I was privileged to attend the NCTIES (North Carolina Technology in Education Society) 2016 Conference in Raleigh, NC March 2 – 4 whose theme was “Innovation”. There were around 3,000 registered participants who filled the Raleigh Convention Center with excitement and engaged educators. Why did they come? They came to dive deeper into STEM and expand their understanding of best practices. I would like to share the 10 best tips that I saw and learned.
- Code Studio – I have participated for the last three Decembers in the Hour of Code at https://code.org/. It was my goal to explore the site more and understand the pieces of Code Studio. I enjoyed the all day Pre Conference training where I learned how to enroll students in Code Studio found at code.org. Hadi Partovi, founder of code.org, and his team have developed lesson plans to support teachers as they prepare students for the Courses for Elementary Students. In groups, we prepared a lesson to teach to our colleagues from the support materials and taught each other non digital ways to do computational thinking. I learned the 3 C’s and 2 P’s of Computational Thinking Practices:
- Problem Solving
I loved how the trainers shared practical information like creating a Symballoo to link every Class in a school where students are enrolled in Code Studio courses. The training fueled my interest in coding. I am so excited to create classes in Code Studio for my students so that I can track their progress and they can see how they are doing. I love that there are lessons to share to promote development of the 3 C’s and 2 P’s in non digital coding opportunities before students dive into the digital piece of coding. There is ongoing training around the USA so check out the http://www.code.org for more information.
- https://sites.google.com/a/cravenk12.org/envision/ – Google Drawing Presentation from NCTIES.I asked the presenters if I could share their Slide Show at the link above to show examples of using Google Drawings. I love their ideas to build a corkboard for students to use as a collaborative Exit Ticket, to annotate screen shots of documents, to add speech bubbles to images, to create graphic organizers with Google Drawing Tools and to design Infographic ideas to make using Google Drawing Tools.
- Choosito is a website which Richard Byrne shared that helped me see the power in gathering websites that can be searched by topics or reading levels to help students in doing research. It allows teachers to curate playlists for students based on topics and reading levels. Visit https://www.choosito.com/choosito-class – Scroll down a bit to see the words “Personalized Instruction” then scroll down more to see “Real Time Data Tracker” to see how students are doing research using the links that teachers can curate.
- Cubetto Wooden Robot – http://www.primotoys.com/cubetto – This website shows the Cubetto wooden robot and the box which students use to program the robot. Visit this link to learn more and see video of children coding with Cubetto: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/primotoys/cubetto-hands-on-coding-for-girls-and-boys-aged-3?token=e3978e14
- Pernille Ripp – I was able to have lunch with this amazing teacher. I have followed her work and appreciate not only her blog about teaching middle school, but also love that she created The Global Read Aloud. I was able to discuss school and my family with her as we ate together but also was able to go to her Connected Literacy session where she shared many ways that she ignites a passion for literacy in her students and connects them to themselves, each other and the world. Some of her most poignant comments:“Teachers can ruin the love of reading and writing. We have to own it first.What am I doing to kill their love of reading and writing?
I need to bring my passion of reading and writing to my students and to my own kids.
It is what we decide is the most important that speaks the loudest.
If I deliver all of the information that tells kids that the class is about us not about them.
If a child hates reading, let’s not worry about whether they are using our strategies, let’s worry about the fact that they hate reading.”
- Quizziz.com – This site is similar to Kahoot, but allows teachers to set up a Quizziz for homework instead of face to face and allows students to see choices on their screen not just the teacher’s presenting screen.
- Google Classroom – I learned an incredible amount from two technology facilitators from Union County, NC. I asked them if I could share the link to their presentation and they agreed. You have to go through it to see the practical ways that they coach teachers to use Google Classroom: https://sites.google.com/a/ucps.k12.nc.us/ucps-google-classroom-get-personal/home
- I enjoyed the incredible tag team of Brad Waid and Drew Minock. I have followed them on Twitter for several years and loved www.twoguysandsomeiPads.com website. During their opening keynote, I heard them say this powerful quote: “Education means inspiring someone’s mind not just filling their head.” They also showed several awesome videos with my favorite on “Giving as the Best Communication” found below:
In their Thursday session, they shared the Innovation image which I posted at the top of this blog post and they discussed the wonderful opportunities to inspire innovation in students as they explore the following apps or programs:
Google CS First Clubs (3rd through HS)
Hopscotch Code Academy
Video Game Creation at www.PixelPressFloors.com
At this website, students can draw their own video game. Each rectangle is a floor. Once you draw it on paper, you hold a device above it, scan it and it will pull it into app. You can customize and build a game.
Bloxels, at http://www.bloxelsbuilder.com/, incorporates a physical object on a board with colored cubes. Student build using those cubes and design a video game. You can even build with the iPad app. They scan what they build with cubes and it will put it into the app. Students will gain greater understanding of topics like design logic and computer science and demonstrate their knowledge of history, science and math and more through the games they create. It’s enjoyable like the old fashioned Light Brite! Once you build a sailboat in an old fashioned Light Brite, you can’t scan it to see the boat sail but in the Bloxels program you can scan it and the boat would sail!
9. Canva is a simple way to design posters, invitations, business cards, blog graphics, flyers, presentations, book covers, and more! There are teacher created lesson plans at the Canva website and multiple tutorials are available. The most exciting news to me: Students can sign in to Canva through their Google Apps for Education accounts!
10. The highlight of the conference for me was at the closing luncheon. My family had driven that morning to be with me in Raleigh. I was very excited to be awarded the NCTIES Outstanding Teacher Award for 2016. The organizers had told me that I had 30 seconds to give my own comments. I am placing the biography that was read about me and my comments below as they express my heart for being chosen for this award.
Lisa Maples is the K-5 Technology Teacher at Elon Park Elementary School in the Charlotte Mecklenburg Schools. After earning her Bachelor’s Degree and Master’s Degree from UNC-Greensboro, she spent the next 20 years teaching 3rd and 4th grades in Greensboro, Raleigh and Charlotte. For the past three years, she has become her school’s Technology Teacher where she uses iPads and computers to teach 1,100 K-5 students. Lisa is a wife, a mother, a National Board Certified Teacher, a past Teacher of the Year, a blogger about teaching, her faith and her family, a teacher in the Governor’s Teacher Network, a PBS Learning Media Digital Innovator, an Ed Camp participant, a Twitter fan, an NCTIES conference presenter during the past two years, a Science Olympiad organizer and coach, a Summer Church Camp counselor, a Girls on the Run Assistant Coach, a mentor and a fan of the N. C. State Wolfpack along with the Carolina Panthers. As a recipient of a $3,000 grant last year by the Charlotte Hornets, Fox Sports and Lowes, Lisa purchased 12 Sphero robots to teach her students how to code and 8 Lego Story Starter Kits which she has used to provide digital storytelling opportunities for her students. It is evident that Lisa loves to use technology to engage students and to provide them with digital creation projects. She is thrilled to celebrate the 2016 Outstanding Teacher Award today with you, her family and friends.
It is my great honor to accept this award. I have discovered that I can do what I do because of my support system. Psalms 139:8-10 reminds us that God guides and holds us. I would like to thank God for guiding, holding and helping me, my family for supporting and loving me, my students for learning alongside of me, my principals and Dean of Students who believe in me, my dear friends and colleagues for helping and encouraging me and for the NCTIES committee for selecting me for this incredible honor. Thank you.
I loved the excitement and being surrounded by my family and dear colleagues, Jen and Melissa, from my school and from around the state and country. Two other colleagues from my school district were also awarded a Principal Leader Award and a Media Coordinator Award! Within minutes of the Award being given, my principal who has believed in my vision from the beginning of my journey as Technology Teacher, announced my Award to my school colleagues in his weekly letter. Throughout the afternoon and evening, I was humbled as I read comments on my school’s Facebook page or on my Twitter account (@edu_maples) from parents, teachers and friends as they shouted out their support. I am thankful to be surrounded by so many people who have celebrated with me!
Innovation Image Credit: https://s-media-cache-ak0.pinimg.com/originals/04/35/a8/0435a870bf2f4d5f1cd821733261e689.jpg