Monday, June 24, 2019

Curation Activities You Can Do

Last week, I shared "Digital Curation Tools You Can Do" with 3 digital tools you can use to curate the various articles, ideas, activities, books, etc that you come across. If one of these works well for you, awesome! 

This week I want to share a different idea about curation. YOU don't have to do it all. 

"Why not have STUDENTS help with the curation of sources?"

Today, I'm sharing 3 different ways you could have students curate WITH you below, but let's talk about WHY you should have students curate sources.

We all want our students to be using good and credible sources, right? So quite often, we provide the sources FOR our students. But we are missing out on a big opportunity when we do this. At some point, students will be researching on their own. They will be sifting through vast amount of information that is at their fingertips. Have you ever seen students research? They go for the first few links - not the best ones - and call it a day.

That's why I think this is such a good activity. The skill of finding good, credible sources is a tough one. It's tough for many adults! I've heard many teachers comment on how their students don't find good sources and ask how we help them get better.

Think about this the next time you ask your students to do research. What if you collaborated with them on this task? What if this was step one in the research/project/activity? Hear me out ...

This can be beneficial on a couple of levels for you and your students. First, even if you ask each student in your class to find a single source, you could end up with 20+ sources of information on your topic. How great is that? Students finding the sources and then having a bank to refer to? Hot dog! Can you imagine what your bank of sources would look like if you have each student find 2 ... or more? And how about then having students use that bank of sources to DO the project or activity? How awesome!

Before curating, start out with reminders as to what makes sources good and then challenge students to go find ONE. Now, that might sound super easy, but I'm not suggesting JUST finding a source. The student must provide a short summary of the info AND ... here's my favorite ... explain why they chose this source. Explain what makes it "good"? I also think you should layer in a little fun and suggest that if more than 1 person submits the same source, the one with the best explanation gets credit and the other(s) have to find a new source! Now we get into providing the best explanation ... kicking it up a notch!

The second, and possibly more important piece to this activity, is for you to then have discussions about the sources they have collected. Once you have your initial bank of sources, take some time to pull up a few of them and talk through them as a class. Have the student who found the source explain their thinking and allow other students to ask questions. Now we are dipping into presenting skills. Yay!! 

After the first few, you might want to challenge your students to pair up and have these discussions with a partner and provide the opportunity to change their source. We all can pick out bummers, so putting into practice immediately can help students solidify their knowledge. They are curating and evaluating sources as the same time. And yes, they HAVE to explain why they think it's credible. 

Having conversations about the credibility WITH the students allows them to share their thinking ... and allows YOU to clear up misconceptions or help them reframe their thinking. And might I add ... they are seeing the CONTENT over and over with each source you cover? It's like a double-gift. And ultimately, you and your students have a solid bank of sources to work with.

Now, as I mentioned at the beginning, I have 3 different ways you can collect the information to ensure your students have a place to start. They only require a Google account and you can customize what you are looking for. I've created 3 different curation collections using Google Sheets, Forms, and Slides. They all have the same format, and to give a clearer idea, I used the idea of finding sources for an American Revolution unit. You can adjust colors to fit your theme. Feel free to make your own copy and use it. They will all open up in Template mode, so click on the blue "Use Template" button in the top right corner and it's all yours. I will also house these on my Templates for Teachers website.


Google Form  A Google Form is another simple and easy way to collect sources, this time with less concern over information getting lost or changed. Allowing students to enter information using the Form, and then sharing the resulting Sheet can be shared with just viewing privileges. Don't worry, you and your students can still click each link so it can still be shared as a bank of sources. It would be an excellent starting point for doing a class collaboration on curation. Forms keep the information organized and allow you to give very clear instructions. You are welcome to click the link below - it will make your own copy and from there you can modify it or use it as inspiration.


COPY Form for "American Revolution Curation"   (Sorry ... the template URL trick doesn't work for Forms)


Google Sheet ↭ A Google Sheet is a simple and easy way to collect sources, or anything else, really. Give each column a name and a purpose and let the information be gathered. The sheet I created has 5 columns: one for the student's name, one for the name of the person/event/fact, one for the URL, one for the summary, and one for the reasoning behind the selection of the source. The beauty of a Sheet is with the top row "frozen", you can alphabetize by any column you'd like. If you ask students to find 3 sources, alphabetizing column A will allow you see quickly how many each student has submitted. I also find the ability to have multiple tabs along the bottom keep information separated yet all in the same spot. You are welcome to take and modify this Sheet to make it work for you and your students





Google Slide ↭ A Google Slide is DEFINITELY not for your first go-round with classroom curation. I created a Slide deck in the same theme as the Form and the Sheet. There is a slide for a Person, Event, and Fact. Each student would need to make a copy of each. You will end up with quite an extensive Slide deck! I did color code the Slides to make it slightly easier. Like the Sheet, sharing editing privileges opens up the ability for accidents to happen. Another way to go about doing this, is to give each student a copy of their own to work on, and then share the Slide decks with viewing abilities. I really love Slides and can see this working ... but please know that this is probably the toughest one. You and your students need to be very cautious about using it. As with the Form and the Sheet, you are welcome to use this Slide deck or take it and customize it for your use. 

I do hope these are helpful activities for you and your students. I believe these can be incredibly powerful ways to help your students become better researchers!

Have a question or comment? Feel free to comment below, reach out to me on Twitter @kiefersj, or email me at sarah@techyoucando.com

Sunday, June 16, 2019

Digital Curation Tools You Can Do

Do you ever feel like you have information overload? 

I do. A lot. I see so much I want to read or try or create or soak in or share out. I feel like I am constantly reading and looking. My husband often asks, "How do you have so much going on in your brain?" 😊 But I don't feel like this is a bad thing ... not at all.

What I struggle with is keeping all the good things I see organized in a way that will make sense to me now AND later. Call me crazy, but I've not found "the perfect" system. I hear people swear by this tool or that tool, and I feel a little jealous! I wish I had "the perfect" system. I've tried out others' systems, but it doesn't work for me - not in the "perfect" sense. I like a lot of things about a lot of tools, so until I find "IT", I will continue to use a variety of tools to curate what I come across & want to keep.

Why curate? I couldn't possibly do everything right now ... I need to prioritize, and I support a variety of teachers with a variety of needs. I curate a wide variety of tools, activities, people, books, blogs, resources, conferences, and more. I do this all year long and summer is a great time to take a good look at what you've got and sift through. In fact, it's on my to do list ... to better organize - for both personal and professional items. 

If you are interested in digital curation tools, I've got a few to share, but there are dozens out there. These are ones I've spent some time working with and feel like I can comment on.

Pinterest
Pinterest ↭ hands down, my oldest curation tool. I got hooked on Pinterest when I was pregnant with my middle daughter. I could sit and snuggle her and scroll through Pinterest in small chunks or long periods when I could just rock with her. I love being able to create boards for groups of ideas. And the secret boards are perfect for projects you don't want everyone else to know about! Many dinner recipes were found this way. I don't use it a great deal anymore - I'm not a fan of the many links where you are linked out to a place you also have to have an account or you have to pay to use. I do curate my blog posts there under a board I call "Tech You Can Do" (LINK HERE). Pinterest has both an app for mobile devices as well as a Chrome extension that I use.



Pearltrees
Pearltrees  another social bookmarking tool. While I've used it some, I've not dug in deep. I love the visual aspect of Pearltrees. I love that I can add more than websites to it. I've used Pearltrees only for a year or so and I think it provides a nice view of curated "things". Right now, I have 3 groups of "pearls" where I've curated Twitters I follow, various learning opportunities I want to share out, and professional learning with podcasts and people that I admire. I have embedded them on my website and from the stats, this page gets a fair amount of views. (LINK HERE) Pearltrees has a Chrome extension that I'd highly recommend if want to use it. It also has a mobile app that is easy to use.



Wakelet
Wakelet  is similar to both Pinterest and Pearltrees. It is also a digital bookmarking tool. This is a newer tool with a familiar feel. I have tried to get into using it, but being honest, I've not. I do know several people who really like Wakelet, and it's a top tool in the edtech world. You can make collections and these collections can be shared. Wakelet is intended for those 13 years and older. But collections can be shared with younger students.

If you are interested in learning more, check these links out:

Authors - Sean, Karly, Dr. Randall Sampson, Jen Saarinen, Scott Titmas, Claudio Zavala Jr., Paul West, John Bimmerle
*** UPDATE!!! *** Thanks to Andy, my Tech Director, for sharing this tip ... teachers can share Wakelet collections with students in their Google Classrooms. How awesome!!! Kim Mattina shared this "how to" VIDEO. (Thanks, Kim!)



email
Email ↭ I know this is probably on everyone's "Do Not Do" list, but I've found it to be a great tool for curation. I often email myself a link with a short note attached so I know who I was wanting to share with or a note to remind myself later what I was thinking. If it's school related, I email it to my school account; if it's for me personally, I will email it to my personal email account. This has worked REALLY well! Part of the reason it works, is the little badge reminds me I have something waiting for me. And I check my email several times a day. It is definitely going to be a tool I continue to use. (Hey, sometimes you just have to be a rebel, right?)


This is a very small collection, so if I don't list one here & you have an awesome one, please reach out! Maybe you will have the one I've been searching for.  Next week, I'll be back with a different take on curating and curation tools.


Have a question or comment? Feel free to comment below, reach out to me on Twitter @kiefersj, or email me at sarah@techyoucando.com. 



Sunday, June 9, 2019

Summer Learning: Midwest Leadership Summit reflection

Last week, I shared several suggestions for educators to do some summer learning. I am excited to share the first summer learning activity I've done this summer. I was fortunate enough to attend the Midwest Leadership Summit this past week. And it was amazing!!! 

100% a dream come true!


Today I'm going to focus on Day 1 with George Couros. But let me back up a bit ... I bought the book "The Innovator's Mindset" about 2 years ago after reading good reviews. The summary of the book really appealed to me. . . . And then it sat on my shelf, unread. Our curriculum director, Becky Tompkins, pulled it out in a meeting and asked if we'd be interested in a book study. I agreed, thinking now I'd have some accountability in reading it.

Reading doesn't describe what I did with this book! Post-it notes, highlighting, scribbling notes in the margins, texting excited aha's! and "I love this!" messages back and forth is a more accurate description. Nothing in this book is earth shattering. It all simply reaffirms everything I know to be good teaching and learning. The book gave me the opportunity to pump my fist in the air and say, "Yes! THIS is what we need to get back to. THIS is good."

Our team loved it so much, we hosted a district wide professional book study. We gamified it - giving me the opportunity to put into action some much desired attempts at gamification. We incorporated several tech tools to demonstrate classroom application with our teachers. We hoped at least 10 would sign up and we had over 70! Using our LMS, the digital conversations across buildings brought me to tears on more than one occasion. Teachers bravely shared ideas inspired by the book. What an impact it had ... the conversations it sparked ... the relationships it helped me build and strengthen ... the excitement it inspired. Incredible! It was an amazing success!

I then facilitated round #2, as a joint venture between my district and BCESC. Another successful adventure where more teachers from my district and teachers in surrounding districts were able to share in the same wonderful discussion and idea sharing. I followed that with round #3 with even more teachers.

Now ... back to THIS summer. 
When I was invited, I locked in the date on my calendar - no way would I miss this. A great group from my district was attending and I was excited. I arrived early and we snagged the closest tables to the podium. George was finishing setting up, so Becky, my curriculum director, and I jumped on the opportunity to get our books signed and snag a selfie with him. When others from our group arrived, I shared my excitement. Our tech director even teased me about all the post-it notes hanging out of my book. I told him it demonstrated the thinking I was having while reading the book and what better honor could I give George but to show him that thinking he inspired?

We settled in and George began. To demonstrate the power of being a connected educator, George gave me a shout out --- whaaaaaatt????? That blew me away! He covered many of the quotes I've included below and I spent the day listening and reflecting and talking with a room full of people who share the same ideas and goals. Below are just a few of the quotes that had an impact on me while reading. If you've not read this book, maybe these quotes and my reflection on them might encourage you to pick it up. You won't regret it. And if you need someone to chat about it with, please don't hesitate to contact me (sarah@techyoucando.com or on Twitter @kiefersj). 

The Innovator's Mindset by George Couros

"Once you stop learning, you start dying."
~ Albert Einstein

The book starts out with this quote. WOW! It drew me in immediately and I think about this quote often. I always think back to college when my dad teased me that I was going to be a perpetual student. (I may have been changing my major for the 3 time ... 🀣) Now I think back and say, "How did he know???" YES! I would absolutely consider myself a perpetual student. What a compliment! I can honestly say I learn something every day. Maybe it's something I planned to learn, other times it's things I need to learn to do my job, and still other times, it's something I didn't expect to learn.


"If you don't believe in your idea, why would anyone else?"
~ #InnovatorsMindset

This one really speaks to me on a personal level. I had been toying with the idea of blogging for a while. I made excuses. I found other things to do. I reasoned with myself that no one would read it ... after all, I wasn't a writer. Reading this quote really hit home. If I didn't believe in it, of course no one else would! So I decided to take the leap, and with continued support from my husband, I published my 1st entry on November 18, 2017. I set the goal to write once per week, and for the most part, I've been successful . . . And I've had a lot of positive feedback. (Thank you, George! I might not have started sharing out if not for this.)


"... innovation is not about changing everything, sometimes you only need 
to change one thing."
~ George Couros

This quote has meant a lot, not just to me, but for many of the teachers I work with. This allows us to be human. This encourages us to make change possible. All of us can identify ONE thing to adjust/change/modify/overhaul and follow through to make it happen. ONE thing. Take one step. The enemy to this thinking, most often, is ourselves. When I'd talk with teachers about what they wanted to try/do/add/modify, we'd talk about this quote. I reassure them they didn't need an overhaul. They should only look at ONE thing to change. I firmly believe, once that "ONE thing" happens, another one thing will happen, and then another, and so on.


"... innovate inside the box."
~ George Couros

This final quote is one I talk about most often. Changing one thing allows us the grace to start. Innovating inside the box brings together the real world with the dream world, in a very realistic way. The way I explain this quote is to take all of the challenges we face and STILL DO SOMETHING to make learning work for our learners. We DO have limits with finances, personnel, state & curricular mandates, as well as time, and many more limits. All of these are limited. And 99% of the time, we can't do anything about these ... we have to exist within these. Wishing and hoping they change won't help. However, we don't have to allow them to be "game-over". We can exist within these and make wonderful things happen for our learners. That's where the challenge is - that's where the true beauty and joy will be found. 

Let's work together to flourish within the boundaries around us. Truthfully, isn't that what we want our students to do, too?


Sunday, June 2, 2019

Summer 2019 Learning You Can Do

Hello, summer vacation!!! Take a deep breath ... slow down ... enjoy coffee on the porch ... take a nap ... sleep in/stay up late NOT grading or planning! ... use the bathroom whenever you want ... shall I continue? 

Most teachers enjoy a slower pace on their summer breaks. I also know many teachers use - at least part of - their summer break to do some professional learning. I'm one of them. 

I often hear how kids are sponges ... I feel like I am, too! I honestly love learning. There isn't a day that goes by that I don't learn something. It's usually not earth-shattering. (I think that would get old real quick!) 

Last year I posted a few ideas ["Summer 2018 Learning You Can Do"] and I feel like this is such a good topic, I want to expand a bit more this year. I've found many non-traditional methods of learning that I've come to not only love, but depend on.


πŸ”Š Podcasts

If you've followed me for awhile, you know I πŸ’– podcasts! I am a faithful follower of several. I listen on my drive to & from work several times a week. I listen while my daughters have soccer practice. I listen when I go for walks. I listen when I fold laundry or make breakfast. I focus mostly on edtech podcasts, but your options really are limitless. 

Podcasts are perfect for on-the-go learners. When I'm driving, I can't read ... but I can listen. When I'm at soccer practice, wifi isn't good. And while I love music (I listen to that when I run), when I'm walking, I get lost in my thoughts, and most of the time, my thoughts lead right to edtech. Podcasts can range from a few minutes to an hour or more.

I don't just listen. More often than not, I get ideas that I share with a specific teacher based on conversations I've had with them. I use it to create something. I tweet out a connection I've made to the podcast. Basically - I share it with someone. I encourage you to do the same.

Looking for suggestions? I've highlighted several podcasts over the past year. The label is #PodPeeks, or click HERE. ALL very good! If you want quick suggestions check out the shelf below.





πŸ“š Reading


I also πŸ’— to read. Ever since I was a child, I have loved to read. I subscribe to several blogs - love how they arrive TO me. I click on links others tweet out. I have joined several Facebook groups and read things shared within these communities. I do very much the same thing when I find good stuff by reading ... I'll email it, or tweet it, or text it to the person/people I think would benefit from it.

There are also many phenomenal books focused on education, whether philosophy, pedagogy, or specific content. Often, the authors or various groups will run book studies. Better yet, gather a few of your teacher friends, agree on a book, then set a date to meet and talk about the book. (Tip: often you can find discussion questions online, or just have each reader bring a question or two to discuss.) Share. Talk about it.

Looking for suggestions? I have a list at the VERY bottom of my site of good ones (scroll until you can't scroll anymore). Looking for a few quick suggestions right now? Check out the "shelf" below. All GREAT reads!




πŸŽ’ Continuing Education

There are loads of classes - online & in person - you can take. It might help to contact your Curriculum Director. Many times they are able to guide you to good ones. Are you looking to advance your degree? You'll want to ensure you also get PD credit, too, so be sure to check with your LPDC before investing any money. There are many online options to check into, so choose wisely.

Interested in working to become a Google Certified Educator Level 1? I am facilitating an online course this summer through BCESC - Butler County Educational Services Center - on becoming a Google Certified Educator Level 1. I'd love for you to join us. It's set up to be done in your own time ... as your summer allows. I've included due dates, but only to guide you to complete before August 1. Interested? Click the LINK to register. If you use GSuite in your classroom, this is a perfect way to earn continuing education credit.


πŸ‘₯ Workshops/Conferences

Summertime can also be a great time to attend a conference or workshop! During the school year, getting a sub and writing sub plans can often be very difficult. Summertime can allow you to attend without these. Are you looking for workshops/conferences in your area? Most conferences will be posting information on social media & have hashtags you can follow, even if you don't attend.

Here are a few to get you started:

* Edsurge US K-12 Education Technology Conferences 2019  [website for additional info]
"The EdSurge K-12 Education Technology Conferences calendar PDF lists the dates and locations of more than 60 K-12 edtech conferences and events in the United States for 2019, big and small, that should be on your radar." Several of the ones below are included.

* Teach with Tech Conference online conference (July 22-24) [website for more info]
Completely free (option to purchase a "ticket" in order to have access to replays for 1 year) online conference with some big edtech names! 60+ VIDEO SESSIONS from 60 SPEAKERS. I've got my ticket ... and I'm looking forward to tuning in!

* edWeb.net [website for more info]
edWeb.net is an online portal for access to loads of online webinars to watch. There is plenty of variety - you'll be sure to find something of value to you.

* Eric Curts webinars [website for webinars] 
Eric has posted over 15 Google-focused webinars available for you to watch. Take a short quiz afterwards and earn a certificate for it. Free!

* ISTE Conference in Philadelphia,PA (June 23-26) [website for more info]
The International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE) Conference is probably the biggest edtech conference there is. I've never attended but I have heard some pretty amazing things about this. I'd be willing to put money down that you will find something that will work for you.


* High AIMS in Fairfield, OH (Aug 1 & 2) [website for more info]
High AIMS is an organization committed to supporting school districts in SW Ohio. Each summer, a conference is held to allow educators “creating a network of leaders who inspire students and one another to be engaged, high performing learners.” If you are in the area, there is still time! Register HERE

***Bonus - I'll co-presenting a few sessions! I'd love to see you there!

* SPARCC at Stark State College in North Canton, OH (Aug 9) [website for more info]
For the 15th year, SPARCC is hosting an educational technology conference. Registration is FREE, but you must register. 

***Bonus - I'll be heading up to co-present with my colleague, Beth Kingsley. 


Shall I continue? 😊 There is no end to the learning you can do this summer! Books, podcats, in-person, virtual, and more. You have so many options.


Don't make excuses, make it happen!

Have a question or comment? Feel free to comment below, reach out to me on Twitter @kiefersj, or email me at sarah@techyoucando.com.

Monday, May 27, 2019

Celebration You Can Do

I'll keep it short ... it's a holiday after all! 

Maybe this week you are wrapping up your school year -- finish strong! 
Maybe you are enjoying your first week out of school like me -- yea! 
Or maybe you still have some time to go -- you got this! 

I'll be back next week with some summer learning opportunities & ideas.



. . . . In the mean time, enjoy your holiday!

P.S. If you are curious, Memorial Day is an American holiday where we honor all the men and women who have died while serving our country in the military. It's always on the final Monday in May. Interested in a short video (less than 4 minutes)? Check out this one History.com's ↬ https://www.history.com/topics/holidays/memorial-day-history .