Saturday, August 9, 2014

Innovative Learning Environments: #ileOhio and #edcampILE

Once again this year I attended Ohio's Innovative Learning Conference in Hilliard, Ohio.  The conference was from Monday - Thursday and featured many national and local speakers.  On Friday, the conference ended with a finale.  This year the conference ended in an #edcamp:  #edcampILE.

When leaving an event like this, I try to think of my takeaways.  What did I learn?  How will I change? What resources will I seek?  What questions do I have?  This year, I'm focusing on the questions I am considering as I leave:

Franki Sibberson commented, in recent years "our expectations of kids have changed a lot, but have our classrooms?"  I'm going to be thinking that as I begin a new year in a new position.  Franki Sibberson spoke about Digital Literacy.  We're so lucky to live near so many amazing educations and Franki is one of them.  In her session Franki shared the way digital literacy is just a part of the learning that takes place in her classroom.  She shared what she has learned and how her thinking has changed since first working with digital tools.  I appreciated the way her session shared so many examples of the way digital literacy is a natural part of her workshops in her classroom.  It is obvious kids own the learning in her classroom, but I also was struck my how important connections were in the work they do.  Her message:

How can I make nonfiction more a part of the daily reading we do (and build connections with nonfiction authors)?  Franki shared the ways she is thinking about nonfiction.  She shared series, authors, and new titles:  Nonfiction in Grades 3-6.   I love learning digitally because while Franki was sharing books, I was requesting books.  I was also able to begin to see if I was following nonfiction children's authors.  Of course, I asked those I follow on Twitter if they had other nonfiction authors on Twitter and my list grew quickly.  (Thanks, @colbysharp, @LaurieThompson, @mstewartscience, @loveofxena, @cppotter, @utaliniz!)

How can I collect and efficiently share information about the students I support with classroom teachers?  Evernote or Google?  Google or Evernote?  Evernote AND Google?  This has been my summer dilemma.  For this reason, I was happy to attend sessions by Scott Sibberson about Google Forms and Google Classroom.  I was intrigued by the possibilities of Google Classroom.  It allows teachers to create classes and then easily share announcements and assignments.  I see it as an easier way to share forms or templates with primary learners as it seems to contain less steps in sharing and finding these documents.  Of course, I also began to think it could be used to share documents with teachers.  If I put teachers into a group, I think I could share information about student learning with individuals and announcements with groups.  Hmmm.  

Can Nearpod work for small group reading instruction on occasion?  I went to a session led by Mark Pohlman and Kelly Riley.  They were sharing EduCreations (which I love) and Nearpod (which I know little about).  Nearpod allows teachers to create lessons and then walk students through together.  You can insert video, slideshows, documents, webpages, and so much more.  What I liked was the ability to capture student response in drawing, polls, and other forms.  The app then collects the data and organizes it.   

How do we build connections for students?  At ILE I was able to meet and have conversations with many people I collaborate with digitally in social media spaces and across blogs.  When I think about the power of the connections from Twitter, blogging, and attending conferences like ILE, I have to think about how important it is for me to do these same things for my students.  For this reason, I create a learning hub, a class Twitter account, and set up student blogs.  How do I continue to build these connections for students in our classroom community, in our school community, locally, and globally?  

Why isn't more PD like an #edcamp?  There's something about the choice in an #edcamp that I love.  There's something about the collaborative conversation in a true #edcamp style session.  There's something about the diverse experience of participants.  Everyone possesses a different kind of knowledge about a topic, and bringing all of this together into one room always results in smart questions, new thinking, and next steps.   A huge shout out to Craig Vroom, Jacki Prati, and Lori Ludwig (and others involved) in making this day happen.  I'm thankful so many teachers from our building were there to share in the conversations --- you rock!  It's going to be a great year!


  1. It sounds like a good few days, Cathy. Thanks for sharing your questions.

  2. Oh, how I wish I could have been there! I'm glad to learn about it from you and hope we can talk more about it. I'll invite you out to my new house (which is different from the new house I thought I was getting), and we can chat on the back patio. :) I still need to get to an EdCamp. Thanks for sharing and let's get together soon.