Monday, August 31, 2015

ADE, Class of 2015

Last summer was jam packed with attending conferences, getting 1:1 ready for the new school year, and going to Greece for our honeymoon! Often times when we attend a conference, we come home completely exhausted and forget to reflect on the experience, or more specifically share out with our colleagues. Sure, we tweet and share pictures and short recaps on Instagram and Facebook during the conference, but what do we do when we get home? A few colleagues asked when I returned home, how was ADE? I said, "it was amazing." Without accurate time and probing from the person asking the question, the conversation didn't really go much further.

So, as we kick off our second Institute Day, I wanted to practice having coaching conversations with our instructional coach team. As a team we also wanted to hear about each other's summer experiences. So, we paired up with our Cognitive Coaching Seminars Foundation Training Guides and held a planning conversation and a reflecting conversation. (Thanks for our training in Berwyn Michele Tissiere!) My reflecting conversation brought me back to the institute, what was my experience like? What did I learn?

The institute was a bit overwhelming, because of the caliber of people in attendance. Every hour I met a new educator and was amazed at what they were doing to change and enhance teaching and learning across the world. I kept thinking, why am I here? It forced me to think about my ADE video I created to share my story. In my video I focused on the 4 areas of what it means to be an ADE: Advisor, Advocate, Ambassador, and Author. I realized, yes I do belong in this amazing group of educators. We all focus on those same four A's, but in different contexts based on our passions and experiences.

ADE Class of 2015 Application Video

Throughout the Institute we heard from a variety of corporate speakers, photographer Bill Frakes, Jason Hall, Slow Roll Detroit founder, and several ADE's present 1 in 3's (sharing 1 inspiring story in 3 minutes). We participated in hands-on workshops were we got to explore maker spaces and attend sessions on our interests/needs. We also were given time to collaborate with smaller teams to help each other begin our ADE projects. Luckily we had some down time too, where I was able to collaborate over dinner with ADE's from various classes. 

My biggest takeaway from ADE Institute 2015 was the people and the time to collaborate with them. I've made long lasting friendships and I will forever be a part of this ever distinguished group of people. Finally, ADE pushed me to put what I'm most passionate about (SAMR) into practice by creating my One Best Thing iBook. It should be published in the near future, please search for Applying the SAMR Model, under Shannon Soger in iTunes along with numerous other amazing projects created by ADE's this year and previous classes. 

It's good to take some time away from our busy schedules and have reflecting conversations with peers... you just never know what it might lead to!
Shannon Soger
ADE Class of 2015

Monday, July 6, 2015

ISTE 2015 at a Glace

Sunday: Arrived in Philadelphia, attended Ignite Session 1, Opening Keynote with Soledad O'Brian, presented Teaching Above the Line at Gripcase Booth, and networked at the ADE Meet Up

Monday: Attended Create and Innovate with iTunes U w/ +Jenny Grabiec
& +Rebecca Wildman, The Changing Role of the Chief Technology Officer w/ +Susan Bearden, Alice Keeler, David Maline, Matthew Miller, +Brad Waid
+Kevin HoneycuttDeveloping the Innovator's Mindset w/ +George Couros, Technology Coach Therapy w/ +Ramona Towner, and helped host the +Otus & +Tweetwood Mac Party

Tuesday: Attended Opening Keynote w/ Jack Gallagher, presented Successful Parent/Educator Partnerships in the Inclusive Classroom w/ +Luis Perez, Jack Gallagher, & +Christine Southard, attended iPad: An Out-of-the-Box Look with +Cathy Yenca & +Tim Yenca, presented 1:1 Wireless Device Program: A Journey with myON at the myON Booth, presented Teaching Above the Line at Gripcase Booth, went on a tour of String Theory Charter Schools led by +Christine DiPaulo, and networked at the EdTech Karaoke

Wednesday: Presented Becoming an Apple Distinguished Program, attended ISTE 1-in-3 Sessions w/ +Jordan Garrett, and Closing Keynote w/ +Josh Stumpenhorst

Here is a Storify Summary to get a visual of my ISTE 2015 experience on Twitter!

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Above the Line Wedding

When you receive an invitation in the mail, what do you do with it? I typically hang it on the fridge, but not before I type in all the details into my calendar, including registry and RSVP info. I'm very organized digitally, folders, flags, tags, alerts, and reminders for everything. Paper mail, bills, laundry... that's another story. The thought of receiving 200 RSVP cards in the mail and then typing the information into a spreadsheet sounded plain awful to me. Luckily my husband agreed to digital invitations...

Substitution: Digital Invitations
I spent quite some time researching the best wedding website that also had an iPhone app and a way to RSVP. I spent $30 on an Appy Couple account so I could have all these features. I posted wedding information and shared pictures and stories from the proposal, engagement pictures, and our wedding party. Our guests received an email inviting them to our wedding. Guests simply RSVP'd for themselves and/or +1's and family members. Guests were also able to select Chicken or Steak for dinner. They could RSVP (and get info) via our website OR the Mobile App.

Augmentation: How did I get everyone's email address?
I created a Google Form that asked for names, addresses, guest information, and a place for comments (ie We are moving, please note an address change.)  I created a url to share the Google Form with friends via text, FaceBook Messenger, or email. I compared the Google Form results with our wedding guest list (Google Spreadsheet shared with husband and immediate family) and highlighted the names of guests who completed the form. Finally, I uploaded the Google Form results into the Appy Couple spreadsheet template. I clicked "Invite all" and off the invites went. Within 5 minutes guests had already started to RSVP to our wedding. I knew this because I received pop-up alerts on my phone each time.

Modification: DIY PhotoBooth- An App and a Double Robot
I set up a Photo Booth using the Simple Booth App and a stationary Double Robot. We purchased props at the $1 store and raided the closets for random sunglasses, hats, etc. Guests walked over to the Photo Booth (aka Robot), tapped the camera and 4 pictures, back to back were taken. Next, guests shared their picture right to their Facebook account or they could email it to themselves. Each picture was also set to save to the camera roll, so we could share all pictures at a later time.

Redefinition: Wedding Mass Time
Exactly one week before our wedding we were at an Easter Mass chatting with friends. Someone asked what time our wedding was. "3:00 I responded." She replied, that's weird because the church bulletin says your wedding is at 1:00. No, I affirmed, our wedding is at 3. Another lady chimed in, why don't we just check with the priest. Father walks over with his binder, and sure enough the book says 1:00. I started to panic. The photographer, the bus, hair and makeup... EVERYTHING was planned for a 3:00 start time. Also, how am I going to let everyone know about the time change?

We waited until Monday to officially receive confirmation that there was another wedding at 3:00 and we HAD to switch to 1:00. So, Monday afternoon 5 days before our wedding our guests received a pop up on their phones (or inbox), the wedding time has been changed to 1:00. Please RSVP so that we know you received this message. Again, several RSVP's came pouring in within minutes. Technology truly helped redefine, or change the "outcome" (not learning outcome) of our wedding day. Our church was filled with friends and family, and commuters were able to alter their plans right away. There was simply no way we could contact all guests and begin getting responses within minutes without technology.

Integrating technology into our lives beyond the school day, enables us to continue teaching and to encourage others, no matter age or skills, to keep learning. Our wedding day was the happiest day of our lives, and I'm proud to say that we couldn't have planned everything without our devices! 

Friday, May 15, 2015

iEngage Berwyn- The Beginning

Have you ever envisioned something so big, that involved teachers, students, admins, maintenance, custodians, a photographer, a videographer, tech support, parents, and an audience of 400+ people?

Gymnasium at the District Office was
transformed for site visitors
After attending iPadpalooza in Austin, TX where +Carl Hooker lead a team at Eanes Independent School District last summer to put on their 3rd Annual Conference, I began to think... Why can't we host our first EdTech Conference in Berwyn South District 100? An "idea" became a somewhat organized plan while attending Michele Tissiere's Cognitive Coaching PD on June 23-24, 2014 in Berwyn. This 2-day training was one of the best workshops I've attended in my 10 yr educational career (& I didn't even open my device)! When Michele asked for a volunteer to participate in a planning conversation, I immediately raised my hand.

Now here I am sitting in front of 40+ colleagues explaining my "plan" for hosting a conference. I was extremely nervous (knowing I was going to need help & buy in from the people sitting in front of me). But, by the end of the conversation I was feeling confident with a plan to get started. The first thing I needed was a team and a date. On July 8th I reached out to all the attendees + D100 admins and invited them to join a committee to host our first conference. I named the group the iLead Team and asked them to fill out a Google Form if they were interested as well as to share some of their strengths and ideas they had for the conference.
Wordle generated to collect the adjectives that describe the iLead team when asked, "What are your strengths?"
As the responses came in, our leadership team began to form and we set a date for our first meeting. I've shared a basic timeline below, but if you're interested in hosting your own conference here are my biggest takeaways...

iSWAT Student Volunteers 
  1. Share your vision for your conference- What will it look like? Who is your target audience? What are your goals? 
  2. Put all efforts into your leadership team, listen to them for ideas and feedback, but make decisions when necessary.
  3. Create places for team collaboration (ie Google + Community) and set all meetings dates right off the bat!
  4. Assign committee leaders & meet with them outside the whole team meetings. (Our leaders meet from 2-3, then the rest of the team joined from 3:15-5 on the same day.)
  5. Create incentives and get your staff interested in the conference, without them you don't have a conference! (i.e. At a fall Institute Day, whichever school had the most staff register received a Bagel & Coffee breakfast.)
  6. Publicize your event on social media, talk about it at other conferences you attend, get presenters, attendees, VIP's & vendors tweeting about the event!
  7. Include STUDENTS- this is WHY we are in education!
  8. Make sure all committee members get to experience the conference too! Sign up to present, attend a session, & network.
    My partner in crime +Lindsey Bryant
    who had the biggest impact
    on making iEngage Berwyn POSSIBLE
  9. If you are the host, create a slide deck ready to input timelines, wifi passwords, presenter introductions, raffle winners & prizes, etc.
  10. Create a checklist for what to do AFTER the conference (including take a vacation day)! ; )

iEngage Berwyn exceeded my expectations. I have never been so proud of School District 100! An event like this truly needed everyone working together, each of us with our own strengths. We hosted 486 people from 6 states in 2 days, and because of the incredible twitter feed we helped influence students across the world!

Basic Timeline

  • July 17, 2014 iLead Kicked Off Meeting, Conference Dates revealed, expectations shared, Name (iEngage Berwyn) & Hashtag (#iengagebwyn) decided
  • July 23, 2014 Website URL Secured, Google +  Community, Shared Calendar & Trello Board Created for iLead team collaboration
  • August 7, 2014 Keynote Speakers Announced, collaboration for sharing conference vision to district on Institute Day(s)
  • September 4, 2014 Introduce website and committees formed
  • October 2, 2014 DAQRI joined iLead meeting, live Google Hangout was recored on The Two Guys Show #39
  • November 20, 2014 Proposals due for Break out & Poster Sessions
  • December 4, 2014 Proposals reviewed, committees collaborate on "day of" outline & schedule 
  • January 15, 2015 Logos and t-shirt design finalized, volunteer schedule started, sponsorship push
  • February 12, 2015 -Shirts delivered to iLead team to be recognized as well as promote iEngage at Institute Day, public registration opens using Sched & Eventbrite as platform
  • March 12, 2015 Special Events (APPmazing Race, Dream Big with myON, and Adult Social Event) planning, Leadership Panel secured Dr. Rich Voltz to monitor, site visit leaders chosen for 8 buildings
  • April 2, 2015 & April 30, 2015 Set Up finalized, final registration push, signage printed, food ordered, check in with all presenters & volunteers
  • May 8th, 2015 Site Visit Day arrived, all hands on deck!
  • May 9th, 2015 Conference Day arrived, all hands on deck!

Saturday, March 28, 2015

iEngage Berwyn- May 9th Conference Day

Over the past 6 years I have been lucky to be a part of our 1:1 program, from the initial research stage of 10 pilot classrooms to 4,000+ devices and an Apple Distinguished Program acknowledgment. This year has been one of the most exciting years because our journey is coming full circle with our first annual EdTech Conference!

Why come to Berwyn on May 9th? Top 5 things that happen during our Institute Days!

1. We kick off the day with a Twitter competition! Check out iLearn BSD100 Storify for 200+ tweets!  #ilearnbsd100 #iengagebwyn

D100 engaged and ready to learn! #iengagebwyn #ilearnbsd100 @PanthersD100
— Diona Iacobazzi (@Ms_Bazz) February 24, 2015

2. We get staff excited about a new concept like Standards Based Learning using Ignite-style presentations from staff!

3. Staff are recruited to present a session or they can start their own session, EdCamp style!

4. We collaborate using a Google Document to view and edit the schedule for the day, similar to an EdCamp.

5. Presenters share their presentations to our Professional Development Google + Community to make them searchable & archivable at a later time.

Example Google + Community Post  
Check out We hope to see you there in person or join us virtually by following our #iengagebwyn on May 9th, 2015!

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Schools Closed, Educators Connect

For my fellow Chicagoland friends, you have felt the frustration with the Snow & Cold days we've had this winter...

Apple Academy February 2013 Graduates
Berwyn South School District 100 hosts site visits every few weeks, and we had an exciting visit planned for Noblesville School District in Indiana today. I was particularly excited for this visit, because my fellow Apple Academy graduate +Andrew Swickheimer and I recently reconnected via Twitter to talk about our upcoming conferences we are planning, iEngage-Berwyn and iPadpalooza Indiana. Andy was hoping to bring his amazing 5th grade iPad pilot team out to some Apple Distinguished Schools/Programs in IL. So, they packed their bags and took the 4 hour trip to the Chicago Suburbs. They visited Gurnee School District 56 and Aptakisic School District yesterday; then they ventured closer to Berwyn and got a hotel room so they were close for their Berwyn visit today. At 6:00 last night I received the dreaded text... "School is closed tomorrow due to the extreme temperatures."

Nooooo.... I wanted to yell, we have a site visit! Hiawatha Elementary and Heritage Middle School were ready to host visitors and our IN group was already HERE! We thought quickly on our feet, and tried to get a small Berwyn group to join the Nobelsville team for at least an hour discussion since they drove all this way. Several texts and a few phone calls later, Superintendent Dr. Stan Fields, Instructional Coach +Jordan Garrett, Principal +Marilyn McManus and 4th grade teacher +Christina Betz committed to meeting, even though school was closed.

Before we could get through the introductions, we realized we were ALL on Twitter... Seconds later a Today's Meet was started to share our Twitter handles and other links we talked about during the discussions. (What like-minded educators!) We focused the conversations around the 5 categories of an Apple Distinguished Program- Visionary Leadership, Innovative Teaching and Learning, Compelling Evidence of Success, Ongoing Professional Learning, and Flexible Learning Environment. Teachers and coaches from both districts scurried down notes and kept asking, "Wait, what app was that? Oh, we're doing that too. My students are Appsmashing... we use Blendspace to help differentiate our classroom learning outcomes..."

An hour later, we wrapped up the discussion... everyone stood up and started chatting even more! What conferences are you going to next? What did you learn on your other site visits? How are you integrating instructional coaches? It was "district to district love at first site." (Ha, it's still February!)

Instructional Coaches from Nobelsville, IN and
Berwyn South, IL sharing ideas
The point that I'm trying to make is that no matter where we are located, or what our demographics look like (Nobelsville & Berwyn South couldn't be more different on paper), we are all in this teaching and learning world together. We are all trying to integrate the technology into our curriculums, differentiate our teaching, meet the needs of our students, engage our school communities, offer time for professional learning, mold our teaching to match the standards, etc. Let's do this together, let's connect, let's share. Whether you crawl out of your home on a -30 day, attend a conference, or connect with your PLN virtually, continue to learn from each other because your students, OUR students everywhere deserve it.
Nobelsville, IN & Berwyn South, IL teachers, coaches, and
admins connect on one of the coldest days this year

Friday, January 23, 2015

Clone Yourself to Multiply Your Influence

Have you ever wished you could be in 2 places at the same time? How great would it be to clone yourself? Luckily, with the technology we have today, we are able to (somewhat) clone ourselves.

I am an Apple Foundations Trainer for our district, and I have been "meaning to" create how-to videos for our students and staff using the "new" iMovie 10.0 application for MacBook and iMovie for iOS 8. Unfortunately, how-to videos typically get lowered on the To-Do list! Luckily, I had a few teachers, an iCoach (thanks +Ramona Towner), and a conference to push me to get these videos done.

I observed 4th and 5th grade students at Emerson School creating an iMovie, but most of the students were lacking in the technology skills to create a movie with video clips, voiceover, copyright free images, background images, and other special effects like picture in picture and cutaway. I told the teacher I could update my student and teacher friendly how-to videos on my YouTube Channel and in my iTunes Course to assist his class. I had a hard time getting started, until iCoach +Ramona Towner kept reminding me the teacher was waiting! While it took me several hours over winter break and beyond to create the videos, I was able to help teach these 4th grade students how to use the updated applications without physically having to be present!

A week after I finished the MacBook videos I needed a push to work on the iOS screencasts... We received a district email about a colleague who's husband passed away.  I reached out to her to send my condolences, prayers, and strength to help her through this difficult time. I ended my email telling her to reach out to me if she needed anything. Within a few hours, she replied, "Yes! I'm working on CBL projects with my students and while I'm out the next few days I want instruction to continue while I'm not there." She continued by saying the end product for the CBL projects was to create a movie and her students' technology skills were all over the place. .... "Can you come teach my classes how to use the updated iMovie Applications?" she pleaded. "They need some teacher directed instruction." (What a dedicated teacher!)

Of course, I jumped right in to help. Unfortunately I could not physically be at each class, so I worked with the sub to do what we could. I arrived at 4th period ready with my YouTube Playlist and hoping the middle school students wouldn't scare me away! ; )  I taught the class the first few steps starting with curating free to use/share photos & organizing them in iPhoto. During this time, I had the sub listen closely so she could repeat the lesson with the next class while also using the videos. I survived Day 1, but needed to start preparing for Day 2. The 8th grade students at Freedom Middle School have 1/2 iPads and 1/2 MacBooks, I needed to finish my iOS 8 screencasts! I stayed up real late to get the next playlist done, so it was ready for class the next day.

Overall I was able to physically teach 3 out of 6 classes how to share what they've learned using iMovie to tell their story. All the students were able to work at their own pace watching the playlists, and several of them finished their movies at home. It's inspiring to know that 6+ hours of work can stretch beyond what you could ever imagine.

On January 17th, I was scheduled to present Up the SAMR Ladder with iMovie Storytelling at SAMRi Camp in Downers Grove, IL. During an hour breakout session, you can only teach so much. Luckily, my iMovie Screencasts for Mac and iOS were complete! I was able to teach what we had time for, and direct the group to the videos so they could go back and watch them later.

It's amazing what a Mac, an iPad, QuickTime, iMovie, and YouTube can do... I created 19 screencasts in 2 weeks. These applications helped me reach a classroom of 4th grade students, 6 middle school classrooms, a group of teachers, and whoever else happen to stumble upon them. One month later these videos have 1,052 YouTube views! Further, they were all posted in my iTeach Above the Line iTunes U course, so my 1,591 subscribers were able to access the videos too!

The next time you're trying to be in 2 places at once, think about creating some screencasts to CLONE yourself and share them out with your broader EdTech Community!