Posted in Effective professional relationships, Ongoing PD, Reflections

ADE Global Institute – Berlin 2016

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In July I felt very fortunate to be chosen to attend the Apple Distinguished Educators Institute in Berlin. The process involves submitting evidence to show that you are implementing technology seamlessly into your everyday teaching practice and how this improves the learning experience.

Berlin is awash with history and I soon learnt that it truly is a city of contrasts. The institute consisted of 380 educators from across the globe. This was my second institute and, like the first, it was a week of professional development that was innovative and inspiring. The institute ran from Sunday to Friday and was jam packed with ideas that could be picked up and implemented in our classes. There were educators from all backgrounds from across the globe and a lot of the best ideas came from discussions across year levels, subjects and cultures.

berlin

The structure of the institute was as follows:
1. ADE Central
This consisted of a large lounge where we met informally to collaborate on global projects, play with STEM toys like Spheros and generally share good practice ideas.

stem-toys

2. Apple sessions
These were run by the product developers of Keynote, Garage Band and Final Cut Pro. It was awe inspiring to see how far we could go with these tools, delivered by the app developers themselves.

3. Workshops and spotlight sessions
These were hands on sessions where we got to experiment with coding and advanced video production. Coding is an essential skill and is quickly becoming more accessible to all students. I feel very excited about sharing my new found knowledge with both my colleagues and my students. I also went to sessions on sketch-noting and advanced presentation techniques.

workshop

4. ADE showcases
This is where teachers from America through to Russia, and everywhere in between, got three minutes to present an innovative technique that was working with their students. It reinforced my belief in the potential that exists when you feel passionate about getting the best out of your students.

I thoroughly enjoyed my experience in Berlin. More than the ideas I came away with, I developed global connections with some of the most inspirational teachers. I am currently part of a global project where we are developing a website with tools for teachers who are wanting to break the invisible boundaries that exist between subjects, in order for students to reach deeper learning.

Posted in Effective professional relationships, Professional development

ADE 2015 Institute Revealed

ADE Class of 2015

My friend Chris Wells, who also happens to be a collegue, and I were fortunate enough to be accepted as Apple Distinguished Educators, class of 2015. This meant that we could go to the institute in Singapore and these are my observations. The professional development and personal growth we experienced was priceless. The following video is a 5 minute snap shot of our experiences.

  

 

SHOWCASES

Each morning we began with stories from teachers from across a number of Asia Pacific countries. Inspiring stories which were linked by a common theme: it’s about having a passion for teaching, regardless of age or nationality. Teachers from a variety of backgrounds are flipping their lessons with incredible results and increased engagement. Blogging is the norm for both students and teachers. Multi touch, interactive books find students investigating and thinking for themselves. And a common thread was that teachers really have to have a growth mindset.  A teacher from Japan said that school should not be viewed as a place where only the students learn. Teachers need time to learn too, emphasising the need for professional development. Another teacher quoted Mike Tyson when describing teaching in a connected classroom. He said:

Everyone has a plan until they get punched in the face: be prepared to adapt.

 

Bill Frakes

You might or might not recognise the name, but a quick Google search of Bill Frakes’ photography will probably show that you recognise his work. He is a Pulitzer Prize winning photographer and we were fortunate to have a master class with him. Yes he has all the equipment to take some stunning images, but he also said that a smart phone and an app like Snapseed can yield some wonderful images. His view on taking good photos:

Take a slow walk with your eyes wide open and your heart engaged.

What struck me about him was his passion for his profession and his humility. He has spent time with and taken photos of heads of counties, the pope, and me. It must have taken him hours to take photos of the entire class of 2015. But he seemed to take time and care with each one of us. 

 
Image courtesy of billfrakes.com

On what motivates him he said:

I’m focused. I have a voice and I need to use it.


GARAGE BAND MEETS iMOVIE

The developers of both these amazing apps took to the stage and they did a work flow type demonstration creating a movie and accompanying music in real time. It made me think that I never want to resort to using theme music again. And certainly encourage my students to dig into their creative sides to create their own brand of music. 

DESIGN IN LEARNING

The next highlight for me was the lessons on design in learning, and by that I mean the resources that we and the students create. The message was that our resources should be clear, crisp and clean in order to create interest. In the words of Einstein: Everything should be as simple as possible, but no simpler.

POST INSTITUTE
We have been encouraged to stay connected with our fellow ADEs. We are all also in the process of creating  an iBook or iTunes U course based on our ‘One Best Thing.’ I think it’s a great way to share resources with a global network of hardworking and passionate teachers. So to sum up, the experience was uplifting and inspiring. I firmly believe that we are moving in the right educational direction.

 

Posted in Effective professional relationships, TAI, Uncategorized

The P Word

Yes, I’m talking about PUNCTUATION. That little loved punctuation lesson that gets English teachers hot under the collar. i love apostrophe’s. Aargh! Capital letter for I. And don’t add an apostrophe every time you see an s at the end of a word. “Don’t get me started on direct speech!” she screeched. 

Love it or hate it, punctuation has to be correct. Right? So I’ve started a crusade. One YouTube video at a time. This week it’s the lowly capital letter. Next week we move to the lofty apostrophe. Onwards and upwards through all the punctuation rules. Hopefully by flipping the information and following up with Kahoots, we’ll win the punctuation battle! Or is it ?,./():;

So the crusade continues. The lofty apostrophe has been sent into a number of homes across the city disguised as a YouTube video. Woe betide the student who misplaces this sneaky little punctuation mark. 

Posted in Analyse assessment information, Effective professional relationships, Ongoing PD, Teaching as Inquiry, Uncategorized

How does the use of Ako and mentoring/facilitating at senior level improve results?

This is our department TAI. It’ll be interesting to see how the students respond to project based learning And mentoring and if their results do in fact improve.

Two questions that have been posed:

What does the driving question focus on?

It looks at mentoring and the need for time for students to develop their work. The driving question should help with their understanding of the judgements they are expected to make. So our driving questions should be broad and challenging. The work should require students to use technology well. There should be showcasing of student work on blogs. But they should also be peer teaching. The best form of peer teaching is when they choose who to teach and how to teach, rather than being paired up. My class has divided themselves into about  eight groups. They have the same driving question but each group has a focus area to work on. I have encouraged them to follow, to some degree, the PEEL method in their response. How they gather and process the ideas in the focus groups is up to them. As is the way they present the information to the other groups. I will post their responses in the next few days. I have made myself available as a mentor and have advised certain parts of the text to focus in on. But at this stage they are working pretty independently which is ultimately the goal.

What does Ako mean to me?

Ako is looking at how students think and learn. It’s about having a common language of learning. It’s also about students knowing the process that they are undertaking. Gathering should not take up class time because we know we live in a connected world. We all have access to the work so why waste class time gathering if this can be done beforehand? That leaves us more time to do the processing and applying. Which will hopefully take care of the third part of the question which is: improve grades!

Ako needs to be revamped to align with technology use in the class. This is currently under review.



Posted in Effective professional relationships, Ongoing PD, Professional development

Explain Everything PD

A brief introduction to the app.

As teachers it’s always good to model what we expect from the students. So for this PD session I have produced a video using the apps Explain Everything and Paper 53. I then published to YouTube.

 

 

For the information side, I used Keynote and Slideshare to embed onto my WordPress blog. A bit of app smashing going on!

Posted in education, Effective professional relationships, Professional development

Differentiation extends to teachers’ PD sessions

Our staff and students are on the blogging journey with WordPress being the preferred blog site. We have been dividing the PD sessions into two groups to work on and develop our own blogs. But on reflection, we feel that the PD groups were too large to be effective. So what is plan B? Differentiate! We should have three groups:

1. The group that already have WordPress blogs and need help with embedding YouTube, adding photos and want to discuss any issues relating to setting up and managing student blogs.

2. The group that would like to set up blogs on their own. I have done an Explain Everything step-by-step guide to assist with this. All they would need is a set of head phones. Remember to hit the pause button if the video is getting ahead of you.

3. The group that would prefer someone to work closely with them. There will be a few of us to help with this.

Setting up a blog is easy. Setting up a blog with categories (subjects) is more complex. But that is what we expect our students to do, and they are successfully setting their sites up in this way. So it is a worthwhile exercise for us to go through. Students have a ‘go to‘ place to showcase media rich content.