games1So, I just attended and presented at the Hawaii International Conference On Education (HICE) last week. “What??” you say.  “It was 10 degrees Fahrenheit in west Georgia last week and you were on the beach in Honolulu??” I’m sure that places me very near the bottom of your friend list. However, it was not all beaches and fun in the sun. I attended sessions throughout the conference and hardly saw a beach at all. And, you know, the sacrifice truly yielded a great wealth of knowledge and inspiration for my work back here in frigid Georgia.

Seriously, the exposure to so many new ideas, research findings, awesome online tools, perspectives, and possibilities left my head spinning. There is no way I could relate all that I GLEANed from the sessions I attended, but I would like to share just a few of the things that impressed me a great deal.

I followed the tracks for Libraries, Distance Education, and Educational Technology. These are a few of my take-aways (presenter information included):

  1. Get involved in social networks. Specifically, get hooked on Instagram. Now, I realize most library types reading GLEAN and college-age students are probably saturated in social networking, but most P-12 school library media specialists and teachers do not generally use them as teaching vehicles. Hopefully, some of these facts will convince them to jump on board. According to a presentation by Mary Code, Brock University, Instagram is now passing FB as the most popular social networking site (SNS) among teens today. Students using Instagram thrive in “participatory cultures” where they can express themselves artistically and share creations.  It has surpassed the SNS Twitter with 300 million new users monthly. This is a way students relate to each other and connect through common interests and LEARN through those interactions. (Mary Code, Master of Education student at Brock University, Ont., Canada)
  2. Teach and model good teaching pedagogy through use of a variety of web 2.0 tools. Karen Guerrero from Phoenix College offers great ideas! In order to create an engaging and supportive environment, use tools such as animoto, jing, voki, xtranormal, PowToon. For planning instruction and designing sequenced lessons with clear and measurable learning objectives, some possibilities are Planbook EDU, LearnBoost, Only2Clicks, and especially Bloom’s Taxonomy + Apps. To link academic vocabulary, prior knowledge and relevant experiences, Quizlet, Wordle, Tagxedo, Bubblus, and Popplet are excellent. Presentation tools for engaging learners include Evernote, Glogster, Mixbook, Smilebox, Today’s Meet, and Pinterest. Tools for developing interactions among students, content, and teachers are Blogger, Edu Blogs, Edmodo, Word Press, Wiki, Dropbox, Weebly, FaceTime, and Tango. Finally, for reviewing and making informed decisions through informal assessment, one could use Socrative, Rubistar, Quizlet, Poll Everywhere, and Google Forms. All of these tools are free and could serve as excellent resources for classroom teachers. (Karen Guerrero, Arizona Geographic Alliance, Phoenix College: )
  3. Gamification RULES if your educational goal is to obtain total student engagement! According to Ujima Donalson and Linda Callecod from the University of Washington, Professional & Organizational Development (POD), adult learners are more productive when they are engaged in their learning. Through such venues as quarterly course training, the Strategic Leadership Program, and career counseling, these two began their goal of increasing the focus of instruction on engagement and participation by adding small game elements in course designs. They utilized a variety of learning theories emphasizing that learning is not an isolated event, but occurs in a social setting. Therefore, this new focus on the student experience led to much restructuring. Gamification was a central focus of the curriculum restructuring in this effort to reach students. Their actions lead to increased participation and satisfaction trends as course design included more gaming elements. This was only one part of the success POD experienced as a result of the student-centered focus.

There were many, many other impressive and powerful sessions covering almost every topic imaginable in the P-12 world. Attendance at this conference was time well spent, and it reinforced the notion that collaboration and collegiality inspire positive steps in our teaching and leading. Maybe everyone in chilly Georgia will forgive me as I share some of these awesome tips I learned at the conference 😉