Saturday, May 11, 2013

Minnesota Google Summit: Ask the Genius Team

Ben Friesen moderated this session with a group students, made up mostly of the Hopkins "Genius Team," fielding questions that Minnesota Google Summit attendees had for students. 
The first question was what technology coming out was the most interesting to them.
Here were their responses:

Here are some of the questions and their answers...

Which tool do you prefer? 
Despite the slide, there was a mixture of student response regarding which tool they prefer. They gave good rationale for which tool worked for them, but iPads seemed to win the day.

Do you like positions of leadership in your school? 
Yes, but not when their friends stop talking to them 'cause they're using Snapchat and don't want to get caught!

What has been your favorite use of technology in the classroom?
Students seem to really like Nearpod for comparing note and staying engaged in class. Youtube and Google docs for collaboration has been cool! 

Why should I care about Twitter. How should I use it with 5th Graders?

  • Homework-You could tweet out homework and the student could use something like Notability to annotate and turn it in.
  • Students could get help from each other.
  • They think right now it's mostly overlooked by teachers.
  • One student said Twitter is a place for teens, not for teachers to "stalk their students." It would lose the 
  • "Yeah, but remember the days when e-mail was cool?"
Kids today think that some of the accounts they create are anonymous and don't realize that they can be tracked! Friesen mentioned that the team will be exploring social media in the coming weeks. "Your online presence should get you IN to college and open opportunities rather than keep you OUT!"

Describe where your use of digital devices enhanced your learning
Many students mentioned their use of Nearpod for giving feedback. A teacher in the room said it was a game changer. "There is no front of the room anymore!"
BrainPop is engaging and easy to understand. 

All of the students have access to the App store and do "R and D" on tools that all students should have.

What goes through your head when a teacher is fumbling with technology?
  • Let the kids teach themselves
  • give students "free time" to explore the app prior to starting the project
  • frustration depends on the activity
  • Teachers should know a little bit about the app
  • "iBooks get tedious and boring."
If you had a 20% project, what would it be?
  • Create an app for school to use, a way for students to give feedback on teacher performance (Has to be constructive!)
What does the Genius bar time look like? What works well? What's hard?
  • Students come during study time
  • 2 people at a time works best
  • Glad to get out of "boring class!"
  • Unapproved apps on friends devices is hard
  • Scheduling students is sometimes hard
  • 75 applied, 20 were selected, Had to go through "Ninja training" until they became a "Black Belt" prior to joining.
The students shared the effective ways that their teacher have taught or encouraged creative thinking. Movies, Stopmotion, Haiku deck, Brainpop, Moodle and Class Dojo were mentioned. I thought it was fascinating that many of the tools that kids said they liked were more teacher centered tools! One student mentioned the distracting qualities of the iPad when she first brought it home. Having tool like that set some limits, has benefit, though might stifle creativity. It might be cool if there was an "academic zone" where certain apps weren't available, like the "quiet zone," for no notifications! Some one in the crowd suggested that as a 20% project!

Friesen has done a great job with this group, and they represented themselves well as assistants and presenters at the conference! I hope including students as presenters and participants is a trend that continues, like at Educon!

Minnesota Google Summit: Google Drive Add-Ons to Bring Home to Mom!

Eric Simmons, Technology Director in New Ulm, Minnesota shared some suggested applications to add on to Google Drive

When you are in Google Drive, you can select, Add more Apps now when creating a document in Drive to enhance your experience. The great thing is, that once you create something with the new application, it saves to your Drive account for easy access and sharing.

The first he shared, was Pixlr Editor, a great online photo editing tool.

Concept Board is an app that is a Web based White Board that can be shared like a Google Doc. It's easy to share and allow easy annotation. Great for large group collaboration right from the student's seat! I see some great benefits, but might also allow for mischief with anonymous posts.

Floor Planner has some nice design capabilities and is free if you do 1 project per month.

WeVideo is a great tool for collaborative video editing. Simmons demonstrated how you can record on the fly or upload video for easy editing. In 3 minutes he had created a video and shared it back into his Google Drive account. 
The nice thing about video in Drive, is that students can go to the File menu and publish to the Web right from Drive. Great for students under 13 who do not have access to YouTube accounts.

PowToon Edu is a Web based tool for creating multimedia content. There are some issues with accessing within drive, but it seemed to work well by cancelling and going right to the site. It's a great tool for adding information in creative ways.

LucidChart is a graphic organizer tool that allows for concept mapping and mind mapping right inside apps. I know of at least one teacher in Edina who loves it and uses it with his students! Here is one that Simmons quickly generated and shared out to the folks at the conference. It includes a MIND MAP feature that keeps all content organized by color when you add that to your map. Great for keeping organizational structure! You can also drag in iPad and iPhone icons to create "how to" documents.

Video is a great way for kids to add notes to a video and have it saved in Google Drive. Here are some notes from Ramsey Mussallam's TED talk. 

Voice Comments from is actually a Chrome App, that once installed allows you to open a Google Doc with Voice Comments to allow you to annotate with voice right on a doc. This would be nice for teachers who want to give formative feedback to students.

There are many more examples on the Website, including info on how to manage apps within Drive.

We've included many of these suggestions for Chrome Apps on our eLearning2 student site, but this session has some great ideas on more to share! 

2013 Minnesota Google Summit: Keynote by Jim Sill

Molly Schroeder welcomed participants to the Minnesota Google Summit, talking about some of the philosophies of Google that we can take to with us into the classroom.

  • Launch early and iterate. 
  • Providing "permissionless innovation!" 
  • We all should be in beta
Jim Sill, a Google Certified Teacher and Apple Distinguished Educator, kicked off the conference talking about "The World of Wild and Reckless Creativity."
He talked first about growing up in the '80s, with MTV and Madonna, and "living in a material world." What world do we live in today?
  • We live in a Twitter World #thisisnotasubtweet
  • We live in an Instagram World #selfies (There's a many toilets show up?) There is a lot of self-branding, whether people know it or not!
  • We live in a YouTube World (Over 1 Billion views of Gagnam Style!)
  • We live in a GoPro World 
Then he asked the audience, "What World Do You Live In?" Here are some of the thoughts my colleague and I came up with:
Time to live in some of these worlds, opportunities for connection, need to find the balance living in a digitally connected and face to face connected world, "If I'm here with you-Be with me in the now!"

We make up lots of excuses for why we don't allow these tools in the classroom. Sill argued that when he was born in 1970, and is a "bicycle native." He notes that when they first came out, they were considered, "diabolical!" People said that people would stop interacting with one another when the newspaper came out, and that schools and printing would lead to learning and disobedience!

Fear stops us from moving forward as teachers. We need a push. For many in the room, that day is today!

His first push was Google Docs. He started using them in 2007, and he was on  a Google Doc at 11 at night with students he didn't particularly care for, and he realized that his classroom was accessible 24 hours a day! 
Initially when collaboration happens, there is chaos. Here is what he has found:
  • Order will find it's own way
  • How can you have creativity without risk?
  • Fear REALLY messes things out!-Death by risk aversion
Keep Trying! Creating a world where kids can lose their balance and get it back in the "wild nature of creativity" is critical!

"We teach creativity out of kids."
-Sir Ken Robinson

Sill suggests that we "slap a saddle on and ride it!"
Cultivating the idea with the potential to impact and authentic audience is empowering for students. 

He asked us to look at this image and asked us to guess what it is?
Zoom in thinking is powerful, because we find our original ideas don't always add up. 

It turns out to be this!

Mastery, Purpose and Autonomy are needed to build intrinsic motivation.
-Daniel Pink in Drive
What's the recipe for creativity? Sill mentioned a talk he heard where Ken Robinson was asked "how to make kids creative?" Robinson said, "I don't know!" Sill argued that the key is to go in "fearless!"

Once you create the culture of creativity, you need to be prepared for giving kids an outlet so that they can "change the world with these ideas!"

He shared some of the projects his students put together on youth alcohol abuse, teen pregnancy and Shakespeare

He was amazed what happens when he gives students freedom to be creative!

So "What tools will you use to change the world you live in?" 
We are living in a "      " world, and we are a "      " boy/girl!

Friday, May 3, 2013

Being Remarkable! EHS Senior Students Complete Standford MOOC

This fall, Stanford University hosted a Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) called, "Designing a New Learning Environment." Lead by Dr. Paul Kim, the course invited participants to interact globally to design learning environments  of the future.
I saw a post from, Brendan Murphy, a former grad school colleague, and thought that it might be a good learning opportunity paired with the Secondary Academic program study that Edina Schools has been working on. I forwarded this on to our Teaching and Learning Coordinator, Randy Smasal, who then contacted Stanford. Smasal wondered if Dr. Kim would like to use our district as a case study for groups to consider as a design project. Ultimately a couple of groups developed projects based around Edina, and we are working to incorporate some of their ideas. Additional projects from the course can be found here.

When Smasal shared this with building leaders, our high school principal, Bruce Locklear, and assistant principal, Eric Nelson wondered if it might be a good activity for some of our seniors, who due to calendar anomalies needed to make up 8 hours of work to comply with graduation requirements.
We incorporated the MOOC option into our Senior Extended Learning Opportunities Course.

Roughly a dozen students initially signed up for the course, which included over 20,000 participants from around the world. In the end, the following ten students completed all of the course requirements for the MOOC. Their projects can be found here, and here.

Kristen Woodhouse 
Emilia Seery
William Benjamin
Aditya Salagram
Brooke Scheerer
Lexi Worthy
Reid Hirschey
Paige Thompson
Sara Eslamlou
Tyler Norgren

Given that many of the students were taking blended courses at EHS, the students chose to focus their projects on Blended Learning and how that has impacted their learning in high school.

Last week, we were contacted by Roz Hussin, an Instructional Design Technology Specialist at the University of Nebraska, Lincoln to inform us that 9 of the students had met the course requirements, and if she could visit with the students on behalf of Dr. Kim via a Google Hangout.

During the hangout conversation, the students talked about the blended learning courses they had participated in, and how they felt, "it has prepared us for our future!" One student mentioned that in the blended American Literature course, she felt she had learned much more than in a traditional face to face class. In AP Economics, students were able to go back to listen over again to the flipped video lectures, and felt better prepared to take the AP exam. In Mass Media, students commented that they had been exposed to a wide variety of tools to demonstrate their learning, and had published their final projects to an authentic audience. 

Hussin asked the students about whether they had put together a digital portfolio (ePortfolio) of their work. Some of the students had, using a blog in their Project Lead the Way course, and just this year, Valey View Middle School has begun incorporating  ePortfolio's using Google Sites for student-led-conferences. Then Hussin asked a question:

Dr. Kim is working on a book, scheduled to come out in December around the topic of designing learning environments. Would you students be interested in contributing a chapter around blended learning, and your experience in the Designing a New Learning Environment MOOC?

The students enthusiastically replied YES!! 

It was thrilling to see these remarkable students share their learning experiences and step up to the opportunity to collaborate globally during the class, and step up to the publishing opportunity provided to them today by Dr. Hussin and Dr. Kim. With some collaborative effort this summer, they will have the opportunity to be published authors during their first semester of college, and share the positive ways blended learning has impacted them in Edina! Remarkable!