Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Catch the Wave 2015

On hand to welcome teachers, State Superintendent and Lafayette Jefferson High School alumni, Glenda Ritz opened the Catch the Wave of eLearning conference to a standing ovation of over 600 educators from around 40 school districts. Ritz brought educators up to date on assessments (more local control and decisions), accountability (working on new guidelines and a possible pause), pre-K standards, pathways for all students, and the essential role of technology in creating successful learners. She thanked all attendees for taking time to learn together. In two weeks, Superintendent Ritz will be inducted into the Lafayette Jeff Hall of Fame. Connect with the IDOE and get more information from Superintendent Ritz with the new app INschool

The Summer of eLearning once again welcomed Kevin Honeycutt to inspire, challenge, and inform his Keynote audience. If you EVER have the chance to hear Kevin in person-Do!! From how the brain works to how all educators touch lives- Kevin engaged his audience with great stories and information. One message that Kevin stressed is that educators need to tell their own story and the stories of their students. If not, others will. Follow Kevin and you will find yourself connected to a huge network of outstanding learners all over the world.

Time, location, and lack of funding are no reason that today’s students can’t visit and learn from people and places all over the world! Virtual field trips can bring those experiences to our classroom. Christy Diehl, teacher and instructional coach at Lafayette Jeff High School, took the diverse group of educators through the why, what and how of bringing this opportunity to your classroom. There are 4 main types of field trips: fact finding trips, aimed at exploration of one topic; cultural explorations, learning about others around the work; concept application, theory to real-world practice; and primary source tours, providing first-hand knowledge on a topic. And don’t just do a field trip to be doing a field trip. Follow the 4 P’s: Purpose, Provocation, Path, and Pre-Requisites. Diehl took the participants on virtual trips during session. Two that got ‘oohs’ and ‘aahs’ were Scholastic’s Interactive Ellis Island Experience and the app Sphere. Get more resources in Diehl’s presentation.

Kyle Kline, tech coach/math coach at Delphi Community High School, led a packed room through his session, “4 Ways to Create an Interactive Math Classroom.” The first tool Kline shared was Padlet, an online corkboard which you can use to post text, images, links or videos or upload images or PDFs. Try using this when you’re absent to give your kids problems to work on and they can ask questions or, better yet, answer each other’s questions. Desmos is an online interactive graphing utility. Create a graph then share via email or embed into another application. Insert an image and use sliders to make changes to the graph to represent the image and have a discussion about why the changes occur. Kline also shared Exit Ticket, an online assessment tool. Students work through problems and the students and teachers receive immediate feedback. Use this as a bell ringer activity while you’re taking attendance and know whether or not your students understand the previous day’s lesson and homework assignment immediately. Formative allows you to upload a PDF worksheet and insert answer boxes. Try this as you’re working toward a paperless classroom. Students and teachers will receive immediate feedback as students work through problems.

Joe Willmann, Director of Technology and eLearning for the Lafayette Catholic School System, led a hands-on session on the fundamentals of getting your instructional videos online. Willmann made the prediction that the new wave of eLearning days is only likely to grow, which means it is important that we fill our virtual learning with high quality content. Strong instructional videos are a powerful tool teachers can use to accomplish that goal. For capturing and editing video, Willmann pointed toward software tools like TechSmith’s Snagit and Camtasia, Educreations, or Telestream ScreenFlow. On the hardware side he demonstrated the Swivl for classroom recording via iPad/iPhone, and a Blue Snowball Mic for crystal clear audio. For publishing, Willmann encouraged participants to make the case in their districts to unblock YouTube for hosting this dynamic content.

Tune it to #elwave15 and #INeLearn for more great learning from this fantastic event!

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