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Tethered Caching for iOS using a Mac

Tethered iPads

In March of 2017, Apple released (with little fanfare) an article on tethering your iOS mobile device to your Mac computer. This now enables the ability to bring Ethernet speed to the iOS device and cache previous downloads to your Mac without having to buy external adapters to run Ethernet on an iPad.

(See Apple Discussion article https://discussions.apple.com/thread/7794507?start=0&tstart=0)

The steps are straight forward to get to get tethered caching to run and you can reference the tech article here: https://support.apple.com/en-us/HT207523

Tethered iPad Tip - We found that USB 3.0 hubs are wicked fast.The skinny:

We found that USB 3.0 hubs are wicked fast. Very comparable to running ethernet directly to iPad using the camera kit and USB ethernet adapters. We found on amazon.com, an Anker 7 port USB 3.0 hub for $30.99 and used this as our trial. Much cheaper than buying one camera kit ($39.00) and one USB ethernet adapter ($29.00).

We took 8 iPads and benched them with an iOS 10.3.3 update and 8.41 Gb of AppsWe took 8 iPads and benched them with an iOS 10.3.3 update and 8.41 Gb of Apps. The initial process took 11 minutes to restore/update the iPads to 10.3.3 using the USB hub, tethered caching and Apple Configurator 2. This is pretty standard as Configurator 2 does most of the caching already and is reliant on the speed of the hub to transmit the data.

  • Pro Tip – We wipe our devices straight out of the box and restore/update to latest iOS. All iPads come preloaded with iWork/iLife suite apps but require a user to enter an AppleID to use the apps. Wiping them, using MDM to re-install iWork/iLife apps via “device assigned management” then allows users to use the apps without having to utilize an AppleID.

We then deployed our 8.41 Gb Core Apps package to the 8 iPads. We utilize Airwatch for our 1:1 environment and part of the bench test was to measure time to pre-stage our enrollments and load the app package. There is a plus/minus variant for human error entering credentials to pre-stage users. The total process took us 8 minutes to pre-stage and load apps. This is much more efficient and cost effective against the ethernet model brought to the table last year.

Pro Tethered iPad Tip - After a few runs, you start to see performance drag on the tethering. We opened up network preferences and noticed several previous iPad network connections. Deleting the old connections restored the performance considerably.

The “Gotcha”:

  • There are many variations of USB has out there. The ones we purchased did not provide charging while syncing. Apple ships iPads out with 60%-70% battery life (or at least it seems that way by the time we get our hands on them). Getting the devices ready for students means we need to be able to charge them up a bit more before we send them out.
  • After a few runs, you start to see performance drag on the tethering. We opened up network preferences and noticed several previous iPad network connections. Deleting the old connections restored the performance considerably.

Pro Tethered iPad Tip - Apple recommends this step to decrease the bog down on your machine after about 60 devices

* Pro Tip – Apple recommends this step to decrease the bog down on your machine after about 60 devices:

delete these files and reboot.

/Library/Preferences/SystemConfiguration/preferences.plist

/Library/Preferences/SystemConfiguration/com.apple.nat.plist

/Library/Preferences/SystemConfiguration/NetworkInterfaces.plist

Final Tip: To view the content cached on your device to see how it’s running

-Open Terminal

CD to  /Library/Caches

Use command:   sudo du -hs *

This will list the content being cached on your device.

Now to buy a bigger hub that supports more iPads and charging while it syncs.

FOUR FREE Future Ready Events this Summer!

CUE is a coalition partner for the Future Ready Initiative and wanted to make sure all were aware of several outstanding (and FREE!) opportunities for the top-level leaders of districts.

Screen Shot 2015-06-18 at 2.16.42 PMJUNE 24: ONLINE

We invite you to join us for the annual School Leadership Summit, held online, and this year focused on the pillars of the U.S. Department of Education’s Future Ready Pledge. CUE is proud to be a premier partner in the event, co-produced by our partners, TICAL and Learning Revolution.

The Pledge is a commitment by district leaders to work with educators, families, and community members to make all schools in their districts Future Ready: setting a vision and creating the environment where educators and students access the tools, content, and expertise necessary to thrive in a connected world.

This is a great program with great speakers, and at no cost. All are encouraged to register in order to attend or watch the recordings: http://www.FutureReady.education.


JULY 30-31: SUPER SYMPOSIUM – Hearst Castle, San Simeon
Super SymposiumThe first ever meeting of Superintendents for the purpose of sharing effective practices that have worked to get their districts Future Ready. A total of 20 County/District Superintendents will be invited based on their best, actionable ideas that they will share in a series of short presentations that will be videoed in order to be shared with the world via CUE and Discovery Education. Superintendents will have time to share the results of their Future Ready Dashboards in breakout sessions and will enjoy inspiring keynotes from top CUE presenters and sessions from Discovery Educators.

The free event will be held July 30/31 at the Hearst Castle Visitor Center, arranged through a special partnership with California State Parks. The event begins at 11am on July 30 and concludes at 3pm on July 31. Thursday, July 30, will feature a gala evening reception on the grounds at Hearst Castle. Superintendents may apply to attend online at CUE.org.


AUGUST 4: CALIFORNIA TECH FOR SCHOOL SUPERINTENDENTS – Davis
California SummitWhile not directly linked to the Future Ready initiative, this is a SPECIALLY designed free Summit for Superintendents, their curriculum and technology directors and their board members produced in partnership by Ed Surge (one of CUE’s Media Partners) and the California Department of Education. CUE has several members and leaders serving as judges and featured panelists. It will also feature workshops combined with the full edtech Playground. Bringing the leading superintendents & district teams from across California to interact with the most creative edtech entrepreneurs. Superintendents are encouraged to bring their team comprised of their curriculum and instruction director, tech director, and a board member. REGISTER HERE.

AUGUST 5-6: FUTURE READY SCHOOLS SUMMIT – Orange County Department of Education, Costa Mesa

Future Ready SchoolsSuperintendents may register themselves and their leadership teams to attend the Future Ready Summit to be held Aug. 5-6 at the Orange County Department of Education. The district leadership team should consist of up to four colleagues including the superintendent. The additional teammates should be in roles of responsibility that include technology, curriculum, and/or professional learning. It is also suggested that district leaders consider including a school principal on the team, or plan ways of gathering the school based perspective consistently. Please note that the superintendent is required to attend (no substitutions) and the entire team must commit to attending the full summit.

It is the last of the thirteen face to face Summits produced by the Future Ready Initiative, and is of course FREE to attend.

Meet CUE Blog Guest Editor, Jane Lofton

CUE Guest Blog Editors

We have reached out to several leaders from within our community and asked them to bring their perspective to the CUE Blog. Over several months, they’ll be inviting contributors and adding their own special spin to our beloved blog.

Meet Jane:

Jane Lofton - CUE Blog guest editorJane Lofton is the Teacher Librarian at Mira Costa High School in Manhattan Beach. She is a Past President of California School Library Association (CSLA), a Google Certified Teacher (GTAMTV14) and Educator, and an American Association of School Librarians Best Websites for Teaching and Learning Committee member. She is also a member of CUE, ISTE, and the American Library Association and its Young Adult Library Services Association (YALSA) Division and American Association of School Librarians (AASL) Division. She is a confessed conference “junky” and a regular presenter at CSLA and CUE conferences.

Jane is passionate about school libraries, their ability to change lives and expand student experiences beyond the school walls, and the role that strong school libraries play in student achievement. She loves sharing her passion for reading, research, and effective and appropriate uses of technology to enhance learning and productivity, and working with students, teachers, and parents. She is an active participant on social media, and recently taught an online class on getting started on Twitter (learn2tweet.edublogs.org) for CSLA members. You can find her on Twitter at @jane_librarian; her personal blog, “Jane Lofton’s Adventures in School Libraryland” at janelofton.com; school library blog, and on Google+ at google.com/+JaneLofton.

When not working or connecting with her personal learning network, an all-too-rare event for this workaholic and PLN addict, she loves to read (print, ebooks, and audiobooks), travel, cook, walk (especially by the beach), attend plays, and tinker with graphics.

CUE Blog guest editor

Google Teacher Academy Welcomes New Members

Written and Edited by CUE Blog Editor Kate Petty with Special Consultants #GTAATL

Google Teacher Academy Overview

Last week the Google Teacher Academy, in partnership with CUE, welcomed its newest members from the 2014 Atlanta cohort (#GTAATL). For these teachers, administrators, and educational coaches, it was more than another PD session, it was the opportunity to learn and network with some innovative and leading educators in the world. This week they are officially Google Certified Teachers (GCTs)!

The Google Teacher Academy is a two-day event where participants learn, collaborate, share with one another, and ultimately, share their knowledge and experience with many others. Interested teachers apply online and 50-70 teachers are selected to attend the event.

This year, with a staggering eleven GTA events, we wanted to follow one cohort as they met each other and planned their event. I had an insider-peak to their G+ Community and was able to reach out and get to know them. All I can say is…Wow! These teachers are friendly, passionate, and FUN! Check out the interview below.

What Do the #GTAATL Members Have to Say?

Kate Petty: As an educator (in whatever capacity you are currently working) what is your niche? Your passion in education?

I love collaborating beyond the walls of my school. This year I collaborated with more than 75 schools, authors, and developers on small and large-scale projects. I love for my students to participate in authentic learning experiences that allow them to create content that is shared with the global community and to make connections that have an impact. -Andy Plemons Athens, GA

As a math teacher, I love working with students that have traditionally been labeled as intervention or at-risk. I love taking kids that believe they hate math because they have never been successful at it, breaking it down for them differently, and then seeing their eyes sparkle when they finally understand the concepts. The sound “Ohhhh!” is music to my ears. My greatest reward is seeing them walk at graduation. -Julie Shah Riverside, CA

 KP: What contributions to you see yourself making to your GTA ATL group and/or the GCT group as a whole?

I am hoping to be a resource by continuing to share my ideas and projects using social media, even after we have completed out official time together. -Chelsey Eminger Mentor, OH

I enjoy learning and sharing with others, and I look forward to doing both with my GTA ATL cohort and the larger GCT community. I hope to share new approaches and strategies for Professional Learning.  -Danielle Forst Sacramento, CA

I hope that I can be an idea connector. I think that one of the exciting things about integrating technology into educational settings is that students and teachers can take two or three tools that really weren’t intended to function together and mash them together to create a totally new concept or way of working. -Scott Monahan York Region District School Board, Ontario

I hope to share my passion and excitement for learning. I also hope to share the benefits of engaging students in global projects.  In the past three years my class has been involved in online projects with global partners in five continents and over 15 countries. -Laurie Clement Windsor, Ontario

KP: What are some learning experiences you hope to have at GTA ATL and beyond?

I hope to get new ideas and perspectives. I love when someone makes me think, “Wow, I’ve never thought about it like that.” -Chris Aviles Barnegat, NJ

I just want my enthusiasm to grow, and I know it will. I am excited to have an extended support group that feels like family. That way, when I am looking to do something, I have a group that I feel comfortable asking. I know we will all look out for one another. -Linda Humes New Jersey

I really hope to have some times of strong collaboration to build a foundation for future collaborative projects. I also want to learn as much as my brain can absorb during the 2 days of the academy so I can take the information home to share with those I meet. -Jennifer Armstrong Augusta, GA

I am excited to (hopefully) see Classroom. I’ve worked in two districts that have eventually adopted GAFE and I am strongly pushing for it in my current setting. We’ll see if I can become convincing enough to sway our decision-makers to at least pilot the suite. -Adam Seipel Winston-Salem, NC

KP: Give some insight as to what is happening pre-GTA within your cohort.

My cohort is awesome! We have been busy planning on Google+ and Twitter, checking out each other’s videos, websites, blogs etc. so we will already feel like we know each other when we actually meet in person! Tuesday night get-together is being planned, T-shirts are being ordered, etc. The excitement is growing!! -Wendy Morales Middletown Township, New Jersey

The conversations happening in the Google+ community are allowing us to bond even before we get to Atlanta. This will help us as we come together in person and make our experience even better. -Bob Deneau Wildwood, Missouri 

It has been great building our community before we even meet in person. Within our group, we’ve already created a Twitter list, a Youtube playlist of our GTA videos, designed a t-shirt, and decided on a name for ourselves. I put together a shared Google doc for us to create a collaborative blog post to introduce ourselves. Each of us is including our contact info, GTA video, and a short introduction of ourselves so that we can post the information begore GTA begins. We wanted the world to have a chance to get to know the Google Applantans before we arrive in Atlanta. I also love how several of us are sharing within our G+ community what we are doing professionally before we arrive. -Corey Holmer

There is a lot of excitement and energy in our Google Plus Community. It is that same feeling I get every September as I prepare to embark on a new journey in my classroom. The sky is the limit!  -Laurie Clement Windsor, Ontario

KP: What are your hopes/aspirations for post-GTA?

I want to be part of a network that deeply thinks about ways to use technology to improve engagement and achievement. -Frank LaBanca Connecticut

I hope to bring the collaborative spirit of the GTA back to Waukesha North. I also hope the GTA is just the beginning of a great group of educators collaborating across the nation and for some, the world. -Dale Van Keuren  Waukesha, WI

I want to continue to bring innovative technologies to communities that have never had access before. Most of my students have never owned their own technology (besides perhaps a cell phone), much less used it on a daily bases. In order to prepare students for their futures, a future that is immersed in technology, we have a moral obligation to teach them these tools. -Julie Shah Riverside, CA

KP: Can you share an anecdote about how collaboration (such as those tools Google offers) has changed your classroom or job?

I’ve built an amazing Personal Learning Network. Collaborating with other teachers and EdTech companies has changed the landscape of my classroom. So many are so willing to share and give that my classroom looks nothing like it did last year. -Chris Aviles Barnegat, NJ

Google Apps has made me realize that the brick and mortar walls of the classroom are irrelevant and that networking can be truly a global experience. -Jessica Brogley Platteville, WI

This Saturday, the Mad Hackers are having a fair and training to share their work in Danbury. One of my 7th grade students approached me to have a booth. As a principal that wants to empower students, I certainly agreed and asked him to collaborate with his classmates to put a team together that could share info about our new school. He said he wanted to make a brochure, so I asked him to share it with me on Drive so I could give feedback. It turns out that one evening around 10 pm he and I were both on collaborating, editing and sharing. This product was not just a school assignment- it was to be shared with our community and it got at the whole idea of authentic work for an authentic audience. -Frank LaBanca  Connecticut

We have four campuses in different locations around Mexico City. Before GAFE, working together on even the simplest of documents was a hassle. Now we collaborate on projects all the time. Meetings don´t involve travel and all its associated problems now that we have Google+. -David Deeds Mexico City, Mexico

KP: Why do you want to be a Google Certified Teacher?

I’m not in it for the title. I’m in it for the experience. I’ve always heard GTAs are one of the best places to meet great people doing great things. I want to be part of that. -Chris Aviles  Barnegat, NJ

I want to challenge myself to continue to be a visionary leader that understands how to integrate cutting-edge technology into high-quality instruction. -Frank LaBanca  Connecticut 

In my region I am looked to as an educational technology leader. I’m of the opinion that greatness inspires additional greatness and honestly I want to be around educators who are also leaders in the field. Though I know more instructional technology applications than most of my peers I want to learn even more. I am interested in being a part of a bigger Professional Learning Community that I can share my knowledge with while receiving wisdom from the community. -Jennifer Armstrong Augusta, GA

Leadership is the key to effective education reform. I want to be able to help teachers, be involved in a great community, and help lead improvements in teaching and learning.  -Dale Van Keuren  Waukesha, WI

Ready for the GTA?

Are you ready to become a GCT? Check out the Google Teacher Academy page in the coming weeks – links to applications will be posted soon for academies around the world. Can’t travel? We have one more academy here in the United States – Austin, Texas in December. Check back in the fall for application opening or follow @cueinc on Twitter for an announcement.

Kate Petty

Kate Petty

Kate Petty is currently an EdTech TOSA (former secondary English teacher) for SVUSD in Mission Viejo, CA. She enjoys learning about all of the amazing things happening in education as she edits articles for CUE’s blog. She also serves on CUE’s Orange County Chapter Board of Directors and is a trainer at the Orange County Department of Education. She became a GCT in 2012 with #GTAMTV12 and is truly inspired by her amazing network of colleagues.

Creative Apps for the Common Core and 4 Cs: Part 2

By CUE Member Jo-Ann Fox @AppEducationFox

As a teacher using apps in the classroom, you need to ask yourself, what do you want your students to gain from their experience with their mobile device? Do you want your students to primarily be using their device to consume content? Or do you want your students to spend their time on their device creating content?

If you really want to maximize your students’ experience, teach your students about the many ways they can use their iPad as a creation tool. You may have to get your district to spend some money to get some really great apps, but what your students will gain from their time with their iPad is far more beneficial than becoming a consuming zombie. So let’s get our students creating, collaborating, communicating, and thinking critically about their learning.

Here is my “one screen” of creative apps which I think are fabulous examples of how students can use their iPads to create, collaborate, communicate, and to think critically.

Great Apps for Creating:

Great Apps for Collaborating:

Great Apps for Communicating:

Great Apps for Critical Thinking:

  • All of those listed above, given you have created a project/problem based learning environment with a driving question that leads to critical thinking.

Here is an example of how my students use creative apps to innovate with learning about California missions:

The apps I have listed above utilize all 4 Cs to create an innovative and fun learning environment for your students. Be sure your students have a place to showcase and share their work with others. Perhaps your district has a learning management system or your students have their own blog to share their work with the world. You don’t want to let their projects just sit on their iPads… they need to share their work with an authentic audience.

Please share other creative apps you and your students use in the comments so we can all learn and collaborate with each other.

Jo-Ann Fox Photo

Jo-Ann Fox

Jo-Ann Fox is a 4th grade teacher in Escondido, CA who strives to seamlessly innovate with technology in her classroom. She is a Google Certified Teacher and was a semi-finalist for 2012 California Teacher of the Year. Jo-Ann is a co-founder and co-moderator of California Edchat and a co-planner for Edcamp San Diego. You can follower her on Twitter@AppEducationFox or visit her blog at AppEducation.com.

Creative Apps for the Common Core and 4 Cs: Part 1

Written by CUE Member and Guest Blogger Jo-Ann Fox  @AppEducationFox

CC Flickr Daniel Go

CC Flickr Daniel Go

One day after school I sat at my computer feeling a bit overwhelmed by the colossal amount of apps I had to sort through in my iTunes cloud, when I suddenly had my Newton moment. Except it wasn’t an apple that fell onto my head. But a virtual app falling from my over-stuffed iTunes cloud. I realized quite clearly, it is not WHAT app I should use in my classroom, but rather HOW I plan to use that app to promote student learning and engagement.

At the core of the Common Core lies the 4 Cs. While the Common Core State Standards (CCSS) cover the skills our students need to master to be successful readers and mathematicians, the 4 Cs include skills our students need to be successful 21st Century learners. The 4 Cs include: create, collaborate, communicate, and critical thinking. In my humble opinion, if you focus on the 4 Cs with your students when innovating with iPads, your students will not only master CCSS but also have fun doing it!

Before you even download another app onto your students’ devices, you must consider the following:

  • Is this app a skill review app?
  • Is this app a creative app?

What Is the Difference Between a “Skill Review” App and a “Creative App”?  

Skill Review Apps:

  • Repetitive learning.
  • Focuses on one particular skill.
  • Student outcomes are always the same.
  • Has an end to the app. A student is able to say, “I’m finished with the app!”
  • Mimics a worksheet.

Creative Apps:

  • Promotes project based learning.
  • Can be used in more than one way and in all content areas.
  • Can have a variety of outcomes.
  • Limitless! There is no end to the way the app can be used.
  • Foster innovative learning.
  • Make learning FUN.

When implemented well, creative apps will bring creativity, improve your students communication skills, promote collaboration, and will enhance your students’ critical thinking skills.

Stay tuned for Part 2 where I share with you some of my favorite creative apps and how to inspire your students innovate with their devices.

Jo-Ann Fox Photo

Jo-Ann Fox

Jo-Ann Fox is a 4th grade teacher in Escondido, CA who strives to seamlessly innovate with technology in her classroom. She is a Google Certified Teacher and was a semi-finalist for 2012 California Teacher of the Year. Jo-Ann is a co-founder and co-moderator of California Edchat and a co-planner for Edcamp San Diego. You can follower her on Twitter @AppEducationFox or visit her blog at AppEducation.com.

Scripts Aren’t Scary! Using Scripts to Automate Your Workflow and Simplify Your Life

Written by Megan Ellis @MeganRoseEllis

“Scripts – programs written for a special run-time environment that can interpret and automate the execution of tasks which could alternatively be executed one-by-one by a human operator.”

Is there anything that sounds more intimidating to a teacher tentatively dipping her toes into the technology waters than the idea of dealing with a script? Absolutely not.

“Automatically – acting or operating in a manner essentially independent of external influence or control”

Is there anything that sounds sweeter to a teacher drowning in piles of papers and email notifications than the thought of all that automatically being taken care of for him? Nope.

I stumbled my way into scripting totally by accident because, like most of us, I was trying to find a way to do things better. My students took quizzes online with Google Forms, but I was still printing out the resulting spreadsheet to grade them. I asked my students to do all their work in the cloud, but collecting online work was a pain. I was trying to provide paperless feedback on student writing, but I couldn’t figure out the best way to manage a paperless rubric. Technology was supposed to be making teaching easier for me, but it was actually costing me even more time than just doing things the old-fashioned way.

So, like most of the best things that happen to me, I discovered scripts because I was annoyed. “Surely,” I thought, “there has got to be a way to do this paperless thing that actually saves time as well as trees.”

Fortunately, there is! And even though scripts sound intimidating and difficult, most scripts for educators are incredibly well-written and actually require very little (if any!) scripting knowledge for the user. The following scripts are some of my personal favorites for automating tasks in my classroom and simplifying my own workflow, so I spend less time managing paper stacks and email notifications and more time working with my students.

FLUBAROO

Flubaroo by Dave Abouav is a great script for scripting newbies because it does what all teachers want – grades the student work for you, spits out a handy grade analysis, and emails scores to students. If you give quizzes, this script will rock your world.

AUTOCRAT

autoCrat is a handy little mail-merge script that allows you to take any personalized row-based spreadsheet data and create, save, attach to an email, and share templated documents. I like to use autoCrat to send personalized emails to parents after Back to School Night with a link to the class syllabus and my contact information (they sign in on a Google Form and provide me with their email address), or to send feedback to students after they give presentations in class (I grade them using a Google Form). Check out this video about autoCrat.

DOCTOPUS

Doctopus is the script that has saved me the most time and headaches, however. Install Doctopus on a Google Spreadsheet that has your class roster and student email addresses, and then use it to push out individual copies of any Doc, Spreadsheet, Drawing, or Presentation to each student. Doctopus adds columns to your roster spreadsheet with a link to each student’s document, making sorting and grading much faster. You can embargo assignments with Doctopus to prevent students from continuing to work past the due date, and email personalized feedback to students throughout the writing process from right there within the spreadsheet. Finally, install the Chrome extension Goobric to append your rubrics to student assignments. These slides will show you the process.

I especially appreciate Doctopus when it comes to putting students in groups or pushing out differentiated documents to students based on their needs. By simply adding an additional column to your spreadsheet, you can tell Doctopus to give the same document to all students in the same group, or to give a more scaffolded version of a document to designated students to give them more support!

I love Doctopus and Goobric so much and think they are so useful in the classroom, that I put together these instructions to walk teachers through the process of installing and running both tools. I probably run Doctopus with my students once a week, and the time it took me to learn the script has been hugely outweighed by the time it has saved me when it comes to reviewing, collecting, and assessing student work.

Scripts aren’t scary! For me, they have become my “workflow wonders,” simplifying some of the more menial classroom tasks in order to give me more time to develop exciting lessons and work one-on-one with students.


Megan Ellis is a CUE Lead Learner, Google Certified Teacher, and CUE’s 2013 Outstanding Emerging Teacher. She currently works as a 7th-grade English teacher and technology mentor in Palo Alto, California. With all the time she saves running scripts, she enjoys cooking, reading, and hiking with her dog. For lifetime technical support, or just to talk about nerdy things, you can email her at megan@eduawesome.com.

Live Broadcasts: Creating Your Own Student Press Conferences

By CUE Member and Guest Blogger Scott Bedley

Each year it becomes a fun challenge to figure out ways to engage my students and connect them with authentic audiences. There are many technology-based activities such as Mystery Skypes, virtual field trips, BYOD, we’ve used. Lately, I’ve started to broadcast my students in events via Google Hangouts. One such event I’ve held with my students for the past six years called “The Dead Explorers Press Conference.”

This Common Core Standards-Based project is built on a foundation of research, critical thinking, communication, collaboration, and creativity (I add a fifth “C” in competition) with students taking on differentiated roles. One of the most powerful aspects has been adding the use of Google Hangouts. Through this Google Hangouts addition, my students have the chance to show a global audience all they’ve learned about explorers. In a “typical press conference” style activity students become press members in the audience while other students become explorers up in front of the crowd. I decided to broadcast the event live so I could provide my students with an authentic audience by inviting other classrooms to watch and learn. Several classrooms have joined us to observe locally here in Southern California and also across the country in North Carolina and other places in-between.

My Project:

Let me paint a more detailed picture. Eight to ten students (of my 35) take on the roles of being explorers. They work to keep their “explorer identity” secret from the other students. Those not taking on the role of explorer take on the role of reporters and team up to start their investigation. Their job, as reporters, is to first research and understand all the key explorers that we have previously focused on. They organize the information to create questions. I take time to teach my student reporters about the different types questions that fall into Bloom’s Taxonomy ranging from simple to complex. (Confession – Many tend to still use yes or no questions when the press conference begins, but it’s all a process of learning) As the students research background information to become reporters they build their bank of questions. Meanwhile, the other students are researching in depth to “become” one individual explorer. Reporters… Explorers… it sounds a bit crazy, but it’s incredibly motivating and exciting for the kids.

After four one-hour sessions of research, information gathering, and preparation, the students are ready for their press conference. The goal for the reporters is to use their research and questions to solve who the Mystery Explorers are.

Student reporters choose news outlets to represent from such as Yahoo News, NY Times, and even local TV news channels. The broadcast begins. Reporters shout out and try to be recognized in order to ask their question(s). The kids love this… Their teacher requiring them to shout out… Awesome! The live broadcast increases the energy, desire to succeed, and overall performance of the students.  The kids know other students are watching and this creation of an authentic audience adds excitement, accountability, as well as motivation for students to produce high quality products and accurate information. The results of their learning are demonstrated in the writing project that comes after the event.

After a series of questions, reporters must write an article identifying who they believe each of the 8-10 “Mystery Explorers” are by providing evidence from their research that matched the answers given by each explorer to the questions in the press conference.

While reporters write their articles via Google docs, my student “explorers” write an in-depth reflection piece on their individual explorer along with a comparison to the other European Explorers. They tell why their explorer deserved his/her acknowledgment they have received in history. Although my press conference is focused on the Age of Exploration, it’s a lesson frame that is easily adaptable to all types of content.

How to Start One of Your Own:

To start broadcasting your class you can take the same steps I took or find an even faster way. First, and most importantly, be sure your students have waivers/parent permission to take part in such an online event. I had also already previously created my YouTube Channel, Gmail and Google Plus Accounts, all important. You’ll need a webcam and external mic to best capture the content. Using Google Hangouts, I started my broadcast, but we were not live broadcasting yet. Starting the hangout gave me my link to share. Once I had a link for my Hangout On-Air I shared that link via our class website, Twitter and Edmodo. I then just clicked “broadcast” and we were live!  Just imagine the positive impact your class can have on the world!

It’s been impressive to see the students during their press conference. They not only step up to the challenge, but they exceed my expectations. Although I’ve only touched on a few aspects, the depth of learning this project provides is far beyond any lecture or history book unit and the addition of an authentic audience through live broadcasting the event only increases the quality of work. Check out this year’s conference!

Scott Bedley is in his 20th year in teaching, having taught 3-6 grades and high school. He currently teaches 5th grade in Irvine USD. He was recently honored with OC Tech Alliance STEM High Impact Teacher Award for his innovations and integration of technology into his classroom and district and is OCCUE’s 2014 Outstanding Teacher. He is a co-host of the #Edutaining Bedley Brothers EdChat Show on YouTube, iTunes and Stitcher. Connect with Scott via @scottbedley, @tasfair, @bedleybros or www.scottbedley.com

 

CUE Leaders Integral in CA EdTech Blueprint Launch

Education Blueprint Launch

by CUE Executive Director Mike Lawrence

Several CUE leaders, including Executive Director Mike Lawrence and Board Member-at-Large Kyle Brumbaugh, were present at William Burnett Elementary School in Milpitas for the official release of Empowering Learning: California Education Technology Blueprint (2014-2017) today. Superintendent Tom Torlakson released the blueprint, featuring 19 recommendations for California to lead in its implementation of Education Technology over the next 3-5 years.

This blueprint was the result of the 48 member Educational Technology Task Force formed in 2012. The Task Force was announced at the Annual CUE Conference on March 17, 2012 and was followed by a ‘listening tour’ with stops at several venues (including several CUE events) over the next 18 months. Invoking both William Shakespeare and Aldous Huxley, Torlakson called upon the citizens of California, home of Silicon Valley, to embrace the “brave new world” promised through the effective implementation of technology across the state’s schools.

Three of CUE’s leaders were invited to share remarks following the Superintendent’s overview and exhortation of the blueprint, based on his “No Child Left Offline” mantra, which includes provisions to provide an Internet connected device to every student in California schools, appoint a cabinet-level post directing the blueprint’s implementation and establishing resources to support the state’s implementation of Common Core State Standards and Smarter Balanced Assessments. It was a well timed announcement, as schools across the state have been rolling out these computer-adaptive assessments over the last few weeks. CUE will soon release a follow-up document with specific resources, strategies and suggestions for the plan’s implementation.

Napa County Superintendent of Schools Barbara Nemko was first to be invited up, sharing a story of a Calistoga campus recently recognized as a California Distinguished School, and the effect that technology played in this recognition. CUE’s Executive Director Mike Lawrence was next up, asked to share examples of the power of technology to transform teaching and learning, and CUE’s role in the implementation of the blueprint moving forward.

In his remarks, Lawrence referenced that the “brave new world” Shakespearean quote Torlakson referenced ends “that has such people in’t,” emphasizing that by choosing this famous line, the superintendent correctly recognized that successful implementation of the blueprint is dependent upon leveraging the extraordinary individuals: educators, private entrepreneurs and leaders alike that distinguish California from the rest of the world.

Past CUE Board Member Hall Davidson was the last speaker to take the podium, sharing his expertise with regards to the powerful promise of mobile technologies to personalize learning, provide timely curricular support and useful feedback to educators in this 1:1 future for California.

All told, fully 50% of the task force’s membership were CUE members or had participated in CUE events with 25% being current CUE members. A question and answer with the media followed, with a school tour wrapping up the morning’s event.

CUE leaders in attendance:

  • Kyle Brumbaugh, Board Member at Large, Assistant Treasurer
  • John Cradler, Co-Chair, Legislative Advocacy Committee
  • Hall Davidson, Past Board Member, Awards Committee Member
  • Mike Lawrence, Executive Director
  • Gerald McMullin, Co-Chair, Affiliate and SIG Leadership Committee
  • Barbara Nemko, Chair, Nominating Committee
Gathered attendees at release of California's Ed Tech Blueprint.

Photo credit: Hall Davidson

You can follow California Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson on twitter: @tomtorlakson and read more online about the Ed Tech Blueprint.