A mashup of all things educational! From technology and social media to leadership and international education, this is where I will be reflecting and applying everything thing I learn from the web and my PLN. Join me on the adventure and add your opinion to the mix!

04 July 2014

1 ISTE: Catalyst for Action

CATALYST:  A person or event that quickly causes change or action.  
A spark, an incitement, an impetus.

Another year has passed and I'm invigorated and ready to reflect on another great ISTE experience.  This year, my biggest #ISTEtakeaway is- "Be a catalyst!"  Taken from the motivating keynote speech by Kevin Carroll, I think it best sums up what I was hearing, researching, and learning during my five days at the conference.  You can get a sense of everything I was learning and doing through my two storify posts: ISTE Favorites Collection and ISTE @jessievaz12 Collection.

I can sum up everything I was learning into three distinct statements-

1.  Be a catalyst of action by changing student learning through making and creativity.
I've been a long time advocate of #making and #makered and have been working toward making a #makerspace in our school for quite some time.  (You can read about our progress here.)  It was so validating to see that we're on the correct path.  After listening to Gary Stager and Sylvia Martinez talk about their theories from their fantastic Invent to Learn book, speaking to many great educators during HackEducation14 such as @teambond and @amboe_k who are also on a making journey, and hearing the great work that is happening in afterschool makerspaces such as the Digital Harbor Foundation, it impressed me how important it is for us to share this message passionately.  Students today need to be involved with their learning through creativity and making as a way to build personal resilience in the face of challenge, independence in learning, and working cooperatively to solve problems and challenges.  Every educator I met that is on this same journey shared the same feedback, "There are never problems with engagement or behaviour when students are making.  They are learning and having fun at the same time."  Isn't that what education is all about?  I challenge you to be a catalyst at your school by going to the Maker Education Initiative site and seeing how you can help bring the movement forward or going to Instructables and make something today as a way to tap into that forgotten love of making that everyone has dormant inside them.

Click below to
2.  Be a catalyst of action by connecting with other educators to create your own professional development opportunities.
It's never too late to start making connections.  I challenged myself to complete two important challenges during ISTE2014.  I attended the #edtechwomen dinner and networking event and I reached out to some longtime edtech gurus of mine such as Rafranz Davis to get some advice on specific topics for our school.  Now this may not sound earthshattering but if you know me, you know that it is NOT easy for me to go up to strangers and start a conversation.  I rely a lot on #catalystconnections to help introduce me to get the conversation started.  (Thanks to my biggest connectors  @crafty184  and  @techninjatodd!)  Saying that, I did these two on my own this year and I'm so happy I pushed myself.  I took charge of my own learning and leading and now have made even more connections to empower the learning at my school.  Just like Jenny Magiera said in her ignite speech, "We need to take back our PD."  When each of us chooses to reach out and get the connections and learning that we need, we move all of education forward toward breaking down the walls and stimulating learning for everyone, teachers and students.  I did it through a simple but effective tool, Twitter.  I challenge you to be a catalyst at your school by downloading the new TweechMe app by Susan Bearden and start learning how to connect with teachers around the world or start a conversation with the teachers at your school, form a PLN, and ask your administrators to help you get instruction on a topic that you are passionately interested in. 

3.  Be a catalyst of action by asking students what they are passionate about and embed the standards around their topics.
It's not easy, I know that.  But what I can tell you is that there are MANY teachers, Todd Nesloney (@techninjatodd), Erin Klein (@KleinErin), and Michelle Baldwin (@michellek107) are a few examples who have been documenting their work in this area.  These teachers and many more have realised that asking students what they are passionate about and using that as the catalyst for learning is an effective way to embed contents and curriculum into what they are doing.  Angela Maiers, who is the guru of #passionbasedlearning will attest that it is the number one way to ignite learning no matter where you are located.  The advice that each one of these teachers has given is, "Talk to your students.  Ask them what they want to learn or what they care about.  Give them the space to show you what they care about and they will show you what they are really capable of learning."  I challenge you to investigate genius hour or passion based learning and implement it in your school or contact Todd about his math fair or Erin about classroom-con and try to use it as a way to deliver your content curriculum.

Which challenge are you interested in trying?  How will you be a catalyst at your school in the next 6 months?  Who's someone who's been a catalyst for you?

Looking forward to your thoughts!
Jessica :)

Photo Source: Flickr CC Elle Is Oneirataxic


TechInfoKnow said...

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