Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Innovation Day 2014

Year two of Innovation Day went down on Friday. As always, I’ve got a few thoughts.

Similar to last year, students showed up and created. They made things in areas they were passionate about. Though this is the point of Innovation Day, it merits mentioning here: too often, kids are forced to go to school and do what we tell them to do. The choice students have around Innovation Day is always a nice reminder.

Similar to last year, kids worked well. As with last year, it was important this year to recognize that kids needed time to take breaks and process; time to go for a walk and collect their thoughts. Time to refocus.

This year, turning 110 tenth graders loose on Hillsdale’s campus resulted in a grand total of zero behavior issues. Just like last year.

Screenshot from Google
However, things were different this year. It seemed to our teacher team that the Innovation Day projects this year were areas projects that our students had fun doing, but weren’t necessarily innovative. Kids were excited about the projects, but most projects didn’t seem to stretch students’ skillsets or interests. The projects didn’t innovate.

Could this have been the case last year? We may have been too busy trying to keep track of our students last year to notice students not innovating. We may have been too excited watching the day unfold to realize that the students weren’t innovating.

So what is next? We’re definitely doing Innovation Day next year. However, we are going to put in a few additional stipulations. Student projects will have to build a new skill or build on an existing skill. We will share with students several models of possible ways to think about innovation: for example, forcing students to introduce a new or better way of doing an ‘old’ thing or fixing a flaw in the way a thing is done. We hope to force students to articulate how what they are doing is new, how it is innovative.

Does this mean that students can’t make a how to basketball video? No. But it does mean that we are going to make students watch how to basketball videos on YouTube and explain the shortcomings they see in these videos. How they plan to address these shortcomings in the video they create will be part of their project proposal.

Was Innovation Day a failure? Absolutely not. Was it worth doing this year? Yup. Do we want to make it better for next year? Most certainly.  

Pictures from Innovation Day can be found here. Students projects will be posted soon here.

Saturday, April 26, 2014

Innovation Day 2014 in Pictures

Yesterday was the second Innovation Day that I have been lucky to have been a part of. I'll have something substantive to say about it - like a real blog post, not just pictures - later: that post is still being written.

Interested in running your own Innovation Day? All of our prep materials are in a publicly viewable Google Drive folder here - please steal away!

Here are some photos of the day.

Handmade volcano 

The beginnings of a Lego project 

Artwork! Not all Innovation Day projects are tech-intensive.

Okay, some projects use tech. A music project, I believe.

A panoramic shot of my classroom

The music section

Stop motion military actions movie 

The beginning of a zombie vs human board game

Creating a video game mod

Flip book artwork underway

Interview project

The whole gang: Innovation Day 2014 participants

We even had visitors: David, Rebecca, and Rachel stopped by to check out Innovation Day!
Thanks for letting me use this photo, David. 

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

#edcamp Organizer GHO

I got to hang out with a whole crew of really awesome edcamp organizers tonight. We chatted about what makes edcamp special, the necessity (or lack thereof) of sponsors and swag at edcamps, and answered some questions from folks tuning in submitted via the Twitter-sphere.

As always, edcamps draw the best of education to them. edcamp organizers are some of my favorite people in the world. Any excuse to chat with them is always awesome, and tonight was no exception. The Storify of the event is linked here. The GHO is embedded below.

Lead 3.0 Preso

I was lucky enough to get to present at Lead 3.0, a conference for administrators, last week with Catina Haugen, Amy Fadeji, and Robert Pronovost. We talked about four themes that administrators need to have today and then discussed these practices could have on teachers.

As always, it was a blast to get to share the stage with other talented friends. The preso is embedded below.

Monday, April 14, 2014

#edcamp35: An Acrostic Masterpiece

So. After some creative and reflective #edcamp35 posts, I figured I ought to add some value. But how? As a limerick? Done already. A haiku? Done. Twice.

How could I add value? An acrostic poem! Except someone beat me to that too.

Oh well.  Without further ado...

Earnest, honest conversation was front and center
Diverse educational stakeholders attended
Converation-based sessions - not presentations - were the rule of the day
Award session made me think a lot - and this conversation has spilled over into Twitter and Voxer!
Masterfully organized by the #edcamp35 team
Passionate student voices were included in the day
3 modes of transport was what it took to get me to #edcamp35: car, plane, and train
5 feet was as far as you had to walk before bumping into another awesome educator

Sunday, April 13, 2014

#edcamp35: A Reflection

I was lucky enough to get to attend my first international - and I believe fourteenth overall - edcamp in Langley, BC yesterday. Guess what? That skimming effect that edcamp has - educators are choosing to give up their Saturday and set the course for their learning for a day so pretty much only incredible people show up - was true at edcamp35. Awesome, dedicated educators were the norm at edcamp35.

A few takeaways for me, in no particular order:

The variety of stakeholders at edcamp35 was truly spectacular. Sure, there were tons of teachers. But there were also many parents there. And students - great to have student voices at an edcamp! A big chunk of the University of British Columbia student teacher cohort came. School board members (they call them trustees in BC). A ton of administrators. Classroom aides. And district personnel: a superintendent, directors of curriculum, and other folks as well. Whatever the edcamp35 team did to get out all stakeholders was impressive!

edcamp35 tied my first SoCal edcamp (edcampLA in early 2013) as the edcamp that I got to meet so many of the folks I learn with on Twitter face to face. It's always a blast to connect a face and voice to the @ symbol I'm so used to seeing, and the sheer volume folks who I 'knew' from Twitter that I got to connect with in person was rad!
D'Alice, Christine, and I: love meeting folks face to face!
Thanks for the pic, Christine!

Conversation-based sessions were the norm. The organizing team did an awesome job setting up the spaces we were going to use before the event started: desks were in a circle in all classrooms when we arrived Saturday morning. Want to discourage presentations? De-front the room and make people talk to each other!

Enthusiasm was the rule of the day. Enough said.

Free lunch, from food trucks no less. What?!? An unexpected surprise!

And now as I fly home - and my flights today were gorgeous: the San Juan Islands, Puget Sound, Rainier, all the Oregon volcanoes, Crater Lake, Shasta - I'm left with the 'what next' questions.

How do we give educators more choice in their PD? How do we spread the edcamp #EduAwesome, the edcamp model, to folks who aren't attending edcamps?

As much as I don't really love the 1.0/2.0/3.0 discussions in education, it works for this question. What is edcamp 2.0? edcamp is awesome. I firmly believe that today, in 2014, edcamp is one of the best parts of education. But what is next for edcamp?

This is not to imply that edcamp NEEDS a 2.0. But so many great people are involved in edcamp you just know it's going to iterate. So what is edcamp 2.0? (Full disclosure: I - and a bunch of other volunteer edcamp organizers - sit on the edcamp Foundation's Partnership Program committee that helps new edcamp organizers sort through the hurdles of running their own edcamp. I don't come at edcamps bias free.)

So that's where I'm left with: how do we spread and evolve the edcamp model. Kudos to the edcamp35 organizing team: y'all put on a killer event with the broadest representation of stakeholders that I've seen at an edcamp.

Now I just need some more face to face time with all those awesome BC educators I got to meet for the first time yesterday...

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

CUE14: Finally Some Words

So annual CUE was like two and a half weeks ago. I haven't blogged about it. Still. In fact, I haven't written anything on my blog since February 19th. For shame!

Did the wifi suck? Yes. Royally. Were there like one million awesome people there? Yes. There were.

Highlights? Too many to list. Two stand out.

Getting to present with friends was TREMENDOUS. Thanks for including me Diane, John, Victoria, Lisa, JR, Megan, and Joe. It was an honor. (Presentation resources are here.)

Best conversation? Thanks for skipping that session with me Saturday, Moss and Kristen. The discussion about how to hack a conference, about how to make conference sessions more interactive was pure gold. It has given me a ton to think about moving forward.

As I read over other CUE blog posts, I was wondering what I had to say. On the plane home from spring break Sunday night, I was flipping through my photos and I figured out my CUE blog post. So here's my #CUE14 post: a collection of pictures.

Sam Patterson and Cheryl Morris in the registration line on Thursday morning. Yeah, that's Ellen Kraska too!

A Voxer channel I was in hatched the idea for #SelfiesWithSelak. This idea reached its apex when Bill got called onto stage to take a selfie with CUE director Mike Lawrence and keynote speaker LeVar Burton. Which was awesome. Here is my contribution.

My ninja buddy - and my edtech mentor - Diane Main and I being ridiculous. Because why not?

After separately meeting the elementary teacher wonder twins Elizabeth and Christina, I was struck by their energy for education and all things awesome. And they got to meet face to face at CUE!

The crew I was with decided to skip Dan Meyer's keynote to watch LeVar Burton get interviewed for the ITM show. There were about ten of us watching. It was awesome! Here Mark Hammons and Chris Fitz Walsh prep for the interview.

Victoria, Elizabeth, and Sara with LeVar. Homemade shark hoodie: yeah Sara!

My favorite shirt I got to sport at CUE - no one else had a #kyedchat shirt. Thanks Donnie!

The RockStar Manhattan Beach team: it's gonna be rad! Note: this was before we added Nancy Minicozzi to the staff. Need to photoshop her in!

Because when Jon Samuelson rolls into the session you're in, you've gotta take a photo! At least Jo-Ann Fox is dutifully taking notes, right?

I got to film a West Coast Beercast with Bill Selak featuring homebrew from Mark Hammons and myself. Good times were had by all. Here's my view from the taping: the peanut gallery.

The awesome folks I got to do a Google slam with. If you've got to present Saturday morning at 8:30, do it with JR, Lisa, Joe, Megan, and Diane. It was sooooo much fun.

I like this picture JR took from the Google slam. Thanks buddy!

Sherman's Deli - right next to the convention center in Palm Springs - has legendary slices of cake. This slice of coconut cake made the rounds at our table. Good friends and food: a CUE win for sure.

From Diane's Google drawing session. Comparative uses of Google drawings: annotating a picture of the Renaissance pool and creating a river map of British Columbia. Participants shall remain nameless.

Another Voxer channel united for Mexican food. I'll repeat myself: food and awesome educators - what's the downside?

My favorite pic from CUE. At the #caedchat meet-up, we gathered everyone who was there who was an edcamp organizer. (Yes, I love edcamp. This is well documented.) This is an awesome group of people. I'm honored to know them. 

Sunset from the last night I spent in Palm Springs.

To everyone I met or hung out with there: thanks. My first annual CUE conference was awesome. 

Now let's fix that wifi...

CUE14 Presentation Resources

Twitter Presentation (with John Stevens and Victoria Olson)

Student-Centered Classrooms (with Diane Main)

Google Slam (with Megan Ellis, JR Ginex-Orinion, Joe Wood, Lisa Highfill, and Diane Main)

Link to the resources

Innovation Day