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Showing posts from January, 2016

Stories from NICEminicon 2016

Congratulations to the 300 - 400 educators who made a choice to sacrifice a Saturday morning for networking and professional learning.Yesterday's NICEminicon (Northern Illinois Computing Educators - mini-conference) was a shining example of how impactful a well-executed conference can be. A welcoming breakfast, engaging sessions, and attention to detail, our hosts, the folks at D219, deserve a pat on the back. In addition, the events don't effectively happen without the generosity of sponsors. It was terrific seeing so many of my PLN friends in attendance. Here are my takeaways and reflections from yesterday's outstanding experience.


Originally, I planned to sketchnote my thoughts and backchannel my session experiences. Fortunately, the level of activity and engagement prevented this from happening. I used my phone to capture and share a few highlights to Twitter, but credit the session facilitators, our lead learners, with keeping the activity and interest level high. Ther…

Breakout for Learning

Today's institute day included several professional learning sessions. Differentiated, personalized, and engaging, these sessions were designed to provide 60 minutes of learning a new tool, technique, or strategy, followed by 60 minutes of practical application; making something usable for students or staff. I facilitated a BreakoutEDU game for a dozen brave teachers looking to try something new.



Modeled after "escape room experiences", breakout games rely on collaboration, communication, and creative problem solving to achieve success. High energy, engagement, and interaction are the norm in a breakout game. The purpose of this BreakoutEDU session was to immerse participants in an "out of the box" learning experience. I had experienced breakout games during recent EdCamps, and each one was uniquely challenging and enjoyable.

Using Will Richardson's popular book, "From Master Teacher to Master Learner", we used the breakout game to dive deeper into …

Digital Footprint; More Boom than Bust

"If Google sees that you're searching for specific programming terms, they'll ask you to apply for a job. It's wild."- Max Rosett, theHustle
Modern learners need to understand the permanence of a digital footprint, & this footprint can be advantageous or detrimental. #edslowchat — Robert Schuetz (@robert_schuetz) January 17, 2016
The common dialogue is to tell learners, young and old, to tread lightly into the digital fray. Digital footprints are permanent, thus, there is danger afoot. Certainly, there is potential for long-term damage to one's reputation by sharing material, or information that paints us in a negative light. Conversely, our online activities can be very advantageous to our personal and professional growth.


Like many folks, I enjoy listening to music while driving. Additionally, I frequently use time behind the wheel to get caught up on current events. Yesterday, while riding in the car with my teenage sons, we listened to a story explainin…

Twitter and Documenting Learning

"I believe that using technology, as a tool, to be able to share best practices, to make thinking and learning visible to ourselves and others, is the key to transforming teaching and learning." - Silvia Tolisano

Recently, I overheard a few of my colleagues debating the merits of Twitter as a tool for learning. Never one to avoid a discussion about Twitter, I uncharacteristically held my tongue as the group turned to look, fully expecting me, "The School Twitter Guy", to jump into the fray.



As the water-cooler conversation continued, I thought about the different ways I use Twitter for personal learning. One of my favorite, and unconventional, ways of using Twitter is for social bookmarking. I quickly skimmed through my tagged tweets to locate a link to this game-changing post shared by Silvia Tolisano, "The 3 Stages of Documentation OF/FOR/AS Learning". Studying infographics on Langwitches Blog, it becomes clearer how a tool, such as Twitter, can be used t…

One Word 2016; Empowerment

Winter break is typically a time when I allow myself to go into what George Couros calls, "airplane mode". I unplug and pull back the reigns on my social media interactions so I can read a few books, spend a few extra hours at the gym, and enjoy some recreational time with friends and family. My wife, Natalie, and I were sitting poolside in Jamaica reading on our iPads when a Twitter notification flashed on my screen; we weren't completely off the grid. My friend, Joe Young, was inviting me into a slow chat conversation. The prompt, in recognition of the New Year, "What is your #OneWord for 2016?" #OneWord2016

I momentarily swiped away Walt Longmire and Vic Moretti, characters in the newest Craig Johnson novel I was reading and took a few moments to ponder Joe's question. How can I boil down what's important to me in one word? I looked down and noticed a small tattoo near my shoulder. It's the Chinese symbol for learning, and it's the first word …