Moving at the Speed of Creativity By Wesley Fryer, Ph.D..+Add.Feed Info1000FOLLOWERS
Hands-on, BYOL (bring your own laptop) workshops with Wesley Fryer provide one of the best ways to not only gain a better understanding of technology integration possibilities, but also gain practical skills utilizing technology tools and strategies in the classroom.
Today was our February professional development day at school, and David Mochel (@ApplyAttention) was our presenter on”Mindful Self-Regulation – The Practice of Wellbeing & Lifelong Learning.” David’s TEDx talk from 2016, “What Are You Practicing Right Now?” is excellent and overlapped quite a bit with messages he shared with our faculty and staff this morning and afternoon.
What Are You Practicing Right Now? | Dave Mochel | TEDxPasadenaWomen - YouTube
Check out some of my takeaways from today’s PD workshop with David in the Twitter moment I’ve embedded below. These themes of wellness, self-regulation and well being are SO important, and I found the messages both valuable and helpful today.
This podcast features three different recordings from the 2018 Ohio Educational Technology Conference, which was held in Columbus, Ohio, February 12-14, 2018. The first is an interview with high school students who have learned how to create interactive games using Scratch software. They also have created DIY game controllers using the MakeyMakey and supplies like tin foil, cardboard, alligator clips, play dough, and bananas. The second interview is with high school senior Arthur Bodenschatz, who is part of the broadcast journalism team in North Canton City Schools, Ohio. Arthur and his classmates use an amazing “mobile storyteller” converted RV to conduct professional quality interviews at events like the Ohio educational technology conference. The third interview is Arthur’s interview of me at OETC, in which he asked me about my reasons for becoming a teacher and technology director, the pace of technological change in our society, and a few other topics. Two of these three recordings are also available as videos on YouTube and Vimeo, which are linked in the podcast shownotes. In addition to these three recordings, a few reflections on some additional highlights of OETC 2018 are included. These focus on Eric Curts’ (@ericcurts) 3 hour workshop “Write Right with Google Tools: Improving Writing in all Subjects,” Todd Beard’s (@teacherbeard) session on Minecraft for Education, and Apple Education’s workshop on updates to iOS 11. Please refer to the podcast shownotes for links to referenced resources, as well as a raft of Wes’ tweets from OETC 2018 sharing additional tips and links from sessions. (Since Storify is going offline and doesn’t support the creation of new Twitter archives, this blog post will hopefully serve that function to archive these learning takeaways.
super-helpful Google tool #googleEDU clarification from @ericcurts: "Google Add-Ons get installed INSIDE a specific Google Drive file/document. Google Extensions are installed and available within your Chrome browser for all docs / files" #OETC18
I like this language by @ericcurts, responding to a question about when we let students use powerful tools to assist in their writing… Similar to teaching problem solving AFTER learning multiplication, using a calculator:
"Now we're using the technology to step higher" #OETC18
Arthur Elementary School (@Arthurokcps) in Oklahoma City Public Schools (@okcps) is one of just 114 schools nationwide participating in Apple’s ConnectED program. Every teacher and student at Arthur Elementary has an iPad tablet computer. This is the third year of the project, and yesterday teachers, students and administrators hosted an open house at Arthur to showcase how iPads are becoming part of “normal classroom routines” to help students learn, grow, and become contributing members of our Oklahoma City community. Dr. Rhonda Schroeder (@rhondaschroeder) is the principal at Arthur Elementary, and her leadership as well as vision for learning is a key ingredient in the successful story of twenty-first century education which continues to unfold at Arthur.
#OklaEd If your schedule permits, RSVP to attend the @OKCPS Arthur Elementary ConnectED Grant Showcase this Thursday, Feb 15th from 12:30 – 3 pm! @rhondaschroeder and teachers at Arthur are in year 3 of their iPad 1:1 project & will share lessons learned! https://t.co/KhaCmNYpUO
After a brief welcome from Dr. Schroeder, all the visitors yesterday to Arthur Elementary were invited to explore the building and see student learning in action in different classrooms! Here are some of the highlights from my visit and observations.
Different Digital Ways to Show What Students Know
When I visited Mrs. Powell’s third grade classroom, students were presenting video projects they recently finished about the life cycle of plants. I watched three student presentations, and while each student had used the iMovie for iOS app to create their project, each student made their project in a different way to “show what they know.” I love this! Encouraging and supporting students to “show what they know with media” is a key ingredient of effective and ENGAGING digital learning. Using iMovie for iOS, each third grader explained the plant life cycle in a different way:
By creating a narrated slideshow
By recording “selfie-video” clips explaining the steps in the cycle, and following up each clip with a photo of that plant growth stage
After each student presented their project to the class, wirelessly mirroring their iPad screen to a classroom projector using an AppleTV, fellow students used Google Classroom to quickly access a teacher-created, online feedback form. They used that Google Form to provide feedback to each classmate via several multiple choice questions as well as an open answer feedback question. This is a technique I used back in 2011 teaching the “Technology for Teachers” course for undergraduates at the University of Central Oklahoma, and it was wonderful to see third graders in OKCPS using the same feedback strategy yesterday!
Hands-on Learning Was Everywhere
High quality learning experiences are not defined by access to technology, but rather by the high level of engagement shown by students. In line with this philosophy, I saw multiple classrooms of students and teachers at Arthur Elementary yesterday engaged in hands-on learning! First grade students were conducting experiments using colored water, plastic syringes and tubes, learning about air pressure and volume. Other students were making floam (foam and slime) in a classroom center, while other students at other centers were using the iPad app Toontastic to create and read their own animated cartoons.
Seesaw Learning Journals and QR Codes Making Student Digital Work Accessible
The engagement of students at Arthur Elementary in their learning with digital tools was not only visible in their classrooms, it was also visible everywhere in the hallways of the school! I loved seeing photos and QR code links to student projects using Seesaw. Seesaw is a platform for student learning journals, which we have been using at our school the past three years. I believe Seesaw is one of the most powerful digital tools available today for engaging parents, students and teachers in deeper conversations about learning both inside and outside the classroom. It was great to see Seesaw, as well as Google Classroom, in use by students and teachers at Arthur. It was also great to see QR code links to student project videos using Google Drive. I used the i-Nigma app on my iPad to scan some of these QR Codes. One of the student projects I watched was an iMovie trailer video about the history of the Comanche Tribe. Again, it warmed my heart to not only see how students are using images, video and text to create media-rich representations of their learning at Arthur Elementary, but also to see how these digital creations are being shared directly with parents (via Seesaw) as well as the school community walking the hallways of the school.
One of the very progressive uses of technology I saw and experienced at Arthur Elementary yesterday involved the use of Flipgrid. Arthur Elementary teachers and administrators created some Flipgrids in advance of the open house, and posted QR codes outside classrooms and in provided handouts to visitors. Visitors were invited to not only introduce themselves, but also provide specific feedback to the students and teachers whose classrooms they observed. This was great! This is a feedback strategy for educators in other schools to keep in mind and possibly copy for similar open house events.
More Oklahomans Need to Know About Learning Innovation at Arthur Elementary!
I was very inspired to spend time with the students and teachers at Arthur Elementary, and walked away wanting even more Oklahomans (as well as others outside our state) to know about the innovative as well as courageous learning happening within the walls of Arthur! Change is difficult, but it is clear from a brief visit to Arthur Elementary that the educators as well as students there are embracing the positive opportunities which digital tools can provide.
Thank you, Arthur teachers and students, for opening your classrooms to our wider community yesterday! You inspired and challenged us all to think about the ways we can stretch and grow to make classroom learning in 2018 even more engaging and meaningful for everyone!
Today at the 2018 Ohio Educational Technology Conference, I was interviewed following my breakout session by a the amazing student broadcast journalism team from North Canton City Schools, Ohio. After their interview of me, I turned the camera and microphone around (using my iPad) and documented a short tour of the AMAZING “Mobile Storyteller” production studio they have been using the past two years. Many thanks to Arthur B, who interviewed me and graciously allowed me to video him for this tour and interview.
The Mobile Storyteller student service learning project is a product of North Canton City Schools video – journalism programs and the NCtv educational television station. This project redirects students back into their community to find ways that effectively connect people through digital storytelling and archiving.
Check out the video! It’s 2 minutes and 11 seconds long. As a Storychaser since 2007, I found this student team and their resources for sharing digital stories remarkable!
The Mobile Storyteller of North Canton City Schools, Ohio - YouTube
As video surveillance, social media sharing of personal information, identity theft and publicized hacks of businesses have become daily norms, how can we best protect ourselves, our families and our organizations? Why is privacy an important right we need to defend instead of give up? What roles should teachers play in educating students, parents, and our communities about these issues?
Inspired by Ohio student interactive Scratch games - YouTube
Here are the links to the student Scratch channels described in this audio interview. The students are working on verifying their Scratch accounts via email so the projects can be publicly shared, so if you don’t see them now check back later as I suspect they’ll be active soon!
I also love how the interactive game coding these high school students are doing appeals to both girls and boys. This is SO important. Dr. Mitch Resnick (@mres), head of the Scratch Team (@scratch) at MIT, likes to say “Scratch is a programming environment with a low bar and a high ceiling.”
Among other things, for me this means students can experience “quick victories” with coding where they are able to see and share the results of their efforts pretty fast. Certainly it’s important for students to eventually be introduced to more complex coding languages and projects, but what a great way to start with interactive Scratch games!
I can’t wait to share some of these interactive games and MakeyMakey powered controllers with our Scratch Club students back in Oklahoma City!
Follow along with our Scratch Coding experiences this year and link to other Scratch resources I’ve shared in the past:
I’ve learned and am still learning some important lessons about HDMI cables as a school technology director. Unlike older VGA cables used with many classroom projectors in the past, HDMI cables can carry both video AND audio signals. VGA cables required the use of a separate (usally 1/8th inch) audio cable when playing videos or other multimedia with sound from a laptop computer or other computing device. The transition to HDMI-based classroom projection options is an ongoing journey for us at our school in our classrooms and meeting spaces. Here are a few of the lessons I’ve learned in the past year about HDMI connections.
Not all HDMI cables are created equal. We’ve had a couple HDMI cables in the past year just not work with newer classroom projectors we have ordered. (My preferred classroom projectors at this point, btw, are Casio “lamp free” LED models, which we’ve been able to purchase on Amazon for around $750 but also for as little as $530 each. If teachers want a TV instead of a projector, I’m a fan of Best Buy’s 55″ Insignia models since we can get them for about $320 each, but I suspect since prices are continuing to fall we’ll look for 65″ models down the road.) HDMI cables comply with different standards, ranging from 1.0 to 2.1, which was just finalized last month in November 2017. This comparison chart on the English WikiPedia page for HDMI cables is helpful to highlight the performance differences and capabilities. I have not attended to the HDMI cable specification ratings in the past as closely as I should have when ordering.
Ultra Premium HDMI High Speed (Forthcoming for 8K applications)
Sadly as I’ve been ordering HDMI cables in the past, I have not been aware of or attended to (as I should have) these HDMI cable category differences. HDMI.org has a helpful page, “Finding the Right Cable,” which elaborates on these HDMI product category characteristics and differences.
HDMI cables have distance limits which vary by their specification. HDMI extenders are available which can boost signal strength, but they can also degrade signal quality. Generally the recommendations I’ve read say you should limit HDMI connections to about 15 feet unless you boost the signal somehow. We haven’t done this in all cases at school, but we probably should according to “HDMI experts.”
A few weeks ago we connected two 65″ TVs on stands in our cafeteria with a DV camcorder connected to a HDMI splitter which duplicated the image on both TVs. We used the camcorder to provide a “live feed” of an elementary student choir performance for a packed audience of grandparents who didn’t all have a clear view of the stage from the back of the room. In getting this setup connected, I was both surprised and frustrated that a HDMI connection to a different camcorder did not work. I suspect (but was not able to confirm) that the video format, size, or HDMI specification being output by the camcorder did not match what our HDMI splitter could accept and use. Thankfully, we had a different HD camcorder which worked after being outfitted with a HDMI output adapter from Best Buy.
This evening for our winter orchestra concert, I connected one of our 65″ TVs on a rolling stand to that same HD camcorder which we put up in the sound booth, to provide a lobby-area overflow TV viewing option for people who could not fit into our auditorium. I tried using the same HDMI cable to connect the camcorder to the TV that I had used several weeks ago for our elementary choir performance “live feed,” but for some reason it wouldn’t work. I suspect it was because it was a 100′ HDMI cable, and that run was too long for the power of the HDMI signal from the camcorder. When I connected the same HDMI splitter box that I had used successfully with the same HD camcorder and TV, however, it still didn’t work. I ended up having to substitute a 25′ HDMI cable, and that worked directly between the camcorder and TV.
I’ve been relieved to get the HDMI camera feed to work for both of these events, but it’s NOT been an easy process to troubleshoot these connections. I need to learn more about HDMI cable differences and capabilities, and pay more attention (I’m guessing) to the required power and video format requirements of different devices before I order and/or connect HDMI cables.
I’ve learned all HDMI cables are NOT “created equal.” I’ve also learned it’s important to NOT assume a long run HDMI cable will “just work” the way you’d expect an ethernet cable run of 300 feet or less to always work reliably as long as the ends are crimped correctly. (Thankfully I don’t have to do ethernet cable crimping anymore. I used to dabble a bit in that, but no longer.)
What have you learned working with different kinds of HDMI cables in different situations? Do you have any insights or nuggets of wisdom to offer me? I very much want and need to learn more about this, even though I’ve had a steep learning curve the past few months with HDMI. If you have a comment or thought to share, please add it as a comment below on this post (the best option since others will also get to read/see our dialog) or reach out to me on Twitter @wfryer.