I saw this image posted on a twitter feed the other day, but am still trying to find the correct citation for it. I also found this version, with the links on ThingLink, posted by "A happy Thinglink User" , not sure if this is the original version or if Tom created it.
I really like the way it takes Bloom's taxonomy and relates the "makered" terms to it. The verbs really don't mean a whole lot more than eduspeak sometimes. Having real examples in our classrooms and questions to help us and to help our students reflect on the learning is much more important than yet another taxonomy chart or DOK or SAMR or whatever the flavor of the month is. It's all about the learning.
Google For Littles
We have just started to move GSuite down to the lower elementary grades at HES this year. I was listening to a Vicki Davis podcast recently that I thought I would share. When I first started following #GAfEs4Littles I was amazed at how much the very young students could do on Google Apps. Now, I won't get into the question of how much is too much, etc... since I honestly think that most of the debate about screen time is for home. In school, all good teachers balance their teaching methodology and the tools they use.
Here's the interview with Lee Ann Yonker in case you missed it.
If you have never checked out Christine Pinto's blog or her twitter feed- now is a great time. Whether you teach younger elementary or older students, knowing what the capabilities are and of course borrowing ideas, is always a good thing. There is a great twitter chat coming up on November 7th too- Makerspaces is the topic. If you're looking for great ideas to get you started, check out thetemplates Christine shares on her site.
Links to Share
There are so many great resources being created and shared, it is impossible to keep up. I hadn't seen this one before- BioInteractive, and liked the variety it offers for MS, HS and beyond. They have a great YouTube channel. I hadn't visited the Smithsonian Learning Lab in a long time, and they too, have updated their collection and offer "more than a million resources" .If you are working on building up your own resources with OER, Sarah Weston has an excellent collection that she is always adding to on thisGoogle Doc.
What's a blog post without news from #FlipGrid?
I was just going to put in a couple of sentences about the new Topic Discovery Library, which was just announced this week. Very cool. But when I went to their blog, there was another new post about FlipGrid Explorer. Laura the Explorer is back and will be sharing with students about nature and her explorations in Panama on theflipgrid linked below. A great opportunity for your students. Check it out!
Making Learning Visible
Once again- FlipGrid is front and center. I watched another webinar on using FlipGrid in the classroom- across all ages and disciplines to make learning visible, to share learning. This came after spending part of my afternoon with 4th graders who were introducing themselves, via FlipGrid to students around the world, as they prepare to work on projects with students in Mexico, Canada and Australia.
Here's the recording of tonight's webinar. If you haven't made time to check out this tool- it is easy to use and a great way for your students to make their learning visible.
#Global Maker Day 2017
Interested in makerspaces? Today was #globalmakerday. I was too busy all day, but plan to catch up with some of the challenges and videos later in the week. Lots of info from various vendors as well as the challenges are on the landing page.
Before I forget- again- Rushton Hurley ran a cool little project this past week- a 5 day challenge to become a better teacher. Along with ideas you can use to present or discuss materials in the classroom, he also has ideas about feedback. You can still learn more about it here and grab a couple of colleagues and give it a shot.
A couple of tools that I have been playing around with lately that you may want to check out include CheckMark and Talk and Comment
Talk and Comment is a Google Chrome extension that allows you to put voice notes and comments anywhere. "This free extension lets you record and send voice notes on all sites (Twitter, Facebook, Reddit, Github, Gmail, Google+, Wordpress, ...), in a easy way. Voice notes can be played even if you don't have the extension installed." Here's the quick overview:
CheckMark is a new feedback extension for Google Docs, put out by EdTechTeam. You can find in the chrome web store. Like others of its ilk, it allows you to insert pre-set comments quickly and easily. The user interface is clean and easy to use. And I think, like other users, that the ability to customize the pre-set comments would be a welcome addition. Here's a couple quick videos for you to check it out yourself.
Loom- add videos anywhere
Another way to give feedback is to pop a quick video onto an email or a Google Doc. Loom gives you a super quick and easy way to do that. And.. it's integrated with Gmail and Google Docs as well as lots of other applications and platforms. Here's a quick overview. Try it- you may like it.
Technology Petting Zoo
If you're interested in checking out some of the technology available in our makerspaces and a whole lot more, come to the Technology Petting Zoo on Thursday, 10.19.17, from 4-6 down at the Mass. Green High Performance Computing Center in Holyoke. The October CSTA-Western Mass' monthly meeting will feature a Technology Petting Zoo in conjunction with Eduporium. Please join us - by registering at this link: http://bit.ly/CSTA-WMA1019. Here's the link to the flyer with more info and registration. All are welcome!.
Google Keep for Research
Vicki Davis recently posted a couple of excellent tutorials on using Google Keep to take notes and keep track of your research, especially if you're a Google App school. I know I find it useful to grab info, tag it and quickly flip it into a Google Doc.
Check out Vicki's tutorial below and read more about it, get an additional video with EdPuzzle embeds on Vicki's blog.
Math in Google Chrome
The other day a friend asked me how to put superscripts and subscripts into a Google Sheet. I had never done this on sheets- just on docs and kind of assumed that it would work the same way. It doesn't. And to be honest, I looked and looked and did not find a way to make it work. Using unicode did not work- it put the superscript in, but sheets read it as text- not a number; and the same with copying and pasting from a doc- looks good, but reads as text, formulas do not work. So- if you know how to do this- please share and put it in the comments!
Luckily there are some amazing teachers in my PLN who have shared great ideas of ways to use Google Chrome to help teach math and to help kids show what they know. Miguel Guhlin down in Texas, wrote a great blog post the other day- laying out eight tools/extensions you can use to enhance your math instruction. You can read more about it here.
I do want to highlight 2 of these extensions- Equatio and Desmos. Equatio, from texthelp has been flying of late. So many improvements! Those of you who struggled to get LAtex to work properly, and have tried every tool in the book to get math equations to work on a computer, check out Equatio. You may be pleasantly surprised.
Desmos is so much more than a graphing calculator. A teacher at a workshop I attended this summer did a demo and I was amazed. Not a math-oriented person myself, it was easy to see that this tool has come a long way and has a lot to offer teachers of all grades. Check out some of the ideas here.
What works? Where do you find it? How do you document it?
As we all know, one size does not fit all. Just as in the classroom, the professional development teachers need must be personalized, individualized, relevant to their work, timely, etc. So how do you find this elusive PD? I tend to look online and access my PLN. Over the years I have used Twitter (since March 2008), Ning, Classroom 2.O, Google +, edweb and oh so many other online spaces. Some have lasted, others have gone the way of Plurk and Second Life. If I had to choose one space that is amazing- it has to be Twitter. I can get more ideas, and resources from my Twitter network in one evening than I could use in a year. This, of course does depend on your network. A really good network can be a godsend when you need ideas, how-tos, etc. One really good thing that has happened over the last few years, is that you no longer have to find the thousand wonderful resource people in your field- just pop in on a few edu chats and lurk. The very best way I know to do this- without getting overwhelmed by the speed of the tweets flying by is Participate. Tweetdeck is another choice, but can sometimes get a little wonky. I love that even if I miss my favorite chats- it collects all the links and resources shared and I can peruse them later. Check out what is on offer here. On just about any day, you can find anywhere from 15 to 60 edu chats- from all disciplines, from various geographic areas, for all teachers PreK- higher ed. Jerry Blumengarten, Cybraryman has a calendar of all the chats that you can add to have them all at hand.
Hate Twitter? Try virtual conferences
I love/hate Twitter. It can be an enormous timesuck- worse than Facebook, which by the way has some excellent PD- BreakoutEdu, Hyperdocs, UpperElementary... are a few of the FB groups that I try to check in on every day.
So, try a virtual conference. These conferences are generally broadcast live as well as being recorded to watch at your leisure. If you like handouts, most have pdfs or slides available afterwards. What are some great virtual conferences?
I'm looking forward to this one from LifeLong Kindergarten at MIT. It starts October 18- and it's free! I took a similar course, maybe 4 years ago and am still in touch with the amazing educators from around the world who joined the class to learn about Scratch and creativity. Learn more here. "LCL is organized as a six-week online course (starting on October 18, 2017), but its real goal is to cultivate an ongoing learning community in support of creative learning around the world. "
Everyday Topics- Short & Focused
Another contender for PD is Simple K12. I had a subscription for years and liked the webinars when I had a chance to watch. They also have a very comprehensive library of archived webinars. You can get PD certificates for live shows and after taking a quiz on the recording. Depending on what you are doing, it can get redundant. It is not free, although sometimes they do offer free days on some topics- ie. this coming Saturday: Amazing FREE Google Basics Training Online Event Saturday, October 14th Starting at 10:00 am ET They also have big "sales" for subscriptions- sometimes half price, or buy one year, get the next for half... etc. Check out the topics, see what appeals.
How do you find your path to PD?
The lists of PD providers seems to be endless. What works for you? Where do you find inspiration? Guidance? Discover new methods to use in class?
Before I hop onto my soapbox, here's a few interesting/fun links to check out.
Eric Curts- who always comes up with great Googley ideas, posted a great template for Build a Jack-O-Lantern with Google Slides. Check it out here
Tom Mullaney posted a nice short video about Google Keep's new integration into Google Slides.
Richard Byrne pulled all of the new Google Slides features together in his post here. Although there are quite a few new features to check out, the one I was most interested in was how to insert a timeline into Google Slides. Lucky for us, Richard has it covered. Check out his blog for more.
Those of you who know me, know that the whole "mindset" verbiage is something I don't really buy into as anything new and wonderful. But, this summer and this fall I have been focused on trying to renovate the "old" computer lab into a STEAM lab. Thus, I have been diving into the whole maker movement, maker "mindset" and trying to figure out how our elementary school, our students, our teachers, our culture- can all work with a makerspace, a STEAM lab. It's exciting to see it begin to build.
A little history...
Back, maybe 10 years ago, Gary Stager and Sylvia Martinez started doing something called the Constructivist Consortium before NECC and then ISTE. I went to a couple, didn't get it. I wanted it get it, but I didn't and found it frustrating. Then they started having summer workshops called Constructing Modern Knowledge. I went to the first one- hated it, actually left a day early. I really wanted way more direction than Gary was willing to give. He wanted folks to stretch themselves, take risks and take charge of their learning. As I said, I hated it. When their book Invent to Learn came out, I read it. This is not the way I was taught, nor the way I ever taught, and certainly not the way I felt I learned best. But, after pushing back on this and all the language associated with it, it's worth doing. Students can take risks, can extend their learning. Even their teachers can try it and see how it feels to be the learner, to have the questions, to find the solutions.
Yesterday I was lucky enough to go with Judi, our HS media specialist, over to Mt. Holyoke to visit their makerspace, courtesy of former HA teacher Janet Slocum. I had never been to this new space and was really impressed by the variety of choices the students are afforded. But, keep in mind, this is Mt. Holyoke College, so they have the funding to do it up right. After seeing all the cool projects Janet has done with her students, seeing the fancy laser cutter projects, and the molds that had been made- to fill with chocolate, we sat down to talk about how to make the connections between the school/state curriculum and makerspaces. I was a little surprised to hear that even at a facility like Mt. Holyoke, that the professors, instructors aren't leveraging the makerspace and all the cool stuff they have there. Students are coming in and doing more personal work. The only exception I saw, heard about, aside from Janet's work was a print-making course. We talked about how to make the curriculum tie-ins, without making it yet one more thing for teachers to try to cram into a very busy schedule.
Today, I watched a group of 4th graders work in our STEAM lab with Sphero robots. They used Blockly drag and drop programming, and programmed their robots to make a square. Their next job was to make a maze on the floor with painter's tape and see if they could program their robots to maneuver through it. Aside from some very basic instruction before they began, they were not given a lot of directions. Some asked for more help. Some just went for it. They had 3 values to put into each roll command- time, speed and direction. I could easily see how this could be a math lesson, a physics lesson and a communication lesson- all rolled into a programming activity. Luckily, I am not under pressure to get through a set curriculum. Many of you are. How can we embrace this "maker mindset", learning by doing, when our students, our teachers, the administrators and parents are so heavily invested in test results? I watch students walk in, take control of their learning, work past the time to leave, and leave excited and smiling.
What is this mystical maker's mindset? Beats me. It's hard for me to just go for it. to try to something with no real directions, to fail sometimes. I do it because I don't have a lot of choice. There's no manual for this, no scope and sequence, no pacing guide. I ask others, I seek help from youtube, from twitter, from my PLN... but, like the kids in my STEAM lab today, I sometimes just have to try it and see. I spent half of lunch time today beginning to learn how to program the little Edison robots we have- along with the help of a 6th grader. We did a pretty good job learning as we went, learning from each other. Tomorrow we will try again and see what else we can make them do.
When we were at Mt. Holyoke, I asked the woman who is in charge of the makerspace how she learned everything she needed to know to grow and run the space. Guess what- she is self-taught. If you like to read about mindset, Dale Dougherty, one of the founders of this movement, wrote about it here; EdSurge has a list of 6 "must-haves"; read some of Colleen Graves' work here or check out some of my friend Jackie Gerstein's work here. I steal ideas from Jackie on a regular basis. She has also pointed the way to great resources like the Destination Imagination Challenges.
If you haven't tried design challenges- go ahead- give it a try. You may discover that you have a "maker's mindset".