The idea of an individualized education is nothing new in education. Educators spend countless hours documenting student progress, working to provide interventions, adding more documentation, and analysis. I’ve created my fair share of Individualized Education Programs for students in my time. This tailored education program can greatly impact a student’s growth like nothing else.
Why then do we not create more individualized learning opportunities for educators? We believe that choice matters for personal growth. Providing opportunities that impact professional learning in meaningful ways is crucial to school improvement. Developing methods that impart professional growth choices is easier than it sounds.
Here are 4 foolproof methods that will begin to create individualized professional development for your staff and colleagues lighting a fire for a new kind of learning.
These methods have been proven to engage educators and provide a continuum of training that is attainable. Want more information or help making these ideas come to life? Reach out at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Coding camps are popping up everywhere and for good reason. They are an absolute blast! Both for the designers like me and the participants like middle schoolers. My weeklong Coding for the Future Camp at Ensworth School in Nashville, TN turned out nine amazing young coders!
These middle schoolers took the creative reins with apps like Swift Playground, CodeCombat, and the robots Dash and Dot, from Wonder Workshop. Two of their favorite challenges were the Dash and Dot Dance-Off and programming robots to get through their homemade obstacle courses.
The Dance-Off included music created in GarageBand. Kids used the jam session capabilities in GarageBand to create their music tracks together. Dash and Dot got all dressed up for the dance off competition. Teams were scored on coding accuracy, creativity, and teamwork. Kids worked on teams of three to make their dance off codes, costume, and musical tracks.
The obstacle course challenge featured programming Dash to complete the course in order to find Dot. We used pool noodles, string, cones, and boxes to build the obstacle courses. Each team’s course looked different and required different coding. The coding for the robots happened in the Wonder for Dash and Dot app.
On top of these fun activities, the kids got into Apple’s Swift Playground app to learn about loops, conditional coding, if else statements, and more. We even had Micheal Feldmann, 17, connect with us on FaceTime to share how he got started coding his iOS apps for the Apple App Store.
Just like my iBooks Author Kids Camp we used Seesaw to post, share, and tell our stories. It worked like a charm!
A huge shout out to Ensworth School for providing such an amazing space for our camp as well as Jim Eden from Apple for loaning out a few iPads for the week!
It was such a fun week and so inspiring to see these kids who love coding.
If you'd like this Camp to come to your school next summer or over a break, shoot me an email at email@example.com!
What a fabulous week at Ensworth School for iBooks Author Camp! Middle schoolers and high schoolers alike joined in the creative weeklong production process!
It’s a powerful thing to watch students take initiative and create something they are passionate about. Writing can be drudgery when students must follow a formula or perform on a test. The beauty of iBooks Author Camp is that kids can write about anything they want along with original multimedia projects using an array of applications and methods.
What I love about having “camp week” is the completely flexible schedule that I can provide. It's totaly student led and campers have the space, time and resources to come up with whatever they desire for their authoring projects. We tapped into apps for video production, graphic design, and solid writing pedagogy.
Topics ranged from poetry anthologies to fictional futuristic narratives to travel guides for trips abroad. Check out these beautiful book covers my campers created using tools like Canva and iBooks Author.
I wish school could always feel this free and open. Students were thinking critically about their projects, reiterating works from the past, and practicing collaboration and communication skills using technology. Below are the apps we used throughout the week:
Drawing and Sketching Apps:
Notes, Canva, Concepts, Bamboo, and Adobe Illustrator Draw
Drafting and Prewriting Apps:
Notes, Pages, Book Creator, and iBooks Author
Video Creation Apps:
iMovie and Do Ink
I was so impressed with the dedication of these students. They all came in with an idea of what they wanted to accomplish. Each one put together an amazing project. Maybe we should just call school camp and get out of their way! Wouldn’t that be something?!
A HUGE SHOUTOUT to Ensworth School in Nashville, TN for providing a beautiful space for our week.
I have just read my very own paperback book, The Scholar and The Dollar! What an amazing feeling it is seeing my name in print along with my co-author’s, Bradley Metrock.
Seeing my thoughts and experiences in a book is a powerful tool. It is both affirming and humbling. Affirming because now I know I can continue to craft more books with my own style and voice. Humbling, because there are a few minor grammatical mistakes that I didn’t catch the 100th time reading it through myself. I have given up on perfection however and am going to let that slide for now. It is also humbling because I am sure there is someone out there who won’t agree with me or who could state the same ideas more eloquently. But that’s ok with me. That is just part of being a small piece of a larger puzzle called humanity.
The book is designed to bring support, ideas, and clarity to business people and educators who want to work together to build a business model, brand, or idea. Our desire is of the truest form to help others in this endeavor. We used our own authentic voices back and forth, chapter to chapter to tell our story.
One of the things I state in the book is that no experience is ever wasted. Case in point, I am no longer partnering directly with Score Publishing, but have branched out on my own with my technology consulting firm JK Inspire. Bradley and I also got a book out of our time together. I was able to make some great connections here in Nashville and learned so much from this experience.
I hope you will check out the book to learn more about our journey together as a scholar and as entrepreneur. Our book is currently available on Amazon.com. The audiobook and iBook version will be out soon.
Many of us have sat through boring trainings witnessing the trainer attempting to encourage participants to speak up or ask questions. There is usually one or two people who will raise their hand and ask a question or two. Or worse, you get the person who just can’t help but to talk too much and input their opinions or stories.
Luckily, there are many other ways to control the audience and limit disruptions while increasing engagement of all the participants.
Here are five great tools that not only increase their participation, but also encourages collaboration.
Draft your tweets on a different platform prior to hitting share. By crafting your tweets separately you will force yourself to proof read the content and improve upon it. This will also allow you to analyze the diversity of your messages. Avoid using tweets that are repetitive throughout the week. Change up your verbiage, messages, and who you are mentioning. If the plan is to send one tweet a day, write all seven messages on a document or spreadsheet before sending a single one. Spreadsheets work nicely because you can keep track of when you send tweets and make notes on the ones that generate buzz. This will help you fine tune your tweets for the future.
Use images in your tweets. The best images are the authentic ones that you take yourself. For example, if you have a happy client or a successful project, snap that image and use it in a tweet. Again, put the image on the doc with a drafted tweet. Take a step further by applying filters and frames using apps like Snapseed, Poptile, or Notegraphy before tweeting. Try to use an image with your tweets at least half the time. Avoid using your logo as a repetitive image. It's ok every now and again, but don't overuse it. Another awesome tool for creating visual interest for your posts is canva.com or spark.adobe.com. These two sites are free to use, pull in Creative Commons images, and allows you to create beautiful social media graphics for your posts. I created the graphic above in canva.com.
Use effective hashtags. Hashtags give tweets context, can increase traffic, and provide more weight to the tweet. A fun way to understand using hashtags is to walk around for a day speaking in hashtags. For example, when you get hungry say, "I'm hashtags hungry. Hashtag pasta, hashtag salad." And while you will drive the people around you crazy, you'll get the idea of hashtags very quickly.
The trick to using the right hashtags however takes a little research. The best way to do this is to follow a few people in your industry on Twitter and see what hashtags are being used. Active users on Twitter will follow certain hashtags. For example, educators who are interested in educational technology follow the hashtag #edtech. Anyone can create a hashtag, but it takes time to build interest and followers in the tag. You will be better off using one that is already trending in your industry. Check out Hashtagify.me to search for trending hashtags in your industry.
Use good Twitter etiquette. I like to call this Twitterquette. If you share a link from someone else's content, make sure you mention that person by using the @ symbol before their twitter handle. This will not only help you build followers, but it's just good manners. This might mean that you take a few extra minutes to dig around on Twitter to find their handle. Simply use the search field and start with their full name. If that doesn't work, check out the page you are sharing. Often times authors will have their Twitter handle on their page somewhere. In today's world, much of the content online gets shared and reshared without ever crediting the correct source.
These tips should get you started in the Twitter sphere. Set aside one to two hours a week just to write, edit, and schedule posts. Need help on scheduling posts? Check out this blog on the best tools for scheduling your own tweets and social media posts. And as always, I'm happy to be your technology concierge for personalized learning experiences to help you use your technology better tomorrow than you do today. Happy tweeting!
Hootsuite works well when posting to multiple accounts. Tweetdeck is amazing for organizing content by columns, participating in online Twitterchats, and keeping up with conversations. Buffer lets you post and schedule your social media as well, but also provides slick analytics to help you understand the effectiveness of your activities.
Check out Audiense to analyze high traffic times during the day for Twitter. Then watch the magic happen. Add spontaneous posts as well during the week to layer your outgoing messages.
By using these methods of tapping into third party applications for social media, you can increase traffic to your company page, build followers, and work smarter not harder. Want to learn more and dig in with me? Contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org. For tips on how to effectively craft your posts click here.