With such a hectic schedule, I have not had the opportunity to reflect on PETE&C (Pennsylvania Educational Technology Expo and Conference) in Hershey, PA. I will use my notes below as a simple reflection.
Sir Ken Robinson, Monday Keynote, was one of the most inspiring and invigorating speakers I have seen. He made me proud to be an educator and an American! Some of his most important points:
The one thing you can’t get rid of is teachers and students- most of what goes in a school system is a distraction.
Question the things that we think are obvious. We are living in times of revolution. We have to think differently of human talent and capabilities. We have to change our minds of education.
Technology is not technology if it happened before you were born.
Dare to be different
You have to love something in order to be in your element. Many people are good at something but may not like it. Being good at something is no reason to just go and do it.
It’s about passion.
The job of education is to create those conditions for growth. Agriculture Metaphor. Plants grow themselves- the job of the gardener creates the conditions for growth.
A healthy organism enriches the environment that it feeds upon.
Life is organic- it is not linear. Good teachers invest and take interest in the talents of their students, but they cant predict the future.
With this being to first presentation I have done at a conference, I must admit being exhaused by around 10:00 AM! Both of the presentations were scheduled in the morning, which is good because I was able to get rid of the swarm of butterflys in my stomach.
It was an excellent experience and I wish I could provide more notes on the conference, but the majority of my time was for getting ready to present, presenting, cleaning up and sitting in a few colleagues’ sessions. After watching the video below, I realize there is much practice that I need to complete in the near future!
I was pleased to have the oppotunity to present at PETE&C 2010 in Hershey, PA. It was an opportunity to higlight the tremendous world language staff at McGuffey High School. We have been working for one year now on the virtual world project and this was an opportunity to bring other PA educators “on board.” I have the U Stream presentation below.
On Friday, April 24, 2009 we held our first “Flip the Switch” event. The aim of the Flip the Switch event was to celebrate technology integration at the high school. Both Classrooms for the Future teachers and non-CFF teachers organized lessons to feature technology integration. We built a dynamic brochure with lists of classrooms to visit and observe. I sent countless invitations to legislatures, community members, the School Board, media, parents/guardians, Chamber of Commerce and local university colleagues. After having three bomb threats in the last three weeks, with the last one being the day before, this was an opportunity to showcase the positive educational environment of McGuffey.
I realized two significant things after coordinating and conducting that event. I realized that teachers need a time/event to showcase their lessons and hard work. I also realized that “positive” is not newsworthy and worthwhile to many people. The second is an unfortunate case, but all too true. I would like to explain and expand on each of these realizations.
First, most high school teachers are too busy to open their doors and share successful lessons with each other. They run from class period to class period only to turn around and realize the day is over. The chance for collaboration time is slim. Many high school teachers are also too modest when it comes to best practice. Many feel that their lesson is not “perfect” ( It never will be!) and therefore are not willing to show it to other individuals. Teachers also have the fear of the unknown- their students. Every day is different and who knows how the students are going to act, who is going to act up, who is going to revolt and who is going to cooperate. The risks outweigh the chance to teach another equally certified colleague. Dignity is at stake.
This is where I have decided to initiate more teacher celebrations. Teachers need an easy way to showcase their lessons and illustrate one of many ideas they have produced for their students. Teachers need an excuse to “brag” because they will not do it themselves. I saw excellent and innovative lessons on Friday and we need to celebrate that success more. Is this one reason why teachers are getting burnt-out? They may feel no one cares and there is no support team and they give up, too early for one to assist. Now, if I could just come up with a catchy phrase for these teacher lesson demonstrations….
Secondly, I mentioned I realized that “positive” is not newsworthy and worthwhile to many people. This is the unfortunate case when it came to our Flip the Switch event. We made sure it was during school, when students and teachers were there and we invited over a hundred people from the community. Five members showed up. FIVE! Here we have a special event organized with high quality lessons and a variety of activities and only five community members will show up. I must admit that the five that came were very impressed with the lessons and they were amazed of the things their children were learning. The most frustrating element was that not a single School Board member came to the event. Where are the priorities? What type of message are they sending? I can guarantee that School Board members were present at previous bomb threats. There is no wonder that educators tend to feel their cause is Sisyphean.
I do not want to dwell on the negative, because the event overall was a success to those that participated and attended. We have an excellent educational team at McGuffey High School and we need more events like Flip the Switch to showcase the positive talents of the faculty and staff who work so hard each day for the success of each student.
- Tuesday was jammed packed with conference sessions, most of which were standing room only. We started the morning with political speech writer Daniel Pink. I have included the notes from the session as well as my notes from the sequential sessions I attended through the day.
Machines replaced the muscle. Software has now replaced the left-brained aspect of the brain, not the right side.
Right answers are free now- we need to teach our students to think creatively and innovatively
Learning in Virtual Worlds:
5 Principals of all Ed Technology:
1. Course content must come first
2. Content cannot be watered down in order to make it fit to the technology
3. Students should be responsible for their learning as much as possible (authentic learning)
4. Assessment is critical
5. Students need to be able to build on what they have learned
Harvard- Cyber one project
Everyone can have a mini-notebook:
· Cost is equal to the cost of a textbook
· $99.99 for an Acer mini laptop
· Too many limits to validate the cost, I feel.
Teaching Math with a Digital Camera:
· Slope lesson: have the students determine slope through a picture. Use google Sketchup (a 3D drawing program)
· Imported the picture/ drew a line over the rise and google will give the length of the line/ then have the students determine slope.
· Geometry: Golden Rectangle in various artworks.
· GeoGebra.org to teach line symmetry
· Word problems- Photograph Math
For a complete resource list: course.wilkes.edu/digitalphotography
We also viewed the Student Showcase where students created a poster session of their technology projects. It was interesting that most of the students presenting were in the elementary and middle levels. I would like to see and bring more high school students to the showcase. This is especially true because of all the funding being distributed for CFF.
The PETE&C Monday morning session began with Keynote speak Jason Ohler from the University of Alaska. He is a dynamic speaker with real-world experience working with children. He spoke about digital storytelling and new media narratives. I attempted to keep up with him in my notes and they are listed below:
9 Dig lit action guidelines;
Shift from text-centrism to new media collage
Value writing more than ever
Visually different text
Adopt art as 4th, next literacy
Assistive technology/ real work for real pay/ We live in a visual culture. Innovation and creativity/ copyright is real
Follow DAOW of literacy
Merge literacy and digital literacy: Digital Art Oral Written
Attitude is aptitude
Do not see one as smart in context; intelligence is now the ability and attitude to learning new stuff.
Story first, technology second
Leave the clicks and tricks to the kids with time.
Give them something they are inspired to do.
What does your character “realize”?
Use Blooms to determine how good a student can create a story
Show kids a video- give them a question to think about while showing the video
What makes an excellent story? There is a problem.
Ruffolo: No storyboard- uses story mapping- shows the emotional flow of the story
Storyboarding only shows the flow of motion to make sure the story flows- it does not guarantee a good story.
Peer Pitch: share to peers and pitch their story: looking for clear and compelling
Director in the Classroom
*learn how to record with the green screen
New Media Narratives: Jason Ohler- 1 hour session
Check out his site- The Power of Music- 3 sequences.
Story Storm: get kinesthetic with their story first and then it becomes easier to write for kids.
Give all kids on the shoot a job.
Teachers can start at presenting problems- have students come up with the solution (any discipline)
Good stories take you toward the goal and away from it.
Have students deconstruct mass media.
Binary opposites- Kieran Egan
Story Spine by Kenn Adams
The key of making a media list prior to developing the story- so students will not change their story to fit a picture. Gather the pictures ahead of time.
Limit the story to two minutes- it forces the focus on the student part.
The really good transitions are the ones you don’t notice.
My room as a museum
Documentary is much more engaging when you include the 1st person immersive and tell the story from that perspective.
- During the afternoon, I presented my Keystone Poster session on Mrs. Schmidt’s “Virtual Forbidden City” and Mrs. Stewart’s “Second Life Dresden Museum.” This was a very successful presentation and was a positive opportunity to show the successful practices of McGuffey School District.
- I spoke with may professionals that ranged from educators to PA Department of Ed representatives. A representative from Thiel College was highly interested in the project. Three representatives from Carnegie Mellon University want to collaborate with us and they view our projects as “huge” in their words. We spoke for about an hour and the fortunate aspect is that the CMU representatives understand gaming technologies and building virtual worlds. We benefit them because we are using these technologies in a pratical manner and we are putting theory to practice. The CMU representatives would like to continue the conversation and collaborate together. This is an excellent opportunity and I look forward to learning with them.
Promethean Private Party
- I was invited to attend a private party at Chocolate World, hosted by Promethean. They opened the Chocolate World attraction for 100 select members and provided food, drinks and mini-lessons. It was an excellent professional development session because they coordinate 15 minute lessons in a pod type arrangement. We were able to view how technology corrdinators and teachers are using the Promethean software in innovative ways and I look forward to coming back to my school district to share those ideas.
Birds of a Feather: Ning
- Lastly for the night, around 8:pm, I attended a Birds of a Feather session on Nings in education. I was aware of Nings previously, but I wanted to advance my understanding because Mr. Wilson is putting it to practice for teh district. In order to learn best, I also created a Ning for our CFF community. You may access it at: http://cffmcguffey.ning.com/
It was a busy and chaotic day, but I learned a great deal and I look forward to coming home to share with my district. I also was able to show over 3,000 participants that McGuffey School District is on the front line of innovative teaching practices.