Welcome to Jennie Magiera's Technology in Education Blog:

Redefining the (digital) Classroom

Friday, November 30, 2012

Don't Trust Conference Presenters: The Teacher Behind the Curtain

Recently I've noticed something about conference presenters (myself included). We're a bit phony. How so? Well, we jump up in front of poor, unsuspecting participants and show about 20% of our practice... the perfect, amazing 20%. Then we thank our audience and walk away with smiles as if to say, "Don't you wish you could do that?"

So, don't trust conference presenters. If you pull back the curtain, you'll see that the other 80% of our practice is rich with failure and - as such - important learning experiences. Moreover, don't expect to emulate what you see in the presentations - even 20% of the time - immediately. I'm not saying don't strive to set and meet goals based on what you learn at PDs, conferences and PLC meetings - but scaffold for yourself just as you would suggest for your students. At least in my case, it took me months - if not years - of experimentation with my iPads, AppleTV, Student Social Media, Chromebooks, etc. to gather the 60 minutes of presentation material to 'show out' in front of an audience. And even then, I'm still a work in progress - continually learning and growing.

As such, I've recently begun to make more of my learning experience transparent when I present. I try and show what didn't work and why - and also how I learned and grew from the experience. I do this before I demonstrate the current strategy, tool or process that is working well. My hope is that by being transparent about the real deal - the time, growth and challenges that I experienced - my colleagues can walk away from my workshops and sessions feeling empowered to rock out in their own classrooms. Because I know they all can - if I'm honest with my own journey.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Student Screencast Workflow

Recently I wrote this article, discussing the pros and cons of different screencasting apps. However, 9 days later Apple's updated operating system, iOS6, was released. This allows users to upload video to websites. Now that this is an option, here is workflow that will help you get student screencasts turned in more efficiently and allow you to provide grades, feedback, through the same platform.

You'd use the free screencasting app Doceri instead of your previous screencasting app (i.e., ShowMe, ScreenChomp or Educreations) as it allows you to send the video to your photo/camera roll. You'll also need to have your Edmodo class set up and an Edmodo assignment created. (Edmodo is a free online learning management system.) For help with this, check out this video.

[If you want ideas for how students can use screencasting apps to show their metacognition, check out this previous post and this one as well.]

Here is the workflow:

(1) Make sure all iPads are updated to iOS 6.0.1 or later. You can tell by going to the Settings app icon, then clicking on "General" then clicking on "About". About halfway down the screen you'll see "Version" - it should say 6.0.1.

(2) Once you've made sure all iPads are updated, you go into Edmodo and create an assignment. Tell the kids what to do with Doceri and what kind of video to make. Give it a due date. Send it to the students.

(3) Have the kids create screencasts on Doceri. Then have them save to the camera roll by dragging the video (once they're done a screen will pop up with the video thumbnails) to the picture of the camera roll (the black square with a flower in it - see the second photo). That saves the video to the iPad's camera roll.

(4)  Have them log into Edmodo. Have them tap on "turn in" on your assignment. Have them tap "file" then "choose existing" and finally select their video (it should be the most recent one all the way at the bottom of the list of thumbnails). Then have them submit their assignment. Now you have their video submitted to Edmodo and don't have to worry about uploading to a website, emailing it to yourself or downloading it directly from student iPads! You can grade it, give feedback, or download it to your desktop. It's a much, much cleaner workflow than Educreations.com and also allows you to organize videos and give feedback. This also allows you to download the videos to your desktop, should you wish. (See the last photo for a silly sample assignment.)

Friday, November 16, 2012

Middle School Students on Social Media

This month has been a whirlwind of travel and learning for me! For the past three days, I've been presenting at the Leveraging Learning iPad Institute in Auburn, ME - home of one of the longest running and most successful 1:1 laptop pilots in the country. In addition to discovering new apps, pedagogy and amazing ideas to bring back to Chicago, I was incredibly inspired by 16 middle school students who were there live-tweeting their reactions to the institute (see hashtag #adv2014). Their insights into education were beyond humbling. This is their second year attending and tweeting about the event, and several of them had gone home last year and read Bea McGarvey's book Inevitable from cover to cover. For fun. And had fun doing it. Then they came back this year and debated education points with adult educators at the conference. Honestly... mind. blown.

Yesterday I convinced the amazing conference organizers to showcase these young voices as part of the dinnertime keynote. No surprise - they were a hit. Moreover, I had them do a Google Hangout with a social media expert friend of mine back in Chicago - Autumn Laidler. See that hangout here.

Today I thought we could continue to promote their ideas and voices by having them do some guest blogging here. So without further ado, the inspirational students of Auburn Middle School:


Hello, my name is Donnie P, and my twitter account is @ams_donniep.  I am at the Leveraging Learning conference in Auburn, Maine.  I go to Auburn Middle School, and I am a student Twitter editor.  My job is to watch over the tweets that other kids have sent.  I correct them on a back channel we have going on at www.todaysmeet.com.  I tell them what to correct on their tweets, whether it’s a grammatical, or a spelling errors. I think that Twitter should be used in school because one time I was in Social Studies, and I “tweeted” about my class in Todays Meet.  When I was tweeting, I felt like I was absorbing information better.  I think all students should use Twitter, especially ones that have trouble listening.  It really helps for your listening skills I came to this conference last year as a tweeter, and I had a blast.  I had learned about Mass Customized Learning.  I had kind of just learned about it, but I really liked the idea.  I really didn’t have enough steam to do anything.  When I came to this conference, and listened to Bea McGarvey’s keynote.  Then I decided I just didn’t want to tweet about it, I want to do something about it.  I don’t just want to talk about the change, I want to be the change.

Hi! My name is Faduma and I’m an eighth grader at Auburn Middle School here in Auburn, Maine. My Twitter handle is @ams_fadumam. I have had the awesome opportunity to be a Student Tweeter two times (yep, I’m a veteran) for the Leveraging Learning the iPad in Primary Grades Conference. I’m a “tweeter” and what I do is I tweet about what I feel is an important fact, an opinion or a quote. Some people think that is it a negative thing that we are limited to a 140 character tweet but I think that it helps you make a good tweet because you have to tweet only the important stuff. I think that one a couple of things that I have taken away from this mind - blowing opportunity is that I need to take responsibility and initiative of my own learning and not take my education for granted.

Hi, my name is Owen Mower, and I’m an eighth grade student at Auburn Middle School. This conference has changed my views entirely on what the iPads do for the students using them. The technology focuses children, and enriches their learning. It has totally changed my mind from last year. I’ve been very lucky to be asked to get to come to this conference! Thank you for the fantastic presentations, and making the conference super enjoyable!

Hi, I'm Alina M. and I'm an eighth grader at Auburn Middle School. I've always lived here, in Auburn, ME and I am proud that I get to represent my hometown at this conference. It's such an amazing opportunity to represent Maine's education. All 16 students, over many weeks, have trained to become amazing representatives to our school. We are the actual, living proof that Mass Customized Learning will work, not just facts and statistics. You hear all the time, at conferences, how adults view topics. I think it's amazing that we were chosen to present the students view on these topics, as well! It's such an amazing opportunity; one that I wish every student could share as well. I really hope that eventually, because we are leading the way, that is what it will come to! 

Hi my name is Spencer H. I am an eighth grader at Auburn Middle School and the past 2 years I have had the opportunity to do something great. Basically I am a student tweeter and I go to sessions at the conference and I tweet about what is going on who is speaking questions opinions etc. My fist time here at the conference I went to my first session and my jaw dropped. I was in awe. After I got out of my first session I remember being like “Oh my god” it works and then I started thinking about how this whole time I was in more of a fixed mindset of “Kindergartners with iPad’s they are just going to break them within 5 days.” but after that session and over a year I have moved out of that fixed mindset and more into the growth mindset that iPads can work with Kindergarteners.

Hello! My name is Jacob Willette and I am a tweeter at the Advantage 2014 iPad meetings. What my peers, and I did was we used the social network Twitter to tweet the subjects of the many conferences. Throughout the days I participated, Thursday and Friday, I feel I did very well and “Tweeted” to my full potential. I would like to thank Apple Inc. and MLTI for the funding for our tee-shirts, lunch, and hotel room. I would also like to thank Kelly McCarthy, Carol Miller, Dr. Ruben Puentedura, Mauri Dufour, and Jennifer Magiera for brilliant presentations.

Hello, my name is Ryan.  I am an eighth grader at Auburn Middle School, I love hockey, and I am a student Tweeter.  This experience has been a blast and was way better than anything I could have imagined.  Being a Tweeter is a lot harder than it was cracked up to be. We all have to be synchronized with the Tweets, make sure they made sense, and listen to what the talkers have to say and get it down before you forget.  Yet even with all the stress we pulled it off, yet my fingers feel very sore and stiff.  With all that went on we had a blast, I think all of us will always remember the great days we had together, we really tried our hardest and hope you got the gist of what the different sessions.  We sure learned a whole lot.  Hope you enjoyed our tweets. 

Hi! My name is Spencer Frahn and I am a seventh grader that goes to Auburn Middle School.  I thought my first experience was great here at the Twitter conference.  I thought listening to the iPad session and talking to people that had questions was the best.  I learned a lot about the iPads, I used to think they were pointless but now I realize I was wrong. I listened to Dr. Ruben, Kelly McCarthy, Carol Miller, but I also listened to the conversation between the Tweeters and people who had questions. My job was to Tweet the “bare bone” facts or to write my opinion that I had on something the speaker said.  My name on Twitter is @ams_spencerf.  I hope I can do this again next year.

Hello, my name is Reece R I go to Auburn Middle school and am in seventh grade. I enjoyed tweeting at this conference at the Hilton Garden Inn and in the Auburn City Hall, learning about the iPads and iPods was very interesting. I feel that if every grade has iPads or laptops they can learn much more efficiently, faster, and better. Your presentation was very interesting, learning about your  feelings thoughts, opinions, and facts about iPads, iPods and many different apps.   Overall this was a very interesting program and I hope to do it next year.

Hello! My name is Samantha H.! I am one of the Tweeters from Auburn Middle School! My partner, Sophie M, and I went to 4 sessions. The sessions we attended, were: So You’re Initiative Isn’t Going As Well As You’d Like... What Do You Do Next?, Auburn’s Customized Learning and The Role Of iPads, and then we were supposed to go to the Professional Development in a Maturing Initiative session, but no one showed, so we went to the session across the hall. Our teacher, Mr. B, asked us to take a break and enjoy the session. All of the sessions we went to were presented by: Mike Muir, Shelly Mogul, and Mauri Dufour. I believe Mike is a very bright, and smart, man. And, he definitely knows what he’s talking about. Shelly is very, very nice, and is very smart as well. Mauri is a kindergarten teacher at Sherwood Heights. All of the sessions we went to were very interesting. I learned a lot of things but, some words really stood out to me. I learned that to succeed, you need a plan, and steps to move forward. I loved working with the Student Tweeter project! I wish I would’ve done it last year! If I could I would do this again in a heartbeat.

Thursday, November 8, 2012

PlanePlanning: The Birth of #PLAYDATE13

This week I had the honor of traveling to the EdTechTeacher iPad Summit with my 1:1 iPad Pilot team from National Teachers Academy (the Chicago Public School at which I taught for the past 7 years): Anita Orozco (Middle School Special Education), Autumn Laidler (3/4th Science) and Holly Mullenix-Stack (K-8 Music).

[Side note: If you don't already follow these ladies' work - please do. They are amazing educators from whom I learn on a regular basis!]

We presented a session on how we've worked together to redefine teaching and learning at our school. While the presentation itself was rewarding, the most amazing takeaway for me was the reminder that the biggest contributor to our school's EdTech transformation was teacher teamwork. The fact that we have a group of open minded and creative teachers who are all excited to work together and learn from one another is what allows our iPad initiative to grow and be successful. I'm so thankful to have been - and to continue to be - a part of this great team.

So as we floated on cloud 9 onto our plane, accompanied by the great Sue Gorman, we didn't let the end of the conference stop our collaboration and brainstorming. Autumn, Sue and I ended up sitting next to each other and as the plane took off, so began 2 solid hours of edtech collusion. Autumn foolishly thought that she'd get a nap. Little did she know that instead we'd birth the idea for a new conference.

Around 10,000 feet, we all began to discuss the pros and cons of the past few conferences we'd attended. We all agreed that we greatly value meeting new educators and discussing the good gospel that is innovative technology use. And yet we also lamented that we learn about a myriad of new tools, websites, tricks and apps at these conferences only to go back to the "real world" and have little to no time (usually the latter) to ever master or even simply explore any of it. For me, they usually end of in my "to explore" Google task list.

Thus the idea of #PLAYDATE13 was born. I originally wanted to call it "ExploriCON" but as the nature of Autumn's and my relationship goes, we ping ponged ideas off each other until we got a shinier version of this original thought. First Autumn came up with PLAY- People Learning & Asking "Y". Then Sue joined in the acronym fun and suggested adding "DATE". Autumn found a great acronym for that - Digital Age Technology Exploration. And so PLAYDATE came about. After coming up with a catchy moniker, together we refined the idea to meet some of our unaddressed professional learning needs and leverage best practices we'd seen at other conferences. We're going to be pulling in the rest of our NTA 1:1 pilot team - Anita and Holly - as well as some other thought leaders in the area with whom we've been collaborating closely.

This conference will be geared towards those who just want to explore - or play with - apps, websites, programs or tools that they've always wanted to dig into more deeply, but never had the time or support to do so. Modeled after an unconference or an EdCamp, the sessions will be participant-driven and hands on. Most importantly - there will be no sit and get. Period. No Presenters. Period. All of the content will be learner driven, exploration based and hands on. Just like the model of education we hope for our students. At the end there will be a share out of learning and take aways "The Play Off" - and digital content and notes will be disseminated to all.

If this seems like the model of learning that is right for you - or you just have some apps, programs, tools or websites you've always wanted to learn more about (Evernote? Google Sites? iMovie? Apple Configurator? Twitter? Pinterest?) - then check out this site for more info and to sign up for updates.

PLAYDATE 2013Saturday 2-9-2013

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

5 Tips for Starting off Strong with iPads

Here is an article I wrote for EdWeek about tips for starting off strong once your school has decided to invest in iPads.

Overview of tips:
1) One Classroom > Three Classrooms
2) Teacher Buy-In Is Half the Battle
3) We All Need a Little Help From Our PLCs
4) Plan for Incidental Expenses
5) Save Room for Failure

Click here to see the article and learn more! Thanks for reading :).

EdTechTeacher iPad Summit

If you're at EdTechTeacher iPad Summit, consider stopping by our session tomorrow at 11am on how to redefine your school through 1:1 iPad use - in science, math, literacy, special education and even music class!

If you aren't able to join us, check out our session info site here and follow the fun through the #ettipad Twitter hashtag :)!