After spending spring break in Oman last year, it is now one of Jeff and I’s favorite countries. We love it. When Jim & Marcello asked if we wanted to come to the EdTechTeam Summit…we were all in!
Now that the craziness of the last 2 days is over, I’m sitting here in our hotel room enjoying the view and reflecting on the Summit before we fly back to Kuwait tonight.
Friday we had a great time checking participants in – I really enjoyed starting the summit off with this kind of energy and connection! I’m just bummed I didn’t have time for the photo booth 🙂 I had two sessions on Friday (slide decks embedded below). Most of the pictures in my slide decks are links. I’ve been doing the Harnessing the Power of Google series for a couple years now and it’s always a good time. I found the participants at this Summit engaged and excited about learning. I loved reading my feedback on Friday evening – the positivity and realness was much appreciated.
By the end of the day I was exhausted and not really sure how I was going to make it through Saturday. Then I woke up Saturday morning and realized I was presenting during 3 of the 4 sessions and doing the closing keynote. Whoa. I was a little nervous I was going to fall over from exhaustion at some point. But the energy & excitement of the participants kept me going and I made it through! My two unique sessions are embedded below.
I’m always looking for more recent examples to share of how world language teachers are using Google Apps in the classroom – please contact me and I’d love to include the cool things you’re doing in your classrooms 🙂
My goal for the Hangouts session is that everyone leaves having participated in 2 successful Hangouts – one On Air lead by me and one of their choice, initiated by them. It’s a hands-on session where we experience lots of bugs in hopes that next time they try it will be smooth and they can start thinking about how to use Hangouts in their classes. I wish I could carry around a box of headphones for this session.
Jim contacted me Tuesday (yes, 3 days before the Summit) and asked if I would give the closing keynote. Freaking out ensued:
Christina‘s response made me laugh at first…and then the more I thought about it, the more genius the idea sounded. I started brainstorming, moved to an outline and then just wrote. I asked for advice from my UKSTL & COETAIL mentors on giving keynotes and bounced ideas off of a few people (huge thanks to everyone!). By 4:15pm Friday I had a slide deck and keynote ready. There were definitely some growing pains! When I gave the keynote it was the first time I’d ever read through the entire thing out loud. A couple minutes in Jeff helped me remember to breathe and slow down. I wouldn’t have been able to get through it without having the speaker notes with the timer going. Working on memorizing it will be a huge plus for the future. I have a lot to work on but it felt really good to get the first one under my belt!
Thanks to everyone involved for a great weekend! We’ll be back Oman 🙂
TAISM & the mountains
This weekend I participated in the Professional Educators Around Kuwait conference for the 3rd year in a row. I did 2 sessions in 2012, 3 sessions in 2013 and 4 sessions this year. It was a full day!
Each year PEAK moves to a different school in Kuwait so each year it’s a little different. In 2012 I learned that I needed to be in computer labs. Last year I learned that I would gain the most professionally by presenting during all 4 sessions. This year I learned that it’s quite difficult to run a workshop in 45 minutes.
My first session of the day was Making the Web Work for You. After waking up at 6am on a Saturday, I was a little disorganized. It was the second time I’ve done this workshop and I much preferred having an hour. If I do this session again I want to allow participants to create the account of their choice at the end. I still want them to be active during (check out #edchat, discuss, etc) but it’s difficult to get people back when they sign up for an account in the middle of the session (and you never know what kind of technical issues you’re going to have). This woud also allow them to choose which account to create (Twitter, Diigo, Pinterest, etc). and explore with. The slide deck below is slightly updated from last year.
My next two sessions were my two-part Harnessing the Power of Google for Educators & for Collaboration. I was SO pumped that Google Spreadsheet Add-ons can finally be triggered on submission (from a Form) again! I love having attendees fill out a form & automatically receive all the resources in an email. The biggest change I made in the Educators session was not having them sign up for a GMail/Google account. A pushed it to the end in case we had time (we didn’t) but most people already had some sort of Google account already. This allowed them more time to explore & ask questions.
Personally I enjoy the Collaboration session more than the Educators session. Although I love helping educators see how GAFE can save them time & energy, I really enjoy the possibilities for working together. However the Educators session is always first and tends to get more people. The best is when they’re 4-hour sessions 😉 Scunching Collaboration into 45 minutes was tough but I think people still got some good stuff out of it!
My last (and maybe favorite) session was Creating a Globally Connected Classroom. It’s a brand new session and the first time that I presented with my sister! We developed the presentation together and presented it as a teacher-coach team. It was the last session of the day (after a 50-minute break) and we only had 3 people. But it was freakin’ great. They were totally into the topic and inspired that someone in Kuwait was actually doing this. I can’t wait to try this session again soon!
Overall the day was a success. I had a lot of great conversations and learned more about each of my sessions that will help me perfect them in the future. I only wish I had had more time to collect information in order to stay in touch with people who attended my workshops.
Coming soon: Edcamp in Kuwait, GAFE Summits in Oman & Qatar 🙂
One of my favorite things as a coach is to work with a teacher and then see them take the initiative. Last year as part of my COETAIL final project I collaborated with our middle school art teacher (Lindsay) to create a unit based around photography using the Design Cycle. One of the most powerful pieces of the unit (IMHO) was the connection we made with Brian & Yuko of Photohoku. As part of their inquiring & analyzing, students created questions for Brian & Yuko. We then did a Google Hangout with them and the students were able to talk to them in real-time. The students loved it.
Fast-forward 4 months to the current school year. Lindsay approached me for details on how to use Google Hangouts to connect with an expert. The students were learning about the Volumes of Design and she had arranged for a collaboration with Jodi Harvey-Brown (Statement of Inquiry: Our interpretation through time and space facilitates change.). We decided on a Hangout On Air so that students could re-watch the discussion whenever they needed to. I didn’t do any of the planning – just the technical details to help it be a success for the students. [Luckily I had presented on Google Hangouts in Michigan this summer and had some resources readily available. Google Hangouts On Air can be tricky!]
Lindsay arranged with the other 8th grade teachers so that all of her students could be in the classroom for this special event. Students created questions in advance and Lindsay sent them to Jodi so she had a heads-up. During the hangout, students asked her questions in order to help them create their own book sculptures. The event was yet another reminder of how meaningful & powerful it can be to connect our students to experts around the world. Teachers no longer need to be the sage on the stage – they simply need to help students safely connect to other people who have knowledge or skills of value.
[If I had to do it over again, the only thing I would change is discussing the norms of this type of activity with students before beginning. Many of the students had never been involved in something like this and weren’t really sure how to act. I also think it would have been helpful to explain a few features of Hangouts prior to starting.]
This summer was the first time in a long time that I had classes during the summer. It was tough! But I found a way to stay motivated (even while relaxing on a lake in Northern Michigan with family and enjoying local brews).
ELS 620: Leading Action Research
This was my second class with Jayson Richardson. I’ve found him to be the most challenging professor I’ve had in the UKSTL program so far. And I started this class a month late. Luckily Jayson is also the most responsive and open-minded prof I’ve had. He pushes me to my limit but I always seem to learn the most. Funny how that works.
This class was my introduction to action research. Once I understood that action research is all about coming up with what you can affect, it went pretty smoothly. I had the pleasure of writing my first annotated bibliography, my second lit review, a scholar-practitioner platform and my culminating action research proposal. I also engaged in great discussions with the other members of my class. I really enjoy learning and growing with the people in my program.
Once again the lit review was demanding but completely worth it. I kinda maybe actually sorta like to write lit reviews…I end up learning a ton and being able to process all the research in a way that I applicable to me.
Probably the most difficult piece of the course for me was the scholar-practitioner platform. I lost count of how many times I had to rework and tweek this document.
One of the most difficult aspects of the course for me was deciding on which aspect I could actually change in my position. I don’t have consistent and direct contact with students so I couldn’t focus on anything with student learning. The one thing I do have a relative amount of control over is the technology PD at my school. After participating in a Critical Friends Group last year I thought it would be interesting to facilitate a CFG with a focus on tech integration. My lit review proved helpful in refining my ideas for my proposal. I was quite adamant about having a small group of willing & eager teachers to work with, not just anyone or everyone. Below are my elevator speech and my entire proposal. My research officially starts this week so I’m eager to see how it goes.
EDL 663: Leadership for School Program Improvement
In 663 we focused on ISTE Admin Standard 3 and professional development with Justin Bathon. Justin is extremely passionate about quality professional development so this was the perfect course for him to teach. I really enjoy discussing PD with him. Our two big projects for the semester were a Personal Professional Development Plan and a Staff Professional Development Plan. These forced me to take the time to intentionally plan out how I would develop myself and staff this year.
We just finished up our MSA re-accreditation in the spring. Our newly formed Technology Committee has been tasked with addressing the issues that were brought up surrounding technology. We need:
a 3 to 5 year IT plan to be developed with input from stakeholders. The plan would include benchmarks/specific tasks to complete, projected cost for ongoing purchasing, and maintenance of current and future technology. Once the plan has been approved, it would be shared with all stakeholders.
To this end we have started brainstorming ideas for a technology survey that will be given to all school stakeholders (students, teachers, staff, admin, parents).
Instead of completely reinventing the wheel, we’d love input about other surveys that exist or questions that you (or your school) have used in the past. Please leave a comment or suggestion on this brainstorm that we’ve started. Any and all input is much APPRECIATED!
WAY back in May I finished up my second semester of my MEd in School Technology Leadership with the University of Kentucky. As soon as the UK semester was over, I started a 4-week category 2 International Baccalaureate Middle Years Programme (IB MYP) Design training. I’ve become pretty good at keeping myself BUSY!
ELS 616: Leadership for School as Inclusive Community
This class sounded awesome and I was pretty excited. The parent population at our school isn’t super involved and I was really looking forward to learning how to involve both parents and the community in a deeper way. Unfortunately the class was a little disappointing. Blackboard (or how it’s setup at UK) was a disappointment after using Canvas. And the professor may have taken on a little too much. However she was extremely willing to work with us and adapt the final assignment to fit our needs.
Our first assignment was a snapshot of our school. It was interesting for me to dive a little deeper into the statistics at our school. And realize that it’s much harder to find out stats about private international schools than it is public schools in the States. I also had fun creating this with Prezi – I tried to use Prezi for it’s strengths and not simply shove a regular presentation into Prezi format. [It won’t embed :(]
Our second assignment was about the stakeholders at AIS. This was a great reminder that a successful technology initiative includes a shared vision that includes all stakeholders.
My final project morphed into a 1:1 parent engagement action plan. I was able to tailor this to my school and my needs and I really enjoyed coming up with a plan for how I would have implemented our 1:1 program if I had been in charge (at least the parent engagement piece of it).
EDL 662: Digital Age Learning and Technology Leadership
A great title…that also ended up being a great class. The focus was on ISTE Standard 2 for Administrators. I had Dr. John Nash in the fall for Quantitative Methods but it was easy to tell that this class better matched his passions. As always there was a lot of great discussion on Canvas.
One of our first assignments was an autoethnography. I’d never done one before and it ended up being a beneficial experience forcing me to really think about WHY I am who I am.
I also created two 60-second PD lessons (in the form of podcasts) about two of the terms from the educational technology standards glossary. My original goal was to use TouchCast for the social media one but it didn’t work out with the devices I had available to me.
Our final assignment was to conduct a “point-in-time critical analysis of how technology is being used by students, teachers, and administrators in their school(s) or institution” using Standard 3 (Teaching & Assessing for Learning) of the AdvancEd Quality Standards for School.
Many months ago Jeff and I got an email from my mom. The Calhoun Intermediate School District (where she works & in my hometown of Battle Creek, MI) was planning a 3-day Google based PD event in July. Since we’d presented at previous Summits and I was a newly minted Google Certified Trainer, she thought we might like to present. She put us in touch with Mike Oswalt and away we went!
Fast forward 3 months. It’s July and I’m in full summer mode, sitting at a cottage on a lake in Northern Michigan with my family. Figuring out my presentations and getting pumped to “work” was not my idea of fun! Camp started on Monday and boy was I exhausted Monday night! After this post I’ll be back in summer (with 6 graduate credits) mode ;). The three days of Camp were pretty awesome. We met lots of new people, had fun presenting about things we love and got some great compliments. I presented 2 different sessions a total of 9 times in 3 days…they kept me busy! But the food was FANTASTIC and it was one of the most organized conferences I’ve been to. Imagine – teachers in the middle of their summers excited about learning! Crazy right?!
I slightly updated Harnessing the Power of Google: Collaboration and now I’m pretty sure it’s a tried and true session – I’ve done it 11 times at 3 different conferences! This works MUCH better as a 4-hour workshop but I really stress to teachers that I’m going to inundate them with info and then give them all my contact info for the future. I really like the style of a little show-and-tell and then having the attendees work and explore.
Hangouts & Chat was a new one for me but we had a lot of fun! My main goal was to have attendees participate in their first Hangout On Air and then experiment with Hangouts so that they would be comfortable to use them with their students. This was the first time that I’ve started a session with a survey to see what the attendees want to accomplish. I had an idea of what I wanted but I could be quite flexible the way I had set up the session. Luckily most people responded that they wanted what I had planned! It was a hands-on session and I provided links to resources they could check out later with ideas for actually using Hangouts in their classroom. I was really dreading this session but by the 3rd time I presented it I was quite happy with it!
Already looking forward to “working” in the summer of 2015 😉