#FETC Day 3: Ideas & Inspiration

Below are some of the ideas and inspiration I gained during my 3rd and final day at the Future of Education Technology Conference:

Digital Learning Tools Integration Made Easy by Lisa Mattson, Beatriz Arnillas,  Kelli Pardo

    • When evaluating LMSs, publishing companies, digital supplemental materials be sure you check how well they play with others! Can they work with your current LMS? Single login? Include metadata and categories? Passback data?
    • Key tips
      • Make sure vendor is IMS Global certified and if they build a common cartridge run it through the certification engine
      • Be sure resources and/or assessments are tagged with state/district learning standards
      • Make sure sources are tagged with keywords (so it’s easy for teachers to search for resources)
      • Make sure key & secret code is correct for LTIs
      • Single sign on is as important as common cartridge
    • Examples of integrations with 1 LTI link: Wiley, Cengage, Social Studies School Service, Brainpop, Pearson
    • What’s the difference between thin & thick/full common cartridge?  Essentially in a thick/full common cartridge the publisher is giving you all the content while in a thin cartridge they’re giving you access but the content remains with the publisher (to protect intellectual property)
    • Carefully check what versions of LTI they’re using: version 1 versus 1.1, etc. because , not all passback data
  • Some LMS platform allow you to export a thin cartridge, ck12
  • Visit IMS Global Learning Consortium, they have tested and certified many major publishers, cartridges and LTIs and review their features
  • Softchalk is a great content authoring tool to create your own common cartridges. CK12 has a lot of content that is open source
  • The template they have, One Roster, can be shared with LTIs & other tools, Janet Bennett can help sync active directory with one roster
  • Many states are using QTIs for standardized assessments (e.g. PARCC)
  • What is IMS Global’s relationship with schools/districts?
    • Districts have different levels of membership contributing, affiliate, alliance membership
    • Affiliate and alliance membership are generally publishing companies
    • Affiliate members are usually school districts.
    • Benefits of membership: provide tools/templates to make ensuring interoperability easier, helps check which vendors are interoperable, know pricing & agreements with member districts which can be helpful during negotiations with publishers, provide expertise to setup LMS, Common Cartridges, QTI & LTIs to save cost in the long run.

Discussing PD implementation with Nikki Smith (@MauldinAPStats) & Kristie Burk (@KristieLBurk)

  • The book Power Up can be useful for bridging technology & pedagogy
  • Incentive ideas? create points, prizes or badges for PD
  • Have focused themes or topics for every month (the chapters in the book Power Up can give some great ideas)
  • Blended courses can:
    • give students in AP courses or lower level courses more options
    • help alleviate space issues but it should be voluntary for teachers to join in order to get buy in
    • Give teachers more time to meet with students individually

Discussing Students Taking Charge with author Nancy Sulla (@nsulla)

  • I’m saving the best for last. While I learned a lot throughout this conference, the conversations I had with Nancy and others @IDEcorp gave me ideas that I can implement in my class almost immediately and will truly transform how my students learn.
  • Here’s a brief synopsis of the ideas in her book and what we discussed: Students are presented with an intriguing authentic problem, then, over the course of several weeks, students select activities from a list a teacher has compiled to help students develop key skills and try to solve the problem.  A key component is an extensive rubric which guides the activities teachers create.  The students are firmly in charge of their learning and are encouraged to work with their home team to find possible solutions and own their learning which frees up the teacher to be a facilitator and meet with groups of students.
  • 3 key (and overlapping) ingredients for maximizing student achievement: academic rigor, student engagement, and student responsibility for learning.
  • Some of Nancy’s tips:
    • Implement a design process (it’s not just for STEM subjects!)
      • Formulating a problem requires you to empathize with the challenges others face. What is the gap between the ideal situation and people’s current lived reality?  
      • Explore/Brainstorm ideas that could help solve the problem
      • Ideate to create more concrete solutions
      • Sift through the ideas to determine if they’re feasible and what unintended consequences might be
        • If nothing is feasible, return to one of the 3 earlier steps
      • If there is a feasible idea, create a prototype
      • If the prototype is valid, advocate for it to an authentic audience (present your solution) and select a new problem
    • When creating a “help board” where students request assistance from the teacher or others, remember that not all students, especially the “honors” students, will want to publicly share that they need help. Consider a private sign-up (maybe via a Google Form)
    • The rubric should drive the activity list and it should be in language students understand so they can self-assess.  The rubric should not be designed to make grading easier for the teacher but to communicate to students what they need to learn to solve an authentic problem
    • Teachers should act as  a facilitator and assess true depth of understanding by asking probing questions. (e.g. What are you working on? Why? Why did you include those requirements in your proposal to amend the Constitution for people born outside the U.S. to be allowed to be President?)
    • Use the facilitation grid (a spreadsheet with key skills/objectives & a class roster) to track student progress and intervene as necessary. Use abbreviations to help you take notes while meeting with students throughout the period (e.g. M=mastery ; R=Review needed ; ML= mini lesson needed ; PT= Peer tutor–highest level of understanding)
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