A Year in Review 15-16

A Year in Review 15-16

I haven’t made much time to blog this semester…..OK….this year. But what a year it has been! I am currently writing this sitting at Rialto Beach on the coast of Washington. One of our favorite ‘get off the grid’ places to go. We hike in about a mile, no Internet, no cell service. Just the waves, nature and prana. It’s here that I find time to finally sit and reflect on this year’s journey into amazing new educational adventures with more on the way. Eduro: Marysville School District I wrote last year about the 5 year contract we signed with Marysville School District and the work the team and I would be doing there. The first year has been simply amazing. From August when we started training 150ish teachers in Cohort 1, to deploying over 8000 Chromebooks to students 6-12 grade in October and November. Then “Doing the Work” to start changing teaching practice to understand how to make the most of this new tool and connected classrooms…it’s been tough but exciting. Last week at a training that Kim and I were facilitating for Cohort 2 (the next 150 teachers) a math teacher said to me, “I’ve started using Google Forms and ‘Flipping’ my class, but other than that I’m not doing much.” Let’s see, you made a transition from a PC to Mac operating system, you are learning and are continuing to learn the power of Google Apps for Education. You also have started to change lessons, units and overall pedagogical approaches you use in the classroom. Yeah…..I think you’re doing plenty for a 7 month roll out. So often as teachers, we don’t take time to step back and reflect on the journey we have come on in a year with our students and with ourselves. The changes are so small at the time that we don’t often see that they add up to something much larger. If this is where we are at in 7 months. I can’t wait to see where we are in 2018 and beyond. Cohort 1 is on training 7 of 12. Cohort 2 is on training 5 of 12 and Cohort 3 starts their training the end of June. Soon we will be changing learning for students from 3-12 grade across a district. Impacting the learning of roughly 11,000 students. What an honor! COETAIL: Another Cohort in the Books! Who would...

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Learning2 Expand

Learning2 Expand

It’s been an amazing summer here in Seattle. Amazing in the fact that we haven’t had much rain at all and set all kinds of records for temperature and days above 80(F) degrees. As great as this summer has been weather wise, it’s the things going on behind the scenes specifically with Learning2 that excite me the most. Learning2, the little technology conference started in 2007 by four educators and a committee of passionate educators has grown up. The Learning2 Story This summer has been a learning curve for all of us at Learning2 as we worked our way through the paperwork and organization of taking this conference global and turning it into a Not-For Profit (NFP) company. I’m proud to say that Learning2 is officially a 501(c)3 corporation with a mission to: “Innovate social learning globally” With Learning2 becoming it’s own NFP it has given us the opportunity to create a board and hire staff in order to expand. This coming school year we will be running three conferences: That’s a great start for our first year as a NFP and we’re already looking ahead to the 16-17 school year and starting to have conversations with schools in the Middle East and South America. If you haven’t had a chance to attend a Learning2 Conference I highly recommend it. I present at a lot of conferences around the world and still to this day have not come across a conference that puts social learning first and foremost. A conference that makes the presenters (all hand picked by the committee) to push themselves out of their own comfort zone and do Learn2Talks like this and this. The conference schedule includes 3 hour long Extended Sessions as well as time to just talk and be social with others in your grade level or department. It’s a conference that understands that learning happens through social interactions and so the entire conference is created putting those interactions first. Although Learning2 started out as a technology conference it has become a Learning and Innovation conference. We now have strands that have nothing to do with technology, technology is very rarely the focus of any of the learning and instead the focus has shifted to what learning should look like in 2015. What we can do when we have every student connected, and how we need to teach differently to this generation. I hope you can...

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Institutes and Conferences

Institutes and Conferences

As the school year comes to an end….and I know it’s coming to an end because all my teacher friends are busy monitoring, agonizing and stressed out about the testing happening this time of year….and those are the teachers…wonder what the kids feel like? To help take minds off of the endless hours watching kids take tests, I thought I would share PD opportunities that I am directly involved with either in creating, organizing or advising on. Eduro Learning Summer Institutes July 2nd – Eduro Learning Summer Institute in Seattle Hosted at the Bell Harbor International Conference Center, this 1 day institute looks to inspire educators to be creative. Check out this venue! We chose this place because too often we find that educational conference venues are dull and boring and do not spark that innovative, creative feel. Being on the pier on the Seattle waterfront you can not help but feel inspired. Follow Eduro Learning on Twitter and look for promo codes to save some money! July 6-8 – Eduro Learning Wired with Wine Institute A brainchild of mine when my wife and I were wine tasting in Walla Walla a year ago, I just kept thinking that there is no reason why professional development for educators can’t be fun!  This 2+ day institute offering the same strands as the Seattle Institute just allows us to go a whole lot deeper in thinking and creating when we have more time together. Hosted at the historic Marcus Whitman hotel and within walking distance to 70+ tasting rooms this event will be fun on many levels. Check out the schedule and I really hope to see you there! What’s the difference between a conference and an institute?   Learning2 Conferences Registration is now open for the fall Learning2 Conferences. This year Learning2 will be hosted in Manila, Philippines and Jo’Burg, South Africa in the fall and we’ve just announced Milan, Italy a year from now. If you have questions about any of these please contact me or leave a comment...

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Replacing Skills

Replacing Skills

I haven’t been blogging here much as my time has been spent working with teachers in their schools, Learning2 and COETAIL…which I love! Replace is my new word of choice when talking about the skills of technology.  I have done the word dance on this blog. Going from integrate, to embed and now to replace. However, I think it’s just the progression of adoption of any new way of thinking any new skill set as we reach a new level. A level where we need to start replacing the skills we use to teach with new skills that must be taught. The standards haven’t changed….the tools and skills have and we need to make sure we’re updating the skills to match the needs of our students. Here in Washington State our new state assessment is done on a computer. Typing has finally become more important than cursive writing. It must replace cursive writing and maybe even most writing done by students. Many schools are now complaining that students are doing poorly on the test because they don’t have the computer skills needed to even navigate the test software. So now we need to replace navigating a book with navigating a website. I wonder in how many schools these skills have been replaced? I have been focusing my trainings on this idea. A standard is a standard I say….but the skill and tool to reach that standard has changed. Let’s look at a couple of examples. Maps: Digital maps are replacing paper maps in our society as a whole. From your captain on an airplane to your captain of a ship. We’re relying on digital maps more and more. With pretty much everyone walking around with one in their pockets today I’m wondering why we are not replacing the paper mapping skills with digital mapping skills? The skills are different. A paper map doesn’t zoom, a digital maps doesn’t have longitude and latitude lines. A paper map defaults to North being at the top. A digital map can be changed to either North as being up or the way you happen to be facing. A paper map you kind of know where you are, a digital map you know exactly where you are (within 30 feet and if you have GPS of course). If you still want to teach the skills of a paper map….I don’t have an issue with that. But I do hope...

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Learning @Learning2

Learning @Learning2

There are different ways to measure success. Last week at the first ever Learning2 Africa conference that was held at ICS Addis Ababa, Ethiopia we measured it in a few different ways. 118 of 119 of the participants on the survey said they would recommend the conference to a friend or plan on attending next year. Before we left the conference we had a school step up wanting to host it for 2015 We had inquiries from other schools in Africa to host the conference in 2016. Now there are a lot of ways to measure success and when you get responses like this from the participants from the first ever Ed Tech specific conference on the continent you’re doing something right. It’s crazy to go back through my blog and read about this conference over the years. The things we have tried, the failures, the successes and how a little conference that was suppose to be a one off in 2007 in Shanghai, China has turned into a yearly conference that sells out in a matter of months and is slowly spreading….is well….I pinch myself. What makes this conference so successful? I believe it’s the values of the conference that we try and hold true to every year. Learning is Social: The majority of the money for the conference goes to social gatherings. At the recent Learning2 Africa conference that included taking all 150 of the participants plus committee members and presenters out to a local Ethiopian restaurant for dinner. It means finishing every night with a social event with free flow wine and beer. It means giving space during the conference for people to talk and bounce ideas off each other.  This is also why we run a “cohort” strand through the conference. An hour each day for those that teach the same subject to come together and talk about what they are learning at the conference, share resources from different sessions, and set up a way to connect even after the conference is over.  We know learning is social and so we make social a large part of the conference Learning is Participant driven: Matt Kelsey, one of this year’s Learning2Leaders in Africa, wrote a great blog post about this as he reflected on the conference. Less than half of each day’s learning is driven by the conference timetable. The 3 hour “extended session” where participants...

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