Building Capacity with Tech Mentors

Photo by Dave Caleb

Photo by Dave Caleb

I was lucky enough to participate in a 3-day retreat with 25 teachers from across UWCSEA’s two campuses, designed to build capacity in the college with regards to coaching and mentoring in general, and technology in particular. We have had a lot of requests for more details about the retreat, so I thought I’d outline some key aspects:

Approach

The planning committee comprised of the Digital Literacy Coaches, Teacher Librarians & our Tech Director. Andrew McCarthy (DLC at Dover) created a wonderful Google site for the retreat, then we divided into groups to plan and populate the site according to interest/level of expertise.

The retreat focused on Cognitive Coaching and Mentoring (facilitated by the dynamic duo of  William Powell & Ochan Kusuma-Powell) in the morning sessions, together with afternoon sessions exploring strategic technology themes at UWCSEA. We wanted to build in a culture of sharing and team building throughout. To this end, we incorporated an optional Photo Walk with Dave Caleb (Grade Four teacher and photographer extraordinaire), time for sharing best practice from participants and a social dinner one evening.

Screen Shot 2012-06-04 at 10.22.37 PM

Bill & Ochan really did a spectacular job of setting the tone of the Retreat. They had a fluid, natural style which contributed to a relaxed, engaging atmosphere throughout. Their coaching sessions focused on the following:

Photo by Dave Caleb

Photo by Dave Caleb

Wednesday – 8am – 12pm

Surfacing assumptions about adult learning — preconceived notions vs. what the research suggests

Four support functions: Coaching, Consulting, Collaborating, and Evaluating

Trust and Rapport

Thursday – 8am to 12pm

Photo by Dave Caleb

Photo by Dave Caleb

Self-Directed Learning: how does a Mentor support it

Coaching as Mentoring

The Planning Conversation – how to support a Mentee in planning

Practice with specific coaching strategies

Friday – 8am to 12pm

Photo by Dave Caleb

Photo by Dave Caleb

Situational Leadership for Adult Learning: Directive and Supportive Behaviors

Feedback: The Breakfast of Champions and Losers — how different types of feedback affect the recipient.

Kegan’s Stages of Adult Development and how they impact learning.

The Reflecting Conversation: how to support a Mentee in reflecting and evaluating technology use.

Things I learned:

If you effectively double the number of devices people have access to, you will break the wifi

iPadsOne exciting aspect of the conference was that we were able to give each Tech Mentor a new iPad. There were several reasons for this, including the fact that teachers who play with technology in their everyday lives are more likely to use it in the classroom (and beyond), as well as the opportunities for meaningful and detailed assessment for learning that the iPad affords. Not surprisingly, the iPads were very well-received by the Mentors, and they dove headfirst into exploring it for note taking, capturing images, creating iMovie trailers and much more.

The downside to that is that although we factored in the number of people coming to the Retreat, we didn’t take the number of devices they would be connecting to the wifi into consideration. Lesson learned.

People Really Matter

Screen Shot 2012-06-05 at 1.24.07 PMFrom the feedback we received, the chance to meet and get to know people from the other campuses repeatedly came up. Both our campuses are HUGE, and it is not unusual that people can work at the same campus for years and not lay eyes on one another. Just taking the time to sit down and really learn about some other people was a considerable benefit. We know that magical things happen when you put passionate and interesting people in the same room together, and the Tech Mentors’ Retreat certainly confirmed that.

Pedagogy First, Technology Second 

DSC_6243This Retreat was not designed to teach the teachers a whole lot of technology. The people who were there were already keen on the tech – we didn’t need to shove it down their throats. What made it so successful in my mind was that it was grounded in research and emphasized technology as a tool for learning, rather than an end in itself. In fact the majority of the conference involved best practice for interacting with others – social skills 101 if you like – and would be useful for any individual! It gave a lot of insights into the reasons people can be reluctant to use technology, and provided some techniques to deal with these sort of issues at school.

I Still Love to Share

And so it seems did our Mentors. It was neat to have the showcase sessions with interesting things people are doing in their classrooms. Learning from the experience in the room made people feel valued, and reminded us that there are so many wonderful things happening already at our school, we just need to provide opportunities for people to share with a wider audience. 

Photo by Dave Caleb

Photo by Dave Caleb

[Please check out our Storify collections from Day 1, Day 2 & Day 3 if you would like to see the collective knowledge of the group as we went along.]

Getting off Campus is a Good Thing

A new location can help us to switch our mind from the pulls of day-to-day teaching, to focus on new learning with fewer distractions. It felt like we were at a conference in another country.

Visual Literacy is Important for All

Many Tech Mentors mentioned Noah Katz‘s work on Visual Literacy as a highlight for them. Noah (DLC at Dover) reminded us that we all have a role to play in helping students learn how to share information in the clearest, most visually appealing way possible. We hope to get Noah’s presentation up for you soon, so you can all benefit from his knowledge in this subject.

Passion is Infectious 

Photo by Louise

Photo by Louise Phinney

When we are passionate about something, it really shows through in our presentations. Watching Noah talk about design, Katie Day talk about literacy or Dave Caleb about photography, well, you can’t help but get sucked into that vortex of awesomeness. How are we making this happen for the students we teach? For our teaching colleagues? For ourselves? These are questions worth considering as we look ahead to a new academic year in August.

Thank you!

I couldn’t let the opportunity to say a couple of thank yous go by…

Andrew, thanks for coming up with this genius plan in the first place; and Ben, thanks for having the vision to support it and help make it happen.

To our new Tech Mentors, working with you was an absolute pleasure, and I am grateful so many of you are on Twitter etc so we can keep the conversations going.

Screen Shot 2012-06-05 at 12.16.06 PM

Thinking Routines & the iPad

(Cross-posted at Greatechxpectations

The iPad is a great mobile device for recording students thinking on the go. When we combine the iPad, Harvard’s Artful Thinking Palette, Harvard’s Visible Thinking Routines and the free Voicethread app, a plethora of possibilities become available.

Sign in to Voicethread (NB, if your school has domain, as ours does, you can edit this on the sign in page).

I Used to Think, Now I Think

Used when students’ thoughts, opinions & ideas might change over the course of a unit. (Click here for more details)

Students could draw and screenshot a picture that represents their initial thinking in a unit. Bring the image into Voicethread and explain their thinking. Follow up by repeating the activity at the culmination of the unit, and add to their initial Voicethread.

See, Think, Wonder

Sets the stage for inquiry. Usually used at the beginning because it stimulates curiosity. (Click here for more details)

Using a pre-selected photo, or one they have taken, create a Voicethread with 3 slides (photo repeated 3 times). Add narration over each slide – one for ‘see’, one for ‘think’, and one for ‘wonder’.

Compass Points

Compass points helps you extend your thinking. (Click here for more details)

East = Excited. What are you excited about?
West = Worrisome. What worries you?
North = Need to know. What more information do you require?
South = Stance/Suggestion. What are your next steps?

Have students take 4 photos representing the four points for a given topic (e.g. current Unit of Inquiry). Create a new Voicethread and have students narrate over the top, explaining their selections.

Beginning, Middle & End

This routine develops observation and imagination. (Click here for more details)

Have the students look at pre-selected image. Get them to choose either Beginning, Middle or End.

Beginning – if this is the beginning of the story, what do you think might happen next?
Middle – if it this is the middle of a story, what might have happened before? What might be about to happen?
End – If this is the end of a story, what might the story be?

Create a Voicethread with the image, and have students explain their thoughts through a voice comment. 

Claim, Support, Question

This routine supports reasoning. (Click here for more details) This routine might be better suited to upper primary aged students.

Claim – Make a claim about the image/topic
Support – Identify support for your claim
Question – Ask a question related to your claim.

Using an image that represents your topic, add a voice comment for each section of this thinking routine. This may be 3 separate comments, or 3 slides with one comment on each.

Looking 10 x 2

Great for observation and descriptive skills. (Click here for more details)

Look at an image for 30 seconds. Try and list 10 words/phrases you see. Repeat these steps again, this time trying to list an additional 10 words/phrases you observe. Add the image to Voicethread and add two voice comments to the image.

Tips

You might like to consider purchasing a camera connection kit to transfer images directly from your SD card to the iPad.

Alternatively, you can email images you wish students to see to the email address set up on your iPad. The students can add the images to the Photo Gallery from there by holding one finger on the image, then selecting save to Photo Gallery.

________________________________________________________________________

Credits
Magnifying Glass ( BY NC SD ) flickr photo shared by Lanzen
Compass ( BY NC ) flickr photo shared by Roland Urbanek
Cuff Links ( BY NC SD ) flickr photo shared by Oberazzi
Pale Blue 10 ( BY NC SD ) flickr photo shared by Caro’s Lines

Thinking Routines & the iPad

(Cross-posted at Greatechxpectations

The iPad is a great mobile device for recording students thinking on the go. When we combine the iPad, Harvard’s Artful Thinking Palette, Harvard’s Visible Thinking Routines and the free Voicethread app, a plethora of possibilities become available.

Sign in to Voicethread (NB, if your school has domain, as ours does, you can edit this on the sign in page).

I Used to Think, Now I Think

Used when students’ thoughts, opinions & ideas might change over the course of a unit. (Click here for more details)

Students could draw and screenshot a picture that represents their initial thinking in a unit. Bring the image into Voicethread and explain their thinking. Follow up by repeating the activity at the culmination of the unit, and add to their initial Voicethread.

See, Think, Wonder

Sets the stage for inquiry. Usually used at the beginning because it stimulates curiosity. (Click here for more details)

Using a pre-selected photo, or one they have taken, create a Voicethread with 3 slides (photo repeated 3 times). Add narration over each slide – one for ‘see’, one for ‘think’, and one for ‘wonder’.

Compass Points

Compass points helps you extend your thinking. (Click here for more details)

East = Excited. What are you excited about?
West = Worrisome. What worries you?
North = Need to know. What more information do you require?
South = Stance/Suggestion. What are your next steps?

Have students take 4 photos representing the four points for a given topic (e.g. current Unit of Inquiry). Create a new Voicethread and have students narrate over the top, explaining their selections.

Beginning, Middle & End

This routine develops observation and imagination. (Click here for more details)

Have the students look at pre-selected image. Get them to choose either Beginning, Middle or End.

Beginning – if this is the beginning of the story, what do you think might happen next?
Middle – if it this is the middle of a story, what might have happened before? What might be about to happen?
End – If this is the end of a story, what might the story be?

Create a Voicethread with the image, and have students explain their thoughts through a voice comment. 

Claim, Support, Question

This routine supports reasoning. (Click here for more details) This routine might be better suited to upper primary aged students.

Claim – Make a claim about the image/topic
Support – Identify support for your claim
Question – Ask a question related to your claim.

Using an image that represents your topic, add a voice comment for each section of this thinking routine. This may be 3 separate comments, or 3 slides with one comment on each.

Looking 10 x 2

Great for observation and descriptive skills. (Click here for more details)

Look at an image for 30 seconds. Try and list 10 words/phrases you see. Repeat these steps again, this time trying to list an additional 10 words/phrases you observe. Add the image to Voicethread and add two voice comments to the image.

Tips

You might like to consider purchasing a camera connection kit to transfer images directly from your SD card to the iPad.

Alternatively, you can email images you wish students to see to the email address set up on your iPad. The students can add the images to the Photo Gallery from there by holding one finger on the image, then selecting save to Photo Gallery.

________________________________________________________________________

Credits
Magnifying Glass ( BY NC SD ) flickr photo shared by Lanzen
Compass ( BY NC ) flickr photo shared by Roland Urbanek
Cuff Links ( BY NC SD ) flickr photo shared by Oberazzi
Pale Blue 10 ( BY NC SD ) flickr photo shared by Caro’s Lines

iCreate, Therefore I Am

Here is an overview of what I will be exploring in my workshop today on using iPads to create rather than consume content. You might like to check out UWCSEA East’s list of apps to find other useful apps.

Newspaper Blackout Poetry

Using Brushes & any News app (such as NY Times, Stuff, BBC) on the iPad, you can easily make creative blackout poetry. I have already written about Newspaper Blackout here, but see below for my  quick tutorial video.

Newspaper Blackout Tutorial from United World College of SE Asia on Vimeo.

Storytelling with Puppets

We have 2 great storytelling apps: Sock Puppets & Puppet Pals HD. Our language teachers (e.g. Wendy Liao) use these to reinforce conversational skills, and they find that it really motivates the kids to do their best.

One of the best things about Puppet Pals HD is that you can (with the Director’s Pass) upload your own characters (either hand-drawn, or photos of the students themselves) and backgrounds, which makes the app more suitable for upper-elementary and middle school learners.

Create Soundtracks with GarageBand

GarageBand manages to make even a novice feel like an expert on the iPad. The addition of Smart music (e.g. Smart Guitar, Smart Drums) can turn every student into an accomplished composer with very little  teacher input.

GarageBand Tutorial from United World College of SE Asia on Vimeo.

Photography

With the advent of the iPad 2, the ability to create content has definitely gone up a notch. Taking your own photos, editing them and using them in cross-curricular ways is easy, fun and very creative.

By way of example, apps like Camera+ (currently only for iPhone), Adobe Photoshop Express, and ColorSplash for iPad all let you edit your photos in new and wonderful ways.

Apps such as Strip Designer or Comic Touch (currently only for iPhone) allow you to take these photos and transform them into comics or flashcards (to name but a few). Our early years teachers sent students out to find words starting with the letter M for example.

Bill Atkinson Photo Card lets you use your photos to create beautiful postcards to send to others. Some teachers have used this app for character studies, where students write a postcard in the manner of one of the characters in the novel they are studying. In our early years department, students emailed their teacher and told them about their favourite holiday, relating to their unit on celebrations.

If we have time…

I’d love to share some kinetic typography using Keynote. Also using Creative Book Builder to make ePubs straight from the iPad, however as it’s a new app, it’s a little buggy right now. It is definitely one to keep an eye on.

I’m always on the lookout for great apps that allow you to create rather than consume, so drop some suggestions in the comments!

iCreate, Therefore I Am

Here is an overview of what I will be exploring in my workshop today on using iPads to create rather than consume content. You might like to check out UWCSEA East’s list of apps to find other useful apps.

Newspaper Blackout Poetry

Using Brushes & any News app (such as NY Times, Stuff, BBC) on the iPad, you can easily make creative blackout poetry. I have already written about Newspaper Blackout here, but see below for my  quick tutorial video.

Newspaper Blackout Tutorial from United World College of SE Asia on Vimeo.

Storytelling with Puppets

We have 2 great storytelling apps: Sock Puppets & Puppet Pals HD. Our language teachers (e.g. Wendy Liao) use these to reinforce conversational skills, and they find that it really motivates the kids to do their best.

One of the best things about Puppet Pals HD is that you can (with the Director’s Pass) upload your own characters (either hand-drawn, or photos of the students themselves) and backgrounds, which makes the app more suitable for upper-elementary and middle school learners.

Create Soundtracks with GarageBand

GarageBand manages to make even a novice feel like an expert on the iPad. The addition of Smart music (e.g. Smart Guitar, Smart Drums) can turn every student into an accomplished composer with very little  teacher input.

GarageBand Tutorial from United World College of SE Asia on Vimeo.

Photography

With the advent of the iPad 2, the ability to create content has definitely gone up a notch. Taking your own photos, editing them and using them in cross-curricular ways is easy, fun and very creative.

By way of example, apps like Camera+ (currently only for iPhone), Adobe Photoshop Express, and ColorSplash for iPad all let you edit your photos in new and wonderful ways.

Apps such as Strip Designer or Comic Touch (currently only for iPhone) allow you to take these photos and transform them into comics or flashcards (to name but a few). Our early years teachers sent students out to find words starting with the letter M for example.

Bill Atkinson Photo Card lets you use your photos to create beautiful postcards to send to others. Some teachers have used this app for character studies, where students write a postcard in the manner of one of the characters in the novel they are studying. In our early years department, students emailed their teacher and told them about their favourite holiday, relating to their unit on celebrations.

If we have time…

I’d love to share some kinetic typography using Keynote. Also using Creative Book Builder to make ePubs straight from the iPad, however as it’s a new app, it’s a little buggy right now. It is definitely one to keep an eye on.

I’m always on the lookout for great apps that allow you to create rather than consume, so drop some suggestions in the comments!

Upside-down: Get a different perspective

When I was at Teachers’ College, I remember approaching my art course with trepidation. I wasn’t too shabby at art as a child, but as I had effectively given up the subject at the ripe old age of 13, it would be fair to say I wasn’t what you’d call confident!

One of the first things I remember our 2 lecturers getting us to do, was to sketch FAST (in 15 mins) the line drawing they put on the Overhead Projector (remember those?). The thing is, they put the drawing on upside-down. Deliberately.

The drawing was clearly beyond me, but as I’ve always been a good student, I duly attempted to copy it as best I could.

When our 15 mins was up, we were told to turn our drawings the right way up, and I think 99% of the students were amazed at having done a lot better than they anticipated. When the drawing was upside-down, we had to keep looking up to check we were putting the lines in the right places, not just guess from our prior knowledge of the subject.

It reminds me that our perception of our own abilities (or lack thereof) can sometimes affect the quality of our performance. If we look at something from another perspective, we might just surprise ourselves.

For my Extra Curricular Activity with the iPads,  I found an image online that was upside-down, and had my students do the same thing, but using Brushes on the iPad.

Here are two students’ representations of the illustration above. I will include them both upside-down and right-side-up for comparison.

Michelle, in Grade 6 did this one:

Michelle 1

Ji Min in Grade 5 did this one:

JiMin1

I’m pretty proud of both them!

Newspaper Blackout Poetry on the iPad

I know I’m a little late to the party, but I only just discovered Austin Kleon and his Newspaper Blackout Poetry. [I came across him by way of his excellent post; How to Steal Like an Artist (and 9 Other Things Nobody Told Me) – a definite must-read.]

Following the various links, I found a post that shows how he used the iPad to create a newspaper blackout poem. As I am in the middle of a Poetry unit with my Grade 6 students, I felt I had to try it!

Here is my first attempt. In case the image is too small for you to read, I will reproduce the text below.

IMG_0019

Responsibility:
Designed, measured, standardised.
An entire briefcase
And half teeth.
Foam,
Of unknown origin,
Drinking Mermaid’s Tears.

Screen shot 2011-04-25 at AM 11.03.38I started off by finding an article in one of my news apps (in this case, the NZ Herald), and taking a screenshot of it.

I then imported the screenshot into Brushes. The important step to note is to add a layer, so that you can delete that layer if you make a mistake, rather than deleting the whole image and having to start from scratch.

I experimented with brushtypes etc, and you can see how I went about doing it below:

Have a go! You’ll love it!