MidMN EDU Update
Where learning and awesome come together.
ISTE Standard For Educators - Leader
Educators seek out opportunities for leadership to support student empowerment and success and to improve teaching and learning. Educators:
2a Shape, advance and accelerate a shared vision for empowered learning with technology by engaging with education stakeholders.
2b Advocate for equitable access to educational technology, digital content and learning opportunities to meet the diverse needs of all students.
2c Model for colleagues the identification, exploration, evaluation, curation and adoption of new digital resources and tools for learning.
Spotlight on MidMN EDU Learners
Shelby Chollett - Sauk Rapids-Rice Middle School
The 21st Century Teacher
In education, technology is more than just an add-on or a plaything. Rather, technology helps create opportunities for those who use it in a purposeful way. This is the approach I take when I develop experiences for my learners and develop my own learning.
Applying the mindset of technology use being a transformative opportunity to learn, create, and advance 21st century skills rather than merely a substitution tool that replicates the barriers of a paper and pencil copy has helped evolve my teaching, learning, and inquiry abilities. Intrinsic motivation is fueled by curiosity, and the ways we allow our learners to utilize 21st century tools and skills create that vital curiosity. For instance, allowing your learners to become the teacher on a concept you are studying in class at the moment, and teach their peers. This goes beyond the traditional “presentation” and demands your learners to inspire and motivate their fellow peers as they transfer knowledge. Or giving your learners a list of apps you want them to use as they apply their skills within a project to show them another way to canvas their creations. Or even dressing up as a person of the era or story you are learning about. Create experiences. It is with that approach that we advance ourselves and the people around us. However, technology alone cannot bring about inspiration, motivation, provocation, or challenge. How we as educators have our learners interact with learning is the next step beyond the content. How we present our content and strategies, and how we ask our learners to apply their 21st century skills through the multitudinous uses of technology leads to more authentic and relevant experiences for everyone involved. Furthermore, as 21st century learners and teachers, we must all continue to transform and refine our practices and approaches, just as technology urges us to. We must remember that we are the great motivators, inspirers, and actors that provide endless, meaningful opportunities for each other. How we do so makes all the difference.
Taking Risks: My Implementations
Book studies have been on my radar for years, as I often read meaningful educational and leadership books that I wanted to share with other educators. So, it finally became a reality. More specifically, this year Paul Schlangen and I built and started a book study around Dave Burgess’ book, “Teach Like A Pirate.” This book is powerful, as it restates what I previously mentioned above and reaffirms teachers in their craft. If you need any validation for the enthusiasm and passion you bring into your classroom, or want quality questions to ask yourself as you lesson plan, this is the book for you. I also have had the opportunity to create user-friendly materials for teachers to use.
Piloting different approaches to teaching, from differentiating instruction/assessments to the technology programs we use today in the SRR school district, has been an exciting venture of mine. I piloted Schoology back in 2013, and have gotten to see the incredible growth and opportunities it has created for all of its users in our district. Nearpod was another exciting find for me a few years ago, and it has been a phenomenal tool that has been made possible thanks to everyone in our district.
I am now a Lead Learner and get to continue meaningful conversations with my colleagues about our approaches to 21st century skills and programs. Overall, my main focus in all the work I do is to find ways to better support educators. If we want our learners to be given life-changing experiences and opportunities daily, we need to support teachers in all of the amazing work they do.
How Can I Continually Refine My 21st Century Pedagogical Practices and Approaches?
My website, The Pedagogical Refinery, focuses on supporting educators through providing relevant, up-to-date research-based resources and tools. This month’s Pedagogical Refinery Journal discussed mindfulness, lesson planning, and Understanding by Design. My post, “The Integration of Technology”, goes through the philosophies and purposes behind implementing technology and 21st century skills into your lessons.
Leading with Math Interventions
Nicole has been a math interventionist in Sartell Middle School for six years. She has redesigned her curriculum numerous times to incorporate game-based learning, hands-on opportunities,gamification,and self-paced learning. If there is a new way to approach teaching basic math skills, she is willing to adapt her process to do what's best for the students. Some of the unique activities Nicole uses are: Breakout EDU, The Amazing Math Race, technology tools (Spheros,Ozobots, Makey Makey, legos…), the game Clue, 3-Act math, QR codes, iPad and Chromebook apps/programs, board/dice/card games, Math Magic, self-paced learning activities, and choice in demonstrating understanding or growth.
There is never a dull or “boring” moment in her math class. Nicole has presented her classroom instruction approach at TIES and looks for ways to share the successes and failures of her implementations. Here are the links to the presentations for her sixth and seventh grade classes. Sixth Grade; Seventh Grade
Last year, one of the websites that Schmitt used for fact practice stopped functioning. After reaching out to the web host, she decided to reach out to the ITS staff in the building for a solution. She needed a website for basic math practice that allowed students to drill down by fact and operation in a given amount of time.
An 8th grade student (at the time) John Rivard answered the call to action and started out to create the fact practicing site that Schmitt was looking for. John worked tirelessly on the project, adding all the little details that would benefit students in the Math Interventions classes. In the fall of 2017, Rivard’s beta version of the site was tested by Sartell Middle School students. A few changes were made to the site to provide easier use, but the product speaks for itself.