Of course there were workshops where teachers could learn tips on good apps or workflows, but the most of the keynote speakers (in my opinion) dealt with creating the conditions for innovation that are necessary to have quality instruction using the device: Angela Maiers spoke about passion, Greg Kulowiec spoke about defining the problem (before using the tool), Justin Reich spoke about creating a culture for change, and Tom Daccord challenged attendees to define what learning looks like.
One keynote stands out, and that is the “Chicago Crew” (my nickname), the group of talented young educators from the National Teachers Elementary Academy in Chicago (names linked to blogs/class pages): Jennie Magiera (Digital Learning Coordinator), Autumn Laidler (Science teacher), and Anita Orozca (Director of Curriculum/Special Ed). They once again delivered a fast-paced prezi presentation chocked full of powerful examples of transformational teaching using technology (not just iPads). While Angela Maiers led an inspiring pep-rally on passion, these ladies modeled passionate teaching-bringing their kids into the room to explain projects with video clip interviews. As in Boston, they shared the work of Dr. Ruben R. Puentedura, who developed the SAMR model for selecting, using, and evaluating technology in education. While they showed many examples of projects using the iPad and Apple apps, they always brought us back to the reason for choosing a tool and the metacognitive task the student would engage in when completing the project.
I am thrilled to be presenting at the second EdTechTeacher iPad Summit USA at The Georgia Tech Hotel and Conference Center on April 11th. This is a revised version of a presentation from the first iPad Summit in November of 2012. The title is now a bit broader: From Possibilities to Practices: How iPads & Social Media are Changing Science Instruction.
My presentation in a nutshell-I am trying, once again, to show how this device and social media sites have helped create some shift in what were rather traditional science classes in a rather traditional school. If you have read other posts on this blog, I hope you realize that “it” is NOT about the what (iPad)–it is about the why (and some of the how). The EdTechTeacher crew has organized another conference around this idea.
Sometimes you read something and it is so “spot on” that you have to share it immediately. Well, I just stumbled onto this blog post about blogging by Alan Levine called “Blogging as Pointless, Incessant, Barking.”
I’ve been blogging for going on four years now. I don’t exactly recall why I got started, but I think it was due to the encouragement of some folks in my PLN. Now I can’t stop. I’m not blogging because I think I am a talented writer or because I’m building a brand or because my employer makes me. No, I’m blogging for many of the reasons Alan gives in his post, but mainly I’m blogging for me. This is an inherently selfish venture-a means for reflection on my practice and clarifying my thinking. This blog has also become a great digital portfolio for me, one that I am currently offering as a supplement to my resume for another position within my school.
I encourage you to read all of Alan’s post. It is a bit long, but worth it. I can’t say I agree with all his reasons. For example, I typically don’t blog (or tweet) personal stuff.
Finally, I have to share my favorite line from his post:
We have more than enough people writing about the top 50,000,000 ipad apps or the best tools for content curation.
Amen, brother. That is one of my biggest pet peeves from the blogosphere and the twitterverse…
Hopefully, if you are just now visiting for the first time you have noticed the title, subtitle, and header picture at my blog. I’ve been blogging here for about 3 years now, but in all that time and in all the words I do not think I have explained what I am trying to do as well as this recent tweet by Grant Lichtman:
The world is where we learn; school is just where we meet. Those who try to capture learning within school walls doomed to the past. #edchat
I just got back from the inaugural iPad Summit USA sponsored by EdTeachTeacher. Wow. Two days of “drinking from the fire hose” that is educational technology. Not only did our hosts book a great venue at the Harvard Medical School campus, but they attracted some great talent.
The conference kicked off with a keynote address by Tony Wagner. Tony has been an advocate of change for schools for several years now, pushing a new skill set for students in the 21st Century. As I mentioned in my last post, there has been a growing chorus of voices over the last five years calling for change in the traditional model of education. Tony says that the current educational system is obsolete, and that technology is a powerful tool to reinvent it. Thanks to the wealth of knowledge now available online, he insists that the world no longer cares about how much a student knows, rather what that student can do with it. In his new book, Creating Innovators, he explains 7 core competencies educators MUST develop in students for their future success:
1. Critical thinking and problem solving.
2. Collaboration through and leadership across networks.
3. Agility and adaptability
4. Initiative and entrepreneurship
5. Effective oral and written communication
6. Access to and analysis of information
7. Creativity and innovation
His voice was a powerful clarion call for those in attendance-an inspiring challenge to effect changes that will produce students that can solve the world’s most complex problems.
After that kickoff there were two days of presentations by the EdTechTeacher staff (notably Tom Daccord, Beth Holland, and Greg Kuloweic) and talent teachers who have been leveraging iPads to transform learning experiences at their schools. There was a wide range of folks in attendance, public and private educators who teach at all levels (but mostly K-12). The EdTechTeacher staff is a knowledgeable group of former teachers who are staying involved in area schools. They shared some valuable tips and tricks, but more importantly they pushed conference attendees to think hard aboutthe whybefore using any app.
Matt Scully and I gave a presentation about how iPads are changing science instruction. Having run 3 iPad pilot science classes, I have developed a number of successful practices. You can see my slide deck here.
I think the most powerful presentation I saw was from a group of talented young educators from the National Teachers Elementary Academy in Chicago (names linked to blogs/class pages): Jennie Magiera (Digital Learning Coordinator), Holly Mullenix-Stack (Music teacher), Autumn Laidler (Science teacher), and Anita Orozca (Director of Curriculum/Special Ed). They delivered a fast-paced prezi presentation chocked full of powerful examples of transformational teaching using technology (not just iPads). What I loved the most was their framework for decision-making about tech integration. They shared the work of Dr. Ruben R. Puentedura, who developed the SAMR model for selecting, using, and evaluating technology in education. Learn more at their presentation Google site here.
Click to Enlarge
This is the first time I’ve seen this, but apparently it has spread far and wide. I found this image at a wiki made by the talented Australian educator Jenny Luca. If you are thinking about integrating iPads into your instruction, I highly recommend you investigate this model further.
I could write more, but that’s probably plenty to chew on for now. By the way, the EdTechTeacher groups announced another iPad Summit to be held Apri 10-12, 2013 in Atlanta, Georgia. You can sign up for updates here. Maybe I’ll see you there…
You should read the rest of this post because the homework assignment at the end may change your teaching career….WHAT?!
Last Friday I attended the the 2012 North Carolina Association of Independent Schools Biennial Teacher Conference at Forsyth Country Day School. I was thrilled to see our state association bring in NAIS President, Pat Bassett. Pat is the outgoing president, but he has pushed the independent school community to be more forward thinking during his tenure. I like hearing Pat speak. For someone who has been in education for 40+ years he does really keep thinking about the future.
Pat gave a presentation based on his November 9th, 2011 blog post; Bassett Blog, 2011/11: The Five Cs + One. He challenged all the schools in the room to build a curriculum that focuses on what thought leaders consider to be the critical skills for our students to be successful in the future: critical thinking, creativity, collaboration, communication, character and cosmopolitanism (cross-cultural competency). Pat was, in fact, alerting teachers that there are a growing number of voices like Sir Ken Robinson, Dan Pink, Thomas Friedman, and Tony Wagner who are saying we must shift our 18th Century “factory-based” education system to a new model.
What is a bit scary is this message is now about five years old. Pat brought Sir Ken and Dan Pink to the NAIS Conference to speak back in 2008. IF you are a teacher and that is news to you, then you have some homework to do! You cannot wait. This semester, here is your homework:
Back in August, I wrote this post about unplugging during “Connected Educator Month.” I don’t want anyone to get the wrong idea-I value the connectivity in my life. In fact, here is a 90-second video (at YouTube) that illustrates all the ways I stay connected throughout the day:
Note: This video was made for the “Show Us Your Network” contest sponsored by Powerful Learning Practice for Connected Educator Month. Props to my talented colleague, Gordon Bynum (@gbynumpds) for producing and editing the video.
Like I said in the video, “Don’t be a digital hermit…GET CONNECTED!”
We just wrapped up week two of a new school year, and I just introduced a new group of seniors to blogging. Out of my 37 AP Environmental Science students, only about 6 have ever blogged before. If you are not familiar with my work, I’ve been running class (not individual) blogs for the last three years. In previous posts, I laid out the reasons I why I think every class needs a blog and shared how the blogs are used. Here is a recap:
Why blog? Well, there are a number of reasons I might ask students to blog for the CLASS:
1. To remember or recount what happened in class that day. We call this a “scribe post.”
2. To offer a question about a confusing concept prior to the test. We call this a “reflection post.” Other students are encouraged to answer these questions.
3. To share something neat or a current event. We call these “on my mind posts.”
and other reasons to use a blog include:
4. To debate. Blogs allow a space for responses after each post, and sometimes I require students to participate in a discussion of a topic (like bottled water use).
5. To create a “positive digital footprint.” I think I have a responsibility to help these kids leave a more substantial mark on the WWW besides what they post on Facebook.
Yes, I’m still around. I haven’t been able to blog much lately as commitments in my classroom have consumed my time-prepping students for the AP exam, releasing our trout, and prepping for a trip to Costa Rica….whew. I need some time for reflection. I just wrapped up a neat project where my seniors taught Kindergarteners and 1st graders. I hope to be back to share soon.
I was privileged to present with an amazing group of innovators that includes: Sarah Hanawald, Cannon School (NC); Peter Gow, Beaver Country Day School (MA); Demetri Orlando, Buckingham Browne & Nichols School (MA); Jason Ramsden, Ravenscroft School (NC); Vinnie Vrotny, The North Shore Country Day School (IL). The presentation was on Creating Connected Teachers: Professional Growth Using Networked Collaborations. Here is the blurb about our session:
“Social media offers powerful tools to help educators break free of the isolation that can hamper growth. How can administrators support teachers who have made the leap to professional networking and encourage others to venture into this world? We will highlight resources available to networked teachers and learn how to encourage entire faculties to connect. Bring a laptop!”
So, we hit ‘em with the fire hose! Twitter, Nings, wikis, bogs, podcasts, Skype, Google Apps….I know almost a third of our audience considered themselves newbies to Web 2.0 in education. When the presentation was over, we broke into discussion groups so folks could ask questions about applying certain tools and about developing actions plans. Then the question, “What is a Google Doc?”
I was shocked that someone could not know the answer to this question in 2011. Then I thought back to last year when I first learned what a Google Doc was and more importantly, what a powerful tool it can be for collaboration. My school has adopted a suite of Google Apps tools and we are using them on a daily basis with students. Then I thought back to two years ago, when I had no idea what a blog, wiki, or Ning was–a time before I was @dwillard on Twitter. What a blur. My journey to this point (presenter at NAIS) has been fast and furious. But, my journey started with a toe or two in the water-a Twitter account and an exam review wiki project. All of this flashed through my mind before answering that question….
So, before I explained what a Google Doc is I explained WHY a student/teacher/administrator would use one. Then, I showed my questioner what a Google Doc looks like (our team built our entire presentation in Google Apps without meeting face-to-face). Then, our discussion turned to where to start “the journey.” I explained to my questioner that about 2 years ago I was asking the same questions and trying to find a place to start. I suggested she join the ISENET Ning and get a Twitter account. I wish her (and any other newbie reading) best of luck on the journey to becoming a connected educator!Once you connect, you will collect, collaborate, create and grow!