Candace Marcotte

One educator, determined to create an engaging and dynamic experience for learners of all ages.


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Running an Edcamp Style PD!

Teachers in our district have the option of attending a district Institute Day (PD Day) over the summer or during the school year.  I was asked to lead a session with my fellow Technology Facilitator and our middle school Instructional Coach. We wanted to spice things up and provide an authentic learning environment for our teachers, so we decided to implement an Edcamp style PD.  We utilized the first half of the day for our Edcamp and during the second half of the day, teachers worked with in their PLCs to put their new knowledge into action and develop plans and assessments for the year.  We had about 70 middle school teachers participate in our day of learning and all content areas were included.

If you don’t know about the Edcamp craze, check it out here.  We started the day with a bit of a keynote that the three of us prepared, which reviewed TPACK and SAMR.  After a brief discussion, we prompted our staff to participate in a Quickfire Challenge to demonstrate their understanding of the framework and model.  Quickfire Challenges are a concept which can be attributed to Dr. Leigh Graves Wolf of Michigan State University (see her post here about them).  Having been a student in the Master of Arts in Educational Technology program at MSU, I have lived through so many Quickfires and love how they sparked my interest and brought energy to learning (I even used them with students when I was a classroom teacher!).  Below you’ll see the guidelines for our Quickfire and if you click on the image, it will take you to the Thinglink with live links.Quickfire Challenge

Teachers then had to share their creation on a Schoology discussion board.  Note that they were only given 10 minutes to complete this task.  Here are three examples of what they created and shared.  When you take a step back to think about it, it’s actually pretty cool.  We gave them NO instruction on how to do any of this, from the technology they picked to uploading to a Schoology discussion board.  They had to play with it and they were immersed in creation with a looming deadline.  Was it stressful?  Yes.  Was it meaningful? Yes.  Did they enjoy it?  After it was done :).  We had everything from videos to Haikus.  They also got to see how allowing for choice with a choice board was simple and meaningful to the learner, because they experienced it as their students would.

TPACK Meme

SAMR Popplet

SAMR Meme

After this recap, we then discussed how Edcamps work and how you “vote with your feet”.  We then asked the teachers what they wanted to learn that day.  Now, we did do some pre-planning when it came to this and planted some seeds because we weren’t sure what teachers would do in the face of being given total choice.  We knew we wanted to have at least 6 sessions going at one time.  We thought of 3 sessions which we knew teachers would be looking for and created a “Playlist” of resources that they could explore as a part of their breakout discussion for a bit of scaffolding into the open world of Edcamps.  We also planted some seeds in terms of talking to a few teachers ahead of time and asking them to share their learning interests if the crowd got quiet- luckily we did that because teachers were at a loss initially when posed with the challenge of getting to voice what they wanted to learn.  Once a few of our seeds spoke up, it got the ball rolling and we were able to find teacher facilitators for each session.  We purposefully did not facilitate any sessions. While breakouts were occurring, we rotated through rooms to offer conversation or answer any questions of difficulty.  We made sure to have an “App Playground” during all breakout sessions to assist teachers who simply needed to focus the day on growing their technological knowledge in terms of the functions of the iPads and apps.

Session 2 Session 1

When we returned from the breakout sessions, we had a “Show what you know SLAM”, which is a derivative of an App Slam or Demo Slam that you see at Edcamps.  We asked teachers to share something that they learned in a breakout session, which prompted lots of “Ooohhs and Ahhhhs” from the audience.  Of course, each teacher only had 1 minute to share what they learned, so it was a rapid fire race to talk about their big takeaways.

Show What you Know SLAM

Overall, we had a lot of great feedback about the day.  What would we change?  We would notify all staff to come with ideas for conversation topics that they were interested in.  I believe that if we do this again, now that all of our teachers will have 1:1 experience under their belts, the conversations will spark more readily and their comfort with guiding their own learning will also increase now that they have exposure to this style of PD.


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ISTE Presentations 2014

Remix, Repurpose, and Redesign: Promoting Student Ownership and Engagement:  My colleagues and I presented on strategies for remixing content and repurposing technologies, which allows educators to redesign their pedagogical strategies.  Through low-tech and high-tech repurposing, students can engage in deep play, allowing them to get lost in the content…in a good way!  These strategies include redesigns of every day classroom routines, like Bell Ringers, classroom rules, Exit Slips, etc.   Click the image below to be taken to session resources.

Pinterest Board from Presentation

 

iPadeology: Staff and Student Resources for iPad Deployment:  My colleague and I presented on the key characteristics of the mindset that we developed to guide decision making during our first year in our district’s 1:1 pilot.  We share the steps we believe made us successful, how we managed to keep the focus on instruction and not the device, student development resources, staff development resources, and parental resources for deployment.  Click the image below to be taken to session resources.

 


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How did we get our Teachers to Start Talking Nerdy?

Collage from our speedgeeking event

All geared up with our new League of EdTechies badges, combining our creative super powers, we were able to develop a dynamic and fun professional development that engaged our peers and allowed for teacher leadership.  A colleague of mine mentioned the idea of “Speed Geeking” last year and we finally had a chance to employ it when February came upon us and love was in the air!  Let’s first share the results of how this opportunity lead to igniting some sparks…

The best thing happened directly after this PD.  I was in a breakout session room cleaning up and a teacher who is more cautious with exploring new technologies came up to me and said, “I’m going to go home and play now!”  Best. Thing. Ever.  Continuing that, I received about ten emails from non 1:1 staff that evening sharing ideas and excitement.  When I walked into school the next morning, there was a huddle of five teachers discussing the PD and their ideas from it near the office.  Exploration and collaboration were occurring!  There was energy!  I then collaborated with a teacher on how she could do this with her students and we brought Speed Geeking into the classroom to explore note taking strategies when researching.

Below is the main presentation we utilized for our professional development and an overview of how it all came to be.  We had some goals which of course drove the decisions we made:

1.  Continue our discussion of TPACK and apply it to a lesson design that was coming up in the next trimester

2.  Model meaningful technology integration

3.  Allow for play and creation

4.  Make it applicable!

We are fortunate enough to have support from our awesome administration, so we were able to use 1.5 hours of our 2 hour monthly staff meeting.  Here’s the breakdown of how The League of EdTechies provided this professional development for our 75+ member staff:

Preparation:

The League of EdTechies voted on some of the core apps that they felt would be important to all staff moving forward with our 1:1.  We selected apps that had a range of complexity so that everyone would have an option to learn something at their level.  We selected 6 apps and paired 2 League members per app.  They created samples of how each app could be used in the classroom.  Naturally, they created artifacts geared towards instruction and assessment- they did a phenomenal job!  We emailed all staff members about a week before the staff meeting and reminded them to download Notability if they had not done so previously.  This was a HUGE key to the flow of our PD because we could jump right into application and did not have to go through the hoops of downloading during the PD.  We also had them bring a learning target that they would be focusing on next semester so that we could keep a strong focus on context and application during our PD.

Delivery:

  1. We started by getting everyone into our Schoology staff course where we house all of our staff meeting notes and taught them how to download a PDF and import it into Notability.  This ties in with our idea of embedded PD- we didn’t give them much direction on how to use it other than about a 2 minute tutorial of the basics they needed to know to work with the document for this experience.
  2. We then went right into Speed Geeking by giving a short, one minute intro into what they needed to do as participants.
  3. The League Members were split up in somewhat of buffet style tables, we had 2 tables per app and split The League presenters up so that we could keep our groups small.  We gave them 2 minutes to present their app to each small group.
  4. To keep the energy high, we played music when the two minutes were up.  Of course we had to include classic mood-setters in our playlist like some of Marvin Gaye’s greatest hits!
  5. We had the presenters rotate and kept the rest of the teachers seated for ease of transition.
  6. When the rotations were complete, we regrouped and began our discussion of TPACK and repurposing technologies for educational purposes.
  7. Teachers had to then apply their knowledge to the learning target that they brought with them.
  8. After applying their knowledge of TPACK, we had them select a breakout session to further explore the technology that peaked their curiosity during Speed Geeking.  (We used Socrative to embed formative assessment technologies into the PD also)
  9. The goal of the breakout session was to create an artifact that the teachers could use in the next semester (keep in mind, the majority of teachers only had 1 iPad in their classroom this year). We limited the amount of tutorial we gave teachers in the breakout sessions, pointed them to resources to help support their technical understanding, and encouraged them to explore and play with the technology. Very similar to the feel of a PLAYDATE.
  10. At the end of the PD, teachers completed an exit slip in Schoology and were awarded a digital badge signifying their reflection and participation in exploration of one of the certain apps.

 

Presentation:

 

Participant Notes:


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Summer Reflections…in the Fall

Every teacher knows that summer really doesn’t mean that things slow down when it comes to brainstorming, learning, gathering ideas for lessons, and professional growth.  Before we know it, the school year has started and we’re getting to know new staff, students, and setting goals for ourselves for the new year.  This summer has been one of those summers that has flown by for me due to awesome professional development opportunities, weddings, and prepping for the middle school entering the 1:1 iPad pilot (our district is now 1:1, first through fifth grade).  I’m happy to report that the iPads have been deployed, MAP testing is over for the fall, and I’m now having time to reflect on what a whirlwind it has been!  So, here come a few posts that I’ve been brainstorming all the while.

This summer, I had the opportunity to participate in the Summer Institute in Digital Literacy at the University of Rhode Island.  I was in the company of technology educators, advocates, classroom teachers, library specialists, higher education instructors and professors, and journalists.  Our goal was to dig into what digital literacy is and how we can support our students in becoming more literate.  Hearing from others in different areas of the field of education and from the media field helped me to see that “text” can be anything.  We read images, billboards, search results, videos, infographics, printed literature, app settings, etc. While the process in which we read, interpret, and analyze those different forms of text may be slightly different, we are still pulling meaning from and comprehending each of them.  This seems like such a basic idea, but it was one of the first times that I really had actual time to process this.

While at the institute, I had the opportunity to present a session with a Michigan State colleague, Bill Marsland.  Resources from our presentation, “Catch You On the Flip Side: How Educators can Explore Digital Literacy Through Flipped Professional Development” can be found here.

Another twist on the conference was that we all participated in an inquiry based action project.  My partner, Jeremy Hyler, and I took the time to explore grammar education in the 21st century.  How could we take grammar practice and make it more motivating and meaningful for our students?  This exploration is one that I have researched before with my MAET coursework.  Grammar instruction is typically static, rote practice.  Yes, we put a rubric with graded assignments that focuses on the application of these concepts and rules, but is the connection really there for students?  Jeremy and I determined a structure that would allow for an inquiry approach to grammar instruction utilizing blended learning.  This approach calls for student ownership and allows students to analyze how text is compared across mediums.

Strategy:

Grammar Smackdown Cover

Step 1.  Students view a “teaser” video that has an example of a grammar concept/rule in it and some examples and non examples of the concept/rule which can be found in current text they are reading.

Step 2:  Students are given resources to access to try and figure out what the concept/rule is.

Step 3:  Students update their grammar portfolio, or what we referred to as their “Grammar Smackdown”, which has been created in Google Presentations.  Here, they must determine how this concept/rule looks in different mediums.  Also, they will utilize the speaker notes within Google Presentations to cite their sources and to put the ideas into their own words (seen below).

Student Grammar Example

By going through this process, it challenges students to think about the differences between formal and informal communication.  It reinforces the idea of how images can represent an idea, how we should be responsible digital citizens and cite our sources, and how we communicate with different audiences.   They first take the concept/rule and input an example into the template for the research paper, they can see what is appropriate in academic writing.  By taking that same concept/rule and plugging it into the template to fake Tweet, Facebook post, Instagram post, text message, and email, they are then able to see patterns and differences that arise when writing in these different contexts.  It allows them to see what language looks like in the 21st century, across platforms.  Hopefully, inspiring them to write for the correct audience and purpose in future circumstances!

Conventions of Standard English

CCSS.ELA-Literacy.CCRA.L.1 Demonstrate command of the conventions of standard English grammar and usage when writing or speaking.

Knowledge of Language

CCSS.ELA-Literacy.CCRA.L.3 Apply knowledge of language to understand how language functions in different contexts, to make effective choices for meaning or style, and to comprehend more fully when reading or listening.

Creative Commons License

Summer Reflections…in the Fall by Candace Marcotte is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.