Thursday, March 27, 2014

Digital Age Learning: Student Creations Lead to Authentic Opportunities

Students in Kim Caster's French Culture course at Edina High School have been studying French Romantic Comedies, including the movie, Amelie. These senior students have been learning about the use of style, location and comparing French cinema with American films. As an assessment, Caster asked the students to create a product that demonstrated:
a)      An understanding of romantic comedies and how they are different from American Romantic Comedies.  
b)      An understanding of JP Jeunet’s unique and different filmmaking style.  
c)       An understanding of the use of interesting, romantic, and popular sites in Paris and various secondary and tertiary side characters become a part of the major part of Jeunet’s films.
d)      An understanding of the use stereotypical roles of men and women in film in order to maintain the formula or break the formula of a romantic comedy.
e) A combination of 2 or more of the above explained in a way you can use your French and add precision of grammar, complexity and vocabulary into the presentation and discussion.  

One group created a trailer for Amelie as a horor film.

Another group created an infographic using Piktochart to compare and contrast French and American Film.

And then there was this...

Emma Westbrook, Claire Jensen, and Naomi Reiner have been visiting the Minneapolis Institute of Arts with their families since they were little. Westbrook, an aspiring artist and film maker, spends time at the museum drawing, and thought that the MIA would be a great location to stage a film.
They reviewed the guidelines about filming in the museum and realized that it would work as a location. Westbrook wrote the script and directed the movie, Jensen was both an actor as well as editor, and Reiner recruited fellow senior Peter Illig to act in the film, served as continuity expert, and shlepped the equipment and clothing around as they filmed.
They chose the artwork based on their knowledge of the collection, and the fact that the gallery had a bench in front of the artwork, and was less crowded than other locations.
After they submitted the link to the finished film, Caster tweeted out the link. After watching the film and being extremely impressed with the digital storytelling on display, and the elements of film-making they used, I sent out a tweet to my high school friend, Douglas Hegley, who just happens to be the Director of Technology at the MIA. His response:

Yesterday, Kim and the students visited with Hegley and the staff at MIA.

Edina Students meeting with Minneapolis Institute of Arts staff
Learning about upcoming MIA projects and providing feedback on future museum project
Along with congratulating the students on their work, Hegley noted that,
"this is exactly the type of thing we want people doing here, using our space to create!"
The Institute is working to become more "audience centric," and a "home away from home" for its visitors. Museum staff shared their backgrounds with the students, and how they are gearing up for 2015, which will be the building's 100th Anniversary. The students were invited to share ideas on what they might include in the 100 30-90 second films the staff are working to produce. Museum staff want people to feel connected to the art, and for the films to be character driven, similar to the film the students created! When asked what would encourage them to see a film about the collection, the students said, "people interacting with the art, and information about the history of the items."
Caster was excited about future possibilities of bringing students to the space, providing them with some basic guidelines and then inviting them to explore and create. 
This project is a small example of how an open ended inquiry based learning opportunity can lead to authentic opportunities, and the importance of creation in the learning process. I hope it inspires other staff and students to think outside the classroom walls to make connections with their learning.

Friday, March 21, 2014

2014 eLearning2 Survey Results

Over the past few months, we surveyed our parents, staff and students to get their perceptions of our eLearning2 Initiative. I've put together 3 infographics that share the results of the feedback we received. See the results below, and a reflection on my experience using PiktoChart to create them! To learn more about eLearning2 and our proposal for next year, click here.





I used Piktochart to create the graphics above, utilizing the free version. There are several other choices to choose from. Here is a nice comparison.
I had access to 7 themes, and was able to customize one with colors to fit. I found it to be fairly easy to use, either with the old or new editing tools. There were several choices for pre-made graphics, and it allowed you to insert your own data to create a chart or graph or import your own. I think Piktochart could be a great tool for students in virtually any subject to communicate ideas and information. I encourage you to give it a try!

What's In a Name?

Today, I'm changing the title of this blog from "Edina Tech Integration," to "Edina Digital Age Learning." This shift reflects a philosophical evolution that the work that I do, isn't as much about integrating technology as it is about learning in a digital age. (In fact, my colleague Molly Schroeder and I are looking to change our titles to "Digital Age Learning Specialist," to reflect this shift.) For the last few weeks, I've been developing and tweaking the framework below. The framework defines some philosophies around digital age learning combining work from Ruben Puentedura's work on SAMR, Susan Oxnevad's SAMR Ladder, and Carl Hooker's SAMR pool. Carl's thoughts more closely resemble my own regarding digital age learning, in that I don't believe that every lesson lends itself to redefinition. It's not a ladder to climb, as much as it is a pool to swim in!
Click on the icons below to see what it might look like for students in the 3 areas of Content, Collaboration, and Creation.

My hope as we move forward is that as we move forward with the many initiatives transforming our district, that we move to a place where staff are comfortable getting wet, and more of our staff create authentic learning opportunities that move us more frequently to the deep end, without anyone drowning! I'll keep a life jacket handy just in case!

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Maybe We Do Need Some "Stinkin Badges!"

Yesterday I had a chance to participate in a Google+ Hangout on Air on the topic of How Do We Shift Teacher & Leader Practice with Outcome-Based Badges? Ben Wilkoff did a great job convening a panel of thoughtful educators and leading a lively discussion!

For some time now, I have been looking at ways we can honor the professional learning that teachers get through non-traditional means, such as Twitter-chats, Webinars, and other informal learning. I see badges as providing incentive and opportunities for staff as we move forward.
Some of the key points mentioned in this session that resonated with me were:

  1. Teachers value choice
  2. "Badging is a celebration of diversified learning!"
  3. Badges can have different levels (Low, medium and high example from Khan Academy.)
  4. Reflection and sharing take this learning from a "low level" badge to high
  5. Round Rock Model moved to a business mindset where teachers/administrators in need of professional learning are customers
  6. Badges are project based rather than subject based
  7. Impact of sharing and collaboration is the goal
  8. Credly and P2PU seem to be the most popular sites for managing badges.
As I reflected, it seemed to me that not only could these outcome-based badges be utilized for professional learning, but also for students in our system. We are currently designing educational competencies that we want all of our students to have when they leave the system.

Edina Public School Learners are:
Globally Competent
Engaged, Responsible, and Action-Oriented Citizens
Effective Communicators and Collaborators

Critical Thinkers and Innovative Creators

Motivated Life-long Learners

Committed to Healthful Living

Some questions I am pondering include:
What if students earned badges at different levels for each of these competencies? 
What if a student acheived the highest level of one of these competencies in elementary school? 
How might this incorporate into a student portfolio? 
I have already started some conversations with staff exploring what this might look like in our district.
Feel free to check out the Webinar and/or explore the notes from the session in the link above, and share your thoughts with me in the comments below!