My dear friend and colleague arrived to deliver a PD session for the day and turned just the right (or wrong) way and her shoe tore beyond repair. She had a few choices of how to handle it with her audience coming in, expectant and excited for their day of learning. This renegade of a coach clearly announced that today she would be Barefoot Coaching and invited them to join her. After all, it is still summer and we are most grounded with both feet planted firmly on the ground. Hers just happened to be a little closer that day. The audience cheered her on and the incredible day of learning continued. May your year be filled with moments of Barefoot Coaching, finding humor in the awkward moments and service in your heart as you strive to make a difference. Follow @EducoachMI on Twitter to follow my ISD Literacy Coach journey and join in the conversation.
With testing season upon us, and Spring Break behind us, I find myself reflecting again on my learning at MACUL. I have shared some of my favorite areas below. I "tweeted" much of my learning on Twitter @rebsyoung using #MACUL17.
Keynote-Sir Ken Robinson "Creative Schools"
My personal highlight, and that of many others, was being able to hear Sir Ken Robinson speak about the importance of thinking outside of the box to meet the needs of all learners. His keynote focused on the Creative Schools movement and he shared many ideas from his book Creative Schools: The Grassroots Revolution That's Transforming Education. If you haven't watched his TED talk on Changing Education Paradigms, or wish to view it again, please feel free to check it out.
Blended Learning: It's This, Not That
Michigan Virtual University (MVU) sent two of their Instructional Design & Blended Learning coaches to share their experiences of consulting with educators on effectively blending their instruction. Their focus was on moving blended learning from simply putting links and assignments in an online platform (website, Google Classroom, etc) to creating full collaboration and student engagement. bit.ly/blendthis
I spent some time exploring and supporting the Maker Space area hosted by many of my EdTech Integration peers. The Makerspace integrated STEAM, Media, NGSS, coding, problem-solving, design-thinking, writing; so many wonderful layers of awesomeness! Take a video tour from my friend Joe Rommel @jrommel here: https://www.periscope.tv/w/1vAGRgMzOrjJl
METS (MI EdTech Specialists) PLN
Our METS (Michigan EdTech Specialist) PLN held an annual meet-up. Our annual Winter METS VirtuRally was held in February. The agenda and sessions that were held can be found here. bit.ly/metsvirt17 Feedback showed that the 2nd annual METS VirtuRally was hugely successful and furthered the learning of over 70 educators across the state, many who don't have the time nor funds to travel in order to meet their professional development needs. It is Personalized PD at it's finest!
Visual Notetaking "Sketchnotes" with Matt Miller
Matt Miller, educator and author of "Ditch that Textbook," presented the concept of Visual Notetaking focusing on sketching, words and structure. He highlighted different tools to demonstrate the power of this technique and then we practiced. Visual notetaking is a wonderful way to integrate technology in a higher-level manner that is amazingly engaging for students. In my literacy mind, this applies directly to improving comprehension. Many of our students struggle with visualizing for comprehension and this sketchnote strategy could greatly improve that in an engaging way. I have modeled the literacy strategy of Think, Draw, Talk, Write this year in order to improve comprehension, and this technique fits in perfectly across all content areas. One of his samples from the Sir Ken Robinson keynote is below and his presentation can be found here. http://ditchthattextbook.com/sketch/
Keynote-Jane McGonigal "Think Like A Futurist"-Gamification
This session was so entertaining. I had not heard of Jane prior to MACUL but am definitely a fan now. She is a "gamer" girl if ever there was one. She is an American game designer and author who advocates the use of mobile and digital technology to channel positive attitudes and collaboration in a real world context. Her presentation has given me so much to think about, specifically on how gaming can impact the brain in a positive way, and that we as human were made to PLAY and explore our world. Her powerful TED Talk "Gaming can make a better world" from 2010 can be found here. https://www.ted.com/talks/jane_mcgonigal_gaming_can_make_a_better_world
It was an incredible, innovative and cutting-edge conference as always! The larger themes were MakerSpaces, Media & Library sciences, STEM, Gamification, moving from simply putting devices into classrooms to the upper levels of SAM-R technology integration to the Modification and Redefine levels. Modification and Redefining instructional delivery through tech integration are no longer cutting edge, but rather are becoming the mainstream. My personal follow-up was to update my Inspired Integration website (formerly Everything Edtech) to reflect the literacy integration strategies I have put into place this year, and add a Media K-5 page sharing all of our awesome Media teacher's websites. Media teachers were once again the "rockstars" of MACUL. I think our Media teachers would benefit a great deal in attending along with our STEM teachers. I look forward to seeing how BCPS continues to embrace these innovations as we strive to meet the needs of all learners!
I wanted to share some of my favorite "nuggets" and resources from the Michigan Reading Association (MRA) conference I recently attended. I always try to pick a focus area when I attend these things and this year it was all about Reader's Workshop; anything and everything I could absorb from the experts.
Staying Laser-Focused in a Tornado kind of world
Today we did something wonderful here at Washington! We opened our doors wide and invited friends and family to spend one hour reading with/to their Kindergarten child. Something so simple, yet so powerful! The turn out and feedback was incredibly positive. We listened and held it during the day. We made it about the children and we took complete advantage of our captive audience (pun intended) and taught them how to do a read aloud.
We made a commitment as a leadership team this year that we would focus first on Reading. And take the time do it well. In education, initiatives and changes comes at us so fast, often without warning, that it can be hard to catch our collective breath. But we support one another and sift through the debris and once again revisit our commitment. Reading Matters. Reading First. Always.
This staff is out of this world here. They service some of the lowest and roughest kiddos around, and yet, every day is a new day for hope, one more day to touch a life. One more day to make a difference. So we move forward, teaching reading, closing the gap, celebrating tiny baby steps and building bridges to success.
Something I have always embraced and have often facilitated in others.
But this time; this change, a change for ME has been difficult to navigate. I have moved from the "Hard" and am getting to the "Messy" part and look forward to the "Gorgeous" part, which I know will come.
Three weeks ago, due to budget cuts, my position as the District Technology Integration Support Specialist was eliminated. I was given the news the usual way, sitting across from the deliverer and focusing on keeping my composure. At the end of the conversation, I was told that "basically you don't have a job right now and we are working on finding a place for you." I was fine until I walked into my office and saw the face of my co-worker who had also been told of her change. It was then that I fell apart in front of those I love and trusted most. I always say "God will place me where I am needed most" but this time I needed to truly believe in it.
Folders in Gmail; Website Tour; Adding Google Drive files to Emails; NEW look to Google Drive
Creating a Folder in GMAIL:
Watch the following video to learn how to submit a Tech Support ticket, locate Curriculum & Technology resources, access the district calendar, locate Staff Services items, and contact the WebMaster for needed changes to the district site.
Easily Add Google Drive Files to an Email:
You can easily attach Google Drive Files to an email
NEW look to Google Drive (you turn it on when ready):
To experience an updated, more user-friendly version of Google Drive
The year is winding down, and with it a bit of time to reflect on the journey so far. It was just the change I needed to move from a building level Instructional Coach for six years, to a district level Instructional Specialist with a Technology focus.
Thank you for those who have taught me so much this year, supported me in trying something new, and keeping me on my toes. I can't wait until next fall!
Peace, Joy & Tech!
A year ago I attended MACUL(Michigan Association for Computer Users for Learning) for the first time. I had always been a die hard MRA (Michigan Reading Association) attendee. The second I arrived back in my district I tried to convince our Curriculum Director to create a Technology Coach position for the district and to just give me the job. He humored me with kindness.
Fast forward one year and I have moved from a longtime teacher and Curriculum Specialist to the newly created district Instructional Technology Support Specialist position. In the 8 short months since I started this role in August the learning curve has been beyond steep.
I took to Twitter immediately upon taking this job to stalk (follow) all EdTech gurus I could possibly find and learn from them as I stumbled my way through Tech Land. I was so very starstruck when I arrived at MACUL and saw so many of those Twitter folks in person, and even had a handful attend MY session. Me, a first time state level, total amateur presenter, just sharing my story and they DIDN'T EVEN LEAVE! Perhaps that was out of kindness and courtesy, but I don't care. It still counts!
I am still processing but here are some key points that keep rolling their way into my psyche:
Peace, Smiles & Tech
When I was a new teacher I heard the phrase "There is no I in team". Being the literal person I can be sometimes, I focused on the spelling and thought in my head "of course there isn't, that's silly". I have learned the lesson behind that saying over and over again through the years. As I have traveled through my educational career, I have transitioned from thinking I just needed to do it myself so it was done correctly, to learning that "Together Everyone Achieves More."
When a team forms, a new identity meshed of all personalities begins, a network of trust takes shape. A team can become a force that will move things forward despite the challenges that may arise. There is a dance that a team enters into, one of give and take, holding one another up, working towards an end goal that can not exist when someone tries to tackle and solve a situation alone. The team must trust that all members will bring their piece of the puzzle to the table to solve the challenges they are facing.
I have been blessed to work with many great teams, and observing and joining alongside amazing teams in action. I have also been able to create teams that have moved mountains and beat the odds. There really isn't a place for an I in TEAM if you do it right.
Rebecca S. Young
EDTECH 4 Everyone
- 1:1 Essentials
- Assistive Technology
- Blended Learning >
- Content Area Integration >
Google: Online Training
- Differentiating Instruction
- Gamification in ED
- iPads (21Things4iPads)
- MakerSpaces >
- Media K-5
- Microsoft Office 2013
- PBL: Project Based Learning
- Skyward Topics >
- Tech Integration Models >
- Web 2.0 Tools & Resources >
- Becca's BLOG