending Spring CUE in Palm Springs, we’ll be doing both sessions there. Please join us or stop by to say hello.

 

Make Digital Citizenship the Norm…Not the lesson –  Nicole Nadiz’s session title captures my #DigCitCommit for the 2018-19 school year. Nicole’s expertise and resources made for a highly interactive, thought-provoking hour, and some wonderful takeaways:

  • Educating staff has to be part of the process of rolling out digital citizenship.” As co-director of my district’s digital citizenship program, I email and post regular updates to our school site #DigCit coordinators with new resources for them to use with students. With Nicole’s quote in mind, from now on, those emails will include tips and resources for site coordinators to include in staff meetings.
  • Collaboration in Common – I learned about the CiC resource last May while attending Sacramento’s first Media & Information Literacy Summit. With support from California’s Department of Education, CiC “allows teachers to discover and share resources and to connect with educators from across the state in virtual communities focused on the topics that matter most for teaching and learning.” I #DigCitCommit to being a regular visitor and contributor to CiC, and look forward to connecting with and learning from other California educators around media literacy topics.

I recently blogged about Nicole in my “Hacking” the Learning Standards post. Given that she also lives in the Sacramento area and that our paths seem to be crossing on a regular basis, I am fortunate for the face-to-face opportunities to learn from her. The good news is that anyone, anywhere can learn from Nicole by visiting her blog 3 Rs 4 Teachers: Promoting Rich, Relevant and Rigorous Teaching and Learning.

 

Sparknado – Ending my Fall CUE experience with Brandon Schut’s fast-paced, humor-infused session was a good call. Although the digital handout for his session is on a Google Site (one of my favorite tools), the session was all about Adobe Spark, Adobe’s fantastic tool for “transforming your ideas into stunning visual stories.” My big takeaway from this session was an advantage for students of Adobe Spark over Google Sites: the built-in image library includes the Creative Commons citations, which are automatically added when you embed an image. And the citations will also be listed at the bottom of a Spark page.

Images shows credit to the photographer is automatically generated when you embed an image in Adobe Spark.

Although Google Sites are automatically filtered to find images licensed as CC0 or Public Domain, which means attribution to the creator is not required, creators most likely appreciate the recognition – and you eliminate possible copyright questions your readers might have. Although you can track down attribution information on images found in a Google search or insert, having the credits already populated in accordance with Creative Commons’ recommendation for “ideal attribution” is a time saver.

I think Greg Eiler’s Tweet and gif (below) will give you a bit of window into Brandon’s energy and dynamic presenting style.

 

A huge thank you to the CUE staff for putting together an outstanding event. As you can see from my post, the Saturday/Sunday event was well worth the trip to Napa. Thank you also for providing delicious box lunches both days (along with a coffee stand/truck that even sold kombucha). The lunch breaks were a perfect opportunity continue conversations sparked by the Fall CUE 2018 innovative presenters.

Apparently, it’s not to soon to start the countdown to Fall CUE 2019, as the logo is already being widely shared. See you there.

Fall CUE logo

March 30, 2018
by blogwalker
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My Top Takeaways from CUE 2018

CUE 2018 conference image

I can’t think of a better place to be in mid-March than Palm Springs – attending the CUE 2018 National Conference, spending three jam-packed days of connecting, learning, sharing with hundreds of educators from across the nation.

Now the challenge to is condense the experience into a short blog post by focusing on my top takeaways, which I’ve listed below:

Designing for Accessibility with G Suite and Google ChromeAdina Sullivan has curated and shared a wonderful collection of resources. If your district, like mine, has been served with a letter from the Office of Civil Rights regarding the need to make all district websites and online materials accessible to all readers, I recommend you spend some time going through Adina’s slides, starting with the No Coffee app. Given the wide range and degree of visual impairments, this app gives you an idea of what it must be like to have a number of common visual challenges. The YouTube video below is a great introduction to the app:

Through Your Child’s Eyes, another powerful app, offers parents and educators an opportunity to step into a number of learning challenges:

“It’s one thing to read about learning and attention issues. It’s another thing to see them through your child’s eyes. Experience firsthand how frustrating it is when your hand won’t write what your brain is telling it to. Or how hard it is to complete a simple task when you have trouble focusing. Use these unique simulations and videos to better understand your child’s world.”

In addition to apps, extensions, and websites for experiencing and learning about accessibility issues, Adina also includes tips for making your own online creations more accessible to all your students. From using heading levels, to labeling all images via “alt text,” to left alignment instead of justified, Adina’s resources are a treasure trove. Her presentation was also a reminder that those OCR letters are driving much-needed positive changes in the process of making learning more accessible to all students.


Hyperdocs + YouTube – Learning the Art of Creating, Packaging, and Delivering Digital Lessons – If you have not followed Lisa Highfill or attended one of her sessions, you might not know that she is known as the “video whisperer.” Whatever topic you are wanting to introduce to students via a video, Lisa will leave you thinking about how to pair videos with books and lesson components that will spark exploration, inquiry, and creating projects that matter.

Just have to share a few samples from Lisa’s presentation so that you have an idea of the amazing span of videos she curates on her Highfill Crew YouTube channel (and you will want to pour a class of your favorite beverage before you head down this rabbit hole:-):

Lisa is also credited with creating the term hyperdoc. Be sure to checkout the growing bank of hyperdoc lessons. Her tip on ramping up your lessons by including videos: “Find it – Playlist it – Pair it – Package it!”


Thinking Critically About Fake News – Rob Appel’s media literacy session was awesome not only for the thought-provoking questions raised but also for the great conversations shared by participants, starting with the first “turn and talk,” sparked by a quote from the New York Times publisher, A. G. Sulzberger:

“There was a reason freedom of speech and freedom of the press were placed first among our essential rights. Our founders understood that the free exchange of ideas and the ability to hold power to account were prerequisites for a successful democracy.

Misinformation is rising and trust in the media is declining as technology platforms elevate clickbait, rumor and propaganda…jeopardizing even the foundational assumption of common truths, the stuff that binds a society together.”

Rob and I have started collaborating on our media literacy presentations. One switch I will be making to mine is rather than talking about Stanford’s recent study, I’ll play the NPR’s interview with Professor Sam Wineburg.

I’m looking forward to upcoming opportunities to co-present with Rob on this rapidly exploding topic of media literacy!


Much Better Staff and Team MeetingsRushton Hurley has been a long-time, big-time mentor to me on the meaningful integration of technology into classroom practices. What a great session topic because who doesn’t wish for better, shorter staff and team meetings?! These three easy tips could make all the difference in attitudes and making every minute count:

Tip #1: Prep staff for meetings by encouraging everyone to share ahead of time, or anytime, cool things happening at your school. Keep in mind that not every teacher is comfortable broadcasting a great lesson they created and taught – but you can jump in for them and share about their work. Google Forms is a perfect tool for acknowledging and promoting ideas and accomplishments and jump-starting conversations at your next meeting.

Tip #2 – Start with a great video –

“Videos that speak to the heart get people past the little things they sometimes bring to staff meetings.”

Checkout sites like https://amplifiededu.com/video-of-the-week/ or https://www.youtube.com/user/highfillcrew or Rushton’s NextVista for Learning to find videos with an emotional pitch.

Tip #3 – Build an exploratory culture by including time for teachers to delve into new resources and strategies. “Time is a message. How you choose people to use time, sends a message.”

I left Rushton’s session actually looking forward to planning an upcoming staff meeting. 🙂


11 Ways to Add Media Literacy Mojo to Your Classroom – This CUE session was my first time to meet professor and author Julie Smith. And I completely lucked out … I was the first to arrive at her session, so I went up to the podium and introduced myself … and walked away with a complimentary, autographed copy of her book Master the Media. If you wade through her extensive CUE slideshow, I think you too will want a copy of her book. The book is only 160 pages, but includes sets of QR codes to expand your media literacy skills and toolkit.

I agree with fellow participant and sketchnote creator Kristin Welch, Julie’s Media Literacy Mojo was an “eye-opening, engaging session.”

Media Mojo sketchnote created and shared by Kristin Welch


Thank you to these amazing presenters. And thank you to the CUE team for the tremendous effort and commitment you put into making #CUE18 a fantastic experience! I’m already looking forward to #CUE19. Hope to see you there!

 

 

Image of Palm Springs Convention Center -from CUE.org website.

March 23, 2017
by blogwalker
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#CUE17 – A few takeaways

Just returned from CUE 2017, three jam-packed days of sharing, collaborating, learning, rethinking, and celebrating in the beautiful California desert setting of Palm Springs.

CUE 2017 image

For those of you #NotAtCUE17, here are my top takeaways:

Keynote Speakers – Oh my!

Lucky me! I was able to attend all three:

Jo Boaler: The Mindset Revolution – A shout out to CUE for having Dr. Jo Boaler as the kick-off keynote. A visit to her youcubed website will give you an idea of Jo’s commitment to moving students – and teachers – past a “fixed mindset” of “I’m not good at math” to “offering mathematics as a growth subject, filled with opportunities for creativity, discussions, and multiple perspectives.”

I’ve heard the term “growth mindset” before, but hearing Jo Boaler present research-based findings on its importance had me leaving the keynote wanting to learn more. This snippet from her recent Scientific American article, Why Math Doesn’t Add Up in the U.S., will give you a window into her findings:

Brain research has elucidated another practice that keeps many children from succeeding in math. Most mathematics classrooms in the U.S. equate skill with speed, valuing fast recall and testing even the youngest children against the clock. But studies show that kids manipulate math facts in their working memory—an area of the brain that can go off-line when they experience stress. Timed tests impair working memory in students of all backgrounds and achievement levels, and they contribute to math anxiety, especially among girls. By some estimates, as many as a third of all students, starting as young as age five, suffer from math anxiety.”

I recommend spending the next 16 minutes watching CUE Live’s interview with Jo and then head to her youcubed site:

A few quotes from Jo Boaler:

“Let’s get rid of speed math…Speed does not equate to intelligence or better math understanding.”

“Parents should know that nobody is born a math person – and should never give that message to their kids.”

George Couros: The Innovator’s Mindset – If you’re not already following George Couros on Twitter, you should be. As a long-time follower and fan of George Couros, AKA Principal of Change, I already knew his keynote would be a great takeaway (although I didn’t know it would a good idea to have Kleenex available, as he regularly interjected short but powerful, often emotional, video clips to illustrate his points). His  fast-moving, highly engaging keynote included 8 Characteristics of an Innovator’s Mindset, which the wonderful Sylvia Duckworth has put into an infographic:

Inforgraphic from Sylvia Duckworth to show the 8 characteristics of an innovator's mindset.

Moving from a “fixed mindset” to an “innovator’s mindset” requires embracing change, learning from failures, and being OK with the fact that implementing change will probably require all 8 of the above characteristics. So, yes, you may have to explain to colleagues that “if you ask when you’ll find the time, you’re already giving up.”

George also posed a question on school vs. learning, and shared an infographic with common differences between the two:

Infographic by Sylvia Duckworth to illustrate George Couro's school vs. learning.

About those video clips I mentioned that George injected throughout the presentation to bring home every point … he’s posted them to his website. These are gems to include in your growth/innovator’s mindset toolkit.

A few favorite quotes from this inspiring keynote:

“The best person to teach students about space is not you; it’s an astronaut.” – One more argument for opening classroom walls via videoconferencing!

“Social media is like water. You can either let us drown, or teach us to swim.” – Will share this one with district-level administrators.

“We need to make the positive so loud that the negative is hardly heard.” – Don’t shut down learning sites/sources because of misuse by a few students.”

“The biggest game changer in education is not the technology; it’s the teacher.” – Will remind curriculum adoption folks about this sometimes forgotten fact.

Cathy Hunt: The Art and Soul of Education – How fun to end the #CUE17 Conference with a  national (Australian) and international award-winning (tons!) art instructor. Don’t think you can do art? Head to Cathy Hunt’s website and get ready for another “growth mindset.”

Photo from @susiew

Loved the lessons she demoed, especially Picasso’s Portrait pieces, which starts with students taking selfies (which we all know students love to do) and then layering pieces of a Picasso painting over their selfies (which definitely qualifies as transformative use if you are wondering/worrying about fair use issues).

My favorite quotes from Cathy Hunt:

 “If you want to increase divergent thinking in your classroom, make some art.”

 “To make, to create is to be fully human.”


Some Great Session Takeaways

Mark Ray: Future Ready Is Greater Than Digital – Scroll through Mark Ray’s presentation and you’ll be ready to start the Future Ready conversations at your site/district on Monday. In addition to serving as Director of Innovation and Library Services for the Vancouver (Washington) School District, Mark is also working for the Alliance for Excellent Education in Washington, D.C., with a focus on the Future Ready Librarians initiative, part of  “a national effort to connect school libraries and librarians to innovative instructional practices.” The graphic below includes the eight categories/gears of the Future Ready Framework through a librarian’s lens.

image for future-ready librarians

Knowing from a first-hand perspective the vital role librarians play at their school sites, I love that the Future Ready initiative is tapping into their expertise.

Mark introduced four important shifts required to truly be future ready:

  1. Ownership – from teacher to student. Students need to have personalized learning paths.
  2. Consumer to Creator – In the old days, somebody else wrote the textbook. Today students and teachers should be designing and creating products.
  3. Local to global – Students need authentic opportunities to connect with other students, even if it’s just the school down the road.
  4. Shift from fixed to mobile – Let’s recognize that students carry learning opportunities in their pockets.

Mark’s tip for making the shift happen: Start by putting together a Future Ready Admin team.

Mark Archon: Student Data Privacy – What You Don’t Know Might Hurt You – If you are a teacher who is frustrated by (the many) websites your district blocks, read through Mark Archon’s presentation and you will have a window into your tech administrator’s world. If you are an administrator wishing you had a presentation at your fingertips to explain student data privacy concerns and laws to teachers, Mark Archon just gave you a timely gift.

Since the passage of California’s AB 1584, a bit of my day (as a technology integration specialist) typically goes to tracking down vendors to have them sign my district’s legal document before I can approve software purchase requests. So I was very excited to learn that CETPA, in collaboration with the Ventura County Office of Education, is going to make the software approval process much easier by compiling a listing of AB 1584 compliant software on their Student Data Privacy Alliance page. Yay! 

CETPA, the law offices of Fagen Friedman & Fulfrost, and Common Sense Media have collaborated on a short video, Ask Before You App, to give you a few tips on how to responsibly evaluate and use educational apps.

My favorite quote from Mark’s session comes from the Future of Privacy Forum:

Anyone who handles data should know how to protect that data. Human error is a factor in 95% of data security incidents.” 

I also liked his much needed reminder that, in terms of online programs:

Nothing is free. The currency is you.”

Mark Ray: Compliance to Self-Reliance –  Rebooting Digital Citizenship – Mark jumped right into the topic by asking: “Are you and I hypocrites when it comes to digital citizenship and digital behavior?” He followed up his question with a link to a self-assessment quiz. I do a lot of digital citizenship workshops, which from now on will start with “an adult digital user quiz.” As Mark’s session made clear: How can we teach digital citizenship if we don’t model it ourselves?

slide from Mark Ray's Rebooting Digital Citizenship #cue17 presentation

 

Sabrina Goldstein, Sam Castellano, Darlene Moreno: Crack the Code: Connect Scratch to Your Language Arts Classroom – This talented team of elementary teachers did a great job of introducing MIT’s Scratch program, sharing compelling examples of student work, and bringing the audience on board by having them create their own Scratch animations. I also learned a new term: “kinetic storytelling,” which is storytelling that incorporates timing, color, location, transitions, and font. This short video will show you what kinetic storytelling looks like:

For our elementary students, Scratch offers multiple ways, for instance, for students “to demonstrate knowledge of figurative language and promote creativity and critical thinking skills through the use of backgrounds and coding commands.”  Check out this elementary sample on figurative language to get you thinking about how Scratch can take language arts lessons to new levels.

Gail Desler and Jane Lofton: Can I Use That? Exploring Copyright, Fair Use, and Creative Commons – This is the third time I’ve had the privilege of co-presenting with Jane Lofton.

Photo of Jane Lofton and Gail Desler just getting started on their CUE17 presentation.

We were fortunate to have a wonderful group of teachers joining us early Saturday morning for this session, many who remained afterwards to ask questions sparked by the presentation. If you were #NotAtCUE17 or not in our session, here’s a link to our digital handout: bit.ly/UnlockMediaLiteracy. And if you’re looking for a hyperdoc lesson on copyright, fair use, and Creative Commons to use on Monday, here it is:

With over 6,000 educators in attendance, it is hard to imagine the amount of planning that must go into a CUE Conference. I’d like to thank the ever-amazing Mike Lawrence and his incredible team for three-days worth of inspiring/energizing “future ready” learning experiences, perspectives, tips, resources, and conversations.

I’m already looking forward to #CUE18.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

February 13, 2017
by blogwalker
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Teaching about Intellectual Property – #HyperDoc style

I love the many ways teachers in my district – and probably your district too – are guiding student-centered conversations  about building positive digital footprints, protecting online privacy, and confronting cyberbullying. A shout out to Common Sense Media, iKeepSafe, and Netsmartz for the wealth of free resources and lessons you provide to schools on these key digital citizenship topics.

There is a fourth digital citizenship topic that many teachers are increasingly recognizing the need to address: intellectual property. By 5th grade, most students have been warned about the consequences of plagiarism, a conversation that is typically repeated throughout their middle and high school days. While plagiarism is certainly an important topic, in a digital age, copyright,  fair use, and Creative Commons also need to be included in the conversations.  Given how easy it has become to download, copy, remix, and upload online content, students need to have an understanding of both their intellectual property rights and responsibilities.

Elk Grove USD’s 4 digital citizenship themes – BY NC SA

As a co-director of my district’s Digital Citizenship initiative and co-curator of the Digital ID project, I am always seeking teacher-friendly/student-friendly resources on intellectual property. I also facilitate district-wide and national workshops ( e.g., CUE and ISTE) to help teachers understand that copyright is different from plagiarism and that fair use and Creative Commons are also options for our students.

Digital ID Project’s 4 digital citizenship foci – BY NC SA

Based on questions from workshop participants, two years ago I created Can I Use That? A Guide for Teaching about Creative Commons. I always review the guide prior to a workshop to check if I need to update any information or add new resources.  This year, in preparation for the March CUE Conference, I’m adding a #HyperDocs* lesson that invites students to delve into copyright, flex their fair use muscles, and license their own creations via Creative Commons. So here it is: Can I Use That? Exploring Copyright, Fair Use, and Creative Commons.

Hope you can join me and the fabulous Jane Lofton for our CUE Can I Use That? session (Saturday, 8:00)! If you have questions about the lesson or suggestions for updates to the Guide, please respond with a comment or contact me @GailDesler.

*#HperDocs is a term invented by @LHighfill.

image for Saturday Seminar 2017 flyer

February 1, 2017
by blogwalker
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How to Bring Teachers in Your District on Board with Technology

I’m very grateful for the opportunities I’ve had over the years to attend and present at educational technology conferences hosted by outstanding organizations such as ISTECUE, Google’s EdTechTeam, National Writing Project, and NCTE. Being able to attend keynotes and sessions by nationally known educational visionaries, such as Will Richardson or Kylene Beers or Rushton Hurley, provides sufficient inspiration and innovative ideas to energize my teaching throughout the school year.

When I attend conferences outside of the Sacramento region or outside of California, I’m also aware that very few teachers from my district have been able to find the funding to cover registration and travel costs. Many are just dipping their toes into the technology integration waters and are not yet ready to submit a workshop proposal, for instance, which might entitle them to attend a conference with registration fees waved (a benefit I frequently take advantage of). And those who do attend some of the two-day, three-day, or four-day conferences often share with me that they ended their conference experience a bit overwhelmed by all the mind-blowing tips and tricks from the many technology rock star presenters.

I love what my district is doing to bring teachers on board with technology integration. Last Saturday, we hosted our 2nd annual Digital Kids, Digital Classrooms Saturday Seminar at one of our high schools. For a mere $20 (which covered breakfast and lunch costs – and was waived if you volunteered to present), teachers could begin the morning with an amazing keynote from nationally/internationally known technology innovator and #HyperDocs queen Lisa Highfill. Following the keynote, our teachers could then select four 1-hour, hands-on sessions to attend.

Photo of Lisa Highfill presenting at Elk Grove USD's Digital Kids, Digital Classrooms Saturday Seminar

The ever-inspiring Lisa Highfill rocks the Digital Kids, Digital Classrooms house!

To give you an idea of the wonderful variety and range of topics, here are a few session descriptions:

  • Teaching in a [Semi]Paperless Google Classroom – Teachers of all grade levels can learn tips and tricks to setting up their Google Classroom and implementing assignments.  Basic knowledge of Google Drive very helpful, but not required. I will show you what it looks like from teacher view and student view.
  • e-Portfolios for PRIMARY Students – Start an amazing journey to meet CCSS with authentic assessment using 21st century tools. Come learn how to create digital portfolios of student work to provide them with important opportunities to reflect on, curate, and showcase their learning beyond the classroom walls. Engage easily with parents and connect them to the heart and soul of your classroom.  It’s EASY, versatile, and accessible from ANY device. You’ll love it!
  • Extension Must-Haves for TeachersChrome extensions can make you a millionaire! Okay, so not really, but they can help you and your students be more productive and isn’t that more important than money? Come learn how to install and use the top must-have extensions you need now.
  • NASA & Project Spectra – Come learn about various tools you can use to teach astronomy & magnetism, grades 6-12.  Get hands on practice with interactive games, find resources that augment your regular class materials and try your hand at mapping magnetism on another planet. “Project Spectra!” is a science and engineering program for 6th – 12th grade students, focusing on how light is used to explore the Solar System. “Project Spectra!” emphasizes hands-on activities, like building a spectrograph, as well as the use of real data to solve scientific questions.

I believe what makes our Digital Kids, Digital Classrooms Saturday Seminars so immediately relevant to attending teachers is that, other than our keynote speakers, every presenter is a district teacher. Across grade levels and curriculum, our presenters share best practices that work with our students – students who the attendees may have taught in the past or may be teaching in the coming years. Add to that motivating factor the fact that all presenters are easily accessible for an on-site visit or via district email, I know many attendees left ready to implement on Monday new ideas, strategies, and tools.

photos of teachers attending session to learn about Twitter

Awesome group of Elk Grove USD teachers delving into the power of Twitter.

It was my privilege to co-present Extending Student Voices Through Videoconferencing with Erica Swift and Twitter: What’s all the fuss about?! with Cathe Petuya. Already several teachers have contacted me with questions and ideas for weaving videoconferencing into their curriculum and others (via Twitter) to express their awe at the power of Twitter.

Given the manageable scope – and reasonable expense – of organizing and hosting a district-centered Saturday technology conference, I highly recommend this concept as an effective way to encourage technology “newbies” to explore how different tools offer new possibilities for teaching. I’m pretty sure the “newbies” who attended our Saturday Seminar are now ready to head off to CUE, ISTE, and other popular technology conferences – minus the intimidation factor. And based on the above session descriptions, I will be encouraging ALL of our presenters to start submitting proposals – beyond our 2018 Digital Kids, Digital Classrooms event.

If you are already sponsoring district-based/centered technology conferences, I would love to hear any suggestions or answer any questions!

 

 

Photo of Gail Desler at Sacramento Women's March

January 22, 2017
by blogwalker
1 Comment

Two Reasons Why January 21 Was a Great Day

I loved Saturday, January 21, 2017! Thanks to two events in the Sacramento region, I think I’ve stepped out of my post-election slump.

Event #1: EdCamp121 – Thank you CapCUE and Folsom High School for hosting Saturday’s EdCamp.

logo for EdCamp Folsom

From the moment I entered the multipurpose room, I could feel the combined energy of the awesome CapCUE team and the group of attending educators from across the Sacramento region, all looking forward to a day of sharing and learning about ways to enhance student learning and engagement through technology and best practices.

So if the EdCamp concept is new to you, here’s how it works:

  1. Participants start the morning by jotting down whatever they would like to learn about on a post-it note and then posting their notes on a wall.
  2. The CapCUE team then sorts through the post-its and assigns the most requested topics to  designated classrooms.
  3. The day’s program is then shared on a Google Doc. Here’s a link to Saturday’s EdCamp program.
  4. Participants head off to whatever sessions best suit their interests. Although there will be a room facilitator, there is not a main presenter. All are invited to share their knowledge and/or ask questions about the topic or tool.

EdCamp Session 1 – I joined a group of teachers interested in discussing ways to use blogging and podcasting to promote student voice. Typical of EdCamp sessions, our group consisted of several teachers already very proficient with and excited about blogging tools, a number who had just started dabbling with blogs, and several who had not yet started their blogging journeys. All were also interested in learning more about podcasting with students.

As a long-time blogger, I really enjoyed being part of this conversation and was able to share a few resources on the Padlet site (which the CapCUE team had set up for each session as an easy way for participants to share resources).

As for the podcasting component, although I’m familiar with several audio recording and editing tools, such as Audacity, I haven’t used any of the growing number of programs/apps you can download to your phone. We were lucky to have Ryan O’Donnell join the session. Ryan and the equally awesome Brian Briggs produce the Check This Out with Ryan and Brian podcasts. Here are some of Ryan’s recommendations for podcasting apps:

  • Audacity – Like me, Ryan is also a big fan of Audacity, which allows you to easily edit your audio recording, add music, fade in/out, and then export and upload. Audacity is free and works across platforms. However, since you have to download the program, it’s not a good solution if your students are using Chromebooks.
  • Spreaker – Has a “freemium” option.
  • audioBoom – Here’s a review of audioBoom from Common Sense Media.
  • Soundtrap – An easy way to create podcasts with accompaning music.
  • TwistedWave – Will work on an iPad.
  • Podomatic – Once you’ve created your podcast, you’ll need an online hosting service. Ryan recommends Podomatic. When you’re set up and have created a “show,” Podomatic will send you a .xml file, which allows you to tell iTunes each time you have a new podcast. 

Blogging and podcasting … oh the possibilities!

EdCamp Session 2 – I joined the Virtual Reality group. With the dynamic duo of Brian Briggs and Ryan O’Donnell as room facilitators, this session was mind-blowing! Be sure to visit the session Padlet to learn about the apps that were shared.

Brian Briggs and Ryan O'Donnell having fun to virtual reality camera

I started dabbling a bit with virtual reality (VR) at the previous weekend’s EdTechTeam Summit by attending Jim Sill’s session on Google Cardboard Expeditions. So I was excited to learn about even more VR options. My plan is to little by little explore each of the sites and resources posted to the session Padlet. But, really, if I never venture further than Expeditions, I could already open the walls of the classroom exponentially.

A few months ago, Larry Ferlazzo asked me to contribute to an EdWeek article on how to prepare students for field trips. I recommended that teachers incorporate videoconferencing in preparation for, or as follow up to, or even (due to school budget constraints) instead of a real time field trip. From the California State Parks PORTS program to NASA’s videoconferencing options, students can easily take virtual field trips to national and even international sites. No more permission slips, paying for transportation, hoping it won’t rain, etc.

But if I could rewrite my article for Larry, I would be adding VR as a powerful follow-up to videoconferencing.  I’ve been thinking about a teacher in my district who recently took his 5th graders on a virtual visit to Yosemite through a videoconference with our National Parks. The videoconference was an extension to a story the students had read about John Muir and Teddy Roosevelt. I think a teacher-led Google Expedition of Yosemite would be one more powerful way technology can open the walls of the classroom (especially in our Title 1 schools).

Thank you again, EdCamp Team, for an engaging, energizing morning. I apologize for not being able to stay for the afternoon – especially since you included a delicious lunch from Olive Garden as part of this FREE event – but I needed to get to downtown Sacramento for the 2nd event of my unforgettable Saturday ….


Event #2 – Sacramento #WomensMarch
– It will be a long time to come before I forget Sacramento’s #WomensMarch. To join 20,000 other marchers for this uplifting, unifying, inspiring event filled me with hope and a renewed commitment to hold our nation’s leaders accountable for their words and actions.

photo of Sacramento's January 21 Women's March

#WomensMarch Sacramento – hundreds in front of me; thousands behind me – coming together as an empowered community

Start to finish, I am grateful for every minute of January 21 and appreciate all who added to the day’s events in so many ways. It’s a substantial list of shared ideas, innovative thinking, and hopes and dreams for the future of our schools, communities, and nation.

November 5, 2015
by blogwalker
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Fall Cue 2015 – Some awesome takeaways

Fall CUE 2015

Loved the energy, innovation, and conversations shared at last week’s Fall CUE Conference. Definitely two jam-packed days! Below are some of my takeaways:

Writing in the ShedLisa Nowakowski shared a wonderful resource for English Language Development (ELD) students: The Literacy Shed, a collection of short video animations with no narration. Lisa has her students collaborate on developing a storyboard for what they think would be a logical dialogue. To narrate the videos, students use the record option available through SnagIt. What a great (and free) strategy to motivate students to put their language skills into practice!

Teaching with YouTube – I first heard Lisa Highfill speak at the 2012 Google Teacher Academy (Mountain View, Calif), where she inspired all present with her integration of R.J. Palacio’s novel Wonder into her elementary classroom. I’m pretty sure all who attended her packed Fall CUE session left equally inspired with Lisa’s approach to YouTube video in the classroom: Find It, Playlist It, Pair It, Package It. Such a fabulous listing of videos to get students moving, thinking, doing! EX: Try pairing Daniel Cui, a soccer video, with a KQED DoNow question, What can you do to be a change maker? 

Key Principles for Digital Tools for EL Instruction: I regret that I arrived late to Martin Cisneros’ session (got caught up in conversations out in the quad). His knowledge and passion for teaching ELs left me wanting to delve deeper into the topic, starting with California’s ELD Standards (which do not replace the California Common Core Standards, but help with with meeting them).

So how can technology help ELs gain proficiency in English?

  • Social media provides opportunities to practice literacy skills.
  • Google Translate is a great starting point for teachers to make connections with their EL students.
  • Blabberize makes it easy for students to practice their speaking skills. It’s way less intimidating to have a character speak for you.
  • Padlet allows for voice recording
  • Screencasting with tools like SnagIt or Screencastify
  • Blogging!
  • Need instant curriculum for your ELs? Head to Pinterest!

From Blog to Book: Rescuing the Writing Process’s Neglected Step, Publication – As a long-time blogger and supporter of student blogging, I was thrilled to see this session listed in the program. David Theriault and Sean Ziebarth are awesome presenters and an awesome team.

In one very fun, fast-paced hour, they’ve inspired me to ramp up my district blogging workshops. Somehow, with all the focus on all things Google, I haven’t really been promoting blogging. Yet in all my Google workshops, I tend to start with the SAMR model as way to generate conversations on taking technology integration beyond “substitution” and “modification.” Blogging is often the tool that takes a project up the SAMR ladder to “redefinition” by providing students with a platform for publishing – to an authentic audience.

The gap I need to help bridge is helping teachers move from blogs (noun) as a website for simply posting assignments to blogging (verb) as a shared conversation and step into publishing. I know in my upcoming blogging workshops, I’ll be referencing David’s post Shop Talk: The Nuts and Bolts of Student Blogging.

The Life Aquatic: This is Adventure – Closing Keynote

It’s rare that I stay all the way through at a two-day conference to the closing keynote (I’ve usually reached the saturation point by 3:00), but I’m glad I made the exception to hear David Theriault’s keynote.  I’m hoping CUE will post a link soon to the recording of his keynote as the slideshow below is not narrated. If you read the keynote description and then go through the slideshow, I think you’ll have an idea of how intriguing, fun, and thought-provoking David’s delivery and content both are.

The Life Aquatic: This is Adventure

Nobody knows what’s going to happen. And then we “try it, share it, and reflect on it.” That’s the whole concept. -Steve Zissou

The stories that define us, that we share with others, are built of memorable moments. Create
meaningful, memorable moments for your learners, and the world by stepping off the yellow brick road and diving into the deep sea of pedagogy. Steven Zissou, Harry Potter, Kenny Shopsin, Frederic Friedel, and Lynda Barry are just a few of the deep sea creatures we will meet on this adventure.

Bring your wetsuit and diving equipment, no one is staying on the boat in this keynote.

And one more great Fall CUE “session” – dinner at the Dead Fish Restaurant (just across the Benicia Bridge in Crockett) with Cathe Petuya, Mary Barelson, and Barbara Bray.

Embedded image permalink

March 30, 2015
by blogwalker
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CUE 2015 Take-Aways

Just returned from three fabulous days at CUE 2015. It was definitely worth the 10-hour drive (each way). Many thanks to Mike Lawrence and the CUE team for a well-organized, exciting event, start to finish. Below are a few of my take-aways.

Thursday

 

  • Common Core = Technology Integration – I was only able to attend the tail end of Jeremy Davis’s session. His workshop description sums the importance of meaningful technology integration for the elementary schools:

Gone are the days of teaching a “technology lesson” a few times a year, as the Common Core State Standards have technology integration and digital literacy skills embedded in standards starting in Kindergarten. Come dig into the standards and discuss the need for cultural change towards technology integration into all curriculum areas.”

Big take-away: I love how the Capistrano School District (Jeremy’s district) has built on and tweaked Long Beach’s CCSS K12 Technology Scope & Sequence Plan, starting with the title: (Draft) Digital Literacy in the K-12 Classroom. I agree with their statement that “This document provides a roadmap for teachers and administrators to adapt curriculum to ensure that students are building digital literacy competency as well as technological skills for college and career readiness and online assessment” and I applaud their K-12 vision (as opposed to separating elementary from secondary).

 

 

  • Teaching above the Line – OK, I didn’t actually make it to Pablo Diaz, Ann Kozma, and Holly Steele’s SAMR session, but, oh my, what a great resource their slideshow is. Thanks for sharing! Like Gene and Karen’s session (above), this team makes visible what “giving students a chance to develop their own voice and purpose in learning through SAMR” looks like.

 

 Friday

  • Jennie Magiera’s bring-down-the-house keynote – Wow! What an amazing kick-off to Friday morning’s events! I was fortunate to be in Jennie Magiera’s group during my 2012 Google Teacher Academy experience, so I already knew her keynote would be like no other. And, yes, that is California Superintendent of Ed Tom Torlakson dancing out in the audience.

 

  • Google Certified Teacher’s Panel – A great session that definitely lived up to its description: “The latest and greatest tips, tricks and tools for Google Apps, and other Googly things.” Loved the energy and the excellent tutorials each of the presenter provided. I think you’ll want to checkout all 9 presenters. Biggest take-away for me would probably = Alice Chen’s Choose Your Own Adventure template for Google Slides, with the sample of introducing class rules via interactive slides, as opposed to teacher going over the rules.

Saturday

#PopBOMB – Creating 7 second videos that can change the world – Sorry that Matt did not include a link to his presentation. It was awesome. I heard Matt speak three years ago at Fall CUE and have ever since been a huge fan all of the options KQED offers teachers and students – starting with DoNow.

Matt explained “#PopBomb” as “infiltrating stoical  media conversation with short, visual, satirical arguments.” He demoed how 3 apps – Twitter, Meme Generator, and Vine – can be used to build “#PopBombs.” His samples of parody and satire wonderful (and great example of arguments for “fair use.”):

  • SNL’s Mister Robinson’s Neighborhood – 10 years ago, this SNL series was a great sample of many to  many model – incredible democratization of media (participatory culture alaHenry Jenkins). But you needed some media background and skills create these.
  • Vader Sessions – Darth having nervous breakdown?!

The tools for digitizing mashups are now readily available to all of us: democratization is powerful!

Big take-away = Using Vine to create 7-second video that you can start and stop to make multiple cuts. Checkout the powerful juxtaposition of sweatshops and fashion juxtaposition in Matt’sine 7-second remix.

 

Be a Graphic Artist without Going to Art School –  Nick Cusumano’s was my last session for #CUE15. I attended because I wanted to explore Canva, a great resource for adding a graphic wow factor to your presentations. In a nutshell:

  • Register as an educator. If there’s a $ sign, you only pay when you print – It’s the pic that might have the fee, not the template. So you can upload your own images – which you can then download for free. You have 24 hours to use download – or you pay again.
  • Great for infographics – many freebies
  • You can share for collaboration
  • Try combining Canva + LucidPress for brochures. LucidPress for K12 and higher ed = free.

A few more take-aways:

  • Google Cultural Institute – Historic Moments – Google gives you a template to use. You can upload your own.
  • PicMonkey – Cool effects to add to images. Now a Google AddOn
  • photofunia.com – Just plain fun. Upload a principal’s photo, for instance, and convert it to a historical figure.

Again, a huge shoutout to Mike Lawrence and to all the great #CUE15 presenters for three amazing conference days!

November 16, 2014
by blogwalker
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Fall CUE Take Away

fallcue

I had a great time at the 2014 Fall CUE Conference. In two jam-packed days, I attended some wonderful workshops, with Will Kimbley’s Google Forms workshop, Gene Tognetti and Karen Larson’s Discovering Student Voice with Chromebooks,  and Trevor Mattea’s Intro to Google session at the top of my conference take-aways list.

Two hours with Will flew by! Wish this engaging session had been recorded. I’ll definitely spend some follow-up time touring his website resources.

One of the challenges I face in my district job is bringing teachers on board with Chromebooks in a one-hour workshop. Gene and Karen nailed it with their Discovering Student Voice Through Chromebooks session! The trick is to select up to four awesome apps to showcase – and then build in 5 – 10 minutes for participants to play with each one. Check out their session slideshow to see how smoothly they introduced Powtoon, Little Bird Tales, Lucid Press, and Google Slides.

From Trevor, I am still in awe of such a simple yet powerful tip: Have elementary students share their Google Docs projects with classroom parents. What an incredible idea for providing students with feedback and, at the same time, providing working parents who would like to help in the classroom with a virtual way to do just that.

Next week, I’ll be sharing Trevor’s tip with an amazing group of elementary teachers in my district who are part of an action research project with Chromebooks and Google Apps. Can’t wait to see how parent volunteers working within Google Docs impacts student writing and communication skills.

March 24, 2013
by blogwalker
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CUE 2013 – Day 2 Take-Aways

Continuing on with my reflections from the fabulous 2013 CUE Conference, here are my take-aways from:

Friday, Day 2:

Opening Keynote with Sir Ken Robinson – I’ve been a long-time  fan of Sir Ken, starting with his first TED Talk and his Changing Education Paradigms animation. It was great to  hear him in person and be reminded that:

“Every single one of the 100 billion lives who have walked the face of this earth is unique and unrepeatable…To be born at all is a miracle, so what are you going to do with your life?”

“We have to get away from standardizing to personalizing – in ways that celebrate diversity. Technology drives this revolution.

“Educating is not a process of directing instruction, but to inspire, to feed curiosity, to facilitate. If we aren’t facilitating learning, then education is not happening.”

Session 5 – Elementary Flipped Teaching – Using the Cycle of Learning to Innovate CCSS Instruction – For a window into Lisa Highfill’s innovative teaching, start with a visit to her website. Lisa asks both in her teaching and in her session “What is it I can do now (with new technologies) that I couldn’t do before?”  The video below illustrates her  “explore, explain (flip), apply” cycle for delivering curriculum:

 

Session 6Get slammed With Google – Loved the energy in this session! Definitely click on the link to see for yourself how Mark Hammons, Diane Main, Jen Roberts, Bill Selek (no live links yet), Scott Kley Contini, Joe Wood, Megan Ellis rocked the audience with their Google tips and tricks (AKA slams)!

During my whirlwind 2 days at December’s Google Teacher Academy, Mark’s Google News Archive Search was my favorite “slam.” Judging from the post-CUE 2013 conversations on my flight home from Palm Springs, Mark once again wowed an audience. Grand Slam!

Megan Ellis (a MERIT 11 colleague) shared a simple but very important Google tool: custom Google search engines. For educators  like me, who teach tough topics, such as the Holocaust, Megan’s How To Tutorial is a gem, simply explaining how to create, for example, a Researching the Holocaust search engine with middle-school appropriate links.

But seriously, you will want to check out each Google Slam demo!

Session 7 – Visual Storytelling, Digital Storytelling, Cinematic Narrative: Literacy Across the Curriculum – Because it is so easy to get sidetracked in great hallway conversations at CUE, I arrived half way into Ken Shelton’s dynamic session, something I immediately regretted. Ken laid out the key elements of digital storytelling:

  • understanding of topic
  • content curation – simply grabbing a bunch of pictures is not going to to do it – 7 image limit. If you can’t find images that work, create your own
  • media literacy – what is the value of an image? How about music? Does if fit the narration?
  • develop a storyboard  – Great motivational stratgy that Ken uses with his students (in case they’re tempted to gloss over this important pre-producation step): switch storyboards & threaten to grade group on another groups completion of the project
  • production
  • reflection – what did you learn? what would you change?

What’s missing from my session summary are the powerful images and and stunning videos he used to illustrate each key element.  For example, to show the difference between “digital storytelling” and “cinematic narrative,” he shared this BMX video and this stunning Inspired Bycycles video.

If you missed Ken’s #cue13 session, but will be attending ISTE 2013, I’ll see you in his Making Movies with the iPad, iPhoneography, and Photoshop Basics session. I plan to arrive early!

Session 8Explore, Flip, Apply: Empowering the Learning Cycle Through Technology – Although I caught only the tail end of Ramsey Musallam’s session (once again caught up in great #cue13 hallway conversations), having heard him present before (MERIT 11, CVCUE Fall 12), I wanted to end Day 2 with his winning style of brilliant + hilarious. I wasn’t disappointed.

Explore-Flip-Apply model

I think many teachers are put off by the idea of “flipping” instruction because they are concerned about putting hours and hours of time into creating instructional videos that students will be required to watch for homework, another form of lecture-based instruction, often limited to lower-order thinking. Ramsey’s approach to flipped instruction definitely taps into Bloom’s  higher order thinking skills (applying, analyzing, evaluating, and creating).

Using the Explore-Flip-Apply model, Ramsey has his AP Chemistry students explore a concept first.  Then the “flip” comes in. Rather than introducing a concept with a video, he jumps in on the spot and creates “short, tailored video designed to address misconceptions and assimilation errors that arose during student exploration.” Rather than spending hours creating detailed screencasts, the “technology became a slave to the pedagogy, rather than vice versa, and the videos became, if you will, ‘inquiry spackle'” (quote from OnCUE, Spring 2013, Vol 35, No. 1).  For tons more resources, strategies, and samples, visit Ramsey’s personal website and Cycle of Learning.

Be back soon with Day 3 Take-Aways.

 

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