Monday, June 30, 2014

Summer of eLearning Tour

Two blog posts in a week's time... We should get a medal!

Anyway...  We've been a tad busy over the course of the last seven days.

A few days ago, we were given the opportunity to share our tech knowledge at the Couch Conference in Danville, IN, as part of the Summer of eLearning Tour.  If you live in Indiana, you should check it out.

Our Quick Thoughts About the Couch Conference

The keynote speaker at the Couch Conference was the ultimate pirate himself, Dave Burgess.  Folks, if you haven't read his book, run (not walk) to Amazon to buy it.  He is by far the most inspirational keynote we've heard in our career, and we've heard a lot of keynotes. :)

Here we are with Pirate Dave himself.

In case you don't know, "pirate" stands for Passion, Immersion, Rapport, Ask and Analyze, Transformation, and Enthusiasm.  While his keynote had nothing to do with technology itself, it had everything to do with technology.  

This keynote validated everything we have been thinking for a long time now.

Our part in the Couch Conference was to present on tech integration at the elementary level.  While this was not a huge conference, we met many teachers who are excited about the opportunity to use tech tools with their students.  

We also got to meet one of our Twitter heroes, THE Matt Miller.  If you're on Twitter (and you should be), you can follow him @jmattmiller.  His website, Ditch That Textbook is also a fabulous resource.  

On the personal side of the conference, we were majorly impressed with the hospitality of this conference.  They treated their people very well.  From the yogurt bar (major props for that) to the smoothies at the end of the day, no detail was left untouched.  Bravo, Danville Schools, and Tim Kasper (@timkasper) and Morgan Walker (@walker8208), for putting on a great conference!

The next week brought us right back home to Scottsburg, IN, for our district's eLearning conference.  Digipalooza is our annual "jam session," where people from all over come to learn about tech integration.  We offer a little bit of everything, from primary specific sessions, to sessions for the administrator, to sessions about products.  Over 250 people traveled to our small little city, including John Spencer (@edrethink) and THE Matt Miller (again, @jmattmiller), to share their knowledge about all things edTech.  

Our Thoughts on Digipalooza

Call us biased, but we think Digipalooza is a top of the line conference.  Digi offers a wide variety of sessions for each level of learner and for each type of edTech position out there.  

John Spencer kicked us off with a keynote that reminded us the importance of humor in the classroom.  

On the first day of Digipalooza, we presented the same session we did at the Couch Conference.  We focused on creation apps for the elementary classroom, and we hope that we inspired teachers to think beyond the app or "staring at a screen all day."  

Day 2 kicked off with Matt Miller delivering an inspiring keynote.  He was fun, engaging, and dynamic.

On the second day of Digipalooza, we presented separately.  We both presented a break out session on Workflow, focusing on the Book Creator app.  Have we mentioned that we LOVE Book Creator?  We are excited to use it in the fall with our students and share with you all of it's functions.

Tiffany then shared on Building Digital Curriculum.  She focused on the SAMR model and finding and evaluating quality resources for curating curriculum.

Brittany shared two sessions.  The first was on PBL in the Primary Classroom.  During this session, teachers were given the bare-basics of PBL components and actually completed a mini-projects.  The second was on Social Media and the many functions of it for the teacher.  In this session, teachers were given information on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram (the "big three") and given helpful tips for using it as a means of parent communication.

All in all, we are very proud to represent such an innovative school district that is leading the way through empowering its students with technology as a tool for their learning.  We can't say enough about that.  

If you are in Indiana, make sure to check out one of these amazing conferences during the summer months.  You won't be sorry!

Monday, June 23, 2014

So it's been a few weeks...ok maybe even a few months since our last blog post.  One might be tempted to think that maybe, just maybe these Two Techie Teachers have been relaxing with drink in hand, and toes in the sand.  Don't we wish! (Well, there WAS that Disney cruise back in May...but that's another story.)

Instead, it's been an incredibly busy few months for us as the school year wound down and summer picked up.  We've both found that we've been almost busier since the last day of school!

Here's a snapshot of what we've been up to:

PBL Projects

Brittany worked tirelessly with her students to complete their Famous Americans digital wax museum.  Check the previous post to read all about that.  If anyone wants to say that little kinder-kids aren't capable of digital creation, be sure to share that post with them.  Super work!

Tiffany's third graders wrapped up their Plant Power PBL unit with some kid-driven stop-motion animation shorts, a variety of guest speakers, and a final trip to share the love of plants with a local residents' facility.  Below you will find a student created stopmotion animation using the MyCreate app.  We highly recommend this creation application for it's kid-friendly set up!

End of the Year Project Insanity

Who is crazy enough to start major projects three weeks before the end of the year?  Two techie teachers, of course!  Tiffany's third graders wrote, filmed, and produced a full-length feature film to demonstrate their learning of fairy tale elements.  The classroom was transformed into a movie theatre setting complete with popcorn machine, and five movie trailers (courtesy of iMovie).  In the words of Dave Burgess (Teach like a Pirate), "It's not meant to be's meant to be worth it!" It certainly was!

Personal Life

Teachers do have a personal life, though sometimes it's hard to find the fine line separating it from their professional ones.  Baseball season was in full swing, dance recitals, anniversaries and birthdays celebrated, and Tiffany found out she is expecting baby #4 this coming December.

Whew...makes us tired just reliving it all.
This techie teacher is expecting baby #4!

So now we are pretty much up-to-date minus our adventures together in presenting at the Conference on a Couch in Danville, Indiana.

To be shared very soon.