Microsoft Innovative Educator

Microsoft Innovative Educator

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

ISTE Unplugged

My #notatISTE  experience just keeps getting better and better. I hesitated at signing up to share an Unplugged Session. I actually waited until the last minute and decided to take the plunge. This Blog Is Why if you missed my session, no worries, you can check it out here.

A special thanks to Blackboard Collaborate, Steve Hargadon, Peggy George, Michelle Dragalin and everyone else who made this event possible. Of course, I enjoy meeting and interacting with my audience, but I enjoyed my experience with ISTE Unplugged LIVE. The launcher for the event, Blackboard Collaborate was super easy to use. I know I had some "technical difficulties" but those were strictly user error! I liked the ability to schedule your own event with a day and time to fit your schedule. I was also able to select my time zone which is really important when you are dealing with people coming from all over the country/world. After scheduling your event, there are links for training and a practice room. Pure genius! Once again, I could use the links to access the training at my convenience and enter the training room on my own time. I liked that the practice room allowed you to set your preferences, make audio adjustments as needed and then save them. The practice room provided a simulation for the actual presenter's room, so you knew exactly what to expect. Finally, on the big day, there were helpful assistants in the room to help,as needed, and make sure that your session moved along smoothly. Again, thank you Peggy and Michelle! I hope this continues to be a part of the #notatISTE experience and I look forward to another opportunity to present.

Below you will find resources from my session and a link to view the recording:

Google Slides Presentation

ISTE Unplugged Live: Welcome to the Blogger's Cafe (All Sessions)

LiveBinder (Courtesy Peggy George)

If you get a chance to watch the recording of my session, please complete the survey. Thanks!

Monday, June 26, 2017

ISTE Ignites

Yes! I am breaking my conference wrap-up tradition with a little #NOTATISTE17 sneak peek. I was inspired and awestruck by the ISTE Ignite Sessions with Stacy Lovdahl on Periscope. Be sure to check them out if you missed it. There was a good mix of presenters from professionals to students with a variety of messages. This Blog Is Why you shouldn't be sad or upset that you didn't make it to #ISTE17, come on over to #NOTATISTE17!

This year is my second year attending/participating in #NOTATISTE. The first year there was definitely a learning curve, but I still enjoyed it. I even won a prize! This year, I feel as though I have a better handle on things. And the great thing about participating is that you can do as little or as much as you like. There are challenges, ignite presentations, even online conference sessions that you can choose to host or view. Last year I didn't get my selfies, so I am working overtime to get some this year. Fingers crossed. Come on PLN. Don't let me down!
                                      **Update: Special thanks to Darla Murinchack. You ROCK!!**

On Sunday, as I tuned in to Stacy Lovdahl's livestream (great seats!) of ISTE Ignite Session: Round One. These were some of my take-aways:

1) My favorite was Bonnie McClelland's presentation based on the childhood favorite The Gingerbread Man. Her focus was on student recipes of success using the 4 C's to cook, bake,  and stir up learning. Her kindergarten students created a class gingerbread man that suddenly disappeared overnight. They used the "magic" of technology to locate him on his journey back home. The class used tools such as Buncee, Seesaw, and Twitter during the adventure. What a great way to connect students with a real audience! Loved the selfie at the end.

2) Another stand-out presentation for me was Nathan Kraii and his plea to "Bring back the "F" Word. He wants us to "F-up" our classrooms for the sake of our kids. And you know what? I'm with him! Kraii believes that there has been a shift in schools to focus on adults and an obsession with seriousness. To counter that, we should "transform a place where imagination, passion, and fun intersect and curriculum can come alive." How do we bring the fun back to schools? If you are ready to "F-up" your classroom, check out and share your happiness on twitter #5mins4fun.

3) Next was Kim Pollishuke speaking about BreakoutEDU. I love Breakouts, so she was speaking to my heart! The connections she made were powerful. Breakout is not about play, but deep learning. She explains that the deep learning comes from students' successes AND failures. It comes from students realizing in the process, "We haven't struggled enough" (wow, what a moment). Pollishuke shares how implementing Breakouts unlocks a variety of mindsets in students: growth, collaborative, innovator, and educator. And she leaves you with this call to action, "Ignite their natural drive to problem solve. Use that spark, to begin shifting mindsets. Unlock the risk takers. Unlock the collaborators. Unlock the innovators and unlock the fun. Unlock the potential."

After watching, if you are not amazed by the educational excellence of the adults, then you will be blown away by the maturity of the students. And remember, they are standing on stage alone presenting to a room full of educators at THE biggest technology conference. WOW!

A few words of student advice:
-Allow your 2nd graders to talk/share/learn about code
-Find out who your students are
-Discover their passion
-Ask how we like to learn
-Put us in front of authentic audiences
-Publish our work
-Encourage us to connected learners in a connected classroom
-Let us share our voice with the world
-Let us empower other kids
-We can solve problems and create solutions
-"Don't ask me to memorize things, I can google."
-Ask yourself: "How are you using technology to make a real difference in people's lives?"

Throughout these 5 minute talks, the overarching message is: As you go through this conference, the challenge for you is to take what you learn back to your classroom. Your students deserve it and they are ready and waiting.

Monday, June 12, 2017

Conference Wrap-up: SC Midlands Summit

This week was my first time visiting the Richland Two Institute of Innovation (R2i2). One word can describe that experience: Wow! I love the idea of combining a student-friendly/community-friendly environment with the administrative (district level) office spaces. A great way to build community. I was there attending my very first SC Midlands Summit. Although, I was not a presenter this year, I look forward to the opportunity in the future. This Blog Is Why you should add the SC Midlands Summit to your list of must-attend conferences, I know I am!

My hat's off to the awesome presenters of this conference. They truly made their sessions interactive and I came away with many great ideas that I am ready to implement for the 2017-2018 school year. The kick-off event to the conference was a keynote by Matthew Luhn (@MatthewLuhn). He is a writer known for some of your favorite children's movies (Toy Story, Cars, Finding Nemo---just to name a few).  His presentation focused on the power of story. He states that story is 22 times more memorable than facts alone. In order to be meaningful, stories should also have impact and be personal as well. Luhn also shared what makes a good story. These key elements include: The Hook (8 seconds), a promise of change, connection, authenticity, and structure. What is structure? The Basics: beginning, middle, and end. Sounds simple, right? Finally, he shared "The Story Spine" which are sentence stems to help give your story that flow, if you are struggling with putting your thoughts together coherently. The life story that Luhn shared was definitely made for Disney. I hope you get a chance to hear him speak some day and learn his story.
More About Matthew Luhn

My favorite session of this two-day event was "GoNoodle 102: What's New" with GoNoodle Ambassador, Jessica Lopez (@SeaTurtlesCD4). One of the reasons that I loved this session, was because I THOUGHT I knew GoNoodle, but she introduced me to a whole new world. I wish I had known! I feel like I have been cheating my students. This session was the perfect combination of free swag, movement/dancing, selfies, and tons of valuable information. If you want students who are awesome, engaged, and ready to learn, try these short movement videos. You can find getting-to-know-you activities, exercise (Zumba), mindfulness videos, and academic minilessons. The Plus option expands your access to resources and features. You can get a one-month free trial before making a financial commitment or use the free version. As you try something new in GoNoodle and love it, share with them on social media using the hashtag #betterwithgonoodle. Great videos shared on Twitter if you follow @SCMSummit.
Free GoNoodle Printables

The staff from Jesse S. Bobo Elementary in Spartanburg was another favorite for me. I was inspired by the work of Ms. Alisha Bridges from an Edcamp that I attended. She shared some phenomenal Lego resources with me and I wrote an Impact Grant to get started with using LEGO's WeDo 2.0 kit. Now, I want my own LEGO Learning Lab! I enjoyed hearing from the teachers about how they incorporate the use of LEGOs into the curriculum starting from Pre-K classes. The team offered some helpful tips including management in the classroom, where to get additional resources, how to get started and lessons for elementary students. Again, more freebies and a fun activity creating a storyboard featuring a fairy tale/nursery rhyme. Can you guess mine?

Some other conference highlights: 
1) I love hearing from Nick LaFave! He always shares a variety of great tech tips. I will be checking out Screencast-O-Matic and you should join Nick's website (link below).
Nick's Picks

2) If you are attending the Upstate Technology Conference (#2017utc), stop in to see Shalonda Blakeney (@sblakeney3). She shares great resources for using @Seesaw in the classroom. Her sessions are interactive, so you can practice while you learn. Don't forget to bring your device!

3) If you are planning an EdTech event, "It's as Easy as 1-2-3"! I enjoyed the un-conference set-up for this session. The discussion was engaging and informative. As we are preparing for Edcamp Palmetto, I will use the tips, tricks, and resources shared in this presentation.  A special thank you to Irene Bal and Jennifer Thornsberry!
Edcamp Palmetto

4) I cannot forget about my best laugh of the day with Dr. Lee Green (@itsleegreen). Not only did I learn about Google's Explore Button and Add-ons, but I learned the new terminology "chompey-chompey's" (insert laughing emoji). Dr. Green shared some easy ways to make your research look professional and thorough in a matter of minutes. When I begin work on my doctorate, I am using these time-saving resources. In the meantime, can't wait to explore Autocrat, Flubaroo, Doctopus, and Orange Slice. It's a whole new Google language!

5) Another gem from the conference was the Digital Citizenship session presented by Janelle McLaughlin (@Ms_Mac4). I personally learned the most in this session. There is a lot of talk about digital citizenship and cyber security, but I must be honest that I have not put enough emphasis/focus on them. That changes now. I am more aware of my responsibility than I have ever been and I have the resources to make more informed decisions. My final share from the conference and call to action for you all: Pledge today to be better digital citizens. Our students/children are depending on us.

                                    (Courtesy: Creative Commons & @misskyritsis-Eleni Kyritsis)
**@ = Twitter connections