Friday, November 1, 2013

LHRIC - TLI Tech Summit Notes

Today, I had the pleasure of attending Lhric's TLI Tech Summit. It was hosted on a rainy, gloomy day at the beautiful Edith Macy Conference Center. What a shame those that haven't been here before missed out on seeing some of it's beauty. The Conference Center is nestled in the middle of the woods. It is carved into a hillside. A lovely locale for learning.

Today's event may have lacked the usual beauty of nature, but it did not lack for the learning. It was so nice to see so many familiar, friendly faces. It was great to say hello to BOCES employees from projects past, technology colleagues we've known for years, a friend from college days that happens to be in the same field, and DEN friends Carlos Ramirez and Steve Dembo. Additionally several members of the technology department from my district were in attendance. The day provided a great opportunity to get together, compare notes, and reconnect.

There were several concurrent sessions. Various topics available for most people's needs. Here are a few notes from some of the sessions that I attended.

Session One:

The first session that I attended was provided by Dr. Frederick M. Hess. How did I not know about his blog, He presented interesting reminders that it isn't about the technology. It is about it's application. A great analogy used was if a class 60 years ago lamented that they didn't have a full class set of pens would they not still be accountable for good, solid, educational instruction. If that same class received the full set of pens, would that insure that learning would increase? Why do we allow others to claim we need more, more and more equipment and stuff. The stuff isn't exactly what helps the students. It's their proper use with the students to enact educational change.

It was suggested that we in education might want to return to an emphasis on Learning Science. Not Brain Science or Neuroscience. But Cognitive Science. Considering how people learn could help us assist students in achieving greater learning. Methods of bringing about Cognitive Learning:
  1. Working Memory and Long Term Memory
  2. Deliberate Practice and Expertise
  3. Motivation
  4. Tutoring

Also, with my vision abilities, I learn somethings that aren't necessarily intended. During Dr. Hess' presentation he incorporated graphics from and These will be worth investigating later.

Session Two:
The second session that I attended focused on wireless preparations for PARCC testing and other online assessments. Recently, NYSED decided to scale back it's implementation of PARCC testing. Hopefully this constant emphasis on high-stakes testing will fade with the falling leaves. But unfortunately, I think it is here to stay. District's need to be prepared. If not PARCC, you can only imagine that some form of standardized online assessment is the wave of the future. So as not to be wiped away by the Tidal-wave, district's should be increasing their network capabilities and infrastructure. For those seeking solutions this session provided an overview of the considerations for development. Thankfully our district has been considering these concepts for awhile now. And also, thankfully it is not my role to make decisions regarding this. My role is to support it's implementation once designed and installed.

Session Three:
The second session that I attended was provided by Christopher Craft. As Mr. Craft described the journey we have taken with search engines from Altavista and Dogpile to Google, I was reminded of the ridiculous ads for the Bing Challenge. Their media campaign was probably not designed to remind me that Google is the Gateway to the Land of Knowledge. But that was it's end result for me. As Mr. Craft discussed Google came along with so much to offer we haven't looked back. Hard to remember their was a BG (before Google era). Two time frames in history have carved our world considerably since the original BC. The new BC (Before Computer) and BG (Before Google). Glad I was born AD (After Digitization).

Another discussion that some of my colleagues and I had today involved the fact that we probably no longer qualify for Young Educator Network status at ISTE. Although, by far we aren't passed our prime, we are sadly now, past the young educator bracket.

Quick office was mentioned as an option for editing Word documents on an ipad. I have quick office on my phone. Didn't realize there was an Ipad app. I so prefer my droid environment then the ipad. However, I am trying to embrace the change and experience what my staff goes through when embarking on a new journey with a new technology tool. So I am grateful for something that might make my transition a little easier. Of course Google Drive was the first app I downloaded on the work ipad. I think that is most indicative of my mindset lol.

Someone earlier in the day had used the hashtag #showmethepractice. I love that this was quickly added to the presentation. Mr. Craft shared that he had been challenged and inspired by that statement. He readily accepted the challenge. Good for him, modeling life long learning and connected education.

Session 4:
The fourth session that I attended was provided by Steve DemboDiscovery Education. As always Steve was quite engaging. And he discussed engaging students in their learning. Steve has been a fan of gadgets. He presented several at a recent presentation and was asked to share a few with us today. So he breezed through

Toys like these are important because you are challenged to add value to the next player.

A few interesting thoughts from the presentation:
  • The world is changing. You will be famous for 15 people now. Not famous for 15 minutes.
  • Creating a positive digital footprint is becoming a new essential skill for students.
  • Educators need to consider how we are sharing the positive stories from our teaching experiences.
  • Let students tell the story of their learning journey in the classroom. Would the videos look the same when designed by others?
  • Taking something great and making it your own
  • Telling your story and sharing it
  • Aurasma is now licensing through Marvel AR

Session 5:
The fifth session that I attended was also provided by Christopher Craft.  Mr. Craft discussed the security provided to school district's that opt to sign on with Google Apps for Education. He conveyed anecdotal stories of his interactions with some Google representatives and how our data is stored redundantly. Even if someone could manage to connect to our data it would be 1s and 0s that would need to be converted. If data is created on a Google Apps for Education domain the district still maintains ownership.

Mr. Craft demonstrated Google Forms with a sense of humor. The first question asked us to choose our favorite presenter today. The possible answers were skewed in his favor to elicit a laugh. However, if you are cheeky enough to be that creative with your form questions, then I am cheeky enough to answer “someone else”. *waves, yes that was me, hehehe*

He clarified for those that needed to know that Google forms allows text questions, paragraph questions, multiple choice, checkboxes, choose from list, scale questions, date options, and time option questions. I did learn that Google forms will now allow Grid 2x2 questions.

After that he suggested that we go...Beyond the basics
Let’s level up… Get that mushroom (I need to remember to bring that gamification vocabulary into simple tasks as he modeled for us)

Some tools overviewed included:
  • Using Google forms for teacher obseration.
  • FormEmailer – (A script for Google Apps
  • gClassFolders - Can be run as school or teacher based on roster to create folders for classes –
  • gClassHub - (A script suite)
  • Autocrat (built into gClassHub) - (mail merges in Google Drive Script) –
  • Ask parents to input data through Google forms on Back to School night
  • Doctopus (document sharing script built into GclassHub) -
  • Have students keep running idea journals in class
  • Pagemeister (Script for Google Sites) -
  • Flubaroo (Script for grading Google Forms) - [but it will only grade multiple choise questions]
Session 6:
The final session that I attended was also provided by Steve Dembo,
The Epitome for kids… being the lineleader
Let's create a culture where moving forward is a positive.

School work may be the best view of work. It is created in conjunction with teachers. Why isn’t this searchable on Google? Many districts set policies of not sharing with the public.

His son is age 6… He and his wife need to decide if he may blog by himself vs blog through the adult. My how our world is changing! But this is their world now. We need to adapt.

Gretzky - “I skate to where the puck is going to be… not where it has been.”

Samples shown of:
  • Fake Amazon product page… you being the product ...write a public review of yourself
  • Create About Me pages to represent yourself to the public
  • Google Unhangout from MIT - one central session then splits you into small group conversation
  • Projects by Jen Wagner - Steve played one of her videos from the Oreo Challenge. It was interesting watching the audience root for the children involved. We do develop that personal connection through connected learning.

How do we create the culture that facilitates this? Unconference, Google Genius Hours, etc. I have had the benefit of experiencing the Unconference format. Google docs and Unconferences help create customized learning open to the collective conscious. "Please sir, may I have some more?"

As always it is a pleasure to witness Steve in action. I have had the joy of seeing him present (oh a time or two... hehehe). Watching others where this was their first exposure to the great Steve Dembo was enlightening.

Thank you Lhric for a great day of connecting and learning!