Reaching a High Score #LevelUpBC #edtech

This presentation has gone through several revisions since I first presented it over a year ago. Here’s the current version of it that was presented at this year’s MSET iConnect event on December 1st, 2012.  The event was managed by the incredibly talented Selena Ward.

Presentation’s Google Doc:https://docs.google.com/presentation/d/1L9p2HNPnnn6gWTKkG3YrI6nrSvdrCov01_D2vw1J0Fk/edit

Reality is Broken: http://janemcgonigal.com/

Article on Lee Sheldon of Indiana University:

http://www.itnews.com.au/News/169862,employers-look-to-gaming-to-motivate-staff.aspx

Warcraft in School: http://wowinschool.pbworks.com

Minecraft in School: http://minecraftinschool.pbworks.com

Level Up Book Club: http://levelupbc.blogspot.com &http://levelupbc.tumblr.com

(And if you want to know more about me, go to http://aaronbsmith.com )

Academic Aesthetic #179: On 4th Grade and Conversations

Show notes:

Good Idea, Bad Idea

This is my reaction to New York City imposes new social media rules for teachers.  Click to read the article, it’s worth it.

I agree a set of rules should be established.  Every day I see people of all ages posting things that they really shouldn’t.  That stuff doesn’t go away, particularly if it’s embarrassing.

As for the schools mentioned in the article who ban social networking outright?  I’m waiting for them to ban computers and start teaching how to bang rocks together.  When it comes to technology, you can’t TEACH it if you can’t USE it. 

Social networking is one of the things that permeates the internet right now.  If I had to ban all social networking tools from my classroom over half my curriculum (including Edmodo, which is a spectacular teaching tool) would be toast.  I’d be back to teaching just MS Word, PowerPoint, and Excel for 180 school days.

Academic Aesthetic #178: Problems and Solutions

This is an episode about problems and solutions as I look ahead to next year’s curriculum.

Problem

9 week curriculum needs revising.  This is a course that can be repeated every year.  Even if I didn’t need to change the lessons to keep it interesting to ME, I would still need to change the lessons to keep it interesting to my students.

Solution

Change the “plot” of most projects.  Instead of building a tree using 3D Tin, build a flower (or something else)!  Projects too simple for a “plot” change can be retired, replaced by new assignments.

Problem

Major curriculum needs a large overhaul.  There were many projects that worked well, but others that did not.  Some were based on specific time-sensitive events, like our school’s Fall Drama production.  In addition, the majority of the class (I have 7 students moving on to High School) will be in the course next year.  This can’t just be a repeat, I need a full year’s worth of new projects.

Solution

Don’t reset points, levels, or projects completed.  Incoming majors will still be Level 1.  Returning majors (7th and 8th grade) will be whatever level they were in June. This will require more levels to be added (Current cap is Level 5) with more complex assignments to accommodate returning students.  Current thought is to include assignments that involve more than one media file.  Instead of “Record an .mp3” they may have to “Create a podcast series with no fewer than 5 episodes.”

Problem

Film Festival projects are cutting it close – very close – to our deadline.  With 5 weeks to go many students still have not finished their scripts.

Solution

Spread Film Festival projects out through the entire year.  Script/Storyboard due Q1, Final Movie due Q3, Trailer due Q4, and a new “Making of…” project due Q2.  These projects will reside OUTSIDE of the Levels format existing for the other projects, and can be handed in regardless of the level of the student.

Problem

5th Grade curriculum relates to the 9 week curriculum much more than it does to the Major curriculum.  Incoming Majors have experience with technology but there is much room for improvement.

Solution

Redo 5th grade curriculum to follow gaming model.  Move some “retired” 9 week lessons to 5th grade to give them a feel for the program, then simplify some Major lessons and introduce them has higher level 5th grade projects.

Problem

Site design could use an overhaul.  (This seems to change every year.)  I used MediaWiki for Middle School’s class sites because I wanted to teach myself how to use MediaWiki.  Now that the challenge is gone I am seeing MediaWiki’s shortcomings.  My options are to install plugins to give MediaWiki the functionality that it lacks OR to move on to something else.

Solution … ?

Hand coding, Google Sites, WordPress, Drupal, Wikispaces, Tumblr, … something else?  I am still looking into all of my options.

Problem

Many of my tutorials must be redone.  Some are no longer relevant as better techniques have been developed, others need to redone now that websites and or apps have been upgraded.

Solution

Nothing to it but to do it.  The kinks for this have already been worked out, the rest is just time management.

Problem

Technology can be lacking.  We have more cameras this year than any previous year, yet I do not have enough cameras to provide one to each student.  Many students do not have technology at home needed to complete assignments.  This has been partially solved by creating “low tech” projects that relate to technology but don’t require it for an A.  More can and should be done.

Solution

Donors Choose for cameras?  Create a “recommended purchases” page on the class site?  (I cannot “require” anything more than a flash drive, but I can “recommend” anything.)  Provide weekly lab time after school to any students that wish to work on something.

Common Ground Maryland 2012 Twitter Digest Day 2

2nd verse, same as the first.

  1. A little slow getting ready this morning, but now I’m all set to head out to Day 2 of #CGMD12.
  2. Blog: I know where I’ll be Session 8!
  3. So apparently @UnhelpfulTeachr is following me. Wonder if she checks Twitter on her phone during class while confiscating student phones.
  4. Looking forward to Camp ITC in Rm 345, presented by fellow @pgcps employee Tia Simmons!
  5. Oh there’s a lot more than 2 of us! :) RT @msreneescience: I’m at Baltimore Convention Center (Baltimore, MD) w/ 2 others.

-=-=-=-=-

  1. Camp ITC presentation resources: http://bit.ly/IDBJpd
  2. “I have a PhD in ADHD.”
  3. Follow Tia Simmons @techtia#CGMD12 #campitc
  4. http://todaysmeet.com Free online chat, participants don’t need to register.
  5. When building your own CampITC, Plan the Who, What, Where, When, Why, & How first. Set guidelines to narrow things down.
  6. “Scout out” your tools ahead of time. Google Apps, Elluminate, etc. Start early to help people adjust to the format.
  7. @misteryork1 That’s an issue with any conference. I always check what organization the speaker represents in the schedule. (In reply to Mr. York complaining about sales pitches disguised as sessions.)
  8. “Chat & Chew” sessions – time for discussion vs. lecture.
  9. Establish “Camp Rules.” Guidelines so that participants know what is expected from them and from the “Camp Counselor.”
  10. One of the #CampITC rules: “Reflect & implement new strategies.” THIS CANNOT BE EMPHASIZED ENOUGH! (Emphasis mine.)
  11. #CampITC Schedule: Session 1: Getting to know your camping guide (Pedagogy)
  12. #CampITC Schedule: Session 2: Take a Hike (Prep/Planning)
  13. #CampITC Schedule: Session 3: From Camping to Classroom (Putting it together/Reflecting)
  14. #CampITC use a variety of tools for communication/evaluation – Email, wikis, “corkboard” sites, etc.
  15. #CampITC Give stuff at the end. Certificates, raffles, door prizes, etc.
  16. I really like the idea of doing a #CampITC. Thinking of setting one up for my building.

-=-=-=-=-

  1. Ready for the session on screencasting to start in rm 318. What’s this about a web based screencasting app?
  2. Many people here have already made screencasts. Starting off by bringing the rest up to speed.
  3. Screencast: Recording of whatever is seen on the screen + voice, often for making tutorials.
  4. (Screencasting is also often used when creating machinima or streaming video games.)
  5. Web based screen casting tool: http://www.screencast-o-matic.com/
  6. http://screencast-o-matic.com is Java based, which means it’s cross-platform.
  7. http://screencast-o-matic.com allows you to post videos to YouTube or sort them into “channels” on their site.
  8. http://screencast-o-matic.com allows video downloads as well, including .mp4 .avi .flv and .gif
  9. Paid version and free version. Free limited to 15 minutes. (If yours is longer than that it should be broken into parts anyway.)
  10. This session has already “paid” for itself. http://screencast-o-matic.com is as good as QuickTime for short recordings.
  11. 3 Steps to Screencasting: Plan, Create, Publish. (Good for any media creation!)
  12. “Develop a narration” – avoid “Ums,” “Uhs,” and long pauses when recording. Scripts are great.
  13. Set up a website (wikispaces suggested) to showcase recorded videos.
  14. YouTube hosting is good and free. (I still reccomend having an additional site to showcase/sort videos.)
  15. Use Screencasts to teach/present to parents. (Great way to show the SchoolMax Parent Portal?)
  16. I really like this screencasting session, alas, I must be somewhere else shortly. Was definitely worth my time.

-=-=-=-=-

  1. Hm, is the #cgmd12 Flash Mob upstairs or downstairs?#WeveHadThisProblemBefore
  2. @harbeckc It was at the Pratt St. Lobby. @thetechtiger had me record video.

-=-=-=-=-

  1. Not sure if the people in this room are waiting for my #CGMD12 session or holdovers from the last one. We’ll see if they leave when I start.
  2. Reaching A High Score Presentation: http://bit.ly/HNSgH3
  3. Thanks! RT @APPliedClub: It’s a PACKED full house at the Reaching a High Score session. I’m sitting on the floor. WTG @theartguy
  4. Not sure how I got that crowd… RT @Jennzer#CGMD12 @theartguyalready has a the crowd rolling… Reaching a High Score room 324
  5. RT: APPlied Club ‏ @APPliedClub “One student not passing is too many.” – @theartguy So true!
  6. RT: APPlied Club ‏ @APPliedClub Those who suggest blocking everything as a solution to distraction problems have no idea how to teach technology. @theartguy
  7. RT: Jennifer Weaver ‏ @Jennzer “Are we teaching students to get things right the first time or are we teaching them mastery?” #CGMD12 @theartguy
  8. RT: Selena Ward ‏ @thetechtiger Ok. 1st recommendation for next year: give @theartguy a bigger room.
  9. RT: APPlied Club ‏ @APPliedClub Tons of enthusiasm about meeting students where they already are, take the learning to them. So awesome and inspiring! @theartguy (NOTE: Not sure we were in the same presentation.)
  10. RT: Matthew C. Winner ‏ @MatthewWinner “@theartguy: Reaching A High Score Presentation:http://bit.ly/HNSgH3 #CGMD12” watch this guy! His gaming vision for education is AMAZING!
  11. RT: Justin Eames ‏ @Techucation Can’t wait to implement the ideas I heard about in presentation by@theartguy. Always engaging.
  12. OK, that’s enough with over-inflating my ego. Now to hang out in rm 320 for presentations by @thetechtiger & @MatthewWinner

-=-=-=-=-

  1. Lights, Learning, Action is starting in rm 320! There’s still room, come on in!
  2. @thetechtiger tell me more about that webinar thing. I’m interested.
  3. “You can’t just say you want the next version of Shakespeare.” Start simple. (via @thetechtiger)
  4. 1st example: 3 word video (via @thetechtiger)
  5. Find @thetechtiger‘s resources online at http://selenaward.com/
  6. Six word memoir: “Old too soon, young too late.” (via @thetechtiger)
  7. My 6 word memoir: “Uh oh, was that thing on?”
  8. Google Search Stories: No acting needed, all typing.
  9. To make a Google Search Story you also need good search skills in addition to story writing skills. (via @thetechtiger)
  10. Paper Slide videos: Very much like the “In Plain English” videos. (via@thetechtiger)
  11. Paper Slide Videos: Need Camera Person, Narrator, & Paper Slider (via @thetechtiger)
  12. Shoutout for AFI’s curriculum. It’s FREE! (Via @thetechtiger)
  13. Next Vista “Teach a project in 90 seconds.” (Via @thetechtiger)
  14. I inturrupted @thetechtiger. I’m sorry!
  15. On Air Free – makes iDevice into a teleprompter (via @thetechtiger)
  16. “If you crash and burn take a deep breath and try again.” (Via@thetechtiger)
  17. Another AWESOME presentation by @thetechtiger at #CGMD12 – She rocks!

-=-=-=-=-

  1. Getting ready for @matthewwinner‘s presentation in room 320! Game on!
  2. @atruger OK I am now in love with http://www.picmonkey.com/ – THANK YOU for this resource!
  3. Thrilled to be in this session – @matthewwinner and his co presenter (twitter unknown) are doing a great job!
  4. “They already have math in [the Wii] but they’re not telling anyone about it, which is really stupid.” (via @matthewwinner)
  5. Full mix of Wii experience levels here. (I’ve never used one.)
  6. “When I walk into a math room, I want to hear a healthy math buzz.”
  7. Watching video of students playing a skiing game while others record scores & find mean & average. (via @matthewwinner)
  8. “Who’s doing the thinking/talking in your room?”
  9. Digital handouts for @matthewwinner‘s session: http://bit.ly/HYx5qD
  10. Using a Wii bowling game to teach decimal places. Game lets you bowl with 100 pins. (via @matthewwinner)
  11. During @thetechtiger‘s session @matthewwinner pointed out “Could not connect to the internet.” is a 6 word story.
  12. “While we play I have my phone out and have a student take pictures.” (via @matthewwinner)
  13. “We need to use these tools to connect to THEIR world.” (via@matthewwinner)
  14. The Wii seems to mostly be used as an engaging way to gather relevant data. My challenge will be how to do something similar.
  15. Their high score is held by a 2nd grader. (via @matthewwinner)

-=-=-=-=-

  1. I hope we can afford it – if I can I’ll be there! RT @sbeducator: Really liked #CGMD12! I will be there next year…and will bring others!
  2. RT: Charity Harbeck ‏ @harbeckc @theartguy Art of Video games exhibit link. http://t.co/EsbJRrAR

Common Ground Maryland 2012 Twitter Digest Day 1

Because someone might want to look at this and before long going back through Twitter will make it too hard to see these posts, here’s a (not so) brief summary of my observations. I’ve placed gaps to show where I went from one session to another.

  1. My hat's seen better days.

    Up early for a full day of #CGMD12 … As soon as the caffiene kicks in.

  2. @MatthewWinner Not today, no. I look forward to seeing you in my session tomorrow! (That means I’ll have at least one person there.)
  3. It begins! My presentation has remained largely unchanged for weeks, and I just thought of something new to add.
  4. Not 10 minutes after getting here I was recognized twice and high-fived once. I <3 #cgmd12.
  5. A little worried – apparently my #CGMD12 session is at the same time as tomorrow’s keynotes. Might have a room to myself.

    -=-=-=-=-

  6. In room 321, ready to see Doug Johnson present on using personal devices for education. I’m in the seat next to the outlet. :)
  7. All of Doug Johnson‘s session notes are online at http://bit.ly/dsPPGg
  8. Note to self, look for book called Disrupting Class.
  9. @KatrinaStevens1 Your session was already on my short list. Hall is awesome but I’ve seen him before.
  10. Talking about distractions in class – all of which are low tech.
  11. “I don’t think they’re looking for entertainment as much as they are looking for engagement.”
  12. “You can’t disregard the entertainment factor. … Engagement can’t JUST be entertainment.”
  13. “I don’t have all the answers but I hope to leave you confused at a higher level.”I am so glad I picked this session.
  14. “If I could give my grandkids a gift, it would be to give them a life full of interesting problems.”
  15. Update: Disrupting Class is available on Google Play http://bit.ly/HVbfUr.(Post-Conference note: The Kindle version is cheaper.)
  16. Don’t forget to have your edtech conference bingo cards at the ready. http://bit.ly/HVc5k9
  17. YES! Speaker is using all the arguments against personal devices to explain why pencils shouldn’t be used in class.
  18. Doug Johnson is in Rm 321 all day today. From everything I’ve seen so far everyone should see at least one of his sessions.
  19. RE: Devices in school “It’s easier to steer the camel in the direction it’s already going.”
  20. When allowing personal devices, set clear rules and expectations – AUP
  21. “You can use [it], but first explain [how it will help you learn more].”
  22. MP3 player used to 1) Record instructor, 2) listen to language lessons 3) Tune out distractions when doing solo work. FOCUS
  23. Essentially: it’s not the tool, it’s how the tool is used.
  24. “[Personal devices] can be used to facilitate TRUE differentiated instruction.”
  25. Out of time! I’ll have to catch up on #BYOD in another session.
  26. Teaching to the test creates governed citizens, not governing citizens.

    -=-=-=-=-

  27. I won a duck. I named it Frog.

    At @msreneescience & @carmelitadd‘s session on mashups http://bit.ly/JiyC51

  28. When making mashups, make sure you’re allowed. (Creative Commons, etc.)
  29. @msreneescience & @carmelitadd Don’t forget http://openclipart.org and http://incompetech.com for mashup resources!
  30. http://soundbible.com and http://archive.org are more awesome resources for mashups.
  31. Audience is giving tons of resources. Awesome. (Also: http://Soundcloud.com)
  32. http://www.dragontape.com for creating “mixtapes in minutes.”
  33. @willrich45 As tech changes required skills change too, so I’d say learning dispositions are more important.
  34. Showing how to embed (YouTube) videos into other sites.
  35. When embedding/linking YouTube vids, you can have them start at specific points by selecting minutes and seconds.
  36. Request for next year: Print the schedule on cheaper paper. My pen won’t write well on this stuff.
  37. Wouldn’t be a session on mashups without mentioning Glogster.

    -=-=-=-=-

  38. @HallDavidson‘s Keynote Handouts: http://linkyy.com/HallDavidsonHandouts http://linkyy.com/MDLA

    -=-=-=-=-

  39. In the session about @lessoncast
  40. 50% of graduates of Teacher Prep programs leave the teaching field within 5 years. :(
  41. Oh wow they have the Unhelpful High School Teacher Meme pic (unedited) http://bit.ly/rludHV in their presentation.
  42. I have achieved buzzword bingo in this session.(The point was that buzzwords are overemphasized.)
  43. Still discussing the problems in this session. I think we’re ready to listen to solutions, now.
  44. Aaand as soon as I sent that last one, they switched to talking abut a solution.
  45. So @Lessoncast seems to have a nice interface for creating short videos, including space for your script.
  46. “Just because you’re not a good designer does not mean you’re a bad teacher.” … but it helps.

    -=-=-=-=-

  47. In @harryhanna‘s session on Twitter “Going to the Dogs!” Also, I’m using one of the only outlets in the room.
  48. This session is apparently about @GUESStheDog. Should prove interesting.
  49. I am very amused that the majority of people who say hi to me at #CGMD12 call me “The Art Guy” instead of “Aaron,” including @runkles1.
  50. Starting with “Twitter in Plain English” video. http://bit.ly/nQxDoG
  51. Now moving into the “A lot of people use Twitter” phase of the presentation. East Coast Earthquake, Beyonce, SuperBowl
  52. Gary’s Social Media Counter: http://bit.ly/4tMhu0
  53. Relevant to this Twitter discussion: http://bit.ly/J989KE
  54. Elementary teachers follow @GUESStheDog, who in turn follows the teachers. Guess answers questions.
  55. “Can the kids use their cell phones?” Their policy is “Yes.*” (So is ours.) (The * is important.)
  56. “Txt tlk is ok” … but only when using Twitter, not persuasive writing afterward.
  57. Don’t make a lot of teacher accounts from the same IP address at once, they’ll think you’re making spam accounts.
  58. Parents encouraged to make Twitter accounts to follow teacher accounts. Teacher accounts are protected.
  59. Preview EVERYTHING. (And use the Block button liberally.)
  60. @harryhanna @mrh21727 http://TweetDeck.com has a web interface in addition to their app. Good way to bypass seeing trending topics.
  61. Just saw @gwynethjones‘ tweets as they flipped between Twitter pages. She’s a super star.
  62. Going over Twitter vocabulary. Not sure I need to bother summarizing those here.
  63. “Why did you use Explorer?” Oh I like @mrh21727.
  64. Looked up how long I’ve been using Twitter. here’s the video I made when I started in 2007: http://bit.ly/HW0KAl
  65. More Twitter resources: http://bit.ly/HW11Dm

    -=-=-=-=-

  66. Ready to see what MacGyver would do in regards to edtech. Rm 327
  67. MacGyver preso is run by @scottkotarides, resources are on http://bit.ly/HWp57k
  68. A lot of tool implementation is “Ready, Fire, Aim!”Yeah, I’ve seen that.
  69. “Teachers do not get creative with technology.” How many teachers make students make PowerPoint reports?
  70. “You have to use what you have. … Creativity can take you a long way.”
  71. I’m enjoying this presentation, but oh the horrid color choices for this slide. Needs more contrast!
  72. “What if you could buy a few iPads (or insert device here) per year?” Might not be a class set, but it could work.

    -=-=-=-=-

  73. Upstairs at the #CGMD12 Tweetup, wondering if everyone else is downstairs.
  74. Home from #CGMD12 and the Tweetup. Lots of awesome people there, but parties (and bars, even nice ones) aren’t my thing.