Tuesday, June 16, 2015

engagEDnwi 2015

For educators in northwest Indiana, the place to be today was Lowell High School, host site of Tri-Creek’s Summer of eLearning conference known as EngagEDnwi. Sessions focused on 1:1 experiences were popular, as were those introducing teachers to Twitter. Use their conference title as a hashtag to see what participants are sharing from the conference, or visit this Google Drive folder for links to presentation materials.

Steve Dembo, Director of Social Media and Online Community for Discovery Education, was the keynote speaker for day one. Dembo discussed how educators are incorporating Discovery video into the their classrooms in meaningful ways. In some cases it is as simple as wrapping some thought-provoking questions around the video they use. In another example, he used WeVideo to show how students could download a video and add their own narration. Dembo was also adamant that kids not only have the opportunity to create, but to also publish their work in a way that makes a contribution to a global, online community. He pointed out that schools are traditionally very bad at telling our stories digitally. There are amazing things going on in our classrooms every single day. Will you find a way to publish those moments in a way that parents and other educators can find them?

Lindsay Hudak, Instructional Specialist for the Tri-Creek School Corporation, presented some fantastic concepts to help educators build their practice with technology. She shared how professional development now happens daily through social media, and online book clubs. She encouraged teachers to incorporate real world learning to give students an authentic audience for their work. To respond to the big push to build and adapt literacy, she shared resources like NewsELA, which differentiates for reading level; Actively Learn, which allows you to collaborate with kids in a text; and ProfessorWord, which picks out SAT and ACT words on any website. Hudak also featured ExitTicket, her secret weapon for getting quick, easy and actionable assessment data.

Jim Lambert, Northwest Site Coordinator for the PATINS Project, brought lots of resources and ideas to participants in his session on supporting all students on an “eLearning” day. This is a timely topic as many Indiana schools have, or will be, utilizing virtual options when learning needs to happen outside of the classroom. Lambert shared many good tidbits of advice and specific applications that provide adaptations for students with special needs. Daiseyepub2 and Read:OutLoud are two that are free to all Indiana teachers and students. Get links to these and many others in Lambert’s presentation.

Teachers love “stuff” to use in their classrooms to engage students - free or donated stuff is the best! Kassie Hanger, Katie Taylor, Holly Carter, second grade teachers from Lowell, shared everything you need to know about how to use Donor’s Choose and IPEVO Wishpool to bring exciting resources into your classroom. A few tidbits from the presenters: Personalize your profile. Donors like to connect with people from their area that share their interests and passions. Also, start with a small grant request while you are learning to use these sites. Take advantage of special offers that are provided and share, share, share! Utilize social media and inform your parents, school foundations and community partners on how they can be part of your wish.

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