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.


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."


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.

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Flipping 2.0: Technology For Students

Flipping 2.0 Book Chat

This Tuesday (9/17/13) I will be co-moderating a Flipping 2.0 book chat along with Jason Bretzmann and Troy Cockrum.   The chat will be based upon (but not limited to) our technology-themed chapters.  Follow #Flipping20 at 9pm ET to take part in this lively discussion.

Chapter Preview: "Technology for Students"

Brian Germain and I wrote"Technology for Students" to shift the conversation from teachers' tech use towards practical strategies for integrating student-centered technology in your flipped class.

Our chapter begins with a brief overview of our journey into flipping, one that like most other teachers began with teacher-centered technology.  After describing the various tools that we leveraged to record, archive, and deliver direct instruction, we explain why we shifted our focus towards student use of technology. The remainder and bulk of our chapter then discusses examples from that classroom that illustrate student-centered technology use, such as:

Utilizing LMS Tools for Students
Student Screencasting
Google Apps Collaboration
Leveraging Social Media
Fostering Inquiry, Autonomy and Empowerment
Content Curation
Content Creation
Programming & App Development
& Gamification

Here is a quote from the chapter the I think demonstrates our overarching theme:

"Students are empowered to harness the power of modern technologies to have an active role in the construction of their learning. A key to motivating students...[is to] help them find a way to motivate themselves.  Provide the scaffolding that will make them successful for life after high school when they will need to follow the compass of their inner drive, because very few people on the outside will be offering directions."
- p. 180-181, "Technology for Students" in 

Introductory Video

Below is a brief video that I created to introduce the chapter.  (Click Here to View on YouTube)

Click here for more information about the book and how to order.

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Designing Flipped-Mastery Part 3: Objectives & Learning Tasks

It has been a while since my first two posts about designing flipped-mastery, and much has change in our courses since.  I still think it will be helpful for those readers interested in flipped-mastery to see how I finished developing my units last year.  In Part 1, I provided an overview of my approach to flipped-mastery as well as a look at an outline of a unit plan.  In Part 2, I discussed how I structured the units and developed essential questions and learning goals.

Part three will focus on how I chose particular objectives and designed learning tasks corresponding to each. We will continue to use the  UNIT 1 OBJECTIVES GRID from the Ancient Greece and Rome unit to serve as a model for the commentary below.  I would therefore suggest opening the document in another tab so that my references seem less "cryptic." A screenshot from part of the grid is also included below.

For each learning goal, I developed a series of objectives that I felt corresponded well with each.   Some of the objectives were created based upon experience, while some were selected directly from the Common Core State Standards and CT Social Studies Framework.

As with the learning goals, I tried to start with basic, content-based and context-building objectives.  Each subsequent objective is designed to be a bit more challenging, while also working its way up "Blooms" to higher-order thinking.  (I have since started to reconsider this approach after hearing Ramsey Musallam's Keynote at Flipcon suggesting to begin with an engaging, higher-order task)

Once the objectives were aligned with each goal, it was time to develop the learning tasks.  I always kept in the back of my mind that if a student demonstrates proficiency in the learning task, that it would clearly prove that the objective was mastered.  If these two are not properly aligned, I believe that it defeats the whole purpose of "mastery."

As you can see, objectives 1.1 and 1.4 include multiple learning tasks.  As last year progressed, I made sure to include more than one task per objective.  The first reason is that I thought one task was often not enough for students to truly demonstrate mastery of a skill.  The second reason is that I began building in more choice.  For instance, students would have a menu of learning tasks that they could choose from depending upon their interests and learning preferences.
By year's end, I took student-choice a step further.  I actually gave students the option of developing their own learning tasks for some of the objectives.  Before beginning, they would propose their assignment to me and explain how proficiency in this task would demonstrate mastery of the objective.

So there are the basics of how I developed my flipped-mastery units.  I understand that designing units and actually implementing them are whole different worlds, so I will follow up soon with a post that provides practical strategies for implementing and managing flipped-mastery in action.

If you have any comments or questions about this, please let me know as I am always eager to collaborate!

COMPLETE Flipped-Mastery Article Series

Sunday, September 8, 2013

A Look Inside Flipping 2.0

For those of you interested in the Flipping 2.0, here is a look inside the book.  It includes the Table of Contents, Foreword, Introduction, and first page.  All of this is embedded below, click here if you would like to instead view in a new window.

Enlarge this document in a new window