A Tour of the Body Systems

CollageSys

Now that it has been several weeks after the end of the school year and two weeks of writing curriculum and a trip to Mexico, I am ready to reflect on an end of the year review that I did with my learners.

A colleague came to me before our final weeks of school and asked if I’d like to try using Spheros in my classroom. I am ALWAYS game to introduce new technology in my classroom and grow myself, so I jumped on the idea. After discussing a few logistics, I suggested reviewing the body systems for their final exam. I would have three days, which made us all a little nervous…that is not a lot of time to “play” with the devices, plan the tour of the body system chosen, code the Sphero and then present to classmates for review. But, I was confident in my learners. We are a blended classroom and I had been throwing resources, Apps and digital challenges at them all year. They did not let me down (and impressed everyone.)

Steps in Planning:

  1. My colleague, Monica Champagne, sent me this Google doc to get the ball rolling. I made a few simple tweaks to the terminology and posted it to my LMS for my learners to copy and collaborate in groups.
  2. A week prior, I had learners download the Lightning App and view a couple of tutorial videos on how to use the app.
  3. One day before I had the Spheros available for students to “play” with in class once they had finished the day’s assignment. I also had the outline of the body you see in the photos printed (we have an awesome printer in our library!) and ready.  Thank you to Trisha Goins, my DLC, for trouble-shooting the size of this outline!!
  4. Next, was our planning day in the classroom. Groups were larger than I like, but we only have 8 Spheros and with our connectivity, they don’t all always work at the same time. Eight would have been ideal, but we used 5 so we always had a back up. With the groups being large, I wanted to make sure all students were busy. So, I added PlayDough in the mix for learners to create their body system. So, body systems had to be created, the Google Doc had to be completed, the Sphero had to be coded and the hopes of a practice run-through all in one day! Students will always rise to high expectations and appreciate that you believe in them!!!
  5. Tour Day. I did have to give them about 20-30 minutes to organize and finalize their code, etc. This didn’t go as smoothly as wanted with some devices not connecting, groups accidentally connecting to another group’s Sphero, the code just not working. However, the students loved the challenge and the problem-solving; which is really what it is all about!!!
  6. Added half day (because it was just so awesome!) so learners didn’t feel defeated and could have a chance to show off their tour of the system.

I would like to add that I had never used Spheros myself or in the classroom before this time. Take risks, educators!! In addition, one of my learners found the fix that helped every group in class in their solution to making the Sphero “speak.” For all the groups in the beginning, the Sphero would complete the first movements and speak, but then stop even though code followed. After problem solving over and over, she found out that after the Sphero spoke you needed to have a timed pause that lasted the same amount of time that the Sphero spoke. I was in awe. She had never coded before and confessed to not watching the tutorial videos!! Her group learned together and then showcased their tour to the class. Then, each of those members went to other groups and helped them with their code. OUTSTANDING!!!

This whole process was amazing. And, it wasn’t amazing due to it’s no flaws success. It was amazing to see thinking, collaboration, problem solving, taking on a new challenge, etc. This is how learning should be. I call it “getting your hands dirty.” We learn by experience, and this is one of the best experiences of the year. And, we did some really cool stuff!!

Thank you to Monica Champagne, Victoria Tong and Trisha Goins for your ideas, support and trouble-shooting! Thank you to Bruce Hermans, Emily Froese and Laura Francis for coming and spending time with us as we coded!!

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#BreakoutEDU Science

Recently, I and my Digital Learning Coach (DLC), Trisha Goins @heartinlife, discussed #BreakoutEdu. We both were interested, but hadn’t found much in our research. She then texted me and asked if I had time for a breakout activity in my class. I am always game for innovation, and that is how our journey began!

We met several times to design our breakout session for a genetics activity for seventh grade science. We started a little lost as we still couldn’t find a tangible example of a breakout lesson that wasn’t expensive nor broke down the lesson in steps to show the design. We went to Youtube and watched some videos and got some ideas. And, our design started to develop in our planning.

I love the Dollar Tree, a teacher’s best friend. I found two small tool boxes, key locks and combination locks. This does beat the hundred dollar kit you can find online.

The Case of the Missing Chromosome became the breakout activity with four challenges, 1  per group, duplicated for eight groups. Each group of four where challenged to “breakout” their missing chromosome from a normal male karyotype. I set aside two class periods of fifty-two minutes each for completion as I did not know how long it would take the groups. You can see in the photo below, I have a missing chromosome at 6 and 21, one for each of the two large groups. I made these with pipe cleaners.

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I designed four challenges, one for each small group of the two larger teams. My challenges were: DNA Model Challenge, Natural Selection Challenge, and a Punnett Square Challenge.  I used Learn.Genetics for the digital resources. I love, love this site. You should check it out. (My all time favorite is Lick Your Rat Pups! Seriously.) My fourth challenge was a puzzle with the clue below.

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This puzzle was a challenge to me! I wanted to cry at times when I made it. Really, I did. I persevered and did like my product. Well, at least one of them. I’ll share that news in a minutes. So, I don’t know why it was so hard to keep blocks straight, facing the same direction, not flip them, etc. BUT, IT WAS?!! Oh my goodness! I questioned my intelligence and if I should really be teaching young people. Again, I persevered. My husband’s comment after two episodes of Big Little Lies and Shield, “You’ve worked on that for a really long time.” Yep. Be quiet now. Cry a little on the inside.

It took me several hours, but I do like the product. The idea is, that they should know from class, that a flower reproduces sexually. They should put the puzzle of a picture of a flower together and then find the code to the combination lock when they flip it over. The other pictures are of a hydra and a bacterium; which would give them the wrong code. Mrs. Goins used Google Drawings to create the photos that I Mod Podged on the block. I purchased the 1X1 blocks from Amazon. In hindsight, I would not use so much white on the blocks. Three sides all have white corners and  even though I did it to be challenging, that lead to some confusion.

However, I mentioned I share some other news? Well, one puzzle wasn’t so successful. My students put the flower together and flipped it over to find a bit of a mess. Mrs. Goins, my DLC partner in crime, tried to help. Then I looked. Hmmm. I gave them the code; which you could kind of see in the mess on the back. Here is their reflection video App Smashing Pic Collage and ChatterPix. (Don’t you love their honesty?!) We were stumped. Mrs. Goins stayed in class trying to make the puzzle work. Our brains were tired. I tried the next day as well and still got my learners’ results. I swear every time I finished a side I flipped it to check the code! Cry a little on the inside. Resist the urge to throw the puzzle across my office.

That was really the only hiccup in our #BreakoutEdu challenge other than my students finished it in about twenty-five minutes! They were intently focused. So, in the future, I will add challenges or make them harder. This was also my learners’ requests. Check out their feedback on this Padlet. They loved the pressure of the challenge, the competitiveness and that it reviewed what they already new, but also challenged in some new ways.

Finally, I wanted learners to summarize their process and reflect on this breakout session for their learning and for my learning. Here is the the reflection assignment to close the breakout activity. On the first day, I had them end with capturing their process and taking the  photos listed in the reflection and any others they wanted. On the second day, we completed the Pic Collage and ChatterPix App Smashing sharing them on our discussion board in our LMS (Learning Management System), Schoology. I liked using ChatterPix suggested by Mrs. Goins. It had been a while since I used it and it worked well for this activity.

Hopefully, this helps any of you that may be wondering what is the #BreakoutEDU thing! Let me know if you have questions or comments! Try it! Your kids will love it!

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Can You Blend?

I was recently asked to write a guest blog for TASA’s (Texas Association of School AdministratorsVision in Practice blog. I really enjoyed this activity as it helped me further organize my thoughts in a more specific manner factoring in my growth as an educator and experiences learned.

Here are my thoughts: 

Blended learning is most definitely a moving target. It is an intangible that can look very different as it is molded to fit specific educational programs. This also makes it very hard for parents, students and even educators to understand. The basic definition of blended learning is instruction that is part face to face and part online; leveraging technology for the benefit of the learner.

Blending can be overwhelming for even the veteran blended educator. For most, the visual of students being left in a room with a computer and without a teacher comes to mind and it’s often said by the student that that the teacher “doesn’t teach me.” This happens to be one of the best qualities of blended learning.  The fact that the educator moves into a facilitator role as the students drive their own learning is a hard change for all stakeholders; but one that needs to take place to transform education. Reasons for blended?

Why?

  1. Learning becomes personalized, differentiated for each student.
  2. Preparation of students to be successful in our ever-changing world.
  3. Students becoming the owner of their education.
  4. It is best for learners.

Blended learning allows students to take ownership of their education while personalizing through differentiation for each individual student. This personalization and ownership is gained by facilitating opportunity for students to have voice and choice in their own learning; which in turn empowers each individual allowing students to not only to gain understanding of content, but to develop the soft skills of time-management, balance of coursework and the ability to make choices. Educators have always had a tremendous job. Imagine, however, today’s learner. Information is at their fingertips and our world is changing due to developments in technology. Educators today must prepare students for careers that do not currently exist. Talk about a moving target!

Where?

  1. Within the classroom
  2. In the hallways
  3. Learning labs (additional room designated with personnel for working online)
  4. Home, think snow days

Many times educators feel the pressure to have a specific space like a learning lab with personnel for student management to be able to blend their learning. That is a best-case scenario; but rarely available due to budget costs and space. Blended learning can truly take place anywhere. Blended educators typically call this organized chaos. It can seem overwhelming to think of each student working at their own pace and choosing different paths to get to the same goal. It can look like stations in a way, collaborative groups, it can be all students plugged in and working individually or a little of every type of instruction. To add to the room space leverage the hallways surrounding your classroom where you can allow students to spread out; while maintaining student observation. Another major plus to blending is the fact that your use of technology (see how below) allows students to access their learning anywhere; when sick, when missing school due to UIL activities, snow/ice days, etc.

How?

  1. With BYOD (bring your own device), cart checkouts, computer lab checkouts and 1:1 devices
  2. Learning management systems (Schoology, Edmodo, Blackboard, Canvas, etc.)
  3. iTunes U, Google Classroom
  4. A multitude of Apps and web-based tools

Once again like the space, some educators think you can’t blend learning unless you are a 1:1 classroom, school, etc. This is not the case. Blending can take place with BYOD to cart/lab check outs to 1:1 devices. If all you can do is use student’s devices in BYOD, use it! They can do a lot on their phone or other devices. Think group work, jigsawing activities, stations, etc. With cart checkouts and computer lab checkouts, educators can plan for one to two to three days a week, depending on availability, for students to work independently and their own pace. While students are working independently, the educator is free to facilitate learning and activities giving more time one-to-one interaction; which brings us the the differentiation blending allows. With the leveraging of technology resources to allow students to work individually or in small groups, educators can incorporate workshops, small group support and individual support. Whether you are using another space, the hallway or every nook in your classroom, designing your blended instruction allows the educator to differentiate for learners in need of more support or more challenge. While students are working independently, students can be called into a small group session with the teacher. Data from formative assessments can be used to group learners according to need for further reteaching or deeper challenging. In addition, workshops can be designed to allow for learner choice in attending according to their need.

When?

  1. The time for innovation in education is now

We as educators and stakeholders are at a crossroads in education. Now is the time to innovate and transform education for today’s students. We are no longer in need of traditional education at its whole. We are in need of a redesign in which we do not discard all practices, but are creative with the time and resources we have. Do students need a fifty minute lecture? No. Might they need a ten minute direct teach? Yes. For example in a fifty minute classroom:

Traditional Instruction:

  1. Warm-up on overhead to get students focused 5-7 minutes
  2. Teacher lectures and works math problems on the overhead/board 30 minutes
  3. Students practice what they have observed 10-15 minutes
  4. Close class/assign problems as homework

Blended Instruction:

  1. Warm-up/Formative Assessment for focus 5-7 minutes, could be overhead, Google form, Socrative, Gizmos, challenge problem, etc.
  2. Teacher give direct instruction 10 minutes
  3. Students work individually in the learning lab or collaboratively work on problems, differentiated small groups are created with data from the formative assessment 20-30 minutes
  4. Teacher possibly gives a workshop open to any student who needs/wants further examples modeled 5-10 mixed within the full classroom time
  5. Close class/assign a few practice problems or 3-5 minute video of further instruction

Blended learning is the combination of best educational practices while leveraging technology to empower students to guide their own learning and strengthen their personal skills. Transforming our instruction will prepare students for a future of their own in a world that will require connecting to and collaborating with a  global community; while maintaining a competitive edge.

 

What experiences have you had with blended? I’d love to hear from you!

Vicariously Experience #ettipad

IMG_3118     I had the wonderful opportunity to attend the EdTech Teacher iPad Summit, Boston 2015. I was asked to co-present by my friend and rock star educator, Jodie Deinhammer. (See Apple Story Here.) The trip was then approved by the powers that be and I was set to go to Boston. Now as my two days of learning and sharing has come to a close, I want to reflect on my own learning. Right now, my brain is swirling around trying to find a starting place.

     Well, after a non-eventful late plane, maintenance delay and weather delay followed by a somewhat concerning cab ride later; we made it in late to Boston from DFW. Running mostly on adrenaline that morning, we joined Guy Kawasaki as he commenced the summit with a fun and moving keynote. I love his eleven top 10 rules of The Art of Innovation.

What I learned from Day 1:

  • I gained some great insights on The Art of Innovation. I love hearing how other disciplines can influence education; like marketing and business. These tips hit home with me as I work with a blended learning program that is in transition. I now have tools in which I can tweak my ideas, “perfect my pitch” and let “100 flowers bloom;” amongst others to help support the evolution and growth of the program.
  •  I learned how to make App Dice with PicCollage and many other great technology support ideas from Craig Badura and his Digital Dog-pound.  I hope to incorporate some of these ideas within blended learning to support my team.
  • I am eager to study the HACKing PD model of innovative instruction and decipher how it may help my team to continue to move past the S of the SAMR model. Moreover, it is always good to hear other’s lessons learned with technology integration. Here are the lessons: 1. support of Administration is key, 2. professional development should be continual, 3. it should be a systematic approach and 4.”evidence of learning” should be an accountability piece.
  • I was rejuvenated by The Tech Rabbi’s session, The Invisible iPad. Mr. Cohen emphasized the need for purpose and meaning for learners and that technology should not separately exist. Share-Visualize-Connect-Purpose are central to learning. Finally, be Ad”APP”table. “Technology is only as innovative as You.”

What I gained from Day 2:

  • “Most exciting time to be a learner.” – Justin Reich  I agree! We need to embrace all the resources we have instead of digging in our heels and refusing to embark upon change. Justin emphasized that Design Thinking is the closest thing we have to solve ill-structured problems; which computers cannot do! We need pocket changes to move to systemic changes in education. Get better together. Read it here.
  • One of my favorite sessions of the summit, Creating Digitally Curious Classrooms, with Larry Reiff. This session was packed with examples of engaging lessons and experiences. Point to ponder: “The world is not broken down into 40 minute segments. Why is school?” Learning should not be limited to a single discipline. Use video, karaoke, iBooks Author, etc. and create content instead of consuming content. Engage students.
  • I liked Sabba Quidwai’s message in her session, Are You Indispensable – A Design Thinking Approach to Education.  As educators, we have to be thinking, “What are the challenges and opportunities of our next decade?” Planet – People – Economy  Check out the The Global Goals for Sustainable Development! 
  • Beth Holland and Avra Robinson lead the Are iPads in the Driver’s Seat? What Really Drives Learning?  I gained a new definition of learning; it is measurable change. This change is a shift in knowledge, perception and beliefs. The keys for learner progression are: 1. given voice and choice, 2. connecting to community and 3. gaining a meaningful audience. This will end the question of, “Why are we learning this?” Check out the presentation for some great examples! Let’s build life-long learners!

I would be remiss if I didn’t mention the session I co-presented with Jodie. Check it out here!  Our session, Design-Engage-Connect, Student Designed Curriculum highlights student learning experiences and steps to a learner-driven curriculum. I really enjoyed the session. I was moved by the very thoughtful questions from our attendees. They were there to learn and share and it showed. What was also impactful about this EdTech Teacher group, is the openness and accepting nature. I felt as if these were my people and I’d know them for so long even though we’d just met. I hope to attend and present at future EdTech events and take a few friends with me!

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What I’ve Learned Blending

I’ve been officially blending learning for five years now and have grown in my understanding and preparation for the next years. Blended learning is part face to face and online learning. There are several models of blended learning; which is evolving daily in definition and practice. Currently, many schools are moving to blended learning whether they are opening new schools, starting a program within a school or are introducing blended as a pilot. Blended is catching fire.

Here we go, in no certain order…

  1. Even if the student has chosen the blended path, he or she will at some point want out of blended and may even voice this kicking and screaming! Blended is a hard transition for learners that have been trained to sit at a desk and learn the same way as everyone else in the room. They are used to “spoon-feeding,” getting information given to them and regurgitating said information at a later date. It is hard to go from this format to a format where a teacher is giving them to choice in how they want to learn allowing self-starting and self-pacing. Many need a lot of structure and scaffolding early on in their blended journey.
  2. Share #1 with parents when talking blended and establishing your classroom or program. My team tells parents that sometime in the first to second grading period, their child will come home and cry that they want out. We share that it will be okay. They will make it passed this hump and will excel. We give them the words to say and are partners with the parents in the learning. In some cases, the whole first semester can be hard.
  3. “Blended” is hard to understand and explain. It is a very fluid type of instructional design and parents will compare it to the way they learned. It is very hard for them to grasp the transformation in learning. I don’t have the answer to the best way to go about this explanation as I and my colleagues are still trying to figure out what these special words may be. I do know that some new programs are foregoing the “blended” in their title and using “personalized” or “challenge-based” to decrease the confusion, but are using the blended instructional design. Who would say no to personalized learning?!
  4. Within  your campus, program, classroom define for yourself or as a group  your style or model of blended learning. This is your foundation. You must have buy-in and agreement on how blended will work and be a cohesive group. One, you can explain it better when called upon to do so and two, you will refer to this definition often as you design instruction and your program’s mission. This is paramount to a successful blended program.
  5. You (facilitator) will fail and it’s ok. You will not get it right the first time or all the time. Just like any other lesson, it doesn’t always go as planned and you will regroup. Just expect it. Our ideas don’t always translate with the students. And if it’s not lesson design, it’s wifi crashing, slowness of connection that doesn’t allow all students to “get in,” the website is down, you crash the website as it can’t handle all your students at once, the free App now costs money, etc. I could go on and on. Be gracious to yourself.
  6. Blended Learning is the only way to truly differentiate in a full classroom. Blended allows for more individual interaction with learners and small group workshops. In a class of 30 or more, one teacher cannot connect with every learner on a daily basis in an hour. It is just physically not possible; while teaching. We can wax poetic about differentiation all we want. This is an expectation that is humanly impossible of the best educators. The rotational model and flex model of blended learning allow for students to use learning lab spaces for independent work. The classroom teacher is then able to work in small groups or individually with struggling or advanced learners. Moreover, moving from teacher-driven to student-driven allows the teacher to evolve into more of a facilitator moving about the room with learners; helping each individual learner.
  7. It is very hard work in the beginning. If you are an experienced teacher, you will feel like you just started. It is a lot front-loading and lesson planning as blended instruction allows for voice and choice of students in their education. You now have options for an activity instead of one activity for everyone. That is a lot to do. It’s a lot to plan one lesson; let alone, one lesson with multiple options for completion.

I advocate for blended learning and I feel it is the best style of instruction for learners. Of all the educators I know that have taken on the challenge of blended learning, none would ever go back to the way they taught before the move. You will see challenges, but also great benefits from blending your learning.

Making Connections as Lifelong Learners

While attending ASCD’s Ignite Conference in Irving, TX today and listening to Eric Sheninger speak on Creating Schools That Work for Kids  and catching the second half of Digital Leadership and the Educational Landscape, my mind jumped to a quote from a book I’m reading. Mr. Sheninger was talking on changes we need in our schools and challenged educators with this question, “Would you want to be in your colleagues’ classroom?” He later talked about Free Range Learning and Twitter as a PLN.

The book I am reading is Teach Like a Pirate by Dave Burgess. The quote that stood out to me while reading prompting me to mark it and that came to mind during this presentation is, “Resist any movement that attempts to clone teachers and lessons and instead rejoice in the fact that it is your individuality and uniqueness that will always lead  you to become the most effective teacher you can be.” If your soul did not just leap for joy, reread that quote! Being the rebel or shall I say pirate that I have always been, I get really excited about that statement. Mr. Burgess put into words how I’ve always felt and what has been my natural path. I have never played Candy Crush. Why? Everyone else was dong it!

The theme of the presentation by Mr. Sheninger was moving away from control and compliance toward authentic learning or Free Range Learning. In speaking of Twitter PLN, I’ve previously blogged on how important it is. I would also goes as far as say that I would want to be in my #tlap Tweeps’ classrooms any day; which I cannot say for all of my coworkers over the years!

So, educators I challenge you to be your authentic self, share your passion and blaze your own trail. Because there are no roads were you are going!

Benefits of a Twitter PLN

@SunnyJune77
@SunnyJune77

     If you do not have a professional learning network or PLN via Twitter, I sure hope you start one. My best professional development is gained from Twitter. Not only is there a multitude of resources, you can obtain them on demand when it fits your schedule. You can follow and be followed by fellow educators; which is inspiring and rejuvenating. Taking part in twitter chats is an immeasurable experience. You can just lurk (watch the chat) or participate. Either way you can secure contacts and obtain relevant information and ideas.

     I recently was tweeting among my Tweeps (Twitter peeps) and had an idea that has grown into a App Smash contest; which is being supported by Tackk! All because three educators connected on Twitter.

AppSmashTwitterChat

     Check out the #YouveBeenAppSmashed Challenge HERE. I hope you challenge yourself professionally to use Twitter to its fullest potential and to smash some apps! Stretch yourself this summer!

So, My Students Have a Device…That’s Means I’m Blended Right?

I Now Have a Device, So I’m Blended, Right?

     Have you heard of Blended Learning and wondered if you could incorporate that style of instruction? Because it is an instructional design and not about a device. The answer is, “Yes, you can!” Blended Learning is a method of instruction that combines face to face classroom instruction and online learning. Blended Learning is customizable, flexible, allows for assimilation to technology in our ever-changing society.

Made with Notability App
Made with Notability App

     Blended Learning creates adaptable, intrinsically motivated individuals and allows for better incorporation of technology into their education. Examples of Blended Learning are: 1) Face to Face with online components, 2) Online Lab, 3) Rotation Model and 4) Self-Blend. There is also a bit of a debate as to where the Flipped Classroom fits in to this model. I would say that it is a 5th type of blended learning. However, not all Blended Learning is Flipped. I read a great graphic tweeted by Kristen LOF @koko500 and retweeted by @Edutopia illustrating the likenesses and differences between Blended and Flipped.

     Face to Face blended learning is traditional learning with some online components. An online lab is a supervised lab space like a Read 20/20 program. The Rotational Model is a 2/3 or 1/4 ratio of Face to Face and online. In this model use of a “blended lab” would be necessary. This is a space in which students can meet and work collaboratively or individually on class material, product or projects not in the classroom. Finally, in Self-Blend the students chooses their schedule of online and Face to Face interactions.

     For the three years prior to this current school year, I taught freshmen in Biology through blended learning instruction as well as juniors and seniors in Anatomy & Physiology. The first year I piloted blended learning instruction it was through BYOD and checking out a cart of Dell laptops when I could. The second year, I was given a cart of 10 iPads to share amongst several teachers and of course still BYOD and checking out laptops or signing up for computer labs. I incorporated the Face to Face with online components. The third year, I was able to move into the Rotational Model as blending learning labs were incorporated into our campus layout. In addition to the blended learning labs, our campus rolled out a 1:1 iPad adoption and I was rockin’ and rollin’! I developed a 2/3 ratio of face to face and online learning alternating 2 days in the blended lab one week and 3 days the next as the schedule allowed. We were sharing two blended labs amongst many blended teachers. Currently, I am the Blended Learning Specialist at a middle school in the same district and am working with a team of core teacher in a blended community for 8th graders. It is very exciting to see the cross-curricular connections and like projects that can be incorporated when the team works with the same students. We are a community within a community.  Blended Learning works fabulously with planning with the end in mind. Ask yourself what your students can do without you, find materials and sources, schedule computer labs, use of shared devices and take advantage of students with their own devices. Be prepared to let go of the control to some extent it is extremely learner-centered. Through my experiences, I have learned the ups and downs of incorporating Blended Learning as an instructional design. Here’s my list:

Made with Notability App
Made with Notability App

      I believe the pros to blended learning definitely out-way the cons. I would never go back to my old way of instruction. Blended is definitely the best instructional design for differentiation in the classroom. When thinking of how to explain the differences of blended learning, I think of the SAMR model. Blended is redefining instruction with the relevant infusion of technology. Blended is about a community mindset in which educators and students learn from each other. Blended is about having a safe, open, flexible learning environment in which students have voice and choice. Blended is about using a variety of instructional tools to simultaneously meet diverse learning style needs. Blended is about making cross-curricular and global connections while students curate content in an authentic and meaningful way.

Blended is not about a device, but about instructional design that develops students who are self-directing, time managers that have choice in what and how they learn; while the facilitator maintains the integrity of the content focus. 

What do I hope to learn from the Miami Device Mobil Learning Event?

Miami Device Mobile Learning Event

What do I hope to learn from the Miami Device Mobil learning event to improve the lives of students, teachers, school program and district’s EdTech direction?

I learned of the Miami Device Mobile Learning Event through a colleague I will be working directly with this upcoming school year as a Blended Learning Specialist. I am very excited to start my new adventure assisting as a digital curator and in the design of blended learning through all content areas. Her words were, “This looks like and amazing learning opportunity…” And, I agree. I already follow many of the presenters listed on the program and have gained much from their tweets as I use Twitter as a wonderful professional learning community. I have also read many of the synopsis of sessions and am very excited. Of course, the funds have to be available and what a great start to finding those funds by winning registration and 1 night hotel stay!

For those of you that find the term EdTech or Educational Technology new or foreign, it refers to the use of tools and devices to enhance and optimize learning experiences for teachers and students. While under a lot of debate, the use of technology in the classroom to prepare students for their future in secondary education and/or the work force is imperative.

What I would hope to gain from the Miami Device experience? I would hope to gain knowledge, tools, practice and networking opportunities with fellow educators. My goal is to be a resource for my team that never runs dry. I want to ease their workday and support them in learning design and curation so that the may focus on the needs of their students in instruction, building relationships and creating a positive learning environment. In addition, the blended learning program can lead the way and support fellow teachers on campus with EdTech as we will  have a new 1:1 iPad initiative on our campus this upcoming school year. We can help others navigate the new challenges and exciting new capabilities that will be afforded us by our school district. I am very fortunate to work in a district that promotes taking risks in learning design,  curriculum design, learning environment, and assessment. As individuals or groups learn and grow, so does our district.

For those of you who would like this same opportunity to win registration plus a 1 night hotel stay, please go to these links below:

http://twitter.com/miamidevice

http://facebook.com/miamidvice

http://MiamiDevice.org

Remember, change does not happen in the comfort zone! Take a risk!