Hands-on Learning Institutes

Work with education leaders across several strands of tech integration and emerging technologies. Some of the strands: Digital Storytelling, Project-Based Learning, Data Visualization, Emerging Technologies, Measurement and Research, Maker, Creativity, Spatial Skills and Gender, Computational Thinking, and Global Collaboration.

A Framework for Maker Education Through an Experiential Cycle of Learning: Framing, Doing, and Reflecting on the Maker Experiences. - Dr. Jackie Gerstein
Providing a framework for maker activities helps insure that their use is intentional; and that meaningful learning is extracted from these experiences. The maker educator becomes proactive in framing the maker experiences and in debriefing them to increase the chances that learning occurs. During this workshop, participants will get to experience this framework through doing a maker activity that is introduced through framing or frontloading and then followed by a variety of reflection techniques.

By the end of this workshop, participants will learn and be able to apply:
  • new maker activities using inexpensive instructional materials that can be brought to one's own educational environments including paper circuits, toy hacking, and toy making,
  • methods for frontloading or framing the maker experiences,
  • a process for reflecting on making for the purposes of increasing learning following each make,
  • a variety of technology-based methods or ways for having learners reflect on their maker experiences,
  • strategies to bring a similar framework back to one's own work setting.
More information about this framework can be found through the following articles/interviews:
Media-based Products as Learning Evidence ~ Coaching, Assessing, and Exploring for Content AND Craftsmanship - Bernajean Porter
Urgent! Human beings needed with effective communication skills in order to translate inert, raw information into valuable knowledge useful and beneficial to others. No paper allowed!

Even though writing skills still form a crucial foundation in developing digital products, printed text has lost its monopoly to multimedia in the information age. The BIG question is not whether students are using technology to make multimedia products but rather to ask what knowledge, deep understandings and communication skills are being demonstrated by the digital work. Using digital products as tangible artifacts and metrics for success can provide a wealth of instructional evidence documenting individual learning paths using research-based rubrics, critical friend strategies and authentic audiences.

Participants will experience how educators can transform themselves into wizards at organizing, coaching and assessing media-based products for rigorous content, original thinking, and artful craftsmanship demonstrating knowledge and deep understandings? Participants will use research-based rubrics and frameworks for assessment while experiencing a plethora of authentic student media products and digital tool uses. Seeing achievement through the lens of student work is informative, eye-opening, and fun!
KaPow! Creativity Abounds with Emerging MultiMedia Tools - Bernajean Porter
Today we are beginning to notice that the new medias are not just mechanical gimmicks for creating worlds of illusion, but new languages [Trans-Literacies] with new and unique powers of expression. ~ Marshall McLuhan

In spite of the breadth and dazzle of new media technologies, media-making should always be in higher service of a higher goal: learning, thinking and communicating. Now let the media-making begin ~ knowing that every digital medium has its own grammar and fluency [trans-literacy] requiring rounds of rehearsals and mastery - it’s not JUST about learning the technical use of tools. It’s about the art and soul of creative craftsmanship with a myriad of tools and design choices that engages “the science of attention” principles for persuading, motivating, informing, exciting and inciting others to engage in ideas and understanding.

While words are considered an important foundation literacy, learners will find themselves handicapped in this digital age if text-based communication is the sole “mode” mastered to represent and express their thinking and ideas. How literate can students really be if they only know ONE or two mediums of communication? The new communication skills are less about mastering technical skills of technology than about being able to design information by artfully using sound, images, transitions and special effects in ways that dance ideas together into illuminated understandings. Participants will explore a myriad of new literacies along with the art of coaching exemplar craftsmanship in order to master powerful communication skills BEYOND words.
Preparing Students to be Citizens of the World - Lucy Gray
The advent of new and emerging technologies has made it easier than ever for students and teachers to collaborate with others around the world. To prepare students to be successful global citizens, schools must develop students' global competence through engaging, authentic learning experiences.
Participants in this Institute will explore global education initiatives, strategies for finding partner classrooms, and specific tools that will allow them to bring the world to their school. Also, learn about the resources developed by Global Education Conference Network and find out how you can leverage the conference and associated events in your professional journey.
The Highly Connected Global Educator - Lucy Gray
Teachers have traditionally worked in classrooms with few opportunities to connect with colleagues outside of their school’s walls. Technology is changing this scenario, however, in very positive ways. It is now considered best practice for educators to connect to data, to resources, and to each other for professional development purposes. This Institute will demonstrate how to evolve into a highly connected teacher and will offer starting points and practical tips for teachers seeking to join and participate in online communities of practice. Educators will leave this session with concrete ideas for leveraging personal learning networks to facilitate globally collaborative project-based learning.
From Awareness to Action: Moving Students from Global Competency to Global Leadership - Jennifer D. Klein
Global awareness is an important part of any 21st century educational program, offering students a lens on the perspectives and experiences of people around the world. However, just becoming aware without a chance to act on new knowledge can lead students to feel disenfranchised and powerless in the face of our biggest global challenges. Global citizenship programs founded in student-centered practices that emphasize advocacy and participation provide students with a way to act on the basis of their learning, which also helps them envision how a life of purpose and leadership might be crafted. This Institute will provide participants with tools for moving students from awareness to appropriate action, both locally and globally, and for fostering and assessing students’ global leadership skills. We will also explore how to establish partnerships for learning, to help build collaborative thinking and multilateral change making.
The Partnership Continuum: Building Global (and Local) Partnerships that Work - Jennifer D. Klein
More and more teachers across the K-12 spectrum are looking for global partnerships for their students, ideally with classrooms in other parts of the world that are interested in collaborative learning. This Institute will explore a variety of strategies for finding global partners, for developing collaborative learning experiences which are equitable and foster proficiency in academic standards, and for building the kinds of deep relationships which help humanize the world for students and foster the kinds of intercultural skills they will need to become leaders of constructive change. We will explore a range of global and local partnership approaches, from the simplest to the most complex, and partnership examples will include ES, MS and HS level experiences. We will also explore existing partnership programs and platforms, several of which reduce the work for teachers through partnership networks, “crowd-sourcing” global opinions, and video conference events.
Creating an Integrated STEM Classroom - Elizabeth Helfant
STEM by its very acronym implies an integration of subject matter. This Institute will explore how to better integrate the subjects and situate them in a real-world, problem solving context. By integrating science content with engineering practices tools, technologies and methods for incorporating innovation, invention and project-based learning in the classroom, STEM provides a pathway to engage students in deeper learning and a backdrop against which critical thinking, data literacy, and creative problem solving can be taught. This Institute will explore projects, practices and technologies to create a successful, integrated STEM experience for students.
Computational Thinking in the STEM Classroom - Elizabeth Helfant
The essence of computational thinking (CT) is thinking about data and ideas, and using and combining these resources to solve problems. Teachers can encourage students to “think computationally” by moving STEM projects beyond “using” tools and information toward “creating” tools and information. Simulations and modeling help students create information. CT asks students to identify a problem and harness the computer to help solve it. This Institute will explore how tools like ODyssey, Algodoo, Desmos, and GIS can help students develop understanding. Participants look at tools to collect and express data as well as tools to teach algorithmic thinking. Ways to use programming to solve and create will also be considered.
Reimagining Digital Literacy with Engaging Instructional Practices - Connie White
This engaging, collaborative Institute will highlight the latest research and trends in digital literacy. Participants will learn how to integrate literacy by innovatively addressing information, media and data literacy in the classroom. Applications include how to use multiple annotating web tools to make thinking visible and to enhance group thinking and collaboration. Participants will use screencasting for literary analysis and prewriting or to demonstrate problem-solving strategies, and learn to transform real data into information and real-world application
Participatory Learning with New Media Literacies - Connie White
Our students are exposed to a torrent of information across multiple media. It is important for our students to learn how to express themselves utilizing various media for creation, sharing and publication. Contemporary media literacy also necessitates that our students be able to critically examine and deeply analyze the validity of media from our technology-based world.
In this hands-on Institute, participants will learn how to implement a foundational, well-researched structure as the backbone for curriculum planning to enhance learning and support deeper understanding that is both engaging and effective. We will also use rubrics and technology tools to create and access exciting student products from visual presentations, to infographics and videos.
The “Now” Literacies - Silvia Tolisano
Looking at the “Now” literacies, including information literacy, network literacy, digital citizenship, media and global literacy, we are preparing students for a time when what they know is not as important as what they can do with what they know. We are becoming a society where consumers have become producers and increasingly are required to be contributors. How does this translate into the classroom? What does this mean in terms of professional development and continued learning for teachers? How do we become leaders in the NEW literacies and make them NOW literacies in our schools? Participants in this Institute will explore the “Now” literacies, and will create and share through hands-on challenges.
Pedagogical & Heutagogical Documentation: Supporting the “Now” Literacies - Silvia Tolisano
How can documenting our learning support the “Now” literacies? Let’s define documenting learning as a visible, interconnected, meta-cognitive approach for creating evidence of one’s own learning process (or the learning process of our students). How does documenting learning have effects on our awareness, skills and developing habits around the so called 21st century “Now” literacies? Institute participants will explore the relationship between literacy and documenting learning, and participate in hands-on challenges and make these connections visible.
Three Questions - Dr. Gary Stager
Educators like to talk about educational transformation, reinvention, or even revolution, but their practical vision for achieving such dreams rarely extends past step one. Educators yearning to create more productive contexts for learning should at least be able to answer three essential questions about teaching and learning. This session will introduce three provocative questions via classroom vignettes and the perspectives of big thinkers whose ideas can and should shape future pedagogical practice Then there will be a chance to think aloud, clarify your stance towards the future of education, and begin planning for implementation.

A companion eBook on radical educational practices will be shared.
Making Computer Science For All A Reality - Dr. Gary Stager
National and international calls to teach computer science to every child K-12 are laudable and in serious danger of being the most spectacular failure in the history of overhyped, and ultimately failed, educational innovations. Such an eventuality should be avoided since learning to program is a critical aspect of agency over an increasingly complex and technologically sophisticated world. Every career requires programming skill and the great scientist Stephen Wolfram predicts that in the near future, current occupations will be challenged by versions of the same, preceded by the term, “computational.” There will be computational art, computational history, computational biology, computational engineering, etc… Programming is also fun and a meaningful context for learning math and science.

Despite unprecedented access to computational tools, very few students engage in any computing. This workshop intends to begin addressing this deficit through a discussion of sound pedagogical practices for teaching programming across grades and across the curriculum. It will argue that computing is essential for computational thinking, problem solving, math education, and project-based learning that extend beyond rhetoric or vocabulary acquisition. We will think about how to teach programming as a consequence of actual programming experiences and lend a critical eye to the preposterous scope and sequences proposed by governments around the world.

This workshop will also explore how block-based languages offer beginners and their teachers a comfortable on-ramp to computer programming, but are not inferior “baby languages.” We will look at a range of block-based environments for PC, Mac, and iOS that support the creation of animated stories, video games, mathematical microworlds, complex simulations, 3D design, robots, and controlling popular toys, including Sphero, Dot and Dash, and LEGO. It is even possible to 3D print objects programmed in Beetleblocks, a block-based programming language. Pedagogical techniques for introducing computer science and stimulating inquiry will be modeled and classroom implementation strategies discussed.
How Research and Data can Serve Your Classroom and School Needs - Dr. Damian Bebell
For many in education, using data and research can be both uninspiring and challenging. This session provides an enthusiastic look at how some schools are leveraging new technologies and their own tools and methods to provide more meaningful and empirically-rich data on the topics they care most about. Designed for school leadership and the data hungry educator, session attendees will learn about the latest developments and tools for data collection, analyses, and data visualizations by interacting directly to create and analyze their own data based on their own needs and interests.
N E X U S: The Intersection between Neuroscience, Wellness, Technology, and Learning for the Innovation Economy - Tomas Jimenez-Eliaeson
What is the relationship between the Brain, Wellness, Technology, Learning, and Environment?

As we proceed into the Learning Revolution Age, how are we to provide experiences that address the evolving methods by which students acquire and create knowledge? And how are we to design experiences to effectively support a changing paradigm? In today’s hyper-connected, high-speed, customizable, and knowledge-driven society, what are the roles of education and education spaces? Preparing students for the complex future world which we are yet to comprehend, requires transcendental solutions that intertwine a 21st century curriculum, state of the art technologies, immersive learning spaces, a culture of Wellness, and incorporates the lessons learned from Neuroscience that affect the learning process.

We are increasingly learning about how the brain receives and retains information, how different individuals learn best, how changing technologies are facilitating new approaches for teaching and learning, and how our increasingly complex global challenges will require equally complex solutions. Given this new knowledge, this workshop will focus on a pattern language for designing immersive learning experiences that address a new paradigm of learning, teaching, and working. Immersive experiences are supported by technology-infused, active and collaborative learning, facilitated by transdisciplinary strategies, reinforced with multiple learning typologies, and working in conjunction with student management tools that enable changing developments in academic, scheduling, testing, and assessment initiatives. These experiences are also informed by the latest knowledge about Neuroscience’s impact on learning and environments as well as the importance of wellness as a filter to design a holistic learning process.

This workshop will be an interactive experience that will blend Polling, Micro-presentations, Collaborative Teamwork, Whole Group Interaction and Tech Immersion.
Redesigning technology-infused lessons and units for deeper learning and student agency - Dr. Scott McLeod
We have a lot of technology floating around our schools and classrooms these days. And while that can and should be a good thing given the digital age in which we now live, we often find that our technology-related efforts aren’t paying off for us as we had hoped. For example, we see a lot of replicative use - doing the same things that we used to do in analog classrooms, only with more expensive tools - and we see many educators using technology simply for technology’s sake. There are many reasons why all of this is true, but a primary one is that we don’t have great ways to think about what is occurring when we see students and teachers using technology for learning and teaching purposes. This half-day workshop is for educators who wish to push their technology-infused pedagogy to new levels. We will use the trudacot discussion protocol to complement our efforts with SAMR, TPACK, and other frameworks in order to design and redesign lessons and units across various grade levels and subject areas. THIS is where the powerful conversations occur; THIS is the work we need to be doing as educators. We will use actual lesson plans and video exemplars to facilitate our work.

Participants should bring a willingness to rethink learning and teaching, a lack of defensiveness, and, preferably, a laptop or Chromebook (because iPads don't always play nice with Google Sheets).

Hacking Administration: Using technology to enhance our leadership practices - Dr. Scott McLeod
In this half-day workshop we will focus on ways that technology can enhance our leadership practices. In particular, we will focus on the following resources that should be an essential component of any school leader’s productivity toolbox
  • Evernote. Evernote can be a powerful tool to enhance school leaders’ professional learning and day-to-day productivity. Evernote allows principals and central office administrators to take notes, capture images, save web sites, record audio, and much, much more. As school leaders, it can be very difficult to stay on top of the latest leadership and policy developments, save interesting articles, and create resource libraries on various topics for our own learning and that of our staff.
  • Feedly. Feedly can be a powerful tool to enhance school leaders’ professional learning and day-to-day productivity. Feedly allows principals and central office administrators to easily learn from others around the world and to organize incoming news and information ‘feeds’ into personalized categories and folders. School leaders around the world are using Feedly to stay abreast of the latest developments and cutting-edge thinking that’s out there regarding instructional leadership, educational policy, professional productivity, and much more. Plus Feedly is a great way to go deeper with our personal interests, passions, and hobbies too. Additionally, Feedly allows us to easily share our learning resources with others.
  • Google Sheets. As school leaders, we find ourselves facilitating a large variety of staff development sessions and teacher and parent meetings. Google Sheets can be a powerful tool for capturing ideas from participants, archiving face-to-face conversations, and even taking our discussions to the next level. This session will highlight several different group facilitation techniques and online Google Sheet templates that can be used to facilitate discussion and problem-solving in staff meetings or professional learning workshops. We also will look at example of templates that could be used in a classroom by a teacher.
  • Facebook, YouTube, and Instagram. As school leaders, we should be using popular social media platforms to share the awesomeness in our schools. Learn how to integrate the social media channels that your students and parents use regularly to publicize student and educator work and energize your community!
Please bring your own productivity technology hacks too. There will be plenty of time for sharing!

Participants should bring a laptop or Chromebook (because iPads don't always play nice with Google Sheets).

SAMR and the EdTech Quintet: Pragmatic Approaches and New Directions - Dr. Ruben Puentedura
In the years since they were first introduced, SAMR and the EdTech Quintet have proven their value as frameworks to help guide the use of technology in education. Recent research has further enhanced the power of both models, extending their use to particularly challenging scenarios, and connecting them with current research in social learning. In this session we will delve deeply into the whys and hows of the models, reviewing some of the directions opened up by the latest research, and focusing in particular on practical applications in K-12 education. Participants will explore and develop this focus through projects designed for direct and immediate use in their home organizations, with connections to curricular design, action research, and teacher professional development. Finally, we will explore connections between both models and Ann Pendleton-Jullian and John Seely Brown's evolving framework for a "pragmatic imagination", opening up exciting new avenues for learning design.

Designing STEM Learning: A SAMR Hands-On Approach - Dr. Ruben Puentedura
An integrated approach to science, technology, engineering and math education can be especially powerful, challenging students to think creatively and exercise deep critical reflection. However, such an approach requires more than just gluing together traditional curricula, particularly when information technology is a key component of the mix. In this hands-on session, we will see how to design a STEM curriculum that is both rich and innovative. We will start by exploring how frameworks for 21C literacies spell out a double challenge for STEM education. We will see how to address this double challenge by constructing SAMR-scaffolded approaches that address ways of knowing, creative innovation, and subject integration in STEM. We will then turn our attention to questions of formative assessment in STEM. Finally, we will look at how this approach to learning design opens up new opportunities for computational thinking that go well beyond traditional programming courses. Throughout, our approach will take the form of "theory into practice", focusing on creating exemplars, rather than just hearing about them.

Emerging Technologies - Scott Klososky
Good leaders are timely with applying new technologies to solve problems or make improvements. Great leaders have a two year lead on good leaders! One of the most valuable insights that can be gained today is a clear picture of the new digital tools that will change the world. This session is focused on not only naming emerging technologies, it also will provide context and examples as to why new digital tools will continue to disrupt and improve our lives. Scott Klososky is the founding partner of the technology strategy firm Future Point of View and his passion is helping people understand what is coming next and why it will be important to the world. He will be presenting information on emerging technologies like machine intelligence, wearable devices, augmented reality, predictive analysis and smart environments. There will also be a few outside the mainstream technologies discussed just to keep things edgy.

Technology as a Material for Impactful Maker Learning - Kristopher ‘Linus’ Velez
Circuit Playground is an electronics prototyping platform that empowers Makers to author artifacts from wearable technology to robotics using prototyping materials and block-based coding. The microcontroller was created with education in mind, having a “low floor” and “high ceiling”, positioning it as one of the best technologies for Making in the classroom available today. Using this technology as a material for authoring artifacts supports students in creatively and critically problem-solving as they illustrate meaningful connections to curricular content and develop their Maker Mindsets.

In this workshop, participants will work hands-on to create functional prototypes using the Circuit Playground, craft materials, prototyping tools, and recyclables. Participants will see examples of how to integrate Making and microcontrollers into their classroom, learn how to construct an environment for impactful Making, and be introduced to Maker Learning as a pedagogy for teaching and learning.
No prior experience is required.
Innovation and Learning Analytics: Shifting to a Big Data Mindset - Kevin Crouch
In an era of information surplus, there remains a shortage of educators who can effectively leverage data to inform their innovation efforts. This is due, in part, to the challenges inherent in collecting and visualizing rich and useful data sets paired with the right questions and the right skills to facilitate the right conversations.

The good news is that learning analytics helps us do the very things that innovation requires of us: challenging our assumptions and perceptions while also trusting our intuition and elevating our thinking and dialogue from linear causation to systemic models that bring shape and clarity to organizational complexity. It also allows us our professional capital where it is needed and where it will have the greatest long-term impact.

Participants will engage in a cyclical process of data inquiry that can be applied at the classroom or organizational level. We will preview learning analytics tools that will illustrate the technologies necessary to make use of your ever-growing data streams.

  • Understand what innovation in schools is and why it is important.
  • Understand the many sources of data in schools and what they can tell us about teaching and learning and, most importantly, our learners.
  • Learn how to design projects and prototypes for innovation that use data as part of the evaluation process.
  • Practice protocols and strategies for collaboratively talking about data.
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