Thursday, December 19, 2013

Flipped History Hangout 12-19-13

It's been a while since I've had the opportunity to hangout with the Flipped History rockstars in my PLN, but last night we all got together for another great conversation via Google Hangouts.

Our crew consisted of myself, Karl Lindgren-StreicherJason BretzmannDavid FouchKaelyn Bullock, George Phillip, and Kenny Bosch. 

Some of the topics discussed included: new strategies, leveraging emerging edtech, upcoming conferences (ex. FlipCon14) and our closing segment - holiday beverages of choice.

Archived Hangout Below
(View on YouTube)

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Four Unique Perspectives on Flipping History

A few months ago, I asked four rockstar educators in my PLN to share their journey's and unique perspectives on flipping their history courses.  These videos were generosity contributed as part of the free Flipped Social Studies eSeminar (archive and resources still available here.)

I have recently been asked on several occasions how other educators besides myself have incorporated aspects of Flipped Learning into their social studies courses.  Well, what better way to learn than to hear directly from these innovative teachers themselves.  Enjoy the videos and do not hesitate to connect and add these guys to your PLN, they have all helped and inspired me tremendously throughout my own journey.

Karl Lindgren-Streicher
View on YouTube




Jason Bretzmann
View on Vimeo




David Fouch
View on YouTube




Frank Franz
View on YouTube

Monday, December 16, 2013

Who Are Your Top 10 Connected Educators?

I am excited to be part of a team brought together by the US Department of Education's Office of Educational Technology to create an EdTech Developer's Guide over the next six weeks.  The main goal of this initiative is to provide information and resources that will help developers gain a better understanding of the complex and evolving education landscape.  This will, in turn, lead to more effective and meaningful technology integration as these products and services will better align with the needs of students and educators throughout the nation.

A section of this handbook will provide developers with "top ten lists" of connected educators, blogs, events, and podcasts.  What better place to start creating these lists than to reach out to all of you in my incredible PLN!

We will start with connected educators.  Who would you include in your top 10 list?  

If you are interested in participating, please enter up to 10 (less is certainly ok) educators in the form below that you strongly believe we should include in the publication.

Form Link
I thank you for your contributions to this exciting new (and I believe incredibly valuable) project.  I will continue reaching out over the next few weeks for more feedback and also for educators who are interested in contributing vignettes for the final publication.

Saturday, December 14, 2013

"Level Up With Gamification" Event Archive

I recently had the fortune of again teaming up with colleague Brian Germain and the team at Highlander Institute to conduct our "Level Up With Gamification" event.  As expected, Brian rocked it with his contagious enthusiasm, while Shawn Rubin of Highlander did an awesome job with the logistics and providing us with incredible feedback.  The teachers and administrators who attended did a great job of diving right into our competitions and asked thoughtful questions throughout.  I'd also like to thank Roshni Mirchandi for providing great feedback for us as well via the Edthena platform and for attending last week's session.

For those who could not attend either event but are interested in gamification, I have included the Google Presentation and video archive below.  The presentation is from our most recent event (12/12), while the video is from our previous session (11/14).  Although we made a few improvements to the recent event, the video from the first still aligns well with the Google Presentation below.

Level Up Google Presentation (12/12/13)



Level Up Video Archive (11/14/13)




 As always, please reach out and connect with us if you have any questions or comments.  Level up!

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Flipped Mastery Discussion With Mike Bruckner

I recently had an incredible conversation with Mike Bruckner regarding Flipped Mastery, particularly how to structure and manage mastery learning.  In conversations leading up to our GHO, it was evident that Mike had put a tremendous amount of time and effort into understanding mastery learning as well as predicting some of the challenges that he would face during implementation.  I therefore thought that recording our conversation on air would prove helpful to many of those who shared similar interests, concerns, or general questions about the approach.

 Here are just a few of the topics that we covered:

Why Flipped Mastery?
Learning Goals
Assessments / Rubrics
Learning Experiences (Group Work)
Retakes
Acclimating Students / Parents
Grading Systems

Here is the Google Document that we worked off of during our discussion, including commentary and helpful resources links.

The archived conversation is included below.  Please reach out to Mike and I if interested in Flipped Mastery or moving towards a mastery learning environment in general.  Mike is well on his way towards implementing a robust mastery system and is another great resource for anyone considering this approach.

View on YouTube

Saturday, November 30, 2013

A Method For Mastery

About six weeks ago, Tina Rosenberg from the New York Times contacted me regarding an article that she was writing for the "Fixes" column.  After writing an initial article about Flipped Classrooms, she was interested in how educators were evolving beyond the traditional flipped approach (i.e. video lectures for homework / homework in class.)

After contacting Flipped Learning pioneer Jon Bergmann to experience his story and viewpoints on the topic, I was referred to her by Jon to describe how I have similarly merged my flipped classroom with mastery learning.  After speaking with Tina for about 45 minutes, it was clear how passionate she was about this topic, particularly how flipping enables educators to be creative and innovate at the classroom level.  I was surprised at how interested she was not only in mastery learning, but also how we have "gamified" our World History courses at PHS.  As I mentioned to her, once you transition towards a mastery learning environment, adding game layers to the class is not as difficult as one might think.

Here is the link to the Times article, "In Flipped Classrooms, A Method For Mastery."  Overall, Tina did a great job explaining the convergence of Flipped Classrooms and mastery learning.  Any comments that you have regarding the column (or my approach in general) is of course welcome.

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Diving Into Augmented Reality

Over the past few months, I have been exploring the benefits and learning opportunities made possible by emerging augmented reality (AR) technologies.  First, I had to get a better grasp regarding what "augmented reality" actually is.  Here is a helpful description:

"...augmented reality blurs the line between what's real and what's computer-generated by enhancing what we see, hear, feel and smell. On the spectrum between virtual reality.... and the real world, augmented reality is closer to the real world. Augmented reality adds graphics, sounds, haptic feedback and smell to the natural world as it exists."  Source 

My main source of information regarding augmented reality in education has been The Two Guys Show podcast on Edreach, hosted by Brad Waid and Drew Minoch.  They have also created an awesome website called Two Guys and Some iPads with incredible AR sources.


In a recent post, I demonstrated how my son has been using the colAR mix app to bring his coloring pages to life, as well as some fun I was having with Aurasma by augmenting my daughter crawling out from behind our couch.  Since then, my 2-year-old son has also loved the AR Flashcards which bring animals and dinosaurs to life as he learns his letters (and dino names of course). See image to the right.

As I began recognizing the awesome potential that AR has for learning, I committed to making a channel on Aurasma for my students. My first trial run at making an "aura" with the Aurasma Studio Account was to augment the FlippedHistoryVideos trailer onto the Flipped History logo image.  After a few initial attempts, it worked!   If you are interested in viewing the aura, follow the steps below:

Step 1

Install Aurasma onto your mobile device: iOS & Android


Step 2
Subscribe to the Flipped History Channel

Option 1


Option 2

Scan the following QR Code to the right

Once you have the Aurasma app and are following the Flipped History Channel, you should be able to view the aura below.  To do this, open Aurasma and point your device at the trigger image below.  You should then see a purple swirl appear.  Soon after (quickly if on wifi, longer if via 3/4G), the Flipped History Videos trailer should augment and play over the image. 



If you have trouble viewing the aura, just let me know and I can help you troubleshoot the issue.  This is a very new process for people, and the technology is still relatively new, so experiencing challenges along the way is part of it. Hang in there!  On the other hand, if it worked, that is awesome!  You are already on your way to making your own unique auras.   

AR in the Classroom

Since the Flipped History Aurasma Channel has been up and running, I have incorporated AR into the following two projects. 

1. AP European History students are creating auras for primary source visuals in our text.

2. World History students are creating auras as part of the world religions project and posting them on our new "Aura Wall."

As we finish up these projects, I look forward to sharing our experiences in future posts.  Until then, if you have any questions about these AR projects or are just interested in exploring the possibilities, as always, please let me know. 

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Level Up With Gamification

I recently had the pleasure of conducting a workshop session titled "Level Up with Gamification" alongside education rockstar and colleague Brian Germain at the Highlander Institute in Providence, RI.  

We are pleased to announce a second Gamification event for those who were unable to register for or attend last week's session.  Since opening up registration, this new event is already half full, so if interested in attending please make sure to register soon before it sells out.

Click Here to Register for "Level Up With Gamification" at Highlander Institute on December 12th (4:30-6) 

Here is an excerpt from the registration page:

Event Details


Overview
Educators around the world are tapping into the motivational power of gaming and game-design principles to increase student engagement.  In this session, Tom Driscoll and Brian Germain will share how their high school social studies courses have evolved into high-energy, live action multi-player games.  They will also explain how teachers can effectively incorporate game design concepts such as leveling, points through attrition, leaderboards, collaboration, competition, and narrative into their existing curriculum.  

Session Goals
Incorporate gaming concepts into your instructional design to create engaging and collaborative learning experiences.

Leverage instructional technologies to effectively develop and implement gamification strategies in your class.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Students Pay Tribute to 150th Anniversary of Gettysburg Address

Over the past two days, PHS students have been putting together an excellent tribute to the 150th Anniversary of the Gettysburg address.  Colleague Brian Germain came across a tribute video by Ken Burns and thought that it would be great to have our students create their own.

Well, that is exactly what the students did.  Here is the video that the students filmed and put together in just the past  two days.  They are awesome! (Click Here to View on the PHS YouTube Channel)

Monday, November 18, 2013

Managing Mastery: "Swiping In"

When transitioning to a mastery learning environment, one of the first challenges facing the teacher can be summed up by this important question:

How can I gauge who needs the most help and when they need will need it? 

One strategy that I have implemented (which I largely credit colleague Brian Germain for) is a daily classroom routine called "Swiping In."

In general, students enter the class and immediately go up to the Smartboard (see screenshot to the right). All student names are in the far right column titled "absent."  They must then "swipe" their name over to the appropriate column.

These self-explanatory columns are "I Need Assistance Immediately,"  "I Might Need Assistance Soon," and "I'm In The Zone And Need Independence."

This simple strategy enables Brian and I to get a quick visual representation of who in the class we should visit first as they are in most need of guidance (as well as who is absent).

Here is a brief video that I put together demonstrating how students "swipe" into class.   (View on YouTube)


As we have recently implemented this strategy, it is a bit too early to comment in certainty on its' effectiveness.  The initial results, however, are very positive and I look forward to improving this aspect of our flipped-mastery classes.

As always, if you have any questions about this strategy, post comments below or feel free to contact me directly (@Mr_Driscoll / thdriscoll@gmail.com)

COMPLETE Flipped-Mastery Article Series

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Managing Mastery: Goal Setting, Progress Monitoring & Reflection

In a previous post about managing mastery learning, I discussed the importance of establishing structure.  This is essential at both the unit level (preview here of my recently "gamified" units) as well as the daily class routine.

In this post, I will discuss in further detail the Daily Learning Journal assignment and provide students' perspectives on this strategy. In general, I created this assignment to serve three purposes that are vital for effective implementation of mastery learning.

1. Progress Monitoring

After completing the daily warm-up, students must monitor their progress by recording how many objectives they have mastered thus far in the unit.  Their ability to see that number rise (ex. monday was 2/12 objectives, friday was 5/12 objectives) provides feedback that they are learning these skills and helps motivate those who like to visually see progress over time.  It also helps me recognize which students are progressing at a faster rate, and which will need more help on a daily basis.


 2. Goal Setting

Students are expected to choose which objective they will work towards mastering each day.  This helps them focus on the task at hand while also providing me with insight regarding how I can best help them during class time.


3. Reflecting

At the end of each period (with roughly 5 minutes remaining), students will determine how much effort they put into the day's class (0-10 scale) as well as briefly describe what they have achieved.  I stress "achieved" since that should be the goal each day, not just slowly plugging away at the same assignment to take up class time.


STUDENT PERSPECTIVES
Here is a video that I put together last year of students explaining the Daily Learning Journals in their own words.  (Click here to view on YouTube)



In the next post about managing mastery, I will discuss the new strategy of "Swiping In" to class using the interactive white board.  (The student's love this...)

COMPLETE Flipped-Mastery Article Series

Saturday, November 2, 2013

Upcoming Flipped Learning Workshop in Hartford, CT (November 9th)

There will be an "unconference" style Flipped Learning Workshop in Hartford, CT hosted by CREC on November 9th.  Josiah Hills, Educational Technology Specialist for CREC, has done a great job advancing meaningful technology integration across the region by putting together these workshops as well as hosting the Educational Technology Conversations podcast with co-host Rob Stellar. ( I have recently added this to my podcast lineup during the commute.)

Below is information directly from the official workshop flier for those interested in attending:







FLIPPED LEARNING WORKSHOP

Find out more about the flipped classroom and what it really means. 
Attendees will have opportunities to learn about, plan for and actually make flipped lessons. The day’s activities will include a mix of interactive presentations and “un-conference” style participant facilitated work sessions. Topics will include: 
  • Developing and/or finding video instruction 
  • Using Learning Management tools to host and share content 
  • Using digital tools to assess understanding 
  • Putting recaptured class time to good use with performance assessments 
  • Whatever you bring to the table! 
If you’re thinking about implementing a flip in your classroom, then this is the workshop for you. 

Special Guest Speaker: Tom Driscoll 
As a social studies teacher and technology coach, Tom has implemented Flipped Learning and led professional development workshops on the topic for the past three years. Tom recently completed the Computing in Education M.A. program through Teachers College at Columbia University and has authored contributing chapters for three books on instructional technology, including a chapter in Jon Bergman and Aaron Sam's highly anticipated follow-up to "Flip Your Class: Reach Every Student in Every Class Every Day." (Expected Early 2014) 

Date Saturday, November 9th 9:00 – 3:00 
Cost: $100 (lunch included) 

CONTACT 
Josiah Hills 
jhills@crec.org 
860-524-4047 

Location CREC Central 111 Charter Oak Ave. Hartford, CT 06106 

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Flipping Social Studies

*** This article was originally posted on the CUE Blog as part of a 6-part series on Flipped Learning.  

Although Flipped Learning is most prevalent in math and science courses, adoption by educators teaching the arts and humanities is on the rise. In the three years that I have been immersed in the incredible Flipped Learning community, I have gone from one of the few social studies teachers to one of thousands. Described below is a snapshot of my evolving approach, yet it is just one particular variation of Flipped Learning. I therefore urge you to connect with the incredible educators mentioned below to learn about innovative ways that social studies teachers are experimenting with this concept.
WHAT DO OUR LEARNING SPACES LOOK LIKE?
Why not just say, “What does my class look like?” First, I stress “our” to illustrate the concept of community and each student’s value within it. Second, we do not just learn in a “classroom.” This antiquated term does not accurately reflect our blended learning environment. Stages of the learning cycle happen in various learning spaces, such as the physical classroom space, virtually in the LMS, and virtually while in the same physical space.

The physical spaces are set up based upon the type of learning that occurs in each. For example, there are designated spaces for group direct instruction, collaboration, and individual work. Our online space is the Flipped Social Studies website, which is built upon the EDUonGO LMS platform. I chose this emerging LMS since it is based upon the concept of ongoing communication and collaboration. For example, the video notation features allow viewers to ask questions and engage in a threaded discussion at different points of each embedded instructional video.

STRUCTURE:

I structure my course based upon a flipped-mastery system. In general, students must demonstrate mastery of a series of objectives for each unit. Several learning tasks are provided for each objective, of which students typically have a degree of choice. Many objectives also grant students the option to develop their own learning task, as long as it clearly demonstrates mastery of the objective.

Except for the circumstances that justify large group direct instruction, students work through each unit’s objectives at their own pace. Throughout the process, I provide instruction and guidance both face to face and via instructional videos. I have created videos to serve many purposes, such as content-based lectures, modeling social studies skills, and tech tutorials.

In a typical day, we begin in a large group setting. Students engage in a warm-up activity, followed by a brief lecture, tutorial, or guided discussion.  Students then shift to their collaboration or individual work areas to engage in their learning tasks. We conclude each day with a “reflection” period during which students briefly describe their accomplishments and gauge their effort and efficiency. Click here to view a brief video capturing a typical day (recorded w/ iPhones…)

Teachers often ask me what students do if they finish a unit far ahead of their peers. To address this, I reward them with extra time to develop their interest-based “20 Time Projects.”  (Click here to view the 20-Time Intro presentation featuring a student voice-over.) I recently collaborated with Kate Petty to co-author a contributing chapter for Practical Applications in Blended Learning Environments called “Student-Driven Education With Flipped Learning and 20 Time.” Expected publication by IGI Global is December 2013, contact either Kate or I for more details if interested.

A FOCUS ON SKILLS:

When developing each unit, only a few of the objectives included are content-based. They instead focus upon skill development. The skills selected were those from the CCSSLiteracy and Writing standards as well as the Connecticut Social Studies Curriculum Framework (my state’s adoption). Content that is necessary to provide historical context is then woven into students’ various learning tasks.

When transitioning towards a student-centered learning environment, I quickly realized how important it was to help students build their metacognitive skills and become self-regulated learners.  Since most students have never been granted this degree of autonomy in school, it was no surprise that they lacked many of the skills necessary to thrive in this environment. I therefore began actively teaching metacognition through an ongoing process of goal setting, progress monitoring, and reflection. I created a form called a “Daily Learning Journal” to help them practice these skills each day.  Click here for student perspectives of this process.

RESULTS

As I discuss in a chapter in Jon Bergmann and Aaron Sams upcoming book, Flipped Learning has “democratized” my classroom in many ways. Through a study that I completed through an MA program at Columbia University, I realized that these results are replicated in social studies courses in other parts of the country as well. For a more complete discussion on this topic, keep an eye out for Aaron and Jon’s new book to be published by ISTE in Spring 2014.

THE FUTURE

Although our course is still rooted in flipped-mastery, I have decided to venture into the world of gamification.  I am not using games to teach, but am instead designing the entire course as a live, multiplayer game. The instructional design will include elements such as leveling, points through attrition, guilds, and an overarching story that weaves together the action. I credit Professor Lee Shlelon and Michael Matera for getting us started down this exciting new path.

CONNECT:

Much of what I have learned has been through a reflective process with help from an incredible PLN. The awesome social studies teachers that I collaborate online with most are Karl Lindgren-StreicherDavid FouchJason Bretzmann, and Frank Franz. Karl and Jason authored chapters on social studies flipping in the recently published Flipping 2.0,while I and PHS colleague Brian Germain authored a chapter on student use of technology. There is also a free, archived eSeminar and Course for social studies teacher who are, or at least considering, flipping their classes.

Finally, view and contribute your information to this Flipped Social Studies Community document.  It includes teachers from around the world with their contact info, websites, video libraries, and more. Use this resource to connect and grow your PLN.

Monday, October 21, 2013

Managing Mastery: Structure

The most common question that I am asked when presenting at conferences and workshops goes something along these lines:

"I recognize the value of mastery learning, but how can I practically implement such a different approach from what I and the students are familiar with?"

I have written three previous posts about designing Flipped-Mastery units (Overview, Essential Questions & Learning Goals, Objectives & Learning Tasks), but I have not gone into much depth regarding classroom implementation.  

This is therefore the first in a series of posts that offer tips and suggestions for managing mastery learning based upon my experiences over the past three years. 

Topics in this series will include: Unit Structure (below), Establishing Routines, Standards Based-Grading, Pacing, Gamification & more.   If there are any other topics or questions that you would like addressed, please let me know and I will gladly include a post!

STRUCTURE

First, try to present the unit structure to students as early in the process as possible.  I actually provide students with an "objectives" grid that maps everything out for them.   For example, last year I provided students with a hard copy of each unit document such as this World War II objectives grid.  This year, they are storing digital copies of these by accessing the view-only document and making a copy of it into their Google Drive. 

Students are expected to have this document (whether hard copy or digital) easily accessible to them at all times throughout the unit.  This enables them to actively monitor their progress by entering their scores and checking off all of the objectives that they had mastered thus far.

It is also important to structure each day so that there are clear expectations.  For instance, a typical day in our flipped-mastery class is structured like this:

Students Greeted at the Door (4 Minute Passing Period)

Students Pick up a Daily Learning Journal Sheet - Now called Mission Progress (1 Minute)

Students "Swipe In" on the SMART Board - More on This in a Later Post  (1 Minute)

Students Engage in the Warm-Up Prompt (3-4 Minutes)

Students Monitor Unit Progress  (1 Minute)

Students Set a Daily Goal (1 Minute)

Teacher Leads Class Discussion and/or Large Group Direct Instruction Based Upon the Warmup (5-10 Minutes)

Students Work Individually/Collaboratively to Master the Unit Objectives While Teacher Helps Any and Everyone Who Needs It  (30-35 Minutes)

Students Reflect Upon Their Learning (3-5 Minutes)


FLIPPED MASTERY IN ACTION

Here is a quick video that I created early last year that demonstrates much of this structure in action. (Click Here to View on YouTube)




COMING UP

The next post will focus on developing routines for students to make the most out of each day in your mastery-style course.  We will also get a chance hear from several students themselves who engaged in Flipped-Mastery on a daily basis.

As mentioned above, please provide suggestions for future posts based upon your questions and interests! Twitter @Mr_Driscoll or thdriscoll@gmail.com.

COMPLETE Flipped-Mastery Article Series

Saturday, October 12, 2013

RI Conferences Recap

Wow, what a week it has been in RI!  I was fortunate to attend and present at two incredible events held right here in the Ocean State.  Below I provide a brief recap of yesterday's Flipped Learning Workshop as well as last Saturday's RIDE Innovation Powered by Technology Conference.

Flipped Learning Workshop
Photo Courtesy of Jon Bergmann

The Northern Rhode Island Collaborative (NRIC) hosted a Flipped Learning Workshop in Lincoln, RI that was attended by about 70 innovative educators and administrators from the region.  Flipped Learning pioneer Jon Bergmann started things off with a great keynote laying out the basic history and elements of Flipped Learning.  I then served as part of the Educator Panel along with Director of Instructional Technology Shawn Rubin (Highlander Institute) and Elementary Teacher Charlie Laurent (Rocky Hill School).  The spirited Q & A session covered topics such as flipped-mastery implementation, administrator support, and professional development models.

After lunch, I led a breakout session on Secondary Flipping (Click Here for Presentation File) that described my journey through Flipped Learning as well as future directions.  New aspects to my presentation included commentary on 20 Time, Gamification, and the potential of Augmented Reality in education.

I was then able to participate in an unconference-style session based upon Flipped-Mastery.  It is always great to have high-minded discussions with passionate educators about our practice and ways that we can improve.

RIDE Innovation Powered By Technology Conference

My PHS colleague Brian Germain did an excellent job recapping this event, so for some incredible and inspiring commentary, click here to view his post on The Lyceum blog.

In an afternoon session, I conducted a Flipped Learning Workshop that I feel was well received by those in attendance (it seemed like more than the room was meant to occupy. Note to organizers for next year: find a bigger space for the Flipped Learning workshop session.)

I made the point at both events that it is important to connect with educators in your local region along with the incredible opportunities to learn and connect with educators throughout the world.  I said this because although it is great to have a worldwide PLN, I feel that you can have a greater impact in the local community by forming a coalition of like-minded leaders willing to push for change in your region.

These conferences helped me start developing such a coalition here in Southern New England, and I am as excited as ever to be in many ways leading the charge in innovation and positive change in our local education communities.   I look forward to the journey ahead!...

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

RI Flipped Learning Workshop 10/11

This post is just a quick reminder that there will be a Flipped Learning Workshop keynoted by pioneer Jon Bergmann this Friday in Lincoln, RI.  Click here to register for this awesome event.

I have the pleasure of serving on the Educator Panel as well as conducting an afternoon session title "Secondary Flipping."  Click here to view the presentation file for this session. 

I hope to see many of you at the event!

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Fun with Augmented Reality

colAR Mix

Over the summer, I came across this amazing post by Erin Klein that introduced me to the colAR app. In short, this incredible app turns a coloring book page into an interactive augmented realty experience! I immediately downloaded it and had my son Blake give it a try.  Needless to say, my 2-year-old now wishes every coloring book would come to life like this one!  Here is a quick video of my son Blake (with assistance from my wife Michaela) using the colAR app to augment his favorite coloring pages.

(View on YouTube)


Aurasma

I was also introduced to the Aurasma augmented reality app this summer at the Games in Education Symposium in NY.  Unfortunately, I was presenting during the Aurasma session, so I did not really get a chance to experiment with the app at this conference.

About a week ago, I started listening to the new Edreach podcast called the Two Guys Show with Brad Waid and Drew Minock.  They referenced Aurasma on several occasions as one of the go-to augmented reality apps out there, so I decided to play around with it a bit in school.  I then decided that it could be fun to create an aura of my daughter Lydia poking her head out from behind a couch and seeing how my son Blake would react.  Well, here is the video and I think he found it awesome.  It is clear, however, that Dad thinks this is much cooler than either of them, and Liddy is already realizing how nuts her Dad is.  Here is the video:

(View on YouTube)


I can't wait to explore AR further this year, particularly that ways that I can incorporate it into our gamified flipped-mastery courses. More to come soon!

Saturday, September 28, 2013

"Flipped Inquiry" Google Hangout

This past week, I had the opportunity to meet with several all-star members of my PLN to discuss "flipped inquiry."  Although I was a bit late to the Google Hangout, it is always great to grapple with these ideas in the company of innovative and passionate educators.

Other than myself, tonight's crew consisted of Karl Lindgren-Streicher, Jason Bretzmann, David Fouch, Kaelyn Bullock, and Troy Cochrum.  If you are not familiar with these educators, I strongly suggest reaching out and including them in your PLN.  They are all awesome.  Even David.

Beyond the deep discussion about inquiry and practical classroom applications, we wrapped up with an unexpected yet incredible segment featuring puppets.

Yes, puppets... (See screenshot to the right.)

Archived Hangout Below
(Click here to view on YouTube)

Friday, September 27, 2013

Innovation Powered By Technology Conference (RI, 10/5)

Innovation Powered by Technology: Cultivating Quality

On October 5th, RIDE's Innovation Powered by Technology Conference will be held in Providence, RI.  If you live in the New England Region, I would highly suggest that you attend this incredible (and free) conference!  Below are some of the keynote speakers for this event.


I will also have the opportunity to run a Flipped Learning Workshop during the afternoon session (1:30-3:45)  I look forward to collaborating and learning with innovative and driven educators in local region.  Click here for more information about this session.

If you would like to register, there is still time.  Also, as mentioned above, it is free!  Click here to access the registration form.

For more information about the conference speakers and agenda, click here.

EdSurge

This conference also includes both morning and afternoon EdSurge events during which attendees will have  opportunities to engage in conversations with creators of emerging edtech companies from around the nation. For example, Socrative, Three Ring, and Newsela will be in attendance.  Here is the description of the event provided by EdSurge:

"Discover and try new products (What’s out there? Does it work?)
Deliver real feedback to entrepreneurs (Here’s what I like/don’t like)
Develop plans to implement the new products they see (How can I use this?)


As more and more RI educators and schools become pioneers in the use of technology it becomes increasingly important to expose teachers, administrators, and technology administrators to the new technologies and opportunities that are being built from Silicon Valley to Boston and beyond. 

Educators will engage in informal conversations at tables with the entrepreneurs and developers who are building these essential tools for the classroom and school buildings. Whether you're an educator armed with purchasing power or a teacher who's excited to share new products with your colleagues, your feedback and perspective are increasingly valuable to the 20 edtech companies that will be invited to this summit. 

Technology can play a pivotal role in improving outcomes for students, and we want to give educators the opportunity to get hands-on with the latest tools that can help improve their teaching practice and elevate student achievement."


Connect

If you plan on attending the event, feel free to reach out and contact me as I am always eager to connect with other educators and grow my PLN!

Friday, September 20, 2013

Learning on the Commute

I have anywhere from a 45-60 minute commute to work, so the roughly two hours I spend in a car each day wears on me at times. My typical routine included a radio rotation through Boston sports talk (WEEI), NPR (my liberal fix) and local RI political talk radio (my conservative counterweight.)

Last year, I began venturing into the world of podcasts.  I had never really considered listening to podcasts since I thought I never had the time.  When I am at work or at home with my family, this is very much true.  I do, however, have time to listen while I am driving.

Once I made this obvious yet belated observation, I began downloading the Flipped Learning podcasts hosted by Troy Cochrum on EdReach  This year, I have expanded my horizons by listening to two more podcasts, the Google Educast as well as the new Chalkstar to Rockstar hosted by Brian Bennett.

In future posts, I will provide further insight regarding these podcasts and what I have learned from their sagely advice.  For now, I simply wanted to express my gratitude for all of those who helped put these programs together.  They are helping me become a better educator, which is in turn helping scores of students.

For those who are making these, keep up the good work.  For every other educator out there, I highly recommend checking out these resources if at all possible.  If life is as jam-packed for you as it is for me, the only time may be during your commute to and from work.  But that is all you really need to learn from these incredible educators.

More to come on this subject soon.