ISTE 3: My brane is full

June 26, 2012 at 12:10 PM Leave a comment

I’m sitting in “The Bloggers’ Cafe”, an area with comfy chairs set up so you could meet people and take a breather from the washing around the exhibits, the poster sessions, the talks, wandering vast distances to the bathroom. I really like how this conference is organized, it pays attention to the need for participant choice and for pacing during the day. A nice balance of lecture and common experience (one good keynote speaker per day with little conflicting other stuff scheduled), with workshop choice and places to meet and relax, need that 🙂

I think also, there is a slightly different feel to tech-oriented educators, they don’t seem quite so well, serious, as subject specific teachers at say, Ca Science Teachers conferences. And that means they are a little more open to others’ ideas and to sharing what they have. Also, because there are many different subject areas represented, there are interesting overlaps instead of a perceived competition for who’s the best teacher of us all. I love that. It fits with something Dr. Ying Zhao (today’s keynote speaker) said about the way to look at education for our future economic development:

 “We need makers and creators, not just consumers. Other countries are our investors, collaborators, not our competitors.”

His talk etc. is at and I bought the book. Perfect fit for our wealthy, sub-urban school district. Until it talks about the negative correlation between TIMSS and PISA test scores by country, with measures of entrepreneurship and innovation. Wtf? Let’s talk about that in Orinda because we can afford to take some risks, on our way to producing more resilient, self-actualizing makers and creators. The “A student” culture is something we need to address without throwing the baby out with the bath water. I’d recommend having his book “World Class Learners: Educating Creative and Entrepreneurial Students” for staff and parents to read and discuss in small groups.

Project based learning maximizes student choice and engagement. Edutopia’s founder, George Lucas would probably say that’s the central piece to making 21st C skills real, according to one of his employees.

So moving forward, I think we might consider having some in service around project based (similar to passion-based or product-based) learning. One source, online as of yesterday is Buck Institute’s “University” at, although that’s a full-on certification course. Other ways might be to visit local-ish schools that are already doing cool stuff. Some examples:

1. The “Mouse|Mouse” project is something Patsy T. has joined for my school. HS kids developing tech inventions to help the visually impaired. My favorite “The Fashionater” to help them coordinate their outfits.

2. Santa Cruz County Office of Education/Watsonville HS have some great pbl using student-created video: see, login is digital, pw is digital. They solve the sharing problem with “myvrspot” cloud uploading.

3. Nicole Dalesio’s 4th grade class in Pleasanton is doing all kinds of projects with ‘iPhonography’ plus cool editing apps for the iPhone/Android that kids can use then share their pics or use as part of a project. Plus handy for use with Snapshot science. Her website is

Her favorite editing apps for iPhone are Photostudio, cameraplus and photowizard. Some available for Android too.

BTW, Nicole is working with Rushton Hurley, the free apps/integrating technology main man who did crazy high energy presentation at our school last year. Find him at Next Vista Learning and book this man.

4. Commit to a Better World “Join other people like you in taking action for a better world!” Sara Hassan is the Education Programs Coordinator and this wonderful initiative for children by children, is her baby. This is will be part of the ‘Energy Opportunities’ smorgesboard of choices I present to students but it could be as well used for a Take Action Project, especially it’s action where kids adopt a part of a real rain forest and use satellite photos to monitor it’s health – a shoo-in for environmental topics.

5. Let’s think about how to manage and motivate student choice of projects, starting with driving questions. Technology should be in service of that, not vice versa.

Here’s the presentation I used for district teachers last year: PBL OUSD PD Aug2011, but it needs follow up and the formation of pbl teacher communities who can meet in person with release time.

Okay, feel better now, off for some more!

Entry filed under: Biodiversity and Ecology, Conference Reports, Creativity, Environmental Education, Photos to support curriculum, Project Based Learning, Reflections, Snapshot Science, Technology in class. Tags: , , , .

ISTE: The Retro Grouch is Out Professionalize the Profession -> Student Innovators

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