Monday, June 17, 2019

Recommended Book of the Week - In Other Words: Quotes that Push Our Thinking


The best educators are not content to do the same old thing year after year. Innovative educators push their thinking by engaging in social media, exploring blogs, attending conferences, and exploring the newest generation of educational books.

We've created a Recommended Educational Book Site to organize and share some great books connected to teaching and learning.


As part of my Summer Break Professional Development Exploration, I will share a new book that I am reading this summer each Monday. I am hoping to engage in a new book each week until we head back to school in August.

Wednesday, June 12, 2019

Collection of #ISTE19 Tips an Tricks Created and Shared by My Awesome PLN


Hopefully, you've had a chance to explore some of the ISTE19 Tips and Tricks I've posted over the last month.


Now the really good stuff is here for me to share and for you to explore.
I've taken a deep dive into the #STE19 social media stream and found some great stuff to support anyone attending the conference. There are even a few nice resources to support anyone who can't be there in person. 

Monday, June 10, 2019

Recommended Book of the Week - DON'T Ditch That Tech: Differentiated Instruction in a Digital World


The best educators are not content to do the same old thing year after year. Innovative educators push their thinking by engaging in social media, exploring blogs, attending conferences, and exploring the newest generation of educational books.

We've created a Recommended Educational Book Site to organize and share some great books connected to teaching and learning.


As part of my Summer Break Professional Development Exploration, I will share a new book that I am reading this summer each Monday. I am hoping to engage in a new book each week until we head back to school in August.

Friday, June 7, 2019

Sans Forgetica - A Font To Remember?


Happy Almost Summer! 

I will continue blogging during the summer and I've been pretty busy posting this year. You can visit and catch up on some of my posts at any time. If you are at ISTE, Samri Teacher Camp, or the Southland Learning Conference this summer, I'd love a high five

I know I have a longer post in me about how our brains work and how this connects to teaching and learning, but it is the last day of school . . . . If you know what I mean? It's a busy day, so this is all I have for today.

Wednesday, June 5, 2019

Growing With Google Part 5 - Some of Our Resources Connected to #GSuiteEDU

5 weeks ago I started my G Suite for Education refresh with 3 free Google training resources to educators and students in this post4 weeks ago I revisited some great resources focused on Chromebooks in this post. 3 weeks ago I shared some awesome premium Google training resources in this post. 2 weeks I shared some of our favorite books connected to Google for Education in this post. Finally, last week I shared some of my favorite Googly Blogs in this postToday I wanted to share some of the resources we've created to support our teachers and students connected to G Suite for Education. 

Friday, May 31, 2019

Summer Learning - Growing as a Teacher and a Learner


You work hard all year. You do great things for your students. You deserve to escape your schedule and make the choice of how, when, and where you grow and learn this summer. You also have permission to completely unplug and take a break from learning. I would just recommend not waiting until August to turn it back on. 

How will you recharge this summer, but still find the time to grow as a teacher and leader? This post has some tips and resources to support educators as lifelong learners this summer.

Wednesday, May 29, 2019

Growing With Google Part 5 - Favorite G Suite EDU Blogs Connected to Teaching and Learning


4 weeks ago I started my G Suite for Education refresh with 3 free Google training resources to educators and students in this post3 weeks ago I revisited some great resources focused on Chromebooks in this post. 2 weeks ago I shared some awesome premium Google training resources in this post. Last week I shared some of our favorite books connected to Google for Education. Today I wanted to share some of our favorite blogs connected to G Suite EDU.

Monday, May 27, 2019

Tips and Recommendations to Help Plan Your #ISTE19 Schedule - Sessions, Playgrounds, & Posters

Bold Educators Activate Change
Philadelphia
June 23 - 26, 2019#ISTE19

This post is my third connected to my ISTE 2019 Planning Experience. My first post was ISTE 2019 - 10 Conference Tips for the Engaged Educator and my second was The #ISTE19 Experience - Exploring The Expo & Connecting with ExhibitorsThis post is all about planning your sessions using the conference program. 

Planning your schedule for ISTE can be a daunting challenge. There are many incredible educators sharing so many incredible things and it can be hard to even know where to start. The first part of this post will connect you to ISTE's that can help with planning. I will then wrap it up with some of the speakers and sessions I am excited about.

Friday, May 24, 2019

Chrome Music Labs and Creatability - Let's Get Creative in All Classrooms


I am always looking for unique ways to bring creativity and critical thinking into my classroom. If you have followed my blog you know that I teach Environmental Science so you might be a bit surprised that I am sharing two sites connected to music?

Sometimes my students and I need to take a break from our content. I try to use what I like to call "Reboot the Noggin" HyperDocs several times a year to engage my students in skills not directly connected to my content. One of my favorite HyperDocs is all about curiosity.

Today I wanted to share two resources that I think could bring some creativity and critical thinking into any classroom, regardless of age level or content area.

Have you ever explored Chrome Music Labs or Creditability? I've put this post together to give everyone a brief introduction to these two incredible resources.

Wednesday, May 22, 2019

Growing With Google Part 4 - Favorite Books Connected to G Suite EDU


3 weeks ago I started my G Suite for Education refresh with 3 free Google training resources to educators and students in this post2 weeks ago I revisited some great resources focused on Chromebooks in this post. Last week I shared some awesome premium Google training resources in this post.  Today I wanted to share some of our favorite G Suite Education books written by educators for educators.

Monday, May 20, 2019

The #ISTE19 Experience - Exploring The Expo & Connecting with Exhibitors

Bold Educators Activate Change
Philadelphia
June 23 - 26, 2019
#ISTE19

The ISTE Conference Expo Center will bring together more than 1000 incredible educational companies in the Pennsylvania Convention Center in Philadelphia this year.

The ISTE 2019 Expo opens Monday, June 24, 2019
  • Monday, June 24, 9:30 a.m.–5:30 p.m.
    Continental breakfast in the expo 9:45–10:15 a.m. 
  • Tuesday, June 25, 9:30 a.m.–5 p.m.
    Continental breakfast in the expo 9:45–10:15 a.m. 
  • Wednesday, June 26, 9:30 a.m.–2:30 p.m.
    Expo snack break 11–11:30 a.m.
The ISTE presenters and sessions are awesome, but connecting with exhibitors and exploring the Expo Center is a great way to add a little something extra to your ISTE learning experience. You can also find some great "swag" and other valuable resources at the exhibitor booths. Here are some tips to help you make the most of your time in the Expo Center.

Friday, May 17, 2019

End of Year Ideas to Inspire and Motivate Learners and Educators


It's hard to talk to teachers or students at this time of year without hearing about how "done" everyone is with school and learning at this time of year. There are even quite a few memes that are all about the end of year blues.
I wish I could tell you that I don't hear the same thing from my students, but I can't. I teach mostly seniors and many of them firmly believe that "senioritis" is part of the required curriculum. Many of them let me know daily that I shouldn't expect much from them.

I could complain about this, but I prefer to think of the end of the year as a challenge to overcome.

Thursday, May 16, 2019

What Inspires You to be Curious? Interesting Site - 5 Deep


I am always looking for images, videos, articles, or websites that inspire me to be curious, ask questions, and explore something new. This frequently leads me down the rabbit hole of exploration/distraction when I least expect it. For me, this can be both a blessing and a curse. It is a blessing when I get to explore something new and a curse when I really have other stuff that I should be getting done.

The other day I was doing a quick check of my Twitter feed and 5 minutes turned into an hour after I discovered a short video by @FiveDeeps The video showed a manned submersible touching down on the bottom of one of the deepest places on Planet Earth. It was a place no human had ever been, yet there was evidence of our impact on this untouched place. This led me to the expedition website which inspired me to explore more about some of the deepest places on our planet. 


Wednesday, May 15, 2019

Growing With Google Part 3 - Premium Training Resources


2 weeks ago I started my G Suite for Education refresh with 3 free Google training resources to educators and students in this post. Last week I revisited some great resources focused on Chromebooks in this post. Today I wanted to share some of our favorite paid resources to support teacher's using technology in the classroom.


Tuesday, May 14, 2019

G Suite - Your EDU Account → Your Stuff → Take It With You

Your School Account Your Stuff Take It With You

It is getting close to the time of year where teachers and students are getting ready to leave for the summer. Many students are graduating and teachers may be moving to a new district or job. It is easy to remember to take your physical stuff with you, but we often forget our digital baggage. This can be a problem if you need any of your digital stuff in the future. Educational G Suite accounts are typically closed when students are no longer enrolled or when a staff member leaves the district. This means you could lose access to your digital stuff if you don't take it with you.

Fortunately, Google makes it pretty easy to transfer or download your Google files before you leave.

We've created this guide to connect everyone to the resources to help transfer or download all the files connected to a G Suite Account.


Saturday, May 11, 2019

The More Your Share The More You Learn - Blogs for Teachers and Learners

Image created using Adobe Spark Graphics

One of my favorite Saturday morning chats is #PD4uandme. I don't always have a chance to be part of the live chat, but I always find some time on the weekend to explore the hashtag. I am always impressed by the educators who are active on this chat. I also love that there are no questions, just conversations. There is no race for everyone to answer questions. Each chat starts with a topic and then the conversation is on.


Friday, May 10, 2019

ISTE 2019 - 10 Conference Tips for the Engaged Educator

Bold Educators Activate Change
Philadelphia
June 23 - 26, 2019
#ISTE19


The best conferences are more than just a list of presenters and sessions. I have been fortunate to attend quite a few conferences as both an attendee and presenter and I am writing this post to share some of my tips about making the most of the ISTE Conference experience. Take it from me, you don't want to be the teacher sitting in the back of the room in a session and miss out on making the most of your learning experience.

I know there is a lot in this post, so my advice is to explore one tip at a time and not try to run through this whole post in one sitting. You’ve got some time. I know I am not even coming close to sharing everything that ISTE is, but I hope there is something here that can help everyone make the most of their ISTE experience.

Wednesday, May 8, 2019

Growing With Google Part 2 - My Favorite Free Chromebook Training Resources


Last week I started my G Suite for Education exploration with 3 free Google training resources to educators and students in this post. Today I wanted to share some of our favorite resources to support Chromebooks. I have a Pixelbook and I love it. It does everything I need and I no longer have a PC laptop or PC desktop at home.

Friday, May 3, 2019

Essential Picture Books for Teachers, Parents, and Learners

Picture books can be a great way to engage students in lessons connected to essential skills that all students need today and tomorrow.  


I use two picture books as part of my Environmental Science curriculum. I love the connections we make in class to The Giving Tree by Shel Silverstein and The Lorax by Dr. Seuss. My high school seniors are also mesmerized when I pull out the book and read it to them.

Wednesday, May 1, 2019

Growing With Google Part 1 - My Favorite Free Google Training Resources


I know that great teachers and sound pedagogy will always trump the power of EdTech, but I also know that the right tool at the right time can enhance the learning experience for both teachers and students.  

Google has become my partner in almost everything I do that is connected to my teaching and learning experience. The foundation of my teaching and learning philosophy is built on the 4 Cs of collaboration, communication, critical thinking, and creating. Google has done more than any digital resource I've ever worked with in my 25 years of teaching to support the development of these essential skills connected to my content. 
Recently I was inspired to revisit some of the resources we've explored in the past connected to G Suite for Education. As I explore and reflect, I am going to share my learning in a series of blog posts connected to Google for Education.  My main purpose in this new series of Wednesday Google Posts will be to share my recent explorations connected to G Suite for Education. 

Today am start from the beginning with several free web resources that can help anyone explore the power of G Suite connected to teaching and learning.

Friday, April 26, 2019

Bring The Power of The Infinity Gauntlet to Your Google Search Results

I love when Google releases a new Easter Egg and the one I discovered today is connected to Marvel's Avengers Infinity War and the Thanos Infinity Gauntlet.

Go ahead and open Google Search and then type in the word "Thanos". Click on the Infinity Gauntlet on the ride side of the screen above the Wikipedia summary and then watch your results start to get snapped away one-by-one. You can undo the action, by going back to the Infinity Gauntlet and click on it again. 



What Inspires You to be Curious? Interesting Site - Language is a Virus

I am always looking for images, videos, articles, or website that inspire me to be curious, ask questions, and explore more. This frequently leads me down the rabbit hole of exploration/distraction when I least expected. For me, it is both a blessing and a curse. Today I was inspired to explore the power of words after stumbling on the Language is a Virus Site. 


Unless you've been hiding from all things digital, you know that it is national poetry month. My school and my PLN and been all over the power of words and poetry. I even spent some time exploring Haiku in a post last week. 




All day today our LMC has been transformed into a Poetry Coffee House. We are also wrapping up an incredible Serenity Week for Health Moves Minds. These events along with the ideas and resources shared by my PLN have reminded me that words have an incredible amount of power to raise people up or push them down. 

I was inspired to dive deeper and explore some resources connected to poetry and language. One resource I found that I think is worth sharing is the Language is a Virus Website


Thursday, April 18, 2019

Digital Citizenship Resource - Online Safety and Digital Well-Being with Applied Digital Skills


You may already know that I've been curious about how all educators are helping students develop skills connected to digital literacy, what many call digital citizenship. I've been to conferences, read books, and explored a bunch of resources.

I was setting up an activity for my student using Google's Applied Digital Skills Curriculum and I stumbled on the "Online Safety and Digital Well-Being" collection. I love that the title includes the words "Digital Well-Being." This is a great way to stress the importance of supporting all learners in a digital world.

Wednesday, April 17, 2019

Happy National Haiku Day - Haiku Resources to Creatively Engage Students


I am a huge fan of the Days of the Year Website and today I was excited to see that it is National Haiku Day. You can learn more about the day dedicated to these creative works in this post. I am writing this post to share my curious exploration of Haiku connected to reflective student engagement.

Google's goo.gl URL Shortener is Official Retired - What Will You Use Now?


As of April 13th, the Google URL shortener (goo.gl) is no longer available to create new short URLs. Existing short URLs create in the past will still work, but the analytics/tracking are also gone. Many of us knew that this day is coming. Google announced over a year ago that they would be retiring this tool used by so many of us for almost 10 years. 

What now?

While there are quite a few free and paid URL shorteners available, Google officially recommended Ow.ly and Bitly as alternatives when the announcement was made that goo.gl would be shutting down. 

Tuesday, April 16, 2019

Google Adds Carmen Sandiego Game to Google Earth


I have been a huge fan of some of the awesome geography and cultural resources that are part of the Google Suite of Tools for all classes and subject areas.  These resources are great tools to support curiosity and critical thinking in all classrooms.

Digital Mapping and Virtual Field Trip Resources for Teachers and Students

Friday, April 12, 2019

A Different Kind of Book of the Month - Oscar The Grouch's Debut


Normally I am recommending books written by educators for educators, but this month I decided to share something a bit different. I am adding Oscar's In the Pursuit of Grouchiness to my reading list in April. I love this book for no other reason then the connections it has to my childhood.  If you haven't seen the book know that it is a series of images and quotes about being a grouch. It's not a positive book at first glance, but I think it could be a starting point for some great discussions on being positive. Some of the pages get you thinking about what Oscar might be trying to say and other pages may just make you laugh out loud.

What Are Your Favorite Science Media Resources To Engage Students?


My curious nature has gotten the best of me again after I was tagged in this post by Teacher2Teacher. I am inspired to explore and organize some of the media resources I love connected to teaching and learning in Science Classrooms. If you have any favorite media resources connected to Science, please consider sharing in the comments below?

I am going to start by listing some of the resources that were shared in post responses. I'll then share some additional science media resources that I love below. (You can see all the responses and who made them by clicking on the image above that links to the tweet and all of the responses.)

Monday, April 8, 2019

EdTech Tip - Chromebook Simulator Help Site


I have always believed that it doesn't matter what device you have, what matters is how you use it. When we talk about learning, good pedagogy comes before good technology, but it is still nice to know how the technology works if you are ever going to use a tool to enhance teaching and learning.

Chromebooks have become a favorite1 to 1 device in many schools. G Suite and Chromebooks have also grown in popularity in the real worldChromebooks and G Suite are incredibly easy to use, but if you are more familiar with the Windows or Apple OS, then you might need a bit of help to get started. 

Friday, April 5, 2019

The Homework Debate - It's A Bit More Complex Than Yes or No?


I am curious about the value homework? What about you?

I know that many of my students and my own children are sometimes overwhelmed with the amount of homework they have on a daily basis. I don't think that all homework is bad, but I also believe that there are many homework activities that have little or no value. 

I decided a few years ago that homework is no longer part of the Path To Success in my classroom. I don't even use the word with my students. When I occasionally ask my students to do something outside of class I've taken to calling it an "extended learning opportunity."

Although  I have drifted away from all required homework for my AP Environmental Classes over the last several years, there are a few things I ask my students to do outside of class. (These are all optional, I don't check or give points for anything that is done outside of our classroom.)

Don't get me wrong, I don't think that learning should end when the final school bell rings. Curiosity is always important! I just believe that it should be optional for my students to engage in my class outside of the time we are together each day. I always hope to inspire them to explore something connected to our classwork outside of class. 

Sunday, March 31, 2019

Quizizz - Review Mode Study Flashcards


Quizizz is definitely a favorite formative assessment tool in my classroom. I love that my students and I can complete a quiz together in class and then turn on the same quiz as a "homework game" to allow my students to retake a quiz multiple times.

Today I wanted to share a new feature that I absolutely love, Review Mode/Flashcards. I don't know exactly when this feature was released, but my students and I discovered it last week. 

Friday, March 22, 2019

Pear Deck - The Swiss Army Knife of Lesson Design


Are the best student activities created for a single student or a single class or even a single moment in time?
or
Are the best student activities designed to be flexible enough to engage every student at any moment in time? 

I am not ashamed to admit that I don't know the answer to this conundrum. I am always looking to find a balance between these two ends of the spectrum when I am designing activities for my students, although I am guessing that the "One Size Does Not Fit All" image might give away my personal bias towards flexible designs.

Knowing my students helps me design and redesign activities to support the student learning experience for each of my students. Frequent formative assessment allows my students and me to shift our focus on the fly. The most difficult part of all of this is finding the time to create activities that are flexible enough to meet the needs at any given moment. 

Wednesday, March 20, 2019

Professional Development Resources for Science Educators

(Image Created with Adobe Spark)

I typically look for professional development opportunities that are not just focused on a particular content area, but I know there is value in engaging in learning opportunities connected to the subject one is teaching. That's why I wanted to share a few resources I've explored recently connected to science instruction in this blog post.

Friday, March 15, 2019

Happy Birthday To The World Wide Web - Exploring Resources Connected to the Evolution of the Web


Did You Know That The Internet and the World Wide Web Are Not the Same Things?

Internet - a global computer network providing a variety of information and communication facilities, consisting of interconnected networks using standardized communication protocols. (Google)
World Wide Web - an information system on the Internet which allows documents to be connected to other documents by hypertext links, enabling the user to search for information by moving from one document to another. (Google)

Did you know that the World Wide Web (WWW) turned 3o years old on March 12?

I think most of us take for granted how easy it is to access just about anything we want to learn about on the Web, The Internet and the World Wide Web have impacted almost every aspect of our daily lives. We all know that the growth and evolution of the Web have impacted and will continue to impact how we teach and learn. I have a hard time remembering my first few years of teaching without the Web as a resource for teaching and learning. 

The birthday of the World Wide Web inspired me to start thinking about the history of the Web and my exploration began. The rest of this post is dedicated to some of the resources I explored. 



Curious about the history of the World Wide Web and how it has changed since the beginning?

Thursday, March 14, 2019

EdTech Tip - Using Google Slides to Create Stunning PNG and JPEG Images

I am always looking for quick and easy ways to create visuals for teaching, learning, and sharing. I love Adobe Spark and Google Drawings. I also believe that Google Slides can be a great tool to create visuals.


Did you know that you can create a graphic using Google Slides and then download it as a high-quality image? 

Tuesday, March 12, 2019

Making the Most of Any Educational Conference Experience

“Think and wonder, wonder and think.” - Dr. Seuss
I have a few confessions to share before I talk about making the most of any educational conference experience. I am not shy, I don't think I am too socially awkward, but I am an introvert. Don't get me wrong, I love to collaborate and make new connections with educators. The problem can be that these social interactions are exhausting for me. I enjoy the moments of collaboration and connection, but sometimes by the end of a busy day at a conference, I feel completely drained and desperately need some downtime. 

During my first 10 years as an educator, I rarely felt the need to attend educational conferences. I never really felt the advantages outweighed the disadvantages. When I was asked to attend a conference, I was the guy who found a seat in the back of the room and kept to myself. I took notes and answered questions, but this was mostly done in isolation. I enjoyed the learning experience but I mostly kept the learning to myself.  

I learned a few years ago that the best conference experiences are best when not done in isolation. I have attended quite a few conferences as both an attendee and presenter and I am writing this post to share some of my tips about making the most of the experience. Take it from me, you don't be the teacher sitting in the back of the room disengaged from a greater learning experience. 
Plan Your Day in Advance
This seems like a no brainer, but I am always amazed by the number of teachers frantically flipping through a paper program each morning or between sessions at a conference. Planning in advance is more than just picking sessions based on titles or presenters. 
  1. Start with your why. Knowing your why before exploring the sessions is a great way to set the stage for an awesome learning experience. I always start with the mindset that everything I do starts with students in mind. 
  2. It is always good to have a backup plan. Pick 2 or 3 sessions during each session time frame that connect to your why. You might arrive and find a session full, or maybe a session just isn't meeting your needs. It is ok to switch sessions, really it is. 
  3. If you are attending with other educators from your school or district, have a plan before the conference. Attending sessions together is a great way to collaborate, but sometimes a bit of divide and conquer can lead to some great reflective sharing after the sessions. 
  4. Know how you are going to take notes and have a plan to share those notes. If I know that someone else will be seeing my notes it helps keeps me accountable and I am less impacted by other digital distractions. I personally love Google Docs for notes. If you are curious about what my notes look like, here is a sample from the upcoming 2019 ASCD Empower19 conference. 
  5. Dive into the conference website and explore other opportunities at the conference outside of the schedule of sessions. If available, find and explore the exhibitors list and the presenter resources before attending the conference. 
  6. If one is available, download the Conference's App. 
  7. Have a plan to bring something back to your school or district. The more you share the more you learn!

Monday, March 11, 2019

New Book For Your Reading List? Happy Teachers Change the World: A Guide for Cultivating Mindfulness in Education

What Are Your Reading to Learn and Grow as an Educator?

I believe the best educators are not content to do the same old thing year after year.  Whether you call it innovation, curiosity, or something else the best educators are always trying to push their thinking by engaging in social media, exploring blogs, attending conferences, and exploring the newest generation of educational books.

We've created a Recommended Educational Book Site to organize and share some great books connected to teaching and learning. I am always curious about what will be next on my reading list.

Up today is a book that I stumbled on when looking for some ideas connected to a post I was reading about Diffusion of Innovation. I was curious to learn more and while exploring stumbled on this book.


Friday, March 8, 2019

Design Thinking, Inquiry, and the Launch Cycle - Learner Centered Engagement


Have you ever explored the Design Thinking Process connected to Teaching and Learning?
"Design thinking is a human-centered approach to problem solving that begins with developing empathy for those facing a particular challenge. It serves as a framework that helps to define problems, empathize with others, develop prototypes of possible solutions, and hone those prototypes through multiple iterations until they have generated a viable solution to the challenge at hand. Design thinking encourages a bias toward action and, because of its reliance on rapid prototyping, frees practitioners to embrace the notion of failing forward because it's OK to make mistakes -- that's where breakthrough ideas are born." Edutopia
If you are a regular reader of my blog or follow me on social media you probably already know that I have been on a journey to create learning activities that are more learner-centered and less teacher-centric. HyperDocs have become a big part of what I do with my Environmental Science students. Some of my students really love the activities that provide opportunities for student choice and student voice, others not so much. Some of my students struggle with not being directed what do learn and would prefer more of a teacher-centric class. My challenge has become to create activities that support all of my students, while still challenging them to take ownership of their learning own experiences.

Sunday, March 3, 2019

Book of the Month - Learning and Leading Through Habits of the Mind

The best educators are not content to do the same old thing year after year. Innovative educators push their thinking by engaging in social media, exploring blogs, attending conferences, and exploring the newest generation of educational books.

We've created a Recommended Educational Book Site to organize and share some great books connected to teaching and learning.

Friday, March 1, 2019

Connecting Curiosity and the Inquiry Mindset to Teaching and Learning

Resources to Support Curious Lifelong Learners in Today's Classrooms

Curiosity is a powerful motivator for learning. Curious students ask questions, engage in learning experiences, and actively search for answers that often lead to more and better questions. I believe curiosity is an essential skill for all lifelong learners. The best classrooms encourage learners to be curious. 

Donald Latumahina's, "4 Reasons Why Curiosity is Important" is a great place to start exploring the importance of curiosity in the classroom. The Atlantic also has a great post connected to curiosity in schools: "Schools Are Missing What Matters About Learning".

We've also organized this website to support teachers who are curious about student-centered inquiry-based learning.


Friday, February 22, 2019

Exploring Grow With Google Resources for Teachers and Learners


How do you complete this statement when creating learning experiences with your students?

When I think about complete this statement, I am always come back to the search for resources, activities, and ideas that can help my students practice and develop the 4 Cs (collaboration, communication, critical thinking, and creativity). 

Don't get me wrong, content has its place in the learning experience, but for me, the true power of content is how it can be used to help students build what many of us call "soft skills". Trevor Muir has a great post and video about soft skills really being essential skills that all students need to develop. 


Wednesday, February 20, 2019

The #ICE19 Conference Experience - ICE Conference Tips and Tricks

This is my 5th and final post connected to the #ICE19 before the conference gets started. I've already shared posts connected to the workshops, featured sessions, the exhibitor hall, and the ICE book store.



ICE Conference 2019
Lifelong Learners Unite
February 25 - 28
I know this is quite a few tips for one post, so my advice is to explore one tip at a time and don't try to run through this whole post in one sitting. I hope there is something here that can help everyone make the most of their ICE experience. 

If you have any additional tips, events, or questions to share, please post in the comments below.
________________________________________________

Tip 1: Know Your Why
Planning and organizing your days is important (Tip 3), but if you are only focused on the where and the when you might miss out on a more complete learning experience. This year I plan to develop a mindset connected to these 3 quotes that I will use to drive my conference experience. Having goals before I choose my sessions is important to me.

Make Connections and Have Conversations - Be Present
"Everyone you will ever meet knows something you don't." - Bill Nye
Create a Complete Experience & Don't Just Focus on Conference Sessions
"Don't forget to stop and smell the roses." - Walter Hagen
Learn Something New Whenever, Wherever, and From Whoever - Build A Bigger & Better PLN
“I have no special talent, I am only passionately curious.” - Albert Einstein

________________________________________________

Tip 2: Be an Active Learner
It is too easy to sit in the back of the room during sessions and only focus on the presenter. I know because this was who I was for quite a few years. I kept to the back of the room and took notes. I learned, but I now realized that I missed out on so much. There are so many great educators who are not standing in front of the room who have so much to share. I started volunteering at the conference a few years back and this year I am lucky to be on the Program Committee, introducing speakers, and working in the book store. 
Volunteer at the Conference
If you are interested in volunteering, sign up at bit.ly/ICE19volunteers - Choose your specific opportunity and a specific 2-hour time slot. If you have further questions, please reach out to Charlene and Lauren at volunteer@iceberg.org.
Play Escape the Conference
Be sure to plan some time to Escape the Conference in the Exhibit Hall! In this session they won't just talk about what active learning should look like - they will actually role model the 4 C's: Creativity, Communication, Collaboration, and Critical Thinking. You will be working in teams and competing against other attendees to be the first to "escape". After participating in this experience, you will leave with ideas on how to develop problem solvers in your district, design engaging professional learning activities, and learn about innovative ed-tech solutions. Visit ice19conference.sched.com to plan out your Escape experience.

________________________________________________

Tip 3: Right Place - Right Time - Start Planning Today
Why Are You Attending?
There are so many incredible learning opportunities at the conference this year, so it is important to know your why before attending. I like to start planning my conference with my school's improvement plan in mind. Personal teaching and learning goals are also important (Tip 1).  Knowing why I am attending the conference helps me choose sessions that connect to why I am at the conference. 
The ICE Conference Schedule
A complete list of all sessions, including workshops, can be found at ice19conference.sched.com an interactive site that lets you plan your daily #ICE19 schedule.

The ICE Conference uses SCHED to organize the sessions and activities for all 4 days of the conference. The ICE SCHED works on all browsers and mobile devices. If you sign into the SCHED you can save your favorite sessions and create your own schedule inside of the bigger schedule. If you do this ahead of time, SCHED will even email you a daily overview of the sessions you've checked.
The Conference Center Map and the Exhibitor Hall Map
Explore the Schaumburg Conference Center Map, the Exhibitor Hall Map, and the Exhibitor List before your first day at the conference. Seats are not reserved, so getting to a session early is a great practice. There is also an #ICE19 App that you can find in your App store. 
Presenter Resources
Many presenters will share some incredible resources in their sessions. Attendees can also explore presenter resources for most sessions in the ICE Symbaloo of Presenter Resources
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Tip 4: What to Bring?
What to Bring
I would start with a Laptop or a Chromebook. Tablets and mobile devices are ok, but there will be sessions where having a full sized screen and keyboard are a huge bonus. I also like to have a pad of paper for some sketchnotes and brainstorms on the side. Bring a refillable water bottle and some snacks to keep your energy levels up. Finally, dress in layers. The temperature can vary a bit in different spaces at a larger conference. 


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Tip 5: Organizing Your Digital Resources
Google Drive
There are many great tools educators can use to create collaborative notes and share resources. Google Drive has become my go-to collaborative resource, but it can quickly become a cluttered mess if not organized. Check these links to learn more about staying organized with Drive.
Google Keep
Google Keep is another great resource to create reminders, notes, and to-do checklists. If you use the extension you can even save links to resources on the fly. The Keep Notepad in Google Docs is a great bonus if you are using documents for your conference notes!
Learn More About Google Keep in this post: Google Essentials - Google Keep

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Tip 6: More Than Just Sessions
The breakout sessions are incredible but don't miss the Exhibitor Hall, PLN Plaza, Playful Learning Space, and Tech Playground. There 
Exhibitor Hall 
There are some incredible exhibitors and sponsors in the Exhibitor Hall. The hall opens Tuesday night and is open all day Wednesday and most of the day on Thursday. Taking some time to explore the hall can be an extremely valuable experience.
Playful Learning Space 
The Playful Learning Space is in the Exhibitor Hall and features some incredible gaming experiences, esports, board games, and more.
PLN Plaza
The PLN Plaza is a must visit. The ICE Book Store along with a full schedule of learning and engagement experiences need to be experienced.
Tech Playground
Experience the latest in robotics, virtual reality, augmented reality, and more in the Tech Playground

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Tip 7: Be Present - Find Your Tribe
Make New Connections
Connect with your digital PLN. Connect with vendors. Connect with presenters. Connect with new people. Don't be the anonymous person in the back corner of the room. You will miss too much alone. Find someone new to talk to. Step out of your comfort zone and grow as a teacher and a learner. Challenge yourself to meet as many new people as possible. You won't be disappointed. 
Social Media 

Share ideas, ask questions, and engage in conversations using the conference hashtag, #ICE19You can even share your Twitter contact information with anyone using this quick Twitter Tip that I learned at the 2018 ISTE Conference.
Photos
Did you know there is a Google Photos Album where you can share pics during the conference? What will you share as part of your learning experience? ICE also maintains an Official Instagram Account
Flipgrid
Introduce yourself and share your daily reflections on your learning experience using Flipgrid

"We learn best when we learn together." - Seth Godin

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Tip 8: Organize Your Social Feed
The hashtag this year is #ICE18 and it will be going fast once the conference gets rolling. Jumping into the Twitter hashtag stream can quickly become overwhelming. I always try to remember that it's ok to miss some tweets. Here are a few tips to help organize your social media engagement.
  • Hootsuite and Tweetdeck are great resources to manage the stream of information.
  • Create a Twitter list of presenters and attendees. Lists are a great way to narrow down some of the clutter that such a busy conference hashtag will generate.
  • Have a heart and like some tweets that catch your eye. A lonely unliked Tweet is very sad. Looking back at your 'liked' tweets at the end of the day is also another great way to reflect on your learning experience.
  • If you connect with a tweet leave a comment for the tweeter and get a conversation started. Most educators on twitter are looking to do more than just post and run.
  • Engage with the Exhibit Hall Vendors on social media. Keep an eye open for challenges and prizes shared by the vendors on Twitter. 
  • The site 'If This Then That' (IFTTT) has some great Twitter Recipes to help you save and organize tweets.
  • Particpate is another great place to keep up with your Twitter Chats and Hashtags. They will be a great ally for anyone at ICE 18. Follow Participate on Twitter to get updates on the sites ICE 18 resources. 
  • I have also started to explore Wakelet as another tool to collect and organize tweets I want to remember.
  • Another great place to share and explore is the ICE Facebook Community.
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Tip 9: Take A Break - Read a Book or Catch Up On Stuff
CAFE Connect
CAFE Connect is next to the PLN Plazza. Enjoy some comfortable furniture and get off your feet for a bit in this great gathering place. The PLN Plaza is a great place to meet, take a break, collaborate with some new friends, or just explore a new book from the nearby book store. Sometimes a quick impromptu book discussion with a small group can lead to some great collaborative learning. Check out some of the books that will be available in this post.
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Tip 10: Take Time to Reflect and Share Before, During, and After the Conference. 
Whether you blog, share via social media or share your notes with a colleague always remember that it is important that you share your learning. You never know what connections you might make if you share your ideas and resources

The More You Share, The More You Learn

It's hard to grow as a teacher and a learner if a daily reflection is not part of your learning process. Take time to look over your notes and make connections to your teaching every day. I've been to too many conferences and sessions where I took some incredible notes, but then never went back and connected these notes to my teaching and learning experiences. Don't let this happen to you!

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Final Thoughts
It's O.K. to leave ICE 2019 with more questions than answers. I've found that some of the best questions lead to new questions and more learning. This is why the best educators are life-long learners.


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