Innovations for Learning
Plenty of Google Chrome Developer Mode #SurpriseAndDelight with @watsonedtech at #IFLLEX this rainy afternoon. pic.twitter.com/QXXPjwJGGl— Kelli Reno (@FDHSBookJockey) June 7, 2019
I have been attending IFL for several years now. This free annual PD is organized by Fayette County Public Schools (Lexington) and happens every June. IFL has some of the best presenters from around the state, and the educators that attend also come from all corners of Kentucky. For the last few years, Frederick Douglass High School has hosted the event, and walking around the innovative building is almost worth the trip in itself. I presented "Google Tools: The New, the Overlooked, and the Quirky."
Here are some highlights:
- David Kitchen shared his experiences from the first year of flipping his classroom. Kitchen's accountability structure is to have students watch a video at home (often with EdPuzzle, which provides tracking and assessment analytics) and do Cornell Notes (powerful reflection, and hard to "cheat"). His process of gradual release sounds very useful to emulate. Kitchen first models what the flipped work will be like at home by showing a video while doing Cornell Notes in front of the class. Next, he has students do Cornell Notes on a video while in class, providing feedback. The last stage is having students do Cornell Notes on a video at home.
- Kelli Reno and Louise Begley shared stories from the libraries and how they are addressing the new AASL standards. Reno mentioned how FDHS clubs and organizations periodically "sponsor" a shelf in the library and provide book suggestions. I love the way this gives the school community both ownership and voice!
- Kelly Fischer introduced me to a free edtech tool for student content acquisition and assessment: Deck Toys. Teachers can create an interactive lesson using an easy drag and drop interface, which creates a game-like "board" with activities and dashed line pathways. For differentiation and personalization opportunities, you may give students multiple paths to choose from. One activity can be a slide deck, either independently viewed or synched and controlled by a teacher's pacing (much like Nearpod); other activities include puzzles, crosswords, "Lock" (think mini-Breakouts), match, sequencing, and more.
Tech Teach Learn
TTL is hosted by Kentucky Country Day school in Louisville every June. Anyone can attend for a nominal fee. Not only was this the first time I have attended and presented at TTL, but it was the first time I have been on the KCD campus. It's beautiful! I have to give a shoutout to Sarah Shartzer, a teacher at KCD who is not only a leader of edtech for her own school (and TTL!) but presents far and wide. This year was the first time that registration for TTL was sold out in advance of the event, and I can easily see that happening again as more people hear of this useful and impactful conference. I led a workshop titled "From Bland to Blended: Best Practices for a Transformative Classroom."
Here are some highlights:
- Ms. Shartzer shared edtech tools for accommodation and differentiation. Several were new to me, including a particular standout: Visuwords. It's a interactive way to not only see a definition of a word and its part of speech, but a webbed relationship to other words and concepts.
- Jerry Broyles taught us about Google's geo-related tools such as My Maps, Google Earth, and Tour Builder. Tour Builder in particular has a lot of potential for being a different way for students to share and present information that is location- or travel-based.
Thanks to all of the #ketmpd19 participants in my digital citizenship workshop today! Please let me know the awesome things YOU are doing in your district or school. pic.twitter.com/0GlF4lKl0O— Adam Watson (@watsonedtech) July 17, 2019
KET Multimedia PD Day happens annually in July, at the KET studios in Lexington. Registration requires a small fee. I have never attended before, and was flattered to be asked to lead a workshop on digital citizenship with the purpose of attendees revising and creating their own school/district DigCit curriculum. The KET building is a fun, state-of-the-art facility to present and participate in a PD day. Special thanks to Brian Spellman for the invite!
Here are some highlights:
- Emily Northcutt (our newest Shelby County librarian!) talked about the usefulness of KYVL, a valuable repository of tools and databases. Like most districts in Kentucky, we pay an annual fee for staff and student access both at school and at home. As a classroom teacher years ago, I was ashamedly ignorant of how helpful KYVL can be, and I need to do better to publicize its wealth of resources with our Shelby staff.
- Vanessa Hutchison (a teacher at Louisville Central High School) shared her website full of resources and lesson plan ideas for students to create film projects on a limited or zero budget.
- Whitney York and Mechelle Morgan enthusiastically discussed makerspace materials and tools used by teachers and students in Murray Independent Schools. One new find I'm excited to try out: Sphero Specdrums, which combine music making, programming, and possible accommodative assistance (for example, helping students who struggle with learning colors).
I look forward to applying and sharing some of my new knowledge and edtech, and hope to attend all three of these conferences again in the future!
Full disclosure: KET paid me an honorarium to present at their KET Multimedia PD, which I attended on a non-contract day.