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Showing posts from 2015

Google Classroom: Where does it fit with SAMR?

Yesterday I had the pleasure of presenting at the TIES 2015 Conference on the topic of "Stop Looking At Squirrels," where I spoke about the need to avoid the "squirrels," or bright-shiny tools that may look cool, but don't really align with best practice regarding digital age learning. The slide deck is here: During the presentation, I asked the question: "Is Google Classroom a squirrel?"  Don't get me wrong, I think Google Classroom is a great tool for organizing Drive files and managing sharing! Google opening it's API for others to access and share data between systems is a BIG deal! of today, you can't track students by standard within Classroom, you can't organize units of content without a lot of savvy with Docs and Drive, and there is no parent access.  Note: After sitting in Andrew Stillman's presentation today on Growing Wings on Google Classroom , it may not be long before these shortcomings are no lo

TIES 15: George Couros Keynote: The Innovators Mindset

George Couros , creator of was the Tuesday Keynote at the TIES 2015 Conference  talking about " The Innovators Mindset , the title of his latest book."  George's definition of the Innovators Mindset is the belief that abilities, intelligence, and talents are DEVELOPED, leading to the creation of BETTER ideas! How do you leverage strangers? For our wedding photos, we tweeted, "Does anyone know of a good photographer in Edmonton?" My mom is turning 80 and she's just now learning to read and write, but she's open to learning. She texts him with Emoticons.  His dad came to Canada in his 20's with a 2nd grade education, and raised a family and went from a dishwasher to owning a restaurant, yet we complain about moving from Word to Google Docs!" "Transformational leaders don't start by denying the world around them. Instead, they describe a future they'd like to create instead!"  -Seth Godi

TIES 2015 Keynote: Sylvia Martinez: A Global Revolution Goes to School-The Maker Movement

Sylvia Lebow Martinez , co-author of the book, " Invent to Learn ," was the Monday keynote at the TIES 2015 Conference .  Maker movement has gotten a lot of buzz lately.  She noted that she was a pretty good student, and got an engineering degree from UCLA. She was invited to be on a team that designed a GPS navigation system right out of college. She notes that our students today will be given opportunities to try things that are new and seemingly impossible.  The maker movement is giving students the opportunity to come in contact with tools that they will be seeing the rest of their lives. "Sure, I used a 3D printer in Middle School."  People all over the world don't have to wait for a company, they can design and problem solve the things they need without big infrastructure. We are in the "2nd Industrial Revolution!" As manufacturing changes the way the supply chain works, new jobs, skills and opportunities are arising. What does this say a

The Data We Should Be Collecting...

Modified from At the start of the school year, Burnsville Tech Director, Doug Johnson had a great post, titled, " Getting To Know You As More Than A Number. " In it, he shared the work of Mark Barnes and Jennifer Gonzalez in  “ Hacking Education: 10 Quick Fixes For Every School ”   The post resonated with me, because for a long time, I feel like the focus on data in education has been about knowing the standardized test results, instead of REALLY getting to know the student, their likes, dislikes, passions, values and dreams. It was just after our district kick-off workshops, where I heard about trying to be respectful of students who are either trans-gender or are questioning, and starting the year by asking the students what they would like to be called as they're first name. In addition, Sharocky Hollie had opened our district-wide staff development on Culturally and Linguistically Responsive Instruction . He

Edina High School Staff and eLearning2

Yesterday I met with staff at Edina High School to share some updates on our eLearning2 initiative for 2015-16. While the program is entering its 4th year, this is the second year that all students are required to have a device for their learning. We talked about our Digital Age Learning Framework and how it ties into our Educational Competencies and Next Generation learning , as well as using the SAMR framework for thinking about how students are using devices in their classrooms.  During the session I asked the staff to share at their tables ways that they had incorporated devices in their instruction. I gave them a Google Form to record their answers and share what they discussed. Here are the questions they asked and a visual representation of the responses: How did you incorporate student devices in your instruction last year? It was rewarding to see so many different ways devices had been used for learning! Not just for consuming information, but collab

Edina Learning Institute Keynote: Rafranz Davis "To Learn is to Wonder About Possibilities"

Rafranz Davis , author of the book, The Missing Voice in EdTech  Conversations, Bringing Diversity into EdTech " was our keynote speaker at the Edina Learning Institute. All of us as teachers have had times where we were NOT innovative, creative, brilliant! She is the first college graduate in her family, and comes from a very supportive close knit family. She comes from a "Minecraft Family," as a way to create as a family, both at home and outside. She loves that she can bring that outside activity into her classroom. As a student, in 5th grade she realized that she couldn't focus in class, as she began to day-dream. She felt like she didn't belong, and didn't have the platform to do creative things. It fueled her desire to become a teacher, to help students just as herself. She remembers the Tandy 1000 and AOL, and the first time she logged on to the Internet. It was the greatest thing ever to have access! It reminded me of waiting 4 hours to

Thoughts on Vacation: Is Anything Truly Summative?

This summer, our family had the opportunity to spend time in the Andalusia region of Spain on our vacation. We visited Granada, where we toured the Alhambra as well as the Cathedral of the Incarnation. I was struck by the beauty of both of these architectural marvels as well as the cultural differences in design represented. It also struck me at how many years each took to build, and how even today, the structures are being updated, refurbished and added to. Some of the techniques used to preserve the structures 100 years ago were found to actually cause damage, and were being updated with the latest advances in preservation. Alhambra   Cathedral of the Incarnation These buildings were truly "works of art," and a testament to the people who designed and built them, and to those who continue to maintain them.  On the last day of our trip, we toured the Pablo Picasso Museum in Malaga . In one of the rooms, there was a quote from the painter

#CLMOOC: Make Cycle 1-Unmake an Introduction

This summer, I am participating in Connected Learning Massive Open Online Collaboration, #CLMOOC , a collaboration between the National Writing Project and the MacArthur Foundation . The theme this year is Make Cycles, an opportunity to make, create, learn and explore as a way to experience Connected Learning . Over the last 8 years, I have experienced connected learning in many ways, and I am excited to spend some time learning with colleagues all over the world this summer! Make Cycle #1: Unmake an Introduction This week in Make Cycle #1, we have been asked to deconstruct something we have created as a way to break down barriers as a way to promote equity and participation among participants, a principle of Connected Learning. The other day, while walking around Lake Harriet, near my home, I spotted this Great Blue Heron perched on a dead limb. I decided to snap a photo, as one of my favorite pastimes is photography. I thought it would make for a good subject for my Make

BreakoutEDU at the MN #gafesummit

How do we bring more fun and learning to the classroom? A kit that would fit into a toolbox to transform any room into a game to teach concepts. Themed for whatever is trying to be accomplished Open or close units, Currently looking at designing a collection of games from the box. You can buy from BreakoutEDU, or create your own. He wanted to see what it was like to set up and play in a space he hadn't been in yet. Rules: Don't destroy the room! Defined space that may contain objects Move around the room, solve the puzzle, win the game. He showed us how to reset the lock and then sent us back to our seats. There were HINT cards that could be accessed. Probably best played by 6-10 people. What does that mean for a classroom of 30? This game has been played 4 times previously. "Dr. Johnson" is the name of the game. He's a bad guy trying to take over the world. There is an airbourne virus that would turn everyone into Zombies. If we move the

Minnesota #GAFESummit Keynote: James Sanders- A Resume of Failure

James Sanders ,  Director of Innovation for EdTechTeam and co-founder of Future Ready Schools , was the keynote speaker at the 3rd Minnesota Google Summit . He discussed the ways that he has failed in his life, iterated, and moved forward, learning and growing. There were 3 main themes: Take resks Reimagine Put Yourself Out There The first story of failure has to do with a "little green pill." To prepare for a long flight, he took a sleeping pill, and overslept because of it. In high school, he learned that just because something was a certain way, didn't make it right. He often shared too much of his opinions, and ended up spending a lot of time in the principals office... Most of what he learned was "non-academic." A lack of adherence... Tried becoming a professional golfer...failed. Went to work in the mill in his home town for 3 summers. Learned how to drive a fork lift and bobcat, but not very good at physical labor...3 trips to the E

2015 Edina High School Passion Project Fair

On Tuesday, April 28, Edina High School Sophomores shared their year-long passion projects with staff, fellow students and community members. This project is part of their Pre-AP English 10 course, and also involved completing a research paper, service learning , and digital age learning . This authentic learning experience has led to recognition for students beyond the school walls in the past, and I believe this year's sophomores will be continuing that tradition. Here are some highlights that were shared out during the presentations. [ View the story "2015 Passion Project Fair" on Storify ] It was great to see EHS alumni, Alec Fischer and Gabe Aderhold come back to encourage students to continue to foster their passions beyond their projects, as you never know how far it can take you! This year's "Passion Fair" was the best yet, and it was great to see school and community leaders turn out to learn from the students.  It was also rewarding