Monday, June 15, 2015

Empowering Students With Technology

MSD of Lawrence Township hosted their first Summer of eLearning conference at Lawrence North HS and encouraging participants to "Empower Students with Technology!" The morning Keynote, Alan November, international leader in education technology, kicked off his presentation with his take on the "shot heard round the world" beginning the American Revolution. As a former history teacher, November understands the need to engage students in the learning. The real learning moving forward is not in getting teachers to use technology but to redesign their teaching so that students have to engage in the learning, rather than just "Google" the answer. November said, “the real revolution is not about technology. It is about information.” He also stressed the importance of educators being familiar with Google search operators to help refine their research.

November shared that Harvard will contribute more to the information available online, as they publish CS50, their introductory course in computer science. This open course includes video, lecture notes, and massive resources - all available for free to anyone who wants to learn. He also highlighted a blog posted by six-year-olds, and a library of video lessons taught by middle school students. These are powerful examples of classrooms making their learning relevant by publishing to the world.

Teaching today requires joining in conversations outside of our own teachers' lounge. Casey Nidlinger IS a connected educator and shared many tools to help others join the collaborative conversations. Google Plus -a great space for building your PLN, Twitter- an amazing place for meeting and learning with others, and Voxer- a messaging walkie-talkie for teams. Check out Casey’s blog for more information on Voxer and Get all of Casey’s resources for the global teachers’ lounge in her shared presentation notes.

Joanna Ray, Director of Online Design and Learning, IU School of Education (IUPUI) framed her session with the question: What is technology’s role in our instructional practice? After some in-room discussion and Today’s Meet collaboration, Ray reminded us that the tools you choose to use says a lot about what you value in learning. Her presentation showcased a number of excellent tools for innovative blended learning including Zaption and Zoom. Connect with Joanna to learn more about blended learning

Kelly Britton, an English Teacher at Lawrence North High School, shared some practical ways that she has been able to go paperless in her teaching. Examples included how she sets up shared folders in Google Drive with each student so that she has access to all of the documents they create there. Britton demonstrated how she uses this access to open up their writing notebooks to conference with them in real time.

Kris McAloon, eLearning and Information Specialist in MSD of Lawrence Township, led a session titled “Four Steps to Integrate Google Apps for Education with Your LMS”. MSDLT utilizes Canvas and GAFE, so Kris’ goal in this presentation was to demonstrate how these two products can be used together. Kris gave three examples. He inserted a slideshow for students to view, he inserted a Google Doc for students to comment on (which required him to utilize an iFrame generator to create an embed code), and a form that he would use as a short assessment. He did all of these by embedding links to the Google Docs on his Canvas page which means that those files will update in Canvas whenever the Google Doc is updated.

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