Wednesday, September 30, 2015

6 Ideas to Inspire Anyone to Become A Make Believer #Makerspace #MakerFaire #WMF15

Guest post by Jackie Patanio
I never thought of myself as a maker... until this weekend. I participated in my first Education Forum and Maker Faire with my son, a mini maker in the works. Educators, kickstarters, & supporters were all at the forefront of the amazing maker movement. 
While there I was inspired to contemplate my passions and consider how I could make in my own life.

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

#MakerFaire 2015 – Inspiration at a Price

Guest post by Lori Stahl-Van Brackle


I love Maker Faire! My car is covered in Maker Faire bumper stickers. The door to my computer lab is covered in Maker Faire postcards. I run Maker Camp over the summer in anticipation of Maker Faire. It is the weekend I look most forward to in the first month of the school year. You can find me at Maker Faire from open to close, both days, and I give Maker Faire as homework for all my students.


I should explain the homework assignment a little though. My school is located in Rego Park. We are exactly one mile for the NY Hall of Science, where the World Maker Faire is held. My students come from the surrounding area, Corona, Rego Park, Lefrak City, and Forest Hills. We have one of the most diverse populations in THE most diverse city in the world. That diversity includes over 40% low income students, 50+ different languages spoken, every continent represented in our student body, and every religion practiced. The diversity of my school is even more impressive when you take in the harmonious way our students, many of whom English is a second language, interact with each other.


My students have been attending World Maker Faire since the first one was held in 2010. Back then kids could get tickets for free through organizations such as MOUSE Squad. MOUSE Squad still offers students who are part of the program free tickets, but it’s become harder and harder to find free tickets for other students.


The price of tickets has risen as I’m sure, the cost of putting on the Greatest Show (and Tell) on Earth has risen. The faire started out in the parking lot of NY Sci and now takes over six fields. I’m not sure what the numbers were this year, but last year, when the Pope wasn’t in town, there were over 75,000 visitors each day. Among those were some of my over 300 students who had to find me and shout out “Halsey in the House!” to get extra credit.


This year I was inspired by Miss Piggy and decided to add to the extra credit assignment; students could take selfies with me. You can see some of them below.
selfies.PNG
Last year I saw more than 80 of my students over the course of the two days at faire. This year I saw about 30. When I asked my students who didn’t attend why they did not, the reason was disheartening:

Monday, September 28, 2015

3 Lessons From Student Makers - #MakerFaire #MakerED #makeEDU

If you want to know what it means to learn, you must visit a Maker Faire. There you'll find passionate teachers and parents whose students and children are making anything they can imagine. These are kids who can learn without being "tricked" as we sometimes hear adults say when talking about young people. They are making, doing, and learning in meaningful ways because they want to. 

Here are three lessons I learned from talking with young makers.

1) If You Like Playing Games, You Might Like Making Games.
I had the pleasure of meeting some of the young makers who not only play games, they make them. These young students came up with the ideas and concepts and were supported by parents, teachers, and mentors.  






Sunday, September 27, 2015

Don't Compete with Social Media. Integrate It!

This week, I had some words via Twitter with Wake County Public Schools for making decisions about policies that affect students without bringing students into the conversation in a respectful way. Students were upset when they learned Snapchat was blocked and they took their concerns to Twitter.

I chimed in, sharing a Tweet that received a lot of Twitter attention making more than 5000 impressions.  I asked this:


Students started a petition that current has about 150 signatures asking their school to lift the ban.  On the petition students explain some ways they are using Snapchat for learning:
"Not only does Snapchat help us communicate with each other in and out of class, it helps quickly relay information between students for help on work. Just because there aren't school-related accounts on it, it's still a very useful tool and should not be blocked."
"There is no service at my school so those without iMessage cannot communicate with the outside world. Many use snapchat as a way to give information and updates throughout the day BRING IT BACK."
Teachers also chimed in sharing smart ways for using Snapchat.  For example Nikki Robertson explained Snapchat is used on the daily to tell stories of what is going on in her library.  

The most important point, however, probably came when I attended the Maker Faire Education Forum a few days later. Nancy Otero, known for her work with digital fabrication and project based learning was on a panel about "Making in Schools."  An audience member asked if making could compete with social media in schools.  I tweeted her response.

And this is what it comes down to. When we stop banning and competing with social media and start listening to our students, we can figure out ways to integrate this powerful platform into learning in ways that help students communicate and connect with the world and each other.  

And, you know what? It looks like all this "taking it to social media" may have worked. On Friday, the student who made this story news, Tweeted this:

If this is correct, then HT to @WCPSS for hearing school voice. Hearing and adjusting is good. Inviting students to the table to have a voice in the policies and guidelines that affect them is even better. 

Update....

Misunderstanding.  Student voice dismissed. Snapchat remains unblocked. 

Saturday, September 26, 2015

My Makeaways from #makeEDU #makerED #MakerFaire

I had the opportunity to hear from leaders and influencer in the Maker movement at the Maker Faire Ed Forum. If you couldn't be there in person, you can checkout some of the terrific takeaways (or as I like to say, "makeaways") at the Storify below.

My personal favorite makeaway:
My most popular Tweet was an important message from our progressive school Chancellor Carmen Farina.

Check out the rest below.

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Hand Signals - Which Do You Use For Effective Communication?

Recently, I enjoyed dinner with a friend and his daughter who is in first grade. As we were talking she used various hand signals to show when she agreed, disagreed, had something to add, and there were a few more.  As she shared each signal, I asked what they meant. She asked if I was ever in first grade? I explained that at the school I attended so many years back, we didn’t use hand signals. She explained how they made her time in class work much better and allowed all students to share with each other and the teacher how they felt.  



This is something that is important to incorporate in self-directed learning environments.  They provide instant feedback without interrupting a speaker. Hand signals make non-verbal communication explicit and deliberate by replacing subtle cues with intentional, well-defined ones.


To follow are several of the hand signals used at Agile Learning Centers which embrace self-directed learning. As you read each one think about which you might incorporate into your work setting. Are 

Sunday, September 20, 2015

Tools, Practices, + Structures, to Guide Self-Directed Learning

Want a community that embraces self-directed learning? These tools, practices, and structures are used to support such a community as part of The Agile Learning Model. They can be used anywhere and modified to best support learning in your environment.

To follow you will read about the following structures, tools, and practices:


  • Set-the-week Meeting
  • Offerings Board
  • Scrum
  • Morning Intentions / Stand-up Meeting
  • Spawn Points
  • Personal Kanban
  • Gratitude Circle / Community Rituals
  • Closing Meeting / Afternoon Reflections
  • Change-up meetings
  • Community Mastery Board (CMB)
  • GameShifting


Take a look. Think about what you like. Consider what may be successful to put in place where you work.

Saturday, September 19, 2015

The Hottest Posts Everyone's Reading

Here’s the roundup of what's been popular on The Innovative Educator blog.

Taking the lead this week is a new, free tool called Class Story which can be used to strengthen the home-school connection from Class Dojo. There was also interest in learning about becoming a teacher entrepreneur and intrapreneur. I was pleasantly surprised to see my post about the importance of relationships to build community remains at the top of the list.  My post that explains the new Google for Ed Certification Exams was also among the most popular.

There are a few more posts to round out the top including one that addresses what is most important when it comes to learning and another about how you can tap into the strengths of all your students. I hope there's something that looks of interest to you.  If it does, check it out. Share it on your networks.  If you're inspired, leave a comment!

Entry
Pageviews
Sep 6, 2015, 
5023
Aug 23, 2015, 
4870
Aug 20, 2015, 
4746
Aug 12, 2015, 
3541
Sep 9, 2015, 
3246
Aug 25, 2015, 
2992
Jul 15, 2010, 
2318
Aug 24, 2015, 
2301

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

A Learning Model with No Tests, Teachers, or Curriculum Standards Required

Adult life is all about making choices, learning from them, and prioritizing competing demands for our time. A healthy educational environment must allow students to experience such opportunities and challenges. To do this, children must be able to make their own decisions and pursue their own passions. This creates the opportunity for them to flourish to their full potential if they have a supportive, respectful and loving culture. Knowing what they want to learn or do, and then following through to learn it or achieve it, is a core skill for learning.


There is an education model that reflects this philosophy. It is called Agile Learning.  The education model uses a tree as a metaphor to illustrate the model.  

Here are the four parts of the model:




Sunday, September 13, 2015

6 Updates to Welcome Your School Community + Prepare Students For Success

Schools should be welcoming environments for students, staff, parents, and community members, but they often don't feel that way. Unmarked doors. Uniformed guards. Impersonal communication. Ear-piercing bells. We can do better.

Which school would you rather enter?





Here are updates schools can make to create more welcoming environments.

Saturday, September 12, 2015

The Hottest Posts Everyone's Reading

Here’s the roundup of what's been popular on The Innovative Educator blog.



Taking the lead again are tips to keep in mind when using social media with students. I hope readers will share how that goes with their students this year. A new entry into the top posts is a new social media platform called Class Story that helps teachers strengthen the home-school connection. Rounding out the top post is the winner of the "Back to School Supply Contest." Check it out.

There's a few more posts to round out the top including one that addresses what is most important when it comes to learning and another about how you can tap into the strengths of all your students. I hope there's something that looks of interest to you.  If it does, check it out. If you’re inspired use one of those icons below the post to share it with others and/or leave a comment.
Entry
Pageviews
Aug 16, 2015, 
8765
Aug 23, 2015, 
3869
Aug 20, 2015, 
3750
Aug 12, 2015, 
3528
Aug 9, 2015, 
3491
Aug 25, 2015, 
2995
Sep 6, 2015, 
2736
Aug 30, 2015, 
2671

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Google for Education Certification and Exams

Google is updating the way they do certifications. Google is providing these certifications as a concrete and tangible way to measure skills and knowledge. Level 1 is for educators and 2 for trainers and innovators.  Below is a brief description with a link to more information. 




This post from Shake Up Learning provides additional insight and you can read below from Google's newsletter.  If you don't get the newsletter you can click hereThe monthly newsletter showcases relevant tools and programs from across many Google teams and partners.

Sunday, September 6, 2015

Class Story (an Instagram for Parents) Helps Strengthen The Home-School Connection

Building relationships with families is hard work. Especially with today’s busy parents. If you’re lucky, you’ll see your student’s parents on one or two parent-teacher conferences or events each year. That hardly makes for relationship building.

Parents want to be involved and teachers want to involve them, but many parents are not afforded the luxury of free time that makes this possible. Teachers want to involve parents, but they often don’t have time to put together quality websites or newsletters.  

Fortunately, various social media tools have come along to help strengthen the home-school connection.  For example some teachers use Twitter to give parents a window into a school or class. Other teachers use  Facebook to keep parents connected.  And, others are using texting services like Cel.ly.  

Now, there is a tool designed specifically for teachers and the families of students.  

Friday, September 4, 2015

The Hottest Posts Everyone's Reading

Here’s the roundup of what's been popular on The Innovative Educator blog.


Taking the lead this week are tips to keep in mind when using social media with students. There was also interest in learning about becoming a teacher entrepreneur and intrapreneur. I was pleasantly surprised to see my post about the importance of relationships to build community at the top of the list.  

There's a few more posts to round out the top including one that addresses what is most important when it comes to learning and another about how you can tap into the strengths of all your students. I hope there's something that looks of interest to you.  If it does, check it out. If you’re inspired use one of those icons below the post to share it with others and/or leave a comment.


Wednesday, September 2, 2015

10 Tips + 10 Resources that Use Tech to Keep Wandering Children Safe

Guest post by Jacob Gutnicki

It seems there is a story almost on a daily basis about a missing child. This is not surprising as the National Crime Information Center statistics in 2014 show that there were 466,949 entries for missing children under the age of 18. These statistics, along with the following statistics on child danger, are unsettling:
  • Roughly half of children with an  (Autism Spectrum Disorder) ASD attempt to elope from a safe environment; a rate nearly four times higher than their unaffected siblings.
  • Two in three parents of elopers reported their missing children had a “close call” with a traffic injury.
  • 32% of parents reported a “close call” with a possible drowning.
  • Half of families with elopers report they had never received advice or guidance about elopement from a professional.
autistic children tend to wander

The last bullet is particularly disconcerting as it means the parents who are most susceptible to this problem are the least prepared for dealing with the challenges of a wandering child. Fortunately, there are many technology-based resources that can help parents and schools who care for wandering children. With this in mind, I have prepared 10 resources followed by 10 tips that can support parents and schools keep wandering children safe.
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