I love the EdTechTeam Summits. Seriously, I cannot express how much I enjoy spending some of my weekends at these summits. In the last sixth months, I have had the unique opportunity to attend three summits, as well as present at two of the summits. Attending the summit is easy, but presenting has been out of my comfort zone – but it is an exciting challenge.
Every time I attend an EdTechTeam Summit, I find something that I can take to use in my classroom or share with other teachers. Every. Single. Time. Isn’t that amazing?! It really says something about the quality of presenters and educators when I can find something to take way each time.
So, for the first day, here are my five “takeaways” for the day:
#1: Publicly Share Lesson Plans
During the keynote, Dee Lanier (@deelanier) talked about how he shares his lesson plans with his students and gives them “commenting” rights. This is such an AMAZING idea. Seriously. Imagine the student buy-in you could create by allowing students to be a part of the lesson planning process. Students love being a part of their learning process – think about the interesting ideas that they might have for learning concepts you are going to teach. It is very possible that they have an idea that you have never thought about that could be extremely engaging and effective for the students. In addition to this, it also opens the communication and trust between the teacher and students/parents. Yes – I could see this being very uncomfortable for some teachers, especially teachers that may not have digital lesson plans. However, I think the potential benefits far outweigh any discomfort, concern, or fear.
#2: Increase Parent Communication with Technology
My first session of the day was by Trevor Mattea (@tsmattea) on Google Apps for Parent Engagement. There were SO many ideas from this session, but I am going to try to narrow it down to just a couple of things. First, I have alway done a parent survey at the beginning of the year, but I realized that I need narrow down the focus of this survey. Particularly, I need to create a survey that is meaningful, not simply contact information and a few general questions. In particular, I liked the idea of the “Adult Expertise Index” and the “Educational Philosophy” Google Forms that you can find on his resource page. Second, Trevor talked about approaching parent communication in the same way that we approach student communication. It got me thinking…How can I use what I am doing with my students (classroom website, Google calendar, etc) and use it for the parents? Honestly, I have about a million ideas on this that I know will become another blog post in the next few months, especially as we approach another school year.
#3: Use Google Photos for Virtual Field Trips
The second session I attended was by Dee Lanier (@deelanier) who did a presentation on Virtual Field Trips with Google Apps and Mobile. Again, I have so many ideas from this session so I will narrow it down to the one thing I want to do this year – Google Photos for Virtual Field Trips. In a lesson with his students on playgrounds, Dee reached out to teachers all over the world to take photos of playgrounds and upload them to a shared Google Photo album. By doing this, the students were able to view different playgrounds from all over the world. Amazing, right? So, it got me thinking about my AVID class and our college field trips…Wouldn’t it be so easy to replicate the same process but with colleges? In fact, it doesn’t even need to be the teachers that are taking and uploading the photos – it could be the students! Even further than this, I have an idea about a “Choose Your Own Adventure” story that the students could write for this activity (with photos) to share with other schools in other parts of the country…But, that is for another time. Too many ideas!
#4: Use Technology to Promote Restorative Justice
The third session I attended was by Mari Venturino (@MsVenturino) who presented on Restorative Justice. I really enjoyed this session because there were some amazing strategies that could benefit many of the teachers at my site. In my own classroom, I have been doing a digital “Daily Check-In” as students enter the class that contains some questions, an inspirational quote, and a math problem. It is a great way to get to know my students and gage how their day is going. In addition to this, Mari also shared student-driven incident logs (via Google Forms) which I feel would be very beneficial for the teachers at my site because it requires the student to look at what they have done and how it has affected the students in their class. To add on to this, I think it would be amazing to use FormMule to immediately email the student-driven incident log to the parents to increase communication.
#5: Use Google Forms with Google MyMaps
The last session I attended was by Jeff Heil (@jheil65) on Think Global, Act Google. I loved that this session was differentiated to allow people to choose what they wanted to learn. After all, isn’t there a huge push in education right now to personalize the education of our students? Well…then why are we not doing the same for our teachers? Anyway, the session was very personalized to meet the needs of the participants. Although I was very familiar with many of the tools, I did gain one new nerdy/geeky tool that I am super psyched about – Google Forms + Google MyMaps = Pure Awesomeness. I’ve used Google Forms a million times. I’ve used Google MyMaps quite a bit, as well, with various BreakoutEDU Digital and HyperDocs. However, I have never used them together! I didn’t realize that users could answer questions in a Google Form (with something specific about a location) and then upload the data to Google MyMaps and have it automatically show up on the map. Amazing! I have a ton of ideas for this with Math and AVID – the possibilities are endless!
My brain is basically mush right now, so I really hope that what I am writing is making sense and I am not completely butchering what the presenters shared today. It was an amazing day with so many awesome things to try in my classroom, as well as to share with the teachers at my site. Tomorrow, I will only get to attend two sessions, since I will be presenting at the other two sessions. I’m looking forward to presenting because I love talking about education and sharing resources with other teachers. I’m a total nerd so, basically, this is my idea of fun time. If you haven’t attended an EdTeachTeam Summit – you need to!