Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Brainstorming at ISTE

There is no shortage of new ideas to consider and explore at ISTE. From attending sessions to
exploring the exhibit hall to chatting with friends and new acquaintances, we leave the conference each day with tired brains.

Tasked with gathering information about Maker Spaces to bring back to our school board, Cheryl (@ETSBMathSci) and I have attended several sessions touching the Maker movement and explored various tools in the exhibit hall. We have also had substantial time to discuss our respective understandings of  what Making entails. Today we brainstormed a bit about our vision for what we would like to create next year in our school board.

We would like to create a Learning Commons space at the school board office. This space would include comfortable seating for reading and researching with chart paper and markers handy for planning and recording discussions. Ideally, we would like to have some adjustable standing/sitting desks or work stations.

Once we create this space and make it welcoming with the right furniture, we will need to add some maker materials. Teachers in the Eastern Townships School Board are issued their own laptops and iPads (depending on the grade level they teach), so we will not need to provide this type of machine. It might be useful to provide some speakers, earbuds, and of course, power bars to plug into. It would be great to have a green screen as well as some kind of tripod that will hold an iPad. Eventually, a Swivl would be fantastic! It is important to us that we not stop with the technology side of things. We would stock the space with materials, but we have not yet made the list of these.

Now comes the fun do we see this space being used? The Learning Commons could be used by Pedagogical Services team members as needed. It would also serve as a breakout space for small groups of administrators during principals' meetings. While these might be the immediate function of the space, the intention is that this Model Learning Commons would be a space to teach principals about the kinds of spaces they can create in their schools. Principals would even be able to reserve the Learning Commons for a Pedagogical day and bring their teachers to the central office for a full-day of whole-staff professional development. This training would include information about learning commons and maker spaces, as well as some hands-on experience with Making.

Cheryl and I are both excited to see what kind of space we can create and how we can share the idea of learning commons and fitting Making into teachers' lessons. We are hoping that some ISTE participants will help us out with some suggestions for technology and non-technology materials that we should include. Please let us know what you think will be essential. We can't wait to hear your thoughts.

Saturday, June 27, 2015

Getting Ready for ISTE 2015

We are now into the final countdown of hours before leaving for Philadelphia to attend ISTE 2015. I have started to explore the session, but still don't feel like I am getting anywhere. While I have been to ISTE before, I have a feeling that things might have changed a bit since 2008! I carefully read the tweets and blog posts containing advice for getting ready for your first trip to ISTE, but there doesn't seem to be enough time!

From last time, I know that I want to spend some time in the Blogger Café. In 2008, this was a great place for informal conversations and I did a lot of connecting and learning there. I have not been very successful at regular blogging, but I do value the reflective practice and sharing of ideas in this way. I am also hoping that with my new position and renaming this blog I will be able to manage more frequent posts.

I also know that I want to meet up with friends from Twitter and am planning on attending the live #4thchat on Monday evening. I will try to connect with a few others as well.

Last time, I more-or-less ignored the poster sessions in favour of the more formal sessions. I only discovered what a goldmine these sessions were on the afternoon of the very last day. I definitely plan to work the poster sessions into the schedule of things to see at some point.

So tomorrow I will be packing and Sunday heading to ISTE. If you see me wandering around (possibly looking lost) or sitting at the Blogger Café, please say hello!

A New Name...

Today I received the official confirmation that I am changing jobs! I have been lucky to be the replacement Math, Science and Technology, and Early Intervention Consultant during @MsEnright's full-year leave of absence. I have thoroughly enjoyed the experience. As it turns out, an exciting new opportunity has presented itself and I will not be returning to my grade 4 classroom as I had planned at the end of my year. Instead, I will move to the board office on a permanent basis as the Educational Consultant for Information Technologies.

Since 2011, this blog has been called "Blogging Fourth" and I blogged about teaching in grade 4. I did not really want to archive these posts and change blog addresses, but the old name no longer describes what I will be posting about. The decision to simply re-name my blog is helped by the fact that, thus far, I have not really promoted my blog and do not really have followers. Maybe now is the time for me to change that.
So welcome to Meacher's Meanderings where I will post about teaching and supporting teachers in teaching with technology.

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

I'm Going to ISTE 2015!

When I first got the approval to go to ISTE in Philadelphia this year, it didn't seem quite real. I kept feeling like something would happen and I would not be able to go. Now that June is here and ISTE is right around the corner, I am starting to believe.

I am very lucky that a number of people are coming together to make this possible for me by driving my son to summer camp, looking after my daughter while my husband works overnight, and more.

I am very much looking forward to a whirlwind few days with incredible amounts of information. I am also looking forward to kick-starting me blogging again and spending some time building up my Twitter PLN. Best of all, I get to share the whole experience with a colleague and I couldn't ask for better than @ETSBMathSci.

Now, back to a very busy last month of the year!
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