Friday, July 24, 2015

C4 IGNITE

The Summer of eLearning headed South and made its way to Jeffersonville High School for the Clark County Connected Conference C4IGNITE! In its third year, C4IGNITE host Greater Clark Community Schools partnered with Clarksville Community Schools and an impressive group of Sponsors to bring outstanding speakers, sessions, resources and innovative ideas to the over 850 registered attendees. As with all summer conferences, you can follow the learning through Twitter, #ClarkCountyCC and #INelearn, but at C4IGNITE you can also follow a live stream. The morning opener was kicked off with video testimonies from students sharing what they want their teachers to know. Tears, smiles, and reflection from the audience. What an excellent reminder that our students have hopes for learning...and are we listening?

Keynote Speaker, Dean Shareski, former teacher and Digital Learning Consultant with Prairie South Ideas and Thoughts. Opening C4IGITE, Shareski challenged, informed, and inspired the audience to consider What Happened to Joy? How do we increase moments of real engagement in our classrooms?  He shared 4 ideas for planning and designing for joy. 1- Find your unfair advantage. What do you do that no one else does? What makes you an interesting adult? Teaching is inherently a job about relationships-share yourself.  2- Be aware of wonder. We don't have to have the answer for everything, sometimes its good to think and reflect about things. As teachers, model wonder and life- long learning by being a "Meddler in the Middle." Show students you are in the learning with them. 3-Do we incorporate play in the learning? Can we think of play as research? How are you fostering an attitude of play with your students? And finally, 4) Just do it. Take the risk. Don't Postpone Joy.
School Division in Moose Jaw, SK, Canada, now works as the Community Manager for Discovery Education Canada. He shares much of his ideas and thinking in his blog,

C4IGNITE offered hundreds of sessions throughout the day! Allison Schalk welcomed a good blend of teachers and administrators to her session Service Learning is Learning! Schalk took the group through the planning and implementation of a student created, developed, and implemented service learning project, "Lanesville Life Fest"-a festival to raise money and awareness about cancer.  Students have a deep interest for making a difference, so bringing service into the classroom engages them and adds relevance to content. Writing, speaking, research, content knowledge, digital citizenship, persuasion, problem-solving, and collaboration are skills that are key to a successful project.  To get students focused on what project they might want to tackle, pose the question, "What breaks your heart?" Frame their thoughts on things that are important in their own school and community.  Find resources for getting started like Belk's Service Learning Challenge by connecting with Schalk. 

 Alicia McAfee and Janelle Lewis to learn how to manage and relieve stress- something all educators and administrators experience daily in their work.
Attendees squeezed in a crowded room to join
While stress is a normal response- managing it is key to positive health.  We tend to look to things that are occurring to us, like deadlines, etc...but the root of the stress can be our actions toward those things. Procrastination, disorganization, negative self-talk,  expectations/perfectionism, chronic worry, and over scheduling are all root causes of bad stress. After identifying the roots of stress, everyone took a "stress-break" with a few minutes of the Macarena. Students many times need a break where they can release some stress- short songs or dance breaks can really help them to refocus. The group explored ways to defuse stress and then took a meditation break- which has been proven to not only relieve stress, but to improve learning focus with students.  Connect with Alicia and Janelle for more ways to manage stress. 

 Dr. Robert Dillon, Director of Technology and Innovation for the Afton school district in Missouri
facilitated an excellent discussion around change leadership. Dillon pointed out the idea of "starting slow and moving ahead steadily" is not good. Change doesn't work that way. If you are going to move ahead and impact students now, you need leadership willing to lead change today.  To make sure we were really considering what students need and want from their learning, Dillon invited
 two high school students to the discussion.  They shared their ways of interacting digitally- Tumblr seems to be the app currently. The students also said that the most memorable learning experiences they have had offered them time to work and complete, had an element of fun, that the pressure to get an A was not the goal, and that it was real and relevant to life.  Beyond this wonderful student exchange Dillon offered ways to bring about change and the importance of getting to yes! Check out his book, Leading Connect Classrooms, for more from Dr. Dillon. 

An exciting part of the day at C4IGNITE is the Boice Innovative Teacher Award presented by 
Boice.net.  They reward innovation by honoring educators with a monetary prize and recognition. Learn more about this year's honorees: Jill Sceifers, Allison Schalk, Roxanne Koopman, and Chantell Manahan in their nomination videos.

It was great day in Jeffersonville as everyone had an amazing day of learning. Stay tuned next week as the Summer of eLearning winds down at Warsaw, Lafayette, and Penn Harris Madison.  We will be there, will you? 


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