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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!


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