Tuesday, June 24, 2014

A Week of Learning Innovation: FLIPCON14, FUSE14 & ISTE2014

It was probably overly ambitious to plan on attending three conferences in seven days but that is exactly what I committed too this week! I am excited to tons of learning, meeting, making and curating resources for The Ellis School and our Learning Innovation Institute. 

Today I was at FLIPCON14, the national flipped learning conference held at Mars Area School District full of innovative educators breaking new ground using educational technology to create spaces for student centered and inquiry driven classrooms. I presented the preliminary results from the Active Classroom for Girls project to a robust crowd during session B today. Check out the presentation here.
Feedback was quite positive and many folks stayed around at the end to ask questions about the Active Classroom project, curricular approach and what our research showed. Many teachers in the room asked about teams and what the "right size" looks like in an Active Classroom. I talked about how Design Thinking and the Flipped Classroom approaches using tools from TechSmith, MS OneNote and even Google Glass - which we have been piloting as Explorers this year created a more active and engaged experience for our girls. Another blog post soon about the project and research results! 

FLIPCON14 was kicked off by Molly Schroeder and her talk focused on blue sky thinking and "living in beta." Molly challenged teachers to think about "what is in their educational graveyard - what is it that we need to release/let go in our schools and classrooms?" Also essential to strong digital learning is collaboration and the room for using digital technologies to connect our students with others. Molly asked us to consider learning innovation like space, eportfolios and competency based learning. She also shared some cool Google Mapping techniques to plot information from a Google Form. I then went to the Gamification session with Pittsburgh's (and my Alma Mater's) Dan Harrold as one of the speakers. When thinking about gamifiying your classroom remember elements of good games like:
  • setting clear expectations
  • scaffolding 
  • rewarding small success
  • decreasing the fear of failure
  • Courtesy of @mr_harrold 
  • encourage self direction
I loved how clear the gamification session spelled out elements of gamification as well like progress tracking (digital badges & leaderboards), choice and adding a storyline. I hated to leave FLIPCON14 early but had to head to a conference that hits my passion of Design Thinking and will miss the remaining day at the conference. I plan on catching up with my awesome Ellis colleagues Jack, Anne Marie, Liza & Erica to hear more about how tomorrow went! 

Excited to work with amazing educators this week
as a coach at #FUSE14! 
I am writing this post from the air right now on my way to FUSE14! I am so excited to meet many of my #dtk12chat tweeps in person this week! These people have been right there with me throughout this school year exploring design thinking and creating a DT mindset in our schools. FUSE is held at the awesome Mount Vernon Presbyterian School in Atlanta, GA. I will be helping Jenn Chan (@jenenzia) and Greg Bamford (@gregbamford) in the 201 advanced DT track as a coach. I am really looking forward to see what schools are trying to tackle and plan to tweet a lot and blog again in a few days about the experience.  DT has been a huge game changer for not only the teachers at my school but the students as well. It's helped shape our culture and I am thankful for the opportunity to share in learning with new and other DT'rs this week at FUSE14. This fall we are planning on hosting and curating a Design Thinking "unconference" for local teachers at Ellis using the LUMA Institute system and DEEPdt take-aways we learn at Mount Vernon this week at FUSE14. More news on the DT unconference soon. Right now we are targeting October and hope to have many regional schools and informal learning partners participating on a design challenge around remaking learning in and around Pittsburgh. 

I decided to stay in Atlanta for ISTE2014 and help run the MakerSpace and Agile Learning Playground and get to meet many of my EdTech tweeps in person as well. I am excited to also be an ISTE Conference Blogger! Stay tuned for my posts on the ISTE Connects Blog starting Saturday! 

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