European Google Apps for Education Summit

This past weekend I was lucky enough to present a session at the European Google Apps for Education Summit. 

I presented a beginner level session on getting started with Google Docs in the primary classroom.  It was just the basics of Google Docs with a bit about how I introduce it to students as well as ideas for how to use Docs. 

I was a bit worried when I first started that the session was too basic, but when teachers started asking me follow up questions I realized that for at least some in the room, it was exactly where it needed to be. 

I received good feedback when I finished from several teachers who thanked me, saying that they had never been shown the basics and they were glad that I did a session on it. Luckily for them it was the first session of the day as well so they were able to get off to a good start. 

The rest of the weekend was a great networking weekend for me. There was a large group from Munich who I had met at the ECIS Tech conference. It was nice to see people again, reconnect and share ideas. 

Overall it was a great weekend and as this is my third presenting session, it has encouraged me to apply for more of them in the future. I have had a great time doing them and I hope that teachers had a great time learning in them. 

ECIS Tech Conference 2015 – part 2

Day 1:

Here are some of the things that I took away from day one.  I will be spending more time thinking these out but I wanted to get my initial thoughts down.

3D Sculpting using 123D Sculpt:
Could a unit in Art be replaced with this app? Could this be a way to present another aspect of the skills needed for sculpting? This would be a great way for the LS kids to get their first taste of the school’s 3D printer. This is also a good way to bring in peer feedback in an art environment.

Blogging by: Tricia Friedman @FriedEnglish101
Tricia gave me some great ideas for people to follow on twitter. Her presentation also helped me with to stock up on good validations for why blogging has a place in the classroom environment. I like her idea of hosting an outside guest on the blog. She also share with us the Write Now project for a way to publish writing within your school.  I want to look participating Blog Action Day with the blogs that we will have next year. I also liked the idea of micro quad-blogging, and think that might be a very good way to raise the profile in the school and within grades without adding too much pressure. I also love the idea of having students share their iTime inquiries on the blog.

Becoming a Google Educator and Google Education Trainer:
This session interested me because I have done a certificate with Google to become a “certified individual”. I found out that they have not changed the name to Google Educator and that my certificate is probably no longer valid. I also learned that I can pretty easily apply to become a Trainer which is something that I am very interested in doing. One of the presenters was from Apps Events which is a company that partners with schools to hold weekend workshops and training camps. This is definitely something that I am going to suggest to our school. 

Slam Sessions:
From the afternoon slam sessions I have the following things which I want to look into!
Appear.in – allows Skype like chats with no sign up
Holler Gram – might be a fun way for kids to interact in class
Slides Carnival – need more than the google slides templates offer?
Google Keep – how could this be used by students?
Video Notes – how could this be used by students?
Sharing a “Work” folder each week with parents using google Drive.

Coetail Meetup:
After we got back to the hotel I found out that there was going to be a meet up of all of the delegates who were associated with Coetail. I have been interested in looking into this for a while, so I asked if I could come and ask questions. Turns out that there were four of us there asking questions! This is another thing that I am going to seriously consider doing.  I am thinking that there has to be a way for all three UK campuses to come together to create a cohort. 

ECIS Tech Conference 2015 – part 3

Day 2

Sunday started out with the World Virtual Schools project
Which was started by the State Department as a way for schools to carry on learning if their physical site was unavailable due to natural disaster, political unrest, disease or any other reason. It is run in a way that if a school was to close, the kids in that school could join classes in other schools to continue their education, so it has a different purpose to a Virtual Learning System within a school. The assumption is that if the kids are disrupted then the teachers probably are as well. 

Out of this has come a collaboration of schools in a variety of ways. One of which is the iOlympiad. This is where a student can compete virtually with students from around the world in a sport that is not offered at his/her school.  

Thinking More Deeply into Tech Integration in the IB:
This was my next stop for the day which is a project that has come from an online group started by the IB. There was an email sent out about a year ago asking if anyone was interested in joining a discussion about tech integration in the IB. So far that group has been the most active that the IB has ever had. Out of that group has come a guideline for thinking about tech integration when planning IB curriculum in any division. Pilar @pilarqibo walked us through the basics then asked us to plan a unit with the new approach in mind. It was a good session though it was too short! I am definitely taking this back to my PYP Coordinator to show her an possibly introduce it to our staff.  

Lastly I attended a session on teaching coding with Vivian @chezvivian. She gave me some good ideas for ways that I could engage my Coding club in more “organized” coding activities.  

On the bus back to the train station I even had a mini presentation from Jessica who was presenting for Kiva. I knew about Kiva from a friend who put it on Facebook quiet a few years back but it was nice to meet someone who worked for them, who could answer a few questions for me. 

ECIS Tech Conference 2015 – part 1

So the conference started out with a bit of a bang for me as can be seen by reading my blog post from my travel blog! But I made it to the conference. On Saturday morning we got up and had breakfast and the networking began. 

It is very strange to be in a place with people who you have to have a conversation in your head that goes like this, about. “That person is familiar. Hmm, do I know that person, yep definitely familiar. Now have I actually met that person in real life or have I seen them on Twitter or Facebook. Hmm, not sure, well I will just go introduce myself and find out!”

The keynote was given by Kim Cofino @mscofino. She spoke for an hour the ideas were already beginning to flow. When she made the point that education needs to have students learn with technology the way that students live with technology, I got it. It is what I have been encouraging in my training and teaching but the way she put it made me realize how much further we can go with our tech in our school. 

I liked her ideas of student-led speed geeking, thinking about ways to bring social online learning to school, thinking of ways to bring in media rich reflections and keeping things “just in time”.  

Another idea that came to me during her presentation is what would happen if the school replaced one bulletin board in each room with an interactive screen of some kind? Not just in the classrooms but in the hallways as well. Not all of the boards by any means because there is still a very large place for fixed boards, but if you could have one interactive screen that streamed videos, images, books, or slides in your room, how would that change the way students see the value in their work output?


ECIS Tech Conference 2015 – My First Time Presenting

After being encouraged at the ECIS Annual conference to apply to present at the Tech conference, I did and was accepted. This would be my first ever time presenting at a large conference. I have taught teachers in my school, but never in this type of environment. I have to say that the participants of the ECIS Tech Conference were great.

My first presentation was on my Geek Squad which is my after school techie club. I worked on getting myself ready for this by putting some images on a slide show, but really I planned on just talking about my Geeks and what we do. I made sure that my slides were simple and had very little words as I hate sitting through slide shows where I could have been emailed the presentation. The presentation went well and a few people asked questions, but I wasn’t really sure how it went when I was asked later by my colleagues.

Later that night at the social, though, two different people come up to me and asked me further questions and said how they were going to try some of my ideas. I have to say that, even if only two people who took something away that they could use, I am happy.  They had looks on their faces that made me think of the way that I am when I get ideas to take back with me. 

My second presentation was more hands on. I taught the group that came how to use Chatterpix Kids, Puppet Pals and Book Creator. I first gave them a brief overview of the apps, then I set them a task to complete with the app. My aim was that at the end of the session they would actually have used the app and know how to do the basics. I was able to achieve that within the time and have a bit of time at the end to show them how I have used the apps in classes as well as answer questions. This was a much more active session with teachers asking me questions along the way, which was more relaxing! I even managed applause at the end!

I even had a bit of a discussion with a guy at the end about how his wife could use Puppet Pals in Pre-Kinder. I told him that I had a group using it right now and that you just have to take it step by step and build on each step with them.  They get it and they can do it but they need time and practice. 

Just yesterday I received a tweet from a teacher telling me that she used Chatterpix in a class. Again if only one teacher takes something away that makes me happy.