Like so many California residents, it feels like my life is a bit on hold as I watch news updates on the spread of the Corona Virus.
Until last week, much of my March calendar involved travel, starting with a flight to Monterey for the 2020 CENIC Conference, then on to Palm Springs for the CUE Conference, and ending the month with a weekend flights to visit my daughter in Seattle and my son in Dallas.
On Thursday, CENIC sent out an email to all who had registered for the conference: Conference Cancelled Due to Covid-19 Corona Virus.
My initial reaction was disappointment, as my colleague Cathe Petuya and I had been looking forward to attending and to also presenting our session on Bringing the State Parks into the Classroom. But in reading through the email, we agreed with CENIC’s justification:
“The price of over-reacting is disappointment; that of under-reacting, potentially catastrophic — to individuals in our community (and their families), to our staff, and to the organization.”
We were also relieved to receive United Airlines’ notification that due to Corona Virus concerns, they would not be charging the $200 cancellation fee.
Yesterday, my district superintendent made what was clearly a difficult decision: To close schools and cancel student-related activities effective March 7 to March 13, 2020:
My daughter just called and recommended cancelling my flight/visit to Seattle and rescheduling for April, when we have a better sense of the actual risks to those over 60.
Looks like the CUE Conference is still on. It’s hard to imagine March without a trip to Palm Springs. I love this conference and have been blogging about it since 2008 through last year’s CUE 2019 Conference. Twelve years later, I always know I can count on inspiring speakers, connecting with colleagues (new and old), and leaving with innovative ideas and thought-provoking conversations to be continued over the next school year.
…but maybe Cathe and I should cancel our flights to Palm Springs and instead make the long drive (about 500 miles each way) … just because sometimes “over-reacting is a better choice than under-reacting.”
This year’s Fall CUE Conference was held at Cordova High School, an 18-minute drive from my home (in Folsom, Calif.). Nice!
Catlin Tucker gave the opening keynote. Thank you to the CUE team for recording and posting her talk. So many great time-saving tips and strategies for teachers, designed to put students in the driver’s seat.
Micro + Macro Writing: HyperDoc Lessons that Matter for Today’s Writer – Sarah Landis: This was my first time to meet Sarah Landis. Knowing that Sarah is one of the “hyperdocs girls,” I already knew her session would be a treat. I’ve also known, through my own teaching experiences, the power of limiting students to a set number of words or syllables. From 6-word memoirs, which Sarah had us delve into, to haiku, the format limitations seem to spark unlimited searches for just the right word – often pushing students to write beyond the school day – to write when they don’t have to write.
Brenda Gillies – Brenda introduce us to Thrively, which looks like a great tool for surveying students to identify their interests. Tip: If you do the assessment at the beginning of the year, you will have an invaluable tool for helping students see the positives in their fellow classmates and to also analyze strengths/weaknesses of their own work groups.
Adina Sullivan – Adina never ceases to inspire me with powerful resources for important topics (accessibility, digital tattoo, and more). Her #FallCUE19 gems:
http://Fontpair.co – Tip: Have students look at a whole block of text to judge the readability. Be sure to checkout Fontpair’s 10 Tips.
http://emojicopy.com – Tip: You can paste emojis in as text to help students easily find things. Works great in Google Classroom.
Jen Roberts – Group Creator – Jen created this fantastic spreadsheet, which allows you to create non-random/deliberate groups. Tip: Use for student collaboration groups. Display groups on board for students to see as they walk in.
Kevin Fairchild – Accessibility in G Suite – Tip: I knew about using live captions via YouTube captions, as you can see in Catlin’s keynote, but I didn’t know you can now move the captions bar to the top of the video.
Roger Wagner – Roger recommended exploring three programs to build students’ coding skills:
Arduino – “Arduino is an open-source electronics platform based on easy-to-use hardware and software. It’s intended for anyone making interactive projects.”
Make Code – “MakeCode brings computer science to life for all students with fun projects, immediate results, and both block and text editors for learners at different levels.”
WorkBench – “Using the Spark Fun Inventor’s Kit, students will learn the basics of programming in Arduino, how circuits work, how to create outputs and read inputs.”Integrates with Google Classroom.
Podcasting 101 – I’ve been a long-time fan of Brian Briggs and Ryan O’Donnell. Love the many ways this dynamic duo infuses humor and practical tips into powerful tech integration. I could only stay for the first half of their workshop, so I’m looking forward to exploring their slides and playing with the Anchor app (now downloaded on my phone). In my district, elementary teachers are looking for meaningful ways to structure (and assess) speaking and listening activities. Podcasting meets – and exceeds – that requirement, with so many options for taking student voice beyond the walls of the classroom.
I’m hoping CUE will post Ed Campos Jr’s closing keynote. This 3-minute snippet gives a peek into his warm, embracing, hilarious style. Equity, empathy, and the “Pedagogy of Poverty,” were infused throughout – with a call to “release the learning and the writing to the kids.”
The biggest challenge in attending a CUE Conference is to decide which sessions to attend. The good news is that many of the Fall CUE presenters often present at the Annual Spring CUE Conference in Palm Springs. Starting the countdown till March.
Question: What’s worth a 1,000-mile round-trip drive?
Answer: The opportunity to attend the #CUE19 Spring Conference, well worth every hour (9 each way) from Folsom to Palm Springs and back!
This year marks my 10th year to attend CUE. Every year offers new opportunities for learning about powerful strategies and tools for extending teaching and learning. With hundreds of sessions to choose from, it’s always a challenge to narrow it down to a single one per time slot. Below are a few of my #CUE19 takeaways.
In the past, Thursday has always been a full day of workshops and sessions, with Saturday being a half day. This year, the CUE team reversed the schedule, offering two sessions, starting 3:00 pm.
Session 1: How to Google Like a Pro – An Wren and Corey Mathias
I enjoyed An and Corey’s media literacy approach to helping students become more effective with their online searches. If you scroll through their slideshow, you will find a number of helpful tips and resources, such as Catlyn Tucker’s Got Credibility spreadsheet and an excellent list of Chrome extensions. My favorite is Wakelet, “a free platform that allows you to curate and organize content to save and share.” I’ve been meaning to explore Wakelet ever since my friend/CUE co-presenter Rob Appel recommended it to me. The link to the handy Wakelet guide included in An and Corey’s slides is exactly the piece I needed to actually sit down and get started building my Wakelet account and collections.
Session 2: General Session & CUE Duet
To truly do justice to the energy level of Thursday’s general session, I recommend listening to moderator John Eick’s brief podcast introduction to the CUE Keynote Duet.
This session was filmed, so if it’s made available to the public, I will definitely update this post with the link. Bringing Alice Chen and Martin Cisneros together on stage was a very good idea. As they tackled topics like a “fixed mindset vs. a growth mindset,” “equality vs, equity,” “achievement gap vs. engagement gap,” and the importance of student voice, you could feel the audience’s energy levels rising. Veronica Godinez beautifully summed up the Duet keynote in a single Tweet:
Alice Chen has been a source of inspiration ever since we met at the 2012 Microsoft Innovative Educators Seattle Summer Conference and then again at the 2012 Google Teacher Academy in Mountain View. Technology tips from an outstanding middle school English teacher are always gems.
This was my first time to hear Martin Cisneros present. His passion for equity and inclusion, combined with his humor and a dose of Spanish all contribute to his ability to 100% pull in the audience.
So the secret to organizing a thought-provoking, engaging duet is to have a hilarious moderator working with a dynamic duo. I hope CUE will build the Duet Keynote into future conferences.
Session 3: Got DigCit? – Ben Cogswell and Norma Gamez
I almost skipped this 8:30 am session (to do a little last-minute prep for my 10:00 session). I’m glad I joined Ben and Norma. Digital Citizenship is a topic near and dear to me. As the co-director of my district’s digital citizenship program, I really value opportunities to hear about ways other districts are weaving #DigCit into the school day, starting at the elementary level.
If you check out their presentation, you will see that in addition to pulling lessons and resources from Common Sense and other organizations, with a little help from some second graders, they even create their own:
They also brought up a good point on the two ways we need to be rolling out digital citizenship:
Attending Ben and Norma’s session was a great way to start day 2 of the #CUE19 Conference. I appreciated the reminder to attend and present at Monterey Bay CUE’s May 18 DigCit Summit in Salinas.
Session 4: Saving Democracy – Educator’s Survival Guide to Fake News Across the Curriculum – Glen Warren and Alan November
Having Glen Warren do your introduction would be a great start to any presentation. And Alan November kept Glen’s momentum and humor going throughout the session. I’ve been a long-time Alan November fan. I even have a signed copy of Who Owns the Learning. I frequently reference his Internet search tips in my own workshops (including Thinking Critically about the (Fake) News). So it was no surprise that I left with some great takeaways:
Are cats smarter than dogs?/Are dogs smarter than cats? – What a great activity to bring back to the classroom. Have students partner up and each put in one of these opposing search terms. Students will quickly get the message that if you give Google enough information to indicate what your opinion is on a topic, Google will give you things to inform that opinion.
Eliminate adjectives, adverbs, and verbs from your search terms. Stick to nouns – The less information you give Google, the better your results will be. Example: dogs, cats, debate would have been way more efficient in the above search.
Use country codes – I learned this tip from Alan many years ago when I was teaching 5th grade. Students felt empowered when they realized they could research historical events from two sides of a revolution via country codes. Alan demoed the importance of country codes and search operators for finding information on the Iran-Contra events. Using “site:ac.ir conquest of the american spy den,” for instance, will bring up better results than “Iran Contra investigation,” which is equivalent to searching “are cats smarter than dogs?/are dogs smarter than cats?”
Alan ended his session with a shout-out to Wikipedia, our “most important crowd-sourced resource.”
Session 5: Thinking Critically about the (Fake) News – Rob Appel, Kelly Mendoza and Gail Desler (me)
We wondered if we would have much of a turn out for our session since it was following Alan November’s. We did. The room was packed.
Over the past year, we have continued to update and add to our resources, with the goal of providing tips for helping students (and ourselves) to step out of “filter bubbles,” to use effective search skills, and to become fact-checking pros (and lateral readers).
If you didn’t make it to our session, here’s the link to our session resources: bit.ly/MediaLitResources. (Note: You will need to login to your Google account to access our Google Site.)
Media literacy: It’s not a course that you teach once a week. It’s a way of thinking.” Jennifer Kavanaugh, co-author of Truth Decay
Session 6: Climbing the SAMR Model with Adobe Spark – Susan Millan and Marco Arellano
Attending an Adobe Spark session was high on my #CUE19 to-do list. What I love about Spark is that it’s a copyright friendly tool. Any images you add from Spark are licensed for reuse via Creative Commons – and come with the attribution embedded. Oh, and copyright-free background music is built into Spark voice recordings. Love it! I’m hoping my district can roll out the premium version of Adobe Spark, which eliminates the 13+ age requirement.
Session 7: General Session & Keynote – ET, The Hip-Hop Preacher – Eric Thomas
If you read the session description, you might wonder why a preacher would be keynoting at a tech conference.
Eric’s message was for everyone who works with students, especially in high-poverty areas. He had all of us up on our feet chanting “I can. I will. I must,” with the hope that this chant will lead us to giving our students a personal aim to motivate them to succeed. “Students need to understand why they are in education and they need to establish their ‘AIM’ for their life.”
“We need to give school meaning for our students…. and convince them they want education as much as they want to breathe.”
Session 8: Can I Use That? Exploring Copyright, Fair Use, and Creative Commons – Kelly Mendoza and Gail Desler (me)
If you were one of our participants, thank you for your great questions and your interest in the topic. Just wish this had been a 90-minute session.
As essential as this topic is to media literacy/digital citizenship programs, many educators are still not feeling fully confident of their understanding of copyright, their ability to flex their fair use muscles, and their understanding of Creative Commons best practices. It was exciting at the end of our session to have a number of participants ask if they could use our presentation … on Monday. If you missed our session, we’ll be submitting a proposal for Fall CUE. In the meantime, here is the link to our resources.
Session 9: BookSnaps – Tara Martin
So what’s a BookSnap? A term coined by Tara, “a BookSnap is simply a digital, visual representation used to annotate and share reflections of any excerpt of a book or text.” BookSnaps are also a powerful way for students to synthesize their thinking and “to draw connections based on what’s meaningful and relevant to them.” Even though Tara demonstrated how to create “booksnaps” with Snapchat, which is blocked for students in many districts (including mine), you can easily create and share BookSnaps in other programs, such as Google Slides, Google Drawings, the Book Creator App, or VoiceThread. BookSnaps have three elements: title, author, and what you’re thinking. The student samples below are from Tara’s website.
Tara has also included lots of videos to get you and your students BookSnapping. I’m pretty sure if BookSnaps were included as part of a literacy study, the research would show that, besides being a fun way to motivate student writers, students will also be able to recall more about books, articles, and passages they’ve read. #LoveBookSnaps
Session 10: Google for Education Certified Innovators Panel
Lisa Nowakowski: Hidden Gems in Google Draw – Google Drawings still seem like the overlooked stepchild of the G Suite for Education, yet Drawings offer so many practical and creative options for students and teachers.
Nancy Minicozzi: Speech to Text and Translation in Docs – As you can see from Nancy’s slideshow, there a many classroom uses for the Voice Typing option (Tools dropdown). My favorite is not included: Voice Typing is built into Docs and, therefore, does not require downloading as an Add-on or extension. In my district, although teachers can download any Add-ons or extensions, students cannot, due to a school board policy that does not allow students to enter into contracts with 3rd party developers (it’s that part of the download that requires the student to agree to the developers’ terms and conditions). Thank you, Google for integrating this powerful tool directly into Docs!
Matt Vaudrey: Teacher Report Card – Here’s a great conversation starter for your next faculty meeting. I’d love to see a companion piece where students create what they would consider a meaningful student report card 😉.
So many great sessions…all going on at the same time…so hard to choose – but, for sure, every session I attended was a good choice.
I don’t think I’ve ever included the CUE Exhibit Hall in my end-of-conference reflections (although I deeply appreciate every vendor’s support of CUE). This year, I want elementary and intermediate teachers to know about Cram Jams, music videos created by 3rd grade teacher Amelia and musician/husband Andy to help teach students about a variety of writing rules and tips. I’ve signed up for the free trial, but I already know I’m ready to commit to a $39 annual membership fee. Don’t let the intro video overwhelm you. Each topic comes with a 2-3 minute video, posters, and an accompanying lesson.
#CUE19 Comes to a Close 😞
Start to finish, #CUE19 was a fantastic three-day experience and learning journey. A huge thank you to the CUE Board and team members. You definitely delivered on your promise of “Dozens of Workshops * Hundreds of Sessions * Countless Memories.”
If you have anything to add to my session descriptions, please leave a comment.
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.
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.
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.
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 with 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.
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. 😊
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 Generation – digital 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.
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.
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.
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 Chrome – Adina 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:-):
Eyebombing – Oh, what fun to think of all the possibilities for this video!
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 Meetings – Rushton 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.”
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!
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.
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:
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:
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.”
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:
Ownership – from teacher to student. Students need to have personalized learning paths.
Consumer to Creator – In the old days, somebody else wrote the textbook. Today students and teachers should be designing and creating products.
Local to global – Students need authentic opportunities to connect with other students, even if it’s just the school down the road.
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.
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.
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 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
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.
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 ISTE, CUE, 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.
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 Teachers – Chrome 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.
Awesome group of Elk Grove USD teachers delving into 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!
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:
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.
The CapCUE team then sorts through the post-its and assigns the most requested topics to designated classrooms.
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.
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.
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.
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.
#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.
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 Shed – Lisa 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!
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.