Oh summertime. Basking in the sun, putting my toes in the sand, water lapping at my feet. Well, that was just a dream this summer, but I did get to learn in some creative ways. Let me share them with you.
How many of us have great intentions to go out and read the 50 best books to read this summer? Well I couldn’t tackle 50 but I did read a few including, “Integrating Technology in the Classroom by Boni Hamilton that was just printed. Teacher’s First sponsored a book club that had members literally worldwide. We met on Google + for discussions, and participated in two Adobe Connect meetings with the author. It was great getting everyone’s perspectives, ideas and points of view.
I discovered many great communities on Google plus including Google Apps for Education, National Geographic, and Quotation Addicts. I learned about the new Google Cardboard and can’t wait to try it in my after school class. This has been a great way to follow information about teaching as well as expand my communities to Legos in Education and NOTATISTE. NOTATISTE was so much fun with us creating badges, hearing feedback from others there and constant tweeting.
This was my favorite new tool this summer and can be quite addicting. My eductech buddies like @TonyVincent and @Sarahdateecher made ISTE more real for me by videoing live action at the conference. It was so much fun when Tonry used a microphone to interview other Edurockstars and I was able to screenshot it. He also interviewed young women from Mexico that made an app called body chemistry which helps students play a game as well as learn elements at the same time. I was able to grab my coffee one morning, have dinner with a young lady on the train in Australia, see the sunset in Vietnam, take a taxi in Japan, see the sun shine in Scotland, go to a classroom in Brazil and walk on the shore of Florida. Even though I could not go, seeing it live was absolutely amazing and realizing you could connect anywhere in the world was eye-opening. Here is a further blog by Tony Vincent on Periscope. http://learninginhand.com/blog/periscope
I participated in many different webinars from differentiated reading to the newest tools in tech. I took classes from edweb.net, SimpleK12, and SWIVL’s summer learning. Many companies are offering weekly classes on anything imaginable. If you miss the live version, they are often recorded for you to go back and review. Just as we want students to participate in individualized blended learning, this became my way to expand and hone my skills, look at possible new instructional strategies and just hear new information. I learned I could take fantastic classes in everything from Powtoon to sketchnoting. Just like I want my kids to take chances I will be doing the same thing as I introduce sketchnoting. While I am terrible at drawing, each time I came across information they always mentioned it is not about being an artist. So I got a sketchbook and began my journey.
This has been my best go to tool over the past couple of years. With Twitter there is nothing I can not find out about. Google has changed how teachers become certified and Twitter was right out in front with blogs and list and recordings of the changes. There are always positive quotes and reflections to keep in mind as we gear up for the new school year. There was time to ask questions and reflect on my teaching practices and what else I might want to try. I was able to research #makerspace ideas and make a plan to include it in my reading instruction on Fridays.
While I wasn’t at the beach I still had exciting opportunities this summer. I was able to present at the Google Summit in Kansas City and see many great edurockstars. This took place at the Kansas City Library Downtown as well as Crossroads Academy. I got new ideas about classroom setup and furniture as well as new chrome extensions and apps to try.I also had the opportunity to interview with my local PBS as one of their Digital Innovators… It was great to reflect on my students’ work and how far they have come. Whether you have a month of summer left or just one more day, try one of these tools and see how it innovates your teaching.