Breakout EDU: How to escape the monotony of Professional Development
Day 3 of my ISTE experience began the best possible way, experiencing Breakout EDU for the first time. If you have no idea what Breakout EDU is, check out this article USA Today wrote about the new method that is transforming what learning looks like.
Essentially, it is similar to the escape room idea: hints and clues are provided while the team uses their knowledge (phones allowed) to get inside of a box with more clues, and/or the final lock to break out of the room.
The great part is the puzzle or mystery can be about anything- different content topics, professional development strategies, anything! The learning occurs in a naturally collaborative experience that makes participants excited about learning.
The topic my team got was 8th grade Science. Eek, I'm an English teacher! Luckily, the clues were not nearly as content heavy as I thought, and really stretched everyone's ability to synthesize information. It also helped to have a few team members who experienced the game before and helped lead us. Otherwise, it may have been difficult since some of the clues can be tricky- sneaky game makers.
The best part? Since 20 minutes is given to break out, I felt an adrenaline rush the whole time while actually learning about science. I didn't know most of the people on my team, but I wanted everyone to win. It was great to see the team dynamic and almost seamless division of tasks. More than an exercise in learning, it was a great social experiment to watch.
ISTE TEN Playground: Focused Professional Development in your PLN
Another highlight of Day 3 was getting to volunteer to help spread the word of using Twitter for professional development. Thanks to the ISTE Teacher Education Network, I got to spend about two hours answering teachers' questions about Twitter. From starting an account, to how do I gain followers, all different levels of users came. This was one of the best moments out of my whole trip because I got exactly what I wanted out of ISTE: a chance to connect with other educators.
At times ISTE can be overwhelming, so many people, always a crowd. It's a little intimidating for introverts like me. Volunteering at a playground to share about a topic I'm passionate about was incredible. I felt it fulfilled the one-on-one connection I so desired, while exposing people to a powerful social media tool. Check out what people tweeted about the stations at the playground here or browse the full Resources page.
If you're planning on attending ISTE 2017 in San Antonio, consider volunteering. It truly provides a unique experience.
My first full day at ISTE 2016 was full of playing and connecting. One thing I notice that sets ISTE apart from other conferences I have attended is the amount of spaces dedicated for PLAYING. Unlike other expo halls, ISTE vendors delivered fun games and stations for attendees to explore new tools and have fun. Of course there were also the standard ed tech celebrities, like Moby from BrainPop.
My first official session set the standard high, as Matt Miller, author of Ditch That Textbook, dropped some sketchnote knowledge on us. His tips and tricks made me feel like one day I too can sketchnote. For his FREE resources on sketchnotes tips and tricks, click HERE.
While in Matt Miller's session, I connected with an attendee who was an expert in badges and he very kindly stayed and chatted with me! Noah Geisel is an amazing resource for badging and is leading the way in Aurora. If you're interested, follow him on twitter or join #badgechatk12 to connect with others.
The most powerful part of my day, was listening to the EdTek Talk presenters. One presenter stuck out in particular, and truly touched my heart. Marley Dias was tired of reading about 'white boys and their dogs.' With help from her mother, Janice Dias, they began the #1000BlackGirlBooks movement. The movement strives to gather titles where black girls are the main character, not the side kick. They now have over 7,000 titles available. Her story reminded me that every child needs to see themselves in the stories we read.
A physicist presenting at an ed tech conference? Did someone book the wrong guy?
Some may wonder why Dr. Michio Kaku was the opening keynote for ISTE 2016, but it was clear just a few minutes into his speech. After a brief history lesson on economics and some hilarious jokes, Dr. Kaku shared what the next wave of wealth creation will be and how educators can prepare students for future careers that don't exist yet.
It was great to hear from a physicist what many teachers already know, most classrooms are still preparing students for jobs created in the 1950's, not the jobs of the future. Teachers must use new technology to change their teaching and help students THINK. In a world where information will be accessible in a blink, teachers must stress principles and concepts.
The one thing that stuck with me throughout Dr. Kaku's presentation was how important the teacher's role is as a mentor and counselor for students. We have to help create or strengthen students' natural curiosity and support them in becoming scientists and explorers. It's no longer what you know, but what you do with the information.
Be a role model. Inspire a kid."
Note: Information on slide images were taken directly from Dr. Michio Kaku's keynote presentation.
What is an Ignite session?
ISTE Ignite sessions allow presenters to quickly (in 20 slides) share something they are passionate about with the hope of inspiring attendees. The full line-up for round one of the Ignite sessions can be found HERE. Below are four presenters who IGNITED my passion.
Presenters that inspire:
Bill Selak- I Think I Figured Out How to Use Snapchat as an Educator!
Wait, other educators use Snapchat?! YES! While I already enjoy the storytelling app, it was great to see another advocate and how Bill Selak uses it as a way to tell his school's story. He did a great job of identifying what makes Snapchat different from other apps like twitter and instagram.
Kerry Gallagher- How to Eliminate Textbooks, Paper, and Tests
Kerry Gallagher did an incredible job sharing what many of us already know: learning should have real-world application. Through her own experiences and student examples, the audience got the importance of real-world application for student learning.
Michael Roush- Five Rules of Design Thinking to Reach All Students
Michael inspired educators by discussing the five rules of design thinking through inspiring figures.
Laura Thomas- Becoming Badass
My first thought, wait, we can say badass in education?! Alright! My second thought, who is Laura Thomas and why didn't I know about her. Though all of the presenters were incredible and their topics were worthwhile, Laura left the biggest impression on me and inspired me to be a badass. Her slides can be found HERE.
Michelle Moore is a public education advocate who strives to empower schools and teachers to positively impact student success.
Disclaimer: This blog is a representation of my views alone and do not represent in any way the views of the school districts, organizations, or persons that I collaborate with.