Wednesday, July 01, 2015

Got Google? ISTE 2015 does.

Google is everywhere at this year's ISTE conference in Philadelphia.  We have piloted Google Apps for Education with specific teams and grade levels.  This year, all students will have GAFE accounts so it made since for the team attending to focus on learning more in depth about the tools and how others are using them.  Our goals are to assist students and teachers to move beyond the typing and receiving of information to connecting, collaborating, creating and publish which we feel is necessary to prepare students to be future ready.  The ISTE 2015 team consists of: Laura Graves, high school Teacher-Librarian, Joy Young, high school assistant principal, Morgan Cruit, middle school English teacher, Anjell Edwards, middle school assistant principal and myself, Technology Coordinator.



We are all comfortable with organizing our work within Google Drive and sharing with others.  The connecting piece for us is Google Classroom.  I am amazed at how simplistic it is yet packs so much into it.  Laura and I previously knew about Google Classroom, but the others were experiencing it for the first time.  It was quickly decided this is the essential piece to bring the learning together for teachers and students.  We are currently working on plans which will be fleshed out with the other school Lead Technology Teachers to strategically train teachers and students.

Many sessions at ISTE have centered around Google and Chrome with extension and apps.  Several that we already knew or have been shared that we feel are great for teaching and learning are:

Screencastify - make training videos so easily
SpeakIt! - highlight text and have it read to you
Clearly - tune out the noise on the sides while reading online
Picmonkey - online photo editing
Pear Deck - send your teaching screen to all student devices through a website and code
Crafty Text - make large text to show link over website briefly
Kaizena - leave voice feedback on student Google docs
Twisted wave - online audio editing, like audacity
Open clip art - license free, royalty free, Google Docs add on
Twitter Curator - search and download all tweets to google sheets.  Great way to discuss what the world is talking about.
Daum Equation Editor - create equation and save to google drive as an image

We have spent time talking at night about how technology can be brought into the classroom and can make improvements to the learning environment.  However, if the teaching style does not change then great improvements and engagement will not occur.  The same can be said of the learning space.  If student desks are moved to create tables, the learning will not improve if the teacher still lectures the majority of the time then assigns independent learning.  I picked up a new book at ISTE Central called Get Active Reimagining Learning Spaces for Student Success.  We have been researching this topic as it related to the Libraries (will post about that later), but excited to start reading and having conversations with those in my district and PLN.