Making Real Connections Takes Time #ce14

CEM 14

So, I along with the rest of my staff (that chose to participate) I am halfway through Connected Educator Month. By no means do I consider myself a TRULY connected educator, but I do understand the benefits of being one. That’s why I was adamant about sharing #ce14 activities with my campus. To some of those HIGHLY connected, the whole idea of designating a “month” seems silly. But for the vast majority of educators who aren’t connected, don’t understand why they should be, or who may need some guidance getting the process started, I like this journey. So . . . thanks Connected Educators!

As a CEM supporter, I took advantage of all the freebies made available in the Support Kit and did the following:

  1. Had postcards printed in our graphics printshop and distributed to each staff member’s mailbox.
  2. Added a post to my Facebook page with a graphic included from the kit.
  3. Tweeted about the event.
  4. Shared the Starter Kit. This was a no brainer. All of the month’s activities and resources are rolled into one convenient online PDF.
  5. Emailed a brief explanation of what CEM was all about.

No, I didn’t announce it in a faculty meeting or PLC or make an announcement on the PA or create a presentation or video. I wanted this to be a completely optional, no expectations, no pressure learning journey. AND I offered professional development credit for each badge that was earned during the process. And then we launched . . .

Ain’t nobody got time . . .

Was one response from a 20+ year veteran teacher (that’s a friend of mine), and at least she was honest enough to post it. I’m sure there are many more who thought it, but have simply played the silent game through it all. And that’s okay. I’ve kept sharing and sending reminders of the daily challenges because of this –

Lauren's post

And this –

Traci's post

And all of the other emails and personal visits from teachers telling me that they were “behind,” but were working to get back on track. We’re learning. Some have found a purpose, and the journey continues.

Oh, and the one with the infamous quote from above? She later admitted that if she had time to post (personal stuff) on Facebook, she had time to find some connections there too. Making progress . . .

Semester Review? Get a Kahoot!

Monday, our first day back from the holidays, and I have first crack at energizing teachers in our first edtech PD session of the new year. Batter up. First pitch: Kahoot! . . . Homerun! From the first question, it was game on! I’ve never seen a group of teachers (especially high school) get so excited and turn as competitive as my @dubiskijaguars crew. If you haven’t tried it, it’s a must.

Kahoot Options

Kahoot touts itself as a “game-based classroom response system.” In a nutshell teachers (and students) can create quizzes (called Kahoots), discussion, or survey questions for their audience. It’s a super easy process, and users can also add pictures or video to customize each question. Using any Internet-enabled device, participants enter the game. When the Kahoot is launched, they’re given a URL and a specific game-pin to play. No accounts needed! The madness begins as players race to answer questions in real time, are awarded points for each correct answer, and compete to see whose name tops the leader board throughout the game.

In addition, teachers have the option to search the public database for Kahoots. That’s what I did even though I had created my own. It was a great way to demonstrate how sharing resources can make for great teaching and learning – that whole, “Why reinvent the wheel?” thing. I duplicated a Pre-AP world geography Kahoot from user filmpatterson and was able to make a few edits that I wanted. The cool part is my dashboard indicates that the Kahoot is a copy and still gives credit to the original creator!

Kahoot Dashboard

Our staff quickly realized that each question was timed, as they frantically raced to score points. As I readied them for the next question, we talked about how the learning continues through discussions as they facilitate each round. It was a gold mine of curiosity, learning, excitement and engagement – everything we want in a positive learning environment – and many were already preparing for use in their own classrooms. Didn’t take long. Semester exams are next week. Guess what became the top choice for review? I love making teachers happy . . .