#ISTE2015 Roundup

Some Cool Stuff I Learned at an Epic Conference

The learning started on the plane - Seriously!

When I boarded my connecting flight in Atlanta, I had the good fortune of being assigned to sit next to two powerhouse educators from Chattanooga, and I was even more excited to discover that I was already following one of them on Twitter and had participated in numerous Twitter chats with him! If you don't follow @gregbagby and @maryavans1, look them up! Mary suggested the reading resources below, and I have to say I think Epic! is one of the most exciting ones I learned about:)

Get your Read On!

Speaking of Bookmarking Things...

Create visual bookmarks or webmixes for your students using something like Sqworl or Symbaloo. These services are a great way for you to share teacher approved sites with students and parents. You can embed your bookmark mix on your classroom webpage for easy access.

Take Your Literature Circles Online!

While attending a TeachMeet ISTE session, hosted in part by one of Kentucky's own, William King I learned about ways that you can incorporate technology into your traditional literature circle roles using resources developed by Dr. Cavanaugh. Role sheets can be found on Dr. Cavanaugh's site [here].

On the tech enhanced role sheets, which can be downloaded at the bottom of the page, students are encouraged to use a blog, discussion board or email format to discuss. Most roles, like the Vocabulary Elaborator and Media Hunter include links for students to check out as aids to completing tasks.

As a side note, thanks to an idea shared by @techcoachben you can have your students record their lit circles discussion (or any discussion) on a device using a 9 in" (or larger) turntable (lazy susan) that is placed in the middle of the discussion area. Students simply turn the device (tablet or laptop with camera) to the person talking.

Bring the World to Your Classroom

Bringing Project Based Learning (PBL) & Technology to your Students

In PBL students are the center of their learning. PBL provides students with a chance to learn by investigating a complex question and developing a project to share their knowledge. Check out some example PBL ideas and questions that are appropriate for a variety of grade levels in Thinking Through Project Based Learning.

According to writers and presenters Suzie Boss and Jane Krauss, PBL can be divided into these steps: Getting Ready, Getting Started, The Messy Middle, and Wrapping Up. Indeed, it can be very messy through the middle, and teachers need to be ready to facilitate, differentiate, assess, mediate and basically offer teaching on the fly. Technology tools can help you facilitate all stages of PBL, and Boss and Krauss give a number of excellent examples of what you can use in the Appendix "Essential Learning with Digital Tools and the Web", including suggestions for how to use Skype in the Classroom.

In the session that I sat in with Boss and Krauss we created a crowd-sourced list of technology tools you might check out for all phases of PBL. The ideas are both amazing and a bit overwhelming, so take some time to browse the ideas that jump out at you, and maybe even take a look at some things you've never heard of. Here's a link to our crowd-sourced work.

Be sure also to check out Boss and Krauss's work at Reinventing Project Based Learning, excellent PBL resources at The Buck Institute for Education and some work my friend Drew Perkins does at Perkins Educational Consulting

Augmented Reality and Chemistry that will BLOW your Mind!

Using the Elements 4D app

Elements 4D - put Chemistry Virtually In Your Palms

I saw this Augmented Reality app being used at a playground by Elissa Malespina (who by the way is working on a book about the topic). Using Elements 4D app by Daquri, you can allow your students to see chemistry in action.

Each block, using AR, will show students what the element looks like, as well as show them what the reaction is when the elements combine. Want some lesson ideas? They have ideas available for elementary, middle and high. NGSS standards are listed. For example, your elementary packet of lessons all relate to NGSS 5-PS1-1 to PS1-4

You can order a kit of blocks or print the paper version to make your own.

Makerspace Ideas Everywhere

I was extremely honored to have been asked by Donna MacDonald to sit in on the ISTE Librarians Network Panel about Makerspaces. If you attended ISTE in hopes of learning something about how to start a Makerspace, there is no way you went home disappointed.

I personally heard a number of ideas I plan to try out this upcoming school year.
  • Middle school librarian Diana Rendina talked about the Makerspace Journey at her school. I love their Lego wall and I think the Mini MakerFaire format they use could be duplicated at nearly any school.
  • MakerJawn representative Sara representative shared a number of exciting ideas including: using LittleBits to create and share Morse code messages between libraries and creating bike sculptures that kids could ride in a parade. Check out their blog and YouTube channel for lots more!
  • Elissa Malespina talked about how to get administrator support by connecting ideas to the standards

You can hear the whole discussion at the ISTE Librarians Network webpage.

Makerspace Inspiration I Found

Johnson Elementary Library - Heidi Neltner (Teacher Librarian)