I had the privilege of acting as a school representative for the Thinkfinity in an interview with Rose Stuckey-Kirk, the President of the Verizon Foundation, on the Lifetime show "The Balancing Act". I was able to highlight a few of the many reasons we find Thinkfinity to be such a valuable resource at our school, especially for our teachers.

 

You can view the video here .

kallen

Technology Summit Part 2

Posted by kallen May 20, 2011

This is a duplicate post to include the second series of attachments.

 

We held a Technology Summit for area independent and private schools on May 13, 2011. The Summit included two sets of workshops and a panel discussion.

 

 

The panel was titled "Technology in Our Schools: Is the Tail Wagging the Dog?" . It featured:

Andy Berndt, Google, Vice-President of the Creative Lab
Al Browne, Verizon Foundation, Vice-President, Education and Technology of the Verizon Foundation and National Director of Thinkfinity
Dave Clune, Educational Records Bureau, President
Miguel Brito, St. Philip’s Academy, Head of School

and was moderated by Elisa M. Basnight, Esq., BIR & Founder of Girls Action Network, Inc


 

You can view a recording of the panel here.

 

 

The Workshops were split into two series. The first series was intended to provide guidance about building 21st Century Skills in the context of everyday classes. This included:

  • Developing Collaboration and Conflict Resolution Skills
  • Creating Socially Responsible Global Citizens
  • Encouraging Media Literacy through Content Development

 

The second series was about how to use technology in the classroom. This included:

  • Plotting a Technology Scope and Sequence for Early Education
  • Bring the Classroom Home by Creating a "No Excuse" Culture and Supporting Parents through Communication
  • Use Thinkfinity for Free Online Resources and Professional Development

 

With the exception of the Thinkfinity Workshop which was led by the trainer, Theresa Gibbon, all of our workshops were led by our faculty. The PowerPoints for the first series of workshops are attached to the preceding post. The second series of workshops are attached to this post. The Technology Scope and Sequence Workshop also included a template to help teachers craft their own Scope and Sequence and that is also attached.

 

I hope these materials are the start of an on-going collaboration and conversation with any interested technology integration specialists. Please leave a comment or question if it brings up any thoughts or ideas.

We held a Technology Summit for area independent and private schools on May 13, 2011. The Summit included two sets of workshops and a panel discussion.

 

The panel was titled "Technology in Our Schools: Is the Tail Wagging the Dog?" . It featured:

Andy Berndt, Google, Vice-President of the Creative Lab
Al Browne, Verizon Foundation, Vice-President, Education and Technology of the Verizon Foundation and National Director of Thinkfinity
Dave Clune, Educational Records Bureau, President
Miguel Brito, St. Philip’s Academy, Head of School

and was moderated by Elisa M. Basnight, Esq., BIR & Founder of Girls Action Network, Inc

 

You can view a recording of the panel here.

 

 

The Workshops were split into two series. The first series was intended to provide guidance about building 21st Century Skills in the context of everyday classes. This included:

  • Developing Collaboration and Conflict Resolution Skills
  • Creating Socially Responsible Global Citizens
  • Encouraging Media Literacy through Content Development

 

The second series was about how to use technology in the classroom. This included:

  • Plotting a Technology Scope and Sequence for Early Education
  • Bring the Classroom Home by Creating a "No Excuse" Culture and Supporting Parents through Communication
  • Use Thinkfinity for Free Online Resources and Professional Development

 

With the exception of the Thinkfinity Workshop which was led by the trainer, Theresa Gibbon, all of our workshops were led by our faculty. The PowerPoints for the first series of workshops are attached to this post. THe second series of workshops will be attached to the next post. The Technology Scope and Sequence Workshop also included a template to help teachers craft their own Scope and Sequence and that is also attached.

 

I hope these materials are the start of an on-going collaboration and conversation with any interested technology integration specialists. Please leave a comment or question if it brings up any thoughts or ideas.

As our school continues to embrace technology I want to make sure that parents feel included and involved. We might move at a different pace then our parent community and I don't want them to feel isolated from the work their children are doing in the classroom. One of the steps I've taken to include our parents was to host a 21st Century Workshop. I hosted the same workshop at multiple times in a two week period to make it as easy as possible for our parents to attend.

 

My goals were to:

  • Introduce the technology their children were using
  • Explain why that technology will enhance the effectiveness of class instruction
  • Let the parents see the technology in action to ease any fears that glitches would detract from instructional time
  • Troubleshoot any problems they might have with the online communications

 

I found that the parents could be divided into 3 groups:

  • No knowledge of technology and interested in how things worked and what they could/should do at home
  • Aware of the technology their kids are using and felt strongly technology integration was important to keep things relevant for our students, very interested in celllphone integration
  • Advanced understanding of technology in the business world, interested in why we chose to invest in the areas we have as opposed to other purchases

 

Overall it was a fantastic experience and I learned as much as I think the parents did. My hope is to host similar events throughout the year next year, tailored for each type of technology parent.

 

I've attached the PPT I used for the session with extra notes layered in for some context.

kallen

Cross-Grade Collaboration

Posted by kallen May 18, 2011

IMAG0584.jpg

As the school year draws to a close, I'm starting to outline how we can push our 21st Century Skill-building even further next year. We've focused on collaboration as a key skill within all our grades. However the more we talk about collaboration, the more I hear back from people how critical that skill is going to be in the future workforce. I'm committed that we will develop our students to be model collaborators, even in the more challenging circumstances.

 

One way we'll approach this is by identifying opportunities for our students to collaborate with others that are not of their peer group. I think finding opportunities for students different grades to collaborate with each other will help us create teachable moments around communication challenges and creating a final product when different specialists are working in a separate time and place.

 

Our 5th and 3rd grade teachers are in the process of organically piloting that model in preparation for our annual Science Spectacular Week. The third graders are performing a science-themed musical (which is incredibly exciting in it's own right!) and our 5th graders are building their set. The 3rd graders submitted a design, the 5th graders sketched out their ideas, which the 3rd graders then reviewed, and the 5th graders are now building!

 

In the future I think we can push this process farther by scaffolding the iterations and modes of communication between the two grades and encouraging them to self-reflect at each phase of the process. For example, the third graders can verbally communicate their ideas and the 5th graders can respond in writing. Then the 3rd graders will reflect on how close the 5th grade response was to their initial ideas. The 3rd graders can then respond in writing and the 5th graders can identify how close the two written pieces were, what areas they think they can improve on and what ideas they missed the first time. Then the 5th graders could respond with a sketch and present it to the 3rd graders (using screensharing software) and answer questions. The 5th graders could then have the 3rd graders "sign-off" on a final design and host a 3rd grade visit half-way through the building process. By the end each class will have experienced how modes of communication impact collaboration and how different ideas at different stages can make a project better.

 

I hope to host a school-wide curriculum overview during our June professional development to identify other opportunities in which grades can collaborate on projects throughout the school year. I think working in this way will be exciting for our students, help make some assignments feel more relevant and enhance their understanding of the importance of clear communication for effective collaboration.