So I went back for more. I should have rested more first, but I was up writing the last post and adding apps and extensions to my Chrome browser (The Google Translate extension will pronounce words for you and then translate if needed, fun!). We had more Panera today and that has yet to disappoint. However, today was about the learning.
Lisa Highfill (@lhighfill) was the opening keynote and spoke about “free range teaching.” I love keynotes (maybe why I love TED Talks so much). The thing they all have in common (from the limited number I have seen) is they all start with a story. Usually it is a personal story that is not connected education necessarily, but draws us in (*See ending keynote). Hearing about Lisa’s childhood really lent itself to what a teacher can and should be. I mostly took away the part about “trusting that you students will all get there” even without the hand holding (Good to remember as a mom too!). Watch and think: Mama Duck=Teacher
So my morning sessions were both led by Jim Sill (see yesterday’s post). The first was an intro to Google Classroom. In kindergarten, this won’t be the most useful Google Tool. As a leader of professional development at times, this has some possibilities. It could be a way to share documents, push out video to colleagues and more. This particular tool may be the reason I abandon my years in kindergarten sometime soon. I just need to try this out with students. In my mind, I could see it as a way to quickly share a joint drawing, doc, or sheet with kindergarteners. However, students need to be able to log into their own accounts, sit and listen, and follow directions. I am not sure which thing you think is the hardest to accomplish with 20 5 & 6 year-olds (hint: not the technology). It is worth checking out and from what I hear will be changing and growing in the near future. If you need a resource, check out Alice Keeler’s 50 Things You Can Do With Google Classroom.
The next session is hard to describe as it was mind-blowing. Now, I need to tell you that I am sometimes known to be a deep thinker (that may or may be true). I typically keep this to myself, but this time I need to share. So again, Jim Sill is the man. You could see his passion for Google Views, Google Maps, and the newest tool, Google Cardboard. As I struggled to comprehend, he must have understood what was happening to me. His presentation contained warnings, “This is going to get heavy” and reminders to “Breathe…” Google Cardboard can better be described by them. But, basically you look into a cardboard viewfinder (it can even click like your childhood one) and you can explore with your eyes all around you. Like ALL around you (don’t forget to look up and down). I already have the app on my Android phone and have been playing with it tonight. It’s not just pictures in 360, but videos in 360. Imagine looking all around while watching the video to see it from every perspective. Jim went on to share about taking 360 photos and video and I can’t wait to get kids creating with this tech as well. I could go on, but let’s save some of it for another day. This is just your nudge to explore some more. Don’t forget to scroll around as the video plays.
My last two sessions were great. I am now pumped to being my quest to becoming a Google Certified Educator. It has all changed recently, but I am hoping to start the “lots of reading” about Google this summer! The last session was put on by a local educator (Google Certified Education Trainer) and introduced me (well re-introduced me) to Google Draw. I learned lots of new tips and created this for which I earned a badge:
Our day ended with a Keynote by Jim Sill (I saw him a lot today!) and was all around storytelling. Jim’s background is in TV and teaching film. These things have really helped him focus on the power of a story. I was once again inspired by the YouTube videos he shared (scared us and made us cry) and the message he had to share. We need to evoke emotions and get students to be “agile thinkers” using “complex questions”. I learned so much tech these two days, but I really learned about being a better teacher. After about 5 hours of driving, I also have lots of new ideas! So stay tuned!