Central Coast Teacher Tech Challenge Day

It may be gray and dreary outside, but inside Cal Poly’s Cotchett Education Building the ideas are shining! Today is Central Coast Teacher Tech Challenge Day (#ccttcd2014). What an awesome day!

The day began with Holly Clark giving us an inspirational talk. She challenged us to actively engage ALL students. She reminded us that engaged students are talking, moving, collaborating. Holly also brought up the fact that collaboration isn’t Student A does part 1, Student B does part 2, and then coming together to report out the information. Collaboration is working TOGETHER on a joint project. A great example she cited was Mystery Skypes/Hangouts. Students work together, as a class, to discover where in the US another class might be.

cc licensed ( BY NC SA ) flickr photo shared by Langwitches

We then went off to our sessions. What made this different from others I have been to, is that 1 session contained 2 presentations. The presentations were paired to compliment one another. My first session was on Blogging. I was paired with Teacher Hovey and Teacher Townshead, who shared about music in the classroom, and the different tools that could be used. Each presentation lasted about 20 min, with 10 min at the end for Q & A.

Finally Dr. Beverly Young spoke about CCSS and Next Generation Science Standards. A brief history of the new standards was given. She went on to state that assessment should be an extension of the learning process, this is what SBAC was designed to be. Dr. Young pointed out that students will be tested on a new assessment based on a curriculum in which they have had little experience with (1 year in many cases). She posed the question, how long will it take us to see the results of CCSS curriculum?

All in all, I LOVE hanging out with Ed Tech folks. It energizes and inspires me. It makes me happy, and remind me that I’m not alone!

CUE RockStar & Lego Movie Maker

This week has been a wonderful experience. I have had the pleasure to meet some AMAZING educators. I LOVE being around so many like minded educators. Today I was excited to show others about Lego Movie Maker. It’s an iPod app, but can be used on the iPad.  My students introduced me to this App last year when they decided to start making stop animation movies.

After an epically disastrous start (which I take blame for), the room was soon abuzz with laughter, excitement, and creativity. Some ideas for classroom uses were: illustrate vocabulary, create scenes from a book, illustrate the rock cycle, and show plate tectonics.

Here is an example by Cathy Lien and Lori Booy from Heideman Elementary, TUSD. They decided to show their principal that sending them to the conference was a GREAT idea, as they were learning a lot.

This example by Jen Alcazar was a quick example of how to use it in her high school class to help engage students in vocabulary.

I would like to thank all the educators today for a fun and productive day. I learned so much from all of you and your ideas.

Our notes and ideas:

A Plan

This past weekend, I was fortunate enough to be a presenter at CUE RockStar Express in Paso Robles, CA. As always, the energy at this CUE event was amazing!! There were many insanely fantastic presenters and attendees. I met some great educators! And like always, I left feeling renewed and energized. This was the first time that I was on the other side of an event. I’m usually sitting and soaking up all the great information. It was fun to be on the presenter side, sharing my enthusiasm and knowledge. 

It was at this event that a plan was hatched. Recently I wrote about how some educators feel uncomfortable with technology in It’s Beyond Me. Many just don’t feel they know enough and when listening to others, they feel that it’s above their heads. I am NOT the only person that has heard this. As several of us were talking after the event, we hatched a plan! Now, it’s still in it’s infancy stages, but we feel that it’s a super fantabulously groovy idea! Ready??? Okay, here it is!! (I’m soooo excited about it)

Have an event (or more precisely several across the state) that is designed for tech newbies. Fantastically groovy, right? We’re talking small groups working on basics. We’re talking bringing in local talent to lead. This way, no big shots to intimidate newbie presenters or attendees. Now, I don’t want to give too much away, but I DO want to hear what you have to say.

So, what do YOU want to learn to do? Set up a Google account? Forward emails? Figure out what a URL is? What a browser is? Seriously, this is exciting. I want to hear from everyone. What are your ideas?

Reflections of IEASC



Six months ago I began a journey into a certificate program, Innovative Educators Advanced Studies Certificate. I first became aware of it late last summer via Twitter. The description sounded interesting and right up my alley. It was incorporating technology into the classroom. What a ride it has been, and now it’s over. And I’m feeling a little sad about it.

When others heard that I was taking classes, they immediately assumed I needed to move over on the salary schedule. I still find that such an odd response. I know many people do that, but we should also take courses in things that we are interested in. I could go on about that, but will save that for another post.

So here was the deal, 6 months to do 9 classes. Looking back at it, it sounds like a lot, but fortunately for me I liked the topics, enrolled, and didn’t really think too much about it. I’m really glad I didn’t! I think if I had really thought about it, the amount of work would have scared me off. In retrospect, it wasn’t as bad as it sounds. Yes it was work, but well worth it. I met some fabulous educators who inspired me, who made me work hard, who made me think more, and who made me a better teacher. Our cohort was small, 9 students and 2 lead learners.

Last Wednesday, we had our last synchronous session together. We each presented our ePortfolios we had been keeping for the course. It was amazing and inspiring to see everyone’s hard work and dedication. Then came our final good-bye’s. I’m not sure what I was expecting, but I can say that it left me feeling a little sad. I realized, okay maybe it just hit me, that I would no longer be working with these people on a regular basis. I mean it has been 6 months of collaborative projects, discussion boards, and synchronous sessions, now nothing. Many of them are on Twitter, and I follow them. I’m pretty sure I will see a few at CUE events, like CUE RockStar, and that will be good to connect. But in the end, I was a little lost.

Since our last meeting, I’m getting into a new routine. One that does not include homework, well at least for a while. Now I’m thinking of going back and getting another Master’s Degree. This time it would be in Instructional Technologies, or something along those lines. Overall, it was an awesome experience, and I am now looking forward to many new adventures!

Student Videos

Since I first went to CUE in Napa Valley in 2011, I have been integrating student videos into my routine. I often have students create their own tutorials which I then post on my class website for all. This serves two purposes for me. First, I don’t have to make a tutorial for students to refer to with key concepts. Secondly, I use the tutorials as unobtrusive assessments. Today, this was a very valuable lesson for me. I sent two top students out to create a video on multiplying with decimals. They proved to me that they knew what they were doing so off they went to the office to create their lesson. It wasn’t until after school that I was able to view the video. While watching, I saw 2 misconceptions both students had. The upside to all this? Well, I can now go back tomorrow and target the misconceptions (with the whole class), because if these two have the wrong idea so does the rest of the class. And, they aren’t as proficient as I thought (or would like them to be). I guess it was a good learning day for us all.


Multiplying with Decimals (with misconceptions)