Coronavirus eLearning Series… Ideas To Think About Now… Before Next Year: Idea 4…Planning Blended Learning For Another Year

blended

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Welcome!  In this time of Coronavirus challenges I want the opportunity to share thoughts, ideas, and questions that I hope are helpful to all of those amazing educators that are doing so much for our students. While I know I may fall short in some ways, I do hope everyone can discover at least one idea that might help their school, parents and students as they take on this new challenge (opportunity) in learning. Please feel free to contact me via email (mjgormans@gmail.com) or Twitter at (@mjgormans). If anything, I have learned from experience and  if I can help you at this time… please feel free to reach out.  I would be happy to join you and your staff in a Web Meeting.  I do hope you read, and please share with others through email and Tweets. It lets me know that I might be making a small difference. – Mike

In this series I would like to take the time to share some eLearning and Blended Learning ideas and pose some questions as schools have finished another school session and begin to look at the next year. Some of the ideas I would like to bring out in this series include:

  1. Managing devices from school year end to start
    1. Read the article or watch the webinar
  2. Data collection for planning
    1. Read the article or watch the webinar (future)
  3. PD for the next level of eLearning in a district
    1. Read the article or watch the webinar
  4. Planning Blended Learning for another year
    1. Below
  5. Short term and long term goals for Blended Learning

Please feel free to review these prior posts that have links. If you have contributions to make or ideas to supply please email me at mjgormans@gmail.com, or send me a tweet at mjgormans . I am trying to build even more ideas to share with everyone! Let’s continue this series by looking at PD for your next level of eLearning  which should include blended learning in your district.  I hope the information is helpful to you!

Coronavirus eLearning Series… Ideas To Think About Now… Before Next Year: Idea 4…Planning Blended Learning For Another Year

It seems by now that those districts fortunate enough to have devices both in schools and also in student homes have had a good dose of eLearning. In fact, there was little time or way to really blend the learning for many of us.

For those that are just getting into online learning, it is necessary to understand some of the terms used in this new digital era of education. The concept of eLearning really brings out the idea of learning online. It may have had its beginning with the idea of distance learning. Students learned from a teacher that was not in the same classroom. It could be that the students were at home, or even they were at school with the teacher in a different physical location. This was common in schools that did not have an in house teacher for certain subjects. It was also used in in the post K12 learning environment.

The idea of eLearning progressed and soon incorporated the Learning Management System (LMS). This allowed the teacher to provide both synchronous and asynchronous opportunities for learning. It also allowed for content storage, communication, and exchange. At the start, the LMS was basically a two way street of teacher presenting and the student providing some type of response with eventual teacher feedback. As the LMS developed more, opportunities were included allowing a richer learning experience including discussions, video, audio, white boards, and conference rooms. It was, and still is, important to use all of the capabilities of the LMS together to optimize learning. In fact, many educators have added to the LMS utilizing outside approved apps in order to provide a deep learning experience for students online. I discussed these features, and professional development needed to support, in the prior post and in this webinar. Please feel free to take a look.

The idea of Blended Learning incorporates the best of the the eLearning experience by blending the technology, both in and out of the physical classroom. It also utilizes the important methods and processes used in the physical classroom.  You could call it the very best of both learning worlds. After all, great learning has always happened in that classroom promoting effective pedagogy. At the same time, the digital opportunities both in and outside of the physical walls open up a whole new world of connections beyond the classroom and amplify the learning. If a digital task works great in eLearning away from school, why not do it in the physical classroom?

As we all enter a new school year, the idea of Blended Learning may become necessary in those classrooms that need to incorporate social distancing. The technology may provide a solution  that allows the continuation of activities that promote deeper learning. An example might include the collaborative activity Chalk Talk. This task requires students to huddle in a group and write ideas on a large sheet of paper. Could this instead be done in a Zoom Room with a shared Google Document? Such a process can be done both in and out of the classroom.

In a Blended Learning Environment the physical and digital classroom become integrated. The lines actually begin to blur and it does not matter where the student and teacher are. It allows for both synchronous and asynchronous learning, individualization, differentiation, small group teaching and learning, self regulated learning, formative and summative assessment, and connections to outside people and resources. Learning becomes more exciting in the classroom and carries over when students leave for a different learning space.

You may ask why this is so important during a time of social distancing in the classroom. Blended Learning allows the physical school day to be interrupted by sickness, unusual scheduling of days, and weather. As students and teachers incorporate this idea of Blended Learning, the mission of education continues and provides continuity. Learning at all depths continues and rigor prevails. Students are provided more ownership of their learning and engagement increases with the online experience going beyond just an student/teacher exchange of information. In the physical classroom collaboration to promote critical thinking, communication, and creativity is still possible through the use of technology.

Blended Learning provides wonderful opportunities to engage learners. As schools look at this process there are several question we must consider finding answers to.

  1. Is there an understanding of both e-Learning and Blended Learning by educators?
  2. Has PD been provided to assist teachers as they step through e-Learning and Blended Learning?
  3. Can the district PD for teachers model a Blended Learning experience?
  4. What are all the capabilities of the district LMS?
  5. What other tools are needed to compliment the LMS?
  6. What tools does the district already have in regards to media and curriculum to assist with Blended learning?
  7. Are students being provided a time to practice with tools so that the blend will extend to home?
  8. What online resources, both paid and free, are being provided for teachers to blend the learning?
  9. What experts already exist in the district to assist in promoting a Blended Learning experience?
  10. What steps must be taken to assist teachers as they incorporate a Blended Learning experience to promote deeper learning, 4C’s, and higher level thinking?

I hope you can see that the idea of blending the learning experience is even more important today then it ever has been. The challenges we are faced with also give us the wonderful opportunity to incorporate technology to promote a learning experience that is engaging and authentic for students anywhere and anytime! Please take a moment to enjoy and learn from the resources below.

Resources

TIM – Take a look at this amazing program from the University of Southern Florida. Be sure to note the included matrix and resources This site provides a wonderful look at Blended Learning.

SAMR -Many teachers have studied the SAMR Model. I like Kathy Schrock’s Guide to SAMR because it explains the model and also provides some useful ideas of how it might work in the Blended Classroom and also integrated with Bloom.

Edutopia Blended Learning – This is always a great educational place to learn more. This page will provide some amazing articles and videos as you explore Blended Learning.

Blended Learning Universe – This is an especially good site because it presents different approaches to Blended Learning. Be sure to check out the various models and wonderful articles.

Flipped Learning – The idea of Flipped Learning is much more than making instructional videos for students to watch at home. At this site, you will examine how Flipped really does provide a blended experience promoting learning that is engaging while providing student ownership.

Thanks for joining me! Think of this new reality, as a pilot, and know that educators, students, and parents will make adjustments on this journey.  Please feel free to contact me via email (mjgormans@gmail.com) or Twitter at (@mjgormans). If anything, I have learned from experience and  if I can help you at this time… please feel free to reach out.  I would be happy to join you and your staff in a Web Meeting.  I do hope you read, and please share with others through email and Tweets. It lets me know that I might be making a small difference.  It is important that we document the process so we can learn and plan from it. Thanks for joining me and please feel free to check with me on questions you might have involving lessons that I have learned. Best of all… remember that spring will be here soon! – Mike

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Coronavirus eLearning Series… Ideas To Think About Now… Before Next Year: Idea 3…PD For The Next Level of eLearning

pd

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Welcome!  In this time of Coronavirus challenges I want the opportunity to share thoughts, ideas, and questions that I hope are helpful to all of those amazing educators that are doing so much for our students. While I know I may fall short in some ways, I do hope everyone can discover at least one idea that might help their school, parents and students as they take on this new challenge (opportunity) in learning. Please feel free to contact me via email (mjgormans@gmail.com) or Twitter at (@mjgormans). If anything, I have learned from experience and  if I can help you at this time… please feel free to reach out.  I would be happy to join you and your staff in a Web Meeting.  I do hope you read, and please share with others through email and Tweets. It lets me know that I might be making a small difference. – Mike

In this series I would like to take the time to share some eLearning ideas and pose some questions as schools look at winding down this school year and begin to look at the next year. Some of the ideas I would like to bring out in this series include:

  1. Managing devices from school year end to start
    1. Read the article or watch the webinar
  2. Data collection for planning 
  3. PD for the next level of eLearning in a district (below)
  4. Planning Blended Learning for another year
  5. Short term and long term goals for Blended Learning

Please look for these topics in upcoming posts. If you have contributions to make or ideas to supply please email me at mjgormans@gmail.com, or send me a tweet at mjgormans . I am trying to build even more ideas to share with everyone! Let’s continue this series by looking at PD for your next level of eLearning in your district.  I hope the information is helpful to you!

Coronavirus eLearning Series… Ideas To Think About Now… Before Next Year: Idea 3…PD For The Next Level of eLearning

As we finish this school year we must all take a moment to reflect on the learning outside of the classroom that took place during the Coronavirus. With the amount of time teachers had to prepare, most people have acknowledged that educators did a wonderful job. With summer time upon us, we have the unique opportunity to expand our eLearning skills and discover ways to make that line between the physical classroom and the online experience a bit more blurred. This is a goal that will continue to serve education for many years! As we do this, we need to first determine where our district, buildings, and educators are in their journey toward this new style of learning and the PD that is needed to support it. Let me provide some ideas to consider.

  1. Take a look at my last post on surveys for educators, students, and parents. It provides questions that might apply to the direction educators might take in their professional development pathway.
  2. Make a determination as to where the district and educators are in their e-Learning journey in your local school or district. Please take a look at the different steps I have provided below. Keep in mind that as educators, we are where we are! While the virus may have caused us to speed up our process, we still have to take this in steps. That is why we have a stairway to get to different levels in a building. Let’s take a look and try to determine where you, the school, or the district might be.
    1. Just beginning –  Many schools had to start some type of e-Learning last year and they were just trying to make sure  students could get online while retrieving, and handing in content. At this level there needs to be a determination of what type of delivery system will be used. It is always best for students, parents, and for PD if there is consistency in a school or district. It might be text messages or possible teacher web pages. Keep in mind some schools may have been using packets and are now trying to determine this step. The ultimate goal is to adopt a LMS (Learning Management System). Districts need to decide on that delivery system, and then decide what basic skills must be taught to teachers and also students.
    2. Beginning to learn an LMS – If teachers just learned that this stood for Learning Management System the district might be at step one. If an LMS is in use, perhaps many educators had just started learning how to create class content area for students and parents online. There must be a determination of where teachers are at, and what important attributes of the LMS must be taught. It is important to keep it simple at first and allow everyone to become comfortable.  Leaders must find ways to use the LMS to conduct PD. If school starts with face to face instruction, encourage teachers to have in class practice days with students. It will be important to make this a summer and start of school year priority!
    3. Feeling comfortable with that LMS – Some schools may have teachers and students that were able to use their online portal to get through the year with a basic education emphasis. PD plans might call for an inventory of all the LMS capabilities. A list can be made in a priority order and training planned. Teachers should also be surveyed. The plan should be made to get the very most out of the features found in the LMS before bringing in other technology and tools. Keep in mind that eventually it will be important to go beyond the output by teachers and input by students. How can the LMS get learning beyond teacher presentation and student feedback? This idea of increased interaction  must be brought into the PD.
    4. Going beyond the LMS – As teachers feel comfortable with the LMS it is time to investigate and incorporate other technology platforms that integrate with the LMS. This might be Google Meet, Zoom, Nearpod, or other tools that bring about more student interaction. When deciding on these resources educators should make sure the add on tools are not duplicating something already in the LMS. Also, make sure theses extras align with the District AUP (Acceptable Use Policy). Leadership must determine what outside the LMS tools must be implemented and what ones might be optional. This will be helpful in planning a PD timeline and a scaffold for teachers. The goal is to grow student interaction and engagement.
    5. Blending the learning – The teachers and students at this point are feeling comfortable with the LMS and many of those important related tools that increase interaction. Now it is important to think about getting rid of the barriers that exist between the physical and online classroom. How do we begin to structure PD that brings the real learning experiences to the online and blended world? This might include deeper learning, PBL, STEM, 4C’s, collaborative learning, visual thinking, meta-cognition, student ownership, Bloom’s upper levels, Makers, and student production as part of the  learning experience. As a classroom gets to this level students can be in and out of school, and it really doesn’t matter. The physical place of learning along with the time it happens no longer is important.  How might we begin to bring these ideas into professional development for the online experience, just as we have been doing in the physical classroom?
  3. Take a look at your district Learning Management System or lack of one. Determine those important next steps for both adopting the LMS and tools. Determine those PD steps as discussed in part 2.
  4. Consider blending the professional development experience. At what point do teachers need to be together and when can they learn online?  What can be synchronous and what can be asynchronous?  It is important to make the professional development experience a model for expectations in the classroom. How might the PD involve immersion in visible thinking, authentic collaboration, Blooms higher skills, and deeper learning? As this is done, it is important to be intentional and ask educators to reflect on their experience in this process as  learners. It will give them insight into their students’ learning in the online world.
  5. Determine who owns the PD – A good friend of mine, Alan November, wrote a book entitled Who Owns the Learning? I like to take this idea a step further and ask, Who Owns the Professional Development? Our districts and schools are filled with so many talented educators. The district teachers can own the PD and share their diverse set of skills. Keep in mind that technology is just part of the picture. One of my favorite PD Models is the TPACK Model. Read about it and discover how teachers with the different strengths of pedagogy, content, and technology can work together to support each other in PD. Teacher ownership, like student ownership, is very important.

Check out these 10 resources to learn more:

Online Learning Consortium – This is a great resource for those teachers moving to that online experience.

SEDTA Connects – Check out the links from this e-Learning coalition.

Indiana Remote Learning Resources – From my home state DOE you will find a wonderful collection of e-learning resources.

T.H.E Journal – Spend some time browsing the possibilities that might be part of a great e-learning  program.

ISTE Summer e-Learning Academy – This should provide a wonderful opportunity to learn more about online teaching from an organization that has been doing it for decades. It lasts a week, it virtual, and the cost is twenty bucks for members.

Edutopia Online learning – Explore this amazing site to discover virtual classrooms and schools, or ways to expand learning beyond the walls of any classroom.

Common Sense Education – Great free PD resources for digital citizenship and online learning for all educators.

PBS Teacher Line – This is always a trusted resource for free teacher PD ideas. Enjoy the many ideas and resources!

EdWeb – Check out these amazing articles and resources that will fit into wonderful learning opportunities for teachers and students.

Tech and Learning Magazine e-Learning Resources – Since I am an advisor for the magazine I thought I would include this list of abundant resources. Some had been, and still maybe available for free. Either way it is a great list to help you understand what is out there to support eLearning.

Now is the perfect time to reflect on the PD needed to even better serve your students. As you grow your district, school, and classroom eLearning PD, a culture of blended learning will continue to engage learner and educators long after the virus is gone. It is an investment in time, energy, and resources well spent!  As I have previously stated, our schools have done an amazing job navigating these uncharted waters. Schools have reacted in a way that has been beneficial to students. As we continue this journey and finally find sometime to breathe, we must also be proactive in our planning.  This really does start with asking, listening, and reflecting! I do hope some of the ideas I present on eLearning and professional development are helpful as you continue to build, facilitate, and improve eLearning for all students.

Think of this new reality, as a pilot, and know that educators, students, and parents will make adjustments on this journey.  Please feel free to contact me via email (mjgormans@gmail.com) or Twitter at (@mjgormans). If anything, I have learned from experience and  if I can help you at this time… please feel free to reach out.  I would be happy to join you and your staff in a Web Meeting.  I do hope you read, and please share with others through email and Tweets. It lets me know that I might be making a small difference.  It is important that we document the process so we can learn and plan from it. Thanks for joining me and please feel free to check with me on questions you might have involving lessons that I have learned. Best of all… remember that spring will be here soon! – Mike

 

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Coronavirus eLearning Series… Ideas To Think About Now… Before Next Year: Idea 2…Feedback and Surveys

survey

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Welcome!  In this time of Coronavirus challenges I want the opportunity to share thoughts, ideas, and questions that I hope are helpful to all of those amazing educators that are doing so much for our students. While I know I may fall short in some ways, I do hope everyone can discover at least one idea that might help their school, parents and students as they take on this new challenge (opportunity) in learning. Please feel free to contact me via email (mjgormans@gmail.com) or Twitter at (@mjgormans). If anything, I have learned from experience and  if I can help you at this time… please feel free to reach out.  I would be happy to join you and your staff in a Web Meeting.  I do hope you read, and please share with others through email and Tweets. It lets me know that I might be making a small difference. – Mike

In this series I would like to take the time to share some e-Learning ideas and pose some questions as schools look at winding down this school year and begin to look at the next year. Some of the ideas I would like to bring out in this series include:

  1. Managing devices from school year end to start
    1. Read the article or watch the webinar
  2. Data collection for planning (Below)
  3. PD for the next level of eLearning in a district
  4. Planning Blended Learning for another year
  5. Short term and long term goals for Blended Learning

Please look for these topics in upcoming posts. If you have contributions to make or ideas to supply please email me at mjgormans@gmail.com, or send me a tweet at mjgormans . I am trying to build even more ideas to share with everyone! Let’s start with the idea of managing devices from school year end to start. I hope the information is helpful to you!

Coronavirus eLearning Series… Ideas To Think About Now… Before Next Year: Idea 1…Feedback and Surveys

The school year for many in the United States is coming to a close and for most it will end online, or by some type of material and packet distribution. From what I have heard and seen, educators have done a wonderful job of making learning happen for students with the resources and planning time they had to prepare and deliver. I do want to make a point to salute all educators for their amazing efforts. As we have taken this journey together we have also learned so much about extending learning outside of the classroom walls, especially since we could not get in. In fact, some of this learning has the unique opportunity to allow us to make next years’s educational experience even more powerful for our students, no  matter what the structure looks like. In order to be intentional at improving our outcomes for next year it is necessary to inquire, listen and reflect. Now is the time to make this happen! I have included some questions educators might want to answer, get answers to, and reflect upon as they take this next step  As we get close to another year ending we have the perfect opportunity to ask ask and analyze thoughts and ideas from our community of stakeholders.

In the space below, I have tried to provide some questions that you might want to use as you build surveys and questionnaires in the near future. Perhaps you wish to gather a committee together to decide both survey questions, method, and audience. Keep in mind that these example below are here to give you some ideas to start with. I have listed questions that align between groups for three different stakeholder categories including educators, students, and parents. Be prepared for a wide variety of feedback and more importantly, take the time to read and reflect on it. I do hope it helps in your planning for next year.

Educators: ( 1. far below 2. a little below 3. the same 4. a little better 5.  exceeded)

  1. As compared to traditional classroom facilitation learning was…
  2. Student participation seemed to be…
  3. Delivery of actual content standards was…
  4. Support for skills collaboration, communication, critical thinking, creativity was…
  5. Summative assessment capabilities seemed…
  6. Formative assessment capabilities seemed….
  7. Student ownership and self-regulation was…
  8. Parent participation was….
  9. Relationship building with students was….
  10. The opportunity to engage students in higher level Bloom’s activities were…
  11. The ability for my students to connect as compared to  my expectations was…
  12. My workload as compared to an average workday and evening work was…

Educators: General short answers:

  1. What resources seemed to be important?
  2. What resources, not available, could have been useful?
  3. What are some major feedback ideas you obtained from students and parents?
  4. What do you need future PD on?
  5. What suggestions do you have for the future?

Students: ( 1. far below 2. a little below 3. the same 4. a little better 5.  exceeded)

  1. My experience as compared to traditional classroom learning was…
  2. My participation seemed to be…
  3. My learning and understanding of content standards was…
  4. My use of skills collaboration, communication, critical thinking, creativity was…
  5. My preparation for tests and final large assignments were …
  6. My teacher’s ability to inform me as to how I was doing seemed….
  7. My ability to have ownership and self-regulation in my learning was…
  8. My parents participation in helping me was ….
  9. My relationship building with my teachers and other students was….
  10. My experiences of finding learning engaging, interesting, and challenging was…
  11. My ability to get online and connect to meet class expectations was…
  12. My workload as compared to an average workday and home work was…

Students: General short answers:

  1. What tools, software, and technology seemed to be important?
  2. What tools, software, and technology not available could have been useful?
  3. What network did you use to connect from?
    1. Multiple choice: A. Home B. A Place of Work C. Local Wifi Hotspot                      D. Community Building E. Other
  4. What primary device did you use to connect from?
    1. Multiple choice: A. No Technology (paper/packet) B. Smart Phone C. School Device  D. Borrowed Device from family member/friend E. Non-smart phone
  5. What suggestions do you have for the future?

Parents: ( 1. far below 2. a little below 3. the same 4. a little better 5.  exceeded)

  1. My  perception as compared to traditional classroom learning was…
  2. My  child’s participation  seemed to be…
  3. My child’s learning and understanding of content standards was…
  4. My child’s skills of (collaboration, communication, critical thinking, creativity was…
  5. My child’s preparation for tests and final large assignments were …
  6. My teachers ability to inform  how my child was doing seemed….
  7. My  child’s ownership and self-regulation toward learning was…
  8. My teacher’s participation in helping me as a parent was ….
  9. My child’s relationship building with teacher(s) and other students was….
  10. My child’s experience of being engaged, interested, and challenged was…
  11. My child’s ability to get online and connect to meet class expectations was…
  12. My child’s workload as compared to an average workday and home work was…

Parents: General short answers:

  1. What tools, software, and technology seemed to be important?
  2. What tools, software, and technology not available could have been useful?
  3. What network did your child use to connect from?
    1. Multiple choice: A. Home B. A Place of Work C. Local Wifi Hotspot D. Community Building E. Other
  4. What primary device did your child use to connect from?
    1. Multiple choice A. No Technology (paper/packet) B. Smart Phone C. School Device  D. Borrowed Device from family member/friend E. Non-smart phone
  5. What suggestions do you have for the future?

Now is the perfect time to gather and reflect on this new experience we have all been a part of.  Every school and district is different so please feel free to be use these survey possibilities as a way to get the conversation started and build questions that align with your situation. As I have previously stated, our schools have done an amazing job navigating these uncharted waters. Schools have reacted in a way that has been beneficial to students. As we continue this journey and finally find sometime to breathe, we must also be proactive in our planning.  This really does start with asking, listening, and reflecting! I do hope these ideas and questions are helpful as you continue to build, facilitate, and improve eLearning for all students.

Think of this new reality, as a pilot, and know that educators, students, and parents will make adjustments on this journey.  Please feel free to contact me via email (mjgormans@gmail.com) or Twitter at (@mjgormans). If anything, I have learned from experience and  if I can help you at this time… please feel free to reach out.  I would be happy to join you and your staff in a Web Meeting.  I do hope you read, and please share with others through email and Tweets. It lets me know that I might be making a small difference.  It is important that we document the process so we can learn and plan from it. Thanks for joining me and please feel free to check with me on questions you might have involving lessons that I have learned. Best of all… remember that spring will be here soon! – Mike

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Teacher Appreciation Week 2020…It’s True…  I Teach Because I Can’t Do Anything Else!

teacher_appreciation

“To find out what one is fitted to do, and to secure an opportunity to do it, is the key to happiness.” ― John Dewey

it is especially important this years to say… Happy 2020 Teacher Appreciation Week!  The amazing work that teachers have been doing at meeting student needs has really been apparent during the Cornavirus. Keep in mind that educators have been doing this all along! As I extend my best wishes to all educators I wish to share with you one of my favorite annual  postings. I hope you find this reflection, one that you will continue to enjoy and share with others!   Also, please take a moment to subscribe to this blog by RSS or email and  join me on twitter at mjgormans . I have some great posts coming your way involving PBL, STEM, tech integration. Most of all, thanks for being one of those over 30,000 visitors a month and over 14,000 subscribers.  I would appreciate it if you pass this special post on to others through email , your blog, school newsletter, or a retweet!  Help me honor all of those amazing educators!

Sign up and retweet… – Mike Gorman (21centuryedtech)

Teacher Appreciation Week 2020…It’s True…  I Teach Because I Can’t Do Anything Else! (21centuryedtech.wordpress.com)

OK, so it’s true! I have spent  over 41 years in education because I cannot do anything else! Today, I travel around the country providing professional development involving all sorts of exciting educational possibilities. In those school districts I do my best to provide learning experiences for students and educators just as I have always done in the classroom. The idea of not being able to do anything else actually is something I have learned in the last ten years,  something I did not know  when I  presented my very first classroom lesson! I actually  began my undergraduate career in the College of Business with an eye on marketing. In the early stages of my teaching career, I became licensed to sell securities with the idea of becoming rich!  Little did I know that because I could only teach, I would find richness beyond monetary wealth! I dedicate this list of reasons to all of those great educators who teach because they cannot do anything else! Again, please retweet and share with all of our colleagues that really can’t do anything else! I would really appreciate you taking the time to share!  Most of all enjoy the week and know that you are appreciated! – Mike Gorman

The List

  1. I can’t be a banker or work in the financial business because while I might enjoy counting money and financial growth, I would rather count and measure the success of my students.
  2. I can’t be a doctor or dentist because  while I enjoy seeing people smile as they leave and are healed, I get even more satisfaction if I see a smile when they first sit down.
  3. I can’t be a professional athlete because while I do enjoy competition, I get even more satisfaction coaching young people to play each game with honor, integrity, and respect.
  4. I can’t be a computer programmer because while creating new digital applications is exciting, finding ways to integrate technology to inspire real learning is rewarding.
  5. I can’t work in agriculture or landscaping because while supplying food and natural beauty is appreciated by all, I enjoy planting seeds of life-long learning knowing that it will nourish one’s life.
  6. I can’t work as a cook or chef because while I appreciate the art in a great meal, I enjoy even more finding just the right ingredients that allow for a child’s success.
  7. I can’t work in sales or marketing because even though I have learned from their great people skills, I would rather sell students on their abilities and possibilities.
  8. I can’t be a pilot even though I appreciate them as I travel to new places, as I would rather facilitate young people as they climb in altitude and arrive at new destinations.
  9. I can’t be an artist despite my appreciation for the beauty they bring, as I have found that my art is the ability to inspire and nurture children as they discover their innate abilities.
  10. I can’t be a scientist or inventor because, while I am aware of the great advances they bring, I wish to create  innovative learning experiences that always end in success.

I could go on and on! As you can see, I really do appreciate all of the other professions and realize there are so many I can’t do. After all, as teachers, we really are preparing students for what they will do best in the world. Possibly in the future, those we teach will not be able to do anything else, because we have assisted them  in becoming the very best at what they do!  As I continue my journey I have expanded my teaching horizon and understand that a genuine educator, whether being a teacher, administrator, or educational leader, continue to teach and inspire others because they really can’t do anything else.

Historical Look – Both Political and Educational leaders started discussions for a day to honor our teachers in 1944.  Finally in 1953, Eleanor Roosevelt persuaded the 81st Congress to proclaim National Teachers’ Day. Remember this is a day to not just recognize teachers of today… but all of those teachers that made such an impact in all of our educations.

Quick Notes – Opportunities and resources you may want to be aware of for Teacher Appreciation Week.

PTO Teacher Appreciation Resources – Popular ideas, printables, clip art, and planning tools to help you celebrate your teachers in May (and all throughout the year).

7 Meaningful Ways to to Celebrate Teacher Appreciation Week – Take a look at these ideas and take a moment to recognize those special teachers.

NEA and PTA – Join NEA and the National PTA in saying “Thank You” during Teacher Appreciation Week, May 4-8:

Google Teacher Appreciation Page – A great page filled with new resources for 2020!

Donors Choose – Check out these donation possibilities that will help teachers as they help students.

A  big shout out to all  educators on a very special week!  Thanks for joining me on another journey dedicated to learning in the 21st Century! As always I invite you to follow me on Twitter (@mjgormans), I will return the favor and we can teach each other! I also encourage you to sign up for this blog by email or RSS.  I invite you to share this posts with others through email or a retweet!  Thanks for your visit and know that I will keep  sharing, teaching, and facilitating all learners, after all, I can’t do anything else! – Michael Gorman (21centuryedtech)

 

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Coronavirus eLearning Series… Ideas To Think About Now… Before Next Year: Idea 1…Devices

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Welcome!  In this time of Coronavirus challenges I want the opportunity to share thoughts, ideas, and questions that I hope are helpful to all of those amazing educators that are doing so much for our students. While I know I may fall short in some ways, I do hope everyone can discover at least one idea that might help their school, parents and students as they take on this new challenge (opportunity) in learning. Please feel free to contact me via email (mjgormans@gmail.com) or Twitter at (@mjgormans). If anything, I have learned from experience and  if I can help you at this time… please feel free to reach out.  I would be happy to join you and your staff in a Web Meeting.  I do hope you read, and please share with others through email and Tweets. It lets me know that I might be making a small difference. – Mike

In this series I would like to take the time to share some e-Learning ideas and pose some questions as schools look at winding down this school year and begin to look at the next year. Some of the ideas I would like to bring out in this series include:

  1. Managing devices from school year end to start
  2. Data collection for planning
  3. PD for the next level of eLearning in a district
  4. Planning Blended Learning for another year
  5. Short term and long term goals for Blended Learning

Please look for these topics in upcoming posts. If you have contributions to make or ideas to supply please email me at mjgormans@gmail.com, or send me a tweet at mjgormans . I am trying to build even more ideas to share with everyone! Let’s start with the idea of managing devices from school year end to start. I hope the information is helpful to you!

Coronavirus eLearning Series… Ideas To Think About Now… Before Next Year: Idea 1…Devices

As we go though this Pandemic we must consider and make plans for how digital devices will be managed before, during, and after the summer break. None of us has a Crystal Ball, so we can not be sure what the future holds. While we all hope for a quick resolution, we must also be prepared for uncertainty. It is important that school districts have a short term device plan that is well thought out and vetted by a committee of district stakeholders. The big immediate question is to either collect devices at the end of the school year, or have students keep them. This really is a decision that is unique to each individual school system.

Below I have the two directions and have tried to supply some questions you might ask your committee as you journey down this decision road. I know there are possibly so many other questions, but thought this might get you off to a productive start.

A. Some districts may decide to collect devices back at the end of the school year. If so, how will this be done for the safety of all involved?

  1. Do you need to work out your plan with area health departments?
  2. What will the logistics look like in order to promote a safe collection?
  3. How will devices be stored?
  4. Is there a waiting period before working on the devices required
  5. How are devices to be cleaned and disinfected if possible?
  6. How will devices be issued next year, if school is open and if school is closed?
  7. Are there students taking summer courses that will need devices?
  8. With the exception of Seniors and those leaving the district, might it be better for students to keep them over the summer?
  9. If devices are in their last year, what give away or purchase options are available?
  10. What additions to budget might be needed to collect devices?

B. On the other hand a school district may decide to have students keep devices over the summer because the time period can be rather short and it may be more productive in the end. What are some things that might need to be thought about?

  1. What will be the procedures for seniors and those leaving the district to hand them in?
  2. What are the ramifications with any insurance  of the devices in relationship to policies in, or not in, effect?
  3. Is there a need and capability to disable devices remotely if the district decides this is a prudent action?
  4. What updates will the devices need for the next year and how might this be accomplished in the summer?
  5. What type of help desk services might be available through the summer?
  6. What type of summer care instructions may need to be sent out?
  7. How might schools capitalize on the idea that students have the devices all summer?
  8. How might needed routine maintenance be accomplished once school begins?
  9. What must we think about in maintaining network operations?
  10. What budget planning maybe needed to accommodate both the needs and possible attrition due to devices staying with students.

Our schools have done an amazing job navigating these uncharted waters. Schools have reacted in a way that has been beneficial to students. As we continue this journey and finally find sometime to breathe, we must also be proactive in our planning. I do hope these ideas and questions are helpful as you continue to build, facilitate, and improve eLearning for all students.

Think of this new reality, as a pilot, and know that educators, students, and parents will make adjustments on this journey.  Please feel free to contact me via email (mjgormans@gmail.com) or Twitter at (@mjgormans). If anything, I have learned from experience and  if I can help you at this time… please feel free to reach out.  I would be happy to join you and your staff in a Web Meeting.  I do hope you read, and please share with others through email and Tweets. It lets me know that I might be making a small difference.  It is important that we document the process so we can learn and plan from it. Thanks for joining me and please feel free to check with me on questions you might have involving lessons that I have learned. Best of all… remember that spring will be here soon! – Mike

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30 Ideas To  Consider When Implementing School Online and Offline During The Coronavirus

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Welcome to a post that has taken be a while to write. As the Coronavirus has changed the landscape of education, I have become more and more aware of  inequity and the digital divide. This is the reason for my title including the words Online and Offline. Over seven years ago I worked with our District Technology Director and Superintendent to create a 1:1 e-learning program that would be used to make up snow days. Some of the ideas in this article were part of our discussions and writings. I have looked at what we did and tried to rephrase it for the environment we find ourselves in today. In my reflection, I have attempted to present ideas for all schools across the digital divide. While I know I may fall short in many ways, I do hope everyone can discover at least one idea that might help their school, parents and students as they take on this new challenge (opportunity) in learning. Please feel free to contact me via email (mjgormans@gmail.com) or Twitter at (@mjgormans). If anything, I have learned from experience and  if I can help you at this time… please feel free to reach out. While this is a longer post, I will be providing short posts in the future which will include resources that might help you out as we deal with this new reality. I do hope you read and please share with others! – Mike

Before sharing I wish to thank all of those educators, students, and parents in SACS (Southwest Allen County Schools, Indiana) along with Mr. Don Chase (Technology Director) and Dr. Phil Downs (Superintendent) who I was honored to work with as we facilitated e-learning in our District quite a few years ago. We defeated those snow days and kept learning going. As we look look to take on a new challenge I am honored to share our collection of thoughts and ideas… both past and present:

In moving forward, we must be willing to be aggressive and brave in what we try, but balance that against our abilities and the capacities of our students. We must not be fearful of the less-than-perfect because it is in the pursuit of eventually-being-better. Most importantly, we must remember that small, simple steps still move us forward.  

Most of all we must also consider our students. This is a new approach and it may be viewed as overwhelming by many students (and some of us too!). During this time we must give less traditional homework and teach students time management while supporting emotional well being. To do this, we must consider the technology capabilities of all of our students at home. In our plans, there should be a time for technology and a time for no technology.  Even students with the internet and computers at home may have to share with multiple household members. How can we design assignments that really do reach the lowest common denominator of technology such as a phone or cell phone? How might we place students in diverse support groups based on these different levels of home technology?

Students may also be concerned with questions about impact on their learning and of course… grades. We must make this time a positive opportunity for our students and want them to walk away with the idea that they can learn anything online or offline. We truly can use this as an opportunity to facilitate the idea of learning… how to learn. This is a skill that will last a lifetime.

Every step we take, we must practice empathy while thinking of equality. This is extra schooling for students and parents in a format they are not quite use to. While it must be stated that teachers are going through a formative process and may fail, educators must also remember that students and parents should also be allowed this same grace. Below I have 30 items you may want to reflect on as we all go through a new chapter of education and learning. I am certain it will be a chapter that makes us all a little better as we take small yet powerful steps.

30 Ideas To  Consider When Implementing School Online and Offline During The Coronavirus – Michael J. Gorman (21centuryedtech.wordpress.com)

  1. Determine if school and district have the resources to use an e-learning experience. Determine the level at what this might be. It might go from text messaging, to email, to a a complete LMS. Do the best that can be done at the the level of capabilities a district is at. In other words… what can be done on and off line?
  2. Check any guidelines provided by your state DOE. If they have them you can probably find them online.
  3. Frequently survey all district stakeholders including educators, parents, and students during this event.
  4. Be aware of  student home internet connectivity. There may be different levels. Think of the lowest common denominator.  What can be provided with low bandwidth and quick access limitations?
  5. Determine community Wifi access points that may be available still allowing for social distancing… parking lots for uploads and downloads, etc.
  6. Investigate possible home connect programs for students who do not have access. Most of the cable companies are providing free access, but parents might need education about these opportunities. What education can be delivered on cell phone hot spots… keeping limited data in mind?
  7. Provide access points near buildings (parking lots) in the district and possibly place school buses housing Wifi for cars parked nearby.  Communicate this availability to students and parents in a variety of ways.
  8. Investigate student special needs and include provisions in individualized learning plans. Understand that the district may need to make different accommodations for students unable to participate in this type of program.
  9. Allow extra time and alternative assignments to accommodate students who may have difficulty connecting. Think of assignments that might include student individual interest.
  10. Attempt to blend lessons as much as possible with learning that would have taken place if school was in session. Keep in mind that not everything has to be done online.
  11. Provide opportunities for some type of student collaboration from low to high tech. Just calling and interviewing a classmate could provide  content skills while allowing for social interaction.
  12. Develop student schedules that provide a balance of no tech and digital experiences allowing students to experience the pre-analog world such as reading, writing, sketching and even conquering needed math facts.  This balance should be provided regardless of the school e-learning capability.
  13. Provide training and assistance to teachers regarding the use of the district LMS and blended learning via synchronous and asynchronous delivery.
  14. Decide how content and grade level teachers might take on different learning delivery based on their skills. Some educators might develop low or no tech lessons, while others concentrate on the digital experience. They then share. One YouTube video could be shared with the entire grade or content class. This can lighten the load for all teachers.
  15. Consider ways that activities can include social and emotional learning. This might be especially important when society is more isolated.
  16. Conduct teacher meetings via video conferencing software. This can allow for sharing, learning, PD, and opportunities to use others for support. Consider online conferencing software such a Zoom, Google Hangout, and Go To Meeting.
  17. Encourage teachers to provide some low tech solutions such as using a video, text messaging, email,  that can be accessed by cell phone.
  18. Emphasize that safety comes first and that no one should venture out to an access point if it compromises needed social distancing.
  19. Make a plan for this new out of school school learning program.  Communicate both online and offline,  and be sure that all stakeholders understand the way the program works.
  20. Understand that student work load may be different online, and a forty minute class may only require half the work time when online. Do not overload students and allow time for family interaction, self interest, and recreation.
  21. Include parents on texts, emails, voluntary online conferencing, and possibly weekly newsletter.
  22. Ask teachers to communicate with students via survey tools, LMS, polling, etc  in order to get a temperature read for future planning and student progress.
  23. Find examples and encourage teachers to plan lessons that help students understand how to learn in the both the digital world and in a world with no digital technology.
  24. Take advantage of opportunities to promote regular and digital citizenship. Encourage collaboration between students where they might be  part of a learning group that supports each other. Is there service projects they can do at home? This can also help meet needs of those with low and no tech.
  25. Attempt to set up teacher office hours that provide multiple avenues of connection while also allowing for anonymity in contact information.
  26. Provide opportunities and understanding that allows real blended learning to become a daily practice, not just an item saved for school closings. This will be important in the future!
  27. Encourage student production to demonstrate learning… not just consumption of content. In this way students can use technology, or not. Best of all they can practice creativity and critical thinking.
  28. Provide assignments and learning that does not always focus on technology.
  29. Evaluate, revise, and reflect in regard to the program on a consistent basis.
  30. Celebrate both large and small successes with constant communication and public relations.

Think of this new reality, as a pilot, and know that educators, students, and parents will make adjustments on this journey. Most importantly, the student-teacher relationship is so important to student learning and will be highlighted at the home and school. I do think that what we are experiencing can promote real and authentic learning.  I am certain students will walk away with a new knowledge that will serve them the rest of their lives.  It is important that we document the process so we can learn and plan from it. Thanks for joining me and please feel free to check with me on questions you might have involving lessons that I have learned. Best of all… remember that spring will be here soon!

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Communication: Facilitating and Assessing the 21st Century Skills in Education

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It would like to address the important skill of Communication.If you liked my past posts on Collaboration, Critical Thinking, and Creativity, then you are sure to like this post. It is filled with thoughts on Student Communication Skills including “I can” statement(s), classroom attributes, and assessment rubrics. I hope you enjoy and find the time to pass this along via email or a tweet. Thanks for being one of my nearly 30,000 readers a month and growing (Spread the Word… it is encouraging). Remember you can follow me on Twitter at @mjgormans. I look forward to learning from you! Enjoy the read, and what I know will be a creative journey! Check out my Booking Page and please share and subscribe to this Blog. Now… let’s get creative!

Communication: Facilitating and Assessing the 21st Century Skills in Education

“Every art communicates because it expresses. It enables us to share vividly and deeply in meanings… For communication is not announcing things… Communication is the process of creating participation, of making common what had been isolated and singular… the conveyance of meaning gives body and definiteness to the experience of the one who utters as well as to that of those who listen.” – John Dewey

The idea of Communication really is more then a skill… it is a foundation for learning. A baby learns the art of Communication through the very need to Communicate. When students first begin their schooling they are are filled with the desire to communicate. They understand that communication is a two way street. Somewhere along the way learning in school begins to become a one way street. Students become communicated at , expected to absorb knowledge through listening. While listening is a communication skill, it is only part of the communication necessary for authentic learning to take place.

A classroom that allows students to not just listen, but to reflect and communicate with teachers, other students, and mentors provides a whole new scope to the standards and related learning possibilities. Various avenues of communication provide students different opportunities to learn while facilitating those important communication skills. Students can see how texting, emailing, video conferencing, Socratic Seminars, online discussions, and face to face conversation all provides different  takes when communicating. They begin to see how Communication connects with effective Collaboration. It is true that Communication pushes critical thinking by allowing the visualization of a student’s  thinking and the thinking of others. Students are allowed to see how creativity can be used to make their own Communication more powerful. Compare a Ted Style talk to a typical power point. Students must realize that a presentation is more about Communication then the technology prop being used.

The John Dewey quote …“the conveyance of meaning gives body and definiteness to the experience of the one who utters as well as to that of those who listen” presents an amazing picture of what learning in a classroom should look like. How do we create a classroom that exemplifies this style of powerful Communication? The teacher must be intentional and guide students. There still must be moments following student exploration and collaboration where the teacher provides or facilitates Communication. Concurrently, teachers must make sure that their lessons allow for students to practice all avenues of Communications!  Often, this practice can be seen in STEM and PBL classrooms. It is exciting to see students discuss, listen, debate, question, persuade, reflect, and explain their thoughts as they conquer the standards. What tools do we have that help provide and facilitate a Communication experience that provides the opportunity for authentic and deeper learning?

Welcome to the resources! I think it is important to define and promote Communication though its various attributes. The facilitation must be intentional with appropriate scaffolds in place. I hope you find the resources below helpful. Taking the journey toward students centered classroom rich in Communication is a wonderful and rewarding journey for you and your students. Start out taking a few steps with a rubric, a student reflection, or a small lesson. Before you know it your students will take you the rest of the way.  Please enjoy the resources below and be sure to share with others!

Ten Reasons to Promote Communications in the Classroom

  1. Provides students the opportunity to own and internalize their learning by providing an explanation to others.
  2. Facilitates critical thinking by pushing students to visualize their thinking and the thinking of others.
  3. Allows students to practice actively listening providing other viewpoints while building empathy and understanding for diversity
  4. Supports the ability to Communicate in various ways depending on situation and resources available.
  5. Encourages students to reflect and  visualize their thinking and important concepts in content and connections between multiple content and real-world concepts.
  6. Allows for the progression from surface learning, to deeper learning, to a final transfer of learning through reflection on multiple viewpoints, disciplines, and possibilities
  7. Provides an avenue to explore the strengths and weaknesses of different forms of communication involving face to face, virtual, oral, and written.
  8. Supports the power of individual and group voice.
  9. Provides important avenues of communication that allows for active listening, persuasion, healthy discourse, multiple viewpoints, and needed empathy.
  10. Builds the ability to convey a message though knowledge of content along with the ability to deliver a message in powerful and effective ways

Ten Ways to Facilitate Student Creativity in the Classroom and School

  1. Intentionally go beyond remembering and understanding with Blooms (The standards often force teachers to get students ready for the test… which means we miss analyzing, applying, synthesizing which are all a part of important student Communication)
  2. Emphasize different modalities of Communication. ( Have students practice Communication using texting, acceptable social media, online discussions, video conferencing, face to face, and discuss these avenues strengths and weaknesses)
  3. Provide students with a Communication rubric. (Have them look at the rubric before an activity that demands Communication, and once again when they are finished)
  4. Make assessment of Communication an ongoing effort. (While the teacher can assess, have students assess themselves. Self assessment can be powerful)
  5. Concentrate on specific indicators in a rubric. (There are various indicators such as; active listening, following or providing direction, explaining a view point,  selling an idea, and paraphrasing another persons idea. Concentrate on just one indicator while doing a lesson. There can even be an exit ticket reflection)
  6. Start a lesson out… with Communication. ( Find a current event or interesting article/media that students are interested in that relates to standards. Provides ways for students to explain their thinking while also listening to thoughts from others.)
  7. Post a Creative Communication Poster in the room. (This poster could be a copy of a rubric or even a list of “I Can Statements”. Point it out before a Communication activity.
  8. Make Communication activities and peer discussions part of your formative  and summative assessment.  (Move around the room, talk to groups and students, stop the whole group to make adjustments. Assign multiple ways to demonstrate learning… go beyond the reading from a PowerPoint presentation)
  9. Find ways to build Communication outside the classroom. (Think of ways to have students Communicate with other classrooms in the school, city, state, or world. Provide digital ways to connect with community and mentors)
  10. Plan for a school wide emphasis. (A learning culture that builds Communication is usually bigger then one classroom. Schools and classrooms that practice student owned/centered learning promote Communication. Develop school-wide vocabulary, posters, and initiatives.)

I have been mentioning rubrics and assessment tools through out this post. To me, these are essential in building that culture of Communication in the classroom. I want to provide you with some great resources that will give your some powerful tools to facilitate and assess the skill of Communication.  Keep in mind that students can also self assess and journal using prompts from a Communication Rubric. In fact, peer assessment using a rubric is powerful before a final presentation or competition event.

Ten Resources to Help with Assessment and Facilitation of Creativity

Habits of Mind – I think this is an awesome place to help teachers facilitate and assess Communication and more. Check out the free resources page which even has some wonderful posters. One of my favorites is the rubrics found on this research page. Decide on spending some time because there are a lot of great resources.

PBLWorks – The number one place for PBL in the world is at PBLWorks. You may know it as the BUCK Institute or BIE. I am fortunate to be part of their National Faculty which is probably why I rank it as number one. I encourage you to visit their site for everything PBL.  This link brings you to the resource area where you will discover some amazing  rubrics. In harmony with this article on Communication, be sure to check out the  Presentation Rubrics. You will find rubrics for grade bands K-2, 3-5, and 6-12. This really is a great place to start. You will need to sign up to be a member of PBLWorks. This is a wonderful idea, after-all it is free!

Microsoft Innovative Learning – This  website contains some powerful rubrics for assessing the 21st Century skills. The link will bring you to a PDF file with Communication rubrics you can use tomorrow for any grade level. Check out this two page document defining the 4 C’s and a movie giving you even more of an explanation.

New Tech School – This amazing PBL group of schools provide some wonderful Learning Rubrics in their free area.  Here you will find an interesting collection of Communication rubrics that assesses student learning in multiple areas. These are sure to get you off and started.

AACU Rubrics – You will find some great  written and oral communication rubrics. The VALUE rubrics were developed by teams of faculty experts representing colleges and universities across the United States through a process that examined many existing campus rubrics and related documents for each learning outcome and incorporated additional feedback from faculty.

Project Zero – The Visual Thinking Core Routines helps students develop their capacity to think critically while expressing their ideas and listening to others.

Edutopia Communication Skills – Check out this section of Edutopia for some amazing articles to plant seeds of Communication in you school or classroom. Enjoy the possibilities.

CTE Online – Check out these PBL Projects that emphasize Communication Skills.

Positive Psychology – Check out these 39 Communication Skill activities.

NSFR Protocols – These are a must view for those trying to find protocols that allow students and teachers to practice Communication skills that will make a difference!

I Can Statements for Communication

  1. I can explain my thinking regarding an idea or concept to others.
  2. I can actively listen to others and repeat what I have heard.
  3. I can provide productive feedback to others.
  4. I can practice good presentation skills including proper speech, eye contact, voice inflection, and knowledge content.
  5. I can practice good listening skills including eye contact, positive body language, and helpful feedback
  6. I can use multiple ways to effectively communicate including written, face to face, and digital.
  7. I can determine the best form of communication for different situations while finding the most effective resources when explaining or presenting.
  8. I can practice empathy and understanding as I discuss with others.
  9. I can use imagination and creativity to present an idea.
  10. I can employ my knowledge and enthusiasm above any technology or prop when presenting a concept, topic, or idea.

Thank you for joining me and I hope you found this information something you can use in your school and useful to share with other educators.  As always, I invite you to follow me on twitter (mjgormans). Please give this post a retweet and pass it on to someone who will benefit. To ensure you do not miss a future valuable post or other resource covering PBL, Digital Curriculum, STEM, 21st-century learning, and technology integration please sign up for 21centuryedtech by email or RSS. Have a great week… enjoy the Websites! – Mike (https://21centuryedtech.wordpress.com/

Booking Info – It is time to think about your school or conference needs.   Are you looking for a practical and affordable professional development workshop for your school or conference? In fact, I have a STEM is a Verb Session and Workshop I can bring to your location. I have traveled the country delivering PD relating to technology integration, PBL, STEM, Digital Literacy, and the 4 C’s. I have delivered hundreds of workshops and presentations. Check out my Booking Page.  Please contact me soon if you have an interest. While I am booked through March of 2020, I do have some dates open starting in mid April of 2020! Look for contact information at the Booking Site.

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Project Based Learning Goldmine… Over 86 Amazing Videos To Generate That New Project For A School Or Classroom

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Have you ever wanted to get some great ideas that could be the start of a new PBL or school program. You will enjoy look at these videos which represent some wonderful ideas. In other words… be sure to especially take note of the link that takes you to all of the Follett Challenge winners for the past five years. Before continuing, I would appreciate having you take a moment to subscribe to this Blog by RSS or email and follow me at (mjgormans). Taking that moment ensures that we can continue to network, something that is very important to me. Also, please share this post with others and even provide a re-tweet. Last, please check my Booking Page to see how I could be part of your school PD or Conference plans.  May you have a wonderful and rewarding 2020! – Mike Gorman (https://21centuryedtech.wordpress.com/)

Booking Info – Also, think about having me come to your school or conference event in 2020. Dates are filling fast. I am a PBLWorks (BIE) National Faculty and have also consulted and provided PD for Discovery, PBS Learning Media, Alan November, ISTE,  FETC, Wilkes University (written and teach PBL course), and hundreds of educational institutions across the country.  Think about a keynote, workshop, or even a multiple day workshop on a subject such as PBL, STEM, Tech, and Makers. I provide educators with practical and useful resources and information that they can apply the next day! Check out my Booking Site.

Project Based Learning Gold… Over 86 Amazing Videos To Generate That New Project For A School Or Classroom – Michael Gorman (21centuryedtech.wordpress.com)

I have been honored to be selected as an annual judge for the Follett Challenge.  Over 130 schools and districts took the Follett Challenge last year and I have the unique opportunity to view and vote from the selection of finalist for the grand prize.   All winners including the 10 people’s choice winners and 9 semifinalist for the 2020 Follett Challenge will be announced on March 23, 2020.

Now let me tell you why you want to watch the videos that these students and teachers have created.

  • Perhaps you are a teacher or librarian that is looking for some amazing PBL ideas that you can replicate in your school.
  • You might be an educator looking for that special school project to involve students.
  • Or you are looking for something to inspire your own creative thoughts inspiring that next great lesson or project.

You will be amazed as you watch these wonderful video experiences. You will see that the Follett Challenge is a program that  rewards top-notch educators who are aligning their curriculum to teach 21st century learning skills.  That Goldmine is coming up under my favorite part heading in this article!

After viewing you may decide to check out the Follett Challenge website next year for your own school or district. The program dates for this year included an entry period starting in October with culmination in December. Learn more about contest information and submissions along with this year’s prize information starting with one grand prize and nine semifinalists earning a combined total of $150,000 in material. Add on another $50,000 for those “Peoples’ Choice Awards”.

The PBL Goldmine…. Now for my favorite part of the Follett Challenge Website.

I call it a wonderful goldmine of PBL ideas. In fact, I feel like a winner from just viewing some of the wonderful possibilities. Click here to view over 86 winners going back to 2013. You will find a video of each winner along with some of the most authentic PBL ideas collected anywhere. Take note that there categories include elementary, middle, and high school! Viewing these wonderful school and district project ideas will make you smile. Better yet, you might be ready to make it happen at your school next year!  Keep in mind that come March 23 there will be up to 19 more added! Wow… I am sure you will find a PBL idea!

Thank you for joining me as we both discover some amazing educational thoughts and ideas!  Please take a moment to share this post with other educators across the world.  Please accept my invitation to you,  which is the opportunity to be a part of another year of postings, by subscribing by email or RSS and follow me on Twitter (mjgormans). You will also find a treasure of resources covering 21st-century learning, STEM, PBL, and technology integration for the classroom.  Best wishes to you as you mine for PBL Gold!

Mike Gorman (https://21centuryedtech.wordpress.com/)

Booking Info – It is time to think about your school or conference needs.  Are you looking for a practical and affordable professional development workshop for your school or conference? I am a PBLWorks (BIE) National Faculty and have also consulted and provided PD for Discovery, PBS Learning Media, Alan November, ISTE,  FETC, Wilkes University, and hundreds of educational institutions across the country. I have traveled the country delivering PD relating to technology integration, PBL, STEM, Digital Literacy, and the 4 C’s. I have delivered hundreds of workshops and presentations. Check out my Booking Page.  Please contact me soon if you have an interest. I am now almost booked through April. Perhaps you need to think about summer conference dates or PD needs and it is not too early to think about the 2020/21 school year! Look for contact information at the Booking Site.

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Project Based Learning and Ground Hog Day… A PBL Connection Beyond A Shadow of A Doubt

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Welcome to my Groundhog Day Posting.  As you know this  last weekend was filled with Ground Hog Day and Super Bowl, and the amazing TCEA conference is this past week. All of you in Austin… enjoy your week. If you are a fan of PBL,  I think you will enjoy my story. This is a true venture into my right brain!  Just saw Dan Pink at FETC! You may wonder how I connected groundhogs with 21st Century Learning.  It wasn’t easy, but after I found out that Punxsutawney Phil had a Facebook account, I couldn’t resist contacting him. I do have a link to his Facebook below in my closing.   I have some great posts coming your way involving PBL, STEM,  Makers and Tech Integration.  Most of all, thanks for being one of those over 30,000 visitors a month and over 14,000 subscribers. Also, remember that I can come to your conference or school district and provide engaging authentic, practical, and purposeful professional development .  See booking info and please contact me anytime at (mjgormans@gmail.com). (21centuryedtech). I  hope you enjoy my very special Ground Hog  PBL story. May spring soon be with you! – Mike

Project Based Learning and Ground Hog Day… A Connection Beyond A Shadow of A Doubt

Welcome to another post which I hope brings a smile to your face. It was earlier this month when Punxsutawney Phil emerged from his temporary burrow which is a simulated tree stump at the rural site of Gobbler’s Knob in Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania. Once again he will looked for his shadow and then speak in Groundhogese, giving the weather forecast for the next six weeks. Or so the story goes…  I recently had the opportunity to contact Punxsutawney Phil using  his Facebook account and he gives a different side of the story. One that he says is much more reliable and has perhaps been misinterpreted due to poor translation of his Groundhogese. My updated version of Google Language Converter translating Groundhogese to English gives an interesting and possibly more accurate account.

Many years ago according to Punxsutawney Phil, there emerged a theory that the earth was becoming flat. This theory networked throughout the groundhog community since their tunnels and burrows allowed for word of mouth communication to spread throughout the groundhog world. The thought of the earth becoming flat alarmed the groundhogs due to the changes it would bring to their vast array of tunnels. The earth changing from a curved surface to a linear flat surface would change their way of life and the very way they traded and worked with groundhogs of different parts of the world.

This realization caused a massive change in the groundhog educational system. A national program called NGLB (No Groundhog Left Behind) was drastically changed and reformed. You might say it turned into a new program called  ”A Race To The Top”. Something most groundhogs were familiar with if, they wanted to see daylight! Rather than memorizing groundhog history and standards, young groundhogs were given a Driving Question that asked them to plan for a future they had not envisioned yet. The groundhog students learned to problem solve, work cooperatively, research, and use high order thinking.  They were excited by this authentic challenge. The transformation led to an era of creativity and higher order thinking. Groundhogs were soon using both their right and left brain “A Whole New Mind”. It was during one of young Punxsutawney Phil’s Project Based Lessons in school that the very first Ground Hog Day came to be. You could say it was a real world presentation that the entire world tuned into, although some of the translation may have been lost especially among humans.

It was long before the internet, so Phil had collaborated with other student groundhogs across the miles. They decided that once a week in the summer they would go outside their boroughs and calculate a mathematical triangulation of the sun and their shadow.  By calculating the changes in their shadows they could then figure out if the earth really was becoming flat. To be more accurate, they picked one day each winter do the same.  Of course they were certain to collaborate, and all did their experiment on the same day, which ended up being February 2. The groundhogs realized that due to cloud cover not all would see their shadow, but were hopeful that enough would, which would render their data reliable.  As time went on, this practice became a lifelong learning experience.

The groundhogs discovered two things from their experiment.  First, the earth was not becoming flat in a physical way but in a virtual way. This flattening sensation involved the way groundhogs connected and worked with one another throughout the world. Even more interesting, an unintended consequence had also been discovered. The Feb 2 Groundhog Day of experimentation and analysis was getting attention from humans. Word spread across the groundhog world. The advent of the internet and technology allowed groundhogs both young and old to communicate through email and twitter about this human curiosity. The groundhogs were surprised to learn that the humans thought their mathematical triangulation of sun, earth, and shadow was a weather prediction. The groundhogs were amused, but understood after studying the ways of the human school system. They found the human child had no time to inquire, apply, and synthesize due to the vast amount of facts that humans held important. There was no time in the human curriculum to prepare for future needs, the past and its traditions were much too sacred. They were amused that anyone might think a cloudy day predicted the next six weeks of weather!

Punxsutawney Phil told me that he looks forward to every Feb 2 and is constantly reminded how his personal learning community, which started when he was young, discovered the real meaning of a Flat Earth. He also pointed out that as an added extra to the day, it gives all groundhogs an excellent opportunity to get a glimpse of the human race. As Phil stated, “I often wonder what shadow of a thought those humans may be reflecting on”. He also let related that if you wish to know the weather, at least for the next ten days, the Weather Channel does a pretty good job! If you really want six weeks, then check out the Groundhog Network!

Thanks for joining me for another reflective look at 21st Century Learning. If you wish to learn more about Groundhog Day check out this article found at National Geographic. You can also visit Punxsutawney Phil Facebook Site. Please feel free to follow me on Twitter at http://www.twitter.com/mjgormans). As always, I invite you to follow me on twitter (mjgormans). Please give this post a retweet and pass it on to someone who will benefit. To ensure you do not miss a future valuable post or other resource covering PBL, Digital Curriculum, STEM, 21st-century learning, and technology integration please sign up for 21centuryedtech by email or RSS. Have a great week! – Mike (https://21centuryedtech.wordpress.com/

Booking Info – It is time to think about your school or conference needs.  Are you looking for a practical and affordable professional development workshop for your school or conference? I have traveled the country delivering PD relating to technology integration, PBL, STEM, Digital Literacy Makers, and the 4 C’s. I have delivered hundreds of workshops and presentations. Check out my Booking Page.  Please contact me soon if you have an interest. My 2020  calendar is filling fast. In fact, it might be time to begin thinking about the summer  and start of school of 2020! Look for contact information at the Booking Site.

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Over 40 STEAM Resources… Creative Thinking, STEM, and PBL at FETC 2020

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Greetings from FETC at the Miami Beach Convention Center in sunny Florida.  I am excited about an upcoming Keynote on Leadership and Motivation by Daniel Pink this Wednesday.  The last time I heard Pink talk, it was in regards to his book “A Whole New Mind“.  At the time, it opened my my thought process to the importance of thinking and the right brain. I thought it would be fitting to reflect on that last Keynote, over ten years ago, and share over 40 STEAM Resources as I get ready to hear a new Keynote by Daniel Pink. In regard to Creativity,  check out my last post, which covers facilitating and assessing Creativity in the classroom. I hope you enjoy and find the time to pass this along via email or a tweet. Thanks for being one of my nearly 30,000 readers a month and growing (Spread the Word… it is encouraging). Remember you can follow me on Twitter at @mjgormans. I look forward to learning from you! Enjoy the read, and what I know will be a creative journey!

Note: I am at FETC in Miami, Florida all week. Creativity continues this week with this STEAM post (with over 40 links), plus thoughts from a past Keynote  on Creativity by Daniel Pink.  We are all looking forward to his FETC Keynote on Leadership and Motivation in just a few days. If you are at the conference, feel free to look me up with a PM at Twitter (@mjgormans) or email (mjgormans@gmail.com). I would love to talk with you about amazing PD I can provide at your school or conference this year! Check out my Booking Page and please share and subscribe to this Blog. Now… let’s turn on that right brain and  get creative!

Over 40 STEAM Resources… Creative Thinking, STEM, and PBL at FETC 2020

It actually is quite obvious that the Arts should be included in STEM education. The idea of STEAM brings out the skills of creativity, collaboration, critical thinking, and communication that are so important in the work place. A look at the works of Leonardo da Vinci will attest to this! The very first time I heard the idea of integrating the Arts into STEM education was while watching a 2009 keynote made by Daniel Pink at the NECC  Conference in Washington DC… yes prior to ISTE Conferences!  I thought it would be fitting to share some of my notes from that Keynote over ten years ago. The ideas seem to be even more relevant today! If you have never read the book… then give it a read now. Please enjoy these ideas and enjoy the over 40 STEAM Resources that follow. Now… let’s take a step back in time over ten years and see how a Keynote can have so much meaning as we plan for the future. I know it will convince you to go full STEAM ahead!

November 8, 2009 (21centuryedtech Article by Michael Gorman)

Daniel Pink, the author of  A Whole New Mind: Why Right-Brainers Will Rule the Future, describes the increasing  role of right-brain thinking in the new  economies and describes the skills  individuals and organizations must possess in this outsourced, automated age. Using brain research, Pink advocates that left brain (orderly, logical, and linear) thinking, while still important, is no longer adequate to survive in the 21st Century global economy. He attributes this theory to the role Asia now plays in the global economy with automation being software driven, and abundance of material in the market place. In essence, routine work is disappearing! Pink advocates that educators prepare kids for their future (right brain), not our past (left brain). He suggests including skills in our curriculum that cannot be outsourced or automated. He includes such abilities as design, story telling, symphony (ability to see big picture), empathy, play, and meaning. One example used was Google’s idea to allow its employees 20% percent job time for self direction. From this effort, such big projects as G-Mail, and Google News have evolved. Finally, Pink suggested some ideas he feels educators should reflect and implement. Number one, explore the new metrics. IQ only accounts for 20% of success. We need to make sure we are measuring the right things. The next concept involves “getting real about STEM. Pink stressed that STEM must include the Arts because students must be taught to see. Engineering firms want people who have passion, are willing to be  life-long learners, are systems thinkers,  have multicultural values, and can understand interdisciplinary context. The third suggestion is to rethink motivation and look at intrinsic versus extrinsic motivation. The fourth idea really caught my attention as Pink suggested moving problem solving out of the terrarium and putting it in the forest. He described the terrarium as an environment  that is much too clean, organized, and not real world. Problems should involve clarification, identification, multi-disciplines, several answers, non-perfection, exploration, challenge, and relevancy. Last, Pink suggests that artistic educational programs must be facilitated, encouraged, and practiced across the curriculum. China has an emphasis that states “Creative Arts are not a frivolous luxury“.  I am anxious to bring the arts concept into my next STEM presentation!  (2009)

Wow… seems like this message still works today! I am excited to see what message Pink has in a Keynote on Motivation and Leadership at FETC 2020. Now, lets turn up the STEAM and enjoy some resources!

Over 40 STEAM Resources

  • NPR Where Science Meets Art – Some exceptional Podcasts integrating Science and Art. Many of these titles will allow for student reflection and questions as they begin to see how the Arts and Science can be integrated.
  • Arts Edge – A fantastic resource from the Kennedy Center hosting numerous lessons that integrate Art into the curriculum.You will discover a focus  on ways to support innovative teaching with the arts, and meet changing trends in education and to accommodate the ever-evolving impact of technology in our lives. This amazing collection of free digital resources—including lesson plans, audio stories, video clips, and interactive online modules—has been streamlined for easier browsing and upgraded to leverage best practices in educational media and multimedia-supported
  • BabbleDabbleDo –  This is a site that allows students to explore and engage with their right brain. This is important in our tech saturated world. This site provides that creative angle that puts kids in that out of the box mode while exploring concepts in science, math, and engineering.  The site proclaims that the best part of creating is the process.And I truly I believe that EVERYONE IS CREATIVE.
  • STEM to STEAM -The STEM to STEAM initiative, championed by the Rhode Island School of Design (RISD), is supported by teachers, researchers, policy makers, students, and business people from RISD and beyond.
  • Why Scientific Innovation Needs The Arts – Explore this wonderful article from the Guardian that explains the connection between science and the arts. Great read to support STEAM thinking in any educational setting.
  • OER Commons – Take a look at these results from a search I did for  STEAM based activities. There are some powerful lessons that bring the arts into the classroom. Since it is OER (Open Education Resources) it is free.
  • Teach Hub Technology and STEAM – Take a look at these possibilities for connecting standards, technology integration, and STEAM.
  • Edutopia STEAM Resources – One of the finest education sites brings STEAM to the forefront. Enjoy this engaging journey.  You will discover information, examples, and tools related to incorporating aspects of the arts, design, and the humanities into STEM-based school activities.
  • Odyssey of the Mind – This  international educational program provides creative problem-solving opportunities for students from kindergarten through college. Team members apply their creativity to solve problems.
  • Lemon Lime Adventures 50 STEAM Projects and Activities – Take some time to look through the various links on this page. You are bound to find some great possibilities that will fit your standards.
  • Autodesk Digital Steam Workshop – Digital STEAM projects are designed by Autodesk’s network of expert educators, designers and student alumni as exciting complements to core Science, Technology, Engineering, Math, and Art (STEAM) curriculum. Each project aligns with common core and national standards and delivers measurable learning while using free software.
  • National Gallery of Art  – You will find organized into thematic units, each grade-level-specific lesson plan focuses on a single work of art and can be executed within one to two class periods. These lessons meet the National Art Education Association (NAEA) Visual Arts curriculum standards
  • Exploratorium – Take a look at the entire site, but especially explore the Art related material.  In fact this link brings you to the Tinkering STudio. You will find lessons that allow you to connect with other subject areas including the STEM disciplines. You will get a new definition of exploring through the Exploratorium,
  • The Art Institute of Chicago – Explore these wonderful lessons that cover Science and the Arts. It just might have you and your students look at Art in a whole different way. Best of all you will discover some STEAM possibilities.
  • Lesson Plans and resources for Art Integration – This Edutopia Article has a rich assortment of lessons and resources to integrate Art into curricular areas including Math, Science, and Design. A great read that will lead to some wonderful opportunities.
  • CIESE Online – CIESE  (Center for Innovation and Science Education) sponsors and designs interdisciplinary projects that teachers throughout the world can use to enhance their curriculum through compelling use of the Internet.  Each project has a brief description and links to the National Science Standards and NCTM math standards it supports
  • Masterpieces to Math – A wonderful article that focuses on how to incorporate art in math. Learn how to use Art to teach fractions, decimals, and percent equivalents. You will look at Math in a whole new STEAMie way.
  • Space School Musical – Your students will enjoy joining teenager Hannah on a trip through the solar system in this ultra-cool edu-tainment “hip-hopera” that uses song and dance to introduce the planets, moons, asteroids and more. Educators can download the lyrics for students to learn and perform the routines for themselves or just play the videos in class. There are also links provided for more in-depth activities.
  • Cardboard Challenge – Not everything needs high tech and expensive resources. A lot can be done with a cardboard box and a lot of imagination. Check out this amazing challenge from the Imagine Foundation. Take a moment to watch the video. You and your students will want to be involved with this amazing low tech, high engagement possibility.
  • KinderArt – Discover Fine Art lessons as they apply to all different subject areas. Lessons are searchable by grade and subject. Some great ideas to integrate with.
  • Share Space Foundation – The ShareSpace Foundation is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization dedicated to inspiring children’s passions for science, technology, engineering, arts and math by providing innovative, interactive educational tools to educators across the country.  ShareSpace has reached more than 250,000 children across the globe through strategic partnerships and the engaging Giant Mars Map™.
  • Scratch –  With Scratch, kids can program their own interactive stories, games, and animations — and share your creations with others in the online community. Scratch helps young people learn to think creatively, reason systematically, and work collaboratively . All of this is possible while essential skills for life in the 21st century are facilitated. Scratch is a project of the Lifelong Kindergarten Group at the MIT Media Lab. It is provided free of charge.
  • Teacher Vision Art and Math –Students will enjoy participating in math class with our art activities for teachers of any grade level, from elementary to high school.  You will find opportunities to mix numbers with creativity and art activities that your students will love. There are lessons for creating counting books, crafts that encourage measuring, geometry printables to color, sculpting activities, and much more!  Introduce new concepts or reinforce topics your students have already learned.
  • Eurekus – This is a site with STEAM powered discovery. Discover the many free lessons that bring the left brain world alive in the the right brain.
  • Left Brain Craft Brain – Discover this blog with great activities and possibilities to engage the whole brain in the engineering process. It is a self-proclaimed mega monster of STEAM posts.  You will find some of the coolest science, technology, engineering, art and math projects from some of the most creative bloggers out there.
  • What is STEAM ? – This is an amazing resource site from the Education Closet. here you will find some great lessons that are aligned to the standards of STEM and Art curriculum. Be sure to read the blogs, links, news, and research. Be sure to check out all the possibilities on this site by clicking the menu. You will even find a STEAM-based magazine.
  • The Stanford Design School – Get ready for some innovative lessons that include the design process. You will find an abundance of material and resources to bring innovation to your STEAM program.
  • National Association For Music Education – Take some time at this site. Explore the curriculum along with awesome teacher resources. This is a great site that might tune up some of that important STEAM education.
  • STEAM Art Lessons – Take a look at these wonderful STEAM based art lessons from an amazing elementary Art teacher. There are some wonderful ideas for bringing the curriculum together.
  • How To Smile – This is an amazing collecting of some of the best educational materials, learning activities, tools, and services. They are all designed especially for those who teach school-aged kids in activity-based settings. This site is sponsored by a group of science museums dedicated to bringing science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) out of the academic cloister and into the wider world. This is a great place to Make STEM happen!
  • New York Times Lesson Plans – I include this because you will find a collection of amazing lessons that cross all areas. Best of all, they bring the creativity and innovation into these lessons which is the foundation for the arts.
  • Art in Action – Take a look at these mini Art lessons that allow students to get in that right brain frame of mind.
  • PBS STEM Collection – PBS Learning Media has great resources. Check them all out. This link brings you to the STEM Collection.
  • Project Pals – A great article that looks at STEM/STEAM possibilities in the world of PBL for all grade levels.
  • Learn It By Art – Take any subject… you can learn it by using Art. What might you find?
  • Fizzics Education – Learn how Art and the Design Process come together to make great lessons.
  • Four Skills From STEAM Education – Check out this 2019 article from Teach Thought on the benefits of providing a STEAM Education.
  • EGFI – This is an amazing site for some wonderful STEAM Resources. You will find lessons ready to get your students designing.
  • Instructables – Check out these 100 STEAM projects for kids.
  • Full STEAM Ahead – A great collection of resources and ideas on STEAM from Concordia University in Portland Oregon.
  • 36 Resources for STEM Project Based Learning – If you’re a teacher or  looking for ideas for STEM project-based learning activities, then you’ve come to the right place.
  • The STEM Laboratory – These 50+ STEM projects are sure to keep little scientists engaged, learning and well-prepared for their STEM-filled future.

Thank you for joining me and I hope you found this information something you can use in your school and useful to share with other educators.  As always, I invite you to follow me on twitter (mjgormans). Please give this post a retweet and pass it on to someone who will benefit. To ensure you do not miss a future valuable post or other resource covering PBL, Digital Curriculum, STEM, 21st-century learning, and technology integration please sign up for 21centuryedtech by email or RSS. Have a great week… enjoy the Websites! – Mike (https://21centuryedtech.wordpress.com/

Booking Info – It is time to think about your school or conference needs.   Are you looking for a practical and affordable professional development workshop for your school or conference? In fact, I have a STEM is a Verb Session and Workshop I can bring to your location. I have traveled the country delivering PD relating to technology integration, PBL, STEM, Digital Literacy, and the 4 C’s. I have delivered hundreds of workshops and presentations. Check out my Booking Page.  Please contact me soon if you have an interest. While I am booked through March of 2020, I do have some dates open starting in April of 2020! Look for contact information at the Booking Site.

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