Archive | News and Events RSS feed for this section

The Sock Monkeys are returning!

Sock monkeys

Just a heads-up that Team 4443, The Sock Monkeys (@4443sockmonkeys), from Oskaloosa, Iowa will be returning to this blog to share its experiences at the First Robotics Championships in St. Louis, Missouri. Molly Bleything will be sharing out this year’s challenge, photos and videos of the team in action, and other items of note. Hope you’ll leave her and the team some positive encouragement!

Image credit: Sock Monkeys

My TEDxDesMoines talk is profiled at Upworthy

The folks at Upworthy were kind enough to feature my TEDxDesMoines talk. And, just like that, my video went from fewer than 18,000 views to nearly 44,000 views in just a few short days. Super fun!

If you’re sharing online, every once in a while the Internet sends a few rays of sunshine and attention your way… Thanks, Upworthy!

 

Notes from Code Studio elementary coding training

My notes from yesterday’s Code.org elementary coding workshop…

Notes

  • Code.org’s elementary school courses overview [VIDEO]
  • In fifteen years we’ll be teaching programming just like reading and writing… and wondering why we didn’t do it sooner. – Mark Zuckerberg
  • The average car has 15 computer chips in it. The average high-end car has almost 100 computer chips in it.
  • Very few students are taking AP Computer Science. And of that small sliver, only 15% are girls and only 8% are not White or Asian.
  • Code.org is a public nonprofit dedicated to bringing computer science to every school and to increasing participation by women and underrepresented student populations. Organizer of the Hour of Code campaign. Computer science PD partner for 30 of the largest districts nationwide, including New York City, Los Angeles, and Chicago. Producer of online courses in 30,000 classrooms.
  • Code.org elementary curriculum was created in conjunction with Cal-Berkeley.
  • Short 20-hour courses for elementary school
    • Course 1 – for early readers, ages 4-6, grades K-1
    • Course 2 – for beginners, ages 6+, grades 2-5 (can skip Course 1)
    • Course 3 – for ages 6+, grades 2-5, kids who have completed Course 2
    • Course 4 (beta) – for grades 4-8, kids who have completed Course 3
    • Each course is about 20 lessons, about 40 minutes each
    • Can reinforce existing math, science, and English/language arts standards
    • Any PC, tablet, and also ‘unplugged’
  • Code.org Teacher Dashboard
  • Code.org YouTube channel
  • Each lesson usually has a couple of videos, one for the teacher (lesson video in the lesson plan) and one for the participating students
  • Getting loopy, Course 1, Stage 12 (an unplugged activity)
  • Maze:Loops, Course 1, Stage 13
  • Code.org’s Pair Programming video is an excellent conversation starter for teachers and students
    • Pair programming leads to fewer errors and fewer dumb errors
    • Consider having kids do all the exercises on one kid’s account, then going back and doing them again on the other kid’s account – solidifies learning, helps them understand better (sometimes they just get lucky), fosters more creative solutions the second time through, etc.
  • Often students get the problem right but they don’t understand why or can’t explain why
  • In Code.org, students can’t break anything – “let’s try it and find out together”
  • Group breakouts
  • What’s the difference between a conditional and an event?
    • Event = WHEN = continually asking ‘Is it now? Is it now? Is it now?’
    • Conditional = IF = only asking ‘Is it now?’ if particular circumstances are present
  • Try to create a story and/or program Flappy Bird
  • Challenges we’ll face when attempting to implement these courses
    • Lack of a formal, articulated, vertical set of curricular/extracurricular experiences for students across K-12 grade levels
    • Time
    • Professional learning
    • Concerns about students already spending too much time in front of a screen
  • Somebody somewhere has to start the ball rolling!
  • Get contact name(s) for each Iowa AEA that Ben has been working with
Images
 
Pair Programming 

Notes from the 2015 Iowa STEM Summit

Iowa Governor Terry Branstad

Here are my notes from today’s 2015 Iowa STEM Summit

Welcome, Lt. Gov. Kim Reynolds & Mary Andringa

  • STEM should be a catalyst for active learning
  • Launching a STEM Council Seal of Approval for programs (e.g. Exploring Iowa Archaeology)
  • Over 5,100 applications were submitted for STEM Scale-Up Grants
  • Numerous STEM externships are available for teachers
  • Peek Into a STEM Classroom: Sioux Center High School
  • Peek Into a STEM Classroom: Davenport West High School
    • Design a lunar space station

Opening Address, Kwizera Imani

  • Used to live in Kigoma, Tanzania
  • Family fled genocide and was chosen by the U.N. to move to the U.S.
  • Learned enough English to transition into regular classes in 8th grade, finished all high school coursework by 11th grade, now taking 5 AP classes as a senior
  • Will attend Iowa State U. this fall, majoring in Aerospace Engineering
  • In 9th grade, participated in an aviation program at the Des Moines International Airport

Iowa’s STEM Teaching Endorsement Partnership – Higher Education Plan, Jeff Weld & Kris Kilibarda

  • What does best practice for integrative STEM pedagogy look like?
  • How do endorsement seekers get engineering experience if the university doesn’t have an engineering program?
  • Can we graduate preservice teachers that come out of the gate with interdisciplinary STEM competencies?
  • Is ‘STEM pedagogy’ just layering applied PBL and inquiry lenses onto STEM subject areas?
  • There are many questions about these endorsements that still need to be answered

Lunch and STEM Education Awards for Inspired Teaching, Gov. Terry Branstad & Chris Nelson

STEM in Iowa’s Re-Envisioned Economic Development Roadmap (2014 Battelle Report), Kathryn Kunert & Carrie Rankin

Northwest Iowa STEM Region Breakout Session, Molly Faber & Mary Trent

  • Created a STEM and Scale-Up Introduction short course on AEA PD Online (explains each scale-up grant in ways that are easier, more accessible for teachers)
  • Wish this wasn’t locked down behind AEA PD Online (with quizzes!) instead of being openly accessible via a blog, web site, wiki, etc.
  • Breakout group questions
    • What’s going well in the NW region?
      • Outreach that Mary’s doing – PD for teachers – STEM day for 6th graders – there’s a lot of outreach occurring right now that is creating awareness
      • We also are seeing more business partnerships, co-sponsorships
      • Scale-up grant impacts have been favorable – are using them well in our district
      • World Food Prize – lots of supportive communities – we believe in making this happen
      • First Lego League – still getting emails about what’s going on – possible grants that are coming up – great communication
      • Girls Scouts – all girl Lego leagues, Engineering is Elementary – girls are empowered – Flying Monkeys prosthetic device patent!
      • Belie-Blank – Spencer CSD is doing math-science extracurricular with 6-8 graders
      • Prairie Lakes AEA – seeing lots of depth with Defined STEM
      • Sioux City CSD – opening a K-5 STEM specialty school in Fall 2015
    • What would we like to see more of in the NW region? What’s missing? What/who/where is the solution?
      • How do we assess student growth / development? Our current assessments aren’t up to the task.
      • Teacher preparation – higher ed isn’t giving us what we need – it could be better
        • Higher ed should be ahead of us, not behind us
      • We need more volunteers / mentors
      • Transportation is an issue – have to get a bus to get home
      • A continued focus on extracurricular instead of curricular – need to get this stuff into core classes, not just after school
      • Ongoing PD for teachers is an ongoing need
  • Rock Valley CSD – student-run manufacturing business?
  • Local college of education just touted this past fall that they had a smartboard that preservice teachers could learn on!
  • Can DE help us align all of these initiatives (e.g., STEM, Teacher Leadership, MTSS) together in better ways?
  • We need to do a better job of attaching learning standards to our STEM activities – we want to see learning progression occurring

STEM Education Award for Inspired Teaching Awardees (Panel), Kacia Cain, Lisa Chizek, Jason Franzenburg, Allison Gregg, Shelly Vanyo, Mike Wedge

  • SV – I no longer think of our space as a classroom – instead, we’re an innovative learning center – no textbooks, we’re a community that solves problems using every resource available to us (including others elsewhere)
  • LC – I try to model learning from mistakes
  • KC – I bring scientists into my classes a lot, but not as talking heads in front of kids – they help with projects – I identify where I could use an extra set of hands, brains, etc. – my kids then send a mass thank you note! – 
  • Jeff Herzberg – why aren’t we giving $20K+ award to a school, not just individual exceptional faculty? – a group of teachers and administrators working together to make this happen?
  • Embrace the chaos, embrace messy learning
  • As a parent of an elementary student, my son has had no science this year – his principal says it’s because of the increased emphasis on reading and math [UGH!]
  • SV – I create opportunities for myself to give up control – I create dramatic chances for other teachers to ‘help me out’ – teachers were getting upset so I had a semester where I pretended that I wasn’t doing SBG – parents are our biggest advocates – I send brown bag experiments home with students to do with parents – homework: teach parents and have them email me what they learned
  • What have administrators done to infect others with your STEM awesomeness? 
    • LC – I lead an annual STEM excellence fair and bring other teachers, community members in that way
    • KC – all of the people at Central Campus are experts in their areas so I had to be sure that I was on my game from Day 1
    • JF – teacher leadership program – we’re doing PBL training for all teachers – I assumed they already knew and were doing it, had to start over and go slower
    • AG – admins just let me set up a science club and I talked a colleague into joining me
  • Differentiation is often easier during hands-on performance tasks – have to listen, keep eyes and ears open to see/hear what they’re doing

Promoting STEM Careers From a School Counselor’s Point of View (Panel)

  • On average, Iowa counselors serve 429 students each
  • Counselors are uniquely trained in career theory and career development and uniquely positioned to bring various resources together to bear for the whole child – when you have 800-900 students, it’s physically impossible to do this, however
  • Most counselors have 60+ graduate hours – that’s a lot of expertise to waste serving on bus duty
  • At no time in my administrative licensure training did I receive guidance on how to most effectively use my counselor
    • Could say this about any role, not just counselors?
  • Local chambers of commerce and economic development organizations are nice resources for career / workforce information, speakers, data, etc.

Closing Remarks, Lt. Gov. Kim Reynolds & Mary Andringa

  • A book for everyone who made it to the end of the day, courtesy of DMACC

[As is typical for these statewide summits, the day was heavy on sit-and-get with extremely little interaction… As I’ve said before, can’t we figure out some way to tap into the collective wisdom, expertise, and experience of the 500+ people here?!]

ISTE 2015: (Re)designing tech-infused lessons for deeper thinking

Hope you will join me and Julie Graber in June for our ISTE workshop… Register here!

Title

(Re)designing tech-infused lessons for deeper thinking

Short description

Avoid the pitfalls of tech integration – technology for technology’s sake, focus on tools rather than the learning – by being thoughtful and purposeful about lesson (re)design. Bring your own lessons and units, and we’ll help you make them better.

Date / time

Sunday, June 28, 12:30pm to 3:30pm EDT (Eastern Daylight Time)

Standards addressed

ISTE Administrator Standards A-2, ISTE Teacher Standards T-2, ISTE Coach Standards C-2. Although we selected only one of the NETS-T standards, this session actually will focus on the first three. These three standards – as well as the selected NETS-A and NETS-C standards related to digitally-enabled learning – are at the heart of this workshop. The purpose of this workshop is to help administrators and teachers assess when higher-order thinking skills and student agency factors are (or are not) present in classroom uses of technology by students and teachers. Right now most educators are poor judges of deeper, richer technology usage, which is why we see lots of lower-level technology use instead of schools taking advantage of the rich affordances that digital learning technologies could bring to our classrooms.

Participant device prerequisites

Laptops and Chromebooks tend to play best with Google Docs and Sheets, which is what we will be using to facilitate some of our work together. Ability to access Google Docs and Sheets is needed. In addition to bringing a computing device, participants also should bring a unit or a few lessons that they would like to redesign.

Purpose and objectives

This session focuses on the intersections of digital learning technologies, higher-order thinking skills, student agency, and authentic, real-world work. In this workshop we will redesign lessons and units with the intent of getting beyond lower-level academic work and technology usage. By the end of the workshop, participating administrators and teachers will have practiced using the trudacot protocol to 1) diagnose and redesign others’ lessons, and 2) create new lessons, or revise existing ones, of their own.

Outline

In addition to bringing a computing device, participants also should bring a unit or a few lessons that they would like to redesign. | 10 minutes – We will start the workshop by looking at some different technology integration and/or deeper thinking frameworks (TPACK, SAMR, RAT, Bloom’s, Webb’s, IPI, AIW, etc.) and quickly discussing the strengths and weaknesses of each. | 10 minutes – We then will introduce participants to a technology-rich unit design and classroom observation template (trudacot), which pulls from the strengths of multiple frameworks while simultaneously covering existing gaps in those frameworks. | 60 minutes – We will spend most of the first half of our workshop applying trudacot in depth to one or two video examples of technology-infused lessons (with accompanying lesson plans) so that administrators and teachers can practice utilizing the template with actual lessons to make judgments about the presence/absence of higher-order and active learning; critical thinking and problem-solving; collaboration; authentic, real-world work; and other high-leverage characteristics. In short, we will redesign one or two lessons from elsewhere to make them richer and more robust. | 10 minutes – We will take a break! | 90 minutes – Moving beyond others’ lessons, we then will rebuild (or build new) lessons of our own using trudacot to facilitate our dialogues. Participants will work in triads throughout the workshop to ensure that multiple lenses and perspectives are informing our design work. | This will NOT be a sit-and-get session with a few questions at the end. We will be talking continuously with each other throughout the workshop, so questions will be actively solicited throughout rather than waiting until the end and letting just a few folks ask questions.

Supporting research

There is a wealth of research on the TPACK and SAMR frameworks, Bloom’s taxonomy, Webb’s Depth of Knowledge, the Authentic Intellectual Work framework, the Instructional Practices Inventory, the Florida/Arizona Technology Integration Matrices, and other mental models of technology integration and/or higher-order thinking work. Unfortunately, each of these is limited in terms of utilization as a lesson (re)design framework. We will be pulling these together into a comprehensive template that draws from existing frameworks but also remedies their individual gaps.

It is absolutely critical that educators have the ability and tools to examine, dissect, and rebuild student and teacher classroom technology uses for the purpose of achieving higher-level thinking, greater student agency, and authentic, real-world work. Right now we are doing a poor job of helping educators with these tasks. The purpose of this workshop is to help with this concern.

Presenters

Scott McLeod, J.D., Ph.D., is widely recognized as one of the nation’s leading experts on K-12 school technology leadership issues. After 14 years as an Educational Leadership professor, Dr. McLeod currently serves as the Director of Innovation for Prairie Lakes Area Education Agency in Iowa. He also is the Founding Director of the UCEA Center for the Advanced Study of Technology Leadership in Education (CASTLE), the nation’s only academic center dedicated to the technology needs of school administrators, and was a co-creator of the wildly popular video series, Did You Know? (Shift Happens). He has received numerous national awards for his technology leadership work, including recognitions from the cable industry, Phi Delta Kappa, the National School Boards Association, and the Center for Digital Education. In 2011 he was a Visiting Faculty Fellow at the University of Canterbury in New Zealand. In 2013 he received the Technology Leadership Award for the state of Iowa. Dr. McLeod blogs regularly about technology leadership issues at Dangerously Irrelevant and is a frequent keynote speaker and workshop facilitator at regional, state, national, and international conferences. He also is the co-editor of the book, What School Leaders Need to Know About Digital Technologies and Social Media.

Julie Graber is a passionate educator who is most interested in seeing teachers and administrators improve learning opportunities for students. Deeper thinking with technology, authentic learning, curriculum design, and performance assessments are some of Julie’s many areas of expertise. After 13 years as a technology coordinator and business/computer teacher, Julie currently serves as an Instructional Technology Consultant for Prairie Lakes AEA by supporting educators with effective teaching, leading, and technology practices. Julie was one of four coaches in the state of Iowa to first be trained in Authentic Intellectual Work (AIW). She has served on several state leadership teams, including the North Central STEM Hub Advisory Board and the Design Team for the Iowa Competency-Based Education Collaborative. Julie is certified in the Instructional Practices Inventory and provides training for Defined Learning. In 2014, Jay McTighe asked Julie to join his group, McTighe and Associates, to conduct workshops for educators using the Understanding by Design curriculum framework. Julie is a regular local, state, and national presenter focusing on student-centered learning, authentic work, and project-based learning.

Register here!

Is it wrong for me to wish the ISTE keynotes focused more on ed tech?

ISTE announced its 2015 conference keynote speakers yesterday:

  • Soledad O’Brien, journalist and news anchor
  • Jack Gallagher, comedian and parent of a child with autism
  • Josh Stumpenhorst, Illinois teacher of the year and ISTE Emerging Leader

I love ISTE and the ISTE conference. But every year I wish more of the keynotes were actually helpful to our technology integration and implementation efforts. It is an educational technology conference, after all, and we have lots of needs in the actual topic area of the conference.

Go get ‘em, Josh…

[UPDATE: See also Michelle Baldwin’s recent post on this issue]

Some students need our help

Bradleytech

An inner city high school. 95% of the student population receives free or reduced lunch. A dozen amazing students and an inspiring teacher. And a donor that promises to help them achieve a trip of a lifetime. But with just weeks to go (and after months of fundraising), the donor backs out…

Read their story, see their travel itinerary and learning objectives, and contribute anything you can. And please spread the word through all of your social media channels. Can we help this English teacher in Milwaukee and her incredible students achieve their dream? 

Keynote – Iowa Council for Social Studies

Iowa Council for Social Studies 2014I had the honor of keynoting the Iowa Council for Social Studies conference last month. I only had 30 minutes so of course I had 186 slides! I usually avoid giving (or attending) firehose presentations but I made an exception this time in order to highlight the breadth of resources available to social studies educators if they choose to partake.

You are welcome to view my slide deck (notes, comments, and URLs are attached). Attendees were notified both before and after my keynote that this would be available to them so they could just immerse themselves in the flow of my presentation. Let me know if you’ve got thoughts or questions. My favorite slide is at the end when I said, ‘We have to fall out of love with our own voices and enable those of our students instead!”

#IAedchat LIVE

I had the privilege of being the guest for #IAedchat LIVE last night. Here is the video if you missed it. The conversation really gets started around 2:50. Happy viewing!

What makes a quality STEM activity? Find out in 5 days!

Hope you’ll join Mike Anderson and me for our K12Online presentation on October 30!

UPDATE: Our presentation is now available!

Switch to our mobile site