Wednesday, April 18, 2018

Tuesday, October 3, 2017

Monday, March 28, 2016

The Wonder of Virtual Reality

We had a little WOW factor in media class last week. Google Expeditions Pioneer Program visited Jeffers Pond and Glendale Elementary Schools.  Students in grades 2-5 participated in a virtual reality experience unlike any other available to them - yet. Students were diving into the ocean learning about the life of an aquanaut, grasping for leaves in the Rain-forest and flying to outer space in search of Neil Armstrong's shadow on the moon.

The experience exceeded all of my expectations. The app, Google Expeditions, which will be available next fall, was very user friendly. There was both a teacher application and a student application.  The app on my teacher device allowed me to guide students through the virtual field trip on their 3D viewing devices (using Google Cardboard).  As the tour guide, there were guiding questions, points of interest, and notes about each destination available on my device.

I discovered the Google Expedition opportunity while scanning my favorite place for educational resources: Twitter.  Today I found this quote by Jeff Goldstein (@doctorjeff) on Twitter too: "A classroom is not a place, it's a frame of mind. It's anywhere a teacher patiently & artfully takes a student on a journey."  Google Expeditions is making that literal journey a little more tangible for our students and a little easier for our teachers. The figurative journey we want to take our kids on is always up to us as educators and the attitudes we share with one another. Thank you to all of the classroom teachers for your participation with the Expedition journey and for being so supportive. Thanks to those people that helped to make the day run smoothly too - My generous colleagues: Anne and Lia (@DauerAnne, @MediaLiaQuin), our fabulous Media Support: Denise and Val, student teacher Laura, Sara (@sara_plsas) and of course Dr. Warner (@warnerkrw) and Mr. Richardson (@SamRichardsonMN)! 

Thursday, January 21, 2016

FETC 2016

FETC 2016

Minnesota's bitter cold adds to the yearning to go to Orlando for a little professional development and hopefully a little sun. When I was accepted as a presenter at FETC (Future of Education Technology Conference and Expo ) I could not pass it up. My session was scheduled for the first night of the conference, during the opening reception. The opportunity to connect with colleagues was a highlight. A fellow Minnesotan, Mark, stopped by to say. Roger from Atomic Learning (a Minnesota based company) came by too. Jennifer stopped by as well. She was the first teacher our class "mystery skyped" with over a year ago.

When my presentation was finished it was onto the Polynesian resort to meet up with a few favorite people in my Twitter network. Thanks to Dr. Howie, we had a nice evening getting to know one another and visiting about our passions.  My Disney Class is a project Dr. Howie is deeply passionate about. He is part of the creative team that keeps the project alive. The website is full of innovative design, storytelling, and collaborative ideas for your classroom. Check it out!

FETC can be overwhelming for the first time attendee. I found out that it helps to do a little planning ahead of time. I had about four different topics for each hour I wanted to attend on Thursday. My priorities were to hear Kathy Schrock, Shannon Miller, and Nicole Feeney share ideas. Below is a brief outline of resources that were new to me. 

I have been following Kathy Schrock's work for about 20 years! I was excited to attend her "EdTech Hokey Pokey: Put Your Whole Self In" presentation. It is no surprise that there are many new technology tools that can aid student (and teacher) learning. A couple of the favorites Kathy referred to include the new Skype Translator (in Beta) and Mindwave available through Amazon, 

Shannon Miller's AASL Best Websites - 25 That Rock Each Year was resourceful. A list of this year's best websites can be found on the AASL website. I can't wait to try out Flipsnack and Meograph with our students. Another site Shannon referred to was Storyboardthat. I had begun using this site with my fourth graders before the conference. I know why it made the list of best websites, they love it! was a website referred to by Niole Feeney during her Tech Tools for Students With DYSLEXIA presentation. I can think of many uses of Chrome's Speak It and the speech selection tools she referred to as well.  Nicole mentioned The Prizmo app  to use with text.  The Start to Finish online accessible library (which houses leveled fiction and nonfiction books) is a tool I need to check out soon. 

Another highlight was listening to Reshma Saujani, Founder & CEO of Girlswhocode work to inspire and equip girls with coding skills to pursue 21st century opportunities. Listening to Ms. Saujani reaffirmed my passion for trying to spark an interest in coding, robotics, and technology in my students!

I enjoyed my time at FETC! I came back with resources to use with my students, fostered my PLN connections, and expanded my thinking about technology.