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For Edcamp Newbies

August 10, 2012

Yesterday, with the support of SGEI and Kean University, where I work, I hosted edcamp Common Core. The idea was to gather NJ educators to discuss a common theme.

Here’s what I heard from attendees in the morning before we shared opening remarks in the auditorium:

  • Why weren’t the sessions posted ahead of time?
  • Where are the experts?
  • I did not come prepared to talk.
  • I just came to listen.
  • Don’t you have any handouts for us?
  • Am I going to learn anything?

I was nervous for a bit in the morning before the session board filled. Thank goodness Ann Oro did such a good job at settling the nerves of some of the attendees and even got some of them to post sessions.

Once we all got into the auditorium I went over some basic notes on the facility and then reviewed the concepts behind an unconference. I also went over the schedule with them so that they could see what types of discussions were going to occur and possibly even add an idea of their own on the way up to the first sessions.

I ended with these rules for the day:

  1. Listen. Everyone has something to contribute.
  2. Participate. You have something to add to the conversation.
  3. Think with your feet.
  4. Have a good time.

Here’s what I heard at the share-out at the end of the day and from e-mails sent to me that evening:

  • I wanted to take a moment to express my enjoyment at today’s sessions! The conversations throughout the day were healthy, respectful, and informative among the educators in the building, I look forward to future edCamp events.
  • Thanks for setting this up.  Best day this summer.
  • Again, the conference was great and got me thinking in a lot of new ways.
  • I’m becoming an edcamp junkie.
  • Thank you so very much for the opportunity to attend the edcamp today, It was my very first time and I must admit I was a little leery not knowing what it was really about. It turned out to be an eye-opening experience. It was great to see, hear and discuss a common ground with other teachers.
  • I greatly enjoyed meeting teachers from other school districts to share our thoughts on different areas of education.  Thank you for setting up this unconference.
  • Would you please email me information on how to set up an edcamp in my school?

It’s not that I didn’t attempt to educate attendees on what the day would be like. It was all on the website that was linked to the Eventbrite. It’s just that the concept is still so new to so many people.

There are many, many more edcamps already scheduled. There’s even another in NJ on December 1. Please share our experiences from yesterday with your colleagues and future edcamp attendees.

edcamp Common Core

June 15, 2012

A few months ago, as we were planning our PD for the summer at Kean, I realized that I really wanted to provide an event at the SGEI this summer that was of no cost to educators. The theme that we chose for this edcamp is the Common Core Standards.  Educators are encouraged to gather at this event to discuss the following topics:

  • What are districts doing to implement the Common Core?
  • What am I expected to know about the Common Core Standards for the grade level(s) and content area I teach to prepare my students for the 2014?
  • What am I expected to know as a classroom teacher?
  • Just how different are the Common Core from previous state standards?
  • What kinds of professional development are available to assist with implementing the Common Core?
The School for Global Education & Innovation 

is proud to present this FREE event for NY and NJ educators. 
This “UNCONFERENCE” will be held at the STEM Building 
at Kean University on August 9, 2012 from 8am – 4pm.

Register for this event using
 

We are looking for educators that have been implementing the standards in the classrooms/schools/districts to join us that day and facilitate conversations at the roundtables. Please contact me directly if you are interested in helping make this event a success!

Ed Tech in the NJ Classroom

May 17, 2012
tags: , , ,

Today I had the pleasure of presenting to a group of faculty/staff from Fairleigh Dickinson University in NJ. I promised them that I would post the slidedeck and resources while at Starbucks soaking up wifi in-between meetings. Unfortunately, I could not get to a Starbucks, but I was able to find a Panera and write the post.

I had originally presented this information at WETech  Symposium back in March. Using this blog post, I gathered stories from educators from around NJ regarding how they were using technology in their schools.

The following are the resources and websites that I referred to in the presentation:


The #eduonair conference and PD in NJ

May 15, 2012

On May 2, 2012 Google hosted its first conference using Google Hangouts On Air. During the 8-hour conference, there were over 40 presentations on everything from robotics to 1:1 initiatives to using Google Apps in schools. The presenters all donated their time to try this new way to present, interact and archive professional development. I have supported this form of PD over the last few years as I truly appreciate the archiving so that educators can go back at any time and watch again. Other organizations have been practicing this for a couple of years including Classroom 2.0 Live and The Global Education Conference.

Speaking of professional development. Did you read the article about the possible discontinuation of the 100 hours in NJ? I’m concerned about how the new standards for professional development are going to be determined in NJ. Though I strongly believe that teacher assessment should be driven by evaluations and student achievement gains, I also believe that there has to be a standardized directive from the administration on how much and what type of PD teachers should participate in.

What are your thoughts and concerns on requiring professional development hours for educators? How should the hours be counted? Who should determine what type of sessions are attended?

Looking to Hear Success Stories from Educators in NJ

March 1, 2012

On Saturday, March 17, 2012 I will be speaking at the first ever West Essex Tech Symposium. This special free event has been designed to educate K-12 teachers, administrators, media specialists, school boards and interested community members on the innovative uses of technology in education.

I am one of three keynotes that will be presented that day. Eric Scheninger and Patrick Higgins will also be presenting, so I encourage you to attend and also check out the many sessions from fantastic teachers and admins across NJ.

I would love to share your story during my keynote, “Possibly the 648th Time You’ll Hear About 21st Century Learning”. Please consider filling out the form below, contacting me directly or passing the link to this page on to someone you feel has a story to share. It’s these stories that encourage other educators in NJ and elsewhere to shift their teaching strategies to help prepare our students for what is to come.

Looking to Learn Something New? Come to NJ!

February 15, 2012

March is a busy month in NJ for professional Development

Maximizing the Possibilities of a Connected World

NJECC 26th Annual NJ Educational Computing Cooperative Conference
Co-sponsored with NJ Dept. of Education and Montclair State University
MARCH 13, 2012
Keynote Speaker: JON LANDIS
Post-Conference Workshops:
March 14 & 15, 2012

Conference Booklet – http://www.njecc.org/site/files/2012registrationbrochure.pdf

From My Classroom to Yours

Digital Content in the Classroom
Create, Integrate, Assess!

Annual From My Classroom to Yours Conference
Wednesday, March 14, 2012
8:30 a.m. – 3:00 p.m. 
on the campus of The Richard Stockton College of New Jersey
Pomona, New Jersey

A teacher-to-teacher conference that offers teachers, technology coordinators, and educational administrators the opportunity to share “best practices” for teaching and learning.

First Educational Technology Symposium at West Essex March 17, 2012!

This special free event has been designed to educate K-12 teachers, administrators, media specialists, school boards and interested community members on the innovative use of technology in education.
For information, contact Raquel Williams at rwilliam@westex.org. To register, visit www.westex.org/wetech. To read the press release, click here.

The first ever NY/NJ Google Apps Summit!
This event will be held at the Kean University STEM building on March 22 and 23, 2012.

Register now as it is filling quickly. Come hear from Googlers, Google Certified Teachers and Google Apps Certified Trainers on how to deploy, implement and sustain Google Apps in your school. Take a look at the conference grid at https://sites.google.com/site/nynjgs12/conference-sessions and register here.

FETC 2012 Thinking About the Un-Comfort Zone

January 27, 2012

This was my first FETC. I got lucky with the weather, I got lucky with the company I got to keep, I got lucky that my presentations (1 and 2) went well (I think). But most important of all, I got lucky with what I took away from the conference.

I spent much of the conference thinking about students as leaders. I included Chris Lehman and Sylvia Martinez in one of my presentations because of how they empower the students they work with.

I listened to stories form the changes Shannon Miller has made in Van Meter, Iowa. I sat and heard Jason Markey and some other folks from East Leyden High School in Illinois speak about empowering students as leaders. I engaged in some great conversations on Twitter:

Heidi Hayes Jacobs spoke about how we are limited by what we know. Many of us tend to do things that we are used to and comfortable with. But she also said that we have to feel uncomfortable in order to grow. I think one of the great ways to get in that un-comfort zone is to put the learning in the hands of the students.

Heidi talked about the following with regards to what makes a good Web 2.0 site:

  • encourage engagement and curiosity
  • deepens examination of content
  • engenders independence
  • reflects quality in student products/performance

But I am thinking that we can apply these same requirements to how we put our students in leadership roles.

So, think about how you can push yourself to try something new. Perhaps that new thing can be a change in the role of the students in your classroom. Please let me know what you think.


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