Friday, June 13, 2014

Westside School District DevelopU Reflection

June 11 and 12 were two days of an incredible experience.  I was blessed to be invited to Westside School District in Omaha, Nebraska.  The Westside School District is doing it right!  At the start of the 2014-2015 school year, all Kindergarten through fifth grade students will have a school issued iPad.  All sixth through twelfth grade students will be issued MacBooks.

Issuing devices is one thing, providing impactful professional development for the teachers and administrators is another!  Westside provided their already incredible teachers with the opportunity to learn so many different effective technology integration strategies from Apple Distinguished Educators.  All of the ADEs are classroom teachers who have effectively demonstrated technology integration which provides valuable learning lessons that involve critical thinking, creativity, collaboration, and citizenship.

All of the ADEs are experts in their own fields.  I feel blessed to be able to present with...
Kelly Croy, Bill Ziegler, Matt Baier, Cristin Rold, Matt Lee, Julia Garcia, Gabby Meyers, Katie Morrow, Kevin Morrow, and Josh Mika

All of their presentations can be found on the Westside DevelopU Wiki.

I was asked to present four different topics.

App Smashing: Advanced Workflow on the iPad
About 100 people attended this.  Their energy and enthusiasm was outstanding!
I truly wanted to show how using a simple iPad app is an effective method, but utilizing two, three, and even four apps provides critical thinking and creativity opportunities for students that moves them to a higher level of thinking.

Creating Content with the iPad: What Can I Use For...
About 50 teachers attended this session held in the beautiful Courtyard in the Westside High School.  In my teaching support role, I am asked numerous times in a day, "If I want to edit an image on the iPad, what would be the best app?"  Not only this task gets asked about, but close to twenty different requests are asked.  With that, I created an infographic to help teachers, BUT more importantly students decide what what's the best tool to accomplish a task.

The second day brought me to teaching two different sessions.
Visualizing Learning: Show What You Know Using An iPad
About 30 people attended this.  Mostly elementary teachers who wanted to complete screencasting on the iPad.  Screenchomp, Educreations, and Explain Everything were featured.  I believe that the best part of the presentation was showing MANY real videos of students creating assessments using these tools.  Positive feedback was also provided on the portion of the presentation that included a tutorial for Explain Everything!

My last session of the day was AWESOME!  140 staff and administrators joined in learning about...
Innovative, Personalized Learning Environments
I really tried to show teachers who have removed their traditional rows and desks and created students centered, learning environments.  This doesn't mean that direct instruction areas are eliminated!  We just think about them differently!

An enormous thank you to Paul Lindgren, Matt Lee, Cristin Rold, all of the administration, and the entire teaching staff of the district for making my first trip to Westside one of the most enjoyable learning and presenting experiences I have had!  The DevelopU learning experience and the Wiki are all very well done!  I would also like to thank all of the wonderful people associated with Apple (I will not list them all as I, unfortunately, will probably forget one) as they always make ADEs feel like rock stars!  It is NOT taken for granted and does NOT go unnoticed!
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