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TIES 2013 Keynote: Mimi Ito on Connected Learning

Mizuko "Mimi" Ito, cultural anthropologist and Research Director of the Digital Media and Learning Hub, was the Tuesday Keynote at the 2013 TIES Conference.

There is a lot of talk today about social media and video games distracting and socially isolating children, but Ito is optimistic.
There is a readiness and openness to cross the barriers between what students are doing with technology inside school and outside school.
Her son's school started a MineCraft elective, through a student petition.
The students not only got their interest sponsored, but learned shared governance and engagement. It also allowed Ito to peer in to the world of students today.

How can young people make the most of today's abundance of information and social connection?

How do WE develop stronger connections between in-school and out of school learning? This isn't new! It's similar to Dewey's vision of merging education and life. If mobilized in particular ways, today's technology…

TIES 2013: Marc Prensky Practical Future-Cation

At his opening keynote this morning, Marc Prensky gave a 50,000 foot view of Future-Cation, a phrase he has coined to talk about what we should be teaching.
The keynote did not have a lot of meat, and he promised more detail in the afternoon, so I decided to check it out.

Future-cation is not just "adding technology."
If you are writing w/ technology and only write, that i

Future-Cation is a state of mind. Thinking about the future in everything you do.
Seeing things in new ways.

A dozen things it means practically:

No Best Practices-A lot of people running around to see what's going on in Finland. By the time you get back, you are further behind. Invent new ones instead! Change what we do, every time we do it!Seeing Preparing Kids for the Future as YOUR Job!-It's easy to ask, "Tell me what to do?!" Ask your students! Assign one of your students as a tech advisor for each unit.Viewing tech not as the enemy, add-on, hindrance or something optional but as the founda…

TIES 2013: Suzie Boss: Preparing Today's Students To Be Tomorrow's Innovators

Suzie Boss,  National faculty member from the Buck Institute, talked about the importance of innovation.
Her background is PBL and writing/reporting as a member of the press.
Innovation is a big topic lately.
How can we bring innovation to schools?
Is peanut butter pop-tarts innovation? Who are the innovators?
Ghana library similar to the Carnegie Library. Empty Space with people deciding what goes in there. Kickstarter funded.
D-Rev High performance knee replacement.
Studio H Public High School “Design, Build, Transform” curriculum. The community donated the land, and the high school students in North Carolina developed a High School for them.
Maker Fair
Maker spaces lately are great incubators of innovation. Thomas Edison's workshop had a pipe organ. You can't be thinking problem solving, 24/7! They used the organ to take breaks, and get refreshed. This made them idea factories! Where do our students get refreshed, to revive their innovation energy?
Usually things start small and c…

TIES 2013: Tim Wilson-Embracing BYOD

Osseo Public Schools Chief Technical Officer, Tim Wilson, spoke at the TIES conference on Embracing BYOD. He said that despite a recent referendum that will lead them to a larger 1:1 initiative, they will continue to support BYOD.
Session collaborative notes can be found here.
Wilson noted the importance of "Getting Clear About the Why!"
For many years, we have tried to standardized IT to be exactly the same because it makes our lives easier! It is very restrictive! The rest of the world thinks differently about things!

Cut IT folks some slack though, because that "one size fits all" aproach has been best practice.

They started w/ only 3 schools in their move towards BYOD with Project Copernicus. Organic/Evolutionary model. It was the right approach at the time.

Why NOT BYOD?
SecurityNetwork capacity/BandwidthTech supportEquityPlatformsStaff Development-How do we prepare staff to be competent to deal w/ the devicesClassroom managementFear of changeGetting 4’s and 5’s on A…

TIES 2013: Andrew Vanden-Heuvel-The Future of Learning is Here!

Andrew Vanden-Heuvel, a former astronomer turned educator shared his thoughts on the future of learning. He currently serves as an online educator in Michigan.
Cosmic issue: Solve the poverty problem
Education can do that.

Purpose of school is to help kids find their passion.
The problem is that "school is boring!"
How can we make school engaging?
Too often we think that technology is the answer for technologies sake.
The real question is how to make LEARNING engaging?
Gamification
It's everywhere. Reward cards, video games, etc. The reason they are interesting is that they can be fun.
What kind of gamification do we want at school?
Target cashiers get a score for the speed of checking someone out, with tracking of score and number of sales. Would this work in school?

One mentioned the importance of clear learning targets.
Identifies those not scoring well and allows the teacher to differentiate.
I see similarities with this and the tool, Kahoot! It provides some motivation and "…

Hour of Code at EHS

This year for Computer Science Education Week, Code.org has sponsored an Hour of Code, an initiative to introduce computer programming to over 10 million students around the globe. Code.org was started by Hadi Partovi, a former Microsoft Group Program Manager.
(As of this writing on Monday, over 2.5 million students had already written more than 59,000,000 lines of code!)

Here in Edina, Computer Science teacher Nancy Johnson got on board with the project, and working with her students developed a schedule for all High School math classes to spend one hour during the week learning to Code. They created publicity, posters, and chose the tutorial activities they thought their peers would enjoy the most. We put them onto this Website.
 In addition, through the generous support of Rae Bolingsworth from the Microsoft Store, on Friday cake will be served at all lunches to celebrate the life of computer pioneer, Grace Murray Hopper!  



Students for the most part have been really engaged in the pro…

Learning IS Social...Connecting and The Power of the Network!

Today, I was listening to NPR, when the announcer mentioned that coming up on Science Friday, there would be a discussion with author, Matthew Lieberman regarding his new book, Social: Why Our Brains Are Wired to Connect. I was intrigued, as: 
It is Connected Educator Monthand it sounded like it would provide scientific research behind the importance of connecting.Provide support to those who believe "learning is social."Provide support for Connectivist MOOC experiences, like Open Online Experience (OOE13), which I have been participating in.Provide good background for my TIES session in December!
So I sent out this tweet:

I enjoyed the segment and took some notes that will be useful. Then the following happened:



It's not every day that you hear a segment about a book that you are interested in, and a half hour later you're having a dialog with the author. That is the POWER of being connected!  I am definitely interested in reading Lieberman's book. I think it has gre…

EdCampMSP: Lunchtime Conversation

Talking about teachers "Asking kids for help" as an important way to engage students. #edcampMSP
— Michael Walker (@micwalker) October 12, 2013

I was having lunch today at EdCampMSP with some great folks from Byron, MN and Little Falls.
Neil Adruschak was commenting on his experience with the Little Falls 1:1 iPad roll out.
In year one, he got a call from a teacher, asking for help learning how to use Keynote on the iPad.
Neil had never used it, and suggested that instead, the teacher ask his kids to show him how it was done.
The next morning 25 out of 25 students showed up in his classroom, eager to share their knowledge of how to make a presentation in Keynote.
A week later, the teacher called again, this time to learn how to use another product. Neil asked, "how did you learn to use Keynote?" "Oh, yeah!," said the teacher as he hung up.

This year, teachers like the one above, who had highly engaged, motivated students in their classrooms, had step-by-step gu…

A Letter From the BYOD Trenches

Today, I received an e-mail from Chris Hoffman, one of our 8th Grade Math Teachers at Valley View Middle School. For the last 4 years or so, Chris has been working to flip his curriculum. Last year, he included a project where students created a video example for all of the power standards in his course. He also built an AP Statistics course from scratch, and included many videos to assist students as they worked through the curriculum. Based on his student's performance, it was very successful! I asked him permission to share his note with my readers, and he said it would be ok. 

I do the flipped classroom. After a brief agenda overview and summary from the video lessons I help students with homework for the bulk of the 85 minute block and today, their practice test for the upcoming unit assessment. The two students in the photograph spent a few minutes with me working on reviewing sign changes when solving equations in algebra. I mentioned they should transfer what we reviewed on…

eLearning2 in the High School Chemistry Classroom

Edina High School Chemistry teacher, Gavin McLean has begun incorporating student devices into his instruction. Last year, 9th grade students were given the option to participate in our eLearning2 initiative.
Last spring, McLean recognized that those students would be coming to the high school with devices, and began brainstorming ways that he could incorporate them.


Early on, he worried about student devices in his lab space. He saw potential for students to enter their observations electronically, but worried about devices getting damaged if they were on the lab surface. He took it upon himself to build stands that students could use in the lab. Color coded for each station, they provide students with a stable platform to set their Chromebook, laptop or tablet on. 4 Chemistry classrooms are now outfitted for students to bring devices.

I had a chance to stop by a lab to see students in action. They have been were doing some identification and entering in data into a shared Google Doc. I…

MDE:Sketchup in the Classroom

Doug Paulson, K-12 STEM specialist at the Minnesota Department of Education shared information about the state license Minnesota has for Sketchup Pro, a Computer Aided Design program.
The Pro version can be translated into other CAD programs as well, and it can be shared within presentations to show 3D drawings and build understanding of the real world. 
Paulson shared how the flow of ideas between the practice of science to the practice of engineering to the interactions of science, engineering and society can be set up on each grade level.
Paulson had us open Sketchup and begin learning to use the tools.


He discussed how using these tools, and allowing students to add the colors and textures that they wanted allowed them to explore design. With 4th graders, he had them design solar ovens, and then had them discuss why their design would be the best. Then he had them actually build and test it out.
This can be used to have students build bridges or other structures, and put them into Goog…

MDE GIS for Inquiry in the Classroom

The State of Minnesota Department of Education has a state-wide license for Geographical Information Systems. On September 27th, I had a chance to attend a training at MDE to learn more.
Applications:
In social studies, Substrand 1 on Geospacial Skills, have two standards where technology is embeded. Students are to formulate questions on topics in geography and use geospatial technology to analyze problems and make decisions within a spatial context. GIS is a great tool for this. 
Authentic problems, like transportation and flooding can be addressed.

In science, students are to use maps, satellite images and other data sets to describe pattersn and make predictions about natural systems in a life science context. Students could use GIS to use online data sets to compare wildlife populations or water quality within Minnesota.

Sara Damon, a social studies teacher from Stillwater Public Schools talked about Spatial Thinking with Geotechnologies. Sheis a strong advocate for real-world tools t…