Thursday, August 21, 2014

Edina Teaching & Technology Cohort Reflections 2014

Thirty teachers from Edina just finished a Teaching and Technology Cohort through Hamline University. The Teaching and Technology cohort focused on improving their leadership and technology skills through four blended courses.

The focus of the classes was to enhance practice of integrating technology into Edina’s curriculum as well as build leadership skills in teachers in the field of technology and learning. The cohort gave participants the opportunity to collaborate with Edina colleagues from different grade levels and buildings. The cohort was taught in a blended format where the cohort met face to face once a month and then completed the rest of the work online.

Here are a few of their final reflections about the cohort

Angela's Reflection

Brit's Reflection

Debi's Thinglink

Reflection from Eric
I came into the year and the cohort as a user of technology, but a hesitant one at that.  My ah-ha moment came when I realized that using technology is about jumping in and play, play, play.  I feel that this is the best way to get kids using technology and programs, it also works for adults.  When you play, the overwhelming pressure that comes with learning something new that is previously unfamiliar goes away.  From my participation in this cohort I feel that I have changed as a learner and teacher.   I have changed because if you want to learn new technology you have to take the time and play with it.  I have seen this in my students the past year.  When they are given the time to play and explore with an application their success level greatly expands of they are given time to explore and play.  I would like to take some time to highlight one project that I worked on in particular and that is coding.  You can see my link to the work that I did with this project on this website.  Coding is a fantastic activity to have your kids work on collaboratively or as individuals.  Students learn industry, problem solving and critical thinking skills all in a fun and non threatening environment.

You have to Read and Experience Kristen's reflections here!

Leslie's Kids are now a Community of Collaborators and Problem Solvers!

Mary's Popplet

Megan's Adventures in Digital Age Learning

This Blew the lid off the possibilities - Shandra

I didn't know what I didn't Know - Sarah

Thanks to all the amazing reflections from the Edina T&T Cohort!  Another cohort will begin October 2014!  Edina teachers, stay tuned for more details!

Monday, July 28, 2014

EdCampMN 2014 Keynote: Steve Hoffman-The Collaboration Dilemma Notes

Steve Hoffman, was the keynote speaker at EdCampMN 2014, on "The Collaboration Dilemma: How the Rules are Changing." Here are my notes.

Rather than a keynote, Hoffman described this as a "rigorous conversation!"
He started by sharing Dr. Seuss's The Lorax and The Butter Battle, both of which have NO ending! 
He noted that Intelligence Squared, is a debate with no real ending...

How can Collaboration Happen if:

  • Of the more than 100 people here, only 13 were men. Why is that? Hoffman noted that as of today, 40% of women are heads of household. Boy's Adrift- notes that young men today are unmotivated and underacheiving.
  • Eid started today. There are no Muslim's here. (Why did Blogger think it was spelled wrong for that matter?)
  • Where are our colleagues of color? Why aren't they here? "Hamline's a white campus!" In some ways, it is arrogant for us to be speculating about this question, when most of us here are white. I'm reminded of this article.
Hoffman noted that this recent post on "9 Roles For The Teacher That Leads" doesn't include collaboration!

I would argue that it would fall under the "Relationship Enabler."
He showed a business definition for collaboration that includes synchronous and asynchronous communication.

Hoffman believes that communication, leadership, attention, active action plan, investment, Interest, Individualize and Organizations are the key areas of emphasis currently when we talk about collaboration. 

Evidence that the rules are changing
  • 10,579 Israeli students took the largest online civics class online in February, taught by Shimon Peres
  • 1,645 bilionaires in the world today. Up 200 from last year.
  • 10.7 hours of reading/person in India
  • 425 million active users of Gmail as of April 14, 2014
  • 144.5 million smart phones in US.
  • 33% increase in global volume of electronic waste in the next 4 years.
  • 828,773 albums sold of Beyonce's album on 3 days!
  • 82% of working Americans over the age of 50 who feel they will need to work for pay when they retire.
  • 9100 Tweets every second...
  • 8,000 Americans will turn 65 each day for the next decade.
  • Zero managers left in Zappos 1500 workers by the end of the year
  • 11 saplings grown from seeds of the Chestnut tree
In a side conversation, one participant noted that until the teaching population matches the population of our country, we won't see real change!

Obstacles to Collaboration
  1. Competition-between districts, schools, AP, IB, AVID, College-in-the-schools
  2. Malaise-too hard to really collaborate
  3. State and National Organization Deficit-NCTE, MCTM, NCSS, MEMO, ISTE
  4. Change Leadership-NCLB waiver, RTI=MTSS, PBIS, new evaluation system, personalized learning
  5. Demographics and Fear-gated communities, rise in gun ownership, Eid Said, 
  6. Time, Technology, Training, Talent

So do we really WANT collaboration to happen? Will technology be a tool to get us there?
Is Starbucks model for training something others will embrace? 
Talent-mandated collaboration!

Hoffman is interested to see how these dilemma's impact education moving forward. 

Our table discussed the Partnership for Collaborative Curriculum, and how sometimes competition/high expectations and trust get in the way of true collaboration. Staff are reluctant to move away from "tried and true" curriculum content from publishers, rather than building their own.

Friday, May 30, 2014

Government Service Learning Project Continues to Grow!

A few highlights from this year's South View Middle School Service Learning Project. This year's event moved from the Media Center to the Gym, and over 200 people came to attend and learn from the students. 

In this video by Claude Sigmund, Cool Planet Founder, Paul Thompson shares his experience working with the students.

And in this video, Susana Valdez of the National Youth Leadership Council shares her thoughts on what she observed today:

This event continues to grow, and I was impressed by how students incorporated digital age learning to collaborate and share their learning with the world.
Later today, I'll add links to some of the student Websites.

Thursday, May 15, 2014

MultiTasking...Take the Test!

I'm putting together some resources for our eLearning2 students this summer. One of the topics we will be covering is managing distractions.
I found this resource on multi-tasking at and thought it might get students thinking about how they currently work, and help them to consider focusing on one task at a time. In some respects, I found I was above average (single tasks) but man did I struggle with more than one! Here are my results:

Take it for yourself and let me know how you did! It might help students take multi-tasking more seriously!

Note: You may need to use the arrow keys to scroll down on the site!

Saturday, May 10, 2014

Minnesota Google Summit Keynote: Mark Garrison on Technology and Adventure

White Bear Lake Technology Director, Mark Garrison gave the opening keynote at the Minnesota Google Summit. Here are my live blog notes from the session. 
He talked about growing up in Minnesota idolizing Will Steger and Paul Schirke.
His goal: Embrace change and be a beacon for life=long learning!

Interesting times with some hanging on to 20th century pedagogy with others moving forward in the 21st. There is a professional acheivement gap today between these two practices.
IWB's went into teacher's classrooms, but the training was around using the product instead of changing pedagogy.

Great change requires vision, skills incentives , recources and an action plan to acheive lasting change.

Filling the gap between these two pedagogical realities requires a bridge of these NOSTR model, via the strategic plan of the district, building and classroom.
All of us are responsible for improving and honing our skills. 
Elliot, Minnesota is "all carrot and no stick."
We need the tools, AND an action plan. We can't think of the tech department as the suppliers and fixers of stuff. None of us can be stagnant.

Garrison showed the SAMR model, talking about ladder and pools as metaphors. Garrison likes Hooker's model here.

Garrison argues that it's ok and you can have a lot of fun in the shallow end, and by the end of the day, all of the participants should get towards augmentation. It's when you pull yourself out of the pool and take your learning to a new context where true redefinition happens. You might even start seeing new uses for water!

Garrison started his teaching career in a remote fishing village in Alaska. After 10 years of teaching he and his wife went on a 4 month canoe trip from Minnesota to the Arctic Circle. He talked about the amazing experience and bonding that happened through that experience. They created a Website so that their students could track their progress. They had to use fax to send the info to his sister-in-law to get it up on the site, as this was long before the iPhone, Twitter or other tools.
He read excerpts from their experience with images from their journal. They soon started getting e-mails from all over the world. Upon returning, he pursued his Masters in Educational technology, and has found that educational technology is much like adventure, with the planning, deployment and implementation that is required for both.

An audit of their Tech Plan showed that they had done some great things in silos, but needed to continue to improve. Now they have passed a bond referendum, and are continuing to move forward. They are also offering choice in teacher devices.

They are moving to a model where students are touching tech every day. They are moving away from labs, and trying to get the state of MN to make sure their tests work on a Chromebook! 

"Technology isn't an event it's a tool for learning!"

Areas for growth includes incorporating more digital citizenship k-12. 
He mentioned 
Teachers need a broad reach of understanding, and a digital footprint!
What do students find when they Google you? If you don't have a digital footprint today, what does that say about you?

Interaction and engagement are what the 

Learning is CREATION, not consumption!

For those who don't like the SAMR model, there's TPACK. They're pretty similar, as when you meet the middle of the TPACK model, you're at the deep end of the pool!
Boring things on an iPad are still boring things!

Moving forward, we need to:
  • Start
  • Stop
  • Share 
  • and Disrupt!
Oprah says, you need no more than 33 items of clothing in our closet. 
What old pedagogical practices are we hanging on to that are taking up space? If you don't get rid of old belongings you can't make room for new!

What are you proud of that you can share? Every staff meeting should begin with this!
Garrison ended by sharing a project he did with his students on Shackleton, where he had created a Website and content. Technology gave his students the abiltiy to become explorers and create content similar to what he had done.  

His coach asked, why not do that for every unit? He realized that he didn't. He just needed to model enthusiasm for life long learning. As educators, we have chosen to spend our careers in learning institutions. 

We are mirrors!

Tech integration requires teachers to learn from and with students. It's the perfect place to model life long learning! We need to leverage the knowledge of everyone in the classroom to raise the bar for all of us!!

We can model this for everyone!

Weinberg-If our students are not engaged in the fray, they can't be ready for life-long learning. This is the greatest time to be a knowledge seeker.

20% of students of color are more likely to use technology for drill and practice, instead of creation. This gap needs to change, as students with more hands on experience, have better understanding!

We need to give our students the tools and the skills for the freedom to thrive! 
These conversations are negatives. Gone are the days of mastering one tool (The overhead) and be set for 10 years of tech integration!

Are we better teachers than we were 10 years ago? 

Sean Beaverson tweeted out a link to this great video during the talk. 

The iPhone has 240,000 times the power of the Voyager space craft. What are we doing to leverage that in the classroom?

We need to change and grow to match the change we demand in our students. 

We need to span the chasm, 

From Zynga

Love to play,
Surprise and delite
Level up
be CEO of your outcomes
Move Fast
Students first

Garrision finished by challenging us to look for things that we will

Start                 Stop                Share

He invited us to share those ideas here.

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Digital Age Learning: Student Creations Lead to Authentic Opportunities

Students in Kim Caster's French Culture course at Edina High School have been studying French Romantic Comedies, including the movie, Amelie. These senior students have been learning about the use of style, location and comparing French cinema with American films. As an assessment, Caster asked the students to create a product that demonstrated:
a)      An understanding of romantic comedies and how they are different from American Romantic Comedies.  
b)      An understanding of JP Jeunet’s unique and different filmmaking style.  
c)       An understanding of the use of interesting, romantic, and popular sites in Paris and various secondary and tertiary side characters become a part of the major part of Jeunet’s films.
d)      An understanding of the use stereotypical roles of men and women in film in order to maintain the formula or break the formula of a romantic comedy.
e) A combination of 2 or more of the above explained in a way you can use your French and add precision of grammar, complexity and vocabulary into the presentation and discussion.  

One group created a trailer for Amelie as a horor film.

Another group created an infographic using Piktochart to compare and contrast French and American Film.

And then there was this...

Emma Westbrook, Claire Jensen, and Naomi Reiner have been visiting the Minneapolis Institute of Arts with their families since they were little. Westbrook, an aspiring artist and film maker, spends time at the museum drawing, and thought that the MIA would be a great location to stage a film.
They reviewed the guidelines about filming in the museum and realized that it would work as a location. Westbrook wrote the script and directed the movie, Jensen was both an actor as well as editor, and Reiner recruited fellow senior Peter Illig to act in the film, served as continuity expert, and shlepped the equipment and clothing around as they filmed.
They chose the artwork based on their knowledge of the collection, and the fact that the gallery had a bench in front of the artwork, and was less crowded than other locations.
After they submitted the link to the finished film, Caster tweeted out the link. After watching the film and being extremely impressed with the digital storytelling on display, and the elements of film-making they used, I sent out a tweet to my high school friend, Douglas Hegley, who just happens to be the Director of Technology at the MIA. His response:

Yesterday, Kim and the students visited with Hegley and the staff at MIA.

Edina Students meeting with Minneapolis Institute of Arts staff
Learning about upcoming MIA projects and providing feedback on future museum project
Along with congratulating the students on their work, Hegley noted that,
"this is exactly the type of thing we want people doing here, using our space to create!"
The Institute is working to become more "audience centric," and a "home away from home" for its visitors. Museum staff shared their backgrounds with the students, and how they are gearing up for 2015, which will be the building's 100th Anniversary. The students were invited to share ideas on what they might include in the 100 30-90 second films the staff are working to produce. Museum staff want people to feel connected to the art, and for the films to be character driven, similar to the film the students created! When asked what would encourage them to see a film about the collection, the students said, "people interacting with the art, and information about the history of the items."
Caster was excited about future possibilities of bringing students to the space, providing them with some basic guidelines and then inviting them to explore and create. 
This project is a small example of how an open ended inquiry based learning opportunity can lead to authentic opportunities, and the importance of creation in the learning process. I hope it inspires other staff and students to think outside the classroom walls to make connections with their learning.

Friday, March 21, 2014

2014 eLearning2 Survey Results

Over the past few months, we surveyed our parents, staff and students to get their perceptions of our eLearning2 Initiative. I've put together 3 infographics that share the results of the feedback we received. See the results below, and a reflection on my experience using PiktoChart to create them! To learn more about eLearning2 and our proposal for next year, click here.





I used Piktochart to create the graphics above, utilizing the free version. There are several other choices to choose from. Here is a nice comparison.
I had access to 7 themes, and was able to customize one with colors to fit. I found it to be fairly easy to use, either with the old or new editing tools. There were several choices for pre-made graphics, and it allowed you to insert your own data to create a chart or graph or import your own. I think Piktochart could be a great tool for students in virtually any subject to communicate ideas and information. I encourage you to give it a try!