Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Redefinition and Motivating Teachers

Who thinks of going on a bike ride in the middle of December, 2 days before Christmas? BikeWitMike is the answer! PE teacher from +Freedom Middle School decided he wanted to create Virtual Reality bike ride experiences that will influence his students and his community. His first video was published in October which recorded students and staff riding throughout Berwyn using a Go Pro Camera and some iMovie making skills. His students watch the Virtual Reality experience during PE class on stationary bikes, working out to the intensity of this interval training video. (Check out the boys' and girls' responses after their workout.) Mike started a Twitter handle to share his experiences and to encourage his movement. (Read More)

This examples falls on the Redefinition level of the SAMR model because Mike used the technology to allow for "new tasks previously inconceivable." Simply recording the bike ride with a Go Pro and making it into an iMovie falls at Modification. Taking it a step further and posting his video on YouTube and sharing it out via Twitter to collaborate with a broader community is where this movie allows for new tasks. Nike, Tips for Hero's, Donors Choose, Map My Ride and many more have caught eye and are connecting with Mike by favoriting and retweeting what he is sharing on social media.

After the video, Mike wanted more, he immediately started planning follow up bike rides and started to brainstorm how he can spread his influence further. Mike created a Donors Choose project to get 3 bikes for students in our low income school district. He wants more students to join him on bike rides and he plans to have students create videos saying WHY they should receive the bike and WHAT they will do with it to affect the community. His goal is to have his Twitter followers vote on the best video.
"This project will help students to become more active and live a healthy lifestyle. It will also help bring the community, students, and school closer together." 
When Mike and I were collaborating last week about our next ride, he said how about we reach out to the Morton Arboretum and the Brookfield Zoo to ride next? We can use the video footage for workouts AND to teach students about these local beautiful trails. The Arboretum said, come on out to ride! Mike didn't want to wait until spring, when the weather turned warmer. He is ready to continue his #bikewitmike movement and create his next interval video. So off we went... Instructional Coach +Ramona Towner picked me up at 6:50 in the morning to meet Mike at the Morton Arboretum. Mike was ready with his Map My Ride App and Go Pro Camera. We biked 2 trails on each side of the Arboretum, 9 miles all together. I really enjoy bike riding, but I came out this December morning because Mike has inspired me. I know he will work on editing an hour's worth of footage during his time off this Winter Break. I know his second video will be influencing students and teachers throughout Berwyn and WAY beyond. Oh, and I also ride for the exercise!

All these tasks (YouTube, Twitter, Donors Choose, 2nd bike ride, etc) were previously inconceivable without the technology. One Go Pro Camera & a MacBook Air has completely motivated this teacher, to change the world, one bike ride at a time. Follow #BikeWitMike on Twitter, consider donating to his Donors Choose project, or better yet get inspired and join us on his next ride!

Monday, November 24, 2014

#bikewitbike Part 2!

Congratulations to @BikewitMike who has completed his Virtual Reality training video!

A recent story I am exceptionally proud about is a continuation of my #bikewitmike #berwyn #apple blog post. You can now follow @BitWitMike on Twitter and check out his completed "D100 Virtual Reality Bicycle Interval Training Video." Here are a few quotes explaining why Mr. Belcaster spent hours on his training video. “Through this I wanted to gain community, togetherness, and involvement." “Overall I created this Virtual Reality Interval training video for the students… I want students to know that I care about their needs and wants, and also how interested I am their city.”

Look out for future posts about #bikewitmike and his above the line, inspiring movement!

Friday, November 7, 2014

EdCamp, Apple, Brenthaven, Oh My!

Have you ever had one of those weeks where there are SO many exciting things to blog about, yet before you can even start to blog something else amazing happens that you want to blog about? ... And then it happens again... all in the same week?

Tuesday, November 4: iLearn EdCamp Institute Day

The heading says it all, right? South Berwyn School District 100 has come so far over the past 5 years. We're transforming the way we teach and the way we learn, and I believe Professional Development has almost everything to do with the change. (Thank you +Marilyn McManus/@D100PD Director of Professional Development and your PD team.)

Marilyn meets with a ruthless team (we all have our own ideas!) to plan & coordinate our Institute Days. We literally sit around the new learning space at Pershing and brainstorm ideas. We focus on what our teachers' needs are and then how we can meet those needs. "What if we hosted our own version of an "EdCamp?" Teachers can choose their own pathways of what they want to learn about on that day. This is exactly what we did, with some slight modifications. +Jonathan Palles is our EdCamp expert in D100, so we had him introduce the day and explain to staff what an EdCamp was and what was expected of them. Check out #ilearnbsd100 for tweets about the day and our Professional Development webpage for more info.

Wednesday, November 5: Innovative Classrooms: An exclusive event for Apple Distinguished Schools and Apple Distinguished Programs 

Apple hosted an event downtown Chicago for Apple Distinguished Schools and Programs to connect, collaborate, and learn from one another. We had the absolute privilege of listening to Dr. William Rankin, probably one of the smartest educators I have heard speak.
Have you ever heard the phrase, "What happened to the traditional way of teaching? I turned out just fine and I didn't have a laptop or iPad in school." Well, Dr. Rankin says if we want to go back to "traditional times," then we'd actually have no books (as he showed an image during the medieval times). He shared that everyday kids are carrying around production studios (ie iPhones) in their pockets. However, we are teaching kids content they need to memorize or comprehend for the "test". It takes 10 years of constant repetition in order to remember something forever. These facts students are memorizing are most likely being forgotten  So, why are we teaching facts that kids can just Google? He talked about using devices at higher levels. These included experiences where students will remember what they learned because the lessons had value to them and because students had to create something. Dr. Rankin sparked our minds and encouraged educators to transform the future of learning.

D100 ALT, iCoaches, & Admins
The remainder of the day consisted of breakout sessions and small group content creation. I led a session on The Impact of SAMR in an Apple Distinguished Program with ALT teacher +Kristin Richey. (Prior to the event +Jordan Garrett +Mary Havis +Michelle Thorne+Christina Betz+Sarah Larson+Todd Bittorf +Ramona Towner +Sue Butler and +Lindsey Lahr created the Keynote together in iCloud.) 
Apple connected everyone along with resources from the day by sharing a private iTunes U Course. At the end of my session I challenged attendees to get our group of Distinguished Schools and Programs to continue to collaborate, but at the Redefinition level by walking the objective up a Blender Ladder. We concluded with continuing the collaboration with a broader audience to connect, share and reflect on... Twitter!

Wednesday, November 5: Brenthaven Education Webinars: Above the Line Teaching and Learning 

Being a presenter for a webinar is not an easy task! I'm constantly talking in front of groups of people, I enjoy presenting, and I get nervous each time I present. BUT, speaking to a laptop and not seeing your audience was quite the challenge! During the Webinar I talk about the transformation of teaching and learning that I've seen throughout District 100. Examples are shared from each category of the Apple Education Recognition Program: Visionary Leadership, Innovative Learning and Teaching, Flexible Learning Environment, Compelling Evidence of Success, and Ongoing Professional Learning. The overall message is that 1:1 is a journey and SAMR is a journey, but it's important to constantly be pushing students, staff, and administrators above the line.  If you're interested in hearing specific examples, please watch the Webinar hosted by Brenthaven.

We actually ran out of time at the end of the webinar for questions, so Brenthaven send me the list of the questions. Rather then emailing the answers back I recorded myself in GarageBand answering the questions and Brenthaven sent them to all registered attendees.  #abovetheline

It's exciting to think about my broad range of influence from our District 100 staff, to educational leaders from Apple Distinguished Schools and Programs across Chicagoland, to educators on the webinar from 15 states that I will likely never meet.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

#bikewitmike #berwyn #apple

Freedom PE teacher Mike Belcaster is an inspiration. Words cannot describe the experience I had today, but I'm going to try my best so I can share Mike's story.
Last spring, Mike had an idea. He wanted to take his students on a bike ride through Berwyn, visit all 8 +South Berwyn 100 schools and +Morton West, record the whole trip on video, and put that video footage into an iMovie for his students to watch during PE class. Mike teaches a fitness based PE program where students learn more than just how to play a sport, he teaches them how to track their fitness, how to use weights and cardio equipment in a gym, and much more. His lucky enough to teach at +Freedom Middle School where they have access to such equipment, thanks to a grant from +OfficeMax and a partnership with +United Way.

He would have his students workout on the stationary bike and watch videos on YouTube of people riding through cites, pushing them to bike faster, up hill, etc. Mike thought to himself, I want my students to watch a video like this, but with video footage of Berwyn. He wanted the video to be more meaningful to his students, get them out into the community, and exercise outside of school too. He wanted to pursue his idea over the summer, but got locked up around logistics and a broken bike.

A few weeks ago, Apple showcased "Jason Hall, Organizing a Movement" in Detroit. The movement, sparked Mike's idea again and decided he was going to make this happen. Mike had exceptional support from his administration, +Jim Calabrese & +Lindsey Lahr, his Health & PE team +Lori Esser+Celia Pravda, some colleagues +Lauren Krall+Meagan Bushell, the Technology Director +James Kloss, and myself. This group, took out 5 students today after school on a bike ride. Mike prepped ahead of time using the Map My Ride App, and created a route for us to bike to 9 buildings. Meanwhile Assistant Principal Lindsey Lahr prepped the Go Pro, +James Kloss got the Drone ready, and we were off.
During our ride we saw the beautiful city of #Berwyn, we saw joggers, walkers, and (probably everyone's favorite) the fall athletics going on outside at +Morton West. "It was like a movie." Football players, cross country runners, tennis players, and more. The teachers saw old students; you could hear their excitement as they called out their names, "Ms. Lahr! Ms. Esser!" About an hour and 7 miles later, the 12 of us returned to Freedom School. Everyone had smiles on their faces. The students asked if they could do this again, and the ideas started pouring through our heads. Let's get others involved, let's do another ride with all staff, let's see if we can get the Mayor to record and introduction to our video we make...
Mike purchased a new bike just yesterday, so he could ride it for today's ride. He is an inspiration. This "idea" is going to go much further than a movie, I just know it.

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Take your PLN Above the Line w/ a Twitter Chat!

I reluctantly joined Twitter in November 2011, which thank you +Raul Babolea for pushing me to get on! Similar to the typical tweeter just starting out, I didn't know what I was doing nor did I understand the "point" of writing a tweet. "What's with all the hashtags? My "Timeline" sure looks different than Facebook." I thought the myself.

I started following educators (or every tweeter my colleagues followed), sifting though tweets and composing some of my own tweets. I was using twitter as a Substitution to reading online articles or emails. My first tweet was when I was in Portland ME at Leveraging Leaning: The iPad in Primary Grades event where I first met Dr. Ruben Puentedura.  I don't know who my audience was as I didn't include a hashtag or an @. The only people that probably saw the tweet were my few followers & colleagues I was with at the time. However, it was a start and thankfully twitter allows you to go back and see your #firsttweet!

About a year later, I started using images in my tweets, after Scott Meech requested to see a t-shirt I was tweeting about. Oddly enough the tweet referenced #SAMR. I had taken twitter from the Substitution level up to the Augmentation level by adding pictures, links, and reaching out to educators (still mostly I had met) on Twitter. 

My learning went above the line when I started using twitter at educational conferences like #iste2013 #ice14 #iplza14 #iste2014 & #ettsummit14. I used twitter to connect with educators that were going to the same conferences, attended their sessions, connected with them in person at the conference, encouraged others to follow them, and continued to connect with these tweeters after the conference. +Sue Gorman and I met at Apple Academy, I attended one of her #iste2013 sessions, and the following summer we were presenting together at #iplza14.

The above experiences brought my twitter presence to Modification.  My teaching and learning was significantly redesigned. On twitter, I was reaching out to educators, staying connected, planning conference proposals, and learning about other conferences from my followers. I would not have attended #iplza14 (let alone presented) if it weren't for +Sue Gorman & my PLN.

How did I bring my twitter usage to redefinition? Last night, I co-moderated my first twitter chat, #cmsk12chat with +Ashley Hurley on the topic-  Best Practices with #SAMR & #TPACK. Why is a twitter chat redefinition? First of all I met Ashley at #iste14 in the break room preparing for my poster session, "Above the Line Teaching & Learning." We were both trying to finish our presentations, but quickly distracted each other by "teacher talking" and sharing a few resources. #SAMR caught her eye, and I was talking about the Blended Ladder. We stayed in touch after ISTE, shared a few tweets, and #FF. Thanks Ashley! About a month ago Ashley DM'd me asking to co-moderate a twitter chat. I told her I had never even participated in a twitter chat from start to finish, but I wanted to give it a try! Ashley shared a Google Doc to familiarize myself how to be a moderator, line up the questions, etc.

On the day of the #cmsk12chat we collaborated via Google Messenger, assigned roles, and were ready to get started! During the chat we met teachers, technology integrationists, professors, researchers, and administrators from all parts of IL & NC, as well as someone from Oregon. We also connected with educators from TX, WI, and Canada whom I had met at previous conferences. Even #TPACK researcher +Matthew Koehler popped in and retweeted some tweets. Without the technology, we could not have had this amazing 1 hour discussion with educators from across the midwest. We learned from each other, shared experiences, and are now following each other through other social medias. On top of all that, it was FUN! I was beaming with energy when the chat ended, and I look forward to participating in more chats in the future. #abovetheline #twitterchats
Please read the Storify from the #SAMR & #TPACK chat on 9/10/14 if you're interested!

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

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Friday, August 29, 2014

Dedicated, Innovative, Hardworking Teachers

South Berwyn School District 100 has the most dedicated, innovative, and hardworking teachers!

During the second week of school in +South Berwyn 100...

On Monday, students in @5SL were working on math problems on their iPads, and submitting their work in Schoology. Natalie, student Ignite Presenter from @4CPershing last year was using Evernote to describe how she felt about the problems in class and she further explained how to solve the problems. 

In Ms. Vega's bilingual classroom 1st grade students were logging onto their laptops and exploring SMART Notebook to practice using the track pad and keyboard, coming from 1:1 iPad classroom. The students were so excited to get their device and they did an amazing job following step-by-step directions!  (Walking to laptop cart, hugging their device, placing laptop on the table, logging in with the username and password, with a capital S!)

During AOW (Article of the Week) +Sarah Larson was engaging her 8th grade students in a writing discussion on Ebola. Students were researching and writing about the deadliest outbreak and deciding if we in the US should be worried. Students had to use a variety of sources to make sure they were getting accurate information and then choose a creative way to inform others of their findings. Many students are choosing to create a movie, but they were left inspired at the end of the class period when Mrs. Larson shared a catchy song, "Ebola in Town" by D 12, Shadow, & Kuzzy of 2Kings. The purpose of the song was to inform others and avoid the infection. I'm eager to see what the 8th grades create!

At Komensky School the new 5th grade team is on fire! +Ryan Kozin & Dan King are new to co-teaching together AND Dan's new to an iPad 1:1 classroom. Students were reading together looking as though they had been in school for months. +Jonathan Palles moved from 2nd grade to 5th grade, already in a comfort zone he's ready to dive into iSWAT (I'm a Student willing to Assist with Technology) planning. Students in 5C were sharing writing samples, and Mrs. Cooley was anxiously waiting to hear how she can get her students involved in #iengagebwyn.

I'm simply amazed walking though classrooms amongst our 8 buildings. Our teachers are dedicated to the success of our students. They don't make excuses and they uphold high expectations.  They are powering through any "techy" issues (yes, we still have plenty) and are focused on the learning. They're learning from each other and sharing experiences via social media. I can hardly keep up with all the new blog posts and tweets!

Finally, the iCoach team, +Ramona Towner +Todd Bittorf and +Jordan Garrett have put together an amazing Google Community, The Toolbox & The Fridge, where all D100 teachers can share and learn from each other without physically being in the same room or even the same building.

It seems to me like we're ready for our 1st site visit!

Friday, August 22, 2014

Balance: Welcome to a New Year

1st Summer as an Admin! 

It was an amazing summer of learning, collaborating, and presenting. I attended iPadpalooza in Austin, TX, ISTE in Atlanta, GA, and Ed Tech Teacher Summit in Chicago, IL. Each conference helped me grow as an educator and a leader in different ways. Each experience will have a direct impact on my education role in South Berwyn School District 100.
This summer I also spent time with my beautiful 6 month old niece. I learned what it was like to be a "mom of an infant" for a whole day. I learned how she liked to be held; I learned that she'll fall asleep in 5 minutes in her stroller. I learned the painstaking feeling of seeing her sick and not being able to do a thing to make her feel better.
I hosted professional development for my school district, and I also spent several hours behind my desk preparing for 1:1 updates. My fiancé and I bought our first home, and I spent some time catching up with friends and family. I'm busy, we're all busy. Thus, this year in my iCoach Department, our theme is BALANCE.
We are leaders in our professional and personal lives, thus we always have a LOT going on. We cannot continue to learn and grow and be our very best if we don't have a work/life balance. I'm challenging myself, our coaches, and all educators to do the same. Don't forget to focus on yourself, spend time with your loved ones, exercise, and be all that you can be at work. Oh, and check Twitter updates somewhere in between. Schedule times throughout the day to put your device down and enjoy your balanced life.

Have a great school year!

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

iPadpalooza Austin, TX!

My #iplza14 Story, via iMovie Trailer
Team Apptivators was ready for the Appmazing Race Challenge at +iPadpalooza! Our team included +Sue Gorman +Jenny Grabiec +Kyle Pearce & +Shannon Soger. (We met virtually before the conference, divided up tasks when we arrived, and worked as a team to submit the final video by Noon the last day.) Apptivators ended in 4th place, but the overall experience was incredible! 

Here's a link to the Connect Challenge: New friend Thinglink+Kasey Bell and the Share Challenge: Our final video on YouTube.

+Sue Gorman & I did a hands-on session "Aurasma is the New QR Code." Over 100 people joined the session, including +Kevin Honeycutt+Meghan Zigmond, @SAtechnoChic, and @mathycathy! 

Please check out our presentation slides at http://bit.ly/ARiplza14
Finally, here is my first attempt at a Storify! I hope you enjoy my reflection!

If you've read this far, I'd like to conclude with calling iPadpalooza and above the line event. I'm referring to it as an event because it didn't resemble the look or the feel of a conference. iPadpalooza brought significant task redesign (redefinition). Yes, the conference couldn't not have taken place without iPads, but to me it was so much more. Since my experience, I've continued to collaborate with educators I've met via social media. Further, many hours and a few states away, @mrhooker and I met via Google Hangout to brainstorm ideas for a similar event in @SouthBerwyn100.

That being said, save the date for another one-of-a-kind conference with the South Berwyn spin on it... May 8 & May 9, 2015... iEngage: Syncing our Learning! #redefinition

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Self Paced Professional Development

As an Apple foundation trainer I receive updated training manuals for two years after my Apple Academy graduation. (Class of June 2011 & February 2013) As I was reading my manual in an iTunes U course on my iPad and creating screencast for how-to videos on my Mac in QuickTime, a lightbulb went off in my head...

Last year when I was coaching I worked with a few teachers on creating self-paced lessons or units using the Pages or Numbers applications on Mac. I thought to myself why can't I do this for professional development? Participants were at all different levels, and I knew some teachers would need some initial help troubleshooting.

I always posted resources and how-to videos in my iTunes U course and/or on my personal or school district YouTube account. Usually at the end of my trainings I would tell the participants to go back and find the videos. Today was "Getting to know Mavericks" professional development for School District 100 teachers; I only had three hours to teach it. So, I spent all day yesterday creating how-to videos, shared them in my iTeach Above the Line iTunes U Course and created a Maverick Playlist in YouTube. I also created a professional development community in Google + to post resources for anyone that attends a PD in South Berwyn this summer.

I started the training by reviewing the SAMR model; I walked 3L Pershing's About Berwyn project up the ladder. Then I gave one hour for self paced learning. Teachers watched the how-to videos by following along on my OS X Mavericks Keynote presentation. As teachers watched the videos for an hour, I acted as a facilitator. I was able to walk around the room and help teachers with questions they had, while others could keep working.

+Mo Gorman & +Jen Lehotsky brought their iPads with them, so they viewed the videos from iTunes U. 
Key take aways:

  • Self-paced PD allows for trainer to act as a facilitator 
  • Self-paced PD allows for participants to work at their own pace
  • Post resources in multiple formats for iOS and laptop users 
  • Create how-to videos for participants to refer back to

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

1:1 5 Best Practices

Please enjoy my Apple Education Recognition Program Showcase reflection using the 5 Best Practices to sum up the 2 day event. 

Teaching and learning has truly been redefined in South Berwyn School District 100. After participating in the Apple Education Recognition Program Showcase, I was exhausted, but beaming with pride.

On March 6, 2014 I received an invitation from Apple asking South Berwyn to be a part of the 2-day event. (We are a recognized *Apple Distinguished Program 2012-2015.) Day 1 was for a district representative to share their story at Apple Inc. downtown Chicago.  On Day 2, schools/programs were asked to host a site visit in the morning and one in the afternoon. The majority of educators and administrators in attendance were those just starting a 1:1 initiative in their schools. 
Day 1 at Apple Inc. Panelists: Amy Warke from Flossmoor 161, Shannon Soger from South Berwyn 100, Carolyn Skibba from Burley Elementary, and Susan Sullivan from Sacred Heart School.
Visionary Leadership 
Within 2 hours of reaching out to our District Administrators, Principal +Mary Havis and Principal +Marilyn McManus responded that their buildings would be "happy to host" the site visitors.  iCoaches +Ramona Towner and +Todd Bittorf took the lead on helping the buildings prepare for the site visit. Assistant Principal Joe Collins and teachers Claire Martin, Kristin Kennedy, Alex Von Ebers and Amanda Zanchelli welcomed site visitors from Decatur #61, Freemont #79, Gurnee #56 and Single Path Technologies with a presentation. They collaborated using Google Presentation, spoke about Irving's demographics, their journey, and what the 5 best practices look like at their building. (Thank you +Michelle Thorne for the idea!)
Apple Education Recognition Presentation at Irving 
Further Pershing Principal Marilyn McManus, teachers Chrissy Lukasiewicz, Beth Zeller, and Social Worker Marty Stachura created the welcome presentation at Pershing for visitors from Palos Heights #128, Orland #135, Apple Inc., Hawthorn #73, and Wilmette #39.
Apple Distinguished Program Presentation at Pershing 
Innovative Teaching and Learning
Throughout the Irving and Pershing site visits we saw students working in independent centers while the teacher was giving guided instruction to a small group. Classrooms were completely differentiated; the teacher was a facilitator in the classroom. Students were using SMART Notebook for listening and recording vocabulary, Photo Booth for story telling "pre-write", Kid Blog for reading reflections and summaries, augmentative sites like IXL, Xtra Math, and Mathletics for skill and drill, QR codes for immediate feedback, Aurasma to show American Revolution iMovies, and student created CCSS Google Sites to name a few.
In South Berwyn, we are focused on teaching "above the line," and moving lessons up the SAMR ladder. It's important to note that it's not just about the tool students were using, it is about the learning objective. (Thanks +R.J. Gravel & TPACK!) The 3rd grade students were simply creating a Google Site, the objective was to teach next year's 3rd grade class about a specific CCSS. They had to include examples, explanations, etc.

Ongoing Professional Development
When I walked into Annie Cantafio's (@3c_pershing) 3rd grade classroom, she explained that her students were having "Passion Period." Passion Period is Annie's version of Passion Time because they don't have a full hour to commit to the projects. Annie learned about Passion Times from 2nd grade teacher Jonathan Palles (@JonathanPalles) who did an Ignite Session on Passion Time at our January iLearn Institute Day. Passion Period gives her students choice, choice in what they are learning and in what they are creating for an end piece.

Compelling Evidence of Success
To reflect on Compelling Evidence, I'm going to share a few quotes from the site visit evaluation. 

"I loved to see the students engaged and working independently on different tasks that was differentiated for the students learning!" -2nd grade teacher

"Students were highly engaged in their learning. Teachers were facilitators of learning." -Principal  

"Classroom visits were great. Kids knew expectations and were fully engaged." -Instructional Technology Coach

"The kids and teachers were amazing! Great job everyone!" -Superintendent 

Flexible Learning Environment
I had the pleasure of meeting Instructional Technology Coach +Christine Edwards from Decatur on 9/27/13 at our first site first this school year. We immediately connected on Twitter (@techiechrissie) and have been utilizing our PLN to learn from each other. The fabulous +Molly Miller (also Decatur Instructional Coach) and 6 others drove 3.5 hours to visit South Berwyn for a second time. They wanted more of their teachers to be able to attend the site visit without actually driving, so they brought along @Panganibot, the school's robot. The robot (being controlled from Chrissy in Decatur) traveled to 3 classrooms at Irving, spoke to students, and brought the site visit experience  to those who couldn't make the trip (or get a sub!).
@Panganibot reading the Dry Erase board in 5M at Irving!
Final Thoughts on 5 Best Practices
If you are in the middle of a 1:1 implementation, study the 5 best practices. What are your strengths? Where do you need improvement? The most important area (in my opinion) is Visionary Leadership. Without the vision from administrative staff, it will be extremely hard to "master" the remaining 4 best practices. What is your vision? South Berwyn has a vision of ranking in the top 25% of schools in IL, differentiation and extended learning will help us get there quicker. 

*To be recognized as an Apple Distinguished Program or School you need to demonstrate success in 5 best practices including Visionary Leadership, Innovative Teaching and Leaning, Ongoing Professional Development, Compelling Evidence of Success, and Flexible Learning Environment. The school or district submits a multi-touch iBook as an application. Apple shared with the crowd that successful 1:1 environments all had the above common themes. You can find our iBook in iTunes.

Thursday, April 3, 2014

What's Next? Transforming the Future of Learning- SAMR Reflection

I had the lucky opportunity of attending Apple's What's Next? Transforming the Future of Learning event in Chicago these past 2 days. There were about 70 educators across 8 states, 20 Apple employees, and researchers Dr. Ruben Puentedura and Dr. Damien Bebell. The South Berwyn team included Superintendent Dr. Stan Fields, Elementary Principal Jeremy Majeski, Middle School Assistant Principal Lindsey Lahr, and Instructional Director Shannon Soger, myself.

SAMR Reflections:

I have been learning about Dr. Ruben Puentedura's SAMR model for almost 4 years. I've listened to presentations at Apple Academy in Cupertino, CA, during district hosted Apple Profesional Development, at conferences from various educators like +Sue Gorman+Caroline Haebig, & +Jennifer Magiera, and from reading through a plethora of digital materials via bloggers & tweeters like +Lisa Johnson+Susan Oxnevad+Carl Hooker, and many more! I've taken +Mark Anderson's SAMR flow chart and integrated into assessing teachers' lessons to see where they land on the model. My colleagues would consider me "pretty well-rounded" or slightly obsessed when it comes to talking SAMR.
4/2/14, Apple Executive Briefing Center, Chicago, IL

HOWEVER, nothing can compare to hearing +Ruben Puentedura talk SAMR himself. Ruben is a brillant man; you can hear his intellectuality in just a few minutes of him speaking. He's very personable, cracks jokes during his presentation, and can really connect with educators. He walks you through his slides, and elaborates in an easy to understand manner. (Although my brain hurt from concentrating so hard, trying to soak up every bit of his knowledge.)

I'm going to summarize what I learned at each level. When we use the SAMR model, we can't forget about the technology, pedagogy, and content knowledge behind the task, or TPACK. (http://tpack.org) Often times you hear, "I'm blogging with my students, that's redefinition." It's not just about the technology; what is the pedagogy and content knowledge behind the task of blogging? Why did the teacher choose to use blogging? What are students blogging about?

Substitution- This is NOT a "bad" level to be at. I'm still making gains in my classroom if I'm having students read facts (the content) from a digital PDF (the technology), recording notes, and summarizing them in Pages (the pedagogy). This is setting the stage to further move above the line.

Augmentation- "I made an iBook that has the vocabulary words linked within the book from students' notes in Pages. That's augmentation." NOT. How have you set the stage for this? What directions were students given? By having the glossary available, students aren't naturally going to click each word to see its meaning.

Instead, set the stage by telling students, "As you read this class iBook, (the content) you will come across some glossary terms that each of you wrote. Be sure to tap the vocabulary word, read the definition, and look at the image to determine if the word makes sense in that context. (The pedagogy is to understand the meaning of the vocabulary.) Highlight each vocabulary word, and add a sticky note (within iBooks, the technology) explaining your thoughts."

Modification- After students read the class iBook (the content), allow them to choose their "favorite chapter," the chapter that sparked their interest. (The pedagogy is to have students retell a story in their own words.) Next, have students create a digital story using GarageBand (the technology) to record their voice, making edits where needed. Give them the option to add music or images by bringing their voice recordings into an iMovie. Finally, upload all digital stories to a website.

Redefinition- (Hopefully you didn't just skip to this section first, because a task at the redefinition level is one that comes out of all previous tasks in the SAMR ladder.) Choose a website (the technology) that allows for continuous feedback and have students listen to the digital stories (the content) and provide digital feedback. Be sure to model how to give feedback (the pedagogy). "Good job" doesn't cut it.

The site shouldn't remain stagnate after feedback is given and received in 1 post. Most likely, this continuous feedback will allow significant task redesign (redefinition). A student might say, "Jose wrote that my audio recording was hard to hear because my background music was too loud. Can I create a visual to enhance my digital story? I'd like to make a Wordle, so when you look at the picture you can tell my story was about the Siberian Tiger."  (The task has changed; students are now revising, evaluating, and creating new digital stories.)

Redefinition continued- It's common for you see social collaboration at the redefinition level, but it is NOT necessary in determining a lesson as redefinition. For help, ask these questions Ruben includes in his SAMR: A Leadership Perspective presentation slides.

What is the new task? (Revising/Editing digital stories)
Will any portion of the original task be retained? (The content from writing stories in the Pages document was retained)
How is the new task uniquely made possible by the new technology? (Students were able to revise/edit/create a new digital story because of the student feedback provided on the website.)
How does it contribute to my design? (Pieces of the new task all came from previous technology, pedagogy, and content knowledge.)

Finally, I learned about the "EdTech Quintet." I've seen the image in Ruben's slides, but can now make more meaning out it it. This will help in assessing SAMR ladders.

The quintet includes Social (twitter, wikis, discussions), Mobility (anytime, anyplace, resources in the cloud), Visualization (mapping, wordles, timelines), Storytelling (iMovie, Comic Life), and Gaming (continuous feedback). If your SAMR ladder includes the EdTech Quinet, most likely it'll be above the line.

I would love to hear feedback from my SAMR reflection. Thank you!

Thursday, February 20, 2014

iTeach Therefore iLearn

2/20/14 Digital Learning In-Service Day @Montini Catholic High School

Today I had the amazing privilege of teaching my high school teachers how to use GarageBand, iTunes U, iMovie Trailer, and iMovie on iOS in their classrooms.

Montini Catholic in Lombard is in the midst of an iPad pilot with a small group of students. Every teacher has been issued an iPad to start learning and they have access to an iPad cart for check out with their class. Next year they will be 100% 1:1 with iPad freshmen-seniors. It is a very exciting time at Montini, and they've reached out to me for inspiration and professional development. I'm honored!

We started off the day in the auditorium where I crossed the stage at graduation 13 years ago. I spoke just under an hour in a Keynote Address titled iTeach Therefore iLearn.  I shared my teaching journey since I graduated Montini in 2001, quotes and stories from my 1:1 experience, and discussed teaching at each level of the SAMR model. The overall message was that I'm a teacher, therefore I'm always a learner.

Next up, break out sessions! I taught 4 back-to-back 30 minute sessions to teachers who were broken up into departments. The English & Foreign Language Departments created an audio recording in Garageband with background music. I had never heard someone speaking French into an iPad; I wish I had a video of it!

The Science and Math Departments subscribed to the iTeach Above the Line iTunes U Course, learned how to interact with it, and then had 15 mintes to find their own course that they could integrate in their own content. One math teacher said, "I wish I learned this 2 days ago. I found a course that had almost exactly what I spent time creating on my own."

The Religion and Social Studies Departments created iMovie Trailers. This was probably my favorite session. Two of my former teachers were in this session, and YES they made an iMovie Trailer! I'm so proud of their enthusiasm and willingness to learn.

Finally, the PE, Art, and Computer Departments created an iMovie with pictures, themed music, and a voice over recording. One teacher had pictures from the basketball team was incorporated into the iMovie. She was proud to Air Play her video on the projector for her colleagues to watch.

The energy leaving Montini today was incredible. I had to "push" teachers out of the break out sessions so the next group could come in. They had fabulous ideas for integrating iPad into their classrooms, and some of them shared ways they've already been using the iPad cart in their rooms. An art teacher shared how she used iMovie and Stop Motion to show progression of student-created artwork.

All in all, it was a great day of learning. The Montini faculty are transforming teaching and learning, one day at a time. They inspired me today, and I'm grateful to be a part of their journey.

Congratulations to @Peter Farina, @Kevin Beirne, & @Estelle Soger for all your hard work in planning today's in-service and helping bring a 1:1 initiative to Montini. You'll see your influence from years to come.

Friday, February 14, 2014

The Power of Site Visits

Q. Why do we spend hundreds of hours planning for visitors from across the midwest to tour our schools? 

A. Here's my 3 part answer 

1. Have you ever had company over to your house? What do you do? Clean, organize, spend extra time getting ready, learn a new recipe... right? When our staff know visitors are coming into their classrooms, they step it up a notch. They post a new QR code outside their classroom door, showcasing the latest iMovie trailer a student made. They "clean up/organize" their classroom, and most likely spent extra time preparing for the lesson. Who is benefiting from all this extra work? The site visitors? Well yes, but the real reason is OUR STUDENTS benefit. Teachers are already spending hours preparing engaging lessons with their students, and using their 1:1 technology to differentiate and move above the line. Imagine if everyday teachers spent even more than that...imagine if we hosted visitors every week at every school... what would that be like for our kids?

2. At the end of every site visit we host a debriefing for Q & A post the classrooms visits. We invite teacher representatives, the principal and/or assistant principal of the schools visited, our technology director, and the superintendent. Every debriefing (we've hosted 38 visits) empowers our staff. They hear how amazed our visitors are with what their doing in their classrooms and how far we've come in such a short time frame. It gives the teachers a voice to share their experience teaching with 1:1 devices, professional development they've received, and what they would do differently if we could go back in time. 

3. We've hosted 456 visitors from 8 states representing 115 districts/businesses/corporations... all involved in education in some way, shape, or form. We have not "figured it all out." We're doing amazing things, but we are still learning... every day... to make school better for our students. What a better way to learn than to increase our PLN's & PLC's than to meet face to face with 400+ educators and learn from them?!

The feedback we receive from our site visits is incredible! Please watch the 4 1/2 minute video for a glimpse in the d100 site visit experience. See the South Berwyn School District 100 Wireless Device Program page to sign up for a site visit or get more information about the program. 

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Blendspace & Math in a 1:1 Classroom

I observed an above the line math lesson with Ms. F, 5th grade teacher, this morning. I WISH every student in the world could experience this learning environment. Engagement was 100%, technology was being used to ENHANCE the learning, and the teacher was acting as a facilitator or a coach guiding students through the learning.

I walked in the room with students working quietly at their tables, eying up and down between the laptop screen and a dry erase board or spiral notebook. During the observation I noticed the following resources in use: Envision Math Quizes, Keynote, Photo Booth, iMovie, Khan Academy, IXL, and Blendspace. Students were learning about Order of Operations. The goals of the lesson were to understand how to use a variable in an equation and to solve an equation using order of operations.

Blendspace is a website where the teacher posts all his/her resources into one place with directions included as they move about at their own pace. Students login with their student Google Apps account. As the 5th graders watched the Order of Operations Khan Academy video, they were commenting within Blendspace. (All comments were MATH related, see picture.)

There were 15 activities included in the Blendspace. One of the activities included students working through practice problems in a Keynote Ms. F created (goal 2). Students worked a problem on their dry erase board or notebook, took a picture of their work using Photo Booth, and added the picture into the Keynote. A student told me they will turn in the Keynote (via eChalk) to their teacher when their done, and Ms. F will correct it/provide feedback.
Another activity within the Blendspace was for students to record themselves in iMovie walking through a problem with variables. Students had to explain their steps in answering the problem using Order of Operations. This explaining piece demonstrates the student's work flow and forces them to talk though the problem. 

Ms F. spent a lot of time curating all her resources in Blendspace, but as the students work at their own pace, she is using her time to help her students. She's not taking ANY time to talk about the directions, how or where to turn something in, etc. She's not explaining Order of Operations again and again to the whole class. Students have taken learning into their own hands in 5F. They are being accountable for their work, and they LOVE learning math this way. I'd like to close by saying Ms. F is in her 1st year teaching; she is AMAZING and as her mentor, I'm so proud of her. Oh, and one more thing. Ms. F learned about Blendspace from a D100 4th grade teacher, Mrs. S on our iLearn Institute Day 2 weeks ago! 

Monday, February 3, 2014

Storyline Online, iMovie Style!

Accelerated reading teacher, Mrs. P wanted to create her own version of the popular website, Storyline Online using iMovie.  Fifth grade students met once a week after school to work on the project. They were given weekly assignments, so they could learn the next iMovie feature the following week. They started by choosing a book and taking pictures of the illustrations using their teacher's iPad. Pictures were uploaded to the student's laptop and were stored & edited using iPhoto. (Uploading Photos from iPad to Laptop) Next, students practiced their fluency by reading their stories aloud, while recording themselves in iMovie. (They practiced several times before actually recording.) Students focused on using inflection in their voices, and paid close attention to where they were recording.  (What does the background look like? Is there enough light? Will there be unplanned noises while I record?)

Once students had their pictures and their story recording in iMovie, they began putting the movie together. They used the iMovie Picture in Picture Effect, so you could see their face as they read the story, while also being able to see the illustrations. They used photo effects like Ken Burns to zoom in or out of the illustration. Students were taught how to Add a Voice Over in iMovie and how to Add Music for their stories. They used ducking to raise or lower their voice or the music so the listener could hear what the reader intended. Finally, students previewed their movies full screen, exported, and submitted to Mrs. P via Air Drop. 

Mrs. P plans to post all the videos on one website, to share with primary students in the school district. This project is at the Modification stage on the SAMR model, because multiple applications were used to create the movie. This project could not be duplicated without technology. The task (read a book with fluency & inflection) was transformed by having students record themselves reading a story & creating a movie for a bigger audience, primary students. 

The Night Before Christmas, written by Clement Clarke Moore, illustrated by John Steven Gurney, read by Shannon Soger. 

2G IL Fact Report- Part 1

2nd grade students at Piper are underway with an IL fact report! Ms. G created a Google Custom Search from student friendly IL websites. Her students spent today gathering facts for their chart. They highlighted the text, and clicked speech to listen to text or to help them pronounce a word. They used the Safari Reader button to decrease the distractions on the sides of the webpage. After students typed a fact (in their own words), they dragged the website url into their chart to site their sources. Finally, students added a photo to match their fact to their iPhoto library and copied & pasted it into their IL fact chart. (Watch the Safari Tips for Students Video) At this part of the project, Ms. G is at the Augmentation stage of the SMAR model. Stay tuned for moving this project above the line

Friday, January 24, 2014

Article Reading Tech Tip for the Busy Admin

BEFORE you start driving. Open Settings, General, Accessibility, Speak Selection On
Highlight all the text in the article (like you would copy/paste), now you’ll see the option Speak
Tap & listen

Monday, January 20, 2014

iLearn PD in D100

Professional Development should be by teachers, for teachers as +Raul Babolea once said. +South Berwyn 100 has done just that.

Today's 1.20 iLearn Institute Day was one of the most rewarding days I've been a part of in my 9 1/2 years in d100. We started the day with a welcome from Dr. Stan Fields, Superintendent of South Berwyn. Next +Jim Calabrese took us back in time to our August Institute Day. We were all reved up and excited for those students who were about to walk into our classroom doors. He reminded us the reason WHY we were here today, for the students.

We then moved on to an incredible set of presentations given by D100 students who are now D100 employees. +Bill Jacklin+Brittany Baldassano, +Joshua Cole, +Melissa Kwiatkowski, +Michael Belcaster, and +Zach Pros. These teachers shared their stories of what their lives looked like growing up in Berwyn, which school(s) they went to, and how they got here today. Each presenter brought up 1-2 teachers who made a difference in their lives years ago, and who are still working in d100. Tears were shed by all, and I will forever be changed. We never know just what kind of impact we're leaving on students. I hope that one day all teachers will have an experience like I had today.

After eyes dried out, we split our 300 staff members into 2 groups- elementary and middle school. There were 6 Ignite presenters for each group. We originally came up with the Ignite idea from the 2013 ISTE Conference. Watch the Conference Welcome & Opening Ignite Session & you'll want to try this in your district too! The presenters prepared 2 slides via Google Presentation prior to today. They were then each given 3 mintes to share a particular app they were using in hopes of igniting their colleagues. Be sure to view these incredible South Berwyn Ignite Presentations.

One would think that day would be over from here, but the learning just started! Presenters rushed to their assigned classrooms and learners followed. Teachers attended 3 breakout sessions of their choice (everyone signed up for their sessions before Winter Break). If you weren't able to attend a specific breakout session, you had access to ALL the presenter resources. iCoach +Jordan Garrett put together a Presenter Bio Interactive that linked to presenters PLN's and resources.

After the breakout sessions teachers went back to their buildings for lunch, reflection, and other agenda items. At +Freedom Middle School teachers walked a lesson "up the line," and posted that lesson on the District Google + page. Colleagues can now comment on each other's lesson, helping with the reflective assignment.

EVERY aspect of today's Institute Day was by +South Berwyn 100 employees. From the planning, to the logistics, the set up, sign up, evaluation, inspirational speakers, the presenters, the learners, and the photographers/videographers. We are incredible. We are changing lives. We are transforming teaching and learning. We are +South Berwyn 100 and I couldn't be prouder to say I work here.

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Scoop. it! SAMR

In preparing for a SAMR presentation at our elementary schools I've curated some of my favorite SAMR resources via a SAMR Scoop It Topic. Please check it out!

Thursday, January 2, 2014

Teacher, iCoach, Coordinator, iDirector

4th grade Teacher, Instructional Coach, 1:1 Coordinator, Instructional Director: What's in a title anyway?

Has your "job" title changed? Do you find it difficult to describe what your role is? 

For 7 years, people asked me, "What do you do for a living? 

"I'm a teacher."

"What grade?"


"Oh, it must be nice having your summers off."
For the past year and a half here's how the conversation went.

"What do you do?"

"I'm a teacher." (Who would know what an iCoach does?)

"What do you teach?"

"Well, actually I'm an Instructional Coach. I travel across 8 buildings to help integrate technology in the classrooms. So, I teach all grades."

"Oh, that sounds fun." 

"Yes, I love my job. I'm actually the 1:1 Coordinator too. All our students K-8 have an iPad or MacBook."

"What?" Proceded by remarks how students should or shouldn't be given a device for learning. 
On December 18th I was approved as the Instructional Director of South Berwyn. A lady asked me on Tuesday, "What do you do?"

"I'm an admin." (Who would know what an Instructional Director Does?)

"Oh, what kind of school?"

"Actually, I lead a team of Instructional Coaches and the 1:1 Program for my district." 

"Oh." Followed by a confused look on her face. 

No matter my title, I'm an educational enthusiast, passionate about teaching and learning.  Check out my updated About Me Page