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