Thursday, July 16, 2015


The 7th week of the Summer of eLearning wound up at Noblesville's iPadPaloozaIN! This first time 500+ attendee event, held at Noblesville High School, opened the learning with Ignite speeches featuring educators sharing ideas and passion for learning in the digital age. Ryan Bruick, Shelley Coover, Amy Everhart, Kristin Patrick, and Sarah Thomas ignited our thoughts on grades, formative assessments, Google apps and extensions, transforming with a camera and collaboration for professional growth. After this inspiring kickoff, attendees to the conference were presented with a wide selection of excellent sessions both as workshops and concurrents throughout the day.

Fifth grade teachers from each of Noblesville’s elementary schools came together to share experiences from their first year of 1:1 with iPads. This talented panel spoke to a room full of educators who indicated they are about to begin the same experience in their own schools. Their advice provided some valuable suggestions: Start small; begin by trying to incorporate just one activity with the device each day. Don’t try to be the expert; empower your students by letting them discover new tools on their own, or appoint an “App Captain” to become the expert for the class. They also shared some of the Apps they use most: Padlet, Notability, Explain Everything, Thinglink, Doc Scan HD, Book Creator, and myHomework.

As a District Technology Coach and Special Education Coordinator, Amy Everhart, from Liberty-Perry Schools is an expert at making accommodations with iPads. In her session, Everhart led participants through dozens of features embedded in the iPad’s settings window. With a little practice, students can depend on their iPad to define terms, read selected text, and take dictation. She also demonstrated Guided Access, which is a feature that can be used to block certain buttons and confine a student within an app for a predetermined amount of time.For details about these and other tips, check out Everhart’s online presentation.

Organization, time management and productivity - what tools can help with these challenges experienced by all educators and coaches? Shelley Coover, instructional coach for Noblesville Schools, took participants through valuable tools that can make all of our lives easier and more productive. Need to share a list with others over multiple devices? Wunderlist gets it done. What about organizing all our "stuff", that tool is Evernote. While most of us know about Chrome's extensions, are you aware of the Chrome "Black M"? An underground market of even more extensions. Coover makes the great point that tools are wonderful, but making those personal connections, and affirming the learning of those you work with are keys to successful learning. To connect with Shelley and get these tools and more, check out her presentation.

Jared Stein, Director of Knowledge Resources for Canvas, addressed student-centered learning and the power of connecting F2F during his Keynote. Canvas, a vendor partner of Noblesville, brought Stein to Indiana to share thoughts and ideas on how online technology can connect onsite and offsite learning and elimate "Lossy" which is the loss of the feedback loop between students and teachers. Stein utilized research and video examples to explore the idea of student centered learning. The twitter stream supported Stein's ideas that all students should have a say in their learning.

Noblesville Director of Learning Jennifer Wheat Townsend presented a session titled "Amping Up Instruction: Getting Learners to Think, Talk, and Connect to One Another Using Technology." She based much of her presentation on Heinemann's "Connecting Comprehension and Technology" and shared several powerful videos from the book. Jennifer shared many ideas for utilizing technology in the classroom including having students blog, utilizing a back channel program with students to share questions and answer those questions during a lesson or reading and using technology for monitoring and assessing. It was powerful to hear a student talk about the importance of connectedness in their work online. Jennifer ended her session by sharing the importance of being a connected teacher. Some ideas to get connected are collaborate with others, start with what you know, find a few powerful tools and use them, play with the technology, and reflect on what you've done and learned.

Noblesville teacher Jamie Weiss and media specialist Addie Matteson shared their experiences with coding in their session, "Get Kids Coding with Scratch and Scratch Jr." They started by saying that coding teaches students perseverance, problem-solving and critical thinking; it's an important form of literacy and prepares them for the future; and students should know that computers do not run on magic. They began using Scratch on desktop computers, then at the same time Jamie's students got iPads, Scratch Jr. for the iPad was released. Jamie shared some examples of her students' work, specifically their favorite scene from a book. After a brief tutorial, Addie and Jamie gave participants time to create a their own project. Everyone seemed to have a good time and experimenting and seemed to be excited to take Scratch back to their classrooms.

Join in all of the learning @ iPadpaloozaIN and look for Office of eLearning Team out on the road as we head toward end of this Summer of eLearning!  Will we see you at East Noble, Greater Clark, Lafayette, Warsaw, or Penn Harris Madison?

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