Saturday, June 23, 2012

Starting with the End in Mind

Over a span of two days and over a 148 educators who traveled as far as Michigan came together to learn about Project-Based Learning (PBL). This workshop was held in Muscatine, Iowa who has implemented in their school district the Global Generation or rather known as (G2) which stands for ignite, empower, inspire, and connect.

The Project-Based Learning approach is an instructional method built upon authentic learning activities that engage student interest and motivation. These strategies are designed to answer a question or solve a problem and generally reflect the types of learning and work people do in the everyday world. There classes are designed with an emphasis of assisting a group of diverse students to become college and career ready as they graduate high school.  The design principles which encompass this program include personalization, adult world connection, college/career ready, and teacher as designer.

When developing a Project-Based Learning lesson you are Starting with the end in mind. So here's what Project-Based Learning isn't?  Jeff Robins a High Tech High Art teacher outlines the misunderstandings of Project-Based Learning.

During the workshop we learned that the 6A's for Project Development are essential when developing a Project-Based Learning project with the end in mind. The 6A's include authenticity, academic rigor, applied learning, active exploration, adult relationships, and assessment. This resource was taken from Real Learning, Real Work by Aria Steinberg (Boston, Massachusetts: Jobs for the Future, 1997).  

Another district similar to the G2 model is Praire High School or known as Prairie2. They are implementing a similar Project-Based Learning model as Muscatine within their district. This will be their second year within the model and have been very pleased with the results and of their students.

High Tech High located in San Diego, CA: Began in 2000 as a single charter high school launched by a coalition of San Diego business leaders and educators. It has since than evolved into an integrated network of schools spanning grades K-12, housing a comprehensive teacher certification program and a new, innovative Graduate School of Education. A presenter Chris Wakefield shared some of the projects he has done with his 9th grade physics class. Take a look at Chris's portfolio and explore what you can do in your classroom. Another presenter from High Tech High was Diana Sanchez who is an English/Literature Teacher in San Diego. Take a look at Diana's portfolio and explore what you can do in your English classroom for ideas.

Over the past few days I was able to work with a group of educators to create a project-based learning design,  structure the design for success, and project tuning. The project-based learning allows for collaboration and team-building among staff members for critiques within the project tuning process. When listening to the staff members the resounding message was when coming up with a project-based design, to steer towards your passion and love of teaching and this will enlighten your students to the subject matter.   

Another district  who has embraced the Project-Based Learning Approach was Manor New Technology High School, in Manor Texas. Take a look at what changes they have implemented into their school district.

Here are some online resources which have an enormous amount of resources for you to utilize within your classroom for Project-Based Learning.

Project-Based Learning: Explained

Project-Based Learning: The Online Resource for PBL

Project-Based Learning for the 21st Century Learner

Cybrary Man's Educational Web Site: Project-Based Learning

A great book to take a look is: An Ethic of Excellence: Building a Culture of Craftsmanship with Students by Ron Berger.

It's the 21st Century we must prepare our students for their future, not our past. 

Thursday, June 14, 2012

TIC Conference Highlight Reels!

On June 12-13, 2012 was the 2nd Annual Technology Integration Conference (TIC) held at the Upper Iowa University Campus coordinated by our local AEA.  There were approximately over 400 people in attendance this year which, doubled from last year.

#KeystoneTIC Backchannel Archive

Photos from the Keystone AEA TIC Conference

Here are a few Highlights of the Conference:

On Tuesday our opening keynote speaker Tammy Worcester has been an educator for twenty-five years, both in and out of the classroom. She has developed numerous software applications for teachers and is the author of several best-selling technology resource books. Tammy presented 3 sessions on Tuesday which entailed Creating and Collecting Digital Work, Google Activities for Students and Tammy's favorite tech tips, tricks and tools.

Here are some of websites she shared with us take some time to explore of the summer:

  • Drawzit: Is a web-based drawing application were you can create your drawings and share them with the world by sending them in email or publishing them in blogs.
  • JamStudio: Free online music mixing and songwriting tool.
  • Zooburst: Is a digital storytelling tool that lets anyone create his or her own 3D pop-up book.
On Wednesday our opening keynote speaker Dan Meyer taught high school math for six years. He is currently a doctoral candidate at Standford University in the field of math. Dan's message was about perplexity and how to capture evidence of this and utilize it within our teaching. Check out some of his perplexity links.

Followed by our keynote speakers I went to several different sessions and talked with some colleagues who visited other sessions at the conference. 

Twitter Highlights presented by Karla who walked some of our staff members through setting up a twitter account, helping them find people to follow, and learn how to navigate twitter. If your not connected just remember that twitter provides you with endless educational opportunities. 

iPad Shout Apps presented by Deb were a hit too: They were fast paced with a huge list of apps for all grade levels with tips and ides for using them with students in the classroom. Most of them that were shown were free and some were paid. All of here sessions were standing room only.
Check out the links for Apps:
Another topic Deb presented on was Cyberbullying and Digital Citizenship. Her session focused on 21st century issues of cyberbullying and the role of digital citizenship in education. It lead for great discussion among educators that day. Check out the wonderful resource and see what questions might come to mind about cyberbullying. 

Google Docs for beginners presented by Julie. This was a great refresher for some people to review the basics of Google docs, spreadsheets, and more.  
Check out the handouts:
The last question on your mind; yes Helen and I performed at this conference too.  After visiting several sessions we were thinking we would do good if there were about 20 participants, wow were we wrong. The room was packed we had people sitting on the floor and out the door.  Our session was Smartboard in the Classroom for PreK-12. Here are a couple resources if you would like to update some of your notebook files over the summer.
Smartboard in the Classroom PreK-12

What type of new technology or Web 2.0 tool resource have you been exploring to implement in your classroom for 2012-2013?