Thursday, July 31, 2014

Summer PD

I had so many amazing opportunities this summer to hear fantastic speakers from across U.S.  From iDesign Coppell, to the Visioning Conference, all the way to Chicago for the Ed Tech Teacher Summit, I felt the need to share some of the great things I learned.  They all seemed to have the same underlying message - pedagogy and individualized learning.  Here is a list of some of quotes or thoughts (or sort of close to quotes) from my favorite speakers of the summer...

George Couros - Change is an opportunity to do something amazing! I really liked the small group discussion about the importance of blogging.  I have blogged for a couple of years but never been consistent and my blog is breaking all kinds of blogging "rules".  I will get around to fixing those one day.  I also liked his comment, which I have said myself, "If you can google the answer to a question on your test, then your test sucks."  I also enjoyed the lawn service that decided to mow the grass outside the auditorium while he was trying to talk :)

Kevin Honeycutt - Emotion and background alter learning -- know your kids.  I loved his passion for education and the importance of individualized education for all students.  You never know what your kids experienced before they walked in your room.  Treat them all with respect.  I also loved the validation of the feeling of isolation when you are a risk taker.  

Diane Ratvitch - She was awesome!  I love her questioning of WHY.  Why do we still do things the same way?  Why do we let Pearson decide what our kids should know? Who is going to the first educator to finally say enough is enough?  Time to stop talking and start doing.

Yong Zhao - No one ask you to bore a kid.  Are you teaching compliance or creativity?  I especially appreciated that he was such an experienced speaker that his presentation was pretty much just jumping around in his camera roll and winging it. I like the concept of stop looking at where students are deficient or what needs remediating and look at ways to enhance their strengths.

Will Richardson - Change isn't optional.  One of my favorite analogies he mentioned...we don't give our kids the same medicine we took when we were kids.  We don't still use mercury thermometers even though they would still work.  Why is school different? Things change and we need to stop pretending school is an exception to the change rule.  After his keynote, I did want to go up and invite him to my school, because there are a lot of teachers that are doing it right.

Jenny Magiera - Possibly my favorite speaker of the summer because she is an actual teacher in the classroom doing amazing things.  What she has done in the Chicago school system is outstanding.  My favorite from her..."Watching Khan Academy videos is like watching Ben Stein watch paint dry.  Sal Khan doesn't know my kids...I do.  I know how to help them be successful."   Stop telling our kids to put a bubble in their mouth or SHHHHH...give them a voice and an audience.

There were so many more - Wes Fryer on publishing, Carl Hooker and his zombies, and Patrick Larkin who really should train principals across the country if he doesn't already. So appreciative of my district for providing and allowing me to learn so much this summer!

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Block and Filter

Today my seven year old got bored. (Summer problems...)  He asked me to air-drop him some pictures of our new puppy Molly so he could make a movie about her.  After about 40 minutes of hearing him laughing, getting frustrated, asking a few questions...this is what he created. Warning...he made it "super creepy" to scare me.

Hand a teacher an iPad and they need app specific training and worry they won't know how to help kids be successful with them.  Hand a 7 year old an iPad and you get "The Molly-Nator".

My observations?
This kid knows what it means to air drop something. He took pictures and edited them in iPhoto and Photobooth.  He also asked me to upload it to YouTube so everyone else could watch it.  He asked if I could tweet it to his awesome kindergarten and 1st grade teachers so they could see his new puppy.

So instead of blocking YouTube from schools or fighting to keep iPads out of kids hands in schools because of the fear of what they may do with them, think about the world we are living in.  Our kids have technology at their fingertips. Their world is different than the one we grew up in. So instead of fighting it, help them learn how to use it responsibly before they leave your somewhat safe environment.