Mapping Out An Apple Vanguard Group

 

 

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An exciting part of  the Apple Academy I attended in June is the chance to create and nurture an Apple Vanguard Group at our school. I have been working on how to organize, promote, and manage something like this so it is manageable and enticing for my colleagues.

I happen to get a message from Mindmeister yesterday with a notice about the new Mindmeister Academy so I took a few moments to go through the fundamentals course. I had to create a map as I proceeded so I created the one below. Mindmeister is an awesome tool as it works on any device and offers collaboration. I want to promote the use of it more to our students and teachers as there is power in mapping your thoughts.

I have embedded it here in what is called the Presentation mode which to me is much like a non-dramamine needed version of Prezi.

 
Create your own mind maps at MindMeister

Both a GET and an AFT with NDAs

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My summer is off to a great start already. Over the last 7 months I worked at becoming a Google Education Trainer and last week I attended Apple Academy in Cupertino, CA. I met some great people at the Academy and learned a lot about providing professional development with colleagues instead of at colleagues. While at the Apple Academy, I learned I had been accepted into the Google Education Trainer program. As I was only blocks away from Apple HQ, and using Apple equipment, I did not mention it to anyone by Pete who I instantly connected with when I got to the hotel. I had to tell someone and besides my wife, I figured he as a safe bet.

I signed the NDA (Non-Discloure Agreement) with Google on Thursday and another one with Apple on Friday to make the week a real twofer. I am so excited to be recognized by both of these leading companies who are using the wealth of resources to move education forward. I look forward to helping Durham Academy do even more with Apple’s products as I am limited to using the wealth of curriculum they provided with just my school. I plan to start an Apple Vanguard Group at school. I also know we can harness the tools and resources Google offers for Durham Academy and I am willing to work with other schools to help them as well. This is expected of me as an authorized Google Education Trainer. I have already worked with a few other schools and non-profits through my new consulting business Digital Karl and look forward to more learning opportunities. 

Apple Academy Bound

Image from Openclipart.org

I will be spending the next week in Cupertino, CA just across the road from Apple, Inc. headquarters in an intense workshop where I will learn about all things Apple. I will be able to bring all of this knowledge and curriculum back to my school to help train my colleagues and school. The chance to attend is a great honor as I had to apply to be accepted. Actually, I had to be invited to even apply so a tip of the hat to my Apple Representative; Tonia Aldridge for the invite. I plan to absorb as much as I can about not only the technology but also the motivational approach to take with helping our school leverage all of the resources we have at our finger tips.

My plan is to create an iBook based on my iPad Passport Google site so my students and teachers can have it on their iPad and not behind a log in screen since the actual site is private. This would also allow access without an internet connection. In preparation, I have been making a lot of videos as I have essentially needed to get ready for next year before I left for the academy.

Below is an example of one I made and if you want to view more, you can check out my YouTube channel.

 

Here is to a week of learning!

Hoping to be a GET

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I started working towards becoming a GET in 2008 in many respects as I worked to bring Google Apps for Education (GAFE) to Durham Academy. I knew it was the tools we needed to support our learning community. It has transformed the learning community and myself in the process. While my work started in 2008, it was not until 2010 that we adopted GAFE. Since that day I have used GAFE as my go to resource and creation location. I live in the Googleverse and promote it with my colleagues and students. 

I was excited when I heard Ravenscroft was hosting a GAFE Summit and quickly asked to attend the Google Apps Certified Trainer Bootcamp. I wanted to become part of the community helping schools learn how GAFE can change their school. After 7 months work of studying, taking exams, and helping Durham Academy, VISnet, The Lerner School and others implement GAFE, I have submitted my application. Since I started the process, the name has changed from Google Certified Trainer to Google Education Trainer (GET). I am hopeful I will be accepted although I will not know until June. This is my GET application I submitted. In preparation to being accepted, I also created a site for my consulting work. DigitalKarl.com

Here are two movies I made for my application:

My introduction filmed on one of the many snow days we had.

 

 

How to use the Concatenate function in a Google Sheet.

 

 

 

Poetry in Place with Audioboo and Cell Phones

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Each year, the 7th grade travels to Washington, D.C. where they engage in many different activities. Last year students did VoiceThreads about Words on Stone. This is one example.  When Ms. Howes and Ms. Starnes approached me this year about an idea, we came up with using Audioboo to record a poem in place. Students were writing and studying poetry so they had to choose a poem to recite in a place connected to the poem. To make it happen, we created a Google Doc that we shared with all students giving them the directions on how to setup the app and record their poem. I was most excited the day we brought the students into the computer lab and told them, “Get out your cell phones”. The looks on their faces was priceless as some thought it was a trick since cell phones are supposed to be in lockers turned off. Many students indeed did run to their locker and got their phone. They download the free app and set it up. Those without phones used a computer or found a poetry friend to record with. I want to find more ways to prove that students carry technology with them everyday that can be harnessed for powerful learning.

I think they turned out really well so I wanted to share them with you. There is an iTunes Podcast feed if you want to subscribe as there are 115 poems. You can view them at the MS Cav Studios Audioboo channel.

Here is one from a boy and one from a girl to give you a taste.  Sylvia S.  and  Jack P.





Hanging Out in Chinese Class

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We are getting out early today due to the coming ice and snow storm. Because we are leaving at 12:00 our days schedule was very different then planned. Ms. Shang teaches two Middle School Chinese classes as well as two Upper School Chinese classes. Due to the adjusted schedule she could not make it from the Upper School to the Middle School in time for class. She emailed to see if using Google Hangouts would be an option since she had rehearsed it with her students last night. Google Hangouts are not part of our Google Apps for Education so they used their personal Google accounts. I did some testing and found I had a laptop that we could use so the students had class with Ms. Shang while she was also teaching her Upper School students. I have written how Ms. Shang teaches beyond borders.

同學們,
My Upper School class is not over yet, therefore I’ll be with you via Hangouts.
Mr. Schaefer has graciously agreed to help me with the Hangouts set up.
He might ask one of you to log into your gmail account.
Please be respectful and follow his instructions.

Once you arrive at the lab, please quickly log into Moodle, set up the headset, wake up VoiceTread.
And complete your speaking test on VT, which should only take 2-3 minutes.
I was hoping that we would have enough time for the Bonus section, but now I am not sure.
So after you finish the VT, please discuss as a group when you would like to finish the rest of the test.

Here are the options:
1. Pick a time this afternoon, we can carry on the way that we rehearsed last night.
2. Postpone it to Hangouts for tomorrow during class time,
3. Wait till we return to campus. But we go on with the new unit until then.

Please Email me your decision before the end of class.

謝謝大家!

老師

They decided to use Hangouts tomorrow to have class even though we are predicted to be in the middle of an ice and snow storm.

Happy 30th Birthday Mac

 

For those of you older then 30, today was a big day in terms of the history of the computer. 30 years ago today, The Macintosh Computer was introduced leading to a drastic change in how we use computers and other forms of technology. For those of you under 30, this is the foundation that lead to the marvels you hold in your hands today.

http://www.apple.com/30-years/

Where will the next 30 years take us, and what part will you play in shaping it?

Steve Jobs introducing the Macintosh which shows his marketing and presentation genius.

 

Students and Me Minecrafting

 
I have long wondered what the big deal was about Minecraft even though I think the power of games are something schools and teachers need to utilize. Over the years I have purchased games for our students to learn with like Gamestar Mechanic, Scratch, and Evolver from Dimensionu. In fact we have run Minecraft EDU at the Lower School for about 2 years now so most of the students now in the middle school have been exposed before they get to me. I no longer prevented students from downloading the Minecraft app so they could play at recess. Both labs are often full or near full because of this change. I had mentioned to some students that perhaps we should setup our own Minecraft EDU server even though I had never played. The students were listening (like they always do) so one day, I got a message that a Google Doc had been shared with me called
BugguCraft Server Proposal. Below is a portion of what was outlined in the now 34 pages outline of why we should setup a BugguCraft Server. Yes, that is 34 pages written with a plan on setting up, administering, creating, rules, contests, and other assorted information.
 

We (David, Tanner, Davi) have been considering making a server to house our mini-games called BugguCraft. We decided to create a server so we could ban, make rules, and make classes and games that are easily accessible and fair. Tanner’s contributions will include adding Bukkit to be able to make this game fun, which will make cheating almost impossible, and it will be more fair. Tanner knows Java so he can program the plugins that go in it. We will be the admins, and we can “Kick” people off of the server if they are being naughty (this means if they are griefing, spamming or cursing in the chat, or not obeying the rules), or “Ban” them, if the rule breach is more serious.

Rules:

No griefing

No swears

No hacking

No cheating

No trolling

Be fair

Be nice

Have fun

The 3 boys have really taken off with this and over winter break they purchased a Minecraft gift code to thank me. They wrote me a nice note about how they appreciate the help of Mr. Beck who setup the server hardware (an old iMac) and myself and how grateful they are. They even gave me a suggested username: Kartuffle. Today, at lunch recess I joined in for my first Minecraft lesson in the labs with the rest of the students. David was very patient with teaching me the basics and kept telling me I was a fast learner. Always nice to hear since I was trying to use the keyboard shortcuts and get a handle on what I was doing. The first thing I learned was that instead of destroying the objects I was harvesting. This is pretty big as most people, myself included, do not see the chopping as a mirror of what our civilization has done for years.

It was a great day and by the way, we are going to offer a student run Minecraft club using some of those 34 pages of ideas and rules. Later, I have to chop some wood!

Change Starts Small or Is It Getting Hot in Here?

Frog on Handle

Image Credit No Harm Done

Most of us are familiar with the story of the frog being boiled not when dropped in boiling water, but when placed in cool water that is slowly heated to boiling. I see a corollary to this with schools today especially with Independent Schools. While there are many aspects of independent schools that will remain long into the future; rigor, small classes, community, history, and more that make an independent education worth the price of admission. There are areas where the changes taking place in society are already impacting independent schools but like the frog, not all schools are aware yet. Our students come to us having more experience learning on their own then ever before. There are a wealth of high quality learning opportunities outside of the confines of the brick and mortar we call school. While some of these changes can be ignored in the short term, they cannot be ignored in the long term. If being a college-prep school is at the heart of what a school does, what happens when the need for a college degree is in less demand? The change is starting and in my opinion will only increase due to costs, return on investment, and the growth of for profit companies entering the education market. Of course, there is also the free resources available for schools to use like Khan Academy, Gooru Learning, CK-12, and a host of others. See my presentation I did for VISnet OER for more sources. Some schools are embracing this change by adapting their curriculum to be more problem based or challenge based learning methods. Others are focused on adapting in whole school review as Grant Lichtman points out in his blog; The Learning Pond. His TEDx talk about his EdJourney is well worth the 15:29 effort.

 

 



These are wonderful times in education with respect to the vast amount of resources available for teachers and learners. As the Digital Learning Coordinator at Durham Academy Middle School, I am lucky to be a part of  a transition that is underway since we adopted our iPad Learning Program. The change happens slowly and is happening here with a sixth grade student taking an “online” French course because she is capable of more then what we offer even though we offer French. While, I applaud this willingness to allow a student to take the online course I am concerned that we are not playing an active role in making sure the course meets the needs of the student and parents. We are members of the VISNetwork which would allow us to offer a curated French course from Middlebury. I believe this would be a better approach to addressing the issues of the boiling water. 

 

Full Disclosure: I am on the advisory board of VISnet and have been paid to conduct various workshops and webinars in the past and hopefully in the future.

Hour of Code

I am doing an hour of code with my after school coding class this Thursday. In addition, I have worked with Mrs. Williams’ class to do an hour of coding today in the labs. Ms. Donnelly has also done an hour of code herself and is planning on having her students spend time coding as well.

We have been using this tutorial http://learn.code.org/hoc/1 as most people are familiar with Angry Birds. Using Blocky, students learn how to write Javascript through a object oriented interface. After watching the introduction video, I asked the class of sixth graders what they saw in the video. The responses were about how to use the program and all of the men they saw in the video. They listed off Bill Gates, Mark Zuckerberg, Drew Houston with no trouble. No one in the class mentioned Elena of Clothia, Janete, the Zynga Engineer, Paola, the Microsoft Engineer, or Tanya, the Computer Science student who introduced the lesson. This identifies why we not only need to teach programming but also why we need to teach girls how to program. In addition to teaching programming to more students, we need to support girls to take on the challenges of computer science when their efforts can be invisible in a world so often considered a male dominated profession.

Our motto should be: Consume less, Code more!

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