Monday, December 19, 2011

TIES 11: Keynote Gabe Zicherman Gamification

Gabe Zicherman, the author of the Gamification Blog and books like Gameification by Design was a last minute fill in for Keynote speaker, Jane McGonigal, who was ill and unable to attend TIES 2011.

Zicherman got the audience hooked, with pics of Atari and Oregon trail (Jane has Dysentary!)
In 1987, Carmen San Diego was the most important game.
"Civilization took up about 8,000 hours of my life in grad school!"
A game that teaches something without intending to.
The dominant narative today is divided into "Games/Screens are Evil vs. Games can Fix the World!"
Is it possible both are right?
Who NEEDS the help games can provide? NYT article on kids being too hyper. Zicherman argues that maybe it's the adults!
Doesn't teach kids to be patient and wait, de-habituated to how the real world works!
"Do our kids have ADD or are our schools too slow?"
Students do a lot of reading still, but the modality is different!
Multitasking to the Max -World of Warcraft
6 different activities required to be successful in the game.
Neuroplasticity-Juggling increases grey matter in the brain.
Increasing fluid intelligence.
Exponential increase in learning
Flynn Effect: Rising IQ since 1990-
  • Chrystalline Intelligence, stable or falling (decreasing)
  • Fluid Intelligence rising and quickly
Games are wired to produce pleasure. Dopamine is released when we are challenged and achieve.
Kids that are naturally predisposed to unacceptable behavior can be trained to be even worse. This is important for educators to remember.
"Collective change is exponential - Individual change is linear!"
Game designers work with a construct of desire for mastery.
  • Desire
  • Incentive
  • Challenge 
  • Achievement/Reward
  • Feedback
  • Mastery
The red text above occurs in social interaction.
Gamification is the process of using game thinking and game mechanics to solve problems and engage users.
It's NOT about making everything into a game!
He shared the example of Ananth Pai, from Parkview/Centerpoint Elementary, who took his 3rd graders to grade-level by utilizing games. Students said, "It's fun and it's social!"
Decoding JAY-Z with Bing! All 300 pages were placed around New York, and the winner received 2 free tix to every concert for life!
It took 30 days, and the winner hired people to assist! The prize cost him nothing, but it seems like an incredible prize!
Speed Camera Lottery in Sweden. The ticket is based on how much money you make! Everyone who drives at the speed limit is entered in a lottery for the cost that others pay.
Car dashboards for Hybrids-Honda Insight, Nissan Leaf, Toyota Prius, and Ford Fusion have feedback on how ecological you are being. The Leaf even has incorporated Facebook into it!
Ripple and DueProps- Routine tasks get virtual points for jobs well done.Feedback goals & 360 employee engagement. Any time an altruistic reward is introduced, the behavior is messed up. It uses Karma rather than money and is more successful.
iCivics, developed by Sandra Day-O'Connor
Online college courses have games integrated (See Chart)
We have to avoid being all enthusiasm and no substance!
NYT Inflating the Software Report Card. Important to be data-driven. We need to vet in a systemic way.
Bartles Player types 4 core types of players.
  • Killers- Win/Lose I've got to win, you've got to lose, and I need attention for it! This behavior cannot be stopped! It CAN be redirected.
  • Achievers- Important to know that not everyone can win! Sometimes we focus too much on them. 10% Everyone likes acheivement, but most don't want to put in the effort.
  • Socializers- 80% of the population
  • Explorers-Enjoy the process of discovery
What motivates people to play games?
If we know what motivates students, we will know how to define fun!
Some people might try to "out-collaborate" others.
SAPS model. In order of stickiness and cost. Status access and power are more important than stuff!
  1. Status
  2. Access 
  3. Power 
  4. Stuff
Our fun future:
  • Faster Paced
  • Rewards Everywhere
  • Collaborative play
  • More Global
Zicherman thinks that "The Kids Are All Right!" Education has never been an apolitical profession! There has always been conflict about how best to teach, but somehow, we all turn out ok!
His key is that it isn't as important to see how games can affect learning...IT'S US! GO PLAY!!!

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

TIES 11: Jennifer Magiera Defining the Digital Classroom

Chicago teacher, Jennifer Magiera wrote a grant for 1:1 iPads in her 4th and 5th grade classroom said that rather than Automating, you have to demolish what you've been doing in the classroom and start over.
One transformative lesson far outweighs

She focussed this talk on Differentiation and Assessment
Who has to do state tests?
District wide
Common Core State Standards
Bubble tests are now on the iPad
Slate routines-RTI with time stamped images of student work
Fluency Snapshots-She uses audio and picture along with Dibles with more evidence. Students can also do self checks.
Google Tools for Formative and Summative Assessment!
  • Her Website has much of her work. (It includes a "Mood Checkin" so she knows whether their ready to learn!
  • She has her form set to automatically color code on assessments students complete w/ Google Forms.
How do we have accountability for the kids. She has been able to get the kids to connect with each other to be successful.
  • Connecting is a way to differentiate! She uses Skype in the Classroom to do this.She does a "Mystery Skype" with other classrooms to ask "20 questions" about their city for Social Studies.
  • Meta-Math Meetings- Friday sessions where they talk with others about why they got certain questions wrong for students in another class.
  • KidBlog at the end of science experiments. Asking big questions.
  • Edmodo- The kids like that it looks like Facebook, and she likes it because she can personalize instruction for the students. She told the story of a student who wouldn't talk, who was brilliant in Math. In Edmodo, within 12 minutes, he had 60 comments that were meaty, and now he has the confidence to participate in face-to-face sessions.
  • Flipped classroom, videos based on how they did on the exit ticket. She thinks it's like being a "cloned teacher!" 
  • Project Based Learning with Augmented Reality- Johnny Kissco, Chemical and physical weathering of playground equipment. QR codes during
  • Paperport Notes-PDF Annotation
  • Differentiated response options
  • Audio, video, Kinnesthetic, Poplet, screencasting w/ Screenchomp and Showme, ExplainEverything
For Special Education, she has 12 students w/ IEP's in her classroom. She screencasts the assessments and that allows her to individualize.

She is now using only free apps.
She has them on her "Teach Like it's 2999" blog.

If you have money to burn, eSpark Leanring can assess students to find out the apps they need.

 How are YOU going to redefine learning for your students?

TIES 11: Creating Student Centered Mobile Learning Networks using Facebook, Twitter and Cell Phones

Mike Slowinski, from West De Pere High School in Wisconsin shared how he is integrating social media collaboration in his session on "Creating Student-Centered Mobile Learning Networks Using Facebook, Twitter, and Cell Phones."
He used the analogy of Frutios vs. Fruitloops to demonstrate that students prefer using certain tools, and while "walled garden" type products may look and taste like more popular sites, when push comes to shove, students want to use the tools they're comfortable with.

He started in their district with Facebook
  • Dual Identitiy (Social-Social vs. Professional-Social)
  • Professional Account (WDP-FirstnameLastname)
  • Symbolic Picture
  • Limited to School Activities
 Students were asking questions outside of class all the time. Facebook message/Inbox was used a lot. Students didn't have to put out perceived "dumb questions" in class, and allowed organic questions. Also posted on Wall.

Twitter Integration
Some students may not log in to Professional-Social at home, so a few students felt it was less invasive to follow the teacher on Twitter.
Facebook Twitter App was used to post Tweets to his Teacher Facebook wall.

Cell Phone integration, so that students were able to receive Twitter updates via their cell phone.
Less missing work, students engaged, reminders around 5:30 were good prompts.
Facebook Pages/Groups for parents as well. Mike posted video updates, that parents could then view on their wall. They found it more personable, and parents felt that they knew him better come conference time.

He created pages for clubs, and then was able to create events for different activities. This helped with planning.

His West Depere Library page allows him to communicate about new apps or other activities, and students can "like" the page with their social account, as long as their privacy settings are set to Friends Only.
He also reverses the process with Facebook posting to Twitter.

After showing some sample activity pages on multimedia research on an artist and the book "1984" in which he included collaboration with students at Kent State University and the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire,  Slowinski showed how he created an LMS workflow for "The Facebook Classroom.
Students used the notes feature to blog, and incorporated pages for the
Slowinski incorporated PollEverywhere for cell phone integration, and kept his cell phone use to texting as opposed to advanced features on Smart Phones, which most students didn't have. Anticipatory set, quick surveys and exit cards were some of the ways he incorporated them.
He embedded a poll on the controversy over "race-based mascots" in a neighboring district and solicited community response on his Website. He also uses Google SMS and ChaCha.
Hashtags on Twitter are another method of incorporating cell phones into the classroom through backchannelling. His Twitter feed is embedded on his Website.
Slowinski identifies the following benefits to his methodology:
  • Differentiation
  • Increased student motivation
  • 21st Century Literacy
  • Collaboration
  • 24/7 classroom
He feels this provides more authentic learning in his classroom.
Doug Johnson noted that Facebook wants everyone to only have one account, and Slowinski acknowledged that he is probably in violation, but feels the benefits outweigh the risks.

Monday, December 12, 2011

TIES 11: I-Imagine Waking Up A Generation To Their Own Greatness-Bernajean Porter

Bernajean Porter, an internationally known shared her work on Digital Storytelling, shared  i-Imagine, a project she has been working for the last few years to work on student engagement with telling their story.

If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more, you are a TRUE leader-John Adams
77% of students report being bored at school.
Only 14% report having "Hope."
She asked, what is the role of IQ in a persons success? 4-8%
EQ-the Emotional Quota, of dreams and aspirations are much more important!
This CAN be instilled in students, but it needs brains on fire and hearts alive!
We need to go to "higher ground" to get at what kids really need.
She gave an example of a kid who was given the assignment of "drawing a city." He chose to use MineCraft to design it instead, and narrated over it.
 He gave a virtual tour of the emersive world that he had created for the assignment. What the student created is similar to this

Porter has seen technology get assimilated to do things that used to be done without, and not have an impact. She argues that we need to transform. Tapping into spaces where kids can connect and dream with the world is what needs to happen. 75% of learning is "Informal Learning!"
She thinks that we can serve the kinds of things for our students AND meet the accountability expectations of our politicians.
Educate-Can we be creative enough to use the power of technology to make this happen.

Reggio-Amelia philosophy is at the heart of this.
When technology innitiatives take place, pedagogy, like "students as documenters of their own learning," needs to roll with it! She gave a project going on in Canada right now with young students and iPads as an example of how this should and can happen.
Examples of students finding their passion, w/ technology as the power source.
When students find their passion, it changes the relationship between all their other studies!
How can we unleash that passion?

She shared a couple of quotes...
"I cannot do all the good the world needs. But the world needs all the good I can do
-Jana Stanfield
Yong Zhao-"No child has ever asked someone to standardize me!"

Students need Agency for their own learning!
Wake up the believer and dreamer in each student.
If you don't like the story you're standing in, start a new one!
It changes the maker and the destination!
In Sparks, Peter Benson talks about community connections resulting in higher grades, The Hope Survey

Assignment: Future of Me
Create your own future story, showing as many details of possible of what your life will be like.
  • Vision Videos
  • Docu-Dramas-As if your younger you has grown up
  • Neuroplasticity-What do you want to be right about? The brain organizes around the thought you decide to hold.
Reality is what we all agree is possible/not possible
When you buy technology, you're not buying tools, but learning stories.
Imagine it to be real, and then organize towards it. 

They are just wrapping up the teachers guide right now. They have created a "scrapbook" , and they found that "holding" the book, made it more meaningful for students.

Personal Passion-students didn't know what it looked like! 

Porter discussed having to follow Jane Goodall at a conference, talking about the passion she had for animals and Africa. There she met Louis Leakey, and the rest is history.....

Minot, ND-Students activating and learning together on the project.

She then gave some examples of student work.
One student became a game-creator and built a house big enough to allow his mom to live there so he could support her as a way to "pay her back" for all of her support bringing him up!
Zhou-What if we had "talent-oriented curriculum?"

She left us with a challenge of looking for student passion, and being a sponsor of at least one of those students! She feels that technology can ignite some of that passion, and with our support, kids can make a difference!
Ask kids to be their "wiser self, giving advice to their younger self!"
We have a sacred promise when we become teachers to unleash students passion to take over the world!

TIES 11: Keynote-Joel Rose

Joel Rose Presenting at TIES11
Joel Rose, the co-founder of School of One.
Started as a summer school program in 2009, moved to after-school and in school in 2010. Last year, 1500 students in 3 schools mostly for math.
He says right now that it is 40% baked. School of One students showed an extra 1/2 to full year of growth.

He taught for 3 years in Houston
Horace Mann trip to Prussia
33% graduate and go on to college,
33% graduate but need remediation
33% drop out

Teachers high turn over
Satisfaction, 40% disheartened
Why is the job so hard? Look at the plate!

Who donates to public education? (Zuckerberg, Walton Family, Gates, )
All of the top donors don't add up to the unpaid hours a week that classroom teachers donate every year!
And it's NOT tax deductable!
The challenge of differentiation....Huge amount of time to personalize assessment.
If we're serious about personalizing learning, we need multiple modalities to view instruction
  • Live Teacher
  • Collaboratively
  • Virtually w/ Live teacher
  • Individually w/ printed materials and software
In the traditional model, the number of skills at one time, no more than 5. Today, if 1/2 get it and 1/2 fail, the delema is whether to move forward or refresh. The time we waste is astonishing!
If we have multiple modalities in a learning space, we can differentiate more effectively.
This is the concept of School of One.

Students are assessed on learning modality and create playlists for them for a given curriculum.
Because School of One was part of New York Public Schools, publishers responded, and they created banks of lessons. 5,000 for math alone, with tagging
They didn't say to the teachers, we have all this data now, good luck!
They created a learning algorithm, that is similar to an airport scheduling system.
Students take 5 question assessments at the end of each day, and this provides information to determine their schedule for the following day. They color code Green, Yellow or Red (incorporating traffic patterns into the metaphor.)
8 ways to learn, 5 are live, 3 on computer. The algorithm teachers feel gives them good feedback and more information to prescribe learning for the following day. Students appear in their promotional video to be very excited and engaged!

What's different for teachers?
  1. Reduced Administrative Burden
  2. Thoughtful Collaboration- 
  3. Specialization- Teachers become experts in very specific mathematical concepts.
  4. Real Time Scheduling- They "know" that every student prescribed a lesson are "ready" for that lesson.
  5. Different Adult-Student Dynamics -Students WANT to move on
  6. Average class size 7-12
Will this mean teachers will lose their jobs?
A resounding NO! U.S. Bureau of Labor and Statistics says that as industries like law, banking, librarians and accounting have incorporated technology, employment has gone up. (Some librarians may dispute this!)
Data entry, Printing machine operators, file clerks he admits have gone down. What makes the difference? Judgement! Rose said that teachers make over 1,000 decisions during the school day. More than Brain Surgeons! He said that teaching positions will go up 13% by 2018.

If we as a community can move from technology as a tool to an entirely different delivery model!
In summary:
Current model 150 years old
Differentiation hard
119 billion in unpaid hours to do job well
We need to collectivey
Teachers can be the big winners....
Overall, I liked the message. Still not sure about the way they use to go about it...I didn't really see any higher level thinking going on. I didn't see students creating, or presenting. Maybe this happens in the Face-to-Face interactions, but it wasn't evident in Rose's presentation.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Looking Forward to TIES11!

Next week I'll be in downtown Minneapolis, for the 2011 TIES Conference. I'm really excited this year, because our district will have a large presence at the conference, both attending AND presenting! We were fortunate to have 14 staff get accepted this year, including many from our Teaching and Technology Cohort! I'm proud to see how that group has stepped up and taken a leadership role within the district, as well as outside! It's great to share!

When I attend a conference, I try to strike a balance between:
  • Attending sessions (Ones that "sound good" and Speakers I'm interested in learning from)
  • Networking with colleagues face-to-face (As opposed to Virtually Here)
  • Visiting the vendor area to explore trends

Here are some of the highlights and sessions that I'm looking forward to.
This year's strands include:
  • Personal learning and digital-age learning experiences
  • Personal growth and leadership practice for educators
  • Personal responsibility and digital-age citizenship
  • Technical support and infrastructure
Flipped Classroom Community of Interest with Jason Just
I taught with Jason and his wife in Lakeville, and he has been working towards flipped instruction for quite some time. His work was recently featured in the St. Paul Pioneer Press.
Using Google Docs and Moodle to Teach Collaboratively
Our district uses both, and it's always good to learn how others are incorporating to compare notes!
Leslie Fischer-Cell Phones in the Classroom
Leslie will share tips for harnessing tools for learning that exist in students pockets!

9:00 Keynote: Joel Rose-School of One Founder 
Mr. Rose will be speaking on Designing the New Classroom, though I am not sure that it's the type of classroom I would like to work in, or send my children to. While I like the concept of personalizing learning, the methods the School of One employ to provide this seem to "depersonalize" learning. I'll try to keep an open mind!
Claude Sigmund in the 21st Century Classroom
Troy Cherry from TIES has helped to put together a 21st Century Classroom demonstration room at the conference, and we are fortunate to have Claude and some of his students there to model learning in that space by "Interconnecting Primary Documents in Social Studies! I hope all of our contingent has a chance to stop by to see this learning space at some point during the conference to gather ideas on the essential instructional and learning tools in a 21st Century classroom.
Karen Cator: Transforming American Education, Learning Powered by Technology 
Karen is the Director of Educational Technology for the U.S. Department of Education, and developed the National Educational Technology Plan. Personally, I think it should be our National Education Plan! (Note: Cator may not be there, but this session will still take place and the information is important!)

Claude and students continued...
Bernajean Porter-I-imagine: Waking Up a Generation for Their Own Greatness
Bernajean  is a internationally renowned leader in Educational Technology and Digital Storytelling.  Learn how students can create multimedia docudramas tied to their own life goals.
Hilary Goldmann- The Election, Policy and You: How You Can Affect Change
Hilary Goldmann, ISTE's Director of Government Affairs will share the importance of advocacy with our governmental leaders. Even if you are unable to attend the session, stop by the ETAN booth at the conference and let your voice be heard!
Project Based Learning for Global Competence
Strategies for including 21st Century Skills and Project based learning to increase global literacy
Christian Long-Design Thinking: An Agile Teaching and Learning Methodology
I first was introduced to Christian when he was still in the classroom, and followed two of the most interesting learning projects I have ever seen, the Alice Project and the TED Project. Now, Christian works for Cannon Design and is an international leader in designing learning spaces.


Laurie Toll and Lisa Koch- Creating Digital Science Stories
Laurie and Lisa from Weaver Lake Elementary in Osseo have been pioneers not only in science instruction, but also implementation of Bring Your Own Devices. In this session they will share methods of incorporating that methodology using Digital Stories.

Keynote: Jane McGonigal: Reality is Broken: Why Games Make Us Better and How they Can Change the World
McGonigal's TED Talk and book, has catapulted her to the forefront of the "gamification" movement. TIES has really stepped up the last few years with getting top-notch keynote speakers, and McGonigal is no exception!

10:40 Lot's of good sessions here!
Bring Your Own Device Community of Interest
Osseo's Dawn Nelson will lead this session exploring best practice.
Flipped Professional Development
Stillwater's Wayne Feller and Kristin Daniels have done some innovative things flipping their PD. In this session they will share their methodology and resources.
Going Ga Ga for Googlios: Google Based ePortfolios
Jen Hegna and her team from Byron, MN will be sharing some of their work on the integration of electronic portfolios at the High School Level.
Images Before Words
Ben Friesen shares how to leverage images and media to engage your students.
Chris Dede- Transforming Education for the 21st Century
Harvard Professor Chris Dede has been a leader in educational technology for many years, and I am a big fan. Here he shares how schools utilize tools to improve our teaching, assessment and links between schools and communities.

Mark Garrison's 50 Sites in 50 Minutes
Get there early! This one is always a crowd pleaser, and showcases some great tools for learning!
Data-Driven Personalized Learning Through iCivics and Gamified Learning
Minnesota Secretary of State, Mark Ritchie, along with teacher Ananth Pai will showcase how this site, developed by former Supreme Court Justice, Sandra Day O'Connor has engaged students in Minnesota.

Are Open-Source Flexbooks in Your Future?
Anoka staff share their implementation of an electronic text-book for Probability and Statistics.
Gaming in Classrooms: The Possibilities and Realities
This should be a fascinating panel discussion featuring Chris Dede, Jane McGonigal and Bernajean Porter.
Increasing Student Access with Personal Owned Devices
Tim Wilson, Chief Technology Officer in Osseo Public Schools will share

Student Created Common Craft Videos
Teachers from St. Michael-Albertville will share the process that goes into this fun, engaging assignment.
Doug Johnson-Using Personal Devices to Motivate Rather Than Distract
Doug Johnson is one of my favorite presenters and bloggers! Here, he shares some simple rules that help you make the most of these devices that are increasingly common in the classroom. 
Whew! There are MANY OTHER great sessions, these are just a few of the highlights. The conference planning tool can be found here, and  the Wiki with presenter materials can be found here.

Now off to finish my presentation on PD for Blended Instruction (Tuesday December 13, 2011 1:20pm - 2:10pm @ Greenway F/G)!! See you there! ;-)

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

The Power of a Hashtag! #EduWin

Last summer in Philadelphia I had the opportunity to attend Edubloggercon 2011, an "un-conference" where participants can suggest topics for discussion, and then anyone interested can attend and participate in the sharing/learning.
That's me in the middle!
After the lunch break, the following session, proposed by Scott Meech, caught my eye:
Why isn't education on the front page of the news?
Posted By smeech

With as much discussion taking place online about education, why isn't it on the front page? Let's talk about strategies to push this important discussion to the forefront in a positive and meaningful way.
Just like Scott, I too had been frustrated by the education bashing that seemed to permeate the media landscape. I was glad to hear that I wasn't alone!
During the session, he shared some of the work that he and other educators have been doing at, a site devoted to sharing what is working in education.
As we were talking, Meech brought up the idea that all kinds of really great things are happening in schools, but as singular stories, they don't seem significant for the media to have an interest. If there were some way for us to aggregate them, we might be able to create interest. 
Now realize, we were at a technology conference, and we had just all witnessed the amazing impact of social media during the Arab Spring. The idea of adding a "Hashtag" to tweets, videos, blog posts seemed like a no-brainer! 

Tagging posts with searchable words like #egypt, #syria or #tunisia can allow aggregation of data with powerful results. To the left, is a screencast I made of my Twitter feed showing the tag #egypt on February 1st. The amount of information was staggering, and this was AFTER they had started blocking the Internet! Click play to see what I mean!
So as we were talking, I sent out the following tweet:

Brendan Murphy, a math educator from Illinois and grad school colleague tweeted back with "What about #eduwin?"
I shared that with the group, and there seemed to be consensus that it made sense, as there could be more than one meaning to the term!

Candace Shively, an educator from Pennsylvania, and a fellow participant in the session wrote a great post reflecting on the session and the aftermath. In it, she included practical suggestions for when and how to use the tag to share the great things you are doing in your classroom! From her post....
Here is how it works:
  • Every time you see a change in a student because of something that clicked, write about it in a tweet or a blog post, hashtagged #eduwin.
  • Every time you see another teacher do something that works, share it, hashtagged #eduwin.
  • Every time you see a tweet from another educator  about the way students are LEARNING, retweet it or share it on Facebook, hashtagged #eduwin.
  • When you’re having a bad day, set up a Twitter search or do one on Google (when they get Real Time working again), looking for items hashtagged #eduwin.
  • When you hear people griping about the state of education today, share a story you saw hashtagged #eduwin.
  • When your class does projects, shoot some video and upload the clips of kids talking about what they did to YouTube, hashtagged #eduwin (cute kids or kittens can’t hurt…)
  • When a parent volunteer wants to be helpful, ask him/her to take some pictures of the good things going on in your class (maybe from the back or close-ups of hands so there is no concern about identifiable pictures) and share them on Flickr or Facebook, hashtagged #eduwin.
  • When your kids make glogs, Voicethreads, or other online projects that shout powerful evidence of learning, add the hashtag #eduwin to the very best examples (and resist the urge to put the hashtag on ones that could be appreciated without context)
  • When you give awards to your students, us the title EDUWIN on the awards.
  • When that one non-reader finally recognizes the sight words, clap and say “EDUWIN!”
  • Collaborate every day with teacher colleagues on the digital storytelling of EDUWIN
Now, Meech and the folks at have taken it a step further! They've created a site for all of us to share out our stories of #EduWins.They have created,, a site where you can quickly and easily share your stories!
I think this is a great positive way to share the good things that are happening.
I hope you'll join the movement, and start a trend!