Sunday, September 30, 2018

Capitol CUE Tech Fest

I spent last Saturday, September 22, in Rocklin, outside of Sacramento, for the annual Capitol CUE (CapCUE) Tech Fest. I went because I know many of the people on the CapCUE board, but also because I want to learn more about other affiliates’ events, so we can steal the best ideas for San Diego CUE’s Tech Fair! CapCUE put on a great event, where I got some ideas for our event, but also learned some things I can take back to teachers in my own district.

The event was hosted at a beautiful middle school that looked like it was less than 10 years old. The check-in went smoothly, in a courtyard outside the cafeteria and gym. CapCUE bought logo T-shirts for all attendees, and each person got raffle tickets for prizes like software subscriptions or EdTechTeam registrations. An opening session in the gym set the stage, with inspirational messages from CapCUE board members, instructions about the day, and presentations of minigrant awards to the winners.

The first session I attended was Ryan O’Donnell and Brian Briggs on AR and VR. I was familiar with much of what they demonstrated, but still learned some new apps and sites. The next session was on digital citizenship programs, which is perfect for me since that is one of my projects for my district this year. I got some great examples from local districts, and some much-needed inspiration to get this process started. Then I learned about Bootstrap from Ed Campos. Ed shared some great resources from Bootstrap to use a coding platform to help students learn algebra, specifically functions.

At lunch, I chatted with those around me, and then watched the Breakout/Amazing Race mashup they had planned. After lunch, I presented my session on Google Tools for Exploration, which I have done several times previously. After a quick closing session with an additional raffle for more expensive prizes, it was time for me to catch my return flight.

My next affiliate event is San Gabriel Valley CUE’s Innovation Celebration on October 27. I’m looking forward to greater collaboration with colleagues from around the state!

Monday, August 6, 2018

Learning Ways to Make Our Affiliate Work for You

By Matt Evans, SDCUE Sponsorship Chair & Board Member

Learning Development Institute (LDI), presented by Computer Using Educators (CUE), was held on July 27 and 28, 2018, at the Ventura County Board of Education in Camarillo, CA.

Three of our board members, Pamela Rabin, Kevin Fairchild, and Matthew Evans, attended the institute on behalf of SDCUE. CUE graciously covered the cost of registration and hotel for our board members.

We attended focus groups and roundtables in which we heard about how other local CUE affiliates were doing and how they attempt to help local educators to learn more about educational technology.

We participated in a group that discussed how other affiliates design and administer their tech fairs. SDCUE has always made a concerted effort to put on the best local tech fair possible. We believe that SDCUE has done so for many years! We would like to take our local involvement to another level. We want to make sure that new teacher know about us and have discussed providing a discount membership to obtain more new teacher engagement. We want to more teachers involved with the board by inviting our local members to become committee members to help frame our Tech Fair and other events.

Below are five (5) connection ideas for SDCUE:

Coffee meet-up once a month

More social media marketing- having a multiple geographic location and local facilitators.

Sharing of resources on the SDCUE website

Professional Development Workshops - monthly or quarterly - Free 3 hr. Workshops SDCUE would fund/provide the local expert

Playground and poster sessions at Tech Fair - local experts sharing

Thursday, June 28, 2018

CUE Rock Star Helix - A Rockin' Learning Time!

By Ryan Archer, Educational Technology Coordinator, San Marcos Unified School District

On June 20 and 21 I was able to attend a CUE Rockstar Camp at Helix High School in La Mesa, CA as the social media director for the camp. My responsibilities were 1) take lots of pictures of people learning, engaging, and communicating. 2) share golden nuggets from each session and 3) pick up morning coffee at Starbucks. That all seemed simple, so I charged up my computer and phone, grabbed my charger and external battery (just in case) and headed to Helix!

CUE Rockstar events always begin with the presenters giving a little “show and tell” about their session. Some of them take it up notch and do fun and silly things like sing, dance or add special effects. This Rockstar was no different! My favorite was Brenda Dizon-Harris (@Dizon_Harris) who brought in her own karaoke machine with a microphone and had all the participants stand and sing New York, New York with her! Here is a link to a short video - notice the other presenters getting involved with a Rockette style kick line! After all the presenters gave their information, we headed to the classrooms for sessions.

As a CUE Rockstar presenter in the past I was not able to attend any sessions because I was presenting, but now as a social media director it was my job to get in to each session and learn alongside the participants! I had a plan to be in each room for 30 minutes...but that plan didn’t work as well as I had hoped! The first session I popped in on was Social Media in the Classroom with Kathryn Byars (@mrsbyarshistory). I was so engaged in how she uses Instagram and Snapchat with her students that before I knew it I had been there more than 45 minutes! Lets just say when you start to learn how something as controversial as Snapchat is being used effectively (and pedagogically) in a history classroom, you sit and learn! Here is a link to one of her student’s projects.

I was a little behind schedule so I had to get moving. I stopped by Dan Shuster’s (@SimiCodeSquad)
session on coding with Scratch and learned how to make the cat walk back and forth on the screen. Next I went to see Adina Sullivan (@adinasullivan) and learned some tips and tricks on using Google Keep with students and dove into the settings of Google Calendar and learned that you can change the default calendar event time from 1 hour to any time you want!

Next was lunch - provide by Dickey’s Barbecue Pit (@Dickey’s). Nothing like a BBQ Brisket sandwich and a chocolate chip cookie to keep me going for the rest of the day. The learning didn’t stop during lunch however - CUE had set up some “Lunch and Learn” sessions for people to attend if they wanted more information. I thought it would be great to listen and learn from Kathryn Byars about her change from traditional grading to reflective grading. This was a wonderful topic and she was very informative - answering questions and offering tips on what and how she implemented this system in her classroom.

The Lunch and Learn took us right up to the afternoon sessions. I was able to learn from Kevin Fairchild (@kfairchild6) that Google My Maps will import all of your photos on to a map (as long as they are geotagged) which makes for an awesome way to share your vacation with friends. When I went to Jen Roberts’ (@JenRoberts1) session I saw all participants were sharing Google Forms and sharing how they have used then in the past and what new things they were going to try next school year. Right next door was Cynthia Nixon (@TeachingTechNix) blowing people’s minds with creative ways to use Google Slides for more than just a presentation tool - think Twitter/Instagram templates for students or creating a choose your own adventure story or study guide! 

My devices and I needed to be recharged, so I headed over to Brenda Dizon-Harris’ (@Dizon_Harris) session on Design Thinking. I know the process and thought I would be able to sit back and relax...I should have known better - this is a Rockstar camp! In no time she had us up and talking to each other and the next thing I knew we were designing a water tower with only three pieces of paper and a water bottle - no glue, no tape...just paper! I had to leave before our tower was complete in order to make it to the last classroom. I hustled over to David Platt’s (@herrplatt) session on Voice, Choice and Personalized Learning. I had seen many tweets from the participants about a Google Drawing “Choice Board”, so I wanted to see this for myself. I was impressed with the idea! Create a Google Drawings tic-tac-toe board and put in different ways to show student learning...and let the students decide how they get three in a row! Here is an example of David’s board - he has the students all do the middle square and then they can choose two other ways to prove they understand the topic...brilliant! 

The day was over and my mind was full and I still had another Rockstar day to go! There was a happy hour hosted by San Diego CUE (@SanDiego_CUE) at Johnny B’s in La Mesa, but I was not able to attend...but I heard many say it was a great way to end day 1! 

Day 2 started like day 1 with the presenters giving us a quick look in to what they were going to show in their sessions. It was also #NationalSelfieDay so that led to some fun opportunities for selfies! I also had plans on getting my hands on some ice cream - a CUE Rockstar lunch tradition...I missed it the first day because I was in the lunch and learn session.

I had plans once again to make it in to everyone’s session for at least 30 minutes, but again, that didn’t work out like I had planned. My first visit was to Dan’s Math Enhanced with Coding session where I ended up spending an hour! But...I learned to code many shapes with different colors and how to use something like that in the math classroom. I loved visiting Brenda’s session on Google Expeditions - and it gave me a perfect reason for a selfie :) I was able to stop by Kevin’s session and get some resources for NGSS and I had only a few minutes to get some information about Sketchnoting with Cynthia - she tells us it is easier than in looks...we just need time and practice! other teachers that were there learning with her.

I missed the ice cream at lunch again because I went to another “Lunch and Learn” - but it was OK because it was great to hear more from Kathryn about Reflective Grading. She really is passionate about what she has done in her classroom and I hope her passion spreads to the other teachers that were there learning with her.

I was not able to stop in to Adina or Jen’s sessions because I once again got caught up with David and his session on microcontrollers. He gave us time and resources to build an interactive volcano diorama - it may not sound as cool at it actually is...just trust me! Think about using an Arduino, foam board, computer with YouTube and making a touch display with LED lights.

Overall I left with many new ideas for the next school year and more importantly I connected with many new educators and friends. Each CUE event I attend adds new knowledge, but I really do believe the connections are more important than the tools. I know when ever I have a question, these new friends are only one tweet away!

Monday, June 11, 2018

The SDCUE Blog wants YOU!

The SDCUE Blog wants YOU!

We want YOU to write for the San Diego CUE Blog!

Are you a teacher, TOSA, administrator, superintendent, parent, student, or human? If you answered, "yes" then we want you to write for the SDCUE Blog!All are welcome to write. 

Post Guidelines:
  • Diversity is key! We want diversity in authors, background, and your role in education. Your voice matters!
  • Ideally, posts are 500-1000 words. If you feel your post needs to be longer, talk to me first.
  • Captivate us! Use personality, real stories, and engagement. Just like in our classrooms, blog posts that are dry and super academic are not the most exciting to read.
  • Think Open! Before you share a tool or an app, think to yourself: is it free and cross-platform? If not, try to provide a comparable free alternative.
  • Use this exact post template. Please do not change the font or text size.
  • Be mindful of formatting:
    • Single. Space. After. Periods.
    • The Oxford Comma is your friend.
  • Cite your sources. This includes images and any quotes or statistics. Be sure you have the rights to use an image, whether it’s through creative commons online or media releases of students.
  • Edit first, submit second. We make our kids edit their work before they submit. And, we often ask them to peer edit. Find a friend to look over your post before you submit.
  • Follow your deadline. Things come up, and I completely understand. Please let me know asap if you will not be able to make your deadline.
  • Promote your post! Share it out on social media. Don’t be shy!

Not sure what to write about?

  • Favorite tech-integrated lesson
  • How you use technology in your classroom to connect students
  • Free app or tool
  • Conference experience (SDCUE Tech Fair, National CUE, Fall CUE, CUE Rockstar, ISTE, etc.)

Email to sign up to write or if you have any questions.

Keep checking back for great content from our excellent San Diego teachers!

Friday, May 11, 2018

A Focus on Student Learning at CUE BOLD

By Adina Sullivan-Marlow, 
CUE Board Member & Educational Technology Coordinator for San Marcos Unified
CUE is all about technology, right?

CUE is really all about quality student learning and supporting educators to make that happen. It’s easy to get caught up in the latest devices and programs, but student learning is really at the heart of what we do. The CUE BOLD Symposium, one of CUE’s newest educator learning opportunities is the perfect example of that intention and purpose. BOLD stands for Blended and Online Lesson Design and this year’s symposium was held at Laguna Beach High School, overlooking the ocean, on May 5th-6th. It kicked off with one of SDCUE’s own educators, Lisha Brunache of San Marcos Unified, receiving the award for Online and Blended Teacher of the Year!

While technology is included in the sessions, they are really about lesson design and based on Madeline Hunter’s Model of Mastery Learning.You can learn more about the lesson plan model and what it really means (hint: maybe not what you were taught) in Jon Corippo’s recent CUE Blog post. Most sessions are 30 minutes long. Once that session is over, you can stay for the “After Party”, complete with flashing disco ball, to dive deeper into the content and get help personalizing it for your own classroom. Already got what you needed? You could also head off to learn something new in a different session. Want even more personalized learning? There are also Lesson Builder sessions where highly experienced educators will build a lesson right on-the-spot for your classroom needs.

One of the highlights of BOLD is called #BOLDClassrooms. Two classrooms receive full makeovers, so you can experience what a well-designed learning environment looks like and how the teaching and learning process changes. These classrooms aren’t just showrooms, they are designed in collaboration with the teachers who works in those classrooms and are based on the specific teacher/student needs and learning goals in mind.

Missed the CUE BOLD Symposium this year, check out session resources at SDCUE was well represented. Check out Laura Spencer’s “Crash Course in Design Thinking”, Jo-Ann Fox’s “The Maker-Movement Meets Literacy”, and Lisha Brunache’s “‘Our’ Online Google Classroom”.

I have the privilege of being a part of several conferences a year. I left the CUE BOLD Symposium with more practical, student learning-centered ideas and resources than anything I have been to in a long time. Check out this year’s resources for yourself then plan to go next year!

A Fond Farewell to an Ed Tech Pioneer, Darryl LaGace

Darryl LaGace   (June 26, 1963-December 9, 2017)

In December, the educational community lost one of its most visionary and passionate advocates for transforming teaching and learning through technology. 

On Saturday, December 9thDarryl LaGace passed away peacefully in his San Diego home surrounded by family and friends.  Retiring this past summer, Darryl was diagnosed in June with an aggressive form of Parkinson’s disease.

Raised in Lemon Grove, Darryl worked tirelessly as Director of Technology for LGSD, bringing Internet connectivity through microwave technology. With this framework in place, in 1997 Project LemonLINK was born – a project that linked every classroom to the Internet and put a computer device in the hands of every student. It was in this capacity that SDCUE President, Laura Spencer, met Darryl. She taught in the 1:1 Lemon Link program that utilized a thin client tablet and Cox internet to provide 24/7 access to educational materials. This opportunity for Laura opened doors to a career in educational technology.
Top Tech Exec shout out to Darryl

In 2008, Darryl moved to San Diego Unified bringing the knowledge and skills he had learned at  Lemon Grove to lead the district’s five-year i21 Initiative. Its innovative design transformed education for the second largest school district in California that included 7,000 classrooms and 130,000 students, setting the bar for technology projects across the nation. Many SDCUE members, including current SDCUE Treasurer Pam Rabin, benefitted from Darryl's vision in this role.

When Darryl joined Lightspeed Systems in 2012 as Executive VP Global Business Development, he used this opportunity to spread his vision of shaping the educational landscape worldwide by expanding products sold to over 55 countries.
On Thursday night, at the annual Top Tech Exec Awards, which Darryl previous won, he was remembered for his vision and perseverance to provide technology that better served humanity.

Smithsonian Award

Monday, April 30, 2018

The EduProtocol Field Guide: CUE 2018's Biggest Takeaway?

Every year in March, Edutech-y fangirls and fanboys (this author included) descend upon Palm Springs for the annual CUE conference hoping for an infusion of inspiration to dazzle their classrooms and students. Without fail, one or two buzz-worthy topics, ideas, or products emerge as the water cooler phenom of that particular conference. While Flipped Learning, Augmented Reality, and Desmos have all vied for the title of “most trendy” in past years, 2018 may have been the year of The EduProtocol Field Guide by Jon Corippo and Marlena Hebern (honorable mention to #FlipgridFever). The Field Guide itself is just the beginning of what appears to be a whole movement including Conference sessions, twitter chats, book signings, interviews, and hashtags all of which contributed to a flurry of excitement around the new book, released by Dave Burgess Consulting, Inc.

With so many big names associated with this new release it’s easy to see why the masses flocked to it like the Last Jedi Panel at the 2017 Comic Con. This skeptical author and tech fangirl, however, there real staying power behind the Alice Keeler Foreword, the Dave Burgess logo on the spine, and the inner circle of tech Avengers lending their ideas to these “Protocols” which claim to be “Student-Centered Lesson Frames for Infinite Learning Possibilities?”

Spoiler alert: There is.

As an instructional coach, much of my most important work is centered around the “how” of supporting meaningful instructional shifts. Teachers may quickly jump on board with a philosophy or well-meaning text, but implementation fails to see the light of day in the absence of meaningful “What does this look like in a real classroom?” strategies. Enter The EduProtocol Field Guide. Sandwiched between chunks of mic-drop-worthy real talk about how to engage and connect students to content as well as classroom culture, are delightful little Infinity Stones of classroom strategies that have the power to convince even the most reluctant hero to try them with their students. This book is practically daring anyone who reads it not to get excited about trying one of the strategies in their classrooms tomorrow.

While the Oscar for this book definitely goes to its 16 Protocols (a general framework for allowing students to explore content), the best supporting actor award may be meant for the Smart Start activities which take aim at cultivating a culture of joy and excitement around learning at the beginning of any school year. Serving in a 1:1 district where many of our students’ textbooks and content are now digital, a void similar to the one typically experienced at the end of a school year, appears to be forming at the beginning. Teachers may find themselves asking, “What am I supposed to do for 2 weeks with NO DEVICES?” The EduProtocol Field Guide has a masterful plan: Use that time to enlist the Smart Start activities which will provide a foundation for the rest of your school year. With catchy titles like “Frayer a Friend” and “Worst Preso EVER!”, the guide gives every teacher multiple tools to build expectations and foundations for an environment that puts students at the center of the learning and culture at the center of the classroom.

After a foray into starting the year with the Smart Start Protocols, teachers will find a gold mine of actual, fresh, inspiring strategies to serve as a blueprint for ongoing growth, exploration, and inspiration for their students. Protocols such as “The Iron Chef” and “The Great American Race” allow teachers to get students active and excited about learning in any content area, while managing to not come across as gimmicky or fleeting. Throughout the book, the authors drive home several key philosophies around successful teaching and learning which serve as potential mantras for anyone feeling trepidation about ditching their filing cabinet full of black-line masters for something a little more daring. Specifically, Hebern and Corippo explore the idea of “reps” both for teacher and student, suggesting that everything takes multiple scaffolded attempts and trials before mastery can be achieved.

The structure of the book keeps things light with asides and anecdotes from the trenches, while packing philosophy-shifting truth bombs such as “The Suck” which explores how we might be sabotaging our students with lengthy timelines, and “The Four C’s Throwdown” which provides side-by-side examples of flat lessons (that seemed like a good idea at the time) in direct contrast with rich, exciting, protocol-based activities. Additionally, the authors brilliantly anticipated the millions of voices of our primary colleagues suddenly crying out in terror, “But what about the littles?!” by adding an “Adapting for Littles” addendum to each strategy presented. Furthermore, after exploring each protocol in depth in a narrative fashion, the savvy authors include key points to remember as well as possible ideas for variations, all while encouraging teachers to bring their own flair, ideas, and beloved practices into the fold.

Instructional coaches are often charged with bridging the gap between the big ideas and the daily practices related to the art of teaching and learning. Sometimes, despite having an arsenal of strategies, it can be difficult to find the right balance of why and how in helping our teachers reach maximum impact with students. It can also be tricky to find EduInspiration that is attainable by our newest teachers, relevant to those who already have a great bag of strategies, but powerful enough to to reach those reluctant to shift. The EduProtocol Field Guide may be having a moment, but based on its clever format, balance of big ideas and real-world strategies, and powerful insights from the authors, it may be setting box office records for a long time to come.

What are your thoughts? Have you read The EduProtocol Field Guide? What did you think? Have you tried any protocols with your students? SDCUE wants to hear from you!

-Tiffani Brown, 1st Vice President, SDCUE