Tuesday, July 30, 2013

#EdCamp for students? 20% time for students?

The EdCamp craze is spreading quickly. However, have you thought of incorporating #EdCamp into your own classroom.Recently, I took part in a great EdCampHome, compiled by some of my fellow GCTs. It allowed participants to write in questions and for topics/lessons to develop on the fly via Google Hangouts. It was one massive learning session occurring simultaneously.

After attending, I did several searches on twitter for #EdCamp and I officially became a fan. Not only do I want to incorporate them for each of my campuses, but I want to do a massive district-wide EdCamp for teachers as well as one for students. While teacher EdCamps may focus on Ed Tech topics, students may focus on any educational issue.

Where do you find out about what an EdCamp is and what the rules are? Check out Edutopia's description

Since this summer is the summer of making and connecting, why not try a new approach?

Check out Kindergarten Guru, Matt Gomez's, first EdCamp experience blog post.

Interested in joining the STEAM camp? Try out this EdCamp STEAM!

This Symbaloo will be updated as more EdCamp resources become available.

Additionally 20% time is making gains in the classroom. Originally a Google concept, it has been tried in other work environments and is making its way into the classroom. Check out this great example compiled by more GCT colleagues about the uses of 20% time for PD and for students.

Saturday, July 27, 2013

Officially a Google Certified Teacher!

GTACHI 13 was one of the best educational experiences of my life. I have returned more motivated, inspired, and challenged to change the world and push humanity forward. I was reminded that it is not how much we know individually, but how much our network, our community knows. Now that I am part of the GCT community, my knowledge base has increased 600-fold! Stay tuned for more innovative updates from my brilliant community.

Google + has become an important part of my professional life. This year, I am promoting Google + Communities among my faculty. Though I am and always will be an Edmodo user, I promote Edmodo for PLCs and online courses. I have found that Google + is great for events, innovative ideas, or connecting and collaborating with educators around the world. On that note, the Mystery Location Calls community is one of the best for connecting classrooms globally through Google Hangouts. This year, we will be using Google + among our entire district staff. At the schools I serve, I have created communities with categories to divide the discussions. 

Thursday, July 4, 2013

ISTE 2013 Takebacks

Didn't get a chance to attend ISTE 2013? Here are some of the highlights! My first time at ISTE, I was impressed with the sheer quantity of learning options - from the elaborate Expo, Blogger's Cafe, Student Showcase, playgrounds, to topnotch sessions. I spent a good portion of my time at the student showcases (a great opportunity if you attend ISTE in the future) and the Expo. At the Expo, I was able to meet with vendors, watch presentations by teachers, and gather lots of free products! In the process, I was also able to scope out a few new up and coming ed tech companies worth a look:

  • A new solution for BYOD schools who incorporate mobile devices: LearnPal - it is currently free and acts as a management platform for teachers in a mobile device community. According to LearnPal, teachers are given a Teacher Dashboard that enables them to: 
    • Access web dashboard from all major internet browser - no software
    • Send apps, e-books, and uploaded files directly student devices
    • Create and send quizzes to students to test their knowledge in real-time
    • Use the multi-user whiteboard MultiSketch to collaborate with students
          It's worth a look!

  • A solution for managing your in-classroom Library is Classroom Organizer - it is currently free, has an app, and enables students to check-out and return books or other materials to the classroom teacher. It also runs assessment reports on student activity, allows students to rate and review books, and keeps a classroom inventory. 
  • A new site for learning how to game is Educade - this is a Beta product right  now so it is currently free. Teachers can create their own STEM lessons or they can search those of others. Lessons are interactive, collaborative, and multimedia. You can search by type of STEM tool, subject, and grade level. Truly a valuable classroom resource!
  • Looking for a professional learning network for STEMx teachers? Try HP's Catalyst Academy - Within the academy, teachers have three options - to take the mini courses designed for busy teachers, to take the recognition which gives credits and badges, or to enlist in the academy which offers online professional development for teachers taught by STEM innovators. 

In addition to some of the newbies, I was reminded of some other great applications: