Tag Archives: professional development

edCamp MKE

Last weekend I arose bright and early in anticipation of edCamp Milwaukee.  This is the second edCamp I have attended and I have to tell you they just keep getting better! First though, you may be asking yourself, “What is an edCamp?” An edCamp is a free, professional learning “unconference“.  EdCamp Leadership says, “Its goal is to assemble forward-thinking school administrators, board of education members, classroom teacher leaders, parents/community members – anyone interested in K-12 education – for a day of conversation, reflection and inspiration.” The edCamp movement is relatively new with edCampMKE being the 250th edCamp in the world. Check out this video explaining the idea of the edCamp movement.

[vimeo http://www.vimeo.com/40267865 w=500&h=281]

Ed Camp from True Life Media on Vimeo.

So by  6:35 am Tina and I were heading southbound on I-43 blazing our path to South Milwaukee High School for edCampMKE.  We arrived by 8:00, checked in, picked up some great freebies (who doesn’t love some post-its, highlighters, etc.), and enjoyed breakfast while networking with 300 fantastic educators from around the state.


The day begins with an introduction on how an edCamp works and then participants suggest topics that are of interest to them. The schedule is built on the spot and participants are encouraged to share with others.  The format is very laid back where know one claims to be an expert and all are encouraged to ask questions and share what they know. Participants are also encouraged to visit multiple session if the session they are in is not meeting their needs. Check out the photos from edCampMKE here!  It was a fantastic experience and I picked up lots of great tips I plan on sharing with everyone as we wind down the year.  Look for future blog posts!

I would encourage you to do two things.  #1 check out the resources complied at edCampMKE and #2 mark your calendars now for edCampGB Saturday, October 19th at Denmark High School.  I will make sure to send out registration information as soon as it is available.


A Glimpse of TIES 2012


After driving through a snowstorm on Sunday to get there and then getting home late Tuesday night I have had many hours in the car to reflect upon my TIES 2012 experience.   Some of the ideas and resources shared there moved me to share 3 big take-aways with you.

1.  As teachers, professional development has undergone a big change.  Gone are the days where sitting in a class or all-day inservice is where we get our information.  Professional development, especially dealing with technology, is available on-demand.  Tap into resources available to you – your PLC, grade level, online communities (like Tioki or LinkedIn), read what others have to say (journals, blogs, etc.) and then when you are ready share your ideas.  One of the best things I have done professionally is join Twitter.  I am not the one that is usually doing the tweeting but by following professionals in my field, I have a plethora of resources at my fingertips. If you feel adventurous search for the hashtag #ties12 to see tweets from the conference.

2.  “Teachers are the best apps.”  – Simon Sinek   My keynote on Monday was unbelievable and gave me the jump start I needed this time of the year.  If you haven’t heard of Simon Sinek, take 20 minutes and watch this video.

Sinek’s message was about how even though we have technology at our fingertips, it doesn’t matter if you don’t have relationships and connections with kids.  Here are some of my favorite tweets about his keynote.

-How many of your students, if asked 20 yrs from now, will remember your name. It’s not the ipad/laptop, it’s you
– School is the time you want to fail, not in life.
– Teachers don’t teach curriculum they teach students.
– Technology is good for speeding up transactions, passing out information and connecting people – not for building relationships.
– Time & energy = crucial for developing trust. Trust = required for working together.
– Supts priority should be principals, principals should be teachers, and teachers should be students. Protect those under you.

3.  Our keynote on Tuesday was Dr. Tony Wagner . The focus of his keynote was about creating innovators and preparing our students for life outside our institution.  I was proud to think about the work that our District is doing in college and career readiness to prepare our students.   Here are some of my favorite tweets from his presentation.

– Survival skills: adaptability and initiative
– Play. Passion. Purpose.
– Learn to take intelligent risks and learn from mistakes. Can’t innovate w/o trial and error.
–  Every teacher needs to be an effective coach today.
– There is no innovation without deep collaboration
– Critical thinking? The ability to ask the right questions, not get the right answers
– World cares what kids can DO with what they know.  And if they’re motivated to do it

Ok.. there are way more than 3 big take-aways for me but information overload has set in.  I would encourage you to check out the TIES 2012 wiki.  All of the conference presentations are found here and there are technology resources for everyone.

Learn It In 5

I  came across this website this week and absolutely loved it! Learn It In 5 is a site that hosts a variety of 5 minute videos to learn about new web 2.0 tools and other resources for your classroom. Here is how the website describes itself.

Learn it in 5 is a powerful library of how-to videos, produced by technology teachers, for the purpose of helping teachers and students create classroom strategies for today’s 21st century’s digital classroom. These step-by-step how-to videos walk teachers through Web 2.0 technology, demonstrating how to use Web 2.0 applications like blogs, social networks, podcasts, interactive videos, wikis, slide sharing and much more.

No more navigating instructional handouts or searching You Tube for instructional videos.  I have bookmarked this page as a quick go to for help for myself and my students!


In one of my techie magazine this week (Tech & Learning) I read this quote, “We do not think that technology is going to replace teachers; we think it’s going to make teachers much more powerful.”  Think about that for a minute. I completely agree and seeing what our teachers are doing in Mishicot with technology only reaffirms that for me – keep up the great work folks!

Now, onto my post of the week.  High school teachers you may have gotten a preview of this in Mr. Walters’ Friday Focus last week, but for the rest of you I want to share a quick story.  Last week Mr. Walters contacted me and asked me if I ever heard of a Prezi, I told him yes, and he told me that he saw it at a conference and thought it looked pretty cool.  The next day he told me he saw one of his Language Arts teachers using it.  The following day he told me he saw one of his Social Studies teachers using it.  Pretty awesome if you ask me.  So, if you haven’t checked out Prezi you definitely should.  It is a new way to create a PowerPoint.  I like it because it makes the presentation more visually appealing and relies more on short text and pictures.  As a teacher, I love that fact that there is no more listening to a student read off of their PowerPoint.  Kudos to the high school staff (and Mr. Walters) on already getting the word out about Prezi!

Something worth watching

I saw this on another blog that I follow and definitely thought it was worth passing along.  It is Sugata Mitra’s new TED talk.  He says, “Education is a self organizing system, where learning is an emergent phenomenon.” The video is about 17 minutes but something that I definitely think that is worth watching – it made me think.  Check it out and let me know what you think…

The Child Driven Education – Sugata Mitra

If you like this video, here is a list from another blog of “must-see” teacher videos  http://dangerouslyirrelevant.org/2010/11/12-videos-to-spark-educators-thinking.html

Free Video Clips

Today I want to share with you a free video clip resource.  Teacher’s Domain has thousands of media resources, lesson plans, and professional learning communities for teachers to access.  The only thing you need to do is create a username and login, then off you go!  They feature videos from places like Nova, Frontline, Between the Lions, American Experience, and Nature.  On the homepage you can easily navigate to all subject areas and drill down to specific topics or use the search option to look for a topic.  These short clips will provide some additional reinforcement for students in your classroom.

The other resource that is available to us in the state of Wisconsin is the ECB Videolink offered through Badgerlink.  They have collections of videos clips that have previously been aired for you to stream or download. I think this site is a little more tedious to navigate than Teacher’s Domain, but offers some other choices.  I would recommend using the advanced search right off the bat and limiting your search in the Media section to visual materials and then using a keyword search (see below).

Or to make it a little easier on instead of clicking on the direct link above you need to authenticate first through the BadgerLink system. This can be done from the BadgerLink page (go to BadgerLink – www.badgerlink.net , scroll down to ECB VideoLink, Click on Browse by Title) and from the ECB website (www.ecb.org)  when you click on ECB VideoLink