“Creative Ways to Fund the Cash-Strapped Classroom”.
“Extend Your Impact on Students and Parents Using Mobile Technologies”.
“Implementing an iPad Pilot”.
“How Going 1:1 Can Transform Your Learning Environment”.
“Top 10 Mistakes Schools Make When Going 1:1 and How to Avoid Them”.
Our first Maker Faire will involve three schools. It is our attempt to bring together junior students from three schools along with a very innovative group of people interested in makerspaces. We have never done this before, but the learning and collaboration will be great.
One of the great things about this project is that we have the assistance of a number of student teachers who are doing an amazing job of putting all this together. From contacting resource people to take on demonstrations and workshops to organizing our grade 6 students to host the event, these students are pretty much doing everything.
The schedule calls for students around 10:00 to start off with some ice-breakers – the mix of students will be really interesting – one of the schools is coming from the Kitigan Zibi Anishinabeg First Nation. The University of Ottawa, a major partner in this project works closely with this school. This should be the beginning of a very interesting partnership between our three schools.
We are asking our partners in this venture to supply demonstrations and workshops for the students. Presenters will be asked to demonstrate the use of a piece of technology (i.e. 3D printer, Makey Makey, etc.) or prepare a very short interactive activity related to the chosen piece of technology. Activities should be no longer than 10 minutes and should be able to be carried out either on the table or on the floor close to the table. The demo booths should be able to accommodate 3 to 5 students. Clean up and preparation time should be minimal in order to prepare for the next group of students who will visit the demo booth.Demonstrations could include:
- a Raspberry Pi Minecraft Server ; a Virtual Reality headset that at the same time shows the inside of the Minecraft world or some other virtual world concurrently with the Raspberry Pi server.
- a 3D scanner to scan busts of the kids and create a file that can be 3D printed or modified using 3D modelling software (eg. add cat ears, or pointy vulcan ears, long witch nose, etc.) 3D scan
- playdoh creations that could then be 3D printed in plastic.
- 3D image can also be
- Use of a makey-makey as an interface to a Game or music program in processing.
- a demo of programming in Scratch.
- Run Scratch and Arduino/makey-makey demo in standalone instance on laptop or Raspberry Pi.
All of this has been suggested by just one member of our creative team!
Demonstrations would be followed by workshops that would be at least one hour in length. This would give the students an opportunity to explore some aspect of maker culture in more depth. For the workshops, the presenter will be asked to run the same activity station twice during the Maker Faire (11:15-12:15 and 12:50-1:50). Of the five activity stations to be scheduled, the students will have the option of choosing two. The student’s selections and the rotation schedule will be prepared prior to the actual event day. The activity stations will need to accommodate between 12 and 15 students.
Possible workshops include computer deconstruction, work with LittleBits, run by students, LED paper airplanes and robot building.
We still have a few weeks to put this all together, but this promises to be a really wonderful experience for everyone!
could we see these at our Maker Faire??
We have been getting closer and closer to 1:1 especially at the junior level all year. The key point for us is the teachers. We have a group that is willing to experiment and learn. We have had several group PD sessions during and after the school day to work on our understanding on how various apps – especially Google Apps can improve student learning. We have had great results with Read and Write and are learning how to give more effective feedback with Kaizena. We are learning more about digital portfolios. We are also learning new ways to deliver PD to staff. For our last PD venture, we invited a teacher from our partner school to spend the day with teachers and classes to work on digital portfolios. Having an experienced teacher with us in the classroom made a huge difference.
The conversation continues. Within the next ten days we should have enough Chromebooks for all the junior (grade 4,5,6) students. Each student will receive a machine and will be expected to bring the Chromebook home every night. Our partner school is following the same process.
- What is the mission of the district and how does the one-to-one program align with it?
We are very fortunate to work in a district that is flexible and open to change. Years ago, the school board created the conditions for innovation by providing every school with a reliable wifi network. Each year, we receive more devices from the school board. For a small school like ours, it is now possible to take the final leap to make sure that every junior student has a new Chromebook to work with. We also were early adopters of Google which has been huge for us. Every staff member and every student has their own Google account. Everyone has equal access to all Google apps.
- What are instructional goals that will be supported by a one-to-one program?
We have examined our School Improvement Plan to see what goals already exist that can be supported by our 1:1 program. We have been putting an emphasis on feedback for the past few years. Kaizena is a very effective feedback tool that if used properly and consistently will advance our ability to give effective feedback to our students. We also have a very high ELL population. Apps like Read and Write can be very effective in assisting ELL students move ahead with their reading comprehension and writing skills. This applies as well to students with learning disabilities. When distributing our machines, we have focused first on our LD and ELL students. We have observed some significant gains in their learning based on their day to day use of the Chromebook.
- How will all major departments, selected administrative and teaching staff, parents, and other stakeholders be involved in the planning and implementation of a one-to-one program?
For us, the key ‘departments’ for implementation have been resource (Learning Disabilities) and ELL (English Language Learners). Our resource and ELL staff have worked with teachers and students to teach them how to use the Chromebook. Resource especially has become a center of innovation where students have been well trained on how to use apps. They in turn have taught their school mates how to use the same apps
- What device will best meet the mission? (“Notice, that’s not the first question,” McMullan said.)
This depends on the grade level. We have more iPads at the primary and kindergarten level and more chromebooks at the junior level. Now however, we are finding that we need more Chromebooks in the primary classes so students can get acquainted to Google apps and how to use their Google accounts.
- How will the one-to-one program be financed and sustained?
Sustaining the program will be interesting. We think that once we have made the initial investment, our regular IT allotment will be used to replace older or defective equipment. The key factor is making the initial investment.
- What IT systems need to be in place to support and maintain our one-to-one program(s)? (Here, McMullan shared an anecdote about one district that purchased 20,000 Chromebooks, only to have them sit in boxes because there was no wireless access in classrooms).
We have the wireless access and this system will actually be enhanced and strengthened in the near future. All machines purchased through the school board are supported by IT technicians employed by the board. As more schools go 1:1 the board may need to look at more IT support, but at this point we are able to access IT support to assist us when we need it.
- How will district and school administrators and board members be prepared to lead and communicate the vision?
There is value in starting small. The current implementation plan involves only two schools. I am not convinced tat 1:1 should be implemented across the entire school board. You definitely need a willing staff and school leadership willing to take the 1:1 leap before you even consider moving in this direction. The human factor is easily the most important thing to consider before going 1:1. Staff and school leadership need to be working together and share the common vision that going 1:1 will improve student achievement.
- What ongoing professional development strategies will be provided?
This is probably one of the biggest questions. On-going embedded PD is crucial. The PD has to continue throughout the year and it can’t depend on teachers ‘volunteering’ to learn more about the newest app. It is crucial that 1:1 implementation be a major component of the School Improvement Plan and that the school’s PD budget (release time) be devoted to staff development. It is also important that staff be consulted – always – on what they need to learn next. This shows basic respect for the adult learner and ensures that staff will buy into the learning plan for the year.
- What processes will be in place for making adjustments as needed?
Good communication is the key. The principal must be open to the ideas and thoughts of staff and staff need to feel supported enough by the administration so they can talk freely about how the program is going. As mentioned earlier, the human factor is the most important, we need to keep in constant contact with each other and learn together. There will be bumps along the way, but teachers are good at change; all we need to do is manage it carefully.
Makerspaces continue to develop at St. Anthony and St. Luke. Last week, our teachers met with Alison Evans Adnani of Maker Junior. Her main point – get kids creating, you don’t need to be a technical wizard of have a huge budget, just get them in there making.
We continue to work on this. We are hoping to get more lego soon and we hope to have a lego wall. We are also planning to add calligraphy and knitting to the list of activities available to our students. We are learning more about how to use Makey Makey kits and we would love to add Minecraft to our makerspace soon.
The great thing about all this is that the possibilities are endless. Kids love the opportunity to create and innovate and they love the freedom to explore.
Here are a collection of comments and photo and video material from recent visits to the makerspace at our school
I had the best day – I have never seen so much innovation and cool stuff in one place – ever.
This was a pretty amazing opportunity for all of us. I met Rick Alexanderson – a teacher in our school board – today at the Ottawa Maker Faire – a truly wonderful event that is on again tomorrow (Sunday). I sat on a panel with him and the more I heard from him the more I stopped talking – this is a guy you really need to listen to. This is a guy who has been around and has seen lots of stuff. When you meet people like that, it is best to keep quiet and just listen – you might learn a few things.
He is affiliated with Carleton University and they are willing to hold an instruction session for teachers and students who are interested in developing a maker culture at your school. Rick has found his own partners, he is not waiting for others to catch up – he is making change and offering this to us.
From what I understand, you can register for workshops they he puts on with the university. After your day, you and your students return to the school and teach them what you just have learned. Everyone ends up with a robot – how cool is that!
Rick Alexanderson is the future of education – and educational entrepreneur who is offering the rest of us a chance to learn some amazing stuff.
I could have listened to him all day!
Our informal networks and PLNs are truly our life blood. There will never again be a good reason to wait for change to come to you – you need to go to the change!
Find a way to start a makerspace. Get your teachers and students creating – this is what true education has always been about!
do you want to make this in your class?
Thanks Josh – another great way to discuss the SAMR model. Where are we when it comes to file management and SAMR?
If you don’t already have one, you need a way to manage your files so you can retrieve them quickly. I don’t really think it matters which ones you use, but you can consider Diigo, Pearltrees, Dropbox, Google Drive Livebinders or something that allows you to keep things organized.
Right now, I store all articles I want to keep on Livebinders. I like this system – it is simple – all you need to do is set up categories and then each new article becomes a tab under the selected category.
Diigo is also great – you can set it up so that every tweet you send out is automatically stored in Diigo. Like Livebinders, you can set up categories. You can also set up groups and share your articles with your group. Both services allow you to tweet out the article you just stored.
I can’t imagine working without Google Drive. All my files were moved on to Drive last year – I keep nothing on my hard drive. Drive allows me to collaborate with staff and other administrators. Just to be careful, I have backed up my files to Dropbox too.
We set up all meeting agendas on Drive and share editing privileges with all staff members. People can then go in and add items that need to be discussed by the group. Drive is especially great for meetings – you can start keeping a live record of the proceedings as the meeting progresses.
So, where do I find myself on the SAMR model?
- Attach a document to an email.
- Save a document to a flash drive.
- Save a document to a school computer.
- Upload to Dropbox.
- Upload to Google Drive.
- Share folders and files on Google Drive.
- Share folders and files on Dropbox.
- Upload data and use Google Analytics to analyze school information.
- Using Google Drive, allow others to edit, comment on, and share your documents.
- Administrators share data and converse digitally for articulation meetings.
I have no idea what an articulation meeting is so I will start there. Big hint – always look at the redefined category in Josh’s articles. I checked out Nearpod after one of his posts and ended up having a great teleconference with the Nearpod people. I would love to get this service in my school!
Final point – Josh is bang on when he says that administrators need to lead by example. One of the reasons i do this is to encourage staff to try some of these tools and techniques out. This is certainly one of our jobs as administrators!
So, lots of challenges here – where will you put yourself on SAMR when it comes to file management?
I am continuing to comment on this really interesting series by Josh Work on Edutopia. The posts read like a social media 101 for administrators! We all should be able to measure our progress in social media using the SAMR model. Josh is looking at specific areas that we have responsibility for and he relates each area to the SAMR model.
How do you measure up in key areas like staff presentations, community interaction, file management, classroom evaluations and staff input (Technology SAMR Model for Administrators).
The second post focuses on community interaction which to me is a key responsibility for all administrators.
It is no longer acceptable to accept the notion that parents will just naturally show up at your school. Parents are much more discerning now, they check out your web page, your Facebook Page (do you have one?) and any other social media tools you are using. It may a while, but your school will establish an online presence that will attract parents to your school. I really believe that this is a key factor now that parents consider when choosing a school.
I have read lots of posts from administrators who work hard to make the learning visible to all parents in the community. My model is Eric Sheninger, the author of Digital Leadership: Changing Paradigms for Changing Times. There is so much to recommend in this book – I think all administrators need to read this book if they want to stay relevant in a time of rapid change. One thing I have learned from Sheninger and other authors is that we need to make learning visible to our parent community. We need to use Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Flickr and any other tool that allows parents to see what is happening daily in the school.
Using these tools has an interesting impact on students, teachers and parents. Everyone talks about the learning that goes on in the school. Parents in our community really like Remind 101 and Facebook, the kids love Instagram. Our role as administrators is to publish using a variety of tools so that our community can access more information on what is happening every day.
I like how Josh Work has applied the SAMR model to community outreach. I really think we all need to be way past the substitution stage at this point. Writing a conventional newsletter then e-mailing it out is simply not good enough. In Canada, with the Federal CASL legislation, it is now actually illegal to send out unsolicited e-mails.
My September plan at my new school will also include setting up a new Edublog for the parent community along with another for staff. I will continue to use Facebook and Twitter along with a brand new Google Site as our school web site – thanks to our school board – AMAZING! I will also continue to use Flickr to store all our school photos and of course Instagram to send daily photos to the school community. I will not produce a monthly newsletter – this is simply not worth the time when there are so many just in time communication tools available.
As an administrator, what communication tools will you be using this year? Where would you put yourself on the SAMR model? Where do you want to be by the end of the year?
Looking forward to Part III.
I have started reading a really interesting series by Josh Work – a guest blogger on Edutopia. The series is focused on what tools administrators can use to keep up with their teachers and the use of technology. I think this will be a terrific series. In my experience, teachers are far ahead of administrators in their use of technology. If we are going to be good role models to the teachers on staff, we need to get much better at using technology.
My hope is that the move to modification and redefinition (SAMR) will also influence how information is delivered to us at the district level. That is a major topic in itself!
Josh Work is using the SAMR model as the basis for all of his work. I think it is a reasonable expectation that administrators move through the SAMR continuum from substitution to redefinition.
In his first post, Work writes about staff presentations and how administrators can improve their communication with staff.
What a great topic to start with!
There are so many great tools we can now use to communicate more effectively with staff. Are you still stuck using e-mail as your only communication tool? It is really time to move on.
Before moving to any particular tool, Work makes a great point – time is a precious commodity for any school staff and we need to really examine if there are other ways to convey information beyond the traditional (yawn) staff meeting.
So, what can administrators use to communicate more effectively? Agendas can be circulated before the meeting using Google Drive. Work also mentions that administrators can get good feedback from staff by using Google Forms or by hosting a Google Hangout to enrich communication with staff.
I agree, all these tools can really help keep the flow of information moving. I use Google Drive to post a working copy of our agenda a week before the staff meeting. All staff have access to the document and anyone can add an agenda item to the document right up to meeting time. The rule is, if you can post on Drive then your item will be part of the agenda. I then try to get away from paper copies of the final agenda. We can then edit the agenda as the meeting goes on so that we have an annotated agenda recorded in Drive by the end of the meeting.
We also use Google Forms on a regular basis to survey staff on a number of issues – some of the best information I have received from staff members has come from these surveys.
We use Google Groups as our staff e-mail conference. It is a good interactive tool that allows staff to communicate effectively. The membership is controlled by an administrator and it is a closed, secure system. It is very easy to use, I am moving to a new school in September and most of the staff in my new school are already using this tool to communicate with other staff members!
Google + is an amazing collaboration tool that we have used in the past. We are using the Communities feature to connect special collaborative teams between schools. This tool took a bit of time to catch on, but it a terrific way for educators to keep in touch, especially when sharing information between schools.
As administrators, we need to take a lead role by trying out these tools. It is no longer excusable for an administrator to say they are not ‘comfortable’ with the use of technology. It is part of our job to be risk-takers and try out new forms of communication. If we try these tools, staff members will be encouraged to do the same.
My next challenge is to try out Nearpod. This tool is suggested by Work – I don’t know anything about it, but I feel obliged to give it a try. It may or may not be useful, but I need to at least check it out.
I hope all administrators read this series and then make a serious attempt to adopt new communication tools in advance of the next school year.
Then we can start work on the district!
Next – Community Interaction
I am always looking for opportunities to push myself to learn more. I find that becoming an active member of networks is a great way to do this. At the very least, it gets me to write and post more material. The OSSEMOOC is a great example of a network that has motivated me to post. It’s a little like the ‘publish or perish‘ notion. If your blog is publicized on other sites, but better keep writing!
Yesterday, I heard about another network that looks like it has potential – Google Educator Groups #GEG.
I took a look at where you can find GEGs and there are none in Canada! We need to do something about that.
The idea behind the GEGs sounds really interesting. From their site, GEG leaders benefit in the following ways:
- Meeting like minded people, breaking the walls of isolation
- Becoming well connected to people of similar passion
- Building learning management, event management, communication and organization skills as you hold events.
- Eligible to attend local GEG Leader summits hosted by Google
This is what is wonderful about social media and education, there are so many great networks that you can join that connects you to other educators. In the past year I have connected to ECOO (the BIT 2014 Conference), OSSEMOOC, DLMOOC (need to get back to that!), #SAVMP mentorship group via @gcouros, a terrific Edmodo book chat on Digital Leadership through #satchat, Learning Connections – Google + group run through #OCSB as well as a whole host of Twitter chats and Google + discussions.
Every day I learn through these great networks. At this point, I can’t imagine being an educator and not being connected, my networks are my own personal school. There are so many great initiatives and ideas out there that I would be totally in the dark without my learning partners.
Even worse, without my personal learning network I would be dependant on professional development delivered in the tradition method through our own district. This way of learning simply does not work anymore. We can complain about this or we can do something much more useful – make up your own learning network – get connected – today!
So next, time to get some GEGs into Canada – any volunteers?