This is my MBUSD TechCon 2013 after party. I still need to capture some lessons learned because I believe in always improving and going above and beyond, but I am thrilled at the success of this event showcasing so many talented teachers.
I loved hearing and reading the glowing accolades people shared. I enjoyed reliving the conference for just moments at a time looking at the photo gallery. Here are a few things educators that participated in the first ever MBUSD TechCon 2013 said about a presentation they attended:
"This will definitely change my life!"
"Awesome session. Wished she had more time."
"Needed more time! So great! Wonderful accessible website with resources. This was the most prepared presenter. WOW!"
I think that's pretty amazing! We had a fabulous conference with the best possible support from MBUSD staff and of course the best audiences anyone presenting could hope for.
Playdate L.A. was all about making new friends and expanding my personal learning network (PLN). I think that was probably the most valuable thing I came away with from attending Playdate LA. I met Elizabeth Goold, @ElizabethGoold, along with a few other people I won't soon forget. Ok, I will name drop just a couple like Nancy, Moss, Jen, Alice, David, Rebecca, Cheryl, Regina, Robert, Andrew, Jen...
Playdate L.A. was all about stepping up even when you don't feel like you're the expert. Thanks to Moss Pike for really starting us off! I appreciate the tweet with a photo by Ryan Bradford capturing the moment for me. Can you see the beads of sweat? I learned a lot about scripts primarily from Andrew Sillman, script author extraordinaire, Roni Habib, and Kern Kelly.
Are you an Author? I think everyone is an author but they just haven't all published yet. Everyone can be an author and publish their story quite easily using the iPad app Creative Book Builder (CBB) which is my all time favorite eBook publisher. As students get older, and if they have a mac computer, iBooks Author I'm sure will be their tool of choice. It's more involved and amazing customizable features that are hard to ignore when you get into serious book publishing. For elementary and even middle school CBB or Book Creator are fine choices to give students that incredible feeling of publishing and sharing their work with a wider audience. Rushton Hurley said, "If students are sharing their work with the world, they want it to be good. If they are sharing it with [the teacher], they want it to be good enough."
Here are the steps to create and share an iBook using the iPad apps Creative Book Builder and Google Drive:
1. I started the lesson with passion and excitement over the possibility of each student becoming an iBook author and publishing their book. Kids can relate. They've read enough books by 5th grade and even have a favorite author or two and now it's their chance to create a book and read it in the iBooks app on their iPad. Woo Hoo! Can you imagine the expression on their faces? In third grade they write a fabulous book about an animal they research and one color paper copy is printed. They're limited on the number of images and text so everything fits neatly. Students also have a limited audience since publishing more color copies and distribution can be expensive and time consuming. I love writing and publishing electronically for just those reasons. Sharing to a wider audience more easily and freely with fewer limits on the actual work students produce.
2. Introduce and discuss the poetry that you want your students to write. Share examples of a book already created and samples of other poems for inspiration. Creating two class Google shared folders will help you stay organized: one that is read only and the other with edit privileges for everyone. Use the read only folder to share out information with the whole class. Use the "Can Edit" folder for students to move their ePub file into after they publish their book in CBB.
Side note: There are some nice iPad poetry apps you might consider exploring before settling in to have your students write their poetry book.
A. Writing process: Use Google Drive app, student creates a shared Google Doc with the teacher. Teacher creates a shared ("can edit") folder with students for finished ePub files.
B. Students write; teacher comments; students revise; final teacher approval.
C. Copy text into Creative Book Builder app. We used the "Classic Layout" option so that there was a table of contents. If you don't need a tale of contents, I recommend using the "Fixed layout" because it's super easy to manipulate the material.
D. In the CBB app:
- Create a new Book - Title and Introduction
- Create new chapter, "Alliteration", create paragraph text, copy and paste text from the Google doc, insert images from camera roll or search fro an image within the app, add voice recording from within CBB of student reading the poem.
- Create a new chapter for each figurative language term.
- Publish, share (upload the ePub to Google Drive using the Preview option, print (PDF option if needed): Publish the ePub to be opened in the iOS device in iBooks.
-Start with Publish, ePub
-Preview ePub using Open in iBooks. Review it. Some images may need to be resized. Revise, re-generate ePub book.
Upload ePub book to Google Drive share class folder.
A few notes:
Distribution of ePub/PDF files within the class: In CBB select Publish, then Preview, Open in ANother App, Google Drive. Another option is eBackpack which provides options to grade it and share it in a group folder. There are eBackpack parent codes for logging in so it could be shared with family.
Parents can ask their child to show them their book in the student's Google Drive account and peruse it there.
If you want to share ePub files with parents who do not have an iOS device so iBooks isn't an option for them, offer Readium Chrome browser extension to read ePubs in the web browser. Or students can publish a PDF version of their book and parents can open the PDF file, but the audio file(s) is missing.
Writing process: To save time a teacher might skip the revision cycle and just have students type directly into the CBB app. Once students publish and share the ePub teachers can provide feedback verbally or using eBackpack.
Glossary: To add a glossary from an existing ePub Book in Google Drive, add the book in CBB using the import feature. Once the Glossary book is in your book list, open the book you are working on, select Glossary. Double check settings for one item per page option so that it is OFF. It looks better but change that if you don't like it.
I hope these steps help you so that you can create a book now, at least with a little more assurance that it isn't too hard and anyone can be a published author with a book you can read in iBooks. If you write a book, please share it in the comments below. That would be awesome! The Figurative Language book I created as a sample with the 5th grade Meadows teaching team is here. Also, video tutorial How to Share a CBB Book Using Google Drive that I made can be found here.
MBUSD TechCon 2013 conference, "Come learn from teacher experts who are implementing technology in their classrooms everyday. Conference style set-up allows attendees to select from a number of sessions based on their individual interests and technological abilities. Think, Learn, Design, and Create materials that can be applied in your classrooms/schools/districts tomorrow!" Click on the image to go to the website www.mbusd.org for more information.
Signage is important for events. It was a proud moment when I saw our high school electronic billboard displaying the event that I am working on. I'm sure the people driving by thought I was a bit crazy taking all the pictures of it so I could get just the right angle with my iPhone. Maybe I should have borrowed my daughters fancy camera for a better quality image but as they say, the best camera is the one you have handy when you want to take picture and capture the moment.
With social media you could argue someone tweeting about your event is even more powerful. In a previous blog post, here, tweeting some financial news by the right person can have dramatic effects like it did for Apple's stock. I wonder who could tweet about a techie event that would cause a run at the registration booth?
I feel very fortunate to support Manhattan Beach Unified School District (MBUSD) as an educational technologist consultant where the leadership, our superintendent, Dr. Mike Matthews, and our School Board, strive for effective technology integration into the classroom. This is a success story of using iPads in the classroom and the chapters will continue to unfold because of the supportive leadership, as well as the teachers, parents, students and our strong community. This was a huge student-focused effort kicked off about two and a half years ago to help provide students with the best possible tool to learn at their own pace, when they were ready, in and out of the classrooms. Grades five through eight have a 1 to 1 iPad program and other grades share iPad carts throughout the district. Technology tools in the hands of students eager to learn is mind blowing, pure genius. I wonder what students will create and invent in their lifetime that will blow us away, like the innovative leaders of Apple and Google have created in our lifetime.
MBUSD's leadership continues to expand the role of technology in school trying to reach more students within the financial constraints of their budget. California spends less per student than most every other state in the nation. This fall Mira Costa High School will launch a bring your own device (BYOD) program which looks bright and promising. I feel this is perfect because students need choice; choice of device and applications. My daughter will be heading off to Mira Costa High School in another year and I wonder if she will bring an iPad, Mac laptop or Chromebook. She thinks she is all set with her iPad and bluetooth keyboard. Maybe that will be true. We will see in another year which device she will take to school everyday. Makes me crazy happy to even be able to say that it looks like she will have that decision to make.
This is my first year leading as an educational technologist consulting for the district. It is a big departure after three years of teaching 500 students every week in the Meadows Elementary School computer lab. This is an amazing new position, that I am passionate about. It is the leadership team's vision as a successful means to supporting students' learning and teachers in the classrooms. Having taught for three years, along with my background in engineering and computer science, I'm super excited about the new challenges integrating technology in the classrooms, beyond the computer labs. I'm proud to be a consultant and a parent of a student attending this innovative school district, an Apple Distinguished program, that has an effective school leadership team.
Image credit: Leadership Day 2013 Image by Scott McLeod, modified to use a red shoe image from Flicker: IMG_9817 Boreel fashion show by Bob Suir
I think it's interesting that there are so many options for backchannels. I never even knew what a backchannel was last year. Have you tried:
Google Moderator? Here's a nice review by Jennie Magiera, @MsMagiera, Today's Meet is Yesterday's Backchannel: Getting Chatty with Google Moderator. I've used it twice and both times found it a little confusing. I need to try it again.
TitanPad? I used that today in the live Simple K12 webinars.
Edmodo or Twitter? I used Twitter in the live EdmodoCon sessions I watched. Not much interaction though. I think I should have tuned into the Edmodo community possibly. I'm not sure.
Today's Meet? I love Today's Meet. I used it with Kathy Schrock in a her live webinar. She's lightning fast by the way and extremely interesting if you ever get the chance to participate in her training classes. It's the best I've used so far.
Google Docs? In a heartbeat I would use Google Docs for a backchannel with a class that's comfortable with Google Docs.
Padlet.com? Kiddos love Padlet and I think adults do too! I'm not kean on it for large groups but crowds smaller than 30 I think it's beautiful. Tony Vincent does a supreb job describing Padlet and Lino, here.
I need to do some more research before MBUSD TechCon on August 20th so I pick the best one(s) for my 3 presentations. If you have advice, I'm all ears. Please share your experience below in the comments if you have ideas or suggestions.
EdmodoCon! Simple K12! and Classroom 2.0 Live! I hit the professional development jackpot this week! I need to buy a lottery ticket because I'm feeling very lucky.
I've been enamored with Edmodo for K-8 for the past two years and appreciated seeing the terrific updates. Hopefully more updates coming for the iPad app though because they need it. During EdmodoCon, I especially enjoyed listening to Sheryl Sandburg, @SherylSandburg, "Lean In", @leaninorg. When I went into electrical engineering and computer science there weren't many women in my classes or at work after I graduated. It's sad that times haven't changed much and women aren't flocking to work in Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) fields. I want so much for my daughter to be a leader in STEM and I know I have much to learn to help guide her and the many other children I can reach in my position.
And, finally Simple K12 sponsoring some super engaging 30-minute webinars. I was most excited about the Google iOS apps (Chris Casal, @Mr_Casal) and Lesson Planning with an iPad (Jayme Linton, @jaymelinton). Thanks to all the phenomenal educators that share the time and expertise. Also, thanks to the sponsors who pitch in to make things happen. If you're interested you can watch the recorded webinars at your convenience and in your PJ's if you want. Love PD in my PJ's.
Dave Guymon is the genius behind the Take 5, PD in 5 minutes. He's called me out in this Podcast and shares super tips on how to use one iPad in the classroom effectively. Love it!
Author: Jeanne Reed
Engineer turned educator, now educational technologist - sharing my passion and perspective on technology in education to improve student learning. Hope you enjoy!
Reflections by Jeanne Reed is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported License.