Using Google Apps for Education (GAFE) offers many opportunities to develop new ways to approach curriculum delivery, instructional design, providing feedback, assessment … well, you get the picture – OPPORTUNITY!
At 2:30 p.m. EDT (today, October 17th, 2015) Andrew Bieronski and I team up to deliver a session at the Ottawa GAFE Summitto dig into this topic from a WRDSB perspective.
If you would like to join us remotely, we will be sharing our session via @Livestream (free account needed to view)
Note: the stream will be activated approximately 15 minutes before the session.
I experienced a wonderful virtual learning opportunity this week with some fantastic educators from ADSB. Donna Fry, who was leading the learning sessions on site, invited me to provide a kick off presentation to their day. My task was to ignite some change thinking by linking the areas of technology enabled learning, technology change and bringing collaboration into eLearning.
I loved the idea of doing a virtual keynote – what a perfect way to “walk the talk” in terms of connected learning and modelling what we need our students to do.
While there are a variety of tools one could use for this type of activity, we settled on Google Hangouts (GHO) for our session.
Of course, the technology all worked flawlessly <big grin!> – a good demonstration of technology creating a natural flow of sharing.
I really enjoyed being able to participate in a timed table talk opportunity following my presentation as Donna kindly relocated me from the “big screen” to the table.
I was certainly struck by the power of this. We collectively decided that this was a virtual F2F learning session.
Linking back to the theme of the day and my task with the opening kick off, I could envision a day when virtual F2F learning opportunities are normalized into learning environments. I look forward to learning with these educators as they develop their connecting and collaborating strategies.
Learn more about the background of the Futures Forum Project.
I often listen to the morning CBC KW broadcast hosted by Craig Norris on the way into work. Recently Craig had a piece on the show about an app called Yik Yak that caught my attention.
Wikipedia describes Yik Yak as an app that “allows people to anonymously create and view “Yaks” within a 10 mile radius …. for sharing primarily with those in close proximity to the user, potentially making it more intimate and relevant for people reading the posts. All users have the ability to contribute to the stream by writing, responding, and liking or disliking yaks.” Read more detail [here] .
Image from http://services.flikie.com/
Hmmm … location based, anonymous, instant messaging … It doesn’t take much pondering to recognize the huge potential for misuse.
But, it doesn’t have to be that way. Each of us has choices to make, personal responsibility and accountability for our actions. One could choose to share positive thoughts, ideas, comments, compliments etc. through this type of service. Why not?
What choice would you make when using this service?
The other day I happened to catch a segment of The Current CBC broadcast as I was driving between school appointments. The topic was big data based the book Dataclysm, which certainly captivated my interest for a variety of reasons.
Image from Amazon.com
I happened to tune in just at the moment the discussion was focused on analyzing data written in social media, Twitter in this case. While many view social media communications as somewhat inane, an in depth analysis reveals some interesting facts.
writing tends to be more sophisticated
word length is 20% longer
lexical density , the proportion of meaning carrying words, is higher than in many other forms of writing (email, magazines etc. – perhaps opposite to what you would think)
with a limitation on the number of characters per message or post, 140 in this case, people learn to improve word choices
in turn, this improves editing skills
In the interview, Christian commented that this type of analysis can and has been repeated. This is not an isolated ‘one time’ look at this area.
When one considers the writing benefits summarized here, I believe there is a strong case to incorporate the social media writing medium in the school system. Of course there are natural connections to digital citizenship, engagement, real world audiences etc.
As a classroom educator, if you are already doing this, keep going! If not, consider giving it a try with an age appropriate system, a collaborative document with simulated limits or even offline.
Listen to the CBC Podcast with Christian Rudder on Dataclysm
This has definitely been a week of anticipation. I am always excited for CATC Camp, our summer self directed, self paced learning opportunity for staff that focuses on technology enabled learning, effective use of digital tools and digital resources.
The first two days of camp have been awesome! Based on an email I received from Google on Monday of this week, I also knew that we were getting close, REALLY close on the activation of the Google Classroom feature of our GAFE (Google Apps for Educators) environment. I had been sporadically checking all week … not yet … not yet. I tried once more just before supper tonight – not yet. I was beginning to feel like this was the watched tea kettle that wouldn’t boil.
As we were setting up for our post dinner newstime, I thought why not try one last time for today. YIKES – there is was – installed and active. It felt like Christmas in August, and was SO MUCH FUN making the surprise announcement to our CATC Camp attendees. I wished I had thought to record the reaction in the room – instant energy, excitement and applause.
Well, this was a perfect opportunity to offer a quick tour and orientation for interested staff. No problem – Andrew Bieronski jumped into action and provided a nice spontaneous workshop. In the 75 minutes following the announcement, staff were tweeting, re-tweeting about the announcement, sharing and exploring. Some went ahead and set up their 14/15 classes and added the first student assignment. My initial observation was that Google Classroom was easy & intuitive to use, and that support needs would be minimal.
A reaction shared by many!
I am looking forward to implementing this tool for classroom educators in our system. Now, I wonder what the next WRDSB hosted GAFE Summit will look like?
Classroom educators working in publicly funded Ontario schools have access to a wide variety of provincially licensed software and digital resources. Full listings are at the OSAPAC web site.
The SAMR model describes four stages of using technology to support student learning as summarized in the chart below.
The SAMR model provides a well researched framework for planning and reflecting on the use of technology to enable new possibilities to support student learning. To this end, the OSAPAC committee is currently running a project to gather examples of using the SAMR approach specifically with OSAPAC licensed titles. Click [here] to learn about the details. I hope you will consider being involved in this project.