Saturday, March 29, 2014

Messaging + ClassDojo = Genius

What a week in room 18!  While we dove headfirst into the SBAC and swam among the new forces of measurement and Performance Tasks, something arose out of the dark and murky waters that brightened up the week and helped us (me) stay afloat.

+ClassDojo, a free, online classroom tool that assists teachers improve student behavior, released a brand new feature in the iOS and Android app called "Messaging."  This allows parents and teachers to build a stronger line of communication regarding each individual student.  Essentially, this feature makes it possible for teachers and parents to text message back and forth, via the ClassDojo app, without exchanging contact details.  Messaging allows teachers to message either individually to parents or via broadcast to where the message is sent out to all parents with a ClassDojo account linked to their specific child.  Both are incredible options when I need to let parents know about a behavior immediately (positive or negative), or anything else for that matter.

So as I dove in headfirst with the SBAC, I eagerly dove in with a triple back flip with ClassDojo messaging and sent out my first broadcast message.  I was able to see immediately who it was sent out to and when my parents received the message with "read receipts."  As a huge ClassDojo user and advocate, I am encouraged to see this incredible resource grow and become even better for the use of teachers.

Sunday, March 23, 2014


Wow!  What an incredible year at the ETC! Conference this year in Modesto!  Being this was my 9th year attending this tech conference, I was very encouraged to see the number of attendees reach 800+. Unbelievable turnout for this conference that I consider my tech baby as this is the event that really started to change and alter the way I integrate technology into my classroom.  Marianne Pack, +luke hibbard and the ETC! crew really were on it this year with making this experience one that everyone wouldn't forget!  It was also a bonus that the conference was powered by +Edmodo and this really helped make ETC! what it was by offering a place to backchannel during the sessions and after the conference was over.  

The ETC! experience was a little different for me this year as I presented during all four session slots.  Two of which were on my staple preso, Edmodo: Learn Anywhere with Social Media, and the other two were on +ClassDojo with my buddy and co-presenter, +Chad King.  We titled it ClassDojo: Manage Your Class Like a Ninja and apparently they were such a hit that the Modesto Bee caught notice and snapped a picture or two and featured it in the paper the next day!  Take a look at the article here: 

Reflection on Edmodo: Learn Anyway with Social Media
So I designed this session as a two-parter as I wanted to have more time for my participants to really get a chance to have a hands-on approach as they create and design their own Edmodo groups for their class.  The first hour included my normal demo of what Edmodo is, how to sign up, features, etc...And I feel that I got most of my attendees appetites ready for what I was hoping to accomplish in the second hour.  This was creating a more interactive, sandbox session that allowed everyone to dive into what Edmodo was really going to look like in their own environment.  I was really happy I did this after all was said and done because people went away with something constructed and ready to implement as they walked into their classrooms on Monday morning.   If there is something that I appreciate at conferences, it is when presenters allow for takeaway time and give an opportunity to actually do something with the resource or ideas they are presenting about.  This was what I really desired to provide in my second session.  Overall, this double session on Edmodo really allowed me to dive deeper into not only how I use Edmodo with my students, but it also gave me a better grasp on what teachers want to initially start up with when designing their groups.  

ClassDojo: Manage Your Class Like a Ninja
So the highlight of the day was presenting with Chad on ClassDojo.  ClassDojo is an interactive classroom management site that allows teachers to reward positive and negative behaviors in a fun and techie way during class.  Chad and I decided to use the name and design our presentation around the theme of a ninja. So what would anyone do with a presentation themed around ninjas?  Dress up like one of course So that is what we did.  And yes, Karate Kid, Chuck Norris and Bruce Lee clips and sound bytes were extensively used throughout to entertain.  Above all the fluff, Chad and I really wanted to show and demonstrate the power of this site to our attendees in a way that they were going want to start it immediately in their class come Monday morning.  So again, just like I did in my Edmodo session, we made sure that our ClassDojo session allowed time for teachers to begin creating their ClassDojo account and start collaborating on how best to use the Dojo within their classes.  I felt that Chad and I gave them enough info to start up and take the plunge in using something so powerful to not only manage their classrooms, but have some ninja fun doing so!

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Summer Tech Fest 2013

So when you think of Professional Development in education, what comes to mind? Is it a boring lecturer rattling off features of a program that you know darn well in your heart that you will never use?  Or do you think of PD as an experience that is not only a one to three day event, but is something ongoing and you will continue to explore and receive continual help and advice? Well, I would hope it is the latter because that is what Summer Tech Fest was for myself, and I believe many others who attended. I was honored to not only be at the Stanislaus County Office of Ed's/CTAP6 STF13, but to also present on +Edmodo alongside the great +Lee Ollar  and +luke hibbard. Sessions featured +Google in Education , Social Media in Education, iPad Apps and SBAC, interactive whiteboards, Flipped Teaching, and the grandfather session of them all, Appapalooza. The thing I loved most about this event was
the intimacy of each session. Most PD conferences, or unconferences, involve large groups or breakout sessions of 40+ people. Whereas STF allowed each participant the opportunity to dive in to whatever the tool or tip they were being introduced to. I found this to be highly effective for not only me as a presenter/co-presenter, but for the audience as well. And isn't that what PD should be about? Giving educators the opportunity to enhance their skill set with tools that they are actually interested in and using in their classroom environment.

So to close, I am very encouraged with what took place this year at STF13.  I believe it was an experience that all participants gained a little more knowledge in something that they will take back to their sites as the summer rapidly gets closer to an end. Already looking forward to the next CTAP6 event!

Thursday, April 19, 2012

ETC! 2012

So I am finally getting around to reflecting on my presentation at this year's ETC! 2012 conference. This was my very first presentation, so I was really excited on sharing the knowledge and power of Edmodo, a social networking site for education. I wanted to not only convey the many uses of Edmodo, but at the same time get the message across that this was not something that had a huge learning curve to master. In fact, most of the people that attended my session were already familiar with Edmodo and had some experience integrating it into their classroom. So that was a plus because you never really know your audience until you get into it and see what people are there for. I was able to skip through most of the beginning stages in how to create a teacher account, setup groups, and invite parents. This allowed me to spend more time in highlighting the many uses of Edmodo and how it can increase motivation and engagement in and out of the classroom with your students and parents! Which is the whole reason I use Edmodo practically everyday with my own class.

One of the huge eye-openers for me as a first time presenter was how many questions there were throughout my presentation. I mean, I anticipated and planned time for questions from the audience, but I guess I didn't realize how many there would be and how much conversation it created away from my preso. Don't get me wrong, all of the questions were really thought-provoking and helpful for people to grasp the use of Edmodo, but I was a bit naive when it came to the time aspect of it all. At any rate, the questioning is something I need to plan for a little more the next time I design a presentation.

All in all, I was very happy with how I presented. I feel I represented Edmodo in a positive way and I felt that I offered my audience the information needed to start up their Edmodo groups and/or continue using Edmodo in their classrooms in new and powerful ways. Oh yeah! I also gave away some fantastic Edmodo t-shirts as door prizes via my Lotto app! That was a huge hit to leave my audience with as well! A definite plus and a huge thanks to Betsy Whalen from Edmodo in donating those for my presentation. Until next time, I will keep on Edmodo-ing along with helping others jump onto the Edmodo bandwagon.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

#FallCUE Conference

Wow. What an amazing 2 days in beautiful Napa, CA! I was able to learn, connect, and reflect at CUE's annual Fall Conference at American Canyon High School, which is an incredible campus in its own right. The conference was split into two days which challenged, inspired, and mentally wore me out thinking about how to flip, disrupt and Googlefy my classroom. I was continually reminded that technology is not just something to use in the class, but rather something to enhance the learning of today's 21st Century learner. So here is a summary of that reminder and my experience at Fall CUE.

Day 1: Google Apps EDU Certification Training

I was really excited about this training and learning how to expand my knowledge in the arena of Google Apps for Education. Little did I know of what all this entailed. I was lead by three fantastic Google Teachers, Danny Silva, Dave Childers, and Alice Keeler. All three were trained in the Jedi ways of Google and really gave me a better grasp as to how to not only use Google Apps more effectively in my class and school, but it also gave me a deeper insight of what Google EDU can do to enhance learning and collaboration. I was also blessed to have a great partner, Shauna Hawes, to work through the day with and bounce Google Apps language between the two of us.

Throughout the day training I became better accustomed with Google Docs, Forms, Spreadsheet, Sites, Calendar, Gmail, Marketplace, and Dashboard. All of these absolutely blew my mind with how they work together and are used to better the classroom effectively. Now, implementing them amongst my staff will be another journey, but what I discovered was the need to gain approval for our school's own domain for Google Apps. I think that will be my next step in getting staff and others on the Google Apps train for success.

Day 2: 5 Excellent Sessions

Session 1: Technology + Student Directed Learning = Success for All!
What a fantastic first session to start my 2nd day at FallCUE. Julie Garcia and Tim Weidmann presented on how to use iPod Touch's, Math Apps, and Wikis in the classroom to enhance learning. We were split up into three stations that allowed us the opportunity to listen in on their specific classroom strategies and ideas. Tim had a fantastic example of how to use Wikispaces to allow students to collaborate and access projects and resources for math experience. I was then able to get a hands-on experience with some IPod Touch's and some radical apps that supplement math standards. One in particular was Math Legend which is an app that allows students to feel like they are playing Guitar Hero but apply the math skills of addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division. Finally, Julie Garcia showed some great video ideas to implement into the classroom with particular math objectives. I really enjoyed hearing her ideas of using video to capture math in a way that is disruptive and innovative for the student.

Session 2: Knowledge is Freedom: CIPA, COPPA, and FERPA Explained Succinctly
Ok...this session was really an eye opener for me! Mark Wagner, Google pro, was very specific in describing what these laws say and how they apply to the classroom when using the Internet within the classroom and throughout the district. I really appreciated how Mark lead this course in sort of an open discussion/forum. Many of the people that chose to go to this session had some connection with how these laws effect them in some sort of way, either positive or negative. At any rate, I feel that after this session, CIPA, COPPA, and FERPA are a little more clear to me and what my actual rights are in using the web in a more accurate way.

Session 3: Google Earth
Now, if I do have to pick one session that didn't impress me as much, it had to be this one. Unfortunately, the projector was not as clear, which was out of the presenter's hands, but didn't help his particular presentation. However, with that said, I did begin to see the amazing things that I can use Google Earth to enhance lessons, specifically in the subject of Social Studies. I discovered the use of 3D Buildings and Tours as being two fantastic tools to utilize within the Google Earth application that could be truly powerful.

Session 4: A 45 Minute Social Studies Makeover
If there is one area that I always feel I need to improve in is the subject-area of Social Studies. Now don't get me wrong, I absolutely love the curriculum of Social Studies, but there are times that I really struggle with teaching my 6th graders in that captivating way that I was taught that gave me the appreciation I have for history today. James Gates did an incredible job in sharing specific resources within Google search that could really illuminate how to research and find specific things on the Internet. I also learned about using the Pecha Kucha method to implement when students present. Basically, the Pecha Kucha limits the students to present their slides in a 20 second per slid fashion. It also makes it to where students cannot use bullet points to help them in their presentations. Overall, a fantastic course on how to make Social Studies a little more interactive and interesting for my students.

Session 5: Flipteaching: Using Screencasting and Tablet Technology Shift the Homework-Instruction Paradigm
Now there is always that one session that completely blows your mind and refreshes your outlook at some of our teaching practices. Well, Ramsey Musallam's Flipteaching session was that for me! Now, whenever your presenter starts out with the fact that he might get the phone that he needs to leave because his wife could go into labor at any second, you know you picked the right session to be at! Musallam introduced me to the concept of an "Explore - Flip - Apply" model. This alone was a paradigm shift for me, and it was only the beginning of the session. I have always been intrigued on the idea of filpteaching, but I never really knew how to structure it in a way that made it practical to use with 6th graders. Now, Musallam has access to a lot more resources than I do at my site, but I am tired of that being an excuse of wanting to accomplish something that I think can be seriously effective for my students. One idea that he shared with the group was the use of screencasting to record lessons in order for students to access in order to assimilate the instruction during class. He also modeled how to use Google Docs to help record when students watched the screencast and complete the desired activities for the next day's assignment. I have used Screenflow to capture movies on my desktop, but my subscription has recently expired and I don't have anything to use to screencast any of my lessons. I was bummed about this until Musallam shared that the newest version of Quicktime can record desired sections of your screen and it is free! So that is what I am destined to begin with when creating my screenflows for my lessons. Overall, a fantastic session and completely opened the floodgates with ideas for creativity with flipteaching.

So that was summation of FallCUE! Michael Horn and Tammy Worcester were fabulous keynote speakers begin and end the conference as well. They were the perfect bookends to the conference I was influenced and inspired by the two of them. I think the best thing about the weekend was the fact that I was able to spend it with my beautiful wife. This was our first get away in a long time and it was much needed! Fantastic conference Fall CUE! I am looking forward to next year already!

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Wk4 BP Entry 4 - EDM613 MAC - ETC!, Publishing/Leadership, and Thank You's...

For my final free choice blog post of Media Asset Creation (MAC), I have decided to write about the Education Technology Conference (ETC!), put on by the California Technology Assistance Project (CTAP) that I attended in Modesto, CA this past weekend. Every year I attend this conference and I seem to be inspired to try new things in my classroom that have to do with technology integration. In fact, it will always be a special conference to me because this is where I connected with the presenter, Paul Devoto, who was the one that introduced me to the EMDT program at Full Sail University. Paul has not only been a very inspiring educator, but he was also one of my critical friends for my Action Research Project.

Aside from the great sessions I attended on free Web 2.0 resources, CyberSafety education, Prezi, and iPad ideas for the classroom, I was able to get into contact with two people that were able to give me some great advice and connections for publishing my research project. Burt Lo and Brian Bridges were able to give me some great advice on how to get my research published into OnCue, one of the journals I am aiming at for possible publication. Not only were they both very helpful in getting me connected with who to contact, but both, specifically Burt Lo, was very excited in what I found with my research and was going to possibly contact someone at ISTE (International Society for Technology in Education) to look at my project for possible publication. I was super excited about this and was extremely grateful to Burt and Brian for offering their time into getting my project published. Not only did I get more information on my Publishing/Leadership project, but I was also led down a path that I was not expecting with the possibility of ISTE picking up my project. Talk about the art of possibility!

At any rate, by attending ETC! this year, I was able to get my Leadership/Publishing Project rolling by connecting with people who could assist me in this part of my Full Sail journey. So I would like to take this time to thank Paul Devoto, Burt Lo, Brian Bridges, and all the people that have been influential in not only my ARP, but through the whole EMDT program. All of my colleagues, mentors, and course directors have been very inspiring through all the courses, projects, team projects, peer-critiques, blog comments, and everything else that came along with the FSO experience. I have enjoyed collaborating with all of our classmates, but specifically Bryan Antos, Pamela Hickman, Brooke McKaig, and Orlando McLin,

whom I worked together with from month 1. We have had quite the journey together and I look forward to keeping in touch with all of you!

Entry 3 - Wk4 Comments to Pamela Hickman: Art of Possibility Ch. 9-12

Week 4-Blog Post 2-The Art of Posibilities Ch. 9-12

Pamela Hickman's Comments:
This weeks reading was very good. I would have to say the whole book was very good I liked how it talks about like possibilities from every angle imaginable. I really enjoyed chapter 10 talking about our life being a game board. It seems like my students over the past couple of years have this sense of "entitlement" there is no self responsibility anywhere. I have noticed students will say "that teacher gave me an F" instead of "I earned an F in math." This generation of kids are looking to blame someone every time something goes wrong in their life. I like how the booked refers to life a board and we are going to make choices and mistakes, but we have to learn from them. Sometimes we have to put our pride to the side and say "yes this is my fault how do I fix it?" I try to teach my students you are not entitled to anything the successes you get in life are earned, but so many students think that they are going to make millions of dollars have a perfect life without hard work. I hate to say this but that is not reality. People in general want to blame diffrent people for hardship and bad things, but the ugly truth is sometime we make mistakes and have to learn from them.

I lost my brother four years ago to this "game" called the choking game. I was so heartbroken over the lose of my brother. I just wanted to blame the kids that showed him how to "play." I wanted to blame the God, but I didn't want to blame him for doing it. I guess we never want to blame the people we love for bad things that hurt us. The ugly truth was my bother made the choice to play and the consequence was that he died at 19-years-old. I guess in that first year of losing my brother I just wanted life to stop and people to just piety my situation. I got alone with God and my Bible and realized life hasn't stopped people will not continue to piety my situation. I began to think OK this has happened know what can I do to make a difference. My family and I began to give speeches to youth groups in churches in the area about the dangers of the "Choking Game." My family and I didn't want this to happen to another family so we are trying to make a difference through educating parents and teens on the deadly game. My challenge to everyone is this when God allows bad things to happen to you use it to help others. God allows bad things to happen to good people because He knows that we can handle the bad thing and use it for His Glory.

Posted by Pamela at 3:10 PM

My Comments to Pamela:

What a heartfelt blog post! I think it is interesting that human nature is always ready and prepared to point the proverbial finger at anyone but themselves when they should be looking at in the mirror in the first place to evaluate what they could have done differently (which I do believe has some biblical application). I think today's student/individual spends so much effort on how to cast their problems onto someone else rather than "being the board" and looking at life from that perspective. I think as teachers, we shoulder a lot of the burden in attempting to persuade our students into believing that they can accomplish something great in their lives, but we also must realize that at some point the student must be the one that has to take that initiative and discover their own art of possibility. And as a educator, I am always trying to be a catalyst in each of my students' lives to be the one that generates that spark of possibility that encourages them to take that risk that leads them down their "road of passion" so-to-speak. But at some point, I must be content with the fact that I have done my best to reach each student and now it is up to them.

Anyways, I was really touched and inspired by what you shared about your brother. I know that with the strength of God, you and your family have seen the positives that came from this event in your lives. As hard as that is to understand at times, those are the instances that God uses to give us clarity and perspective about certain aspects of this thing called life that we would have never understood before. Thanks for sharing Pamela!