Tagxedo Star

Can’t believe the two weeks of face-to-face time is already almost over. I think back to the beginning of the journey and it seems so long ago. The time has gone quickly and I have learned so much but have not been able to really reflect on everything and have not had much time to process all the changes. I am confident that there is a lot of change going on. I am looking at things differently and thinking about things differently. I am constantly asking myself how can I make learning better? How can I incorporate technology to produce a relevant learning experience? I have been keeping a list of tools that I have been introduced to and have been slowly playing around with them and see if it would be valuable resource in my classroom and in what way I could utilize it. The amount of tools out there is limitless and I have always been mindful of making sure that the tools I use adds onto my lessons and is not the sole focus of the class. Technology tools can always be fun but it should be secondary. I have found many tools that will add to my lessons that will engage my students and produce a better final product for myself and my students.

I wanted to visually capture my journey thus far and copied all the words of my blog and created this Tagxedo star. The more a word is used, the bigger the word is. This star is a good representation of what I have been writing about – Creative, Education, Change, Think, Want, Education, Technology, Students, Presence, Standards


Design Thinking is… DUH

I started jotting some notes while reading up on DESIGN THINKING and for those of you who don’t know what this is, I thought I would supply you with the wikipedia definition:

“Design Thinking refers to the methods and processes for investigating ill-defined problems, acquiring information, analyzing knowledge, and positing solutions in the design and planning fields. As a style of thinking, it is generally considered the ability to combine empathy for the context of a problem, creativity in the generation of insights and solutions, and rationality to analyze and fit solutions to the context.”

This is the first time I have really researched Design Thinking and this is pretty much what my paper ended up looking like at the end of 3 hours of reading up on what I consider to be amazing and obvious at the same time. I just wanted to scream out “Why didn’t we think about all this sooner?”

A couple great resources and articles I’ve found that everyone must check out:

Design Thinking for Educators

‘Design Thinking’ and Higher Education

Stanford University’s Dept of Ed

Huffington Post’s “Design Thinking for Education: What if?”

Check it out, please!

Lets Get SIGgy with it!

The SIG projects have come and gone! We have spent the last couple of days putting together our very own special interest groups depending on our own interests. Myself and two others decided to work on a Special Interest Group that focused on the practice of the flipped classroom model. We came up with the name SIGFlip and researched how people have been using it, what the benefits are, along with many valuable tools and resources.

The poster session went really well. The MAET Y2 students walked around and we shared our findings with them. They had many great questions and valuable input and definitely added to my SIG experience.

I think the entire project went well and I wouldn’t change up about it but I would probably add onto it. We had some issues with our QR code so if there was one change I would probably say that. Other than that it was a great collaborative work experience on something I really like and want to incorporate even more.

My plan for flipping (and other implementations):

Everything needs adequate planning and testing before launching. I eventually want to practice the flipped classroom model the majority of the time. I do need to start small and I need to think what the major concepts and big pictures ideas are that I want my students to take away. I want to think about what activities and classroom things I can incorporate that will keep my students not only excited and engaged but also putting what they know into practice to make their learning stick and be able to expound on it in the future.

Check out all the other SIGs from my MAETY1 Cohort. Everyone did a great job!


Chopped MAET Style

Chopped Quickfire? What’s not to love, right? Can’t believe I forgot to write about this today. Better late than never. Each group received a “basket” for today’s quickfire challenge. Each group had 30 minutes to tie in the ingredients in the basket with the reading “I am realizing how nice people can be” (368-9) from  “How the Internet has Changed the World.”

My Group – Amazing group Numero Dos: Myself, Ernie, Jeff, and Ryan

Our “Ingredients” – PiratePad & Sidewalk Chalk [a new technology & an old technology]

We collaborated ideas for ~10 minutes and then decided what approach to take. We decided to utilize Pirate Pad as the base of our assignment and then use the sidewalk chalk outside to demonstrate and showcase it. We were mighty happy with the way everything turned out and this was the first Quickfire I finished on time! A very big deal!

Pictures from today’s Quickfire are below. We felt honored that Punya loved our chalkwork so much that we found him snapping pictures of our masterpiece too! Great work team 2!

These pictures along with photos from the other groups can also be found on our group facebook page, which can only be accessed by its members.

Student Stress

Readings. Blogging. Collaboration Projects! Content Connection!! PORTFOLIOS!?! AAANNDD TWEETING?!?!

The familiar stress of being a student has hit.I have enjoyed every part of this class so far and I have been trying to figure out where this stress is coming from. I think it was ignited with the first Quickfire when I didn’t realize just how quickly 3o minutes went by. 30 minutes to do a project? While this was not impossible to do, the perfectionist in me threw a tantrum like a three year old child. We moved onto the next learning segment and right away had to learn what it did and how we might use it. Not only did we have to do that but we also had to blog about it, post it, tweet about it, and do another project integrating it. The speed was moving faster than the caffeine running through my veins. It was invigorating but I felt like I was caving in under a mountain of stress.

The stress wasn’t a stress I felt before. It wasn’t the typical school stress. My problems didn’t stem from the work. It couldn’t. I was having too much fun with them. It couldn’t have been my feelings of incompetence because we all felt pretty incompetent. My problem had nothing to do with technology. So then what exactly was the problem or issue?

The problem was the amount of changes I was going through all at the same time. I was changing but not having the time to process everything. Just before beginning class, I made the decision that I was going to change my mindset. I accepted the challenge of changing the type of teacher I was going to be. I was going to take everything in and commit myself to be the agent of change. I don’t ever want to be the boring teacher that lectures all the time (not that I ever did that). I’ve had many encounters with teachers who are unmotivated because of all the changes in education today. I wasn’t going to be like those teachers who complain about all the changes in education or technology. If you look back in history, things have always been progressively changing for…ever and guess what? It will continue to do so for…ever. The stress that resulted from my positive empowerment  didn’t do anything for my current condition, but its teaching me a lesson or rather something to keep in mind.

Stress is a given factor when learning something new. I think about my students who will undoubtedly experience some stress when I teach them a new tool. They will be excited but they will also need time to play and explore with the tools whether that be via a mini lesson or a small project. Not all students have the same abilities and level of  understanding when it comes to technology. Our MAET Y1 class is a good indicator of what our classrooms will look like. Some will be more advanced and experienced while others struggle to figure out the basic steps of getting past the signup portion. The answer to this is to create a PLN within the class. This attitude needs to be modeled as well as encouraged by the teacher. This will surely create a community of collaboration and support in the classroom.

So now what?

Now I continue to make lists of things I need to get done and begin moving through my list. I try not to over-analyze everything I do. I try not to make everything perfect and just say its good enough. I try not to lie in bed about all the things I need to get done and just close my eyes and sleep. I sound crazy and to a certain extent I am (aren’t you?) but I am this way because I am loving everything I am doing/learning and because I want to take advantage of everything I am getting. Its only two weeks, right? Well, of the face-to-face time. I am going to miss not being in a classroom surrounded by all these great people. Proof that collaborative learning is so much fun. We do have a great group!

Not sure what to expect for the remainder of the time but I welcome it and am excited for it!

Comparing Standards: How Different Are They?

There is a lot of talk about standards today. It almost seems we add a new standard to incorporate every year. Why do we have so many standards and are they each unique or are most of them similar? To make the most of technology tools and try them before having my students use them, I used a venn diagram tool found on classtools.net, which also offers many other tools to explore.

On the left side of the venn diagram is the circle about NETS (National Educational Technology Standards). The right side of the venn diagram is the circle about CCSS (Common Core State Standards) specific to 11th-12th grade English Language Arts.

As I filled out the venn diagram, I quickly began to see that most of the big ideas and goals were shared between the two standards. And since the information in the circles noting the differences were getting smaller, I strayed away from the general big ideas and focused on the specifics.

Take a look!

As you can see, there are many big ideas and concepts that are shared between the two. I know that we, as educators, feel like there is a long list of different standards that we need to adhere by, but try looking at the similarities.

I am confident that you will find that there are quite a few crossovers and be able to breathe a little easier.

The most important things about standards and the thing I keep reminding myself is that while they are important, they are not what should drive education. Simply put, don’t create lesson plans based on the standards, but rather design your plans and the look back to see what standards you are incorporating and then brainstorm as to how you might be able to tweak and add in little things here and there to meet some other standards. I am always amazed to see how many standards after my initial draft of my lesson/unit plans.