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Safe for Prep...Week 2 Podcast:: The Power of Inquiry and Poetry

Episode 2 of our "Safe for Work Podcast has me discussing Inquiry, and Sean reading a lovely poem! 

I was inspired by the great work of our South View and Valley View Middle School 8th grade staff on incorporating Inquiry in their instruction, as well as Project Lead the Way Engineering teacher, Jodi Ramirez, who had her kids sifting dirt to learn about composition. This focus on inquiry has continued to evolve, after some great professional development from Diana Laufenberg a few years ago!

Earlier that day, I saw a great article noting that fostering curiousity in students can have a huge impact on closing our acheivement gap with low income students. Incorporating inquiry in instruction can be a great way to make that happen! 
Sean and I are having a blast recording these sessions. It really is an extension of the great conversations we have when we get together in the office. We hope it is meaningful for you. If you have suggestions for upcoming topics, please let us know!

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Sometimes I Have to be the Fun Police...

Yesterday, I had two instances where I had to be the "Fun Police," in my role as Digital Learning Specialist. It is not a role that I rellish, as philosophically, I want our staff and students to have an authentic experience as possible and utilize tools that may be of benefit to their learning. However there are times, when for safety or due to missuse of a tool, I have to put on the hat and shades...
Case #1
The first instance was when I got a request for a group of 5th grade students to use Prezi as a presentation tool. Now Prezi may not be as popular as it was a few years ago, and some folks wish they had kept their "Classic" tools and format, but it still offers a nice way to make non-linear presentations.
However, for elementary educators, there is another component that makes Prezi problematic: their Terms of Service. Given this restriction, unless the student has been held back 3 years, odds are the 5th graders will not be able to use Prezi for their presentat…

Speaking of Podcasting...

Last month, I shared about some work I was doing around Student Podcasting (Giving Students Voice & Choice Through Podcasting). This month, my colleague, Sean Beaverson and I are launching our own podcast!

Safe for Prep is a short but sweet look at the great things we see in our roles in Edina Public Schools. As the name implies, it is something you can listen to, in the background during your prep!

Below is Episode 1! We highlight some great work the 8th grade teachers at South View Middle School shared with staff last week, and Sean's efforts to help some students. Have a listen!

Giving Students Voice and Choice through Podcasting

This February, I shared with staff the value of giving students pathways in how they demonstrate learning by creating podcasts. I was inspired by an ISTE presentation by Rabbi Michael Cohen and Jeff Bradbury last summer, and a presentation that Glen Irvin Flores gave in November. 

A few staff were interested and so I put together this presentation for students.



I shared how I still remember my 6th grade project where I recorded myself as a 12 year old in Moscow, and my dad interviewed me to demonstrate what life was like in the Soviet Union. (Yes, I'm that old! The collar above gives it away! In addition, I cannot remember any of the multiple choice tests I took to demonstrate learning...) 
I also shared with students that NPR was sponsoring a Student Podcast Challenge, inviting students to ask their teachers to submit their audio file that spoke to one of the following prompts:
Tell us a story about your school or community: about something that happened there — recently or in the p…

My Thoughts on Digital Learning Day 2019

So yesterday was Digital Learning Day. In the past, I have shared how we have celebrated it in Edina (Of course most of the post was aggregated from a tool that no longer exists....sigh!)
Well, yesterday, I saw this tweet from Schoology and so I thought I'd share my thoughts...

💻 Happy #DLDay 2019! 💻

In honor of this special day, we’re having a contest!

Here’s how it works:

1️⃣ Reply to this tweet answering the question “What does digital learning mean to you?”
2️⃣ Use the hashtag #DLDay
3️⃣ Best answers win an exclusive prize! — Schoology (@Schoology) February 28, 2019Here goes...

#TIES18 Monday Keynote: Jaime Casap-The Problem Solving Generation

Jaime Casap, Education Evangelist with Google was the Monday Keynote at the 2018 TIES Conference
Jaime helped launch Google Apps, Chromebooks and helped found the Phoenix Coding Academy. He also teaches Communication to 10th graders. 
He authored the book, "On Our Street," a children's book about poverty. He grew up in Hell's Kitchen in the 70's, so he knows a little about the topic.
Education disrupts poverty! All of the milestones he has achieved were based on Education. He was invited to speak at the White House to help launch Michelle Obama's Reach Higher initiative. What we sometimes forget is that the impact we have on students goes on for generations! Since he went to college, her daughter just assumed that she would go on to college. The life his children have comes from the educators that impacted Jaime.
The State of EducationCasap doesn't think education is broken, because it worked for everyone in this room. AND it has changed in the last 100 yea…

My Notes on the Personalized Learning Summit Day 2 Keynote: Virgil Hammonds

Virgil Hammonds, chief learning officer with Knowledgeworks, was the day 2 keynote at the 2018 Personalized Learning Summit. 

Changing the culture of education through personalized competency-based learning.

Knowledgeworks has 3 main focusses:

Forcasting the future of learningTransforming policyGrowing Educator ImpactWhat is your spark?  It is important for you to know yours as well as your colleagues.
Hammonds had us do a "Magic Number" sorting activity using the numbers 1-9 and trying to sort them between 2 jars, where no number could be created by adding other numbers in the same jar. We found that given those constraints, it isn't possible. His point is that sometimes we sort our students into jars in much the same way.
He shared how there is a movement nationally to get to proficiency based learning.  There is a transformation from school districts to learning communities.  By 2020, over 40% of the US workforce will be independent, short-term contractors.  The 4th Industrial…