Journey from a Makerspace to a Maker District


This article shares the story of Albermarle County Schools’ experience integrating maker education throughout all the schools in the district. In particular, snapshots of Agnor Hurt Elementary and Albermarle High School are spotlighted. I recommend diving into this article and considering how Albermarle’s experience and ideas can impact your classroom, school, and district. Here are just two nuggets I gleaned from reading this.

“Making shouldn’t be isolated. We want to get away from that idea. Makerspaces and classrooms are one and the same.” — Andrew Craft, Elementary Teacher

“When people make, they get back to the basics of who they are as humans. Making puts the learner at the center of the work — and when that happens with our kids, the content makes sense to them.” — Pam Moran, Superintendent

Source: EdSurge.com

12 of Google Photos’ Most Amazing Features


“Google Photos has grown into an awesome service. From automatically backing up your phone’s pictures to letting you easily share your photos, there’s a lot to love for anyone who works with photos. Whether you want to make a mini stop-motion animation or just make a slideshow of related pictures, Photos can help. Select the Animation button under the Assistant tab, and you can choose from 2–50 photos to add. Once you’re satisfied, click Create and you’ll have a neat little GIF ready to share.” — Ben Stegner

Read Full Article.

Flipped Learning: Preparing for the New School Year

Guest Blogger
Kaylah Holland

Flipped LearningImage Source

Flipped Learning is a pedagogical approach in which direct instruction moves from the group learning space to the individual learning space, and the resulting group space is transformed into a dynamic, interactive learning environment where the educator guides students as they apply concepts and engage creatively in the subject matter” (Source).

Why Flip?

Flipped learning allows for a more student centered approach to teaching within the classroom because the majority of the lecture style learning is completed at home; thus, allowing class time to utilize more engaging techniques such as project-based learning, game-based learning, student presentations, discussion, and collaboration. Flipped Learning can also be completed solely within the classroom without requiring students to complete work at home. The main idea with Flipped Learning is simply to allow the teacher to become more of a facilitator of learning rather than the dictator of knowledge.

How to Flip?

The following video from Edutopia will help you understand how to get started.

Examples of Flipped Learning

There are numerous ways to incorporate Flipped Learning within your classroom. The following seven concepts are a good place to start.

  1. The Standard Inverted Classroom: students are assigned any lecture style teaching for homework the night before class so that class time might used for practicing what they learned with the teacher able to give instant feedback.
  2. The Discussion-Oriented Flipped Classroom: lecture style videos, such as TED Talks, are assigned as homework and class time is spent discussing the subject at length.
  3. The Demonstration-Focused Flipped Classroom: teacher records a screencast explaining an activity, math problem, etc so that they students may watch as many times as possible for mastery.  
  4. The Faux-Flipped Classroom: students watch lecture videos or complete assignments via technology at their own pace within the classroom and the teacher acts as a facilitator and supporter.
  5. The Group-Based Flipped Classroom: students learn material for homework and use class time to work together in groups so that they learn from each other through collaboration.
  6. The Virtual Flipped Classroom: classes are offered entirely online and actual class time is not needed.
  7. Flipped the Teacher: students record video tutorials as projects to teach a skill to the teacher thus showing mastery of the skill (Source).

EducationDive showcases the Faux-Flipped Classroom in the article 16 Flipped Learning Uses in K-12 and College Classrooms. A teacher in Florida allows students to complete classwork, take quizzes, and watch instructional videos at their own pace on computers throughout the classroom while she answers questions and provides support to students (Source).

Resources for Flipping

Interested in trying Flipped Learning in your classroom? Checkout the websites below for great information.


About the AuthorKaylah Holland

Kaylah Holland is currently a Middle School Instructional Technology Facilitator at Charlotte Christian School in Charlotte, NC. In addition to teaching coding, app development, and robotics; she has a vital role of assisting teachers with the integration of technology into the classroom through ample research, lesson planning, and training. She is currently completing her doctoral degree in the field of Instructional Design and Technology and is in the process of becoming a Google Certified Trainer. She is passionate about building an innovative culture for learning.

Google+ Communities

Google+I’m a big, big fan of Google+. It’s a very big component of my personal learning network (PLN). Here are some thoughts about about why I prefer Google+ over the other social media platforms (Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, etc.). I encourage everyone to take a look at Google+’s services and consider taking advantage of them.

Friend Me

Please feel free to friend me on Google+. Then browse through my Links and Other Profiles to make connections, collaborate, and share resources through other networks. As I frequently say, “Together we learn more.”

Google+ Communities

I’ve developed several Google+ Communities where we can interact and share resources around particular topics. I invite you to join and actively contribute to all of these groups in which you have an interest/expertise.

Project-Based Learning Spotlight: PBL Success Start to Finish

This video from Edutopia spotlights Manor New Technology High School, “where an unwavering commitment to an effective school-wide project-based learning model keeps both students and teachers motivated and achieving their best” (Source). It is “a public high school just outside of Austin in Manor, Texas. It is an entirely project-based learning school that has consistently achieved outstanding results since opening. We followed a project there for three weeks to find out what makes their model so effective” (Source).

Introduction to Project-Based Learning

Speaking at the National Association of Independent Schools (NAIS) Annual Conference, Pat Bassett, NAIS President, highlighted Edutopia‘s project-based learning resources. The George Lucas Educational Foundation has touted PBL’s merits for many years. I decided to revisit the PBL section at Edutopia and thought I’d share this video. It provides a good introduction to project-based learning.

The following quote from Seymour Papert about PBL especially stood out to me. This sort of flies in the face of what we are currently seeing in many of the test-focused schools.

“The first thing you have to do is give up the idea of curriculum. Curriculum meaning you have to learn this on a given day. Replace it by a system where you learn this where you need it. So, that means you are going to put kids in a position where they’re going to use the knowledge that they get.

THE CHALLENGE to All Educators 2011

I admire and appreciate everyone that has participated in The Challenge the past 4 years (2007, 2008, 2009, 2010). I look forward to doing more good together this holiday season, too.

—————

(Repost from 11/08/2009)

I’ve written posts encouraging educators to get students actively involved in service education. I’ve shared the rationale for implementing service activities in the classroom and suggested some resources to help us get started.

Your feedback and encouragement back in 2007 prompted me to take this a step further. Rather than simply encouraging teachers (in general) to do this I’m now challenging you (specifically you) to start a service activity in your classroom. 🙂

The holiday season is upon us, so I think it’s a great time to talk about service and initiate a project with your students.

Here’s THE CHALLENGE.

  1. Kick-off a service activity in your classroom.
  2. Make us aware of your project.
    • I’ve dedicated a new section of the blog to this activity and added a permanent link titled The Challenge to the main menu. This allows us to to share information, photos, videos, and provide links to personal/ class blogs, wikis, websites, etc. where we can learn about each other’s projects and share resources and ideas. You can post your information by:
      • Leaving it in the comments in The Challenge area.
      • Emailing me a link to your project blog, wiki, site, etc. that I’ll add to The Challenge area.
  3. Keep working on your project and enjoy all the wonderful things that will surely come from it.
  4. Share. Share. Share.
    • Let’s use The Challenge area, Twitter, Plurk, Skype, etc. to provide updates by which we (including our students) can all follow each other’s progress.
    • Please tag all related materials and resources with thechallenge

Let’s make the world a better place. I CHALLENGE YOU!!! 🙂

Resources

Here are some great resources to help you get started.

Event Tag: thechallenge

I’m Digging the Google Docs Redesign

I’ve been working a lot with Google’s many, many services the past several weeks in conjunction with various professional development workshops that I have/will be facilitating. In doing so, I’ve become a big fan of their products. I’ve especially been struck by their tools’ ease of use, deep integration among tools and services, and Google’s commitment to openness. I’m going to be saving a lot of money on software in the future as I migrate away from some of the expensive software giants that I’ve used for a long time and in lieu of Google’s free and similar/superior offerings.

In the past few days I’ve noticed that the new Google toolbar (the dark box across the top) has pretty much gone live across all the Google services I use. Google has never been known for their graphic design prowess, but I’d say the update is an improvement. I especially dig the redesign of the Google Docs interface.