*** So I just found out my contact form was broken. I missed 300+ emails… I’m answering the ones from this month, but if you emailed me via the contact form, I didn’t mean to ignore you. Sorry! Please feel free to email me again if you didn’t hear from me!***
First, thank you all for the amazing feedback on The Gamification Guide. It’s been downloaded almost 500 times in the last couple weeks. I’m hard at work on Stage 2 of the guide, and can’t wait to share it with you! Check it out if you haven’t already!
I wanted to jump on for a quick post about an update to Google Apps for Education that seems to have flown under the radar thanks to all the other amazing updates Google has rolled out this summer.
In May, Google bought Synergyse. Synergyse makes interactive training experiences for tech products. Well, quietly, Google has rolled out the reason they bought the company: the Training for Google Apps extension and Market Place app!
I came up with the Innovation Lab, our take on the makerspace, when I first got to Fair Haven eighteen months ago. The goal was to make an engaging technology “special” to replace our more traditional computer class which we pushed down toward the elementary school. I spent the bulk of this year’s afternoons working in the Innovation Lab with Ms. Smith and her 5th and 6th grade students. In the Innovation Lab, students learned about Design & Engineering, Computer Science, the Digital Arts, and, for a few months, Entrepreneurship. After our first full year in the Lab, I wanted to share the lessons I’ve learned.
Lesson Learned: Blended Learning is best, but not without a learning curve. I blended my high school English class for the last five years I was there. My sophomores received little direct instruction. Instead when they came into class, student work and the resources they needed to be successful were already online in our Learning Management System waiting for them. This worked incredibly well for my Sophomores, so I decided to bring blending to the Innovation Lab.
I met Melissa Killion at an EdCamp session on the Flipped Classroom two years ago. Afterward, we talked for a while about our experiences on what had been working and what hadn’t in our classrooms. We’ve kept in touch ever since. A couple months ago, I went to Melissa’s school as part of our state’s new innovation initiative. I snuck away from the pack to go visit Melissa and got to see her amazing blended classroom in action. As an iPad school, she had been using Explain Everything to make her videos. I’ve been using Explain Everything for years, and I showed her a neat trick where you can put a video inside of a video. I didn’t think anything of it and until Melissa reached out on Twitter and showed me the amazing way that she had used my trick. I was blown away by what Melissa did and asked her to share it here as an example of transforming the learning experience for a student using edtech. She did one better and included not only her own words, but also asked her student, Anna, and her sign language interpreter to share as well. Check this out!