Wednesday, August 3, 2016

Why I Love Working at KSU iTeach

I really enjoy quotes.  Some push me.  Others make me smile.  While some downright make me laugh.  Like this meme.   Can I get an, Amen?


However, one quote in particular, defines me.  The quote below is my MO.  My purpose, my passion, my drive.  But most of all, my heart, next to my family, is my desire to share my love for technology integration.   


@DaveGuerin visually illustrates what every profession should hold for its employee.  Wouldn't this be great to share with students looking toward their futures?


KSU iTeach provides opportunities to transform learning EVERYDAY.   With @stephsteph83 at the helm, helping teachers personalize learning with data driven instruction coupled with targeted instruction, student ownership, reflection, and digital integrated content which ultimately impacts student achievement becomes a reality. A mouthful, right?  Translated, working with teachers to seamlessly integrate blended learning into the curriculum in a way that meets the needs of every student.

The most rewarding piece?  When a student makes a connection, takes ownership and soars.  Perfect example, our first Maker Camp launched this summer.  A past blog post on our Maker Camp.  Our station theme was coding.  At the Ozobot rotation, day one, campers learned coding basics, ran a few practice mazes.  Campers were semi-interested.  Every day we added new challenges.  On the third day, the challenge consisted of making DIY skins for their Ozobots. Picture hot glue guns, buttons, fabric, pipe cleaners, and any other embellishment you can imagine.   Campers decorated their skins anyway their imagination lead.  Some made mice, others made cats, others rockstars, the sky was the limit.  Can you say STE(A)M?  Adding the "art" and "personalized" piece, this station came alive for these campers.  Campers were designing everything from coded concert halls to vacation spots.  The ozobot became "real-world", authentic, they got it.  The proverbial light went off.  That day will go down in the history books for me.  A day full of reward.  Coding was embraced.  They were playing, while learning and didn't even realize it.  Just one of the many reasons I love my job.




Friday, July 1, 2016

The Mindset of a Maker Educator - KSU iTeach and Horizon's Maker Camp



The Maker Movement is taking education by storm.  Why is this movement so important?  According to NewsWeek's article, "Creativity Crisis", student creativity test scores (Torrence's IQ Test) had been rising until 1990, since then a steady decline.  Most apparent in grades K-5.  Why?  In the 1990's we saw more technology growth than ever.  The decade of the '90's introduced the World Wide Web, the Pentium Processor, and electric cars to name of few.  Our students were consuming more than producing.  The remedy?  Get them creating again.  Let's bring back the American Ingenuity. America is known for it's great inventors, specialists in figuring out new ways of doing things. A problem solving nation.

Leave it to the KSU iTeach Center, to make a mark on developing future creative genius's. The next cancer curer, expert reverse brain engineer, skilled cybercrime/cyberterrorism programmer. Creativity is a major component in thinking like an engineer.  KSU iTeach Center, takes our job seriously transforming the lives of students through STEAM (science, technology, arts, engineering and math).

Horizon's Maker Camp was no exception.  Our staff, worked with rising 1st graders to integrate Maker Camp with an emphasis on Coding.  A special thanks to our team members, Kris McBride @bebemomLeigh Martin @leighmlibrarian  and Helen Maddox @ITTechCafe who helped to make these student's day.

What did our campers learn at Horizon's ?  Campers were introduced to what it looked like to be a Maker.  Station Rotation allowed campers to rotate between the Sphero, Osmos Coding, and Ozobots.  After round one of rotations campers read stories by the amazing Leigh Martin, on big ideas and makers.  The last round concluded with STEAM challenges at each stop, Sphero, Osmos Coding, and Ozobots.  Want to learn more?  Read our S'more flier.




Wednesday, June 22, 2016

KSU iTeach Center Maker Camp


Makers Gonna Make, Make, Make

The first KSU iTeach Center Maker Camp was a huge success. Twenty campers grade K-5th marched through the doors of Kennesaw Hall ready to create.  What is a Maker?  A maker uses their imagination and materials (both techie and non-techie) around their environment to solve problems or invent something new.  Our unique camp provided campers with makerspace, a collaborative environment to design, prototype, and created manufactured works which would not be possible to individual working in spaces alone.

Camp kicked off in true camp fashion:  Tie Dye Shirts



Campers learned what it meant to be a maker.  Using books from our Maker Bookshelf, campers followed characters such as Rosie and her dream to be an engineer, Iggy and his passion for architecture, and a little girl and her canine assistant.  But most of all they learned a maker never gives up.  Making ideas out of your brain can be hard, says Kid President.  Get a dream, get a goal and go for it.  At the end of the week campers shared their thoughts on what a maker is...





Campers cracked the Osmos latest, Coding game.  Coding teaches logic and problem solving in a digital gaming environment.  



Personalized Learning with Ozobots

STEAM education becomes real and innovate with the Ozobot in hand.  The Ozobot is a tiny robot programmed to read lines.  The lines are hand coded by kids.  Codes can be created offline (using good 'ole fashioned paper), on the the app, or the Ozoblockly coding editor.  Take it a step further by personalizing the robots DIY skins.  Which is what inspired our campers.  Who wants to dance? Meet us at the disco party followed by a trip to the Bahamas.  Oh the places the Ozobot will go. Once they learned they could bring their Ozobot to life, they designed discos, cities, market places, vacation spots all with coded mazes for Ozobot to follow.



Spheros are a Hit!

Sphero is an app enabled robotic ball.  Combined with the Tickle App campers coded the Sphero to run obstacle courses.  Who's Sphero is faster?  Camper "J" explains how the Sphero works.




We loved the "giant sized" Jenga blocks.  Thanks to Hope King, from Ron Clark Academy for letting us borrow them.  You have inspired us to make a set! They made the obstacle super challenging.


Campers unleashed their creative juices while learning about parallel and serial circuits.  Who doesn't like to mold modeling clay and add a few lights, motors and sounds?  Check out Camper "C's" creation.




Lights! Camera! Action!  Campers wrote scripted and took their show on the road with Do Ink's chroma key feature.  Do you recognize these stars?






The week in review.  We still have spaces left in our July Maker Camp. Follow our camp fun on Twitter #MakerCamp2016



Thursday, June 16, 2016


5 iPhone Life Hacks That You Never Knew Existed...

TechGal welcomes my mini-me guest blogger.  So thrilled to have her on my blog today.  She loves technology and writing is her "thing".

1.  Turn on zoom if you can't see something on your screen. Have you ever seen fine print on a website or app that you just can't read? Go to Settings> General> Accessibility and turn on zoom. To activate and to turn off, double tap on your screen with three fingers. To edit the magnification of the zoom or edit the filter and adjust other settings, triple tap with three fingers.

2. Set a timer to stop your music when the timer ends. Did you know that your timer can turn off your music for you? Yes! Go to your clock app and go to the "Timer" tab. Click the "When Timer Ends". Scroll to the bottom and hit "Stop Playing". Now set the timer and hit start!

3. Add or delete "Widgets" from your Notifications pull-down tab. Is that "Stocks" widget annoying you when you really don't want to see how the economy is going right now? You can just delete it. Scroll down to the end of the Today tab when you pull down the Notifications screen. You will see a button that reads, "Edit". Click on Edit and add or delete anything you want to by clicking the + or - .





4. To see which apps that you have used the most in one day or one week. Go to Settings>Battery. Click Last 24 Hours or Last 7 Days. There will already be a percentage beside each app that is shown. This percentage shows how much of your battery that these apps took up. Now click the tiny clock in the corner. Now, a time should show up beneath each app. This represents how much time you have spent on that app in the last week or day.



5. Put a folder inside a folder. This is one of my personal favorites because some apps fit with other apps, but there are several of them. For example, I have 2 monogram apps and I wanted to put them in a folder inside my "extras" folder. So, to do this, you need to make a folder of the apps that you want to put inside the other folder (this will be folder 1). Then, hold folder 1 with one hand and tap on the other folder's  upper left corner (folder 2). (Since you are tapping on the left corner of folder 2, you might want to use your right hand to hold and left hand to tap folder 2). Once folder 2 is open, drag folder 1 inside and you're good to go! {Tap where the black oval is}


Thank you mini-me for the fabulous "hacks".







Tuesday, June 7, 2016

Ford STEM's Visit

STEM in action at Ford ES

What a treat to see real word, hands on project based learning in action at Ford Elementary.  Mrs. Cauffiel, an enthusiastic, dedicated STEM teacher, shared Ford's STEM certification journey. Evolving from (just to name a very few) the learning commons (area in the media center), engineering in elementary, organization of parent volunteers, to the amazing display of 5th grade hydroponics display, no stone was left unturned in this STEM rollout.

Did you know for every student that has a STEM background they have four jobs to choose from and for those that have no STEM background are competing with three others for the same job.

Wow!  Does that land on you like it does me?  Spiraling with questions.  How can we give our students the competitive edge?  What would adding the engineering design process to my classroom projects look like?  How can I leverage the P21 resources to engage my students? What prompts sustained inquiry?  How can I foster inquiry? Where would I start with authentic real word problem solving in my classroom?  How could Project Based Learning promote lifelong learning?  A culture of inquiry and innovation.

A few things really "stuck" with me on the visit.  STEM focus days. At the end of each quarter, students participate in STEM related activities.  What a wonderful time to bring in field experts. In person, google hangouts, or skype.  Learning spaces redefined with "mediascapes",which reminded me of Starbucks. Screaming communication and collaboration.  Ford's media center is called the Learning Commons. Rethinking school culture.  Creating a 21st Century Learning mindset.

The project based learning/STEM projects were carefully design and executed.  The one pictured below is the Hydroponics Project designed by the 5th grade class, under the leadership of the knowledgeable Mrs. Cauffiel.  And it does't end there, one grade hatched chicken eggs and with the help of the environmental coordinator designed a chicken coop.  Another grade level rescued a habitat.

If you are in the area, a STEM Tour should be on your list for sure.  Contact Mrs. Cauffiel for more information.





Sunday, June 5, 2016

Learning Spaces Redesigned: Center for Classroom Innovation


The Georgia Department of Education boasts a classroom with new design in mind.  The Center for Classroom Innovation leaves no stone unturned.  With the knowledgeable, Chara Lee our tour focused on pedagogy, technology, and space. Yes, all three in one silver bullet. Active, flexible learning space combined with the 21st Century Super C's (communication, collaboration, creativity, critical thinking) is the secret behind this design.  As documented, in Active Learning Spaces, research supports a multi-sensory approach to teaching and learning.  Studies show active learing spaces increase engagement, promotes deeper participation, maximizes student achievement and elevates the idea that learning is fun.  Active Learning Spaces says, "just as there are a variety ways in which we learn, there must also be a variety of spaces in which learning occurs."  Let's take a virtual tour of the spaces that were featured in the Center of Classroom for Innovation.

Campfire Space
Features a round post-it note paper table.  Let the round table ideas flow.  Complete with movable dividers, comfortable seating, and  buoy chairs.  Buoy chairs as active as the students.  They are adjust according to size.  Flexible lighting features make this space a desirable learning cove.  Note: depending on fabric of the dividers, after looking at for a long period of time can cause dizziness.


MediaScape Space



Otherwise known as Starbucks or the group meeting area.  Perfect for whole group instruction. Elevating content and collaboration is key in this space.  Skyping an field expert or sharing a group presentation are a few of the many learning activities in this scape.  The hockey puck connector (shown below) allows a student to hook up their device to show the audience.  Folds up discretly in the middle of the table for stow away storage. The sofa is microfiber.  Easy to clean.  Lumbar support is positioned just right for maximum sofa comfort.




A desk suitable for the right and left handed student.  Adjustable desk height.  Students can comfortably sit backward in the seats with flexibility in mind.




Rolling Teacher Desk with Laptop Stand


Teachers can be where their students are with this rolling desk.  Complete with customizable drawers, hooks, modesty panel, and moving arm platform for tablets and laptops.

The Verb Chevron Table

One of my favorites - the chevron verb table.  Designed for mobility and collaboration.  The verb allows for a line of sight to person next to you. The dry erase board hangs on the nodes at each table. Easily transferable to tracts on the wall for presentation.


Are you ready to schedule a tour?  I highly recommend making a reservation today.  You will not be disappointed.  Chara Lee, tour guide, is a true treat.  For more information contact Chara at Center for Classroom Innovation.





Sunday, May 22, 2016

Real World. Authentic. Project Based Learning

Engaged, on task and ready to learn from the word go describes Ms. S's classroom.  Students want to be in this class.  Hands on, real world, authentic learning combined with the upbeat and positive Ms. Singleton, made me want to stay too. All day.

The attention to detail around the room was second to none.  On the wall hung visual reminders such as, post reflections on the blog, group job descriptions, think tank location, what critical thinking looks like in each grade to name a few. Impeccable  classroom layout.  Rolling tables and chairs for easy placement.  Learning stations which included 3D Printing, Apple TV, Chromebook and iPad Carts.


Welcome to the world of project based learning. Project based learning units aligned with standards along with real life application.  Let's dive into a few of these projects. The kindergarten kicked off the year learning about communities.  They designed their own Kinderville Community. Using boxes of various shapes and sizes the construction began.  Students engineered roads, buildings, places of learning, complete with lakes and parks.  Look closely and you could find the students (pictures on index cards) around the community. No detail is overlooked in this PBL classroom, student jobs (pictured below) are decided for each project.  Students take their roles seriously. They interview for their positions and share why they would be good in that role.  If they do not get the role, they are encouraged, when trying something new you may find you really enjoy it and are good at it.  Real life learning.

Reflection is a big piece of PBL, students are encouraged to blog about their experiences. as John Dewey reminds us, "We do not learn from experience . . . we learn from reflecting on experience.

Want to learn more about Ms. S's Project Based Learning projects? Visit her on the web.  









Sunday, February 14, 2016

LuLu and the Brontosaurus, Fifty Three Pencil, and the iBrainstorm App



Lulu is the kind of girl who pitches a fit and gets what she wants.  And she wants a brontosaurus for her birthday.  Does Lulu's birthday wish come true?  Read the book to find out.

For the opening, students used Answer Garden to create a word cloud.  See picture below. Students shared main ideas, as students shared the same idea, they enjoyed watching the word get larger.

As a way of reviewing facts in each chapter, our first grade students use the iBrainstorm app, to share their ideas with one another.  The app has story map templates, along with a host of concept mapping templates.  Students use sticky notes to post their facts about each chapter.  When they are finished they can "flick" their sticky notes to another iPad in the room.  Did you hear that?  Yes, sticky notes fly (transmitted thru the wifi) between iPads.  Students choose to accept the note from their peers. After receiving the sticky note, students drag the sticky note fact to the correct chapter.



What's even cooler, are the Fifty Three Stylus Pencils that can be paired with the app.  Students write with the stylus just as they would a pencil.  It has the same feel.  And even has an eraser to boot.