Wednesday, June 24, 2015

#ISTE2015 Before During After - the 411 So You Don't 911


ISTE is BIG. It's easy to get overwhelmed.  

Here are my tips for newbies on the PRE-DURING-POST ISTE Experience:


Pre-ISTE - getting to ISTE early is worth it!
  • HACK ED 15 Event Saturday, June 27th, 2015 from 8:00am - 4:00pm at the Pennsylvania Convention Center (113BC) use hashtags: #hacked15 or #hackeducation Expand your brain - great ideas and conversations all day long organized by great brains like @AudreyWatters and @SteveHargadon - you don't have to go all day (especially if you are going to our iPad workshop - see shameless self promotion below) See ISTE Unplugged
  • Digital Storytelling with iPad, Book Creator and Green Screen Doink App (WHO25) 6/27 12:30 to 3:30 pre-conference workshop (self promotion I know but it will be hands-on fabulousness!)
  • The Hack Education After-Party - Saturday, June 27, 2015 from 7:00 PM to 9:00 PM  Philadelphia Marriott Downtown- Grand Ballroom D FUN*FUN*FUN
  • Invent To Learn Day of Hard Fun @ISTE 2015 I went before #ISTE2013 and had a blast and learned so much from @garystager and @smartinez

  • Global Education Day Sunday, June 28th, 2-5pm
    Pennsylvania Convention Center - Room 103B/C. Another great ISTE Unplugged event!
  • Independent Educators Dinner (hopefully you signed up already - if not contact @vvrotny but it may be too late) Sunday night - can't wait to meet up with all the big brains that contribut to the weekly #isedchat every Thursday night :)
  • ISTE Communities - consider joining one or more of the ISTE communities - it's a great way to make connections in an area of interest.

During ISTE- My Top 10
  1. dress comfortably in layers - some rooms will be cold, others hot-for goodness sake - forget style - wear comfy shoes - you will walk miles
  2. bring your chargers
  3. bring lots of business cards with you to drop in all the raffle drawings you will come across in the exhibition hall - if you don't have cards - create labels (even better) that have your information - it will save you oodles of time
  4. have a plan! scope out the program ahead of time - if you are going with a group consider using a google doc or evernote to organize and share information - know who you want to see in the exhibition hall too - it can be really overwhelming if you don't know your "musts" ahead of time
  5. visit the Blogger's Cafe - great minds there - usually veteran ISTE attendees who can give you lots of tips
  6. Take a water bottle with you and a couple of snacks - sometimes you get so busy you forget to eat
  7. Visit Philly! It's a great city with so much to see!
  8. Talk to people - it's the conversations around the hallways that can really elevate your learning experience - make connections-get on Twitter - ask others for their handles-download the @Tweechme app
  9. Try not to carry too much with you! It's tempting to pick up everything you see in the Exhibition Hall but sometimes a few snapshots on your phone can really tell the story just as well. 
  10. Be open. Be curious. Have fun.

  1. Stay in touch with connections you made. Review the #ISTE2015 and #ISTE15 hash tags for things you might have missed.
  2. Read over your notes and try to summarize while fresh in your head.
  3. Think about how you can best share this information with your school community - think about creating those presentations during the summer before the school year approaches - make it a priority. 
  4. Prepare for next year!

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Design Thinking and Visible Thinking and iPads


Who wouldn't want to implement a process that helps to build resilience and empathy in students? Design Thinking does just that but it needs to be so much more than a process to be effective, it needs to be cultural.

I am so fortunate to be in an environment that has successfully developed a culture of thinking through the work of Project Zero at Harvard, more specifically though Ron Ritchhart's and David Perkins's Making Thinking Visible. When students are able to articulate their thinking, guided by established thinking routines, across curricular boundaries, they both deepen their understanding of the content itself, as well as develop strong metacognitive and critical skills. When I walk down the hallways of our buildings, it is easy to see the evidence of student thinking everywhere about everything. Our walls have become learning spaces for all. 

About three years ago, I started reading and learning about Design Thinking and it felt like a perfect fit with Visible Thinking. Interestingly, Project Zero has adda component on Design Thinking to its collection of research projects. Several years ago I journeyed out to California, hotbed of design thinking and maker spaces, and was lucky enough to attend  Nueva School's Design Thinking Institute as well as the Design, Do, Discover event at Castilleja School. My brain felt like it was on fire - I could really see the possibilities of layering design thinking on top of visible thinking, especially in the areas of work in the Fab Lab. One process feeds the other and elevates the results to new levels.

What if you took this combo live with iPads?  It was with great interest that I read Richard's post on Design Thinking with iPads. I've been a fan of @iPadWells ( +iPadWells NZ  ) work on iPads for quite some time and this post provides a great summary of design thinking and how one could create lessons and a workflow for the process using an iPad.  I love his design challenge prompts such as design an app that would have helped George Washington win the the American Revolution in half the time. 

Using various brainstorming apps that make thinking visible such as Padlet, help spur the thought process. Design thinking is best when it is a communal process. I think of the work going on in the new Burlington Maker Space where ideas come to life and where makers get feedback from their neighbors who may be an electrical engineer or a mechanical engineer or a plumber- the idea being that design is a constant iterative process and that the smartest person in the room is the room so creating a space where different members of a community can come in and work on ideas breeds innovation and creativity. Why not do the same in the classroom? 

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Happy Birthday iPad!

Do you remember January 27, 2010? I do. The famous keynote when Jobs announced the iPad. I felt like it was the device that schools had been waiting for. It was not a cheap netbook. Or a heavy, clunky tablet computer. It was an honest-to-God "magical" and "revolutionary" device. 

It is incredible to me when I think how much this device has afforded us in teaching and learning. The iPad breaks down barriers that blocked technophobe teachers from truly integrating tech into their classrooms. There is something so friendly about the iPad. The touch capabilities build an intimate relationship between the user and the device. Somehow, a lot of the fear is taken away. I have seen teachers pick up this device and with little instruction, begin using it right away as opposed to the introduction of a laptop. 

Children take to it right away. They seem to have a natural understanding of navigation and gestures. iPads have become so commonplace today that I think we forget what it was like pre-iPad. The ease, portability, speed, freedom and almost unlimited potential of this device are outstanding. Jobs was right, the iPad is magical and revolutionary. It has and will continue to shape teaching, learning, publishing, creating, and communication in ways we cannot even fathom yet.

Now, teachers send photos or videos home every day to parents. Students of all ages create stories, individually or collaboratively, with ease and share them with each other, parents or around the world. Whether it's Book Creator, iMovie, Puppet Pals or any of the dozens of apps available, our students and teachers are creating and stretching beyond the boundaries of their classrooms. 

As our school begins to weigh the best way to address the digital book market, it is incredibly exciting to see how books are developing in ways we never considered to address all types of learners. Accessibility is only part of the wonderful developments that are available now. Teachers have the ability to create their own textbooks, thanks to iBooks Authoring tool. The rich media embedded in books brings learning to life in ways that I thought were only possible in futuristic movies. The future is here now and it is a very exciting one. Thanks, Steve. 

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Innovation day is Coming!

February 15th our campus will experience something new. While we have had PD days where Teachers teach Teachers, this year our focus will be completely on sharing best technological best practices. We are calling it Innovation Day after finishing our school wide read, Tony Wagner's book,  Creating Innovators. We are kicking off the day with the super wonderful Silvia Tolisano, aka @langwitches, as our keynote speaker and then breaking into our smaller presentation sessions. Many faculty have already signed up to present with topics ranging from Pinterest to iMovie to Voice Thread to iPhone photography. There are quite a few sessions on digital storytelling and blogging and even a session on musical technology. I love seeing the list grow each day. I love it even more when it is about something I haven't even heard about. 

I am incredibly proud of our faculty who are willing to take a risk and as Silvia likes to say, "amplify" their learning. They rock. Really. Boy, I better get busy and figure out what I'm going to present!

Monday, October 8, 2012

Smelling the Book


     I still have my old library card from when I was in 4th grade. I remember the excitement of going to the library and being surrounded by so many stories, so much knowledge. I love to read. I can easily get lost in a book, it doesn’t matter whether it’s fiction, nonfiction or even the yellow pages (which fascinate me endlessly but that’s another whole blog). I love the smell of old books, the feel of the thicker paper, such a pleasure to turn. I love buying used books and discovering small notes in the margin. Will my children continue to know this pleasure? Will their children even have public libraries?

     All this thinking about books has generated lots of thoughts about digital literacy and digital fluency. How has technology, especially ereaders, iPads, and audiobooks changed the art of reading? The art of making meaning? Will we have libraries in ten years? Will borrowing a book mean something else entirely?

     My thoughts and consequent searching brought me to an article about how schools in Calgary are adopting electronic textbooks. It's an interesting article and several quotes from Jean Ludlam, the Manager for Children, Teens and Families at the Calgary Public Library hit home for me. She was referring earlier in the article to the digital divide but then said there is another divide too:

     "The other divide is with children and the difficulty they have deciphering and discriminating between information." 

     In this age of cut and paste and searchable texts, it is all too easy to not truly read the material, to not make the meaning. I do love the ease of downloading and reading books on my iPad. I love how easy it is to highlight, to make notes, to share those notes, and to find a particular quote quickly and easily but when it become that easy, do our students lose the ability to truly locate information, to sift through it all for the value? 

    I remember this great scene in Desk Set when Katherine Hepburn and her librarian crew outsmarted the brand new computer research system installed by Spencer Tracy because they used their brains to problem solve and not technology. Yet toward the end of the movie, when a particularly perplexing question is posed to Hepburn and her crew, it's the technology that finds the answer. The moral of course is to find the balance, but if someday we no longer have those reference books, if they go the way of encyclopedias, will our students be capable of locating the right information? Or will it be all too easy to take the information at face value because it is in electronic form?
     Better language needs to be developed around what it means to simply Google things and what it means use a credible resource that is available online, she said. And kids browse Google differently than when they once perused a textbook, she believes.
     “It isn’t that tactile experience,” Ludlam said. “I wonder how that works in our brains if you can’t see it and hold it and touch it.”
     Will we forget what reading a book means? Will we forget the way books feel and smell?

     Will it matter?