February 27, 2015

EdTech Teacher Google Jamboree

Alice Barr, Mike Arsenault and I joined 200 educators at Google Boston headquarters to learn and share the ideas of curiosity, creativity and learning that matters. The message from the EdTech Teacher presenters and the panel of Google employees was that schools should prepare students to be flexible thinkers, thoughtful collaborators and continuous learners. 

Jennie Magiera (who blogs at http://www.teachinglikeits2999.com/ and on EdWeek) showed stories and videos from her life as a technology support facilitator in the Chicago public schools. A big takeaway for me was to help our kids share their messages more on YouTube. Here is a video by some of Jennie's students that was shown at the recent White House Film Fest:

I'm thinking, what if we did a persuasive writing project that had some students select an iMovie trailer or another video format to share their message? Can we support that given the time constraints that exist? What learning goals would be met by doing this type of project?

Jennie also did a session on using tablets. In her case the devices were Nexus 7s, but the activities could also work with an iPad. We toured the Google building with a scavenger hunt list. Our assignment was to take a selfie with each item, put the photos into a group Drive folder which was also in a shared folder so that everyone could see them. This would be a good faculty session for building the concept of shared Drive folders as well as familiarity with taking photos with mobile devices. Then we explored using the app Explain Everything to create screencast videos that could then be sent to Drive for shared projects or viewing.

Other sessions focussed on using Chrome apps and extensions for things like screencasting or video notes and creating "plan your own adventure" YouTube videos.

February 17, 2015

ACTEM Mini-conference 2015

Once again ACTEM is offering some half day sessions for teachers and school technology personnel. The southern sessions are being held at South Portland High School. Sessions are described here: http://actem.wildapricot.org/event-1819928 and the website for all the workshop resources is here: https://sites.google.com/a/yarmouthschools.org/actem-2015-mini-conference. It's great to have the opportunity to work with small groups of teachers from many school districts. Thursday we will be at Hampden Academy to work with teachers from schools in that area.