Sunday, March 17, 2013

edCamp Howard-Winn Wrap-Up

This past Saturday, the Howard-Winneshiek Community School District hosted the first edcamp, unique and participant-driven development for educators. The event, brought together over 60 educators from Minnesota, Iowa, and Wisconsin. 

Edcamps are really more of a movement than anything, an acknowledgement that we as educators have so much we can learn from each other. The "unconference" format forgoes pre-set agendas, structured proposals, in favor of informal sessions run by people who are passionate about education and collaboration. Each session looks more like a conversation than an "info dump," and the process of sharing experiences, ideas and resources is just well inspiring. You can see the schedule that was formed here.

Here are a few snapshots:

This session discussed about Digital Lesson planning. Educators collaborating about the 21st Century learning skills for students. There discussion lead to the utilization of different Web 2.0 tools Edmodo, Schoology, Google Docs, etc. within the classroom.

Howard-Winneshiek Superintendent John Carver provides a session on how to expand your Personal Learning Network for educators. Wow, talk about exciting John is Skyping in Jerry Blumengarten @cybraryman1 for the session.

Shannon Miller from VanMeter joined #edcamphwinn for the morning sessions sharing her wealth and knowledge with integrating technology into the classroom. Shannon shared with educators how to organize bookmarks with Symbaloo within there classroom to assist students for finding resources. Check out the poetry Symbaloo for poetry in your pocket month.   

It's always wonderful to hear back from edcamper's about there experience from attending an edcamp. Here are a few blogs to check out Coffee with Cloe and AnIowaTeacher.  Over the course of the day there were plenty of resources and excellent resources tweeted out so if you missed something check out the Storify from the twitter feed for the day.

Saturday, March 9, 2013

Making Global Connections

Our new mission which was adopted earlier this year states: to prepare and empower our students to think creatively, serve, contribute and succeed locally and globally. 

The question that people wonder is how are me making our connections? Connections are being formed through twitter accounts, edmodo global connections, news and Skype in the classroom.

When utilizing Skype in the Classroom, its a free and easy way for teachers to open up there classroom and create an amazing learning experience for their students. Recently Skype in the Classroom has know made it available for teachers to apply for free video group calling.

Our District is always looking for global connections to empower our students for the 21st Century Learning. Let us know if you would like to connect your classroom globally and follow us on twitter #2020howardwinn, or  #cadetnation to see our global connections we are making each and everyday.

Gov. Terry Branstad
On March 6th, was World Read Aloud and our District celebrated by Skyping different authors to listen to them read. 

Janet Stevens
Janet Stevens has written and/or illustrated more than 30 picture books and several with her sister Susan.  She read the book called Tops and Bottoms, which has received a Caldecott Honor Award, as well as the first Bill Martin Jr. Picture Book Award. Janet did her book reading from Vegas while she was on vacation so it an honor for our students to listen to her read on WRAD.
Mrs. P

Mrs. P an award-winning Free interactive digital storybook destination, which stars TV actress Kathy Kinney.  Mrs. P also reads a story on her youtube channel so don't miss out on catching some of her new digital readings.

Not only did we have connections with celebrity readers with our District we also had connections across our Centers.

5th Graders along with CT WRAD
There was also connections from LimeSprings and Cresco 1st Grade classrooms too. 

To Wrap-up the Week Up

We are making the news, yes as you can tell by the look of this picture its 5:50 am. This is huge for students to arrive this early in the morning to show there Cadet Pride. With the news crew and Nikki Newbrough from KWWL for School Spirit. Check out our morning news slots posted on School Spirt at KWWL. 

TPACK=Total Package

A colleague asked me this week what I was studying within my Masters Program, so I explained TPACK? TPACK is a framework for YOU, and is designed to aide the integration of technology into teaching and learning. Based on Shulman's theory of Pedagogical Content Knowledge (PCK), this new framework also draws on recent research into teacher's influences of the current technology climate within the classroom (reference available here). 


Pedagogy, Content, and Technology are recognized as individually important concepts, in which teachers must be competent in order to teach effectively. The overlaps between teacher area are also important, with the area in the middle of the diagram (where all three knowledges overlap) being the desired outcome for educators through the TPACK framework. 

Take a look at this  TPACK video by Royace Kimmons  using a 3- circle venn diagrams to explain the relationship of each domain.

How does this pertain to YOU as teacher?
Source: Too Cool for School? No Way!
Mark Fijor, a professional development instructor in the Arlington Heights, Illinois school district, created a  rich and thoughtful set of blog posts that explain how his district is using TPACK-based ideas and practices district-wide in professional development efforts. In his first post, he explains: our district has done a phenomenal job of providing teachers and students with access to technology. In addition, his teachers are exposed to a wide variety of tools through in-services and conferences outside of the district. However, with this access and knowledge comes the idea of overexposure. Teachers are finding there are many different tools available for a task, and because of this, many are unsure of which is the best tool. Teachers are free to explore on their own and use a variety of tools, but this is limited to those who are truly interested about learning on their own and experimenting. When these tools are shared with staff, many of the teachers are left to wonder how the tools apply to what they are doing in the classroom, or are overwhelmed by the amount of resources available. It is from these dilemmas that Mark Fijor developed a framework and a series of guidelines that address the idea of systemic technology integration. In professional development with his teachers and administrators from various districts and experience levels, he believes the following series of post will address many of the concerns and problems with technology integration in schools. 
Take a look at how Mark Fijor implemented the TPACK model to his staff during a series of Professional Development:
  1. TPACK and Systemic Technology Integration
  2. TPACK and Systemic Technology Integration - Part Two
  3. TPACK and Systemic Integration - Focus Tools 
  4. TPACK and Systemic Integration - Affordances and Constraints
  5. TPACK and Systemic Integration - The Four C's of Tech Integration

So what area of the TPACK framework do you live in as a 21st Century educator?