Monday, July 21, 2014


Yesterday was the second and final day of the GAFE Summit. I attended four more sessions which were focused around specific tools and strategies than those of the previous day which were a bit more big picture focused. I've used the same format from yesterday and captured my biggest take-away, actions inspired, and remaining questions from each session to provide you with some insight on Day Two. I even remembered to include links to the session descriptions and my notes from the sessions this time!

Session 1: Making Every Moment Count - Quality Instruction using the Flipped Model
Session Overview Session Notes
  • Biggest Take-Away: Powerful
    • Getting to see how flipped instruction works from an elementary teacher was extremely powerful! There are many amazing things that are great for middle and high school students but don't necessarily translate to younger learners. Seeing the possibilities for ALL age groups was very enlightening.
    • Think about many issues do you have with parents and students during the school year surrounding homework? What if you made that homework more engaging and less focused on repetition? What if you were able to extend the idea of practice by relegating it to the classroom environment when you could push the boundaries beyond completing practice problems on worksheets or from a textbook?
  • Action Inspired: 
    • This needs to be incorporated into professional development courses I am constructing for this school year. Not only do I need to share about the flipped model, but I need to be using this strategy to make the most out of teacher's professional development time.
    • I need to remember not to reinvent the wheel and explore resources for the flipped classroom that are already made in order to effectively encourage teachers to give this model a try.
  • Questions Remaining:
    • What is the best way to get teachers familiar with all of the neat tools that can be used for the flipped classroom?

Session 2: Stamp Your Google Passport: Maps, Tours, Cultural Institute, and more!
Session Overview Session Presentation
  • Biggest Take-Away: Wow! Who knew all these tools existed!
    • This session went a mile-a-minute and it was all you could do to follow along, interact with the tools and then bookmark them for later! It was overwhelming in the best possible way - I was bombarded with a TON of meaningful tools to use none of which fell into the category of mediocre.
  • Action Inspired:
    • Some serious time exploring resources is needed! I will have to probably create a blog series to actually share all of these with you, but it will be worth every moment because they were engaging for students and can be instrumental in creating authentic learning experiences within ANY classroom. You should take some time to simply click on some of the links in the presentation just to see what they do! 
  • Questions Remaining:
    • Which tools are best for which age groups?
    • What type of teacher prep time does each tool require to be most effective?

Session 3: EdPuzzle - Turn Any Video Into a Lesson that Fits Perfectly with Your Instruction
Session Overview Session Notes
  • Biggest Take-Away: It's what we've all been waiting for!
    • A free tool for teachers that lets you embed voice notes, multiple choice and free response questions at any point in the lesson. It even automatically pauses the video if a student clicks on another tab in their browser and prevents them from skipping ahead. As a teacher you can see how many times a student has watched the video and what parts they re-watched (and how many times). All of this is collected in data that can be easily exported!
  • Action Inspired:
    • No more playing videos with no discussions or accountability alongside it. No more students scribbling notes frantically as the video on without any guidance. This goes for classroom instruction and the creation of professional development materials! Time to get started making video and finding quality lessons already made to share with teachers.
  • Questions Remaining:
    • What is the potential for using the project feature with students?...staff?
    • Being only 9 months since the first team meeting, what additional features are planned? What else do teachers want from EdPuzzle?

Session 4: Who is telling your story?
Session Overview Session Notes
  • Biggest Take-Away: Where is student voice?
    • I know the schools in my district have lots of plans and programs in place to promote student voice, but do are they relevant to students and do students feel they are actually being heard? Social media has a LOT to offer within schools in regards to communication, ownership of learning, and building community. 
  • Action Inspired:
    • I'd really like to do a mini version of this presentation for our school administrators to share with them the possibilities surrounding student voice and strengthening the school community through the use of social media. It is something all of our students are using on a daily basis and is a tool that schools should not be ignoring.
    • Our district recently got new websites and there are social media icons embedded on all the pages but they are not functional as of yet because we do not have a social media policy or plan. These won't be immediate realizations but they can be goals!
  • Questions Remaining:
    • How involved would our community be in using a district hashtag if we had one?
    • Would our students be as responsive (as those at the presenter's school) to discussions (not disciplinary actions) surrounding inappropriate use of school social media?
    • Students seem to be the primary users of the hashtags and blogs, how do you go about getting parents involved?
I am leaving the conference with something to bring back to ALL of the individuals I serve and work with at my school - administrators, support staff, IT department, students, teachers, parents, community members! I look forward to sharing some of the tools and resources I learned about in more depth with you in the coming weeks! Now, it's time to hop on a plane back to Washington!