Monday, June 16, 2014

TED Talk Challenge - Bringing Magic into the Classroom

I watched a TED Talk by Tim Rolynds. So many of our beliefs about instructional technology in GCISD are reinforced in this talk! It's not about the technology, but about creating engaging learning experiences for our students. The talk is called "Bringing Magic into the Classroom" and I could hear the wonderment in his voice and imagined being a student in his class. He is such an engaging speaker!

He uses examples of 360 degree panoramic pictures and asks us to imagine ourselves in the location of the picture. His example just happened to be an ice climber hanging off the side of a cliff. This idea made me think that virtual reality doesn't have to be in the context of a video game where the player must move around in a fast paced environment and interact with the virtual world. Rolynds slows down and focuses on pictures and quiet environments in which we can listen to the sounds. He talks about using games in education, but instead of running through them, standing still in order to think and write about the game environment.

I did pick up a couple of new technology resources:

Nice Translator - translates a word or phrase into multiple languages simultaneously.

Nature Sound Map - explore sounds from around the world, bookmarked on a map.

Speaking of virtual reality, I saw the Google Maps car driving around downtown Fort Worth this week and resisted the urge to follow it. Did you know you can track where they're currently driving?

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Cadre 5 Kickoff!

We presented the Virtual Voyage idea to Cadre 5 digital classroom teachers today and it was so exciting! They each created a blog using their GCISD Google account. After creating her blog, one teacher said, "there's a first time for everything!" Another teacher said that creating a blog was one of his goals for 2014-15 and he had taken a big step in the right direction. It is exciting to see teachers discover how much they can do with 1 Google account. We often hear from non-educators how lucky we are to "have the summer off." Summer is a very important time for teachers to learn, reflect, and grow. In addition to the face-to-face professional learning opportunities teachers will be attending, many GCISD teachers will spend the summer participating in flexible, online opportunities such as GCISD's Virtual Voyage! We will read and discuss books, redesign lessons for students to move it up the SAMR ladder, and explore tons and tons of digital resources. Then, we will share what we learned with each other via blogs and Twitter. How much fun is that?!