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!

1 comment:

  1. It was great to host a CUE Rockstar Camp at Helix. It was awesome to meet other educators from all over San Diego County and beyond who share a passion for Ed Tech and making learning engaging, challenging, We hope we can do it again soon!