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What is Computational Thinking (CT)?

Mitch Resnick and Jeanette M. Wing are the two main people who best describe Computational Thinking (CT).

Mitch Resnick, Director of the Lifelong Kindergarten group at the MIT Media Lab and creator of Scratch published this paper with Karen Brennan in 2012.  Computational thinking has three main parts: Concepts, Practices, and Perspectives.

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  • Concepts are the actual computer science ideas.
  • Practices are the ways of thinking and problem solving.
  • Perspectives are beliefs about oneself and having a mindset that is open to being a computer scientist and/or thinking like a computer scientist.

Jeanette M. Wing, head of Computer Science at Carnegie Mellon University, explains Computational Thinking in a 2006 article

Here are Wing’s everyday examples of people using computational thinking:

When your daughter goes to school in the morning, she puts in her backpack the things she needs for the day; that’s prefetching and caching.

When your son loses his mittens, you suggest he retrace his steps; that’s back- tracking.

At what point do you stop renting skis and buy yourself a pair?; that’s online algorithms.

How do Completely Automated Public Turing Test(s) to Tell Computers and Humans Apart, or CAPTCHAs, authenticate humans?; that’s exploiting the difficulty of solving hard AI problems to foil computing agents.

Prefetching and caching, back-tracking, algorithms, and solving AI problems are all computer science concepts. All this takes place in your daily life.

Wing suggests that computational thinking is not just about programming computers but thinking like a computer scientist. A computer scientist is a creative human problem solver that thinks with computers, not a boring human who tries to think like a computer, says Wing.

Who is Teaching Computational Thinking?

As coding and computational thinking have been written into curricula around the world, we are seeing people working to understand what it means.  Here is a collection of sites and projects of people making sense of CT.

Coding and CT in the United Kingdom

Computing At School Barefoot (aka CAS Barefoot) is an project in England designed to support primary school teachers to understand and teach computational thinking. Here is how they define and explain CT.

What does it look like in UK schools?

Marc is a teacher and Apple Distinguished Educator in the UK has been integrating coding into his early years curriculum for several years. Here are some examples of the activities he has been doing:

Unplugged Activities February 2, 2015

Programming Apps for Early Years July 13, 2013

He also has a book Enabling Environments: A Computing Curriculum Beginning in Early Years

And, here is a blog post if you are looking for apps for teaching coding from a teacher in the UK.

Coding and CT in the United States

33 states allow students to count computer science courses toward high school graduation.

Code.Org

Google is conducting research in the area of computer science education in the US.

Google has also put together a course on Computational Thinking for Educators.

ISTE has compiled many resources to support educators and parents in understanding CT.

Coding and CT in British Columbia, Canada

British Columbia has recently launched a new curriculum that explicitly includes coding and computational thinking. Coding and CT are found within the new Applied Design, Skills and Technologies (ADST) curriculum, last updated June 27, 2016.

Here are K-3 Coding Resources compiled by Karen Lirenman.

Questions I have about Coding and Computational Thinking:

  1. Is it a requirement to teach coding in order to teach Computational Thinking?
  2. In Ontario, should we be teaching computational thinking and coding even if it is not in the curriculum?
  3. If we decide to teach coding and CT in Ontario, do we have to cut back on something else? If so, what are we cutting back on?
  4. Many subjects have habits of mind that we are trying to develop in students. In math we want to develop powerful math thinkers, in social studies we want critical thinkers, in language we want to be able to express ideas in sensitive and culturally responsive ways. How does focusing on CT help or hinder these existing habits of mind and ways of thinking that we are already trying to emphasize the in the existing curriculum?
  5. Computational thinking and algorithmic thinking are all about logic and being highly systematic. Dr. Donna Kotsopoulos has asked whether this is counter to what we have been saying about divergent and creative thinking relating to 21st Century skills. Does computational thinking run in opposition to 21st Century learning ideals? In what ways does computational thinking compliment or detract from the 6Cs: character, citizenship, communication, critical thinking, collaboration, and creativity?
  6. How often do we lead coding activities that teach coding concepts like sequencing and debugging but do not go deeper into thinking and beliefs?  How do we go beyond the pure computer science concepts and into deep thinking?

You should run a Google CS First Coding Club for kids. It’s easier than you think.  Here’s what I learned from running a club at Stoney Creek Public School.

First, listen to what my students had to say about the club:

What is Google CS First?

CS stands for Computer Science. Google CS First is a computer science club that is run through Google with everything you need. Google has created a portal that you and students will log into that keeps everything organized and holds all the content. There are 9 different themes like storytelling, animation, fashion and sports. Each club takes about 10 hours. Students will code using Scratch.

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Here is a video to welcome you to Google CS First. Click on the image below:

welcome-cs-first-video

How to get started?

Go to Google CS First and sign in or click on “Start a Club Now.”  Click on the “Start a New Club” button and follow the prompts. It takes 5 minutes and you will:

  • Pick a theme
  • Create a schedule
  • Order materials (US only) or print materials
  • Bonus: Find a Guru which is someone who will help you during the sessions. I was lucky to get a parent from my community who is a developer for IBM.

Promote your club by putting up posters that are provided once you have picked your theme. Consider having an information meeting where you can show the slides below. Be sure to personalize and edit the slides before the meeting. Click on the image to see the Google Slides:

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Tip: Be sure to think carefully about the schedule. Do not just put in random dates.  This is because the activities are linked to the dates. When students login, they will get the activity assigned for that date. So if your first club meets on Monday, December 12th and if you correctly entered December 12th in the schedule then students will login and get the Day 1 activities. If you get these wrong, kids will be looking at the wrong activities.

What does a typical club meeting look like?

My club ran for 8 weeks on Tuesdays and Thursdays after school for 20 students in grades 4-8. We met from 3:30-4:45pm. Students came to the library and logged into a Chromebook or desktop computer with the Google CS First username and password provided by the club (these are generated automatically and can be reused if kids join another club).  Once all the coders had arrived, here is what the day looked like:

  1. Showcase Selector: Two activities get randomly selected at the end of the last club meeting. We start each time with looking at two students’ Scratch projects.
  2. Self-Paced Learning: Students then work at their own pace watching videos and working in Scratch.  The leader and guru (the adults running the club) circulate to help students.
  3. Wrap Up Video: We would end the club by collectively watching the Wrap Up video. Every day has a video that recaps the key computer science concepts and relates those concepts to the real world and real people’s jobs.  We would watch these as a group, though you could have kids watch on their own too.
  4. Showcase Selector: The last task is to do the Showcase Selector to pick two projects to kick off the next club meeting.

3 Tips for Running a Successful Coding Club:

1) Manage Student Expectations

Many students came to club expectations that they would learn how to make an app or become hackers. One of my club members was on HackerTyper.com instead of working through the activities.20538425773_0524d1514f_o It is important to set reasonable expectations so students aren’t disappointed that they aren’t taking over the Internet by the end of the first club meeting. Explain the goals and what computer science concepts will be taught up front.

2) Get a Guru or it’s all you!

Get a Guru! Having another adult there was so helpful. Having another adult with a background in computer science was tremendous. The students were able to get a lot more out of the club because Mr. Rozon was able to explain what they were doing and why it was important.

If you can’t get someone to help who has experience in coding, make sure to do all the activities ahead of time.

3) Emphasize Collaboration

One thing I did not like about the Google CS First Coding club was that it felt a lot like I was supervising some sort of call centre. I looked out over a library full of students all wearing headsets and plugged into computers. It was quiet and students largely worked alone. Next time, I want to emphasize more collaboration and team work.  I want to force everyone to stop every 10 minutes and talk to the person next to them. I want to have more time to share more projects and get students to give each other feedback.

How to give feedback on Scratch projects?

Helping students improve their code can be tricky.  They can make their projects more complex by using more sprites and fewer more powerful blocks, but even this advice doesn’t always work.

Check out Dr. Scratch. This is a website that analyzes projects.  You enter in the URL associated with the Scratch project and paste it into Dr. Scratch.  Dr. Scratch provides feedback on the program, like this:

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**Updated January 4 2017 with information about artsy.net and seeing more Miro art.**

This blog post includes a 5 minute video, a lesson plan and examples of student that show integration of visual art curriculum and Computational Thinking in my grade 3 classroom.

Thank you to Bea Leiderman, Carolyn Skibba, Douglas Kian and my experience at the Apple Institute in Berlin for this idea.  Using Keynote and Kandinsky is Bea’s idea. It’s brilliant. Bea, Carolyn and I went to the Bauhaus Archive in Berlin where we saw Kandinsky’s work. We also had in depth workshops on Keynote. The combination of these experiences at the Apple Institute in Berlin lead to this idea and a project. Bea, Douglas and I are currently working on a project where we are investigating how these ideas of art, coding, and Computational Thinking might fit together. This is the early stage of this team project.

This video gives an overview of the lesson and a chance to peak inside my grade 3 classroom:

Visual Arts Expectations

These are the expectations from the Ontario Arts Curriculum that apply to this lesson:

Elements of Design:

• line: variety of line (e.g., thick, thin, dotted)

• shape and form: composite shapes; symmetrical and asymmetrical shapes and forms in both the human-made environment and the natural world

Principles of Design:

• variety: slight variations on a major theme; strong contrasts (e.g., use of different lines, shapes, values, and colours to create interest)

Creating and Presenting:

D1.1 create two- and three-dimensional works of art that express personal feelings and ideas inspired by the environment or that have the community as their subject

D1.2 demonstrate an understanding of compo – sition, using principles of design to create narrative art works or art works on a theme or topic

D1.4 use a variety of materials, tools, and techniques to respond to design challenges

Reflecting Responding and Analysing:

D2.2 explain how elements and principles of design are used to communicate meaning or understanding in their own and others’ art work

Exploring Forms and Cultural Contexts:

D3.2 demonstrate an awareness of a variety of works of art and artistic traditions from diverse communities, times, and places

Computational Thinking Goals

Karen Brennan and Mitch Resnick published a paper in 2012 describing a framework for teaching and assessing Computational Thinking (CT). I learned about this paper from a presentation by Julie Mueller at a CT event for teachers in August 2016.  Based on this framework, these are the CT goals of this lesson:

Coding Concepts (actual computer science concepts): Sequencing and Debugging.

Practices (thinking habits): Being incremental and iterative, testing and debugging, reusing and remixing.

Perspective (beliefs about self): Using technology to express oneself.

Materials:

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Source: Wassily Kandinsky [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

the-smile-of-the-flamboyant-wings

Source: The Smile of the Flamboyant Wings, 1953 by Joan Miro

For more information on Joan Miro, check out this artsy.net site here. Thank you Louise L. for letting me know about this site.The page I have linked “provides visitors with Miró’s bio, over 400 of his works, exclusive articles, and up-to-date Miró exhibition listings. The page also includes related artists and categories, allowing viewers to discover art beyond our Miró page.”  The rest of artsy.net is very much worth looking at also.

Teacher Prior Knowledge/Experience:

Student Prior Knowledge/Experience:

  • Time to play with Keynote

Lesson Part 1:

Bell-work and Minds On:

As students enter the classroom, give them the option of taking either a Miro or Kandinsky colouring sheet. While the students settle and the teacher takes attendance, students colour the colouring sheets anyway they like.

Introducing the Project and Meeting Miro and Kandinsky:

Introduce the project by showing an example. This was created by Bea:

Next, show examples of Kandinsky and Miro works. Ideally show the same art work as the colouring pages and several more.

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Explain how the art is abstract. Show how the example has movement that happens with just a single click.

Go over the success criteria:

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Teach Art Concepts:

Have students compare their colouring pages to the actual artists’ works. Notice the main differences. Miro uses curved lines and primary colours whereas Kandinsky uses many different colours but has more geometric shapes and straight lines.

Teach Coding Concepts:

Introduce the coding concepts of sequence and debugging.

Working On It:

Now it’s up to students to create their own Kandinsky or Miro style art, or a mixture of both.  You should model how to find shapes, lines, and how to add animation. There are two ways to animate and they are shown in the screenshots below.

First, tap on the More button (…) and then select “Transitions and Builds.”
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Or, tap on the object you want to animate and tap on “Animate.”

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Warning: Many students will figure out how to add the animations but won’t be able to link them together.   I skip telling them this step so they are confronted with having to problem solve and debug.  Once they have a need for this information, I show them how, though many figured it out on their own.  The screenshot below shows how to link the animation. To sequence the animation tap on the object, then tap Animate, then tap the heading to get the options you see in the screenshot.  Notice that you have to change “Start Build” from “On Tap” to “With Previous Build” or “After Previous Build.”img_0486

Once students have completed their projects ask them to share the Keynote files with you.  You could do this by using Airdrop or having them save the Keynote file to Google Drive.

This is the end of the first part of the lesson. Now you will need some time to convert those Keynote files on your Mac to mP4. This part was time consuming.  I wish I could export keynote files to iMovie on iPad. But, at this point you can only send a copy As Keynote, PDF, or PowerPoint.

Teacher’s Homework Prior to Part 2:

This part is not fun.

  1. Open each file in Keynote on a Mac and export the file as a Quicktime. (File>Export To>QuickTime…)
  2. Then, open each file in iMovie and export as MP4.
  3. Share these files with students. I used Google Drive.

Lesson Part 2:

Bell-work and Housekeeping:

Give students instructions to retrieve the MP4 file you created with the Keynote files.  Ask students to open the file in iMovie. Review the success criteria.

Teach Art Concepts ~ Reflection:

Students use iMovie to create a voice over audio recording explaining why Miro or Kandinsky would like their art work.  Review the key elements and principles of design for each artist. Give students time to do their reflection and upload videos to Seesaw.

Teach Coding Concepts:

When students are finished uploading their art reflection, have students use Apple Swift Playgrounds Learn to Code 1 to reinforce coding concepts. Have students work on the Command puzzles.

Examples of Student Work:

Here are examples of the animations prior to students adding reflections.

Here are examples including the reflection:

What is Swift Playgrounds?

Swift Playgrounds is a free app that runs on iPad, as long as that iPad is running iOS 10 or later. It’s such a large and powerful programming app that it needs the power of an iPad to run. This is why you can’t get it on a Chromebook and why it is not web-based.

ios10-960x960_swift-playgrounds-icon_us-en

 

swift-playgrounds

What makes Swift Playgrounds special?

  1. It will help your students bridge the gap from block based coding to real programming.  Working with block based programming tools like Blockly and Scratch is a great way to get started, but how do kids learn to write actual lines of code? Swift Playgrounds is designed to solve that problem. Users can tap on lines of code and drop them into the project or use a keyboard to actually type out commands.
  2. Swift Playgrounds is a modern programming language designed to be simple and intuitive yet powerful. You can develop an app completely on iPad using Swift Playground except for the final step of preparing the app for the app store using XCode.
  3. Swift Playgrounds works on both an iPad and Mac. With Swift Playgrounds, you can start a project on iPad and transition to using a Mac.

How to get Started

In Swift Playgrounds you can develop your own Playgrounds from a template (I found this too hard for me at this stage) or you can interact with pre-made Playbooks. Start by downloading Learn to Code 1, 2 and 3.  Each one is a series of puzzles that you need to solve using lines of Swift code. The objective is to get Byte or one of the other avatars to move through a 3D world to collect gems, toggle switches and more.

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You and your students will learn:

“the fundamentals of Swift, the programming language used to create apps for Apple products.”

Fun fact: I’m working through Learn to Code 1 and I have completed all the puzzles for the following computer science concepts: Commands, Functions, and For Loops. Next up: Conditional Code.

Here is a screen shot of my next puzzle:
img_0480

Are there lessons and resources?

Puzzles are grouped by computer science (CS) concepts such as Commands, Logical Operators and Conditionals. At the beginning of each set of puzzles there is a mini lesson explaining to the user the CS concept. In addition, there are free Teacher Guides and an iTunes Course that include complete lessons, videos and Keynote slides to help teachers guide students through learning computer science concepts in Swift Playgrounds.  The Teacher Guides also include all the solutions to the puzzles. 

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The Learn to Code 3 Teacher Guide has just been released too:

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Hour of Code

Try downloading the Hour of Code activity which is a few puzzles from Learn to Code 1:fullsizerender-2

 

There is also a Facilitator’s Guide for the Hour of Code:

hour-of-code-swift-playgrounds

What do students say?

I ran a Swift Playgrounds coding club for 8 weeks and here is what some of my students had to say about learning with Swift Playgrounds:

What else can you do in Swift Playgrounds?

If you know about Tickle then you already know that you can use other apps to program robots and smart-toys.  Just like Tickle, Swift Playgrounds can be used to interact and program robots. Wonder Workshop, the makers of Dash, have created a Playbook that works with Dash called Dashbook. Read about and download the Playbook here. Below is a screen shot of what the Dashbook looks like:

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This is one of the activities I will be doing this week with my class to celebrate Computer Science week which is December 5-9 2016.

Going even Deeper with Swift

If you want to go even deeper, I recommend following Brian Foutty and subscribing to his  iTunesU course on Swift.

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Or check out Paul Hamilton‘s YouTube Playlist with ideas and challenges to go further with Swift Playgrounds.

Computer Science Education Week is December 5th-9th. Classrooms across Ontario, throughout Canada and around the world will be diving into Hour of Code activities. As we do this, I would like to ask a couple of questions:

1) Should students learn to code? 

2) Should teachers teach coding?

3) Is coding in the curriculum?

1) Should students learn to code?

What would your students say if asked?  Members of my coding club share their thoughts in the video below (their answers may surprise you):

2) Should teachers teach coding?

Yes: We should use coding as a teaching tool if we think that it is the most powerful and efficient tool to teach a concept.  John Hattie says that almost every single intervention and tool in education can be found to be effective. He encourages us to “Ask not what works, but what works best.” Listen to John Hattie’s keynote from the Education On Air event held on Friday, December 2nd 2016 (watch from 19:23-19:50) to hear these very words and other related ideas:

No: We should not be using coding as a teaching tool if there are other more effective ways to teach the curriculum expectations.

Yes: We should teach coding because it is an opportunity to develop computational thinking. Computational thinking is modern problem solving.  George Polya’s four step problem solving method was introduced in 1945. Remember these four steps:

  • Understand the Problem
  • Make a Plan
  • Carry out the Plan
  • Look Back

This method for problem solving has been effective for teaching math for a long time, but will it be an effective model of problem solving for the future? The problem solving skills and habits of mind listed below are more fruitful for the current world we live in and the types of problems our students may face now and in the future:

computational-thinking

 

Yes: By 2020, there will be over 200,000 unfilled jobs in Information Technology says ICTC.  50% of those jobs will be indirectly or directly related to app development.  If one of the roles of education is to prepare our students for employment, then we should be giving all students opportunities to learn to code since students are likely to get work where they are either coding or working with a developer/programmer.  It is up to us to ensure that all students, including ones in my video above, to understand that learning to code is relevant to their lives.

3) Is Coding in the curriculum?

The short factual answer is no.

If you look more creatively at the curriculum the answer might be yes.

If you search the Ontario curriculum documents or the Achieving Excellent document, you will not find any explicit mention of coding or computational thinking.

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The only place I found anything close was a reference to computational strategies, which is not the same as computational thinking.

However, teachers can use coding as a tool to teach the curriculum, just like you might use a chocolate sundae making activity to engage students and teach about procedural writing or you would use a ruler when working on measurement.

According to people like Dr. Julie Mueller, coding and computational thinking is “hiding in plain sight” in the curriculum. This is a perspective that was presented by Dr. Mueller and her research collaborator at a session in August 2016. The same thinking and problem solving that is foundational to science, math, inquiry in social studies is also foundational to computational thinking. Also, some have found that there are many expectations in many documents, such a math, that can be explicitly taught with and through coding.  See for example Integrating  Coding into the Elementary Curriculum by Lisa Floyd, secondary school teacher.

And, while coding is not in the curriculum, Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne has written an open letter to the minister of Education Mitzie Hunter encouraging educators to dip a toe, ever so gently, into computer coding:

kathleen-wynne quote about coding

Show Up and Refuse to Leave Keynote

Books:

Net Smart by Howard Rheingold

Connected: The Surprising Power of Our Social Networks by Nicholas Christakis

Presence by Amy Cuddy

Mindfulness by Ellen Langer

Websites/Apps: (Also mentioned in Demo Slam)

GoNoodle Body breaks and meditation for kids

Whil

Headspace

Videos:

The Hidden Influence of Social Networks TED Talk by Nicholas Christakis 21 minutes

Your body language shapes who you are TED Talk by Amy Cuddy

Let it Go ~ Think About it by GoNoodle

 


GAFE and iPad: BFFs 4EVR

This is a beginner session.  Please bring an iPad.

View GAFE and iPad: BFFs 4EVR slides here  or at bit.ly/gafeipadbff 

Get your own copy of GAFE and iPad: BFFs 4EVR slides here


 

Get Google to Give you Time ~ Productivity Tips

This is an Intermediate session.  A lap top or Chromebook is recommended.

View Productivity slides here or at bit.ly/GAFEgivemetime

Get your own copy of the Productivity slides here

Copies of Book Talk assessment (to use with Autocrat Mail Merge) here


Assessment and Pedagogical Documentation with iPad

This is a beginner session.  Please bring an iPad.

View Assessment with iPad slides here or at goo.gl/ToU8rS (Case Sensitive)

Get your own copy of the Assessment with iPad slides here

 

The Leaders

Thank you Lucy Gray, Steve Hargadon and your colleagues for organizing this event. I suspect that Julie Lindsay also helped out, so thank you goes to you too Lindsay!

The Resources

A google doc (here) includes all the links for this event as well as a schedule for the day.  Julie Lindsay’s soon-to-be-published ISTE book on Global Education is another resource to look out for. 

The People

Thank you to these people for pushing my thinking.

The Day

This was my first visit to any kind of Global Education event.  The day alternated between ignite talks and round table discussions. I have organized my notes to share some highlights from the day.  You’ll get some quotes and key points from the ignite talks and round table discussions that resonated for me. I hope you enjoy them too.

Opening Ignites

David Young is the president of VIF International Education who co-organized and co-sponsored the event.

His message was that Global Education should be for all students. He would like to see more people engaging in global education. He believes it should be integrated throughout the grades and curriculum.  Key points from his talk were:

  • Very few students have the opportunity to engage in global education despite the desire from the world of work to have workers that are globally engaged, aware and active.
  • Global education should not be an add-on, it should be the lense through which we teach and learn everything at school.
  • All teachers should teach from a global perspective.
  • Technology allows us to bring global education to all.
  • Digital badging can provide acknowledgement of skills developed in this space.

Lisa Parisi‘s ignite included these gems:

  • “At first it was about the technology, then it became about collaboration and globalization.”
  • “It is impossible to ignore the global issues we face each day.”
  • “People study in schools about animals, climate and other things from other countries but almost never about the people.”

Round Table Conversation

Topic:Design discussion: How to design authentic global collaboration across the curriculum. Includes the new ‘norms of global

Leader: Julie Lindsay

How do you support discussions between students from classrooms all over the world? Do you communicate asynchronously and synchronously. Do you have teacher directed conversations or less structured time for kids to be kids and just talk? Perhaps not surprisingly, the experienced people in this group believe that a balance of approaches is ideal.  Due to time zone challenges, sometimes a synchronous conversation is not possible. Some teachers would have evening events at their school with students and families to Skype or Google Hangout with other classrooms. I thought this was a clever solution.  As for the conversations, students need some unstructured time to be themselves and let a bond develop. However, participants in the discussion warned that you need to get past the “I like pizza, you like pizza” type discussion and into deeper topics.

Near the end of the time together, people talked about Student Personal Learning Networks. “Who do you have in your online network that you don’t see everyday?” Is a question Julie Lindsay thinks all students should be able to answer.

Terry Godwaldt from The Center for Global Education and Bob LaRocca from Primary Source were also part of this round table. These are new-to-me people with new-to-me organizations. Later in the day Terry talked about Taking It Global.

Near the end of the hour together, Julie talked about A Day in the Life.  She says she puts students into a virtual classroom for synchronous communication. But also has students connecting asynchronously through various blogging and social media services. I love how she said: “It all works, *just*.”  Time zones are a challenge, probably the biggest.

Someone in the group asked where to get in touch with people to get started. Here is what people shared:

Global School Network

IVEACA International Virtual Schooling

Flat Connections

Global Education Conference

Global Educator’s Network

Taking It Global

Cultural Relay Fitness for young girls!

Eyes Wide Open shared by Deb Schiano

International Education Resource Network IEARN


Ignites

Julie Lindsay’s ignite was titled “Putting the Global into Online Collaboration.” She has lived and worked in six different countries. She is global, and yet, she has a dilemma with the term. Her supervisors for her doctoral program told her to drop the word ‘global’ from her dissertation. So, she has been thinking about what global really means. Is the use of the word ‘global’ acceptable, necessary or redundant when talking about learning online. Great question.

Favourite Quotes and thought bites:

  • What does the word ‘global’ add to online learning.
  • Is ‘global’ a mirage?
  • What happens when we put ‘global’ into online collaboration? What is different? Is there a new understanding of time differences, cultural and daily life?
  • Global is all-embracing and covering the entire world.
  • ‘Global’ and affirmative action.

Julie proclaims that the ‘Global’ in ‘Online Global Collaboration’ is not redundant.

Then, she got ground level and practical by outlining the  Norms of Online Global Collaboration:

  1. Being prepared to connect and communicate.
  2. Having a purpose shared outcomes.
  3. Paraphrase use clear common language.
  4. Perceive: ask for help and share knowledge.
  5. Participate and be visible online.
  6. Positive and encouraged DC, build empathy, assume best intentions.
  7. Produce. Productively co-create and encourage learners to compare, contrast and create.
  8. Be open to the potential and  serendipitous learning that will happen if you let it.

Up next was Amy Shaffer from Connected World. She is intelligent and also quite darling.  Her slides are here. “Do you consider yourself as a creator?” she asked right off the top. She believes that when you bush buttons and see things happen, that we then build faith in the world around us. She uses doorknobs as an example. The doorknob is a button you bush everyday, and it works every time. So you trust that it works.  This is the idea behind The Wonderment. “It’s a space that gives kids that button to push” she says.  A sense of belonging is important in working to make change. And this is the ethos behind The Wonderment.

Screenshot of The Wonderment Website

Amy Shaffer wants to give kids a way to actively engage in their own world at their level.  More great quotes from Amy:

  • You can’t leave behind the possibility for genuine human interactions.
  • The world is waiting and wanting to hear from our students.
  • Education without action is like food without exercise.

 

Round Table Conversation

Topic: Beyond Mystery Location Calls

Leader: Billy Krakower (Who brought his own power cord!)

  • Pro tip: Use TouchCast to practice Mystery Skype. Use a green screen to upload a different picture so it appears that you are coming from another country.
  • When mystery Skyping, have students keep the same job for 3 times.
  • Skype around the world in two hours.
  • If time difference is a challenge have the Skype at night and make it an event with parents!
  • Link to check out Sharks for Kids

Friends I was delighted to see:

Jen Roberts, Andrea Singer, Jon Samuelson, Jackie Gerstein, Monica Burns,

New connections and First Face2Face Meetings:

Tweeps: Dave Potter, Kristen Downey, Bob LaRocca, Amy Shaffer,

F2F Meet up: Scott BedleyLouise MorganGallit Zvi, Robyn ThiessenTerry Godwaldt

 

Do you use the Daily 5 and CAFE in your class?

Perhaps you are familiar with this series of books:
I attended “Hacking the Daily Five” presented byVictoria Olson MsVictoriaOlson and Sara Boucher @MsGeekyTeach. Victoria and Sara demonstrated how to integrate technology with the Daily 5. They focused on Google and iOS Apple tools. To get session resources, go to the links below:

They gave a Daily-5-Disclaimer saying they don’t follow every aspect of the Sister’s Approach.  They hack it.  Victoria and Sara do stick with the 5 parts of the program. In each of these areas, I learned something new.

Read to Self New Learning:

    • Literably A website where students can read text and the online service provides a running record.  I think this is pretty cool, but I like that Victoria emphasized that nothing beats the classroom teacher sitting down with a student. Nothing.
    • Google and Explain Everything: Victoria fills a Google folder full of books she has downloaded from Reading A-Z.  Students can then bring those books into Explain Everything and record their reading.  The key idea for me was the idea of using Google and Explain Everything to make a library of things for students to read. I would like to put in shared reading from the previous week, books I have written, classbooks, as well as texts I have access to use.

Read to Someone New Learning:

    • Have two students record their reading and then switch iPad devices.
    • Invite guest authors via Skype and Google Hangout or even invite parents to read to students if they can make a short break during their work day!

Listen to Reading New Learning:

    • Use Popplet or PicCollage to have students create a retell, summary, character analysis or other task to show their reading comprehension and experience with the text.
  • Tools and Websites for Listening to Reading:

Work on Writing New Learning:

Word Work New Learning: 

Websites for Word Work:

And, I was really happy to meet Erica Oakhill and Gloria A (a fellow Canadian)!

Mini Keynotes iPadapalooza #iplza15

Instead of a traditional keynote, 10 speakers were each asked to do a 3 minute talk.  Here were the people and the big ideas.

Sketchnote by Meghan Zigmond ~ used with pride and permission!

  • Rabbi Michael Cohen The pencil is a mighty tool, the iPad too!  (Plus amazingly hand drawn slides).
  • me – The life story of Kevin Mitnick, all time hacker, rapped to the tune of Fresh Prince.  Hack the classroom.

Gost in the Wire

  • Amy Mayer There is a big difference between compliance and engagement. And, “If your kids ask you for a worksheet you are doing it right.”
  • Reshan Richards  Knowing That and Knowing How, Learning THAT and Learning HOW ASSESSING THAT or ASSESSING HOW. #QFAT (Qualitative Formative Assessment Tool).
  • Rafranz Davis You have to make an effort for equality. Real Change is Intentional.
  • Carl Hooker #UndeadLearning Fighting the Zombie apocalypse.

Day 1: One More Thing ~ Adam Bellow

You can see Adam flying his drone, as well as a wonderful overview of the entire event in this iPadpalooza Highlight video.

Adam Bellow’s opening keynote really hit on a lot of 2015 trends: coding, fear of failure, sharing, risk taking and drones. He geeked up, as we like to do in edtech, especially when he flew a drone programmed by Tickle.  His emphasis was on people over shiny things, even though he talked about technology gadgets and apps and services. His putting-people-first message was post App, post idevice. His keynote was centered on being connected to each other and the importance of sharing. By highlighting how quickly the new tech becomes old, he brought a freshness to the people-and-pedagogy-first message.  Student engagement has been a big selling point and focus for edtech evangelists, but he points out that the superficial engagement of new hardware and software is fleeting. Bellow reminds us to focus on the people, the connections, and the learning.

My favourite Adam Bellow Quotes:

  • “It’s not about the apps and tech it’s about culture and people.”
  • “It’s not about what you do but what you share.”
  • “Failed Ed tech initiatives start with a list of things to buy.”
  • “The Device doesn’t matter because they don’t last anyway.”

Tools, Sites and Apps Mentioned in Adam Bellow’s Keynote:

Day 2: 10 Lessons from Steve Jobs ~ Guy Kawasaki

1) innovators learn to ignore naysayers  a.k.a. “BOZOs”
2) costumers can’t always tell you what they need
3) it’s not about the current curve
4) design matters
5) big challenges beget BIG CHANCES
6) less is more
7) changing your mind is a sign of being smart
8) value does not equal price
9) “A” players hire “A+” players
10) the perfect combination to market and sell anything: maximize uniqueness and value
BONUS: some things need to be believed to be seen.
Guy Kawasaki

Day 3: Eric Whitacre

You may have seen Eric Whitacre’s Virtual Choir, if not, take a look.

This was an outstanding, life enriching, keynote. Having a passionate knowledgeable person walk you through something they love is a profound experience.  Eric Whitacre talked about how he got into music, the virtual choir, his process and stories of music and composers. It was an hour of magic.

My favourite phrases and quotes:

When talking about hearing choir music for the first time:
  • “It was like I was standing in the middle of a cosmic Swatch watch.”
  • “It felt like someone was speaking my true name.”
  • “I was surround by a see of people escorting me to the next level.”
On being a composer:
  • “Being a composer is an odd job. I try to steal fire from the gods.”

Golden Bricks

I also especially liked how he talked about how all music, all songs, have a ‘Golden Brick.’ The golden brick is a simple piece of the song that is the anchor of the song, speaks the emotional essence of the piece and often repeats throughout.  He had us listen to Beethoven’s 5th Symphony.

He explained how the “ba-ba-ba BOOM” was the Golden Brick of this piece. Here he is watching the visualization and pointing out the brick as it repeats.