Monday, February 29, 2016

Launching a SC Instructional Technology Network

Our team often remarks on how difficult it is to find and connect with other instructional technology coaches/facilitators. We try to connect with those that perform the same job at conferences, but we would like to connect more regularly. In an attempt to create a network of instructional technologists we arranged for a meeting last week and invited all of the instructional tech faculty from surrounding counties. Even finding names to invite was difficult. We pulled names from conferences, websites and Twitter to send invitations. We created a Google Form sign up sheet so we would know who to expect. Our first meeting brought seven other instructional tech professionals to our team of three.

These are the slides we used to keep us on track for the day.

We started with a "smashing" introduction. You can see our creations on this Padlet wall.
Then we visited a few classrooms, broke for lunch and returned to an afternoon Edcamp style discussion. You can see our topics in the Slides at the top. Throughout the day we asked our visitors to play a little scavenger hunt using different apps and tools. There were six clues that required the use of Shazam to identify songs, Sphere to find clues in pictures, Google Translate to translate words, Google Cardboard to determine a location and a hidden link on the school map. When the clues were all found and filled in on the back of their agenda card, the letters spelled LAUNCH. The first to tweet the word received their very own Google Cardboard.
We ended the day with plans for our next meeting. We hope to regularly meet and change the location so we can all learn from each other. We are investigating the possibility of visiting a nearby university. Overall it was a fun day and I look forward to getting together again soon. I hope this is just the beginning of a great collaboration with our neighboring districts.
I would love to hear how you connect with others in your same position and would appreciate any advice if you've started a group before.

Thursday, February 11, 2016

PD Projects for January and February

My last post ended with our Tech the Halls contest. We had a lot of fun visiting the schools, judging the bulletin boards and handing out prizes. We chose a winner for each school because they were so creative this year. Enjoy this Animoto video of the winning boards.
We went with a Star Wars theme for our prizes. The winners received lots of sweet treats and a Star Wars Google Cardboard to use with their students.

We had the opportunity to spend a day with the student teachers, setting up their iPads and showing them a few tech tricks. We split the group into elementary and middle/secondary. They attended two sessions: SAMR Model and Classroom Management with me and Kristen Hearne and Core Apps with Kristen Gunter and Jessica Preisig.

As you can see we went with the Star Wars theme again. We served popcorn in Star Wars cups and handed out Google Cardboard for prizes. It was great to see such enthusiastic student teachers as they begin their journey with our district.

For January we hosted a PD session called "Let's Collaborate". Each grade has a shared Google Slides presentation and we asked each teacher to contribute one lesson idea using technology. What began as a way to encourage sharing became a lesson in using Google Drive and Slides so overall it was very successful. Our teachers now have access to several ideas and we will be revisiting the presentation to add more ideas after each PD session for the rest of this year.
This is the video we used to kick start the lesson.

In February I shared virtual field trip apps and green screen projects with the elementary schools. 

This session was a lot of fun and so important for our low income students that do not get to travel much (I was one of those when I was little). You can see the lesson ideas and green screen images we made on this Padlet wall.

This month in the middle school and with my high school ELA department I led a PD session on teaching vocabulary with tech tools. I used ten pop culture slang words as their "vocabulary" and led them through a model lesson before showing them Marzano's six steps for vocabulary instruction. Charades Kids was a big hit.

 You can see their vocabulary creations using Big Huge Labs on this Padlet wall.

For my high school science teachers I set up three stations for them to experience using a picture from the conclusion of a lab/experiment. As an exit ticket they had to answer a few questions on Quizalize, a tool I think they will enjoy using in addition to Kahoot. Since this PD several teachers have used Thinglink with their students. Yay!

Coming up soon are PD sessions on Chrome extensions for teachers, a session for high school Social Studies on alternatives to note taking and blended learning tools for high school math. Our instructional technology team is also planning a networking, edcamp style day for all the other tech coaches/instructional coach/insert title here in neighboring counties. I'll share all of the information from that day soon.

If you would like more details about these sessions or copies of the materials, I'll be happy to share.